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35 West

35 West

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.

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O Primeiro Turno das Eleições Brasileiras Traz Questões Complexas / No Easy Answers in Brazil?s First Round Presidential Election

No dia 2 de Outubro, o povo brasileiro votou no primeiro turno das eleições presidenciais. Por mais que nenhum candidato tenha conseguido uma maioria total, o Presidente Jair Bolsonaro e o ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, que ganharam respectivamente 43 e 48% dos votos válidos, irão para o segundo turno. Nessa semana, Ryan C. Berg conversará com Thiago de Aragão, um senior associate no CSIS e diretor de estratégia na Arko Advice. Juntos, eles analisam os resultados da eleição, discutem as razões por trás da surpreendentemente pequena margem entre Lula e Bolsonaro e os principais erros das pesquisas, e o que podemos esperar até o segundo turno. Eles também discutem a parceria dos Estados Unidos com o Brazil, um dos principais aliados americanos no hemisfério, e o futuro da política estrangeira estado-unidense com o Brasil independentemente do próximo presidente. On October 2, Brazilians voted in the first round of the country?s presidential elections. While no candidate secured a majority of the vote that would allow them to claim victory immediately, both incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and former president Luis Inacio ?Lula? da Silva emerged as clear frontrunners, receiving approximately 43 and 48 percent of all votes cast respectively. This week, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Thiago de Aragão, a senior associate with CSIS and director of strategy at Arko Advice, a political risk analysis firm based in Brazil. Together, they unpack the election results, why some polls significantly underestimated the margin of support for Bolsonaro and Lula, and what to expect as the election heads towards a run-off. They also discuss the importance of Brazil as a strategic partner of the United States and keystone country in the hemisphere, and weigh in on U.S. foreign policy options for Brazil no matter who emerges as the next president.
2022-10-06
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Constitutions, Complications, and Next Steps in Chile

On September 4, Chileans took to the polls for a constitutional referendum that saw a highly progressive draft constitution overwhelmingly rejected, with 62 percent voting against, and just 38 percent in favor. The outcome is a setback for the Boric government, which has tied itself to the constitutional reform project, and promises to lengthen an already long-running process. In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Patricio Navia, Professor of Liberal Studies at New York University and Professor of Political Science at Universidad Diego Portales in Chile. Together, they unpack why the referendum resulted in a significant win for the "reject" campaign despite high levels of support for a new constitution in general. They also analyze the implications of the vote for the Chilean government, options for re-drafting a constitution, and what lessons can be learned from the referendum for the region as a whole.
2022-09-22
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The Terms of Engagement for China in Latin America and the Caribbean

China has significantly expanded its presence throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, elevating worries that the democratic traditions of the Western Hemisphere could be at risk. However, the types of engagement China pursues and the consequences they present are often poorly understood, leading to misunderstandings between Washington and the region.   In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Pepe Zhang, associate director and fellow at the Atlantic Council?s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. Together they break down the various economic, political, and institutional ways China has pursued a closer relationship with Latin American and Caribbean countries. They also sketch the contours of a U.S. strategy for addressing China's engagement in the hemisphere, and argue that the United States to put the needs of the region first for such a strategy to be effective.
2022-09-08
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Dictatorship in Nicaragua Goes Global

Nicaragua?s descent into authoritarianism has had far-reaching humanitarian, economic, and diplomatic consequences. One lesser-understood dimension of this crisis has been the growing reliance of the Ortega-Murillo regime on extra-hemispheric authoritarian states to help cement its hold on power in the face of both international and domestic pressures. In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Evan Ellis, research professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, and a Senior Associate with the CSIS Americas Program. Together, they discuss how Nicaragua has cultivated alliances with autocratic regimes around the world, including Russia, China, and Iran, in addition to like-minded regimes within the hemisphere. They also discuss options for the United States and allies to push back against these global authoritarian networks and increase pressure on the Ortega-Murillo regime.
2022-08-25
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Logros y Limitaciones en el Sector Digital en México / Achievements and Limitations in Mexico's Digital Sector

