YPA Preview of 2022 Latin American Elections

Young Professionals of the Americas hosted a discussion on upcoming elections in Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica, all of which are experiencing polarized political environments.


  • Sylvia Colombo, Latin America Correspondent, Folha de S. Paulo
  • Will Freeman, Journalist and PhD Candidate, Princeton University
  • Chase Harrison, Editorial Associate, AS/COA Online (moderator)

In the Young Professionals of the Americas' kick-off program for the year, YPA’s Chase Harrison interviewed Folha de S. Paulo’s Sylvia Colombo and Princeton’s Will Freeman on the upcoming elections in Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Colombo explained it is unlikely for Brazilians to see a competitive third candidate running for the presidential race in October against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and current President Jair Bolsonaro despite Bolsonaro's low approval ratings. When it comes to Brazil’s widespread local and legislative elections, Colombo noted that there are regions where election outcomes are controlled by political family “clans,” while in large states like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the outcome mostly mirrors the presidential election.

On Colombia’s May presidential election, Freeman said that there is a high level of cynicism against the current political system. Reporting from Bogotá, he noted that the major theme dominating the political conversation is corruption. “In the 2010s, we saw a corruption wave, but it skipped Colombia, and we’re seeing the consequences now. There’s a lingering frustration,” said Freeman.

On Costa Rica, both Colombo and Freeman noted that the race remained wide open through the first round, and that in the small Central American country there is no clear distinction between the political left or right.