In 2018, the three biggest countries in Latin America—Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico—elected new presidents. But those weren't the only ones where voters went to the ballot box in a year that saw sweeping political change across the region.
Explore our individual guides via links below:
- BRAZIL: October 7 presidential and legislative elections, October 28 runoff
- CHILE: Elections took place in 2017 with the new president taking office March 7, 2018
- COLOMBIA: March 11 legislative elections, May 27 presidential, June 17 runoff
- COSTA RICA: February 4 presidential and legislative elections, April 1 runoff
- CUBA: April 19 presidential transition of power
- EL SALVADOR: March 4 legislative elections
- MEXICO: July 1 presidential and legislative elections
- PARAGUAY: April 22 presidential and legislative elections
- UNITED STATES: November 6 legislative elections
- VENEZUELA: May 20 presidential election
AS/COA tracked the votes through articles, poll updates, podcasts, and programs.
AS/COA Online offers regular updates on the course charted by the new administration in Latin America’s largest country.
In Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office December 1. Through regular updates, AS/COA covered the start of what the new leader calls the country's Fourth Transformation.
Venezuela’s diplomatic relations are straining to a breaking point as Nicolás Maduro prepares to begin a new term on January 10, 2019.
Listen: Former Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan says migration tensions will be an early test for Mexico’s incoming president. Plus, Speyside Mexico’s Amy Glover on the chances for positive change.
Is Brazil’s environment in danger under Jair Bolsonaro?
Democrats’ gains among Latino voters from 2016 to 2018 were modest, and in some cases, there were losses.
Aos Fatos’ Tai Nalon explains how the country’s 2018 elections proved a new, complex relationship between voters, news, and government.
Representation matters, as does what language you speak.
Council of the Americas will hold a conversation on the political and economic outlook for Brazil following the second round of elections.
Listen: J.P. Morgan’s Emy Shayo discusses the country’s main economic woes and the policies proposed by the president-elect’s pick for finance minister, Paulo Guedes.
AS/COA’s Brian Winter and Roberto Simon explain in Foreign Affairs what makes Jair Bolsonaro’s foreign agenda similar to Donald Trump’s.
Latino politicians are running up and down the ticket for seats that would place them on school boards, in governor’s mansions, and on Capitol Hill.
Ahead of the October 28 runoff, we look at the presidential candidates’ positions on issues ranging from Venezuela to trade.
We look at the history of presidential runoffs, break down the vote regionally, and map the gubernatorial races still to be decided in October 28 runoffs.
Jair Bolsanaro and Fernando Haddad face each other in an October 28 runoff. Here's what the polls say.
A comprehensive survey of what the former army captain’s government might look like, if he wins on Oct 28.
Brazil's far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro was less than 5 points away from winning the first round. He'll face Fernando Haddad, the left's stand-in for ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on October 28.
Social media is driving the conversation—and a wedge between genders—in this year's presidential vote.
Three months since his electoral win, Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador is already taking on violence, education, U.S. relations, and a massive airport project.
On October 7, Brazilians will elect 27 governors and 567 members of Congress. We look at those competitions and top voter issues.
Listen: AS/COA Brazil experts Brian Winter and Roberto Simon cover the race and why leading candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad represent competing visions of a “better” past.
Listen: With work to be done to build a counterweight, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s party has plenty of room to push through priorities, says Odracir Barquera.
Ahead of the October 7 first round, meet the contenders in Brazil’s unpredictable race.
Issues that defined the presidential campaign remain front and center in the national dialogue.
A unified and experienced government, a strong economy, and efforts toward gender parity were all on the agenda at AS/COA’s Latin American Cities Conference in Santiago.
From NAFTA negotiations to Chinese relations, panelists explored Mexico’s trade opportunities under incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Incoming President Iván Duque’s team features a mix of veterans and relative newcomers.
So far, Mexico’s next president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is looking north more than south, writes AS/COA's Carin Zissis.
Panelists discussed top issues ahead of the country's October elections, as well as each presidential candidate's economic platform.
Mexico's next president made major campaign pledges. A panel of experts assessed if and how he can make good on his promises.
The imprisoned former president will be center stage in the Oct. 7 election – even if he’s not a candidate.
Mexico’s future president meets with Mike Pompeo, Kirstjen Nielsen, Steven Mnuchin, and Jared Kushner this week. AS/COA’s Carin Zissis explores the meeting’s context.
MORENA, the party of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saw sweeping wins on election day at both the state and federal level.
