Do Latin America’s Top Prosecutors Have Too Much Power?

By Will Freeman

Recent cases illustrate how some top prosecutors throughout the region may be misusing their considerable powers.

“For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.” When Brazilian President Getulio Vargas first spoke the phrase in the 1940s, it didn’t need to be specified who was doing the protecting or the punishing. Heads of governments—civilian and military—used prosecutors as weapons to settle political scores. Thankfully, that’s not how the region works today. Except in a few authoritarian enclaves, like Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, top prosecutors no longer blindly do presidents’ bidding. Instead, they are largely independent and powerful. They might be influenced by...

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