Stories by Daniel P. Erikson

Expert Voices

Panama's voters opt for incremental change with President-elect Cortizo

Laurentino Cortizo speaking at a rally
Panama's president-elect, Laurentino Cortizo. Photo: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

Panama's voters decided to stick with known quantities in Sunday's presidential election, choosing Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo to succeed term-limited incumbent Juan Carlos Varela.

The big picture: Panama's voters were closely divided between two former cabinet ministers from the traditional political parties, bucking a regional trend toward populist political outsiders who have brought fresh if at times unpredictable leadership to countries as diverse as Brazil, Mexico and El Salvador.

Expert Voices

Pompeo's Paraguay visit signals heightened regional stakes for U.S.

Mike Pompeo shaking hands with Paraguay's foreign minister
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Paraguayan Foreign Minister Luis Castiglioni in Asunción, on April 13. Photo: Jorge Saenz/AFP/Getty Images

Mike Pompeo's visit to Paraguay last weekend — the first by an American secretary of state in half a century — marked a new turn in the U.S. relationship with a country long seen as a friendly backwater.

Why it matters: Paraguay has taken on greater strategic importance in light of new hemispheric issues: the Venezuelan crisis, China’s rise in Latin America and the Trump administration's efforts to build ties with conservative governments across the region.

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.