GIS Dossier: Corruption and political transformation
Graft has long been a feature of political systems where rewarding loyalty takes precedence over economic efficiency or the rule of law. But recent events in Latin America show that popular anger at corruption has become a force to be reckoned with – fueled by the power of global markets, the information revolution, and democratization movements. This report assesses the geopolitical implications.
Opinion: Why they migrate
Discussions of migration from Central America into the United States tend to lump the principal countries of origin – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – into a single subregion, the Northern Triangle. While similarities between the three states make it convenient to treat them as a unit, the practice can also be misleading. Different push factors operate in each country, and without taking these distinctions into account, no amount of international aid is likely to reduce the migrant flow.
Opinion: The wrong response to the Caravan
United States President Donald Trump has insinuated the migrant caravan heading from Central America to the U.S. constitutes an invasion and has deployed some 5,000 troops at the border to stop it. Now, the president has threatened to rescind aid to the migrants’ countries of origin. American aid programs are built to address the region’s terrible crime and lack of employment opportunities – the very reasons so many people are leaving their homes and heading for the U.S. in the first place.
The U.S. and Mexico go from pugilism to partnership
Despite confrontational rhetoric from the leaders of both countries, the U.S. and Mexico have plenty of reason to work together. Certainly, U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have some contrasting views on bilateral issues, but both have signaled a willingness to collaborate on priorities from trade to drug trafficking. Appearances aside, cooperation may even flourish over the next two years.
A new leader in Colombia
Ivan Duque, Colombia’s newly elected president, takes office with a clear mandate from his supporters. President Duque will likely try to slow the controversial peace accord reached with FARC guerrillas and address widespread public concerns over crime and corruption. But a factional political balance, and major challenges both at home and abroad, is already giving Colombia’s new leader a full plate of problems.
In Mexico, disappointment with Pena Nieto fuels a desire for change
Mexicans seem set to vote for change in their country’s July presidential election, with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador far ahead in the polls. The ruling party’s candidate is a distant third, and that reflects widespread disappointment in the current administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto. The government has notched up several successes in its reforms, but positive change is coming slowly, while a rise in violence and corruption have angered ordinary citizens.
Peace process under strain as Colombia gears up for election
Colombia's peace agreement has not led to the immediate prosperity many in the country were hoping for. Violence is still common, the economy is lagging, and refugees from neighboring Venezuela are flooding into the country. The May presidential election could help the peace process move forward – or tear it apart, depending on which candidate wins.
Opinion: Honduras has it all – unfortunately
Honduras is a textbook example of why the one-size-fits-all U.S. policy toward Central American isn’t working. As the flow of drugs and migrants continues unabated, American law enforcement and aid programs have gotten in each other’s way. They would do better to find ways to strengthen the Hondurans who are still trying to take their state back from the narco cartels.
How the United States can limit illegal immigration from El Salvador
The flow of illegal migrants and criminal gangs from El Salvador into U.S. cities can only be contained when Washington helps the country address its huge problem of unemployed and uneducated youths.
Opinion: Corruption in Guatemala and why Central America won’t go away
If U.S. President Donald Trump really wants to stop illegal immigration, he would do well to look at its causes, like violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America. However, a one-size-fits-all approach will not solve the problem. Each country has its own specific difficulties. In Guatemala, it is corruption. The U.S. and the international community can play a key role in fighting corruption, which could reduce violence and therefore migration – but they must stop sending mixed signals.