Brazil’s race for the next president is narrowing by the day. Of the fourteen candidates announced as of the beginning of August, five viable front-runners have emerged.

In this Spotlight, we ask: With Brazil’s presidential campaign set to officially kick off, what could an October win for one of the top contenders mean for political and economic reforms, foreign direct investment (FDI), and security?

Mexico is poised for a new era of prosperity if deep structural issues are adequately addressed.

In this Spotlight, we ask: What are four of the top issues President-elect López Obrador might prioritize in his first 100 days in office?
In one of the most consequential presidential elections in recent history, Colombians elected Iván Duque as their next president by a healthy twelve-point margin on June 17. In line with most predictions and election polls, uribismo regained power for the first time since former President Álvaro Uribe left office in 2010.

With president-elect Duque set to take office on August 7 with healthy majorities in Congress, what can we expect from his presidency? How will he reactivate an economy that is just starting to recover from the deceleration experienced since the 2014 drop in oil prices? 

This Spotlight is authored by Leonardo Villar, director of Colombia's most prestigious think tank Fedesarrollo, and Juan Felipe Celia, assistant director at the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. 

Click here to read the full Spotlight publication.
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As signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement gear up for the upcoming COP24 meetings in Katowice, Poland in December 2018, Latin America has emerged as a global leader in energy modernization and climate change management. In a new report, Latin America: On Target for COP 24?, David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group and senior fellow at the Adrianne Arsht Latin America Center, and Goldwyn Global Strategies Associate Andrea Clabough examine the progress Latin America has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the key challenges that remain. The authors focus on three sub-regions within Latin America, the Southern Cone, Central America, and the Caribbean, and assess the varying levels of progress made by each region toward the goals outlined in countries’ respective commitments to reduce emissions. Larger Latin American economies, including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, have been particularly successful in incentivizing renewable energy generation and accelerating the shift from diesel to natural gas, chiefly by using powerful policy tools such as net metering, modernized power purchase agreements, reduction in energy consumption subsidies, and carbon pricing.
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Over the past decade, Latin America has vastly expanded its exports to China, which are now approximately $100 billion annually. These exports are primarily focused on raw goods and unprocessed goods, mainly: soybeans, iron ore, crude oil, and copper. Many natural resource-rich countries aim to move from exporting raw goods to higher value-added goods, but factors on both sides are preventing some Latin America countries from doing so. For example, export taxes in Brazil on processed soybeans, or tariff escalation in China, which increases tariffs for higher value-added goods. China’s exports to Latin America, on the other hand, are increasingly higher value-added goods like electronic consumer goods and capital goods like machines.

Results from latest national door-to-door poll reveals deepening humanitarian and economic anxieties and widespread political mistrust ahead of upcoming presidential elections.

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Venezuela is in a state of desperation as its oil industry – for years the foundation of the country’s economy – spirals out of control. With elections on the horizon, the United States speeding up its drumbeat of sanctions, and Russia and China’s influence increasing in the country, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center today releases The Collapse of the Venezuelan Oil Industry and its Global Consequences, a new policy brief detailing what’s ahead for the crisis-ridden country and its oil industry.

Written by Atlantic Council author Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American Energy Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute and founding director of the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Management Studies Institute in Venezuela, the brief lays out the factors leading to the oil collapse, details sanctions options and their impact, measures Russia’s and China’s increasing presence, and presents various short and long-term scenarios for the industry against a potential default.
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Over the past ten years, Chinese companies and policy banks have steadily invested and lent hundreds of billions of dollars in Latin America's oil and gas sector. China's leaders have been pressured to secure energy resources because of stagnating domestic oil production coupled with rapid growth in consumption. Latin America's growing proven oil reserves have made it an attractive partner for China. The rise in capital flowing from China to the energy sector in Latin America, plus the lack of transparency around the deals however, has led to a rise in myths about the true motivation behind China's intentions. This report seeks to uncover the facts of Chinese investment and lending deals in the Latin American energy sector, explains what is reality and what are myths, and provides pointed recommendations of how all parties can help shape a better energy cooperation.

Atlantic Council Findings Reveal Staggering Discontent Amid Democratic Rupture

National poll reveals collapsing levels of trust in institutions and profound concerns over the economic crisis and food shortages.
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On November 30, 2016, the Colombian Congress ratified the peace accords signed by the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), setting in motion a series of reforms stipulated in the accords. One year later, how much has implementation of the accords advanced and what are the top issues that will influence the success of the post-accord transition in 2018? The Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center’s latest Spotlight publication, co-authored by Andrea Saldarriaga Jiménez and Juan Felipe Celia, analyzes these key issues and the road ahead for Colombia in 2018.