Female Presidents, Olympic Medals, and the Panama Canal

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Latinometrics Weekly
Welcome to Latinometrics. We bring you Latin American insights and trends through concise, thought-provoking data visualizations. It’s great to have you on board.
We also hope you had a great holiday and that you’re ready to wrap up what’s been a hell of a year.
Today’s charts:
  1. Visualizing Latin America’s first female heads of state
  2. Cuba’s medal dominance at the Olympics
  3. Shipments crossing the Panama Canal
As usual, we love how engaged the community of Reddit is with our charts even when their feedback gets tough. More on that at the bottom of this newsletter; and also the comment of the week.

History 📜
History of Latin America's Female Heads of State
History of Latin America's Female Heads of State
Isabel Martinez de Perón first served as VP to her husband, Juan Perón, and later was elected as the first female Latin American head of state. However, her term was short and controversial, and the Argentinian military overthrew her in 1976.
Forty-six years later, female elected leaders have become much more frequent but are still a minority — currently, only 3 out of 33 countries are led by a woman in Latin America & the Caribbean (all 3 in the Caribbean). Some have been controversial, and others very popular: Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff was impeached in 2016 while Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, after being elected twice as president, went on to become the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The most recent female leader elect is Xiomara Castro, who will begin her term as President of Honduras next month. A democratic socialist, she ran on an anti-corruption platform, promising to end what she calls a “narco-state.”
Who do you think will be next?
Olympics 🥊
Cuba Has Punched Its Way to the Top of LatAm's Olympic Medal Count
Cuba Has Punched Its Way to the Top of LatAm's Olympic Medal Count
Cuba has won more medals than any other country of Latin America. That’s especially remarkable given the country’s tiny population of about 11 million. They dominate in boxing: Cubans are second only to Americans in medals for that sport. However, Cuba has won more boxing medals than the US in every Olympic Games in which both countries participated.
One of Cuba’s most notable boxers in history is Teófilo Stevenson. His love for his country surpassed his desire for money and fame. Due to Cuba’s communist regime, it used to be illegal to fight as a professional boxer and be a resident. Because of this, Teófilo had to pass up many lucrative opportunities to fight professionally, including against Muhammad Ali for the Heavyweight title. He famously said in 1974: “What’s a million dollars against 8 million Cubans who love me?”
The second country in the rankings, Brazil, has a lot to be proud of with its volleyball performance. With 11 medals, they are soon expected to pass the USSR (yes, you read that correctly) for the most medals ever for that sport.
Global Trade 🚢
Panama Canal Shipments: Less Frequent But Much Heavier
Panama Canal Shipments: Less Frequent But Much Heavier
From the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 to the early 1980s, the number of ships crossing each year increased proportionally to the tonnage crossing. Starting in the 1980s, companies began optimizing their boats to carry bigger containers; therefore, while the number of transits stabilized at around 13-14k per year, the tonnage gradually increased.
The Panama Canal authorities embarked on an expansion project to accommodate the increasingly bigger boats, installing a new set of locks to handle the new sizes.
The project, inaugurated in 2016, doubled the capacity of the Canal by adding a new lane of traffic and allowing for more and bigger ships. The size of these ships is known as “NeoPanamax,” which allows for 3x the capacity as the previous model. Economies of scale are visible on the chart: Tonnage has surged, while the number of transits has not changed significantly.
See you next year! 🥂
Want more?
Our Internet Speed Chart went viral on Reddit, reaching the front page. Most of the comments were positive, but some criticized our choice of title for the chart. Our intended tone with the title was humor, and we never imagined that some would find it controversial.
From that same thread, here is the comment of the week; it turns out that according to billy_pickles, there’s a lot more that’s cool about Chile than just the internet speed:
Comment of the week (Reddit)
Comment of the week (Reddit)
Join the discussion on social media, where we’ll be posting today’s charts throughout the week. Follow us on TwitterLinkedInInstagram, or Facebook. We also opened a Telegram channel.
Feedback or chart suggestions? Reply to this email, and we’ll get back to you by the end of the day.
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