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.
In 2019, long-time Bolivian President Evo Morales had to resign in the aftermath of violent protests sparked by his attempt to run for a fourth term. The right-wing interim government that succeeded him must now stabilize the country. Meanwhile, the former president, exiled in Argentina, is striving to rally his supporters.
The citizens of middle-income Uruguay want living standards typical of more developed countries, and have elected Luis Lacalle Pou as president to achieve that goal. First on the new leader’s agenda is righting the economy and reducing crime. Improving his country’s competitiveness will also help, but he must navigate a complicated political scene. Radical politicians on both the right and the left could hamstring his government.
Experts forecast a considerable growth of oil supply in Brazil, but similar predictions turned out to be overly optimistic in the past. For such predictions to become a reality, the Brazilian government would need to remove the regulations that discouraged large and private oil companies from investing during the latest licensing rounds.
Homicide levels in Honduras are some of the highest in the world. The country is also one of the poorest in the region. Solving these problems seems a distant prospect, however, as the current president and his coterie are enmeshed in the corruption and drug-trafficking that cause them. With the Trump administration counting the Honduran government as an ally in its fight against illegal immigration, there is little prospect for change.