Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez, left, and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, greet supporters during their kick-off campaign rally, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 25, 2019 (AP photo by Gustavo Garello).

It sounds like the most improbable political script. Everyone is waiting for the candidate, a hardened political veteran backed by an army of loyal supporters, to declare her run for president. Opinion polls already place her ahead in the race. But then, unexpectedly and on an otherwise quiet Saturday morning, she announces it is actually the vice presidency, not the presidency, that she will seek. She announces a hand-picked nominee for president, someone who has been out of the limelight for nearly a decade. He quickly accepts. Her supporters seem a little startled but unfazed. Then, on the following Tuesday, […]

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido addresses supporters at a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 3, 2019 (Sputnik photo by Leo Alvarez via AP Images).

One month after the failed uprising of April 30 in Venezuela, which opposition leader Juan Guaido had proclaimed as “the final phase” of an effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro, the two sides remain mired in deadlock. The opposition finds itself in a difficult position, riven by internal divisions even as negotiations continue in Norway with government representatives. In the United States, senior Trump administration officials have toned down their rhetoric, even while hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham openly call for the United States to intervene militarily in Venezuela. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation for Venezuelans continues to worsen. In this […]

President Donald Trump poses with American farmers in the Oval Office of the White House after announcing $16 billion in aid, Washington, May 23, 2019 (DPA photo by Kevin Dietsch via AP).

President Donald Trump’s policies to “make America great again” often reflect a fondness for an earlier era that was not so great for everyone. Some of his judicial nominees have declined to affirm that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down segregation in public schools, is the settled law of the land. Trump’s immigration policies hark back to a time when there were national quotas that favored some ethnic groups over others. Recent trade developments also suggest a yearning for the golden days of yesteryear. The 1950s are widely remembered as a time of […]

An electoral worker shows a ballot marked “yes” during a referendum concerning a border dispute with Belize, in Guatemala City, April 15, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

The International Court of Justice is set to weigh in on the long-standing territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala. Belize likely has the upper hand. Since gaining independence in 1821, Guatemala has refused to recognize all or part of Belize, its small English-speaking neighbor. But under the terms of a 2008 agreement, this long-running territorial dispute will soon head to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. That agreement required each country to hold a referendum on going to the ICJ, which Belizeans approved earlier this month; Guatemalans did so in April 2018. In an email interview with WPR, […]

Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner inside a federal courtroom, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 21, 2019 (AP photo by Marcos Brindicci).

Three days before she was scheduled to go on trial for corruption, and nevertheless still leading in the polls to become the next president of Argentina, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner dropped a bombshell last Saturday. As everyone expected, she was throwing her hat in the ring, but to just about everyone’s surprise, she announced she had decided to run for vice president, not president. Was it madness, desperation—or brilliance? Turns out, there’s method behind Fernandez’s seemingly strange move. The announcement on May 18 came in a tweet to her more than 5 million followers that included a 12-minute-long […]

A worker sits in front of a billboard at a construction site in Beijing, China, May 16, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

When the trade war between China and the United States began last year, a number of countries expected to emerge as winners. After all, if Beijing and Washington imposed tariffs on each other’s goods, it would open new markets for bystander countries not directly involved in the fray. Now, however, the escalating trade war is making everyone more anxious, even in countries that thought they stood to benefit. The fact is, a trade war of this magnitude inevitably reverberates across much of the world. Even worse, its impact has the potential to reach beyond economics. History, including recent Latin American […]

A man and a woman look at images of people who have been disappeared in the context of Mexico’s fight against drug cartels and organized crime, Mexico City, May 10, 2019 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Mexico’s drug policies could be in for some sweeping changes, and with them the country’s relations with the United States. Last week, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that his administration would seek to revise the Merida Initiative, the $3 billion U.S. aid package that has largely funded Mexico’s war on drugs. In a press conference May 9, Lopez Obrador, widely known in Mexico as AMLO, said his administration does not “want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development.” The announcement came shortly after the Mexican government released a National Development Plan for the next five […]

Members of the Muisca indigenous community take part in a demonstration against Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government’s National Development Plan, in Bogota, Colombia, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Yulieth Rincon for dpa via AP Images).

Since President Ivan Duque took office last summer, Colombia has seen an uptick in violence against human rights advocates and community leaders, particularly from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. Observers point to the Duque administration’s hostility toward the landmark peace accord with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that was struck in 2016. The agreement contained a number of provisions designed to protect the country’s vulnerable groups, but the Duque administration is refusing to implement them. In an interview with WPR, Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, director for the Andes at the Washington Office on Latin America, […]

Gabriela Hernandez, executive director of the nonprofit New Mexico Dream Team, holds up an image of Roxana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died in U.S. custody, Albuquerque, N.M., June 6, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Hudetz).