En este episodio especial en español Ryan C. Berg se sienta a conversar con Valeria Moy, directora general del Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad, uno de los centros de investigación más reconocido en México. Ellos conversaron sobre el estado del sector digital en México y los desafíos para el acceso seguro y fiable a Internet para todos. Aunque México tiene potencial significante en el espacio digital, el sector de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación (TIC) sufre de prácticas anticompetitivas. Además la conversación se centró del estado más amplio de las relaciones económicas entre México y Estados Unidos, incluso el T-MEC y Diálogo Económico de Alto Nivel. In this special Spanish-Language episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Valeria Moy, Director General of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, one of the most well-known think tanks in Mexico. They discussed the state of the digital sector in Mexico and the challenges to secure, reliable access to internet for all. While Mexico has great potential in the digital space, its Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector is held back by anticompetitive practices. The conversation also focused on broader developments in the U.S.-Mexico economic relationship, including the USMCA and High-Level Economic Dialogue.  
2022-08-11
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Best of 35 West: Sharpening the Democratic Playbook

Around the world, democratic institutions have come under siege, while consolidation within and between autocratic regimes has accelerated in recent years. As it becomes increasingly evident that autocrats are following a shared ?playbook,? it is of extreme importance that democracies build their own set of shared tactics for promoting civil and political rights, defending electoral integrity, and sustaining rule of law. In this "best of" episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Christopher Sabatini, Senior Research Fellow for Latin America, the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House. Together, they outline what the international community can do to push back on rising authoritarianism, and empower democracy defenders. They focus in particular on the case of Venezuela, considering the options available for the opposition, United States, and global democratic community for dismantling Maduro's dictatorial playbook. 
2022-07-28
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The Future of USAID?s Partnership with Colombia

The victory of Gustavo Petro in the recent Colombian presidential elections heralds a political change in Colombia. However, Colombia remains an important strategic partner for the U.S. in the hemisphere, and a new government does not change this fact. In this episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Peter Natiello, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development?s (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Together, Margarita and Peter unpack USAID's longstanding partnership with Colombia, and how the agency plans to work with the Petro?s Administration. They also outline USAID's steadfast contribution to the peace process in Colombia and continued efforts to consolidate peace gains for all Colombians.
2022-07-08
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The Inter-American Defense Board in a Changing Hemisphere / A Junta Interamericana de Defesa em um Hemisfério em Mudança

In this special Portuguese-language episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Vice-Admiral Alexandre Rabello de Faria, Chairman of the Council of Delegates of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB). The IADB exists to provide the Organization of American States and its members with technical, advisory, and educational services on issues related to military and defense matters in the hemisphere. Together, they discuss the work of the IADB and the evolution of its role over the past 80 years. The episode touches upon the importance of a multilateral approach to emerging challenges in the Americas from cybersecurity to disaster relief and attacks on democratic institutions. The conversation also touched upon the Board's global role in responding to threats from malign extra-hemispheric actors as well as work with other multilateral institutions. A Junta Interamericana de Defesa em um Hemisfério em Mudança Neste episódio especial em língua portuguesa, Ryan C. Berg senta-se com o Vice-Almirante Alexandre Rabello de Faria, Presidente do Conselho de Delegados da Junta Interamericana de Defesa (JID). A JID existe para fornecer à Organização dos Estados Americanos e seus membros serviços técnicos, consultivos e educação sobre questões relacionadas a assuntos militares e de defesa no hemisfério. Juntos, eles discutem o trabalho da JID e a evolução de seu papel nos últimos 80 anos. O episódio aborda a importância de uma abordagem multilateral para os desafios emergentes nas Américas, da segurança cibernética  ao alívio de desastres e ataques às instituições democráticas. A conversa também abordou o papel global do Conselho para responder às ameaças de atores malignos extra-hemisféricos, assim como para trabalhar com outras instituições multilaterais.
2022-06-23
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The Geopolitics of Special Economic Zones in the Americas

