Several Latin American countries are celebrating their general or internal elections in 2012: The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela. In a continent plagued by a variety of social and political problems, the right to universal suffrage rouses the hopes of millions of Latin Americans who seek safety, freedom, and economic stability.
In Mexico, amidst the government’s drug war, the electoral outcome will carry significant implications for regional security and efforts to combat organized crime. In the Caribbean, it remains to be seen whether the Dominicans will continue to support the Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana or if they will give former President Hipolito Mejia a second shot at governing. Later on during the year, both Honduras and Panama will hold internal elections; the candidates that emerge from this initial electoral cycle could play a definitive role in a region affected by poor governance, violence, and organized crime.
Further south, the Venezuelan regime could potentially lose its thirteen year old hegemonic rule: as Hugo Chavez struggles to control his medical condition, his opponents might just gather enough strength to oust the ‘caudillo’ and return democracy and the rule of law to their troubled nation.