Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Special Series

Latin America’s 10 Biggest Stories of the 2010s

A look back at the decade’s biggest stories, and why they really mattered.
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George Castellanos/AFP via Getty Images

It was a decade that began with great promise – and ended in a wave of protests and crisis.

The 2010s in Latin America were frequently surprising, sometimes tragic and never dull. As the decade draws to a close, AQ has selected 10 stories that embodied these ups and downs. They run a wide gamut, from political upheavals to natural disasters, diplomatic breakthroughs and the biggest corruption scandal ever uncovered.

We’ve also tried to explain why these events mattered – in ways that were not always obvious at the time.

Stay tuned for the full list of AQ’s selections, which we will unveil between now and the end of the year. 

Dec. 4 – Dilma’s Impeachment 

By BRIAN WINTER

The tide turned quickly on Brazil’s former president.

Dec. 5 – Haiti’s Earthquake 

By ROBERTO SIMON

Manmade problems are still exacerbating a tragedy provoked by natural disaster.

Dec. 9 – U.S.-Cuba Policy Whiplash 

By MATTHEW D. AHO

Barack Obama’s 2014 decision to normalize ties with Cuba seemed to mark the end of the Cold War in the Western Hemisphere. Then President Trump upended it.

Dec. 10 – Four Female Presidents 

By EMILIE SWEIGART

For 58 days, Latin America made history as four women served simultaneously as heads of state.

Dec. 11 – The Rise and Fall of CICIG 

By BRENDAN O’BOYLE

The groundbreaking anti-corruption agency’s demise showed that impunity won’t die quietly.

Dec. 12 – Hurricane Maria

By BEN MILLER

The natural disaster devastated the Caribbean – exposing corruption and climate risks in its wake.

Dec. 16 – Goodbye, Chávez

By THÉO MANZALI DE SÁ-KAYE

A leftist icon dies, a country collapses.

Dec. 17 – AMLO’s Election

By BENJAMIN RUSSELL

Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s persistence paid off, but his predecessors’ incompetence delivered the prize.

Dec. 18 – Colombia’s Peace Deal

By BENJAMIN RUSSELL

An imperfect peace deal edges forward, despite road blocks.

Dec. 19 – Odebrecht

By ROBERTO SIMON

The “largest foreign bribery case in history” continues to shake the region.


Tags: 2010s, Crisis, Decade, Look back, Overview, Roundup
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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
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