The CSIS Americas Program podcast looks at the politics and policies of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere. It especially focuses on U.S. engagement with the region, whether on trade, diplomacy, or security issues like drugs and terrorism. Guests include top policymakers from the U.S. and other countries.
El rumbo democrático: An Auto-Coronation in El Salvador
vor einem Tag
32:31On Sunday, February 4, Salvadorans headed to the polls to cast their votes in what virtually all analysts predicted would yield a landslide victory for incumbent President Nayib Bukele. However, official confirmation of Bukele’s victory was interrupted as the president declared the opposition was “pulverized” before the final transmission of the votes had been completed and announced by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. While this appears to have been resolved in Bukele’s favor, with the tribunal officially announcing Bukele’s victory with some 83 percent of the vote, this incident is but the latest in a steady march of democratic backsliding in El Salvador, one where Bukele has shown contempt for any effort to check his executive authority. In this special episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Noah Bullock, Executive Director of Cristosal, a leading human rights organization which has been closely tracking the infringements upon civil and political rights under the Bukele administration. Together, they unpack the consequences of El Salvador's presidential elections, what to expect under a second Bukele term, and how the United States should respond.
From the Ashes? Noboa's Plan Phoenix and Ecuador's Evolving Security Situation
26:28Last month, Ecuador was rocked by a series of attacks carried out by members of criminal gangs. Over the course of two days of grueling violence, inmates rioted and took over prisons, gangs detonated car bombs across the country, and armed gunmen even stormed a live television broadcast in the violence-wracked city of Guayaquil. Then a few days later, the prosecutor investigating the attack on the TV station was gunned-down in cold blood. In response, newly-elected President Daniel Noboa has mobilized the armed forces and declared a state of “internal armed conflict” along with designating some 22 criminal groups as terrorist organizations. In this episode, Sebastián Hurtado, President and Founder of the Quito-based political risk consultancy Prófitas returns to 35 West to sit down with Christopher Hernandez-Roy. Together, they analyze the causes and consequences of spiking violence in Ecuador, the pressures Noboa faces to deliver quick results, and the challenges facing the Ecuadorian government's attempts to regain control over prisons and tamp down on ascendant criminal groups.
Back from the Brink? Arevalo's Inauguration and Democracy in the Americas
40:39In the months since Bernardo Arevalo's upset victory in Guatemala's presidential elections, a small elite often referred as “the pact of the corrupt,” has tried to derail the president-elect from taking office. In response, the United States imposed visa restrictions on nearly 300 Guatemalan congressmen and business leaders, while the Organization of American States, other international organizations and civil society raised mounting cries to respect the outcome of the election. For the time being, their tireless efforts appear to have paid off, with President Arrevalo taking office on January 14th, but only after a last-ditch effort by members in congress to block him. In this episode, Christopher Hernandez-Roy sits down with Ambassador Frank O. Mora, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States. Together, they shine a spotlight on the efforts of Guatemalan civil society, the OAS and the U.S. to defend democracy from efforts to overturn electoral results. They also look ahead to upcoming elections in the hemisphere, and analyze the role of the United States and OAS in safeguarding election integrity, and resisting democratic backsliding.
Derechos Humanos en Cuba / Human Rights in Cuba
33:14En esta edición especial en español, Christopher Hernández-Roy, Director Adjunto y Senior Fellow del Programa sobre las Américas, conversa con Yaxys Cires, Director de Estrategia del Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos sobre los resultados del último Examen Periódico Universal de Cuba del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas. Analizan la dicotomía entre la retórica gubernamental y la triste realidad de los derechos humanos en Cuba así como la profunda crisis económica que atraviesa la isla y cómo el régimen de Díaz-Canel ha respondido a estas presiones. In this special Spanish-language episode, Christopher Hernandez-Roy, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow with the Americas Program, sits down with Yaxys Cires, Director of Strategy at the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights to discuss the recent United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Cuba. They discuss the dichotomy between the government’s rhetoric and the sad reality of Cuba's human rights record. They also discuss the mounting economic crisis facing the island and how the Díaz-Canel government has responded to these pressures.
El Rumbo Democrático: On the Campaign Trail in Mexico
34:31Mexico's general election on June 2 of 2024 promises to be a seminal moment for Mexican politics and society on a number of fronts, in particular, the race has made headlines as a contest between two women, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum on one hand, and Senator Xóchitl Gálvez on the other, promising to herald Mexico’s first female president. But the race is also a test of the staying power of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena Party, and whether its breakout success in 2018 can be translated into sustained influence over Mexican politics. In this special episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Alma Caballero, Northern Latin America Managing Director at McLarty Associates. Together, they discuss the policy positions of the frontrunners, the challenges that will face either a Gálvez or a Sheinbaum government, and the influence President López Obrador is likely to wield over Mexico's political environment even after departing office. They also delve into questions of security, and the threat organized crime may pose to the electoral process next year.
