Latin America

 

Alongside Europe and North America, Latin America is one of the world’s most democratic regions and therefore an important partner for Germany in the creation of a rule-based, multilateral world order. KAS has been working with Latin American states in a spirit of trust for over 50 years to foster close dialogue on the topics of democracy, the rule of law, decentralisation and social market economics through its 12 country offices and 5 regional projects.

When it comes to their histories, cultures and mentalities, Germany has more in common with Latin America than almost any other region. This ‘natural partnership’ with the region is also reflected in KAS’s international work, which started with the first foreign offices in Venezuela and Chile (1962).

Latin America has experienced sweeping changes since the early days of cooperation. Apart from a few exceptions, the countries in the region are governed democratically and adhere to the principles of market economy. At the beginning of the millennium, Latin America experienced a period of prosperity thanks to the huge revenue brought in from the resources boom, which significantly reduced poverty levels in many countries and boosted the region’s self-confidence on the international stage. However, a number of social and political challenges, including corruption, social inequality, a lack of trust in politics and state institutions, along with crime and violence, continue to exist despite the economic upswing. These factors are hampering the region’s development - now that the economic heyday is over and many states have to fight the serious impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Latin America kas
Latin America

KAS helps Latin American partners to tackle these political and social challenges. Specifically, KAS is committed to the following priority areas in Latin America:

  • cooperation with Christian-democratic and other centrist parties
  • promotion of the rule of law, constitutional reform processes and fighting corruption
  • regulatory dialogue on the structure of economic and social policies
  • contribution to the sustainability of democratic structures and institutions
  • consulting of governments and parliaments
  • promotion of political participation and human rights
  • cooperation with organisations in civil society and the media
  • promotion of decentralisation processes
  • dialogue on environmental politics, climate change and energy security
  • dialogue on foreign and security policy within the region and with Europe and Germany

The work of the country offices in Latin America is divided into three project regions, which are coordinated from Berlin.

Mexico and Central America kas
Mexico and Central America

​​Mexico and Central America

The project region of Mexico and Central America is characterised, at first glance, by considerable heterogeneity. Thanks to its size and economic power, Mexico sticks out as a member of the G20 and the OECD, and is also an important actor in an international context. Costa Rica is securely anchored in the western community of shared values and serves, alongside Panama, as a politically stable and reliable interlocutor for Germany and the European Union. In the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the most dominant issues on the agenda are security policy challenges and the topic of migration.

The KAS foreign offices in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama work closely with local partner institutions to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, as well as to promote active participation (particularly amongst indigenous populations, women and young people) in politics and society. Political dialogue with partner parties plays a particularly important role, especially in Mexico and Costa Rica. In addition to national aspects, issues in regard to regional cooperation, such as migration, security and foreign trade, as well as relationships with Europe and Germany are also addressed. Based in Panama, the ‘Alliances for Democracy and Development with Latin America’ regional programme (ADELA) makes an important contribution to the promotion of multilateralism and the strengthening of partnerships between Germany, Europe and Latin America as democratic partners with shared values.

​​​​​​​Andean states kas
​​​​​​​Andean states

Andean states

The situation in the Andean states of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia has been extremely volatile in recent years. Encouraging news, such as the historic peace agreement in Colombia that ended six decades of conflict with the FARC guerilla group in 2016, are juxtaposed with dramatic developments in the neighbouring country of Venezuela, which is currently experiencing a massive humanitarian, political and economic crisis and was the location of one of the 21st century’s largest refugee disasters. Social protests shook large parts of the region in autumn 2019, laying bare the full extent to which political polarisation and dissatisfaction over inadequate socio-economic participation are dividing the societies of the Andean countries.

The KAS foreign offices in the Andes, which besides the country projects in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia also include the regional projects for ‘Indigenous Political Participation’ based in Bolivia, the ‘Rule of Law Programme Latin America’ based in Colombia and the ‘Energy Security and Climate Change in Latin America’ programme, work closely with local political, judicial, media and civil society partners in their areas of activity. The country offices focus on specific national issues, such as the implementation of the peace process in Colombia, the decentralisation of government in Peru, the promotion of civil society in Venezuela and political dialogue in Bolivia. Although based in the Andean states, the regional projects work across borders and pursue overarching topics, such as promoting the rule of law in Latin America, socio-political participation amongst indigenous populations and the debate surrounding climate change. Since mid-2020, the KAS foreign offices in the Andean states have also been focusing their efforts on the consequences of the Venezuelan refugee crisis, as the countries in the region have, in the meantime, taken in the majority of around five million migrants and born the brunt of the mass exodus from Venezuela.

