Mexico may veer to the left in 2018

While most of Latin America is shifting to the right, there is a potential exception that may soon keep US policymakers awake at night: the possibility of a populist leftist victory in Mexico’s 2018 elections.

Peru’s president-elect demands freedoms in Venezuela

Peru’s pro-business President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski won his country’s elections by a hair with the last-minute help of a leftist party, but — judging from what he told me in an interview — he won’t budge on his criticism of Venezuela and other repressive regimes.

Venezuela needs OAS action right now

What a shame. The historic decision by Organization of American States chief Luis Almagro to call for an official regional discussion on Venezuela’s break with democratic rule may be derailed by a group of countries that say they support democracy, but are really buying time for the Venezuelan regime.

Mexican flags hurt anti-Trump camp

Donald Trump might be a xenophobic and racist demagogue, but the people who chant “Viva Mexico!” and wave Mexican flags at anti-Trump rallies across the United States are doing him a big favour.

A Latin American woman for UN secretary general?

When Argentine President Mauricio Macri recently blessed his foreign minister Susana Malcorra’s candidacy for secretary general of the United Nations, the joke in Argentina was that the country already has a Pope (Francis) and the world’s best soccer player (Lionel Messi) so it was only natural that it should seek the top UN job.

Brazil’s new foreign policy is promising

Judging from what Brazil Foreign Minister Jose Serra suggested in an interview, Latin America’s biggest country will make a major change in its foreign policy: It will no longer be an unconditional supporter and ideological ally of Cuba, Venezuela, and other authoritarian regimes.

Peru deals new blow to Latin America’s left

Here’s what’s most remarkable about Peru’s April 10 first-round election, which will result in a June 5 runoff vote between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski: Nearly 80 per cent of the people voted against a Venezuelan-like leftist-populist model.

Are most Latin American elections rigged?

The Panama Papers, a massive leak of 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm that expose the ultimate owners of thousands of shell companies, have drawn a lot of public attention in recent weeks, but I’m just as intrigued by the lesser-known Bogota Papers.

Brazil’s crisis shows new regional reality

There’s a little-noticed development that says a lot about the rapid demise of Latin America’s leftist populist bloc: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s government is falling apart, and none of the region’s major diplomatic groups is coming to its rescue.

Obama’s tango with Latin America

President Obama charmed Argentines by dancing the tango during his visit to the South American country recently, but his trip may be remembered for something much more important: It may mark the start of a new cycle of much closer US-Latin American ties.

Obama’s impact in Cuba will be limited

  People will assess the impact of President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba for years to come, but a long conversation with Cuba’s oldest and best-known human-rights leader shortly before the US president’s visit left me skeptical that there will be significant changes on the island anytime soon.

Brazil, from bad to worse

Brazil’s political and economic crisis has taken a new turn for the worse with the arrest of the ruling party’s star electoral strategist and presidential confidant Joao Santana, raising the possibility of an impeachment against President Dilma Rousseff or early elections.

Obama’s number one challenge in Cuba

It’s too soon to pass judgment on President Barack Obama’s decision to visit Cuba, but this much can be said: if he doesn’t hold an exclusive meeting with Cuba’s peaceful opposition leaders, his trip will help legitimize the longest-ruling dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

The Pope’s chance to expose Trump

Pope Francis, who has made the plight of migrants one of the central themes of his papacy, should have no mercy with Republican hopeful Donald Trump when the pontiff visits Mexico in mid-February.

Latin America’s time bomb: the ‘ninis’

There was a lot of despair in Latin America about a new International Monetary Fund forecast showing that the region’s economy will shrink by 0.3 per cent in 2016, but that’s something that could be reversed relatively soon.

Latin America’s economic drama

Latin America’s exports fell for the third year in a row in 2015, drawing new attention to a problem that explains much of the region’s economic problems: lack of export diversification.

The most important news of 2015

When people ask me what was the most important news of 2015, my answer is that — aside from the global rise of Islamic State terrorism — it was several things that in some cases barely made headlines.

Obama’s big opportunity in Latin America

President Barack Obama has never been terribly interested in Latin America, but the new political winds in Argentina, Venezuela and the latest events in Brazil offer him a golden opportunity to improve US relations with the region.