from Spain and Portugal in the 19th century, during and after the Napoleonic wars. A large number of new countries emerged, their creation engendered by local interests and “oligarchs” of the day. All European powers had claims on the islands of the Caribbean. Some of them remain domains of European countries or the United States.
Like North America and Africa, the region is richly endowed in natural resources, water and agricultural land.
Inefficient governance systems and a lack of fiscal discipline are problems haunting most countries in the region. These weaknesses lead to political instability, abrupt regime changes and corruption.
Aside from natural resources, the region’s chief assets include its climatic variety and easy access to the oceans. The area has avoided participation in major wars due to its geographic distance from the world’s hot spots.
Under President Mauricio Macri, Argentina has fallen into economic crisis once again. Last month, Argentines elected a new president, Alberto Fernandez, with former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as his running mate. To end the downward spiral, Mr. Fernandez will have to deftly navigate a complicated political scene and overcome stubborn economic challenges.
The rise of the middle class and the boom in information technology have made corruption less acceptable than it once was in Latin America. Nevertheless, graft remains a problem across the continent. Constitutional reforms could improve the situation, but Latin American countries are more likely to rely on new legislation and external incentives to reform their political systems
In August, Guatemalans elected a new president, Alejandro Giammattei, who promises to follow through on his predecessor’s promises to expel an international anti-corruption commission from the country. He also wants to renegotiate a deal with Washington that could see thousands of migrants seeking asylum in Guatemala. Both issues could prove explosive for the new president.
While the regime in Havana has successfully transitioned to a younger team with a new constitution, Cuba’s economic situation looks increasingly dire. Funding and petroleum from its main sponsor, Venezuela, has run dry, and Washington has ratcheted up sanctions. Can the Cuban regime weather the storm again? And if so, at what cost to the country’s people?