regionLatin America and Caribbean

Citizens across Latin America and the Caribbean want opportunities for themselves and their children – to live in health and safety, pursue education, and achieve their dreams. Unfortunately, most of the countries in the region fall short in creating such environments because of persistent economic inequality, poor government services, and chronic insecurity.

Woman celebrating election

Democratic institutions face challenges of corruption at every scale, opacity in government processes, poor governance from the local to national level, and often elections that fail to deliver representative government. These challenges express themselves in the daily lives of citizens by disenfranchising youth, women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTI community. The lack of economic opportunities leads many to leave their homes or work in illicit industries, perpetuating the cycle of insecurity and instability. Endemic corruption reduces community resources and deflates popular support for democracy.  

Despite these challenges, citizens are as active as ever and continue to demand better governance and representation. Social movements are demanding public policies that meet socioeconomic demands through democratic processes. Civil society organizations work across every topic to organize citizens and hold government accountable. Elected officials, government workers, and aspiring candidates are working to become more effective in their jobs, champion transparency and good governance, and be responsive to constituents’ needs and priorities.

For over 35 years IRI has supported democratic actors in the region to address these issues. At the local level, where citizens interact with elected officials first and most frequently, IRI increases municipal governments’ capacity to deliver services efficiently, foster citizen engagement, and promote economic development. IRI works with civil society and marginalized groups to advocate for community interests and concerns.

During elections, IRI works on both ends of the equation –enhancing the transparency of elections through independent election monitoring and technical support to electoral authorities, as well as working with candidates to transition from elections to governance. IRI builds transparency and access to information across the region by working with journalists, media, and civil society to hold government accountable.

Latest News & Resources

Programs

Countries

Argentina Election Crowd

Argentina

For nearly four decades, Argentina has been a democratic country in a region known for authoritarian rule. Bolstering the democratic…

An indigenous woman signs after casting her vote

Bolivia

The Movement Towards Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) party has returned to power with Luis Arce’s 2020 presidential win—amplifying long-simmering…

A polling station in Jamaica

Caribbean

IRI is increasing youth leaders’ political participation and strengthening government accountability in the Caribbean by equipping youth with the capacity…

IRI WiGov pilot workshop in Bogota, 2019

Colombia

IRI helps support democratic processes and good governance in Colombia through work with the government, civil society organizations (CSOs), and…

Cuba Demonstration in Havana

Cuba

Cuba remains the Western Hemisphere’s longest standing dictatorship. Cubans are isolated from other societies by sea and from one another…

Woman voting in Ecuador

Ecuador

Since 2017, Ecuadorians have sought to repair the significant damage to the political system left behind by former President Rafael…

Information booth

El Salvador

The current political context of El Salvador is marked by internal conflict, corruption, and inequality of opportunities. Supporting strong democratic institutions and participatory processes to engage…

An indigenous woman holding a baby casts her vote

Guatemala

Since the Peace Accords in 1996 that ended the country’s civil war, Guatemala has worked to overcome ongoing challenges of…

Guyanese citizens line up to vote

Guyana

After the conclusion of a tumultuous process of Guyana’s 2020 Election, trust in electoral and governance systems has begun to…

Haiti

For years, Haiti has been plagued by political instability, economic hardship, and natural disasters, among other crises. IRI seeks to…

Previews of Elections in Honduras

Honduras

Honduras has faced numerous challenges to its democratic development and stability in the decade since this 2009 coup against then-President Manuel Zelaya including…

A man walks past electoral propagand

Mexico

The United States and Mexico relationship is critical to regional stability, security, and prosperity. IRI has worked with state and…

Nicaragua

While Nicaragua shares few of the public safety challenges of its northern neighbors, electoral irregularities, constitutional manipulations and the declining…

CSO Training IRI Panama

Panama

After the fall of the Noriega military dictatorship, IRI was one of the first international non-governmental organizations to visit Panama…

Meeting in Peru, 2016

Peru

IRI began its work in Peru when democracy was reinstated just after the turn of the century. Since then, the…

Venezuela

For more than a decade, respect for civil liberties and space for political dissent has continued to erode in Venezuela.…

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