Youth are driving change in Latin America

Latin Americans discussing youth political participation

Español 

Twelve young Latin American political leaders and activists recently gathered in Guatemala for an NDI-led workshop on youth political participation. Conversations ranged from what motivates youth to get involved in politics, to how sociocultural norms about youth affect their work, and what tactics youth have used to elevate their political voices in their home countries of El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. Amidst widespread myths about youth political apathy, these diverse young activists represent a generation that is motivated to build more inclusive, democratic societies.

Read More…

Promoting Democratic Governance of the Security Sector

Members of the Defense and Security Commission of Burkina Faso's National Assembly meet members of the armed forces during an informational visit to a military base in Kaya.

Violence and crime pose serious threats to citizen security. A lack of response to these threats from authorities erodes public trust in government institutions and weakens prospects for stable democracy. Maintaining the peace and ensuring the security of citizens is necessary for a democracy to develop and endure. Likewise, democratic institutions, such as parliaments, media and civil society, help guarantee a focus on citizen interest and public good, especially related to civilian oversight of the security sector. Threats to citizen security are particularly notable in West Africa’s Sahel region and Central America’s Northern Triangle, areas where NDI works to bridge the gap between citizens’ security needs and the state’s ability to meet them.

Read More…

Building Consensus to Move Democratic Initiatives in Honduras Forward

Leaders from seven major political parties in Honduras, as well as civil society groups, attended a dinner hosted by NDI and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) on August 11, 2015, to discuss how to advance important democracy initiatives in Honduras. The event was the first time the leaders had convened in two years.

Over the past three months, Hondurans have taken to the streets to call attention to corruption and impunity in response to the latest corruption scandal involving the embezzlement of $120 million from the Honduras Social Security Institute. Unrest has been noticeable in Honduras for years, particularly after a 2009 constitutional crisis culminated in a coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya from office. Although the 2013 presidential elections helped the office of the president regain a degree of legitimacy, democracy in Honduras continues to face significant challenges. The United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) recently sent missions to the country at the request of the Honduran government to facilitate a national dialogue in order to stabilize the unrest.

Read More…

Social Media Insights on Crime and Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean

Social media analytics on crime and violence in Honduras. The colors represent the sentiment -- positive, negative or neutral -- associated with the context in which the words pandilleros (gang members) and pandilla (gang) were used.

The words “crime” and “violence” seemingly go together when talking about the Northern Triangle countries of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala). The words “data” and “hackathon” go together when discussing technical innovation, intricate computer applications and groups of hackers writing computer code to create the next billion-dollar application. Rarely do these four words merge on the same plane, but when they do, opportunities abound for conversations that have lots to do with innovation and more to do with citizen security and social development. I had the opportunity to take part in such conversations during a USAID-organized hackathon on April 30 and May 1, focusing on security levels in Central America and the Caribbean.

Read More…