As the Western Hemisphere works to recover from the ongoing pandemic, adjust to new global economic shocks, and create good-paying jobs and stable livelihoods for citizens, the private sector will play a key role in fostering development. Special Economic Zones, or SEZs represent an important and multifaceted tool for empowering economic development throughout the region, especially as the United States looks to nearshore or "friendshore" key industries.    In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Greg Huger, Executive Director of the HUGE Business and Investment Council. Together, they discuss the factors that make an SEZ successful not just for attracting and promoting private enterprise, but engaging local communities and national governments. They focus on the role of SEZ operators in the geopolitical space as well, especially in light of China's efforts to export its own SEZ governance frameworks to the region, as well as the U.S. commitment to support economic rebuilding in Central America at the Summit of the Americas.
2022-06-09
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A Regional View on the Summit of the Americas

The upcoming Summit of the Americas ought to be an important venue for the United States and the region to align responses to shared challenges and strengthen hemispheric cooperation. Nevertheless, the summit is already struggling to live up to this potential, facing criticism that the current agenda downplays the concerns voiced by the region, as well as recent threats by several countries including Mexico, Bolivia, and Honduras to boycott the event. In this episode, Juan Cruz, Senior Adviser and Director of the CSIS Argentina-U.S. Strategic Forum, sits down with Dr. Francisco de Santibañes, Vice President of the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), one of the most prominent Argentine foreign policy think tanks. Together, the two discuss prospects for the summit and share a south-to-north perspective on the key issues that should be on the table, but have not received sufficient attention in summit coverage. These include the importance of infrastructure investments for the region, the growth of the digital economy, and the role educational and scientific exchanges play in bonding the hemisphere together.
2022-05-26
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Sharpening the Democratic Playbook

Around the world, democratic institutions have come under siege, while consolidation within and between autocratic regimes has accelerated in recent years. As it becomes increasingly evident that autocrats are following a shared ?playbook,? it is of extreme importance that democracies build their own set of shared tactics for promoting civil and political rights, defending electoral integrity, and sustaining rule of law. In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Christopher Sabatini, Senior Research Fellow for Latin America, the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House. Together, they outline what the international community can do to push back on rising authoritarianism, and empower democracy defenders. They focus in particular on the case of Venezuela, considering the options available for the opposition, United States, and global democratic community for dismantling Maduro's dictatorial playbook. 
2022-05-12
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The Future of the Zones for Employment and Economic Development in Honduras

The recent move by the Honduran Congress to repeal the 2013 law authorizing the Zones for Employment and Economic Development (Zonas de Empleo y Desarollo Económico, or ZEDEs) has wide-ranging consequences for the country's economic future. While the Zones have been heavily criticized by the Castro administration, eliminating them risks a complicated legal and political battle in no party's best interest. In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Matthew Rooney, Director of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships at the George W. Bush Center. Together, they discuss expectations for the ZEDE model and its impact on economic growth, as well as some of the obstacles the zones confront when it comes to political stability and change. They also discuss the implications of the vote by Congress for the ZEDEs, and investment in Honduras more broadly.
2022-05-05
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Best of 35 West: Forced Labor & Environmental Degradation in the Mining Industry

Forced Labor & Environmental Degradation in the Mining Industry Special re-release: In this special Spanish-language episode, Margarita sits down with Pilar Velasquez of the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking in the Bureau of International Labor Affairs at the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). They discuss artisanal and small-scale mining and its connection to environmental degradation, forced labor, and child labor in the Andean region. Pilar introduces some of the USDOL's efforts to mitigate these environmental and human rights effects and discusses how the private sector and civil society can engage with this issue. This episode originally aired January 7, 2021. Trabajo forzoso y degradación ambiental en el sector minero En este episodio especial en español, Margarita conversa con Pilar Velásquez de la Oficina de Trabajo Infantil, Trabajo Forzado, y Trata de Personas de la Oficina de Asuntos Internacionales Laborales en el Departamento de Trabajo de los Estados Unidos (USDOL). Pilar y Margarita conversan sobre la minería de oro informal e ilegal en la Región Andina y su conexión con la degradación ambiental y el trabajo forzoso. Pilar comparte algunos esfuerzos del USDOL para mitigar estos efectos y analiza el papel del sector privado y de la sociedad civil.
2022-04-28
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El Futuro del Chavismo en Venezuela / The Future of Chavismo in Venezuela