Nine of Mexico's states held races for their top posts. The governing PRI lost all of them.
The third try turned out to be the charm for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s next president.
What will Andrés Manuel López Obrador's electoral victory mean for Mexico's energy sector? AS/COA's Naki Mendoza explains in About Energy.
We monitor the findings of some of Mexico's main pollsters to see how candidates are faring ahead of the July 1 vote.
AS/COA's CEO and president spoke with J.P. Morgan about what investors think about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the frontrunner in Mexico's election.
During Colombia’s June 17 presidential runoff, voters in Bogotá tell us about their choices and expectations for the next four years.
Nación321’s Pancho Parra talks about why the youngest voters back the oldest candidate and their expectations for the future.
Where does the second-time president stand when it comes to campaign promises?
Colombia's next president "stands in a really good position to heal the polarization that marked the campaign," says La Rotta, head of AS/COA's media relations and an El Tiempo columnist.
Mexican pollster Jorge Buendía explains why Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s poll lead keeps growing, and how the election is redefining political rivalries.
With four months to go until election day, a Datafolha poll shows a jailed ex-president ahead. What happens if he can’t run remains in doubt.
¿Cómo sería la economía colombiana bajo el liderazgo de Iván Duque o de Gustavo Petro?
Boosting growth, improving infrastructure, and increasing productivity: at AS/COA's Bogotá conference, participants discussed what lies ahead for Colombia's next president.
Iván Duque leads Gustavo Petro by up to 20 points in four polls ahead of the June 17 runoff.
From polarization to ageism to the expat vote, AS/COA's Carin Zissis covers trends of note in the countdown to the presidential election.
“Who is the real [Andrés Manuel] López Obrador?” This was one of the questions Dresser posited to the Mexican presidential frontrunner's economic advisor.
We’re down to fewer than 40 days until Mexico’s election.
A dam, turnout, and Venezuela could all play a hand in the May 27 presidential first-round vote.
Given the tempestuous nature of Brazilian politics in recent years, here are dates to help bring clarity as we approach the October 7 elections.
Candidatos bolsistas da RenovaBR falaram das dificuldades do sistema político atual e como se preparam para renovar a política brasileira.
Amid unease over NAFTA timelines, we take a look at how relations with Washington factor into Mexico’s July 1 presidential vote.
Northwestern’s Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez explains why the international private sector might be more effective than sanctions at bringing change to the South American country.
Días previos a las elecciones, tres destacados panelistas analizaron el panorama económico y político en Venezuela—y lo que le espera al país en el futuro.
A new PRI head, AMLO and business leaders, an ill-conceived tweet. AS/COA's Carin Zissis writes from Mexico on the latest issues shaping the races.
Experts weighed in on the candidates and what these elections will mean for Colombia's political scene in the future.
How significant is the under-35 electorate in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico?
The governing PRI could lose all nine races, but it’s not the only party at risk. Here’s why these seats matter, along with potential victors ahead of July 1.
The former senator from the ruling Colorado Party is expected to maintain the current president’s business-friendly policies with reforms to security, education, and health.
The much-anticipated event was seen as a chance to dent AMLO’s formidable poll lead. Here’s what happened during the April 22 debate.
Raúl Castro will hand off the presidency – likely to his vice-president Miguel Díaz-Canel – leaving Cubans to speculate on the true impact of the shift.
Watch: Get insights on the truth about polls, what an AMLO victory could mean for the energy sector, and bright spots for Mexico amid a fierce electoral battle.
The governing party presidential candidate leads polls ahead of the April 22 election. Young voters could play a big role—if they show up.
The presidential race is officially underway. Here's the rundown on the country’s biggest election in history.
Mexicans won't pick their next president based on Trump tweets, but that doesn't mean bilateral ties aren't in jeopardy, writes AS Board Member Arturo Sarukhan in The Hill.
Energy reforms take time to bear fruit and protectionist election pledges would lead to backstepping, writes AS/COA’s Naki Mendoza.
The ruling party candidate defied polls to best conservative Fabricio Alvarado by double digits in the April 1 vote.
Ticos cast votes for Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado on April 1, Easter Sunday.
Experts from Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico offered insights on their respective countries' races, from the role of social media to corruption probes.
Latin Americans will vote for nine new presidents in two years, along with more than 2,900 legislators.
Geraldo Alckmin is the preferred candidate of Brazil’s establishment. In today’s environment, that may be a kiss of death.
In a March El Financiero presidential poll, the PRI’s José Antonio Meade takes the number two spot by a hair, but frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador now has an 18-point edge.
