Latin America in 2022 saw the dramatic ouster of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo and Nicaragua’s ongoing descent into autocracy — and 2023 is expected to have no shortage of stories about political instability, major elections, and the first year in office for new leaders.
The big picture: The U.S. has complex and critical relationships with key Latin American countries, several of which are major sources of migration to the U.S.
Here’s what we’re watching in 2023:
Argentina: Argentines are set to elect a new president, Congress and governors in most provinces on Oct. 29.
Bolivia: The arrest of opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho in late December launched intense political unrest that is expected to continue for months.
Brazil: The return of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva could bring drastic changes to the country, including the reversal of lax gun laws and an emphasis on efforts to slow deforestation in the Amazon that critics say former President Jair Bolsonaro exacerbated.
Chile: The first attempt at ushering in a radically new constitution last year failed, but President Gabriel Boric, who campaigned on the issue, has vowed to try again.
El Salvador: President Nayib Bukele’s battle against gangs has raised questions about human rights abuses, but he’s doubled down and extended a national state of emergency, which is still in effect.
Mexico: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is expected to meet with President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week for the North American Leaders’ Summit after a few years of a prickly relationship with the U.S.
Nicaragua: The government of Daniel Ortega has consistently cracked down on dissent and critics, including expelling nuns from a charity originally founded by Mother Teresa.
Peru: Political unrest has not let up since ex-President Pedro Castillo was ousted and arrested last month after he said he’d dissolve Congress, where he was facing impeachment.
Venezuela: The future of Venezuela’s governance is even more uncertain after opposition lawmakers dissolved the interim government and ended the leadership of Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. previously recognized as the nation’s legitimate president.