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A key aspect of Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s ambitious “Total Peace” plan is resuming negotiations with the largest remaining rebel group in Colombia—the ELN. Warming ties between Colombia and Venezuela remove one obstacle to that objective. But other remaining challenges mean that progress will be slow and difficult.

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Given the threat that Jair Bolsonaro represented to the democracy of Latin America’s largest country, the whole region should feel some relief that Lula da Silva defeated him in Brazil’s presidential election. And yet, there are many pro-democracy activists in Latin America for whom Lula returning to office is a cause for anxiety.

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Brazilians go to the polls Sunday in a presidential election pitting left-wing former President Inacio Luiz “Lula” da Silva against the far-right incumbent, President Jair Bolsonaro. The contest has become a poster child of the “democracy versus autocracy” narrative, given Bolsonaro’s populist, authoritarian brand of politics.

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More than 7.1 million Venezuelans have now fled the country, making the exodus the largest migration crisis in the world. But while most Venezuelan migrants had previously sought a safe haven in other countries in South America, migration patterns have shifted toward the U.S. under the false hope that things will be better there.

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“The worst is yet to come.” That’s the message from the International Monetary Fund about what to expect in 2023. For Latin America, the IMF’s bad news about the year to come will add to a pile of years’ worth of other economic and political problems and will be critical to every political story in the region for the year to come.

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The results of Brazil’s first-round presidential election were an unpleasant shock for the left, even if Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party, or PT, finished first and remains the frontrunner against Jair Bolsonaro on Oct. 30. The PT is now a diminished political force, due as much to its own mistakes as the rise of the far right.

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The political and humanitarian crises that have sent Venezuela into a death spiral for the past several years has now spilled over into neighboring countries and become a flashpoint in international affairs. But the protracted fight for control of the country has only meant additional suffering for its citizens. Is there any end in sight for Venezuela’s crisis?

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The focus on Peruvian President Pedro Castillo’s political travails are understandable, but they have overshadowed one of the more significant policy developments from his presidency so far: a recently introduced stimulus package designed to promote flagging economic growth that backtracks on Castillo’s hard-left economic agenda.

an art exhibit highlights the impact of gun trafficking from mexico into the us

Last week, the Mexican government filed the second of two lawsuits against the firearms business in the U.S., claiming that a handful of gun shops and distributors knowingly and deliberately violate U.S. law. Could Mexico, where arms trafficked from the U.S. are a major contributor to violence, succeed where U.S. gun control advocates have failed?

Bolsanaro vs Lula in brazil's debate ahead of a presidential election

Based on the results of the first-round voting in Brazil’s presidential election and current polling, Lula da Silva is expected to defeat Jair Bolsonaro in the second-round runoff on Oct. 30. But no matter who wins, the next president of Brazil will face a polarized political system and disillusioned electorate.

asylum seekers at the us-mexico border

Between October 2021 and August 2022, U.S. authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border took undocumented migrants into custody more than 2 million times—a record number that has generated nonstop commentary about a “border crisis.” But the numbers fail to convey a dramatic shift in the migrant population over the past nine years.

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The novel coronavirus caught many world leaders unprepared, despite consistent warnings that a global pandemic was inevitable. And it has revealed the flaws in a global health architecture headed by the World Health Organization, which had already been faulted for its response to the 2014 Ebola pandemic in West Africa. Will there be an overhaul of the WHO when the pandemic is over?

Then-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and then-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attend an arrival ceremony for Obasanjo discussing Brazil's foreign policy

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is favored to win the 2022 presidential election and return to the office he held between 2003 and 2010. But despite Lula’s pledge to prioritize relations with Africa as he did in his first stint in office, a return to the heydays of the 2000s is a long shot.

Environmental activists in Honduras

At the Summit of the Americas in June, 33 governments of the region pledged to tackle violence against environmental defenders by taking “concrete actions.” But rather than declarations, changing the situation on the ground demands that governments address the drivers of violence and repression against these defenders.

a protestor against human rights abuses in nicaragua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has long had a contentious relationship with democratic countries. But in the past few days, Managua took jabs at the EU, the U.S., some Latin American neighbors and even the Vatican. It seems Ortega has settled on a new international strategy to strengthen and perpetuate his hold on power.

A soldier in a coca field as part of the war on drugs in Colombia

The “War on Drugs” has failed. While that statement is absolutely true, it’s also a cheap applause line. Calling out the failures of the war on drugs is easy, and these days doing so generally finds widespread support. But it’s easier to criticize the current failed approach than to develop and implement alternatives.