The U.S. has struggled to formulate an effective strategy for competing with China in Latin America, where China’s expanded economic footprint and a resurgence of the region’s left have dented U.S. influence. But real opportunities exist for the U.S. to deepen its relationships in the region. A case in point is Chile.
South America Archive
Not ongoing everyone agrees negotiations and dialogue will solve Venezuela’s ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crises or create the conditions for a political transition. But whether they succeed or fail, they appear to be a necessary precondition for any solution to Venezuela’s ongoing crises to be found.
Uruguay, a small Southern Cone country tucked away on the Atlantic coast and wedged between neighboring giants Brazil and Argentina, remains a remarkable success story in areas that go way beyond its economy. We don’t hear much about Uruguay. It stays out of the headlines precisely because just about everything is going so well.
Brazil’s presidential election in October will determine whether the destruction of the Amazon rainforest can be slowed or reversed, with major implications for climate change globally. While getting rid of Jair Bolsonaro, who has been a disaster for the Amazon, will be a necessary first step, it will also be the easy part.
The practice of bullfighting has long been controversial and is already forbidden, outright or effectively, in several Latin American countries. Now, though, reeling from the pandemic, losing popularity everywhere, and facing political and social pressure, the bullfighting industry’s fate is hanging in the balance.
Throughout South America, leftist candidates have been sweeping to power, winning election after election with promises of tackling the region’s chronic—and recently aggravated—poverty and inequality. Once in office, though, the new presidents have struggled badly, confirming that it’s much easier to criticize than govern.
On Aug. 7, a multi-ethnic and socially diverse crowd witnessed the historic inauguration of modern Colombia’s first leftist president, Gustavo Petro, and its first Afro-Colombian and woman vice president, Francia Marquez. Petro now faces the enormous challenge of meeting their expectations and making good on his campaign promises.
In October 2020, nearly 80 percent of Chileans voted in favor of rewriting the country’s constitution. On Sunday, over 60 percent of them voted to reject the document that resulted from that process. But this weekend’s result does not reflect a change in public opinion regarding whether the current constitution should be reformed.
Chileans will vote Sunday to determine whether to approve a new draft constitution, the culmination of a process that began with spontaneous protests in October 2019. The most recent polling shows the “No” camp with a significant but narrowing lead. But whether or not the constitution passes, Chile is in for a period of uncertainty.
Bolivia officially became the Plurinational State of Bolivia in 2009, when a newly ratified constitution formally recognized the country’s cultural diversity. But the country’s experience since then shows how radical ideas can end up diluted into policies that, while significant, fall short of fundamental change.
Last week, prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Argentinian Vice President Cristina Fernandez to 12 years in prison and ban her from public office for life for her alleged role in a yearslong corruption scheme. She denies the charges and, in fact, has once again managed to turn a legal peril into a political win, at least for now.