Stories by Gustavo Flores-Macías

Expert Voices

Mexico hands Trump a partial victory in proposed trade deal

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso as he arrives to speak on trade in the Oval Office.
President Trump shakes hands with Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso in the Oval Office on August 27, 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. and Mexico announced on Monday that they had reached a tentative agreement over several outstanding and contentious issues in NAFTA negotiations. Canada is expected to rejoin the negotiations on Tuesday, but the U.S. and Mexico have hinted they are willing to proceed without it.

The big picture: The announcement marks an important political victory for Trump, and a pyrrhic one for Mexico. President Trump got quite a bit of what he wanted, while Mexico seemed content to bypass Canada to get a worse deal. Despite both Canada's and Mexico's characterization of the U.S. proposals as unacceptable, Mexico accepted some version of them without getting in return either more NAFTA visas for Mexican nationals or dispute-resolution mechanisms that address the power imbalance.

Expert Voices

With opposition in disarray, Maduro’s win spells trouble for Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures after the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the results of the voting on election day in Venezuela, on May 20, 2018.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro after winning his re-election on May 20, 2018. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

President Nicolás Maduro was declared the winner of Venezuela’s presidential election on Sunday with 68% of the vote. Although the main opposition parties boycotted the election, the two opposition candidates who participated came in at 21% and 11%. Maduro will serve another 6-year term after an election characterized by low turnout — 46% compared to 80% in the previous race — and widespread allegations of fraud.

Why it matters: Although Sunday’s outcome is a far cry from the landslide victories of Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, the country’s economic mismanagement and steady march toward authoritarianism are bound to continue.

Expert Voices

End of Cuba's Castro era largely symbolic, yet holds promise of change

Former Cuban President Raul Castro raises the arm of newly elected Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
Former Cuban President Raúl Castro raises the arm of newly elected President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Photo: Adalberto Roque/Pool via Getty Images

Last week Raúl Castro fulfilled his promise to step down at the end of his second term as Cuba’s president, marking at least a nominal end to the Castro era. But many remain skeptical that political or economic change is really on the horizon: Castro's successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel, was chosen and carefully groomed precisely because he shares the vision of Cuba’s aging revolutionary guard.

Yes, but: Symbolic changes still matter, and Cubans will get used to everyday life without a Castro in office. The transfer of power presents an opportunity for the island to go down a different path — one with more room for both political contestation and private enterprise.