En este episodio especial en español Ryan C. Berg se sienta a conversar con Indira Urbaneja, analista política y la CEO de Reunificados, una organización venezolana sin fines de lucro que apoyo democracia, inclusión, y derechos humanos. Ellos conversaron sobre las facciones más importantes dentro del chavismo y el surgimiento de un grupo dentro del partido que desea revitalizar el chavismo con campañas y elecciones legítimas. Aunque Maduro se ha consolidado en el poder, el PSUV no es un monolito, y hay fuerzas dentro del partido de gobierno que pueden crear situaciones imprevisibles y difíciles de controlar para el régimen. Además la conversación se centró de la oposición, y de los retos y los posibilidades que se presentan para las elecciones de 2024. The Future of Chavismo in Venezuela In this special Spanish-Language episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Indira Urbaneja, a political analyst and the CEO of Reunificados, a Venezuelan non-profit dedicated to supporting democracy, inclusion, and human rights. They discussed some of the important factions within the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and the rise of a group within the party that is looking to revitalize chavismo through campaigns and legitimate elections. Although Maduro has consolidated his hold on power, the PSUV is not a monolith, and there are forces within the governing party that can create situations that are unpredictable and difficult for the regime to control. The conversation also focused on the opposition, and the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead for the 2024 elections.
2022-04-14
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The PCA: Turning the Tide and Moving the Needle

In the May 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a call to action for private sector actors to help address the root causes of migration by generating new economic opportunities in Central America. Born from this pledge, the Partnership for Central America (PCA) has emerged as a coordinating body for businesses and social enterprises to support innovative, effective, and scalable initiatives aimed at economic growth and human development. In this episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Mark Lopes, Chief Operating Officer of the Partnership for Central America. Together, they discuss the vision behind the PCA, its current projects in the region, and work on gender and inclusion. They also reflect on future directions for the PCA, and the importance of choosing the right metrics for assessing large-scale development projects.
2022-03-31
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How the Appropriate Technologies can Contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction

Between 1970 and 2019, disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean impacted almost 300 million people, killed more than half a million people, and had an estimated cost the region close to half a trillion dollars. These disasters are especially harmful for already-vulnerable populations, and create new forms of long-lasting vulnerability in their wake, making disaster risk reduction and resilience a top priority for the region. In this episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Kamilah Morain, the Head of the Trinidad and Tobago office at the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and an expert in community-led development. Together, the two unpack disaster risk reduction policies, with a focus on the inclusion of community voices highlighting the role new technologies can play in supporting these efforts and underscoring the critical importance of choosing the right technologies for the job.
2022-03-17
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Taking Stock of International Criminal Court's Investigation into the Maduro Regime

Since 2018 the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been investigating abuses perpetrated by the Venezuelan security forces. Last November, the ICC Chief Prosecutor signed a Letter of Understanding with Nicolás Maduro beginning a formal investigation?the first of its kind launched in a Latin American country.  In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with José Ignacio Hernández, the former Special Prosecutor of the Interim Government of Venezuela, and a visiting fellow at Harvard University?s Center for International Development. Together, they discuss the likely outcomes of the investigation and progress made so far. They also highlight the importance of international criminal investigations for advancing the conversation around human rights and democracy within Venezuela.
2022-03-03
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Unpacking Special Economic Zones in Central America

