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In mid-February 2018, Colombia and Brazil tightened their borders with Venezuela as both countries struggled to cope with a rising tide of thousands of desperate migrants attempting to flee their nation’s deteriorating economic and political situation. The massive exodus offers an immediate challenge to the countries of Latin America, most urgently on view in the

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On February 4, 2018, Ecuadorians voted to prevent presidents from holding more than two terms of office, giving President Lenín Moreno a political victory over his mentor-turned-enemy, former President Rafael Correa, who is now blocked from returning to power. The referendum, called by Moreno, rolls back a measure Correa pushed through Congress in 2015, allowing

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On January 24, 2018, an appeals court upheld former president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s July 2017 conviction for taking bribes and money laundering, while increasing his prison sentence from nine and a half years to twelve years and one month. The three-judge panel unanimously found there was sufficient evidence that Lula accepted

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The Pontiff traveled to the two South American neighbors from January 15-21, 2018, and did not shy away from contentious subjects in his homilies. His visit, however, especially in Chile, was overshadowed by his support for Bishop Juan Barros, who many Chileans say covered up sexual abuse by an influential priest, Fernando Karadima. Consequently, Chileans

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In the first twelve days of 2018, people in need of basic foodstuffs fully or partially looted over one hundred grocery stores and supermarkets in Venezuela. The events, triggered by a government order to shops mandating that they slash prices back to December 2017 levels, created chaos. Frantic Venezuelans swarmed stores at the prospect of

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The new book by Michael Wolff portrays U.S. President Donald Trump as unprepared and unfit for the demands of the presidency, with a White House in chaos during his administration’s first six months. Latin Americans reacted to the revelations with little surprise, plenty of concern, and significant amounts of resignation. Pundits and political leaders offered

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On December 17, 2017, former president and billionaire entrepreneur Sebastián Piñera won Chile’s presidential runoff election with surprising ease, adding Chile to the list of countries that have shifted to the Right in recent years. Piñera garnered over 54% of the vote over the 45% for center-left Senator Alejandro Guillier. While many pundits had predicted

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On November 19, 2017, Chileans went to the polls to select a new president and national legislators, and the polls indicated that former President Sebastián Piñera, the candidate of the center right, was the clear front runner. Yet Piñera, who governed Chile from 2010 to 2014, came in seven percentage points short of where forecasts

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While the Venezuelan economy continues to contract and oil production continues to fall, the government of President Nicolás Maduro has had to scramble (somewhat unsuccessfully) to make payments on the nation’s debts. On November 13, 2017, Venezuelan officials met with creditors in Caracas, but little headway was made, even as ratings agencies declared Venezuela in

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The Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), also known as the Sandinistas, won the bulk of Nicaragua’s mayoral offices in its municipal elections on November 5, 2017. The FSLN, former guerrillas who prevailed in the 1979 Revolution and ruled Nicaragua until 1990 under President Daniel Ortega, has been Nicaragua’s dominant political force since Ortega returned

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