Challenges for U.S. Policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean [February 16, 2017] [open pdf - 104KB]
"The Latin American and Caribbean region has made significant political and economic advances over the past three decades, but challenges remain. Regular free and fair elections are the norm in most countries; […] [t]he quality of democracy, however, has eroded in several countries affected by organized crime, corruption, and the executive's abuse of power. The rise of leftist populism, most prominently in Venezuela, has led to the subversion of democratic institutions and erosion of human rights. In Freedom House's 2017 annual report, Venezuela joined Cuba as the only countries in the Americas categorized as "not free." Ten others were classified as 'partly freely [sic].' The ebbing of populism's electoral appeal […] is a positive development for democracy […]. The region has faced an economic slowdown in recent years, driven by the global decline in commodity prices and China's economic slowdown. […] In its policy approach toward the region, the Obama Administration emphasized partnership, shared responsibility, and engagement. Its policy priorities included efforts to promote economic and social opportunity, combat transnational crime and advance citizen security, and strengthen democratic institutions. These U.S. goals in the region have been long-standing, so it is possible the Trump Administration will continue to support them. Some observers, however, are fearful that the Administration's strong emphasis on border security, trade protection, and deportations could change the tenor of relations with the region, jeopardize cooperation, and fuel anti-American sentiment."
CRS Insight, IN10654
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html