Americas This Week: February 5, 2022

February 5, 2022

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in the Americas, usually posted on Saturdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

The National Theatre in San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Tillor87 (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022

Costa Rica holds general elections on February 6, 2022. Rated Free by Freedom House, Costa Rica has been a stable democracy since 1949. Incumbent presidents are not allowed to run for a second consecutive term, so President Carlos Alvarado from the center-left Citizen Action (PAC) cannot run for another term. PAC has nominated former prime minister Welmer Ramos as its presidential candidate. In total, there will be 25 presidential candidates from various parties.

Lucas Perelló and Will Freeman, Foreign Policy (February 4, 2022): Costa Rica’s Boring Elections Are a Model for the World: No matter who wins, Sunday’s vote won’t make headlines abroad. That’s a good thing.

Javier Córdoba, AP (February 3, 2022): With 25 candidates, Costa Rica’s election up for grabs

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022 and Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Colombia is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. Conservative Ivan Duque, elected president in 2018, is constitutionally barred from running for re-election. One of the current frontrunners to replace him is former left-wing guerilla Gustavo Petro, who placed second in 2018. Ingrid Betancourt, a former FARC hostage who was kidnapped while running for president in 2002, is also running, on a platform of national reconciliation. She had originally planned to run in the center coalition’s primary, but since withdrew from the coalition and announced that she would be an independent candidate.

The country has been rocked by protests beginning in April 2021. The proximate cause was a tax bill, but the protests grew violent, leading to dozens of deaths.

Santiago Torrado, El País (February 2, 2022 – in Spanish): Gustavo Petro gives international luster to his campaign for the presidency of Colombia: The left-wing candidate visits Pope Francis at the Vatican, meets with the French economist Thomas Piketty and is invited to the inauguration of Gabriel Boric in Chile

Stratfor (January 31, 2022): Colombia: Attack Highlights Increased Political Violence During Election Year

Brazil General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, State, and Local): October 2, 2022

Brazil holds general elections in October 2022. Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing populist firebrand president, is up for re-election. Former president Lula da Silva, himself a populist firebrand of the left-wing variety, will run against him. The country remains deeply polarized between right and left, although some third-way candidates plan to challenge both Bolsonaro and Lula. 

As Latin America’s biggest economy, Brazil’s politics have an impact on the entire region and – increasingly – on the world stage. More

George Xenophontos, Jurist (February 3, 2022): Brazil federal police finds Bolsonaro breached secrecy laws but shielded by immunity

Vincius Andrade, Bloomberg (February 2, 2022): Top Brazil Hedge Funds See Traders Embracing Lula’s Comeback

Anthony Boadle, Reuters (February 2, 2022): Brazil’s presidential race tightens, new poll shows

Reuters (February 1, 2022): U.S. Leans on Brazil’s Bolsonaro to Scrap Russia Trip, Source Says

Michael Pooler and Carolina Ingizza, Financial Times (January 30, 2022): Lula leaves clues about plans for Brazil’s economy if re-elected

Argentina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October or November 2023 (due)

Argentina is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in October or November 2023.

Argentina held midterm legislative elections in November 2021, along with a few sets of provincial elections on various dates. The ruling Peronists took a major hit, losing control of the legislature for the first time in decades.

Argentina’s 2021 elections – both provincial and legislative – happened in the context of an economic crisis, which the leftist government and COVID-19 have exacerbated. In the 2019 presidential election, Peronist Alberto Fernández defeated center-right incumbent Mauricio Macri (the first defeat for an Argentine incumbent president), running on a ticket with populist firebrand Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015. Kirchner herself did not run for president because she was facing criminal charges related to misconduct during her time in office. Frente de Todos, the party formed by Kirchner and Fernández, currently holds a majority in the Senate and is the biggest party in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house.

