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    Adam Ratzlaff

    Staff Writer

    Adam is a staff writer at Charged Affairsis and a PhD student in International Relations at Florida International University. He holds an MA from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a BA from Tulane University. Ratzlaff predominantly writes about inter-American politics, development, and democratization. Follow Adam on Twitter @adam_ratzlaff.

Taiwan’s Bad News from the Western Hemisphere

Since the end of the Chinese Civil War, the official “state” of China has been in flux as a result of the One China policy. While Mao Zedong won the Chinese Revolution in 1950, the Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the island of Formosa. Since this time, the country has lived under the One China…

Venezuela and the Risk of “Democratic” Coup D’états

Venezuela continues to face political and economic turmoil. The Chavista regimes of Venezuelan Presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro cracked down on the media and political opposition. The economic situation in the country is, if possible, even more dire, with the International Monetary Fund recently suggesting that inflation rates could reach one million percent this…

Great Power Influence in Latin America: A Historical Comparison

A recent report from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) highlighted the rise of China’s “sharp” power in Latin America. Sharp power builds upon the classic work of Joseph Nye, who developed the concept of soft power, or efforts to exert influence through non-military means. Unlike soft power, which often seeks to win the support…

Honduran Term Limits and International Responses to Democratic Backsliding

On November 26, 2017, Honduras held historic presidential elections. An incumbent President was permitted to run for reelection for the first time since the adoption of the 1982 Honduran Constitution. However, the election was marred by irregularities and had been declared null by international observers from the Organization of American States (OAS). This is not,…

The Need to Defend Rights Over Stability

During a 2014 trip to Berlin, I was in a cab headed down to a museum and the cab driver had on a Latin music radio station. As we approached the Brandenburg Gate, the song Desapariciones, about the “disappearances” that occurred during many of Latin America’s late 20th century dictatorships, began to play. The next…

Mixed Messages in the Western Hemisphere

U.S.-Latin American relations have a long and contentious relationship. Although the United States and Latin America have worked together to address a number of challenges, the region hasn’t forgotten that the United States has been involved in numerous coups in Latin America. While President Trump has the opportunity to improve relations with the United States’…

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OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro speaking at Florida International University about the future of democracy in the Americas

The Precedent of Inaction

Reporting of Bolivian Election results stopped suddenly sparking protests that eventually led to the ouster of President Evo Morales. However, this crisis may have been averted had the Organization of American States set the precedent of preventing the erosion of democracy.

Extending the Fig Branch

If the next U.S, president is going to successfully repair relations with Latin America, they are going to need to look for innovative approaches to doing so. This will require an all of government approach and inspiration may come from unlikely sources.

Tariffs Won’t Stop Chinese Influence in Latin America

Sen. Rick Scott claims that tariffs on China can combat rising Chinese influence in Latin America but this would only serve to increase Chinese influence in the Americas.
Sede de Unasur Quito Ecuador building

El Mercado Institucional: Multilateral Forum Shopping in Latin America

In the Americas, the multitude of regional organizations allow states to bypass the limitations of each organization and weakens the effectiveness of regional institutions. Rather than creating new organizations, the region should fix existing institutions.

The Hemispheric Community and Slow-Motion Coups

Bolivian President Evo Morales has steadily undermined his nation’s democratic institutions, leading Andres Oppenheimer and others to claim that a “slow motion coup” is occurring in the country. The Andean nation has seen a number of challenges to liberal democratic practice since Morales first came to power in 2006. Perhaps the most pervasive challenge has…

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