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Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Open Society Foundations’ work ranges from drug policy reform and reducing violence, to promoting government transparency and media freedom, to expanding the participation of women in politics.


Offices and Foundations

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Bogotá, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro offices work closely together on efforts to defend democracy, increase governmental transparency, protect minority rights, reduce homicides, and reform drug policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Bogota, Colombia

The Bogotá, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro offices work closely together on efforts to defend democracy, increase governmental transparency, protect minority rights, reduce homicides, and reform drug policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mexico City, Mexico

The Bogotá, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro offices work closely together on efforts to defend democracy, increase governmental transparency, protect minority rights, reduce homicides, and reform drug policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

By the Numbers

$46.1M 2019 budget for Latin America and the Caribbean
4.3% Percentage of global budget
2.2% Average annual change in budget since 2016

Regional Budget by Year

Explore our full budget by theme and region

Our History

In 1995, the Open Society Foundations launched the Fondasyon Konesans ak Libéte (FOKAL) after the restoration of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, following three years of military rule. Our first office in the region opened in Brazil in 2013, overseeing a growing portfolio of grant making on issues including drug policy, violence reduction, and equality issues. A second office opened in Mexico City in 2018.

Highlights of Our Work in Latin America and the Caribbean


Two men in São Paulo, Brazil play drums.
Two men play drums during a capoeira session in a São Paulo neighborhood on March 11, 2015. © Sebastian Liste/NOOR for the Open Society Foundations

Our Work

Spearheaded by our Latin America Program, our work in Latin America and the Caribbean is wide-ranging and includes issues such as government transparency, media freedom, reducing violence, and increasing women’s political participation.

Drug Policy Reform

A group of women walk through a coca plantation.
A group of women at work in a coca plantation in the Bolivian town of Arapata. © Susana Giron/Cordon Press/Redux

In Colombia, our Global Drug Policy Program funds efforts to develop beneficial commercial uses for coca leaf that can benefit small-scale growers, as an alternative to crop eradication campaigns. In Bolivia, we advocate for a coca control model that allows farmers to legally grow a limited and regulated quantity of coca leaves, a mainstay of Andean life for 4,000 years. The model has reduced coca cultivation, decreased violence, and helped stabilize rural economies. 

Reducing Violence

A young girl dressed as an angel looks at the camera during an antiviolence rally in Morelia, Mexico.
A young girl dressed as an angel takes part in an antiviolence rally in Morelia, Mexico on June 4, 2011. © Porfirio Gonzalez/Getty

Latin America’s cities have some of the world’s highest rates of violent crime, much of it linked to gang violence. Our Latin America Program has supported groups that seek to improve public safety through a community-based approach that goes beyond a reliance on punitive policing, involving local youth groups and businesses. 

Women’s Rights

A woman holds aloft a sign with a picture of the slain activist and elected official Marielle Franco in São Paulo, Brazil.
A woman holds a sign with a portriat of slain activist and elected official Marielle Franco in São Paulo, Brazil on April 14, 2018. © Cris Faga/NUR/Newscom

The work of the Open Society’s Women’s Rights Program includes funding groups that support women’s reproductive rights in a region where many governments have restrictive and conservative policies on this issue. We also seek to strengthen the role of women and women’s issues in political life and in the media.

Media Independence

A woman stands next to a missing-person poster in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico.
A reporter for the newspaper El Diario in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. © Timothy Fadek/Redux

In Latin America, the Open Society Foundations support efforts to protect journalists from threats and violence that they can face while doing their job. We also seek to sustain independent investigative reporting on issues that may be overlooked by the mainstream media for political or business reasons. 

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