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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.

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’…

Trump’s Rhetoric and the Sino-Latin American Relationship

Before the turn of the 21st century, Chinese relations with Latin America were limited. However, since the 2008 financial crisis, China has pumped large amounts of aid and inter-governmental loans into Latin America. China has also become active in several regional organizations, including the United Nations Economic Commission on Latin America (ECLAC) and the Community…

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…

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Choosing a Captain in the Storm

As Organization of American States members prepare to select the institution’s general secretary, they need to consider the role that the leader will play in protecting democracy in the Americas.

Monitoring the U.S. Election for Democracy in the Americas

As the United States enters the 2020 election season, politicians on both sides of the aisle should consider inviting election monitors to observe the election. Doing so would allow the United States to more effectively achieve its objectives in the Americas.
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.

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