A national protest march against the construction of a transoceanic canal in Nicaragua.

Last week, Nicaragua canceled its deal with a Chinese company to build and manage a canal that stretches across Central America, ending a decade-long saga. Despite this development, China’s influence in Nicaragua has never been greater, in large part due to the diplomatic isolation of President Daniel Ortega’s autocratic government.

Then-candidate Javier Milei.

Name-calling among Latin America’s leaders has reached the level of schoolyard smears and taunts, but with far more significant implications. It has resulted in recalled ambassadors and crumbling diplomatic relations. And it has made the longstanding dream of regional integration seem more distant than it has been in decades.