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US embassy issues warning as Venezuelan crisis peaks

On 23 July Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro remained defiant and said that elections for his planned constituent assembly to rewrite the national constitution would go ahead on 30 July as intended.

Candidates and corruption in Argentine electoral race

It is perhaps a typically Latin America problem: elections are due and many of the candidates are under investigation or facing court summons on suspicion of corruption. So they have to duck and dive, running a campaign and a legal obstacle race: the aim is both to get elected and stay out of prison. There are several key individual cases with wider implications in Argentina ahead of October’s mid-term federal congressional elections.

Understanding the bulls and the bears

The Brazilian economy represents almost 50% of Latin America’s GDP and how well or how badly it performs affects investor sentiment towards the region as a whole. There is no doubt that the Brazilian political system is in crisis, with corruption allegations threatening President Michel Temer, and some calling for early elections (the scheduled date for the next general election is October 2018). There are different ways of reading this crisis. Optimists say the recovery will continue, with low asset prices creating an attractive buying opportunity for foreign investors. Pessimists fear the recovery may falter, with things getting worse before they can get better.

New data on Caribbean crime rates

A number of Caribbean countries suffer from high crime rates, but there are gaps and inconsistencies in the statistical data, more often than not based on police records that are compiled using various different reporting standards. A new Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report however, uses a five-country Caribbean Crime Victimisation Survey (CCVS) to draw a detailed and internationally comparable picture of crime in the region. It suggests that the struggle against crime should be re-directed in favour of evidence-based interventions, and more closely focused on specific geographical areas and high-risk segments of the population.

Brazil’s presidential purge continues

This month, Brazil’s former president Lula da Silva (2003-2011) was sentenced to almost a decade in jail. Lula’s conviction has divided opinion. For some, the ruling symbolises that no one, no matter how influential, is above the law. Others argue the judicialisation of Brazilian politics is undermining democracy – particularly if Lula’s conviction results in him being banned from standing for re-election in next year’s general polls, as he had said he intended to do.

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