Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas



After Victory on Abortion, Chile’s President Eyes Marriage Equality

With just six months left in office, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s progressive agenda may finally be taking shape.  On Aug. 28, Bachelet became the first Chilean president to propose legislation to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples. At a signing ceremony in Santiago, she said it was “neither ethical nor fair to put … Read more


A Radical Change in Chile? Don’t Bet On It

In last week’s presidential primaries, Chilean voters followed the dominant trend in Latin America and signaled that they are ready to hand power back to Sebastián Piñera, a center-right market-friendly former president (2010-2014). If Piñera wins the general election in November, Chile will complete an unprecedented 16- year run under only two democratically elected leaders … Read more


Trailblazing Leaders on How to Make Latin American Politics More Inclusive

What do a Zapotec woman from Mexico, an Afro-descendant advocate from Uruguay, and a gay rights activist from Chile have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out. On March 27, Mexico’s Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza, Uruguay’s Edgardo Ortuño, and Chile’s Jaime Parada Hoyl – three Latin American politicians who have broken glass ceilings in their … Read more


Why Piñera Is the Frontrunner to Return as Chile’s President

Eight months before Chileans go to the polls, former President Sebastián Piñera is the frontrunner among a crowded field of candidates. The center-right businessman who was president from 2010 to 2014 leads public opinion polls, and has clearly benefited from the unpopularity of Michelle Bachelet, who preceded him in power – and replaced him when … Read more


For Afro-Chileans, First Step Is Getting Counted

Correction appended below Updated 3/10/17 Seventeen years ago, a group of Latin American and Caribbean NGOs, government agencies and regional bodies officially adopted the term “Afro-descendant” to refer to the region’s approximately 150 million citizens of African origin. The occasion was the Latin American Regional Conference Against Racism in Santiago, and the host was the … Read more


The Coming Fight Over Chile’s Strict Abortion Laws

On October 2, the amplified thump-thump-thump of babies’ heartbeats echoed in front of Chile’s La Moneda Palace.  A dozen pregnant women, loudspeakers attached to their protruding bellies, stood with some 100 supporters to protest pending legislation that would liberalize the country’s harshly restrictive abortion laws. Calling their campaign “La Voz del Corazón,” or “The Heart’s … Read more

Multiple Choice

Book Review: Multiple Choice

The literature of Alejandro Zambra is one of both movement and repose. On one hand, his work — reflected in titles such as Ways of Going Home, Bahía Inútil and Mudanza — brings to mind an expert in packing bags, works of few pages that speak to a traveler who knows in advance that the weight he carries will … Read more

Wind farm in Chile

Chile’s Unlikely Energy Success Story

Just five years ago, Chile was in the midst of an energy crisis. Argentina had stopped sending natural gas across the Andes, and the threat of blackouts and energy rationing was real. Energy prices were among the highest in the region, the sector was dominated by a handful of monopolistic utility companies, and the private … Read more


The Chilean Completo

In the acclaimed Chilean web series “Gringolandia,” comedian Koke Santa Ana plays a befuddled visitor to New York who tries a hot dog from one of the city’s ubiquitous sidewalk vendors — only to recoil in disgust. A plain sausage enclosed in a tasteless bun seems underdressed by Chilean standards. The series then follows his … Read more


Attack on America: How Justice Finally Came in Chile

On the misty morning of September 21, 1976, a dust-blue Chevrolet Malibu made its way down Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. At the wheel was Orlando Letelier, who had been ambassador to the United States and minister of foreign relations, interior, and defense under Chile’s Marxist president, Salvador Allende. Following the 1973 coup by Augusto … Read more


Bratwurst with Avocado

Exactly 500 years ago, in 1516, Germany passed its Reinheitsgebot, or Beer Purity Law —  a stringent recipe known for producing high-quality beer using only water, hops and barley. When a wave of Germans migrated to South America during the 19th and 20th centuries, they brought the Reinheitsgebot technique with them. The region has been enjoying the … Read more


Book Review: Albina and the Dog-Men

Like Alejandro Jodorowsky himself, Albina and the Dog-Men seems to be all imaginable things at once: a fable and a folktale, a Western, a tragedy, a lewd comedy. A love story. The short novel’s titular character is an albino giant with no memory of her past. By moonlight, Albina unwittingly transforms the men of a … Read more

Photo Credit: Day Donaldson / Flickr

This Week in Latin America: Obama in Havana, Venezuela in Crisis

Sign up here to get This Week in Latin America delivered straight to your inbox every Monday. Cuba, Argentina Host Obama: Cuba and Argentina each play host to U.S. President Barack Obama this week, with human rights issues shading both visits. Today, Obama will hold a working meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro, who will then host a state dinner … Read more

Oscar winners

How a Film About a Bear Got Chile to Reckon With Its Past

When Chile won its first-ever Academy Award on February 28 for the animated short film “Bear Story” (Historia de un Oso), the nation got more than a gold-plated statuette. It was also jolted into confronting the still-taboo subject of forced exiles and political disappearances under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. An estimated 200,000 Chileans fled … Read more

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