The country has presidential candidates across the spectrum, say columnists Álvaro Forero Tascón and Adriana La Rotta. And that’s a sign of just how far the post-conflict democracy has come.
Recent legislative elections gave much-needed definition to a crowded field ahead of the May 27 first-round vote.
The March 11 vote—the first in the FARC post-conflict era—will have significant implications for the May presidential vote.
NYU’s Patricio Navia talks about Sebastián Piñera’s return to Chile’s presidency, and AU’s Héctor Silva Ávalos tells us why the FMLN’s electoral loss is ARENA’s gain in El Salvador.
Polls suggest the main conservative party will pick up a larger portion of seats in March 4 legislative and municipal elections.
Venezuela is holding presidential elections, but they’ll be far from free and fair.
Fabricio Alvarado has a slight edge but it’s a technical tie, and rising economic concerns could help Carlos Alvarado in the April 1 runoff.
More people will vote in Brazil in 2018 than in all other Latin American countries combined.
AQ brought together an expert panel to discuss issues ranging from Russian meddling to fake news to the market's effects on Latin America's 2018 elections.
In an election marked by social conservatism, ticos will choose between Carlos and Fabricio Alvarado on Easter Sunday, April 1.
Fabricio Alvarado maintains his lead in the final poll before the February 4 vote, while Carlos Alvarado makes big gains, and Juan Diego Castro tumbles.
After decades of steady bipartisan politics, in 2018, Tico voters keep changing their minds about who they’re going to vote for on February 4, say two University of Costa Rica pollsters.
We’ve got some time until the July 1 election, but the race is heating up for the next occupant of Los Pinos.
In this new issue of AQ, we preview the region’s 2018 elections – and explain why anti-establishment nationalists are rising in the polls.
A closer look at the leading candidates in this year’s presidential elections.
How a retired Army captain rose from a marginal apologist for torture and dictatorship to a serious contender for Brazil’s presidency.
Here’s what you need to know about an end to the Castro presidency, new migration rules, Russia ties, and more.
If 2017 was the year that changed Washington, 2018 will redefine Latin America. AS/COA experts explain how in our first podcast of the year.
Just before the February 4 first round, court rulings have stirred the social order in the traditionally conservative country.
As business mogul Sebastián Piñera gets a second stab at the presidency, we look at the implications for legislation, markets, and trade.
As Bolivia’s Evo Morales eyes a fourth consecutive term, we look at other places in the Americas where the topic of reelection has made waves in recent years.
After days of delays and technical glitches, updated tallies put the president ahead as the country slides into its biggest political crisis since 2009.
If there’s one lesson to be learned from recent polling debacles, it’s that voters should never base their decision to head to the ballot box on them.
On November 27, José Antonio Meade threw his hat into the ring. Can he beat Andrés Manuel López Obrador—and a whole host of other contenders?
Polls indicated incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández’s reelection, but corruption concerns appear to have given a leg up to former sportscaster Salvador Nasralla.
Polls show President Juan Orlando Hernández could win a second term on November 26 in a country where the issue of reelection sparked turmoil eight years ago.
Polls got it wrong and all eyes are on which way losing candidates’ votes will go when Alejandro Guillier and Sebastian Piñera compete in a December 17 runoff.
Sebastián Piñera will likely win the November 19 vote, but turnout will be key for his rival to stand a chance in the runoff, says political scientist Patricio Navia.
Without conflict to bring them together, Colombians are confronting their differences, and engaging in the messy business of democracy.
With more than two dozen potential candidates, Colombia’s 2018 race is up for grabs. Is there room for surprise among so many familiar faces?
The president's center-right coalition swept Argentina's biggest provinces in mid-term elections, opening his path to reelection in 2019.
Investors and policymakers need to watch the region's election wave, write AS/COA’s Brian Winter and Igarapé Institute’s Robert Muggah for ForeignPolicy.com.
Victor Herrera, former Mexico City office head for S&P’s Global Ratings, spells out what’s in store for Mexico—from elections to NAFTA talks.
Given voter disillusionment with traditional politics, the country’s parties are rebranding to rebuild their influence. A year before general elections, we profile the parties.
The October 22 vote will determine how much sway President Maurico Macri’s coalition will have in Congress, as well as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s return to politics.
Listen: Now heading candidate Sebastián Piñera’s economic platform, former Finance Minister Felipe Larraín talks tax reform, copper, and more.
Get background on the issues dominating the 2017 campaign trail and the presidential candidates leading the polls.