It is tempting to view the win in Argentina by far-right libertarian economist Javier Milei followed by the first-place finish in the Netherlands by the anti-Muslim firebrand Geert Wilders as evidence of a global movement. But it would be a mistake to view these two earthquakes as part of the same tectonic pattern.
The big question hanging over Argentine President-elect Javier Milei’s term in office is whether he can turn around the country’s crisis-stricken economy. But if Milei’s control over Argentina’s economic fate is limited, he’ll have free rein over the country’s foreign policy, where he is also planning some very large shifts.
With Central America facing numerous crises, it could be easy to overlook a small legislative scuffle in Honduras. However, the institutional maneuverings there in recent weeks are a great example of the sorts of questionable power grabs that degrade democracy and undermine anti-corruption efforts around the region.
Fears of a commodities trap are once again inflaming politics across Latin America. The latest illustration of the tensions and tradeoffs at the heart of these confrontations comes from Panama, where recent protests have forced the country to restrict new mining projects and may shut down a globally significant copper mine.
Most international coverage of Panama’s drought focuses on shipping delays through the Panama Canal. Locals are more worried about its impact on potable water. More worrying is the fact that Panama is not the only Latin American country currently facing water scarcity. To the contrary, the entire region is in the grips of a dry spell.
In Nicaragua, the steady dismantling of democracy by President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, has been advancing for many years. But in the past couple of weeks, the Ortega-Murillo regime took control of the country’s Supreme Court, a dramatic move that arguably crossed the line into dictatorship.
Nobody can blame Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for how quickly Tropical Storm Otis grew into the hurricane that devastated Acapulco on Oct. 25. But AMLO’s failure in responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Otis’ landfall is the logical culmination of key policies that define his term in office.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro knew some of the candidates he had backed were faltering ahead of Sunday’s local elections. But when the votes were counted, the results were much worse for the president than almost anyone expected. The outcome was such a decisive setback that the elections looked like a rebuke of his presidency.