South America

How One Hundred Years of Solitude Redefined Latin America

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When Gabriel García Márquez wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude, he reimagined the genesis of his continent. That had real political impact, writes Felipe Restrepo Pombo. BBC Before One Hundred Years of Solitude, Latin America bore certain similarities to the imaginary place described in the first paragraph of the novel: “The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point”. The continent, obviously, wasn’t a new place when Gabriel ... Read More »

Colombia’s Peace at Stake in Polarised Election

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Colombians head to the polls on 27 May to choose a new president. The frontrunners have starkly different views on peace talks with guerrillas and how to handle Venezuelan refugees. Kyle Johnson ICG In this Q&A, our Colombia Senior Analyst Kyle Johnson surveys the field of candidates. What’s at stake in the 27 May election? That day will see the first round of voting to decide who will be Colombia’s next president. Two outcomes are possible. The first is that no ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Maduro gets support from Erdogan, Maradona ahead of vote

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CARACAS/BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuela’s diplomatically isolated president got a show of support from his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan and Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona on Thursday ahead of a… Alexandra Ulmer, Corina Pons Reuters The United States, the European Union and major Latin American countries have criticized Sunday’s vote in which leftist President Nicolas Maduro is likely to win re-election to a… Critics say Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver who has presided over an economic meltdown, is virtually ... Read More »

President Maduro’s Likely Re-election in Breadline Venezuela

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As tens of thousands of Venezuelans stream into neighbouring countries, President Nicolás Maduro appears set to win elections on 20 May. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Andes Phil Gunson looks ahead to the vote and its aftermath and explains why the crisis is likely to deepen. Phil Gunson ICG What is at stake in the 20 May elections? These elections are for the presidency of the republic and for regional legislatures in each of Venezuela’s 23 ... Read More »

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

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All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes – most notably Russia under Vladimir Putin and Turkey under… Natasha Ezrow The Conversation But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed. As the table below indicates, the number of dictators who’ve fallen in recent years for all sorts of reasons ... Read More »

Brazil: New Evidence of Army Role in Rio Ambush

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No Arrests 6 Months After Killings of 8 People New accounts by witnesses suggest that the killers of a group of people in a poor neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro on November 11, 2017, were members of the army special forces, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch interviewed two witnesses and reviewed witness accounts from case files indicating that the clothing and gear of the killers were the same as those of the army personnel who arrived on ... Read More »

Cuba to host Colombia-ELN rebel peace talks

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Cuba will host peace talks between the Colombian government and leftist ELN rebels aimed at ending a five-decade conflict after Ecuador bowed out as host, negotiators said May 5. BOGOTA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is trying to conclude a peace agreement with the country’s 1,500-strong last active rebel group, similar to the one signed with the larger FARC guerrillas in November 2016. The FARC has since become a political party. Five other countries — Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Norway and Venezuela — ... Read More »

Ancient Amazonians lived sustainably – and this matters for conservation today

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Our colleague, the archaeologist Santiago Rivas, recently made a remarkable discovery. Authors (4) The Conversation On a small plateau above the outskirts of Iquitos, a town in the northern Peruvian Amazon, he found a layer in the soil which contained small pieces of ceramic pottery, that were around 1,800-years-old. Digging deeper, he found another layer of soil, this time containing pottery that was about 2,500 years old. This is the archaeological site at Quistococha which has been occupied for at ... Read More »

Mexico’s EU trade deal lands a punch on Trump

European Union Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom (L) and Mexico's Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal talk to the media in Mexico City, on May 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PEDRO PARDO        (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

Accord with Brussels comes as Washington squeezes Latin American country in NAFTA talks. By HANS VON DER BURCHARD AND CHRISTIAN OLIVER Politico Mexico delivered a defiant political riposte to U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday by agreeing a trade deal with the EU. Trump’s push to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement helped catalyze Mexico’s talks with Brussels over the past year, as the Latin American country sought to diversify away from dependence on an increasingly hostile… Diplomats said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and… ... Read More »

A Professor Weighs in on Venezuela’s Emigration of Youth

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Venezuelan university professor Jessica Dos Santos reflects on increasing youth emigration in Venezuela, contextualizing the phenomenon in a refreshing counterpoint to the alarmist mainstream media narrative. Jessica Dos Santos MPN News A few weeks ago, we began a new trimester in the university. I, as the annoying professor that I am, always ask my students to tell me: why are you here? The question basically is looking to see what motivates them to immerse themselves in this fascinating but thankless experience, ... Read More »

Summit of the Americas begins amid regional tumult

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The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border. AlJazeera The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begins in Lima, Peru, on Friday amid continued political instability throughout the region. Business leaders are set to convene the first meeting of the summit on Monday morning. The topics to be discussed include Latin America’s economic outlook and recommendations from ... Read More »

Costa Ricans split over gay marriage vote for next president

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An evangelical pastor who has capitalized on opposition to same-sex marriage was in a tight presidential race in Costa Rica on April 1 against a novelist and former cabinet minister. SAN JOSE – The Associated Press Hurriyet Fabricio Alvarado went from also-ran to leading candidate after he came out strongly against a call by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for Costa Rica to allow same-sex marriage. His opponent, Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizen Action Party, has openly backed ... Read More »

Containing the Shock Waves from Venezuela

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Venezuela’s socio-economic implosion is dragging in neighbours as hundreds of thousands of people flee the country, epidemics spread and violent crime spills over borders. International humanitarian support is needed and regional powers should push for a negotiated transition, including through threats of targeted sanctions. ICG What’s new? As Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro prepares to seek re-election, the country’s socio-economic implosion has become a major problem for its neighbours. Venezuelans are fleeing hunger and poverty by the hundreds of thousands, while ... Read More »

The only thing keeping Maduro in power is the opposition

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If Venezuela’s opposition really wants to remove Nicolas Maduro, it must unite behind renegade candidate Henri Falcon. Asa Cusack Al Jazeera Can anyone win in an illegitimate election? This is the big question in Venezuela today, as commentators and citizens alike debate whether to participate or abstain in upcoming elections, where one candidate, Henri Falcon, has defied the opposition coalition’s decision not to take part. In short, the answer is “yes”. Paradoxically, the very lack of legitimacy that undermines these elections has ... Read More »

Colombia right wing falls short of majority

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Right-wing parties opposed to a peace deal with the FARC won historic elections in Colombia on March 11 but fell short of a majority in polls that saw the former rebels enter the Congress. BOGOTA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The hardliners’ victory raises questions about the future of the peace agreement signed with President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016. Santos said the polls were “the safest, most transparent elections” in the country’s recent history, with the FARC spurning jungle ... Read More »

Women’s Day marches fill Latin America capitals to denounce

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Tens of thousands took to the streets of Buenos Aires and capital cities across Latin America on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day and protest against gender-based violence. BUENOS AIRES Hurriyet “A beautiful woman is one who marches” said one of the many placards held above the densely packed, slow-moving crowds of demonstrators in the Argentine capital. “We have to make a lot of noise. Over here, we have to be everything, not just women. This day should be ... Read More »