Opposition presidential candidate Mauricio Macri at a campaign rally in Humahuaca, Argentina, Nov. 19, 2015 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Argentina’s presidential vote this Sunday, Nov. 22, is one of its most consequential elections in recent history. After 12 years of Kirchnerismo, the next president will bring change to a country in need of an economic and political jolt. That much is certain. But how swiftly and how deeply will any transformations take place? That will depend on Sunday’s vote. In the days leading up to the first round of voting on Oct. 25, it seemed a fait accompli that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s electoral alliance, the Front for Victory, or FPV, was in the driver’s seat to hold […]

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez at his inauguration, as outgoing President Jose Mujica looks on, Montevideo, Uruguay, March 1, 2015 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

In a region wracked by drug-related crimes, Uruguay stood out in 2013 when it became the first country in Latin America, and the world, to legalize the growth and sale of marijuana. Critics argued that the move would open the floodgates to increased consumption and abuse, but then-President Jose “Pepe” Mujica argued that the measure would quell drug trafficking in a country where one-third of prison inmates serve time on narcotics-related charges. The decision, while unprecedented, is consistent with Uruguay’s legacy of socially progressive policies; the country legalized abortion in 2012, was among the first in Latin America to establish […]

A counter-narcotics police officer organizes seized packages of cocaine during a presentation to the press, Necocli, Colombia, Feb. 24, 2015 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

The latest figures released by the United Nations indicate that Colombia has retaken the title of world’s largest cocaine producer, with some 69,000 hectares of land used for growing coca. After years of declining production, the U.N. estimates cocaine production in Colombia will increase by 52 percent this year. Only two years ago, Peru overtook Colombia as the top producer of coca and processed cocaine, as Bruno Binetti and Ben Raderstorf explained in their WPR feature this week. “Unlike most of its neighbors, Peru lacks a comprehensive strategy to fight drug trafficking, instead preferring to downplay the issue . . […]

A child holds a bucket as he stands at the top of a hill in a poor neighborhood, Lima, Peru, May 15, 2008 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

The Peruvian economy is rising, transformed by a growing middle class and rapid urbanization. But to leverage these trends for more economic diversity and prosperity, the government will have to rebuild trust and manage urbanization to make visible progress in improving the day-to-day lives of its citizens. The glittering Real Plaza shopping center in the Comas district north of Lima buzzes with middle-class energy, featuring franchises like Popeye’s and KFC, DirecTV and RadioShack, McDonald’s, China Wok and even a multi-screen “Cineplanet” movie theater. Like similar shopping malls across the sprawling Lima metropolitan area, the Comas Real Plaza is visibly aspirational; […]

An opposition member walks under a Venezuelan flag during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Sept. 19, 2015 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

With a month left until Venezuela’s pivotal parliamentary elections, the country has been jolted by accusations that the government’s case against a top opposition leader was a sham. Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro is vowing that he will not surrender power under any circumstances. The stage is now set for the country’s already turbulent political environment to become even more dangerously unstable. Despite the highly charged political rhetoric, it is not politics but basic subsistence needs that dominate the concerns of most Venezuelans. Shortages of all manner of basic goods, triple-digit inflation and off-the-charts crime rates have made life a daily […]

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After an uptick in violence in June threatened peace talks between Colombia and the country’s largestguerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, progress since July, when the FARC reinstated its cease-fire, led both sides to declare recently that a final deal was close at hand. But even if an agreement is reached, challenges to establishing a sustainable peace will persist, both for Colombia and its international partners. All of the articles linked below are free for non-subscribers until Nov. 19. The Road to a Deal: Since negotiations began in October 2012, the peace talks have divided Colombians, […]