With around 500 different special economic zones (SEZs) in Latin America and the Caribbean, these zones act as accelerators for trade and investment. While many focus on tax rates, tariffs, and regulatory environments to incentivize business development, some models go well beyond to create entirely new institutions within their borders.   In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Shanker Singham, CEO of the Competere Group, to talk about the role special economic zones play in Central America. Together, they delve into the nuances of different SEZ models, in particular the Zones for Employment and Economic Development (ZEDEs in Spanish) in Honduras. The subject of intense debate within Honduras, Shanker provides insights into the challenges and opportunities the ZEDEs present and how the United States should approach these zones.
2022-02-17
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Who's Who in the Costa Rican Elections

On February 6, Costa Ricans will head to the polls in the first round of presidential elections. With a crowded field featuring no fewer than 25 presidential hopefuls, and much of the electorate still undecided, the situation on the ground, and consequences for the country are difficult to parse. In this episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Glenda Umaña, a journalist with over 25 years of experience whose recent project "Por Quién Voto" focuses on spreading awareness about candidate positions on critical issues in the Costa Rican elections. Together, they discuss the electoral landscape in Costa Rica, outline some of the major issues at play such as corruption and economic recovery, and what to expect in a likely run-off.
2022-02-03
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Illegal Mining and Transnational Crime in the Amazon

Mining is an essential economic sector for many countries in the Andes-Amazon region. However, due to a spike in global demand for mineral resources and lack of proper regulation on the industry, transnational criminal organizations have taken advantage of the ?lucrative industry to fuel their operations in the region, while harming local communities and ecosystems.   In this episode Ryan C. Berg sits down with Gastón Schulmeister, Director of the Department Against Transnational Organized Crime at the Organization of American States. Together, they explore the rise in global demand for mineral resources, the connection between illegal mining and transnational criminal organizations, and regulations that governments and the international community can enact to limit this harmful activity. Gastón also shares insights from a series of reports recently published by his department at the OAS entitled "On The Trail of Illicit Gold Proceeds: Strengthening The Fight Against Illegal Mining Finances."
2022-01-20
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The Regional Political Climate for 2022

The past year has showcased both the resiliency and failures of democracies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. With key elections coming up in 2022, the region will continue to grapple in meaningful and challenging ways with its democratic future.    In this episode Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Father Matthew Carnes, the interim director for academic affairs at the Georgetown Americas Institute. Together, they analyze the challenges and opportunities democracies faced in 2021, discuss how these will evolve in the new year, and highlight the role of civil society actors in safeguarding the region's democratic health.
2022-01-06
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Un Nuevo Liderazgo Político Para el Siglo XXI / A New Political Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

In this special Spanish-language episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Marcos Peña, principal investigator of a recently published CSIS report titled ?A New Political Leadership for the Twenty-First Century.?    They discussed an alternative leadership model, one that is ?more human, more collaborative, more group oriented, more connected with emotions, and humbler to be effective.? Their discussion focused on the nine dimensions that should be included in the democratic political leader?s toolbox and highlighted how these ?tools? feed and complement each other. These tools also offer different ways to help leaders be more connected with their humanity and with their emotions, thus allowing them to be more effective in their roles and establishing a more sustainable balance in performing their job duties in the long term.     ?Un nuevo liderazgo político para el siglo XXI.?   En este episodio especial en español, Margarita R. Seminario se sienta a conversar con Marcos Peña, investigador principal de un informe del CSIS recientemente publicado titulado ?Un nuevo liderazgo político para el siglo XXI.?  Ellos conversaron sobre un modelo de liderazgo alternativo, uno que es ?más humano, más colaborativo, más orientado a grupos, más conectado con las emociones y más humilde para ser efectivo.? La conversación se centró en las nueve dimensiones que deberían incluirse en la caja de herramientas del líder político democrático y destacó cómo dichas ?herramientas? se complementan entre sí y ofrecen diferentes formas de ayudar a los líderes a estar más conectados con su humanidad y con sus emociones y, por lo tanto, ser más eficaces en su función y más sostenibles a largo plazo. 
2021-12-09
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Looking Beyond Nicaragua?s Sham Elections

