GOBIERNO Y ANÁLISIS POLÍTICO: Research Fellow (2020), currently working on Sharp Power in Latin America, and the effects of authoritarianism on exiled communities.
The crisis provoked by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic causing the COVID-19, has added a further burden to weakened democracies around the world, especially in Latin America. The cases of democracy decline in Nicaragua and Venezuela exemplify the instability of their democratic institutions, and the accelerated autocratization process amidst the profound economic crises that both countries are going through. Nonetheless, the populist regimes of Daniel Ortega and Nicolás Maduro are doubling down on their power grip, weaponizing the lack of access to health care and utilities, as they coerce a vulnerable population, using repression and political persecution to prevent social mobilizations. Our work explores the intersections of populism and autocratization during states of emergency (Lührmann, Rooney, 2020) and how the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing a weakened democracy to advance in its path to autocratization (Lührmann, A.; Edgell, Amanda B.; Maerz, Seraphine F., 2020), through the analysis of Varieties of Democracy indicators: Liberal Democracy Index, Electoral Democracy Index, Participatory Democracy Index for Nicaragua and Venezuela. In our preliminary findings, the risks of backsliding increase as these regimes deepen their control to prevent social mobilization efforts, making the prospects for a democratic transition highly improbable in the near future.
This Gobierno y Análisis Político AC (GAPAC)’s article presents a regional overview of trends in Latin American and Caribbean countries in legal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted the rights of freedom of association, peaceful assembly, and expression.
Sharp Power and Latin American diasporas in the United States: a look at Cuban and Venezuelan exiles within the intellectual community
The Cuban and Venezuelan diasporas have in common, among many other traits, a diverse and intellectually rich community that, as it struggles to adapt to a different culture, language and society, also has to deal with actors within the fields of academia, media, publishing and culture, that are more ideologically aligned with the regimes they are fleeing away from; where also, official representatives from those regimes through different forms and means can effectively influence those spaces, creating a hostile environment that prevents them from achieving personal and professional stability, and in some extreme cases, threatening more than job opportunities. These are circumstances in which some authoritarian regimes, like China, take advantage of the benefits that democratic regimes offer for cultural exchange (Walker, 2018), providing an opportunity for them to gain authority and influence among local actors, using that sway over those that are perceived as ideological foes. This proposal aims to identify the spheres of influence Cuba and Venezuela have on intellectual circles in the United States, tracing participation and support as opposed to the exclusion of those expats fleeing both authoritarian regimes.