Latin leaders in the spotlight

Latin America is assuming a fundamental role in global politics. The growing number of inhabitants and the surprising performances of several nations’ economies are only two of the features of its current rise. Despite this, social problems, such as endemic violence and widespread poverty are the major challenges South American countries will face in the near future. The point is that the Latin America is a geopolitical reality with huge importance. Two Latin American countries are in the G-20, one of which, Brazil is also in the BRICS.
They are partners of the West in the global scene, but they are also acquiring their own dimension. The recent election of an Argentine pope – the first non-European in over a thousand years – can be read as an indication of Latin America’s growing importance.
On the domestic side, states like Brazil and Chile seem to be working very well. Brazil will be hosting the upcoming World Cup in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Olympics in 2016. But Brazil also has the problem of chronic poverty in its cities and in the north of the country. Still, it is an emergent economy that offers many opportunities to the world. Chile in the past few years has experienced a very remarkable economic performance that reduced the poverty rate, notwithstanding the earthquake in 2010. For their part, Mexico and Argentina have many problems that compromise their development. Mexico has security problems like drug trafficking and narco-gang warfare added to the longstanding problem illegal emigration towards the United States, which has complicated its relations with regional partners. Argentina is again experiencing budgetary difficulties echoing those of the 2001, when the state had defaulted. Problems aside, one can expect that Latin America will be an active theater of global competition in the coming years.