The desperation of daily life in Honduras is driving thousands of people to join other Central American migrants in their long march northward toward what they hope is asylum and safety in the United States. Yet the situation is especially grave for those who are LGBT, in particular gender non-conforming men and minors. Perhaps that was why the first people to reach the U.S. border in the widely publicized migrant caravan last November were 85 LGBT people. “LGBT people band together to protect each other,” says Aaron Morris, the executive director of Immigration Equality, which advocates for LGBT immigrants to […]

Panama’s president-elect, Laurentino Cortizo, waves to supporters in Panama City, May 6, 2019 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

Laurentino Cortizo, a veteran politician and former agriculture minister, narrowly won Panama’s presidential election earlier this month. Cortizo had focused his campaign on cleaning up the Central American nation’s image after a series of high-profile corruption scandals. But given the entrenched patronage networks and weak institutions of accountability in Panama, he will have a hard time following through on that promise, says Orlando J. Pérez, an expert on Latin American politics at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. In an email interview with WPR, he discusses the election results and what to expect from the new administration. World Politics Review: How did […]

Colombian President Ivan Duque and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, left, take part in a march to repudiate terrorism in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Nine months into his tenure and still finding his footing, Colombia’s president is close to a bitter legislative defeat on one of the country’s most charged political issues: peace. Ivan Duque’s attempt to roll back parts of Colombia’s landmark 2016 peace accord already went down by a 110-44 vote in Colombia’s House of Representatives on April 8. The Senate went through a series of gyrations last week, initially rejecting Duque’s initiative 47-34 before ultimately sending the issue to a top court that is likely to rule against the president. It’s bad news for Duque, but good news for Colombia’s peace […]

Antonio Garcia, a negotiator for the National Liberation Front, a Colombian rebel group, left, and Israel Ramirez Pineda, the group’s commander, at a press conference, Caracas, Venezuela, March 30, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

HAVANA, Cuba—A judge in Colombia last week ordered President Ivan Duque to notify the United Nations Security Council about the progress made in peace talks with guerrillas from the National Liberation Army, or ELN, which the government ended earlier this year in the wake of an ELN bombing. The ruling came after two senior Colombian politicians had sued Duque, claiming that he had neglected to inform the U.N. and the guarantor countries—Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Brazil and Norway—about the state of the negotiations. The judge said that Duque had failed to “give substantive explanations or reasons” for suspending the talks. The […]

Guatemalan military officers carry the coffin of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt to his burial site at a cemetery in Guatemala City, April 1, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

It has been more than two decades since the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala came to a close. Yet in both countries, transitional justice is still a goal, rather than a reality, and recent progress risks being undermined by powerful forces intent on blocking accountability. For this week’s in-depth report, Anna-Catherine Brigida spoke with survivors of civil war-era atrocities who have campaigned—in some cases successfully—to make the alleged perpetrators of those atrocities stand trial. She also examined efforts by officials allied with former military regimes to use legislation and the courts to revive amnesty provisions. In this week’s […]

A banner depicting slain Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi at a rally to mark the 12th anniversary of his murder in Guatemala City, April 26, 2010 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

LA JOYA, El Salvador—On a Thursday morning in October 2017, Rosario Lopez, a 72-year-old Salvadoran woman with square wire-rimmed glasses and dark, gray-speckled hair pulled into a bun, took the stand in a small courtroom in northeastern El Salvador. She had been called to provide testimony in a trial stemming from the worst atrocity of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war. The massacre had unfolded in and around the small mountain village of El Mozote in December 1981, still in the early period of a grueling, grinding conflict between the military government, which took power in a coup in 1979, and […]

A demonstrator waves a Honduran flag during a protest against the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jan. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Antonio).

Honduras was rocked by mass protests last week against proposed reforms of the health and education sectors that demonstrators feared would lead to mass layoffs of teachers and health professionals. The rallies were mostly peaceful but turned violent in some places after demonstrators clashed with riot police. The Honduran government responded by putting the proposed reforms on ice and calling for dialogue with labor union leaders. WPR spoke recently with frequent contributor Christine Wade, a Latin America specialist at Washington College, about the deep crisis facing Honduras. Last week’s protests tapped into a powerful undercurrent of frustration with President Juan […]

Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on their way to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman talk about the challenges facing Japan as a new emperor ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne, as well as the burgeoning debate among Democratic Party presidential candidates over America’s Middle East policy as they vie for the role of challenging President Donald Trump in 2020. The editors also discuss the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and what it says about the Trump administration’s stance on regime change. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what […]