A Venezuelan migrant holds her passport while waiting in line for a bus in Tumbes, Peru, Aug. 25, 2018 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

In the hierarchy of global attention, problems affecting Latin America rank well below the various political dramas and turmoil unfolding in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. But that high threshold cannot obscure the daunting reality in the region. Latin America today is facing three simultaneous, largely unrelated migration crises, placing enormous pressure on already limited resources and testing the stability, durability and effectiveness of its leaders, values and institutions. Large numbers of people are currently fleeing for their lives from three separate conflicts in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle, which includes El Salvador, Guatemala […]

A young demonstrator plays a trumpet during a protest against austerity measures put in place by the government of President Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires, Sept. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

BUENOS AIRES—Once again, Argentina has become synonymous with crisis. The Argentine peso has already lost half of its value against the dollar this year, and the economy is projected to contract by at least 2 percent while inflation reaches 40 percent. Beleaguered President Mauricio Macri is asking the International Monetary Fund for additional assistance, only three months after finalizing a loan agreement. Not surprisingly, Macri’s domestic popularity has suffered, weakening his re-election prospects next year. But while the situation is indeed serious, comparing it with Argentina’s total economic, political and social collapse in 2001—as some Argentine and foreign commentators have—is […]

Thousands of people march to demand that Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado scrap a proposed fiscal reform before congress that includes new taxes, in the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica, Sept. 12, 2018 (AP Photo by Carlos Gonzalez).

An indefinite nationwide strike by Costa Rica’s public workers is now in its third week, as unions remain bitterly opposed to a proposed package of tax reforms and changes to public servants’ compensation that aims to rein in the country’s public debt. Union representatives have met with their government counterparts for marathon negotiating sessions in recent days but have failed to resolve the dispute. In an email interview with WPR, Layla Zaglul, a Costa Rican doctoral candidate at the University of Sussex, discusses the strike and its political and fiscal implications. World Politics Review: What are the main reasons for […]

Heavily armed soldiers escort the caravan of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to a ceremony to inaugurate a soccer field, Mixco, Guatemala, Sept. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

GUATEMALA CITY—It looked like a modern-day re-enactment of the 1982 photograph of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt and other military officers at a press conference following their coup. On Aug. 31, military, police and special forces officers lined up several rows deep behind Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who announced the government’s decision not to renew the mandate of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption body, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish acronym, CICIG. Although it has been widely praised internationally for exposing deep-seated networks of corruption within the highest levels of the Guatemalan government, bringing down several politicians […]

Colorful houses of the coastal town of Ilulissat in western Greenland, June 25, 2016 (Photo by Patrick Pleul for DPA via AP Images).

Last week, Denmark reached an agreement with the government of Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory, to fund improvements to airports on the island. The project aroused controversy when a Chinese company expressed interest and was pre-qualified to participate, a concerning development for Danish and American officials. While Denmark’s $559 million deal decreases the chances of Chinese involvement, it came at a steep political price, as it led the pro-independence Naleraq party to break away from Greenland’s ruling coalition, depriving it of its majority in Greenland’s Parliament. In an email interview, Ulrik Pram Gad, a professor of Arctic politics […]

Marshall Miller, president of Miller and Company, speaks during a Commerce Department hearing on whether auto imports threaten national security, Washington, July 19, 2018 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

Despite hopes that the negotiations to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement will conclude with some degree of success, the other fronts in U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade wars continue to escalate. The looming tariffs on another $200 billion in U.S. imports from China will carry high costs for American consumers and exporters, much higher than the first round of tit-for-tat tariffs on $50 billion in trade with China this summer. Yet it is the political and institutional implications of potential tariffs on $200 billion in automobile imports later this year that raise even bigger questions. For many consumers, […]

A currency exchange shop in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Governments in emerging markets should be forgiven if they are dealing with a case of crisis fatigue. For 10 years now, they have lurched from one financial mess to another, triggered largely by external events and decisions outside of their control. Things are once again getting messy as global investors have soured on Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia, among other emerging market economies, causing their currencies to crash. As troubles have developed in one country after another late this summer, some observers have been careful to point out that the causes of the individual economic crises are very different. Don’t jump […]

Venezuelan migrants cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia, Feb. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

