Brazilian President Michel Temer during a meeting with businessmen in the Planalto presidential palace, Brasilia, May 25, 2017 (Agencia Estado photo by Dida Sampaio via AP).

Earlier this month, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, gathered his Cabinet to the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia to mark the end of his first year in office. He toasted progress on his reform agenda, while stumping for still more austerity. Federal spending on social programs had been capped for 20 years, and the airline and oil industries opened to more foreign investment, but the real prize awaited. Congress was advancing toward the approval of the top item on Temer’s agenda, the most ambitious pension reform since Brazil’s dictatorship ended in 1985. Given the positive impact that a cut to benefits […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Argentine President Mauricio Macri review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, May 17, 2017 (Pool photo by Nicolas Asfouri via AP).

Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, was in Beijing last week to attend China’s enormous One Belt, One Road summit and sign several agreements with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Nearly 30 heads of state and senior representatives of at least 20 other countries attended the summit, where Chinese officials presented their vision for building massive infrastructure projects in many parts of the globe. The agreements between Macri and Xi covered more than $30 billion of Chinese investments in Argentina on everything from energy and agriculture to transportation and mining, capped by a Chinese plan to build two nuclear power plants at […]

Demonstrators who oppose the Venezuelan government chant outside of the Organization of American States during a meeting on recent events in Venezuela, Washington, April 3, 2017 (AP photo by Jose Luis Magana).

Venezuela is spiraling out of control. Daily life is growing ever more dire for most of the population, and the prospects for political reconciliation and an end to the humanitarian emergency are looking increasingly dim under the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro and his United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV. As the opposition struggles, so far unsuccessfully, to put an end to the crisis, the question arises: What can—or should—the international community do to help the Venezuelan people? On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting on the matter, a sign that the issue’s importance on the […]

Amid a cloud of tear gas during clashes with security forces, an anti-government protester covers himself with a shield that reads "Freedom" in Spanish, Caracas, Venezuela, May 10, 2017 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

Since the beginning of April, Venezuela has witnessed sustained protests on a scale not seen since 2014, when 43 people died during anti-government unrest. The latest wave of protests, in which at least 42 people have died, was initially triggered by the Supreme Court’s attempts earlier this year to assume the powers of the opposition-dominated National Assembly. Although the move was revoked days after it was introduced, it served as a catalyst for protests over wider grievances, including shortages of basic goods, triple-figure inflation and increasingly undemocratic practices by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV. Government attempts […]

People in costumes representing politicians, capitalists and retirees during a march against pension administrators, Santiago, Chile, March 26, 2017 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about income inequality and poverty reduction in various countries around the world. When she was inaugurated for her second term in 2014, Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, declared, “Chile has a single enemy and that is inequality and only together can we overcome it.” Despite a struggling economy, she has pursued multiple initiatives intended to achieve that goal, notably education and tax reform. In an email interview, Daniel Hojman, associate professor of economics at the University of Chile, explains how inequality has evolved and whether the issue will be central […]

A protest against the plans by President Horacio Cartes and his supporters to change Paraguay's constitution to allow for the re-election of former presidents, Asuncion, March 30, 2017 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

ASUNCION, Paraguay—A month after rioters set fire to Paraguay’s Congress, President Horacio Cartes has abandoned his contentious plans to change the constitution to allow him to run for a second term in 2018. But a corrupt party system and factionalism among Paraguay’s elites pose a greater threat to representative government in one of the poorest countries in South America. On April 26, the lower house of Paraguay’s legislature, the Chamber of Deputies, rejected a bill to amend the country’s constitution to allow former and current presidents to run again. Nine days earlier, Cartes, a tobacco magnate who is one of […]