Cono Sur kas
Cono Sur

Cono Sur

The Cono Sur project region covers Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay and fosters party dialogue and democracy through the regional programme based there. Compared with the other regions, Cono Sur enjoys a relatively high level of political stability. Nevertheless, increasing societal polarisation can also be observed here. Despite a generally high level of development, the countries are characterised by significant regional differences and show large income disparities. Violent demonstrations erupted in apparently stable Chile during 2019, mostly in protest of social injustices and demanding a new constitution. Social and economic reforms are difficult to implement in a polarised environment, as shown by the example of Argentina. Brazil and Argentina play an important role thanks to their size and economic power. Both countries are members of the G20, a group of the twenty most important industrialised and emerging economies. Chile and Uruguay show consistent commitment to multilateralism. All four countries are important interlocutors for Germany and the European Union.

The foreign offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay focus primarily on the political dialogue with local partner parties and institutions, focusing on both national issues and the shared challenges of a more interdependent world: in addition to political education and dialogue formats for officials and junior staff on a national and municipal level, discussions also address global topics such as trade relationships, adapting to climate change and the development of regional security structures. KAS Brazil’s annual ‘Forte de Copacabana’ security conference has become firmly established on the global security policy agenda.

Our topics

Management

Team

Team member

Johannes Hügel

Johannes Hügel bild

Desk Officer for Peru, the Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Latin America, Special and Cross-cutting Issues

johannes.huegel@kas.de +32 2 66931 75 +32 2 66931 62
Team member

Maximilian Hedrich

Maximilian Hedrich bild

Desk Officer for Cono Sur and the Regional Programme Political Parties and Democracy in Latin America

maximilian.hedrich@kas.de +49 30 26996-3962 +49 30 26996-53962
Team member

Dr. Christina Stolte

Dr. Christina Stolte

Desk Officer for the Andean States, the Rule of Law Programme Latin America and the Regional Programme Political Partizipation of Indigenous People in Latin America

christina.stolte@kas.de +49 30 269 96-3833 +49 30 269 96-534 44
Contact

Dr. Kristina Hucko

Kristina Hucko

Desk Officer for Latin America in the Department International Dialogue Programs

Kristina.Hucko@kas.de +49 30 26996-3450 +49 30 26996-53450
Contact

Alison Sluiter

Alison Sluiter bild

Secretary / Assistant for Latin America in the Department International Dialogue Programs

alison.sluiter@kas.de +49 30 26996-3661 +49 30 26996-3558

Publications to the topic

Präsident von Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso Flickr/Samurai Juan/CC BY-SA 2.0
Abkehr vom Correísmo
Ecuador entscheidet sich überraschend deutlich für den konservativen Politiker Guillermo Lasso als Staatsoberhaupt
Ein Wahllokal in Peru KAS/Helbig
Perus Wahlen enden in Polarisierung und Zersplitterung
Venezuelan refugees are seen inside a coliseum where a temporary camp has been set up, after fleeing their country due to military operations, in Arauquita, Colombia reuters/Stringer
Hoffnung für venezolanische Migranten in Kolumbien
Mutige Entscheidung der Regierung Duque in der Flüchtlingspolitik
Virtuelles Gipfeltreffen zum 30. Jubiläum des Mercosur   Presidencia Uruguay
Mercosur: Familienkrach zum Jubiläum
30 Jahre nach seiner Gründung erscheint das Schicksal des südamerikanischen Staatenbundes zunehmend ungewiss
Marcelo Queiroga Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
COVID-19 und kein Ende
Brasilien im multiplen Krisenmodus
Präsident Luis Lacalle Pou bei seiner Regierungserklärung im Parlament. Foco Uy/ Gaston Brito
Stark durch die Krise
Im ersten Amtsjahr bringt Uruguays Präsident Luis Lacalle Pou trotz Pandemie seine Reformagenda voran
Nayib Bukele picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | Salvador Melendez
Wahlen schwächen die Demokratie im Nördlichen Dreieck
In El Salvador, Honduras und Guatemala siegt die politische Elite über den Rechtsstaat
Brasiliens Präsident Bolsonaro (rechts) begrüßt Ex-General Joaquim Silva e Luna, hier im Dezember 2020. Palácio do Planalto / flickr / CC BY 2.0 / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Ex-General wird Chef des Ölkonzerns Petrobras
Wie viel Macht haben die brasilianischen Militärs?
Senator Rodrigo Pacheco speaks after being elected the president of the Brazilian Senate in Brasilia, Brazil Reuters/Adriano Machado
Wahl der Präsidenten von Abgeordnetenhaus und Senat
Vorteil Bolsonaro
Panama City Flickr/dronepicr/CC BY 2.0
Panama’s “Bicentennial Pact”
A serious way of designing the future or a new deception?