A migrant walks past anti-immigration posters that read in Spanish “No more illegal immigration. Solidarity begins at home,” Santiago, Chile, Aug. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. The Chilean government began sending Haitian immigrants back to Haiti this month under President Sebastian Pinera’s new “humanitarian repatriation program.” Two planeloads of Haitians have flown out so far under the policy, which provides a free ticket home for any Haitian immigrant who agrees not to return to Chile for nine years. According to Cristián Doña-Reveco, director of the office of Latino/Latin-American studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Pinera is making a populist appeal to rising anti-immigrant sentiment in Chile. In […]

Central Americans riding atop a freight train in Ixtepec, Mexico, in 2012. Since a Mexican government crackdown, scenes like this are rare (Photo by Joseph Sorrentino).

MEXICO CITY—Geovanni Martinez Hernandez fled Honduras after being threatened by one of the most vicious gangs in the Americas: Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13. “It was because of my sexual orientation,” said Martinez Hernandez, who is gay. “I just want a place where I can live without being abused, where I can walk without discrimination or fear.” He had hoped to find that in Mexico. But, while traveling alone in late May through Tapachula, a city in far southwestern Mexico bordering Guatemala that is one of the first stops for Central American migrants and asylum-seekers making the trek north […]

Colombia's President Ivan Duque at the presidential palace in Panama City, Sept. 10, 2018 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

Colombia’s young president, Ivan Duque, just passed his 100-day mark in office, and the results so far show that a deeply divided country, after decades of war with guerrilla groups, will remain tough to govern as a fragile peace struggles to take hold. In the years to come, the 42-year-old Duque is sure to face headwinds made even worse by the polarization resulting from years of bitter conflict. Duque’s approval ratings have collapsed during a period when a new presidency often benefits from open-minded optimism. One pollster, Invamer, recorded an approval rating of just 27 percent this month, down from […]

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, attends a military ceremony marking Independence Day, Quito, Aug. 10, 2017 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

The so-called Pink Tide ushered in leftist governments in Latin America, but something went wrong. Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). It wasn’t very long ago that Latin American voters, in country after country, began electing leftist presidents. The new crop of leaders that rose to power over the past few decades occupied a wide range of positions along the ideological spectrum, advocating leftist policies that varied mightily—from mild income redistribution projects to aggressive nationalization programs. But the trend toward leftist governments in Latin America was unmistakable. Some dubbed it the “pink tide.” That tide […]

A girl removes scales from a fish in her home in Belle Anse, Haiti, May 22, 2013 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. Over the past 30 years, as economies in the region developed and democratic gains were made, Latin America has undeniably seen major progress in the fight against hunger. Since 2000, the number of Latin Americans suffering from undernourishment has dropped from more than 60 million to 39 million. From Mexico to Argentina, leaders have felt optimistic. Compared to Africa and Asia, few places in the developing world were tackling food security and nutrition-related health risks with quite the same rigor and effectiveness. It was […]

A young man smokes marijuana to celebrate the International Day for Cannabis in Mexico City, April 20, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. The incoming administration of Mexico’s left-leaning president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has proposed legalizing the possession and recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, building on a string of recent decisions by the Mexican Supreme Court that found the drug’s prohibition to be unconstitutional. Legislation to regulate the production and commercial distribution of cannabis has been submitted to the Mexican Congress and a referendum on the issue is expected within the next three years. In an interview with WPR, David […]

A supporter of former FARC rebel Jesus Santrich holds a sign that reads in Spanish “Respect the freedom agreements” during a protest against his arrest in Bogota, Colombia, April, 9, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Signs of strain are emerging over Colombia’s landmark 2016 peace accord that ended a 50-year war with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Key aspects of the agreement still haven’t been implemented, while its transitional justice system, arguably the most important element of the reconciliation process, suffers from mistrust and a lack of buy-in on both sides. In an interview with WPR, Mathew Charles, a journalist and academic in Colombia, discusses the impediments to peace and how to overcome them. World Politics Review: What are the principal points of contention between the Colombian […]

A supporter of presidential candidate Fernando Haddad waves a banner near a vendor selling shirts featuring the eventual winner, Jair Bolsonaro, Brasilia, Brazil, Oct. 26, 2018 (AP photo Eraldo Peres).

For decades, Latin America looked like one of the great success stories of democratization. One after another, countries that had been ruled by dictatorships broke the shackles of military rule and embraced free elections. Strong majorities across the region consistently agreed that democracy was the best system of government. But that progress masked the shallow roots of Latin American democracy. Today, even if military coups seem safely relegated to the past and Marxist insurgencies have been soundly defeated, the future of democracy in the region is far from assured. That’s the conclusion of an alarming new report by the respected […]

Thousands of workers and retirees protest against a proposed pension reform, Asuncion, Paraguay, Aug. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

A narco boss bribes multiple justice ministers from prison and luxuriates in a VIP cell. A senator is recorded boasting about buying off judges, but is still re-elected thanks to a closed party list system. Taxpayers foot the bill for medical insurance covering liposuction and implants for low-level public employees. These are just some of the many embarrassing episodes in the past two years alone in Paraguay, a country notorious for its culture of public malfeasance and long faithful to the words of its late dictator Alfredo Stroessner that “corruption is the price of peace.” In Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption […]

Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, leave a temporary shelter early in the morning in Queretaro, Mexico, Nov. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).)