La estrategia espacial en las Américas, un panorama en evolución / Space Strategy in the Americas, an evolving panorama
35:22En este episodio especial en español, Laura Delgado López, becaria visitante del programa de las Américas, se sienta a conversar con Victoria Valdivia Cerda, profesora de la Academia Nacional de Estudios Políticos y Estratégicos (ANEPE) y experta en política y derecho espacial. Ellas conversan sobre las distintas formas en que los países latinoamericanos enfocan su actividad espacial, incluyendo el desarrollo tecnológico, la cooperación internacional y el impacto de la competencia entre grandes potencias en los programas espaciales de la región. También, discuten el desarrollo de capacidades espaciales de doble uso, los riesgos de las armas antisatélite y cómo sus implicaciones van más allá del sector espacial. In this special Spanish-language episode, Laura Delgado López, visiting fellow with the Americas Program, sits down with Victoria Valdivia Cerda, professor at the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE) and expert in space policy and law. They discuss the different ways in which Latin American countries approach space activities, including technology development, international cooperation, and the impact of great power competition on regional space programs. They also discuss the development of dual-use space capabilities, the risks of anti-satellite weapons and how their implications go beyond the space sector.
El rumbo democrático: Colombia's Regional Elections
23:51On October 29, more than ten thousand elected positions, from local councils to departmental governors, throughout Colombia went up for election. The results confirmed predictions of setbacks for President Gustavo Petro’s governing Pacto Histórico coalition, which lost races in key cities such as Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali, in addition to several governorships. In this special episode, Juliana Rubio sits down with Sergio Guzmán, the Director of Colombia Risk Analysis. Together, they explore the key trends shaping the electoral environment, and delve into a couple of key races such as the Bogotá mayoral election. They also outline ways in which the Petro government may react, and prospects for the president to push forward his ambitious agenda within a more divided political context.
El rumbo democrático: A New President in Ecuador
24:22On Sunday, October 15, following a race that appeared neck-and-neck at several points, Daniel Noboa emerged victorious as Ecuador’s youngest elected president. Noboa’s victory over opponent Luisa González, the handpicked representative of former president Rafael Correa, signaled a desire for a change among the electorate, not only a departure from the outgoing Lasso government, but also a rejection of efforts to campaign off of nostalgia for the early Correa years. Yet whether Noboa, son of one of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, can deliver the kinds of novel change needed to pull Ecuador out of both a flagging economic situation and spiraling security crisis remains to be seen. In this special episode, Sebastián Hurtado, President and Founder of the Quito-based political risk consultancy Prófitas returns to 35 West to sit down with Christopher Hernandez-Roy. Together, they discuss the implications of Noboa's victory for Ecuador-U.S. relations, Noboa's agenda, and how he might plan to work with a divided legislature to deliver on key campaign promises.
El rumbo democrático: la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales argentinas / Argentina's First-Round Presidential Elections
34:18En este episodio especial en español, Ryan C. Berg se sienta a conversar con Brenda Struminger, periodista y corresponsal de la Casa Rosada para Infobae. Ellos conversaron sobre la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales argentinas y las cuestiones claves en juego, especialmente los planes de cada candidato para resolver la crisis económica del país. También analizaron la relación bilateral entre Argentina y Estados Unidos, y lo que significarán las elecciones para los esfuerzos de Argentina por hacer frente a la creciente inseguridad. In this special Spanish-Language episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Brenda Struminger, a journalist and Casa Rosada correspondent for Infobae. They discuss Argentina's upcoming first-round presidential elections and the key issues at play, most notably the plans of each candidate to resolve Argentina's current economic crisis. They also dig into the bilateral relationship between Argentina and the United States, and what elections will mean for Argentina's efforts to tackle rising insecurity.
Time to Talk Trade
24:17The level of economic integration that Mexico, the United States, and Canada have managed to achieve with one another is surely one of the defining success stories of the Western Hemisphere. Undoubtedly however, more needs to be done to realize the full potential of North American trade, especially as politically charged disputes over key issues from energy to automotives and agriculture risk undermining support within all three countries at a time when it is most sorely needed. In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Orlando Pérez, Senior Counsel at TMI Abogados, and the principal negotiator of USMCA’s intellectual property chapter. Together, they discuss the genesis of USMCA, contemporary challenges to the agreement, and what needs to be done to encourage further trade integration in light of the recent 2023 U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue. They also investigate recent calls for extending USMCA to countries outside of North America, and lessons for future trade policy.