Judges issue contradictory rulings on freeing Brazil’s former president

WHEN Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva finished his stint as Brazil’s president in 2011, his approval rating was 83%. His social programmes and a commodity boom helped lift 30m people out of poverty. He hopes to run for president once again in an election this October, and leads the polls by a healthy margin. Only […]

Taiwan’s long relationship with Paraguay continues to pay off

NO PLACE on Earth is farther from Paraguay than Taiwan, its antipode. Yet Asunción, Paraguay’s steamy capital in the heart of South America, is full of symbols of friendship with an Asian island 20,000 km (12,400 miles) away. In a leafy suburb looms a weathered statue of Chiang Kai-shek, who ran a Chinese government-in-exile in […]

Protests over fuel prices in Haiti derail the government’s reforms

OF ALL the bets placed on the football World Cup, the biggest gamble took place in the Caribbean. Lacking a competitive side, many football-mad Haitians have adopted Brazil as their team—some because they share African roots with Pelé, Brazil’s greatest player ever, others because Brazil has given Haiti financial and military aid. With the public […]

Why Mexico has not become more prosperous—and how it could

ONE of the main reasons for the landslide victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a left-winger, in this month’s presidential election in Mexico was the country’s mediocre economy. Between 1995 and 2015 real GDP per person increased by an annual average of 1.2%, less than in any Latin American country except Venezuela (see chart). Take […]

Venezuelan cash is almost worthless, but also scarce

Ferragamo? No, origami VENEZUELAN hawkers on the border with Colombia call it “money art”. The handbags, purses and hats they sell are made from nearly new Venezuelan banknotes and sold as mementos. Payment is in “real money”, meaning Colombian pesos. The handicrafts cost the equivalent of $5 or so. The raw material—banknotes in denominations of […]

Latin America’s new media are growing up

DURING Nicaragua’s current unrest, the president, Daniel Ortega, tried a tactic that had worked before. In León, a stronghold of government support, thugs loyal to his Sandinista regime tried to put university students onto buses heading for Managua, the capital, to use them to help suppress protests there. The students refused. They had seen videos […]

Daniel Ortega is causing a bloodbath in Nicaragua

IT BEGAN three months ago with a protest against cuts in pensions decreed by Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s president. Now his Central American country is witnessing a full-blown civil insurrection with mass casualties. Although it has received far less attention, Nicaragua is following the script of Venezuela, in which an elected dictator clings to power though […]

Latin America’s new media are growing up

DURING Nicaragua’s current unrest, the president, Daniel Ortega, tried a tactic that had worked before. In León, a stronghold of government support, thugs loyal to his Sandinista regime tried to put university students onto buses heading for Managua, the capital, to use them to help suppress protests there. The students refused. They had seen videos […]

Will AMLO deliver?

“I WILL not fail you. You will not be disappointed.” Standing before a crowd of perhaps 100,000 people in the Zócalo, Mexico City’s central square, on July 1st, Andrés Manuel López Obrador seemed fully aware of the magnitude of what he had just accomplished. The charismatic populist had won Mexico’s presidency in the country’s first […]

Mexico’s motley new congress

THE change brought by Andrés Manuel López Obrador to Mexico’s congress is as startling as his election to the presidency on July 1st. His coalition, Juntos haremos historia (together we will make history), is expected to have three-fifths of seats in the lower house and the senate (see chart). Defections could give it a two-thirds […]