The dispute over Pedro Castillo’s removal as president in Peru is the latest messy transfer of power in Latin America and another instance when regional governments could not agree on a basic interpretation of events. More broadly, the region’s democracies face two related challenges: creeping authoritarianism and election denial.
In defending themselves from foreign interference, Western countries currently tend to look at all the tools used to pursue it in isolation. In order to effectively defend themselves, however, Western governments ought to see all the tools of foreign interference as elements of a strategic continuum, requiring a holistic response.
The concerns, criticisms and debates at the Qatar World Cup about human rights and other contentious issues served as reminders that sporting events carried out under the banner of national flags will always be susceptible to politicization, no matter how often it is claimed that the athletic arena is off-limits to politics.
U.S. President Joe Biden hosted 49 African leaders during this week’s U.S.-Africa Summit in an effort to improve ties damaged by the four tumultuous years of the Trump administration. Biden administration officials announced a raft of initiatives as a signal of Washington’s intent. But it is unlikely the summit alone will overcome lukewarm attitudes in African capitals toward Washington.
From the outset of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, many observers have been quick to point to its downsides, from accusations of corruption in the host-country selection process to human rights concerns. But major sporting events like the World Cup and Olympic Games still offer unique opportunities for the host countries and the world.
On Dec. 12, Sam Bankman-Fried, once described as the J.P. Morgan of the crypto industry, was arrested and charged with defrauding investors, just a month after his $32 billion cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, filed for bankruptcy. FTX’s collapse sent shockwaves through the crypto world, perhaps felt nowhere more acutely than in Africa.
Brussels has been rocked this week by the biggest corruption scandal to hit the city in decades, with several people arrested as part of a probe into suspected bribery of European Parliament officials by a Gulf state. Amid all the fevered speculation, the biggest question on the minds of many now is: Who will be next to be implicated?
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele appears to have found a formula to maintain sky-high popularity in a region more accustomed to street protests and leaders nose-diving in the polls. Critics of his “war on gangs” revile him for his autocratic ways. But citizens and leaders across Latin America have looked to him for inspiration.
When U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands over the gavel next year, it will mark the end of an era in U.S. politics, with the greatest impact immediately visible on domestic policy. But Pelosi has also played a major role in foreign policy, deploying her political skills in pursuit of a mostly hawkish, internationalist worldview.
Recent protests in China drew comparisons to the political demonstrations of 1989, as well as to more localized and group-specific protests since 1990. This raises questions of how the present protests differ from previous ones, whether they represent a new type of protest, and how outside policymakers can best respond to them.
Even as both sides in Ethiopia implement the first steps of a peace accord, the impact of its civil war can be seen in regional and international responses to other conflicts in Africa. That could presage deep changes in how the West engages with African security issues, and the distribution of roles in addressing them.
In March, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared a state of emergency and suspended fundamental rights, giving security forces extended powers to detain and arrest people suspected of gang crimes. Since then, over 58,000 people accused of being gang members have been arrested—and human rights violations have spiked.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia last week for a four-day trip that included three summits in Riyadh with a range of Arab leaders. A bilateral strategic agreement signed by Riyadh and Beijing during Xi’s visit signals Saudi Arabia’s determination to diversify its partnerships and China’s growing role in the region.
Tunisian President Kais Saied has steadily chipped away at a decade of democratic progress in the county since consolidating power in July 2021, and one of the rights most under threat is gender equality. Saied has used a variety of tools to give lip service to gender equality in Tunisia, while simultaneously undermining it.
Cities have emerged as key leaders in implementing climate solutions. But while transport and energy often get more attention, the construction and operation of buildings is typically a city’s highest source of emissions. It’s not surprising, then, that buildings have become a top priority for climate action for U.S. cities.
Recent developments in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, the U.S. and Peru show that the guardrails of democracy can hold in the Americas. Institutions can restrain populist leaders who abuse their authority. Hyper-presidentialism, in which the executive can do whatever it pleases, is not guaranteed. Checks and balances can work.
Recent elections in Brazil and the U.S. may have reinforced the impression that democracy is alive and well in the Americas. But in Guatemala, where in the past few years a backlash against anti-corruption efforts has gathered steam, upcoming elections in 2023 are unlikely to reverse democracy’s downward slide.