ClimateWatch: Latin America & The Caribbean

ClimateWatch periodically analyzes the security climates of the world’s regions, focusing on conditions and developments affecting the most vulnerable identity communities while highlighting meaningful political and social steps towards security and integration. This week’s Latin American & Caribbean report summarizes developments in identity security from late July through mid-August.

Over the last several weeks, the Latin American region saw major steps forward in identity security relative to other regions. The LGBT community in particular witnessed critical gains, including strides in family rights as Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on adoption by same-sex couples in the state of Campeche and momentum towards partnership recognition in Costa Rica as the president presented a common-law marriage bill including same-sex partners. In the Caribbean, Jamaica promoted LGBT visibility in the country through its first Pride festival in Kingston, which received official support from Kingston’s mayor and the country’s Minister of Justice.

In Chile, the influence of religious organizations on politics has slowed the adoption of key security measures, with the country’s absolute prohibition of abortion–one of only seven in the world–an extreme example. Women’s rights advocates celebrated a recent thaw in political attitudes towards the procedure as the government advanced a bill to create health and violence exceptions.

Elsewhere, protests reflected frustrations driven by unfavorable political and economic climates in the region. In Mexico and Brazil, communities reeled from recent murders of journalists, common occurrences in Latin America’s economic powerhouses. While in Brazil, the provincial location of the murders has inhibited the spark for mass protest, Mexican demonstrators took to the streets in the thousands to voice outrage over what they argue has been lax treatment of the conditions that have led to the homicides.

Frustration with government actions also led members of Ecuador‘s indigenous communities to march against President Rafael Correa’s administration, citing economic insecurity and expropriation policies that have disproportionately affected indigenous communities.

The Lookout
  • Colombia
    Colombia recently held a hearing on same-sex marriage rights in the country brought international advocates on both sides of the debate to Bogotá. The country currently has a common-law partnership status available to same-sex couples similar to the one being put forth by Costa Rica’s president, requiring a period of cohabitation for partners before registering their union.
  • Chile
    Chile’s abortion bill faces stiff opposition in the full legislative chamber, where religious interests continue to dominate discussions of reproductive rights. The Catholic Church is expected to mobilize its extensive resources to maintain the legal status quo in the country.
  • Mexico
    Gender-based violence, targeted journalist killings, and the ongoing search for the more than 40 missing students in Guerrero have led to mass protests against the government’s handling of violence against vulnerable communities in the country. Although the entanglement of government and cartel agents make headway difficult, the increase in calls for reform and the uprooting of corruption will continue to put pressure on government authorities to take some form of meaningful action.