Peru’s unpopular congress and attorney general move to undermine 2026 elections; APEP kicks off, focus narrowed; Protests could hold back Latin America’s role in the green transition.
Peru’s unpopular congress and attorney general move to undermine 2026 elections. Demagogues with sky-high poll numbers can take it slow eroding checks and balances and capturing electoral institutions as they outpoll competitors. In Peru, unpopular anti-democratic factions in congress are racing to prevent a free and fair vote they know they would lose. With 90 percent of Peruvians disapproving of congress, the parties currently in control know their electoral prospects are dim for the general election in 2026. That’s why they have now set their sights on capturing the independent institutions, including the National Elections Board (JNE), that will oversee the vote. Lawmakers have already gained control of several institutions involved in appointing the JNE, except one: the National Justice Board (JNJ), which also has the power to suspend and fire judges and prosecutors. Congress has made common cause with Peru’s attorney general—herself under investigation for corruption by the JNJ—to remove its leadership. That would be a blow to both the rule of law and electoral integrity. And if congress doesn’t succeed now, it will have another shot in January 2025, when the JNJ magistrates’ terms expire. Ahead of 2026, it will take domestic and international pressure to keep open the possibility of free and fair elections.
APEP kicks off, focus narrowed. Eleven heads of state and envoys from across the Western Hemisphere will meet U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, November 3, for the first in-person meeting of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP). Announced eighteen months ago alongside its Asian counterpart, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), APEP promises to deepen U.S.-Latin America economic integration. Yet since its launch, the group has held just one virtual event, compared to IPEF’s now seven negotiating rounds. The agenda too has shifted and narrowed: rather than focusing on the broader commercial issues of digital trade, supply chains, decarbonization, and anti-corruption of IPEF, APEP looks to focus on developing regional supply chains, managing migration, and producing clean energy. All are crucial for the region, and advances would be a win-win for all participants, including the United States. But by foregoing more formal text negotiations and agreement structures, APEP could become just another forum for regional discussions, of which the Western Hemisphere already has plenty.
Protests could hold back Latin America’s role in the green transition. Mining and other extractive projects have long faced opposition across Latin America. Now, as the global green transition picks up pace and the importance of Latin American-mined lithium, copper, and other critical minerals grows, protests are reemerging and spreading across the region. Real concerns over costs of a green commodity supercycle for the environment, ecotourism, corruption, and the livelihoods in local communities are hitting national politics. In Panama, ongoing protests against the largest copper mine have forced President Laurentino Cortizo to call a national referendum. In Chile, water rights and conflicts between communities and mines are shaping constitutional reform negotiations.
Better environmental protections and assurances are vital for local communities and economies. Still, the significant reserves in copper, lithium, nickel, graphite, and other minerals fundamental to the global green transition can advantage national coffers and raise GDP. The middle ground is inclusive growth, which historically has eluded most Latin American nations.
Source : cfr