The exodus of refugees and migrants fleeing Venezuela—a crisis that has largely been undercovered—appears to be reaching a breaking point, as leaders across Latin America scramble to deal with the growing number of Venezuelans arriving at their borders each day. Representatives of 13 Latin American nations met in Quito, Ecuador, last week for a summit to address the problem head-on, while setting in place some regional strategies for helping the estimated 2.3 million people—7 percent of Venezuela’s population—who, according to the United Nations, have already fled President Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship. Other estimates put the figure at 4 million. Since taking […]

A Long March 2D rocket carrying the Venezuelan remote sensing satellite VRSS-1 lifts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, China, Sept. 29, 2012 (Photo by Sun Zifa for Imaginechina via AP Images).

MEDELLIN, Colombia—China has quickly established an extensive track record of using infrastructure spending, on everything from stadiums to ports, to secure resources and bolster trade across Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Security and space industry analysts now say 2018 has already been a banner year for another part of China’s soft power outreach, as it has sold satellites and support systems to Nigeria, Cambodia and Pakistan. China’s space ambitions are closely tied to its Belt and Road Initiative. By the end of the year, it is expected that a basic system of 18 Chinese BeiDou-3 global positioning satellites will serve […]

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra walks to the Legislative Palace, the seat of Peru’s Congress, in Lima, to hand-deliver proposed legislation on political reform, on Aug. 9, 2018 (Photo by Anthony Nino De Guzman for GDA via AP Images).

The resignation last spring of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who faced impeachment on charges of corruption, brought to power an unlikely figure: Martin Vizcarra, a former governor of the remote region of Moquegua in southern Peru. Vizcarra had been serving concurrently as vice president and ambassador to Canada when he was called back to assume the nation’s highest office. His attempts to tackle systemic corruption in Peru, including calling for a national referendum on several key reforms, have led to a standoff with the country’s Congress, which is controlled by the opposition Popular Force party. In an email interview, […]

Demonstrators wearing masks with the image of Peru's President Martin Vizcarra, center, former President Alan Garcia, and Congress President Luis Galarreta protest against corruption, in Lima, Peru, on July 27, 2018 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

Peru’s Martin Vizcarra traveled one of the more unlikely paths to the presidency. When he assumed office suddenly and unexpectedly last March, more than 80 percent of Peruvians said they did not recognize his name. As he approaches six months in power, the soft-spoken accidental president is hitting his stride, leading some skeptics to think he has a chance, though no guarantee, of actually completing the three years left in the term of the president he replaced. Some Peruvians now say there’s even a possibility that he will do more than keep the seat warm for his successor, and may […]

Foreign ministers of El Salvador and China, Carlos Castaneda and Wang Yi, celebrate a toast at a signing ceremony to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between El Salvador and China, Beijing, Aug. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

El Salvador’s decision last month to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish relations with China came as a blow to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who condemned Beijing for “increasingly out-of-control international behavior.” The move also prompted a harsh response from the United States, as the White House expressed “grave concern” and accused China of “political interference in the Western Hemisphere.” However, according to R. Evan Ellis, a research professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College, both Washington and Taipei may be powerless to prevent more countries from following suit. In an email interview, he explains […]

A woman walks past a wall spray painted with a message that reads in Spanish “Macri lies”, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

On Monday, Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced he would further slash budgetary spending and reimpose previously discontinued agricultural export taxes, in an effort to stave off an ongoing currency crisis that has seen the Argentine peso plummet since December. The new measures are an effort to regain investor confidence and secure an enhanced bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. Despite a June deal with the IMF for a $50 billion credit line, Argentina’s currency has continued to depreciate, with the peso tumbling to new lows in the past week. Argentina’s liquidity crisis is the result of a perfect storm […]

President Donald Trump talks on the phone with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Aug. 27, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

To ancient Greeks, the dog days of summer came when the star Sirius, known as the dog star, was positioned prominently above the horizon just before sunrise. The star was linked with disaster, even war, at the height of a hot summer. Its meaning evolved over the centuries as it was translated from ancient Greek to Latin and, eventually, English. In Washington this summer, U.S. trade policy has suffered through its own version of the dog days. There was the lethargy associated with trying to resolve the trade war with China. There was the sudden storm of President Donald Trump […]