Christian nationalism is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years it has led to the consolidation of power by politically conservative, illiberal and authoritarian political leaders and parties across the globe. The storming of Brazil’s seat of government, in part driven by this ideology, is the latest evidence of this trend.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last week and accomplished little. While the organization is not meaningfully addressing the hemisphere’s problems, let alone solving them, small improvements could lead it to a place where it might be able to in the future.
Brazil and Argentina recently announced their plan to create a common currency, starting with their two countries and inviting other South American countries to join. The idea is that it would help the region ease its trade relations, making it better able to control inflation. It’s a heady notion whose time has not come.
The twin blows of U.S. sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by runaway inflation triggered by an economic reform gone awry, have plunged Cuba into its worst economic crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most poignant and costly manifestation of the public’s exhaustion is the sharp increase in emigration.
“Brazil is back,” Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said shortly before being sworn in for a third term as president. His foreign policy agenda marks a clean break from that of his predecessor with a focus on reengagement with the world. But that may be harder to achieve now than it was when Lula first took office 20 years ago.
Latin America should be watching the current protests in Peru and Venezuela nervously. The two crises have long and deep roots in local dynamics, but the anger seen in both countries over the past month is a reaction to causal factors that aren’t exclusive to them. Protesters are angry at political systems that are failing them.
Uruguay is known for boasting a squeaky-clean democracy that tops indices measuring government transparency in South America. Now a corruption scandal with mafia-esque overtones has severely damaged President Luis Lacalle Pou, potentially hampering his reform agenda and sidelining him ahead of elections in October 2024.
In recent years, formerly colonized countries have been advancing a confident and militant movement for reparatory justice, and it has seen results. But the breakthroughs made have been met with a stubborn resistance by the countries responsible for colonization and slavery to avoid framing the issue as reparations.
After just under four years in office, Juan Guaido is no longer the de jure president of Venezuela. Once recognized by almost 60 countries around the world—including the United States, Canada and most of Europe and South America—he saw that number dwindle to fewer than a dozen countries by late 2022.
It was all supposed to be behind Brazil—the fears of a post-election crisis that would undermine the country’s democracy. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had defeated Jair Bolsonaro in October’s election and been sworn into office. Brazil and the world breathed a sigh of relief for the country’s democracy. And then came Sunday.
When supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the capital’s seat of government on Sunday, everyone’s mind flashed back to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. The two assaults on democracy were driven by many of the same forces, with similar ideologies, similar playbooks—and some of the same players.
The arrest of Luis Camacho, a prominent opposition leader, for his role in the alleged coup following Bolivia’s contested 2019 presidential election has aggravated political polarization. Government supporters view it as belated justice, while the opposition says it is a sign of the country’s slide toward authoritarianism.
The inauguration of Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva on Jan. 1 was a moment of triumph and an opportunity to play regional leader and global statesman, a symbol that Brazil is back on the world stage. However, as this weekend’s riots in Brasilia make clear, it was just the opening of what will be a long four years.
Last September, the hacktivist group Guacamaya launched its largest cyberattack yet, targeting Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense, as well as government agencies in El Salvador, Colombia, Peru and Chile. But while the group seeks accountability, they’ve also brought to light massive vulnerabilities in state institutions.
Nowhere is the challenge of recovering from the pandemic and the fallout from the war in Ukraine more pressing than in Latin America, the region that was arguably the world’s hardest-hit during the “polycrisis.” For governments hoping they will be able to retake the ground lost in the past three years, the task looks gargantuan.