Experts

Cristina Lopez-Gottardi Chao

Assistant Professor and Research Director for Public and Policy Programs

Fast Facts

  • Assistant professor at the Miller Center
  • Producer for American Forum
  • Expertise on Cuba, U.S.-Cuban relations, opposition and dissident movements, democratization, Hispanics in America

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Human Rights and Civil Rights

Cristina Lopez-Gottardi Chao is assistant professor and research director for public and policy programs at the Miller Center. Her programmatic work centers primarily on Miller Center Presents and she recently served as co-editor of the First Year 2017 opportunity and mobility volume. Prior to her appointment in 2007, Lopez-Gottardi Chao held positions at Emory University’s Institute for Comparative and International Studies, the University of Miami’s North-South Center and Barclays Bank Latin American Regional Office. She has also worked as a consultant to Freedom House. Lopez-Gottardi Chao received her undergraduate degree in politics and Spanish from Middlebury College, and her doctorate from the University of Miami’s School of International Studies. Her dissertation, The Growth of Opposition in Cuba: Problems and Prospects for Democratization, was awarded the 2005 Alberto J. Varona Prize for best dissertation in Cuban studies.

Lopez-Gottardi Chao's scholarship examines the evolving nature of U.S.-Cuban relations, the state of human rights on the island, and Cuba’s opposition and dissident movement, considering prospects for democratization from this sector. The December 2014 change in U.S.-Cuban relations and the direct role played by President Obama in altering this policy has created an alignment between Lopez-Gottardi Chao's core scholarship with a focus on the American presidency and in particular, executive decision making.

Drawing on past research related to democracy promotion efforts via studies of USAID and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations, Lopez-Gottardi Chao is also interested in broader U.S. foreign policy questions. In addition, she is beginning research on the growing Hispanic population in the United States, and the implications this demographic will have on domestic policymaking and the role of the presidency in assimilating this core and expanding minority group. 

Cristina Lopez-Gottardi Chao News Feed

In case there’s any doubt, Venezuela is a failing state. In 2019 inflation rates are projected to hit 10 million percent, power outages are recurring, food and medical supplies are dwindling, water access is limited, mass poverty has taken root, and human and civil rights abuses are rampant. According to Freedom House, Venezuela is the only nation in South America designated “not free” with the lowest possible political rights score. And in recent weeks, Nicolàs Maduro’s regime initiated a new round of abuses.
Cristina Lopez-Gottardi Richmond Times-Dispatch
Jan. 1 marked the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, the day Fidel Castro’s armed uprising marched into Havana to oust then-dictator Fulgencio Batista. This pivotal moment in history would go on to mark the beginning of one of the longest surviving nondemocratic regimes in the world, surviving 12 U.S. presidents, and countless political and economic crises. Today’s historic milestone comes at a time of significant uncertainty for the island nation — a trait that has been the unfortunate norm of Cuba’s Revolution.
Cristina Lopez-Gottardi The Daily Progress
Jan. 1 marked the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, when Fidel Castro’s armed uprising marched into Havana to oust then-dictator Fulgencio Batista. This pivotal moment in history would go on to mark the beginning of one of the longest surviving nondemocratic regimes in the world, surviving 12 U.S. presidents, and countless political and economic crises. Today’s historic milestone comes at a time of significant uncertainty for the island nation — a trait that has been the unfortunate norm of Cuba’s Revolution.
Cristina Lopez-Gottardi Chao The Hill
Hispanics have become a powerful force in American politics, and yet in recent days there has been growing concern that they might not turn out for the November midterms now just weeks away. But earning their vote may be more straightforward than imagined. Targeted policy solutions focused on education and bread-and-butter issues, in combination with voter mobilization efforts and a nuanced approach to diversity, can pave the way for either major party to gain favor with this increasingly powerful demographic.
Cristina Lopez-Gottardi Chao CNN
Five factors that will impact the important Hispanic demographic on November 6.
Cuba’s National Assembly will gather on April 19 to choose Cuba’s next leader, and for the first time in more than 60 years he or she is unlikely to bear the Castro name.
Cristina Lopez-Gottardi The Hill