(New York) – Latin America is facing some of its gravest human rights challenges in decades, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2022. “Latin America is experiencing such an alarming reversal of basic freedoms that we now have to defend democratic spaces that we once took for granted,” said Tamara Taraciuk Broner, Americas acting director at Human Rights Watch. “Even democratically elected leaders attacked independent civil society, the free press, and judicial independence. Millions of people were forced to leave their homes and countries, and the economic and social impact of the pandemic has been devastating.” In the 752-page World Report 2022, its 32nd edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries. Executive Director Kenneth Roth challenges the conventional wisdom that autocracy is ascendent. The Cuban government systematically engaged in abuses against critics and artists, including arbitrary detention, ill-treatment of detainees, and abuse-ridden criminal prosecutions in response to overwhelmingly peaceful anti-government protests. The November elections in Nicaragua were carried out without any democratic guarantees. In the run-up to the elections, Daniel Ortega’s government arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted critics and opponents, including seven presidential candidates, holding many incommunicado in abusive conditions for weeks or months. Additionally, more than 100 people perceived as critics remain arbitrarily imprisoned in the context of the human rights crisis that began in 2018.