• Adam Ratzlaff crop

    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.

A Cautionary Tale of Constitutional Rewrites

Rewriting national constitutions became a trademark of Latin America’s famous “Pink Tide,” or turn towards leftist governments. While this process was frequently seen by supporters as an attempt to give power back to the people, it often resulted in consolidating power within the executive – a problem further exacerbated by many presidents’ attempts to extend…

Depoliticizing Democratic Crises at the OAS

At the Organization of American States’ (OAS) 47th General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico, representatives from the across the Americas voted on whether or not to censure Venezuela in an effort to address the democratic and humanitarian on-going crisis. Unfortunately, this effort failed, with 14 nations voting against censure. There can be little argument that a crisis…

Trump’s Bad Bet on Cuba

On June 16, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his plan to reverse the Obama administration’s efforts to thaw relations with Cuba. The president claimed that he would seek a “better deal” and refuse to lift the embargo on Cuba until: (1) the Castro regime was no longer in power, (2) free and fair elections had…

Soft Power Conflicts in the Western Hemisphere

There are many ethical and interests based arguments for why the United States should provide foreign aid to Latin America. Many argue that promoting economic prosperity and stability in the hemisphere benefits U.S. national interests, while others make the moral argument that reducing poverty and misery in the Americas is the right thing to do.…

“Poor Mexico, So Far From God, So Close to the United States”: Trump’s Threat to Mexico is Nothing New

President Donald Trump has come out forcefully against international trade and integration. Although Trump’s opposition to trade is targeted at many countries, the subject of much of Trump’s anti-trade ire has been Mexico. With Trump’s threats to tear up, or at least renegotiate, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), institute a “border adjustment” tax,…

Reasserting Multilateralism and Democracy in the Americas

Democracy and multilateralism are under siege around the world. Global levels of freedom declined annually over the past 11 years and there has been a frightening increase in populism in recent years. On the multilateral front, the Trump administration has vowed to cut funding for international organizations, the United Kingdom is pulling out from the…

Follow on Social Media

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…

A Step in the Right Direction? Trump’s “Aid” to Central America

Although the Trump administration pays little attention to the Americas outside of U.S. concerns with the “Troika of Tyranny,” the administration is taking a stance against immigration from the region into the United States and at combatting Chinese influence in the region. On December 18, 2018, President Trump announced a $5.8 billion aid package to…

Follow on Social Media