Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Monday Memo: Michelle Bachelet – Gustavo Petro – USAID in Ecuador – FARC Ceasefire – Kidnappings in Mexico

Likely top stories this week: Former President Michelle Bachelet wins Chile’s presidential elections; Protesters rally in support of ousted Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro; USAID plans to pull out of Ecuador by September 2014; the FARC’s 30-day ceasefire goes into effect; a study finds that Mexico leads the world in kidnappings. Michelle Bachelet Wins Chilean Elections: … Read more


Return of the Jedi: Michelle Bachelet and Chilean Democracy

On Sunday, December 15, Michelle Bachelet won 62 percent of Chile’s presidential run-off election, easily outpacing Evelyn Matthei’s 38 percent. On March 11, 2014, she will don Chile’s presidential sash for a second time, having served a previous term from 2006–2010. According to her 2013 electoral platform, she will focus on education, tax reform and … Read more


Dismissal of Bogotá’s Mayor Violates International Law

On December 9, the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, was removed and disqualified from holding public office for 15 years by the inspector general of Colombia, Alejandro Ordóñez, as a result of “irregularities in the public service of garbage-collection.” The inspector general’s decision, however, violates the American Convention on Human Rights, ratified by Colombia in … Read more


Hernandez Confirmed as Honduran President

Juan Orlando Hernandez, the candidate for the conservative Partido Nacional (National Party), was confirmed as the new president of Honduras on Thursday. Hernandez won 36.9 percent of the vote, with opposition candidate Xiomara Castro of the Partido Libertad y Refundación (Liberty and Refoundation Party—Libre) coming in second with 28.8 percent of the votes, according to … Read more


The No Re-election Taboo is Lifted in Mexico

In the midst of a heated national debate on political reform, December 4 marked a milestone in Mexico’s electoral politics, as the upper house of Congress voted on legislation modifying 29 articles in the country’s constitution to allow consecutive re-election for mayoral and legislative positions. Re-election will go into effect in 2018, and will allow … Read more


Venezuela: Triunfo nacional, fracaso municipal

Cambios políticos y estructurales venían discutiéndose en Venezuela cuando un estallido social en 1989 evidenció que la situación exigía acciones inmediatas. La Comisión para la Reforma del Estado -creada en 1986- había oficializado el debate apenas un año antes, pero “El Caracazo”, revuelta social que marcó un punto de no retorno para el país, fue … Read more


Bogotá Mayor Removed from Office

The mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, was removed from office Monday and banned from holding public office again for 15 years in a decision handed down by Colombian Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez. Ordóñez found that Petro “improvised” and mismanaged a garbage collection system implemented last year, replacing private garbage collection companies with city entities that … Read more


Monday Memo: FARC Ceasefire – Venezuela – Mexican Energy Reform – Argentine Police Strike – Clinton in Rio

Likely top stories this week: The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC) announce a ceasefire; Venezuelans vote in municipal elections; the Mexican Congress debates energy reform; Police strikes across Argentina continue; Bill Clinton visits Rio de Janeiro for the Clinton Global Initiative Latin America meeting. FARC Rebels Announce a Ceasefire: In … Read more


Canada’s Conservatives: A Troubled Political Landscape

On November 25, Canadians went to the polls in four by-elections—two in Manitoba, one in Québec and one in Ontario.  The results were not dramatic, as they maintained the same distribution of seats in Canada’s House of Commons.  The Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper kept its two Manitoba seats—albeit with highly reduced margins.  … Read more


Monday Memo: Honduran Elections – Santos in the U.S. – Petroleum in Ecuador – Peña Nieto – São Paulo Fire

Likely top stories this week: Xiomara Castro leads her supporters in protest against last Sunday’s election results; Juan Manuel Santos visits the United States; petroleum exploitation moves ahead in Ecuador; Mexicans protest as President Peña Nieto completes his first year in office; a fire engulfs the Latin America Memorial in São Paulo. Honduran Election Result … Read more


Honduran Presidential Victory Without Mandate, Majority or Money

We still don’t know the final tally of Sunday’s general election in Honduras, but if 68 percent of provisional results are valid, Juan Orlando Hernández will soon be the next president of Central America’s second-most populous country—with repercussions for the region and for the Obama administration’s Latin American policy hanging in the balance. With a … Read more


Santos Announces Reelection Bid

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced his intentions to run for reelection this Thursday, just four days before the legal deadline required to submit a candidacy. Santos said his campaign will be founded upon ideals of “peace and prosperity,” directly referencing his continued—although increasingly unpopular—efforts to reach a peace accord with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias … Read more


Honduras’ Captivating Race to the Polls

Elections in small Central American countries rarely garner the kind of international attention that Honduras is receiving ahead of its November 24 presidential vote. Then again, this is no ordinary election. One of the frontrunners, Xiomara Castro, is the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in Latin America’s last coup in 2009. … Read more


Misconceptions in Nicaragua’s Presidential Term Limit Debate

The National Assembly of Nicaragua met last Wednesday to discuss a proposal from the ruling Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional party (Sandinista National Liberation Front—FSLN), which seeks to remove a constitutional article banning consecutive presidential terms. The proposed amendment was submitted to the National Assembly on November 1 and will be voted on by the … Read more

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