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In headlines this week: Tillerson finishes a tour of Latin America, Ecuador votes to bring back presidential term limits, Mexico and the EU seek to modify their trade deal, and more. 


Ecuador voted Sunday to bring back presidential term limits. Sunday’s referendum overturned a 2015 constitutional amendment eliminating presidential term limits, which was spearheaded by former president Rafael Correa. Correa, who had been living in Belgium since he left office in 2017, returned to Ecuador a month ago to campaign against the referendum, calling it a “coup-d’etat” and claiming it would end “the rule of law” in the country. Current President Lenin Moreno, previously Correa’s vice-president, saw the referendum as a representation of Ecuador’s democracy. The vote passed six other government-backed proposals, including a ban on officials convicted of corruption from running for office.


US President Donald Trump and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales met on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Trump thanked Morales for supporting his decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The leaders discussed Venezuela and agreed to work together to “restore democracy to the country.” Trump also emphasized the need to stem illegal immigration from Guatemala to the US, highlighting Guatemala’s “underlying challenges to security.”


Mexico and the European Union seek to modify their existing trade deal by the end of February. Currently, the Mexico-EU trade deal includes industrial goods, but both parties seek to expand it to include farm produce, more services, investment and government procurement, and provisions on environmental protection and labor standards. Monday marked the ninth round of talks between the two governing bodies, but both sides remain confident that a deal with be reached by the end of the month.


Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski faces a new opposition movement threatening impeachment. After surviving an impeachment vote in December, Kuczynski now sees his immunity fading as three political parties, and one more considering support, have banded together to form impeachment motion. The motion is based on new evidence that Kuczynski has ties to Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction company centered in corruption cases around the region, and his decision to pardon former president Alberto Fujimori.

United States

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson finished his visit to Latin America on Wednesday, after stopping in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Jamaica. During his week-long trip, Tillerson emphasized the need to increase anti-drug efforts in Colombia and Peru, create a united front against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, and maintain good economic relationships within the region. Nearing the end of his trip, Tillerson announced that the US is considering economic sanctions on Venezuela. In Jamaica, Tillerson “had a very comprehensive discussion on ways to promote increased energy efficiency [...] throughout the Caribbean.”


After weeks of discussion, mediation talks between the government and the opposition broke down on Wednesday. Just after the discussions ended, election officials set the presidential election for April 22. It remains unclear if the opposition will parktake in the election, as they sought for a later election date from the mediation talks. There has been large international condemnation of the early election, with the US threatening economic sanctions Wednesday as well.

Open Americas (OA) is a platform for sharing content that engages with contemporary social issues issues facing the Western Hemisphere. We advocate a diversity of thought through research, literature, reviews, and photographs. OA does not strictly adhere to any political or religious doctrine and encourages open, respectful debate and critical thought. Visit us at 
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