Jordana Timerman, Americas Quarterly (February 4, 2022): Máximo Kirchner’s Big Gamble: The Argentine politician’s dissent from the government over an IMF deal deepens divisions within the ruling coalition


Gessika Thomas and Brian Ellsworth, Reuters (February 4, 2022): Leader of Haitian advocacy group urges two-year transition government

Monique Clesca, Foreign Affairs (February 1, 2022): Haiti’s Fight for Democracy: Why the Country Must Rebuild Before It Votes

Past Americas Elections

Honduras General Elections: November 28, 2021

Honduras held presidential and legislative elections on November 28, 2021, following the March 14 primaries. Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro won the presidential race.

These elections took place in the context of polarization. The 2017 elections, which saw the controversial re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernández from the conservative National Party, were turbulent, with at least 30 people dying in protests over allegations of fraud. Hernández defeated Xiomara Castro, the wife of leftist former president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in 2009. Some feared post-election turmoil this year, but Nasry Asfura, the National Party’s candidate, conceded.

On the geopolitical front, Honduras is one of the few countries that maintains formal diplomatic relations Taiwan, but Beijing has been pressuring politicians to change that. LIBRE had said that it would switch its recognition to Beijing, but has not done so yet and could potentially change its mind. More

Robert Carlson, Global Americans (February 3, 2022): Xiomara Castro: An Unlikely U.S. Partner

Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times (February 2, 2022): Essential Politics: Is Kamala Harris taking a gamble in Honduras?

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela held regional and local elections on November 21, 2021. In December 2020, Venezuela held legislative elections despite members of the opposition and international community calling for a delay in order to ensure credible, fair elections. Ultimately, most of the opposition boycotted; however, opposition parties participated in the November 21 elections.

On January 9, opposition candidate Sergio Garrido won a surprise victory in Barinas state, the birthplace of none other than Hugo Chavez. The vote took place because the original opposition candidate was disqualified retroactively.

InSight Crime (February 3, 2022): Are Arrests of Venezuela Officials Simply For Show?

Deisy Buitrago and Mayela Armas, Reuters (January 29, 2022): Venezuela detains ruling party mayor over drug trafficking

Nicaragua General Elections: November 7, 2021

Nicaragua held general elections on November 7, 2021. President Daniel Ortega, who has been in power for 20 years, sought and won another term after jailing his strongest opponents. Under Ortega’s rule, Nicaragua has become increasingly authoritarian, with rule of law and fundamental freedoms under assault.

Several opposition candidates were arrested before the election, including Cristiana Chamorro, who was seen by many as the opposition’s best chance of ousting Ortega (in fact, her mother, Violeta Chamorro, beat Ortega in the 1990 election, becoming Nicaragua’s first – and to date only – female president and ending 11 years of Sandinista rule).

AP (February 4, 2022): Nicaraguan judge convicts ex-presidential hopeful Mora: A judge in Nicaragua has convicted former presidential hopeful Miguel Mora of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity” after a trial lasting a few hours

Reuters (February 3, 2022): Nicaragua Is on Road to Expulsion From OAS, US Official Says

AFP (January 31, 2022): Trials to resume for Nicaragua government opponents: prosecution

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022

St. Martin and St. Barts Territorial Elections: March 20 and 27, 2022

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Canada, Ontario Provincial Elections: June 2, 2022

Mexico State and Local Elections in Some States: June 5, 2022

Canada, Resort Village Elections in Manitoba: July 22, 2022

Chile Constitutional Referendum: Third Quarter 2022

Brazil General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, State, and Local): October 2, 2022

Peru Local and Regional Elections: October 2, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Ontario: October 24, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Manitoba: October 26, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Prince Edward Island: November 7, 2022

Canada: Local Elections in Saskatchewan: November 9, 2022 (Rural Municipalities – even number divisions)

Canada: Local Elections in Northwest Territories: December 12, 2022

Guyana Local Elections: Overdue (date not set yet – preparations being made)

Jamaica Local Elections: By February 2023

Grenada General Elections: By March 2023 (due)

Ecuador Regional Elections: March 2023 (due)

Paraguay Presidential and Legislative Elections: April 2023

Guatemala General Elections: June 2023 (expected)

Guatemala General Election Runoffs: August 2023 (expected)

Argentina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October or November 2023 (due)

Antigua and Barbuda General Elections: By 2023

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed from November 7, 2021, no new date set

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