My politics writing has lately focused on Brazil, a country that been through the mill in the past couple of years. I've written several long pieces for Foreign Policy: about Dilma Rousseff's impeachment woes, about Brazil's efforts to counter corruption, and about the place of women in the country.
When I lived in Buenos Aires, I documented the Kirchners’ chaotic rule for The Economist. The then president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, changed the date of the mid–term elections to improve her predecessor and husband’s electoral chances, a strategy that required the enlisting of celebrity fake candidates, inspired the opposition's main candidate to dance on TV and ultimately backfired on the ruling couple. These midterms also announced the arrival on the federal stage of the party of current president, Mauricio Macri.
Ms Kirchner's government continued to manipulate the media and lie about statistics such as inflation, which worried Argentines more than ever when swine flu came along. Providing free football made her somewhat more popular, although it wasn’t exactly a good use of the public purse in a country that wasn't able to borrow from the credit markets. She kept a tight grip on power by putting friends and family in high places, doggishly attacking her enemies and bringing up the war whenever her back was against the ropes. Such stress drove Néstor Kirchner into an early grave.
To lighten the mood, I turned my attention to Buenos Aires's burgeoning population of vegetarians, to the growing political savviness of Argentina's farmers, to agricultural competitions and to Uruguay, where the government gave every under -12 a laptop and the presidency passed from an oncologist to flower farmer, Pepe Mujica. I have also written about logging and oil exploration in the Amazon for The Economist, and various pieces about Latin American science and Chagas disease for Nature.