Stories by Daniel Erikson

Expert Voices

El Salvador's next president rides to office on anti-establishment wave

On Sunday, Nayib Bukele, the 37-year-old former mayor of San Salvador, won a first-round victory in El Salvador's presidential election, handily vanquishing candidates from the country's two major parties. Bukele, who was expelled from the left-wing FMLN party in 2017 following an internal dispute and ran as the candidate of the center-right GANA party, made history as the first third-party candidate to win the presidency since the end of El Salvador's civil war in 1992.

Expert Voices

Despite U.S. hopes, Bolsonaro sends mixed signals on China strategy

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the transitional government's headquarters in Brasilia, on November 27, 2018. - Bolsonaro takes office on January 1, 2019.
Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the transitional government's headquarters in Brasilia, on Nov. 27. He will take office on Jan. 1. Photo: Evaristo SA/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump is sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Brazil on Monday in a show of support for the Jan. 1 presidential inauguration of right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro. In a press call previewing Pompeo's visit, the U.S. State Department said that “China’s predatory trade and lending practices” would be among the topics of discussion with Bolsonaro and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo.

The big picture: The Trump administration hopes that Bolsonaro, who has jolted his country’s political establishment and promised to be similarly disruptive in the foreign policy arena, will join its effort to combat growing Chinese influence in Latin America. But while Brazil's new leader criticized China on the campaign trail, he's likely to assume a more pragmatic attitude toward Beijing once in office.

Expert Voices

Amid struggling economy, Cuba advances constitutional reform

Miguel Diaz-Canel speaking at a lectern in front of Cuban flag
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Havana on Dec. 14, 2018. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

On Saturday, Dec. 22, Cuba’s National Assembly approved a new constitution for a national referendum on Feb. 24, which would mark the country’s biggest political overhaul in a generation.

Why it matters: As popular frustration persists over Cuba's struggling economy and lackluster 1.5% growth, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who entered office in April 2018, needs to show loyalty to the country’s old guard while modernizing its political and economic structures.

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