Bolivia will hold presidential elections on October 18, 2020, after numerous delays and an interim unelected presidency after the October 2019 elections. The nation’s former president, Evo Morales, who ruled land-locked Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, will not be running after a dramatic resignation. Instead, the election pits Luis Arce, the candidate of Morales’s party, against the ex-president Carlos Mesa.
Bolivia had previously limited presidents to two consecutive terms. However, in 2013, Morales was able to run for a third term after it was found that the introduction of a new constitution in 2009 made his first term moot for counting purposes. In 2016, a referendum on whether or not to change the constitution to allow Morales to run again failed to yield results in his favor. This was reversed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal, who ruled that term limits no longer existed for any elected official. Morales announced his candidacy for the 2019 Bolivian presidential elections in May of 2019. Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States (OAS), stated that given the tribunal’s ruling, Morales should be allowed to run. The election was held in October of 2019, and Morales needed a 10-point lead in order to prevent a runoff election. When Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal released results with 83% of the vote counted, Morales was in the lead – but not enough to prevent a runoff. Then, the website went dark, and when it returned, Morales had won by just over 10 points. The OAS released a report on November 10, 2019 that found the election’s “process was contrary to best practices and failed to abide by security standards … Given the irregularities observed, it is impossible to guarantee the integrity of the data and certify the accuracy of the results.” The post-election public outrage led to weeks of protests and Morales’s resignation.
Stay-at-home orders during the COVID‑19 pandemic have had a devastating impact on women in Latin America and brought mass protests against gender violence to a screeching, and troubling, halt. Since the foundational march of NiUnaMenos in June 2015 in Buenos Aires, Latin American activists have revolutionized protest against gender violence in a spectacularly public way, bringing together hundreds of thousands of women and allies on the streets of major cities to denounce gender violence and demand protection of gender, sexuality, and reproductive rights. Since its debut last November, the flashmob Un violador en tu camino (A Rapist in Your Path), created by the Chilean feminist collective Las Tesis, has been performed in more than 200 cities around the world, decrying the role of the state and police in perpetuating gender violence.
With Venezuela’s elections rescheduled to May 20, President Nicolás Maduro has a long road ahead of him in gaining the support of his citizens. Elections were originally intended to be held April 22, but the National Election Council (CNE) made a last minute decision to push the election date back by one month. The call for a snap election still has some suspecting it was to ensure Maduro’s victory while his opponents largely have no stable footing to run on or are banned from running. A key indicator of Maduro’s future success can be found in the municipal elections, which were held on December 10, 2017. Maduro’s socialist party won 300 of the 355 seats in the overwhelming majority of the municipalities.
Paraguay’s political system has long been dominated by the Colorado Party (Asociación Nacional Republicana – Partido Colorado, ANR-PC). The Colorado Party is pro-West, and has historically – and into present day – restricted civil liberties and stifled opposition parties. This party stems from a brutal 35-year long dictatorship under military leader Alfredo Stroessner, and has retained power for 61 years, controlling the parliament even when Stroessner was removed by a coup in 1989. The Colorado Party has consistently held the presidency except for a brief stint from 2008-2012, which ended in impeachment. The party also holds a majority in the larger branch of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, and a near-majority in the Senate.
I miss Venezuela. I’ve thought about it every single day since I left in 2013. I wish I could wake up to have a cafecito with my mamá, have an arepa for breakfast and be able to share my dreams and goals with my childhood friends. I daydream about the warmth of its people and its weather. I reminisce over time spent in my family’s home, when we all lived nearby, and my siblings and friends were just a call away. I miss the sense of community and the feeling that I belonged. Painful as it is to accept, I miss a country that no longer exists.
On December 21, 2017, Reuters reported that ex-president Alberto Fujimori, in power from 1990 to 2000, had requested an official pardon from current President Pedro Kuczynski. The pardon was medical in nature; Kuczynski’s press release found that “prison conditions mean a serious risk to [Fujimori’s] life, health and integrity.” Fujimori requested the pardon “hours before [his] sympathizers in Congress vote on whether to remove Kuczynski from office.” Kuczynski then publicly pardoned Fujimori on December 24, 2017. In order to understand the significance and implications of the pardon, we must first delve into the political situation at this moment in Peru.