Panama

Expert Voices

Taiwan striving to keep Caribbean allies beyond China's reach

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen waving from behind a lectern
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei. Photo: Ashley Pon/Getty Images

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's tour through the Caribbean reflects Taiwan's imperative to reinforce relationships with allies vulnerable to poaching by China.

The big picture: Only 17 countries continue to recognize Taiwan instead of the People’s Republic of China, and the majority are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Tsai's 10-day trip follows 2 years of bad news, as Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic have all broken decades-long diplomatic ties with Taipei in order to extend official ties to Beijing.

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.