Late last week, the Trump administration declared in a proclamation that it would deny asylum applications to anyone who entered the country through illegal ports of entry, even though it has been clear for months that asylum-seekers are being denied access at official ports of entry. It was the latest attempt by the administration to discourage migrants, primarily from Central America, from coming to the United States. In the recent pre-election fervor, President Donald Trump likened the caravan of Central Americans, which is slowly making its way north from Honduras and into southern Mexico, to an invasion. Yet the latest […]

A city employee carries a bag of seized cocaine to be destroyed at a police base, Lima, Peru, June 7, 2018 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

The U.S. government is alarmed at the rates of cocaine production in the two countries. While it is working with the Peruvian government to tackle the problem, the issue has only further divided the United States and Bolivia. The international fight against drug trafficking continues to go poorly in South America’s Andean region, and signs suggest it won’t be improving anytime soon. New figures released this month by the United States show that Peru and Bolivia have stalled, if not taken steps backward, in their attempts to eradicate prolific cocaine production within their borders. Last year, Peru’s production of pure […]

A member of the 53rd Infantry Group undergoes mission readiness training in Ireland in preparation for the unit’s deployment to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, April 19, 2016 (Sipa USA photo by Artur Widak via AP Images).

After 9/11, the United States was thrown into a type of conflict that the U.S. military, intelligence community and Department of State all did not expect: large-scale counterinsurgency. The United States, particularly the military, had always been reluctant to take this on. Counterinsurgency is a politically and psychologically complex struggle that doesn’t play to America’s strength: morally unambiguous warfare where victory comes from creating the biggest and most powerful military, then winning battles until the enemy is crushed. Counterinsurgency often takes place in cultures and locations—remote villages, dense city streets—that Americans have a difficult time understanding. Despite the desire to […]

Workers at the site of a Chinese-backed infrastructure project in Haripur, Pakistan, Dec. 22, 2017 (AP photo by Aqeel Ahmed).

At the opening of a huge new trade show in Shanghai on Monday, the inaugural China International Import Expo, Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to convince increasingly skeptical observers that China wants to “help friends from around the world to seize opportunities.” Xi is aiming to boost China’s trade involvement across the globe, even as the United States under President Donald Trump retreats into protectionism. Yet the notion that Beijing is a force for global prosperity is running into a wall of doubt as Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative—a trillion-dollar global infrastructure behemoth that launched in 2013 as “One […]

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks to reporters after casting his vote on whether to continue with the $13 billion airport in Mexico City, Oct. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

MEXICO CITY—Last week, the spokesperson for Mexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, announced the cancellation of a lavish new airport in Mexico City, a $13.3 billion project that was already under construction. The decision came after an informal four-day referendum in which 70 percent of voters backed scrapping the project. “The decision taken by the citizens is democratic, rational and efficient,” Lopez Obrador said. “The people decided.” Yet it hardly reflected the full Mexican electorate, as less than 2 percent of Mexico’s eligible voters participated in the ballot, which Lopez Obrador’s own party and its allies had organized. The announcement […]

A voter fills out a ballot at a polling place in Pasadena, Maryland, Nov. 6, 2018 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

American voters delivered the House of Representatives to the Democratic Party in yesterday’s midterm congressional elections, issuing a measured rebuke of President Donald Trump’s divisive and inflammatory style of politics. Trump himself had turned the elections into a referendum on his personal brand, putting himself front and center while stumping energetically for Republican candidates nationwide over the last few weeks of the campaign. Despite strong economic growth and historically low unemployment, however, voters in key districts—including many in the usually Republican suburbs—made it clear that the laws of political gravity still exist, and that even Trump cannot violate them indefinitely. […]

Deforestation in the Amazon near the Juruena National Park in Brazil, March 23, 2017 (DPA photo by Isaac Risco-Rodriguez via AP Images).

From 2004 to 2012, the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon dropped more than 80 percent, even as Brazil’s agricultural production continued to grow. But that progress in protecting a fragile and essential ecosystem reversed in recent years, before the outlook got even worse. First, U.S. President Donald Trump launched a trade war with China, shifting more Chinese demand for soybean products from the United States to Brazil, potentially leading to more deforestation to meet the demands of Brazilian agriculture. Then, last month Brazilians elected the far-right Jair Bolsonaro as president, a major supporter of agribusiness who has vowed […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018 (DPPA/Sipa USA photo by Mischa Schoemaker via AP Images).

Amid worsening ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey’s previous tensions with the United States, which only months ago looked intractable, appear to be easing. This upswing reflects Turkey’s longstanding institutional comfort, if not always strategic preference, for its Western ties, and, more immediately, a certain tactical play against its rival in Riyadh. But Turkey’s Western moorings are hardly secure—a position that still looks increasingly out of step for a Turkish government with aspirations for regional and even global leadership. As new details continue to emerge about Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi […]

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