LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, citizens spent 2017 preparing for intense electoral processes in the region while simultaneously assisting in uncovering widespread corruption-related scandals and confronting the hemispheric and global implications of a heightened crisis in Venezuela. An intense electoral cycle that started with elections in Honduras and Chile at the end of 2017 and would continue throughout 2018 in several countries was framed by citizen demands for transparency and accountability within the context of a mounting number of politicians associated with the Brazilian Lava Jato bribery scandal. Meanwhile, the autocratic governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela continued to challenge democracy, with Venezuela’s multifaceted crisis posing the most critical ongoing political, social, and economic challenges. Following months of street protests, violent repression, and more than 150 deaths, the Venezuelan government held a fraudulent election for a Constituent Assembly that gave unlimited power to President Maduro’s party. Thereafter, the crisis began to be felt in full force in neighboring countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, as Venezuelans fled in search of refuge.
Because of this, NED supported partners working to stymie corruption and promote reforms throughout the region, ranging from access to information laws in the Southern Cone to comprehensive institutional reforms in Mexico and Central America. Partners in Peru uncovered high-level corruption scandals through investigative journalism, and in Colombia provided oversight of the implementation of the newly agreed upon peace accord. As democratic players in Ecuador helped to consolidate a democratic transition, civil society in Bolivia attempted to prevent democratic backsliding and the president’s consolidation of power. Cuba aimed to identify new areas of opportunity under a continually oppressive regime, and to maintain a democratic space in their country. All the while, NDI, IRI, CIPE and the Solidarity Center worked alongside Venezuelan organizations to defend human rights and promote democratic values against all odds in Venezuela. Throughout it all, NED partners continuously engaged at the regional level with institutions like the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
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