Mexico & Central America

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    Despite reform, Mexico’s 2018 election is business as usual

Despite reform, Mexico’s 2018 election is business as usual

On paper the 2018 Mexican presidential election should benefit from recent reforms that sought to improve electoral conditions. But the reality of campaigns awash with dark money, widespread vote buying, toothless electoral institutions, weak democratic processes within parties, and independents that aren’t very independent suggests that little has really changed, writes Rodrigo Aguilera.

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    Religion, the state, and the states explain why Mexico has stronger LGBT rights than the US

Religion, the state, and the states explain why Mexico has stronger LGBT rights than the US

New research reveals the puzzling finding that Mexico has offered greater legal equality for LGBT people for a longer period of time than the United States. This can be explained by the wider separation of church and state in Mexican politics and the strong importance of human rights in new democracies. At the subnational level, states with more LGBT organisations […]

Strengthening rural value chains in Latin America

Global actors can interact along local value chains through international trade and foreign direct investment flows. By leveraging the value-chain approach for rural areas, recent policies have led to economic and social upgrading in Latin America, writes Ramón Padilla Pérez (UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean).

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    El Salvador elections 2018: security, migration, and the beginning of the end for two-party rule

El Salvador elections 2018: security, migration, and the beginning of the end for two-party rule

El Salvador’s legislative and municipal elections on Sunday, 4 March, 2018, kick off an election cycle that will stretch through to next year’s presidential ballot. A desperate security situation, threats to Salvadoran migrants in the US, and a growing generation gap in traditional parties could mean a bumpy ride for the country’s politics, writes Adrian Bergmann (Central American University).

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    Femicide in Ciudad Juárez is enabled by the regulation of gender, justice, and production in Mexico

Femicide in Ciudad Juárez is enabled by the regulation of gender, justice, and production in Mexico

Ciudad Juárez operates as a necropolis where femicide legislation coexists with reductionist and patriarchal approaches to gender violence. The victims of killings and disappearances are presented as prostitutes, and those who investigate are seen to be staining the city’s good name. Mexico’s lax justice system and the free-trade zones of the maquiladora industry provide the enabling context, writes María Encarnación López (London Metropolitan University).

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    Costa Rica’s 2018 elections: the two Alvarados, between deepening division and democratic dependability

Costa Rica’s 2018 elections: the two Alvarados, between deepening division and democratic dependability

The two contenders in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff on 1 April 2018, Fabricio Alvarado (PRN) and Carlos Alvarado (PAC), are diametric opposites on the issues that have dominated recent elections, and their supporters are also divided along geographic and socioeconomic lines. Thankfully, a healthy democratic context militates against the worst effects of polarisation, write Evelyn Villarreal Fernández (State of the Nation Programme) and Bruce M. Wilson (University of […]

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    Costa Rica’s 2018 elections: corruption, morality politics, and voter alienation make uncertainty the only certainty

Costa Rica’s 2018 elections: corruption, morality politics, and voter alienation make uncertainty the only certainty

In a context of political dealignment and a fluid multiparty system, corruption scandals and a divisive international court ruling on sexual and reproductive rights have drastically altered the electoral landscape, write Evelyn Villarreal Fernández (State of the Nation Programme) and Bruce M. Wilson (University of Central Florida).

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    Recent innovations in Costa Rican development show the value of Global Value Chain analysis

Recent innovations in Costa Rican development show the value of Global Value Chain analysis

By allowing an understanding of where, how, and by whom economic, social, and environmental value is created and distributed, Global Value Chain research can help to address key development and competitiveness issues, write Gary Gereffi and Karina Fernández-Stark (Duke University Global Value Chain Centre).

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    El Salvador’s experience of UN peacebuilding reveals the ineffectiveness of ‘development as usual’ approaches

El Salvador’s experience of UN peacebuilding reveals the ineffectiveness of ‘development as usual’ approaches

To provide the vital “peace dividend” of better lives and livelihoods, peacebuilding must promote conflict-sensitive policies even where they are economically second-best. The UN can support this process by helping states in transition to reactivate their economies in an inclusive and sustainable manner, writes Graciana del Castillo (City University of New York).

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    What can the rest of the world learn from Mexico City’s EcoBici bike-sharing scheme?

What can the rest of the world learn from Mexico City’s EcoBici bike-sharing scheme?

Mexico City’s EcoBici bike-sharing scheme systematically broke down social barriers to enable the introduction of a new mode of public transport. Naima von Ritter Figueres (LSE International Development) analyses its success and considers whether this approach could work in other megacities around the world.