Latin Americans enthusiastically backed Pope Francis when in June 2015 he published Laudato Si, his encyclical warning that global warming was "one of the principal challenges facing humanity." Governments in the region at the time were preparing to play a leading role in the United Nations climate summit later that year in Paris. Ordinary citizens meanwhile were becoming … [Read more...] about Can Latin American Citizens Change Climate Policy?
Suppose you are a government facing various social crises. Traditionally, you might send out teams of government researchers, create government-led commissions, and hire consultancies. You might host public hearings. But you wouldn't bring your problems to the internet "crowd." Over the last 10-15 years, however, governments and non-governmental organizations in both the … [Read more...] about How Can Crowdsourcing Help Latin America in the Digital Age?
Over one weekend in June, a fierce gun battle between rival drug gangs and the security services spread from the hilly favelas to the shore near Rio de Janeiro's Sugarloaf Mountain. Cable cars services were suspended and seven people were killed. Still perhaps the biggest shock to Brazilians came three days later when the government released an unflinching report detailing … [Read more...] about Missing Data and the Failing Battle Against Crime
Since the late 1990s, a broad reform movement has swept Latin America, aimed at granting independence to central banks and freeing them from government pressure to print money to finance government spending. Laws have been passed and constitutions changed to allow independent central banks to focus on the fight against inflation. A more complicated case has been Brazil, where … [Read more...] about When Central Bank Autonomy Makes All the Difference
When allies of President Horacio Cartes tried to force an amendment through Paraguay's congress last year to allow him to run for a second term, rioters took to the streets and set fire to Congress, illustrating in particularly dramatic fashion the sharp divisions around term limits. Cartes eventually decided not to run again, but he may have been the exception. In recent … [Read more...] about Do Term Limits Benefit Voters?