Ten highlights from Global Americans in 2018

We combed through all of our publications from 2018 and selected what we thought were the best ten articles that captured the trends and events of the past year.


It was—to say the least—an active year for news in the Americas. At Global Americans we combed through all of our publications from 2018 and selected what we thought were the best ten articles that captured the trends and events of the past year. It wasn’t easy. The articles we chose include the new NAFTA agreement (USMCA), the crisis in Haiti, the unexpected turn of Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, the mixed messages of AMLO’s inauguration speech, and the risks of anti-corruption backlash in the Americas.

The articles appear below in chronological order. Thank you for reading Global Americans in 2018!

The weaponization of corruption and its very real risks 

“We all need to be careful not to get too excited about the anti-corruption wave in the hemisphere today.  In fact, we should be wary. It’s unlikely that the current popular fever will produce the sort of results many of us desire—positive popular mobilization, the engagement of a new generation of clean politicians, broad reform of the institutions that permitted past perfidy, and the restoration of citizens’ trust in politics.”

By Christopher Sabatini

Lenín Moreno is transforming Ecuador’s presidency. Can he transform Ecuador’s democracy?  

“While Evo Morales successfully does away with term limits in Bolivia, Nicolás Maduro rushes the election schedule to further cement his grip on power in Venezuela, and Hondurans continue to take to the streets to protest the controversial re-election of Juan Orlando Hernández, another leader with strongman tendencies, Ecuador under Moreno has started to replace some of the checks and balances on executive power eroded by his predecessor.”

By William Naylor

Another ex-dictator passes in Latin America. Why this one matters.

“Rather than being passive bystanders to this history, it is important to recognize the role played by the U.S. in supporting the violence and terror at the root of genocide in Guatemala. Through such reckoning, even though Ríos Montt can no longer be brought to justice, perhaps historical justice might still be possible—and with it a reckoning for the future.” 

By Natasha Zaretsky

 Cuba Wars Redux 

“The Trump Administration now finds itself on that slippery slope with regard to Cuba.  At a minimum, it has made it abundantly clear to the national security community engaged with Cuba that analysis that runs counter to the official stance of the administration will not be welcome.”

By Daniel P. Erikson

 The U.S. decision to abandon CICIG in Guatemala doesn’t make moral or geostrategic sense 

“U.S. policy is never governed purely by moral calculations. But in the case of CICIG, it is hard to detect any concerns that remotely outweigh the U.S. interest in establishing the rule of law in Guatemala. There is no U.S. military base, as in Bahrain, conditioning U.S. human rights policy, or a critical supply route, as in Pakistan, raising the stakes of the diplomatic relationship. In fact, it is Guatemala that relies upon U.S. largess.”

By Benjamin N. Gedan

An outsider candidate looms large in El Salvador’s February presidential election 

“Instead of backing traditional alternatives, voters have increasingly started to support the candidacy of Nayib Bukele. Bukele, 37, is the charismatic former mayor of San Salvador (2015-2018). He won the prized mayoralty at the age of 33 after serving as mayor of the smaller municipality of Nuevo Cuscatlán (2012-2015). In his early years as mayor Bukele, a businessman whose father was a renowned leader of the Muslim community (a minority within the country’s predominant Catholic population), was a rising star within the FMLN. However, Bukele’s rogue personality often placed him at odds with party leadership.”

By Lucas Perelló

 The evolution of Panama-PRC relations since recognition, and their strategic implications for the U.S. and the region

“The U.S. should not seek to “block” legitimate Chinese commercial activities in Panama or elsewhere in the region. This would only fuel resentment and expand the attractiveness of the PRC to governments in the region as an alternative to U.S. “hegemony.”  This does not, however, mean that the U.S. government cannot use its own economic and political influence to seek to counter the PRC, move by move, in its strategic commercial war for geostrategic and economic advantage, where consistent with law and propriety.” 

By R. Evan Ellis

 From NAFTA to USCMA: Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

“There’s a very thin line between institutional modernization and institutional uncertainty. If the re-visioning trend persists in the coming years, the uncertainty caused by this delicate balance will continue to nip at the heels of the global economy. Still, it’s always better to return to the negotiating table—however arduous the process—than to withdraw from international commitments completely.” 

By Nicolás Albertoni, Sonum Patel and Madeline Zheng

The many messages of AMLO’s first address to the nation

“After his inauguration speech, and especially as he appoints close allies to strategic posts (the latest being nominations to the Supreme Court), AMLO’s “fourth transformation” is looking more like a shift in power to the hands of a few new faces—but with little clear policy framework or guidance.”

By Victoria Gaytan

The IACHR held a hearing on marriage equality after a year of delays from the region in implementing the Court’s 2017 decision

“The time has come for the IACHR to take action to end government sanctioned marginalization and victimization of the LGBT community. Sustaining the inter-American human rights system requires ensuring that its recommendations and decisions are implemented and enforced for all rights.”

By Hunter T. Carter

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