During the COVID-19 pandemic, Latin American governments took the unprecedented step of including informal workers in emergency relief legislation. Informal workers comprise a significant share of Latin American countries’ economically active population, ranging from 23.9% in Uruguay to 82.6% in Honduras, and they have been among those hardest hit by the pandemic. Their inclusion in the pandemic response thus seemed like a harbinger of progress. But, on closer inspection, the move highlighted the unintended consequences of failing to consult with those most affected by legislation before it is enacted.
The new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently made his first official trip to Colombia and Venezuela. During the visit to Bogotá, he announced he was moving to reduce the number of cases in the preliminary stage by closing the long-running preliminary examination in Colombia. A few days later, in Caracas, he announced the opening of a formal investigation into crimes against humanity in Venezuela. Both decisions were controversial, featured innovative efforts to advance complementarity through agreements with the respective governments, and created a new panorama in the region going forward.
Latin Americans have many talents. One is a remarkable ability to misgovern ourselves, as the pandemic has made clear. Six of the 20 countries with the most COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world are in Latin America. Peru tops the list. Brazil is eighth.
China’s bid for membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a multifaceted move. An overlooked aspect of it is the fact that the CPTPP is the first major free trade agreement established on a trans-Pacific scale and that three of its four members on the eastern side of the Pacific happen to be Latin American countries.
China has used its $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative to expand its economic and diplomatic ties worldwide, including in Latin America – a region which the United States has long regarded as its back yard.
Over the last 20 years, Beijing engagement has raised concerns in Washington about its influence. The Biden administration has sent officials to Latin America to scope out how it can deepen ties. Jimena Blanco, head of Americas Risk Insight at Verisk Maplecroft, explains how.
And investors are pouring billions of dollars into educational apps. Gauthier Van Malderen, chief executive of Perlego, tells us why.