Miller Center

Latin America

In the last decade, we have witnessed a dramatic rise of leftist governments in Latin America. At the same time, there has also been a substantive decline in U.S. influence in the region, perhaps best exemplified by the failed launch of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).  And long-standing issues such as drug control and immigration remain at the forefront of U.S.-Latin American policy concerns. For these reasons, in the fall of 2008, ten years after Chavez' landmark election in 1998, the Miller Center at the University of Virginia launched a special ongoing Forum series focused on Latin America. 

Forums in Series

October 27, 2008

U.S.-Latin American Relations: Recommendations for the New Administration

Michael Shifter
Michael Shifter, Vice President for Policy & Director of the Andean Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. Shifter is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He is a former director of the Latin American and Caribbean program at the National Endowment for Democracy, and at the Ford Foundation. He is a contributing editor to Current History, and co-editor of Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America (John Hopkins University Press), and has testified before Congress about U.S. policy toward Latin America.



November 21, 2008

Chávez's Venezuela After a Decade of Bolivarian Revolution

Jennifer McCoy
Jennifer McCoy is a Political Science Professor at Georgia State University, and Director of the Americas Program at The Carter Center in Atlanta. She is an internationally recognized expert on Venezuelan politics, and she accompanied President Jimmy Carter on his historic 2002 trip to Cuba. She is editor and contributor to The Unraveling of Representative Democracy in Venezuela (Johns Hopkins University, 2004); Political Learning and Redemocratization in Latin America: Do Political Leaders Learn from Political Crises? (North-South Center, 2000); and Venezuelan Democracy Under Stress (North-South Center, 1995).



December 14, 2009

Cuba after Castro

James Cason
James C. Cason recently retired as U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, a position he held since 2005. Cason served much of his 38-year career with the Department of State in Latin America, including Bolivia, Cuba (as Chief of the U.S. Interests Section), El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Uruguay, and Venezuela. He also held positions in Italy and Portugal, served as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. embassies in Jamaica and Honduras, and was Political Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Atlantic Command and to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic. Cason’s work has earned him six meritorious honor awards, a Superior Honor Award, the department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Presidential Rank Award.



March 29, 2010

Latin American Presidents, 1990s–2000s:
Who's a Leftist, Who's a Populist, and What's the Difference

Javier Corrales
Javier Corrales, Associate Professor of Political Science at Amherst College and a visiting scholar at Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, argues that the notion of a united leftist coalition of Latin nations opposing the United States and free-market reforms is an illusion. The author of several books on democratization, constitutional change, and economic reforms in Latin America, Corrales will explore the many faces of the leftist trend in Latin America.



April 2, 2010

Toward a New Haitian State?

Robert Fatton
Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Robert Fatton will discuss the future of Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital on Jan. 12. Fatton is the Julia A. Cooper Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs in Politics at U.Va. and is the author of several books and numerous scholarly articles on democratization.



November 12, 2010

Is Immigration Reform Politically Possible Under the Obama Administration?

Edward Schumacher-Matos
As the nation struggles to define its immigration policy, Edward Schumacher-Matos, Director of Harvard's Initiative on Immigration and Integration Policy and Studies, will analyze the difficult choices America faces in finding a solution to the current immigration crisis. An expert on Latin American affairs, Schumacher-Matos writes a nationally syndicated column for The Washington Post Writers Group, and is currently working on a book on unauthorized immigration. He was the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Americas, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, member of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and founded the Rumbo chain of Spanish-language newspapers in Texas.



November 19, 2010

Brazil in the World

Paulo Sotero Marques
As Brazil plays an ever expanding role in regional and world politics, the international community eagerly awaits the results of this fall's presidential elections. Paulo Sotero Marques, Director of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, will join us for a discussion on the future of Brazil in world affairs and an analysis of this year's presidential race. Prior to his current post, Sotero was the Washington correspondent for Estado de S. Paulo, a leading Brazilian daily newspaper. He has also been a regular commentator and analyst for the BBC radio Portuguese language service, Radio France Internationale, and is a contributor to newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals. He has also served as adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University's Center for Latin American Studies of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and in 2009, joined the adjunct faculty of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.
See also:
"Brazil's Rising Ambition in a Shifting Global Balance of Power" (POLITICS)
"Brazil as a Regional Power" (Brazil Institute)


February 11, 2011

Understanding Rising Violence in Mexico

Andrew Selee
Andrew Selee is director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, which promotes dialogue between the United States and Mexico, and an adjunct professor of Government at Johns Hopkins University.  His most recent publications are Mexico’s Democratic Challenges (co-editor, 2010), and The United States and Mexico: More than Neighbors (co-author, 2010).  He is a frequent commentator in the press, and prior to joining the Wilson Center in 2000, Selee was a congressional staffer and worked for five years in Tijuana, Mexico on migrant youth and community development programs.  He has a PhD in Policy Studies from the University of Maryland and an MA in Latin American Studies from UCSD.