Americas

Once one of the world's wealthiest nations, Argentina has experienced recurring economic crises in recent decades. Inequality, which peaked in the 1990s, has nevertheless been receding.

One of the world's rising economic powers, Brazil has made significant progress in reducing poverty levels. However, Latin America's largest country remains riddled with social disparities, ranking among the 20 most unequal countries in the world.

A stable democracy since 1990, Chile is one of the most flourishing economies in Latin America. Its relative prosperity makes the country an attractive destination for migrant workers from the region and beyond, exposing it to human trafficking.

Unlike most of its neighbors, Costa Rica has enjoyed over six decades of stable democratic government. Its Human Development Index is among the highest in the region.

One of the world's most biodiverse countries, Ecuador became the first-ever nation in 2008 to recognize the rights of nature in its Constitution.

The smallest and most densely populated country in mainland Central America, El Salvador is home to a number of brutal criminal gangs. Despite periodic truces, gang-related violence is rampant, accounting for one of the five highest murder rates in the world.

Almost two decades since the 1996 peace accords that brought an end to the 36-year-long civil war in Guatemala, justice for wartime atrocities remains elusive. And social inequality is still widespread.

Honduras is believed to have the world's highest murder rate. Violent criminal gangs operating in many parts of the country. Femicide is on the rise: the United Nations estimates that three out of four such crimes go unpunished.

Mixed messages have come from Mexico in recent years. The economy, battered by the 2008 crisis but fueled since then by foreign investment, is growing again. Exports are strong: no other country except Canada trades as much with the United States.

A decade of sustained economic growth has substantially reduced overall poverty in Paraguay. But inequality is on the rise. This is mainly due to a regressive tax system that affects low-income households disproportionately, and to inadequate social spending.

Thanks to high growth rates over the past decade, Peru has managed to reduce poverty significantly. Although inequality among the 31-million strong population has decreased accordingly, many indigenous communities remain on the margins of society.