Latin America will enter 2024 with new governments and the aspiration to maintain economic growth despite the challenges

Latin American Keys is an informative and analytical summary regarding the political and economic situation in the Latin American region. These key takeaways, prepared monthly by ATREVIA´s Analysis and Research team, serve to be a useful tool in understanding the evolution of the political-institutional state of Latin America, a need that the pandemic has further exaggerated.

In 2022, two new leaders took office, marking a significant departure from their predecessors and generating high expectations. Firstly, Gabriel Boric in Chile, a country projected to experience zero growth this year and set to vote on a constitutional proposal in a referendum in the coming days, which appears likely to be rejected once again. Secondly, Gustavo Petro in Colombia, who successfully pushed through his healthcare reform in the Lower House but faces greater hurdles in the Upper one. He will not be accompanied by favorable economic conditions, following a 0.3% GDP decline in the third quarter.

Now in 2023, two new presidents have just formed their ministerial cabinets. In Ecuador, Daniel Noboa’s top priority is to pass his tax reform. Initially, he may not encounter major friction with the legislature, and the dire state of public finances is pressing. Meanwhile, the Argentine government under Javier Milei has already announced its initial economic measures, focused on cutting public spending, anticipating a harsh impact on the population. However, a significant portion of the citizenry seems willing to accept this sacrifice to escape an endless crisis marked by an annual inflation rate exceeding 160%.

The two left-leaning presidents who took office in 2022 have had to navigate a challenging path and are currently facing notable unpopularity. The fortunes of those who did it in 2023, with a more complex ideological categorization, remain to be seen. It appears that Milei will represent a strong departure from previous administrations, while Noboa, by comparison, signifies a degree of continuity.

Last year, Dina Boluarte assumed office in Peru, not through an electoral process but due to corruption scandals surrounding her predecessor. These scandals now impact the relationship between the legislature and the prosecutor’s office as the country deepens its recession. In Bolivia, where political developments have also been marked by judicial actions, it has just become a full member of Mercosur. Access to a trade bloc of over 300 million inhabitants could provide a boost to its economy.

On the flip side, Brazil continues to report positive macroeconomic figures, and President Lula da Silva enhances his international presence. Meanwhile, Mexico focuses on labor issues and, having approved a 20% increase in the minimum wage, prepares to amend the constitution to reduce the weekly working hours from 48 to 40. Finally, Uruguay received a couple of positive notes: it secured the second-best score in Latin America in the PISA report on academic performance and recorded the region’s lowest rate of informal labor.

Click here to access the Latin American Keys summary.

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