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Latin America

Geopolitics

Geopolitically, "Latin America" Does Not Exist

The election in Brazil of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) is being hailed by some as the confirmation of Latin American around a shared leftist project, yet even the left can't agree with itself. It's a story that goes back centuries, and can only change with a commitment to move beyond ideology.

-Analysis-

BOGOTÁ — In 1826, the liberator and then president of (a much larger) Colombia, Simón Bolívar, convened the Summit of Panama, in Panama City, with the aim of uniting the recently liberated provinces of the Spanish empire. Bolívar's guest list excluded the United States and imperial Brazil. In spite of good intentions, the summit proved an utter failure.

There was no Latin American integration then, nor is there today, 200 years on, as the continent remains fragmented and divided. In geopolitical terms, there is no Latin America.

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Walls Of Shame: Trump Is Not Alone In Building Barriers To Shut Out Latin Americans

Keeping out the poor from one country to another, or even within a country, is not a new idea, though former U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have set off a new wave across the region, and the world.

If you are from Latin America and you hear the word “wall,” you most likely think of the one that Donald Trump began to build between the United States and Mexico. However, there are currently more than 60 border walls around the world, and, contrary to popular belief, Trump's is not the only one keeping Latin Americans out of a territory.

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Good Ol' Lula? Brazil's Next President Must Utterly Reinvent Himself — With Moderation

Brazil's incoming president, Lula da Silva, is unlikely to govern the same way he did 20 years ago. Socio-economic conditions will likely push him toward moderation, which will benefit Brazil and the region.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Political comebacks have become a habit in Latin America. It is a rarity in other parts of the world, but here there is always someone who is "back".

Chile had Michelle Bachelet, Peru had Alan García and Fernando Beláunde Terry, Bolivia had Goni Sánchez de Lozada and Venezuela had Carlos Andrés Pérez — all as presidential "apparitions". In Argentina, we have Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, though as vice-president this time after a previous presidential term.

Now Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (good ol' Lula) has returned as president in Brazil. But don't expect him to govern the same way he did last time.

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The Noble Absurdity Of Granting Constitutional Rights To Nature

Giving nature rights, as South American nations are keen to do these days, is well-intentioned, but far too limited in scope to make sense.

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — The Webb space telescope's extraordinary ability to "see" has allowed us to observe what was previously hidden by cosmic dust.

Thanks to cameras catching infrared light, which humans cannot see, a new universe has unfolded, thousands of millions of light years away: with unknown galaxies, stars that are born and collapse, cosmic precipices, magnificent explosions and black holes that swallow stars.

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Ideas
Roberto Gargarella*

A Battle For "New Rights" Or Trick To Maintain Wealth And Privilege?

The expansion of constitutional rights has become a rhetorical tool for populist governments, when they do nothing to address much more vital questions like wealth inequality and social injustice. Latin America offers sharp examples, past and present.

-Op-Ed-

BUENOS AIRES — Days ago, the jurist Martin Loughlin, a professor of Public Law at the London School of Economics, published an important book entitled Against Constitutionalism. Curiously, or perhaps not, many of his written concerns are relevant to our own reflections about the current state of politics and legislation in Latin America.

The author refers to the "rights revolution," which entered the public debate in Chile as the nation seeks to rewriting the Constitution, and makes sharp observations on what politicians do with these "new rights."

Loughlin adamantly rejects a misleading idea that democracy and constitutionalism are the same. The supporters of the latter ultimately replace redistributive politics with the theoretical recognition of new rights whose implementation, in practice, ends up bogged down in the judiciary's corridors.

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Economy
Lila Paulou and McKenna Johnson

Food Shortages Around The World, Product By Product

The war in Ukraine and the climate crisis have been devastating for food production. Here's a look at some of the traditional foods from around the world that might be hard to find on supermarket shelves.

The consequences of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia have been far-reaching. A Russian blockade of the Black Sea has meant Ukraine, known as “Europe’s breadbasket,” has been unable to export much of its huge harvests of wheat, barley and sunflower oil.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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So even those thousands of miles from the battlefields have been hit by the soaring prices of basic necessities.

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Society
Ricardo Bada

The Hispanic World: United By Spanish, Divided By Spanish

Latin Americans are proud to be part of a "brotherly" region united by its Hispanic heritage, until they suffer hearing each other's "Spanish."

BOGOTÁ — In February this year, my friend and fellow columnist Juan David Zuloaga expounded on the reality of a historic, cultural and linguistic community known as Spanish or Hispanic America. It includes Spain and the nations that were once a part of its American empire. I won't dismiss the idea, but I do question it.

Days ago, I read the most interesting article by Itziar Hernández Rodilla, in Vasos Comunicantes, a translators' journal, which began, "I read these words in Claudia Piñeiro'sCatedrales: "The way we name plants, flowers, fruits, while still using the same language reveals our origins as much as any tune, if not more. That is where we are from, the place where every word blooms or gives fruit."

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Economy
Natalia Vera Ramírez

Cannabis Business: Latin America Can Export More Than Raw Material

Latin American businesses and governments are seeing the marketing and export potentials of an incipient liberalization of marijuana laws in the region. But to really cash in, it must be an investment in more than simple commodity crops.

LIMA — After his stint at Stanford University business school in California, Uruguayan entrepreneur Andrés Israel began to research the nascent global cannabis industry, to find the countries with the most favorable regulations for its large-scale production and use. They were Canada and Uruguay, with the latter legalizing its recreational use in 2013.

After he returned home, Israel founded the Cannabis Company Builder (CCB) to help new firms exploit Uruguay's new legal framework. Cannabis, he says, is a "blue ocean" industry, with major growth horizon and few current regulations — and Uruguay is at its forefront.

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Economy
Luis Rubio

How Mexico Can Exploit The U.S.-China Showdown

If Mexico could forge a clear vision of its business interests, the showdown between the United States and China would present it with some major trading and strategic opportunities.

-Analysis-

MEXICO CITY — New Zealand rugby players famously perform a Maori dance called the Haka before each match. Its gesticulations, grimaces and threatening noises are meant to intimidate adversaries, though most see it as nothing more and nothing less than a celebration of heritage. I wonder if after the Donald Trump presidency and the Afghan débacle, the world will see the United States, the erstwhile leader of the free world, with the same rational distance.

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