On Sunday, November 7, the Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua held sham elections that reaffirmed the regime?s grip on power in the country. This is the latest in a series of efforts by the regime to consolidate authoritarianism in Nicaragua, following years of human and political rights violations.   In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Bianca Jagger, Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and a tireless defender of social justice in her native Nicaragua. Together, they discuss the consolidation of an authoritarian regime in Nicaragua and the role of the U.S. and the international community in restoring democracy to Nicaragua. Further, they outline concrete actions the international community can take to increase pressure on the Ortega-Murillo regime moving forward.
2021-11-16
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Happiness in Times of Covid-19 in Latin America

The Gallup Organization and several partner organizations produce the annual "World Happiness Report". This report seeks to measure wellbeing beyond GDP. The 2021 research focused on the effects of Covid-19 on the structure and quality of people's lives and evaluated how governments around the world dealt with the pandemic. In this episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Gerver Torres, a research adviser with the Gallup Organization to discuss the information and data behind the World Happiness Report and the impact of Covid-19 on different social groups in Latin America as well as the importance of government transparency and government responses to the pandemic. Further, they also discuss how this research may be used by governments in the region to develop public policies that capture the importance of the pursuit of happiness and wellbeing as a sustainable development goal.
2021-10-28
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Indigenous Communities In the Amazon Suffer from the Maduro Regime's Environmental Assault

The Maduro regime's environmental degradation in Venezuela is nearing a point of no return. The effects of this environmental assault are not contained within Venezuela's borders, and disproportionately affect Indigenous communities throughout the Amazon Basin. Ryan C. Berg sits down with Luis Felipe Duchicela, Senior Advisor for Indigenous People's Issues at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Cristina Burelli, Director of the V5Initiative, to discuss the impacts of environmental degradation on Indigenous communities in Venezuela and throughout the Amazon Basin. Together, they highlight the cultural diversity found in the Amazon Basin, discuss the environmentally damaging policies and practices of the Maduro regime, and expound on the various impacts these have on Indigenous peoples. Further, they chart a path forward for an inclusive and sustainable recovery for Venezuela and the region, specifically highlighting the role of Indigenous communities in this process. Recommendations for further reading Gold flows from Venezuela: supporting due diligence on the production and trade of gold, OECD, Sept. 8, 2021, (http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/gold-flows-from-venezuela-supporting-due-diligence.htm) These 15 innovations are helping to restore and protect the Amazon, World Economic Forum, Sept. 23, 2021 (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/09/innovations-restoration-amazon-bioeconomy-ecopreneurs/)
2021-10-14
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The Impact of Climate Change in the Northern Triangle and People?s Decision to Migrate to the United States

The threats from hurricanes, the losses to floods, and the lack of disaster preparedness all impact on people?s decisions in the Northern Triangle to migrate to the United States. Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Dr. Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Director of the Department of Social Inclusion at the Organization of American States to discuss her recent publication ?Environmental Explanations of Central American Migration: Challenges and Policy Recommendations". This report underscores how exposed Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are to climate events and how, compounded with lack of economic opportunities and security vulnerabilities, climate change impacts their decision to migrate to the United States. Furthermore, it provides specific policy recommendations on a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach to respond to climate-related drivers of migration.
2021-09-16
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Best of 35 West: Venezuela?s Cryptocurrency Experiment

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Moises Rendon, CSIS Senior Associate and the former director of the Future of Venezuela Initiative. Moises introduces the world of cryptocurrencies and outlines key differences between decentralized and public currencies, such as Bitcoin, and state-sponsored cryptocurrencies, like the Venezuelan Petro. They discuss why cryptocurrencies have become so popular in Venezuela, and how they are transforming the humanitarian sector. This episode was first released on March 18, 2021.
2021-09-02
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Pedro Castillo Captured the Imagination of Peruvians Excluded for Decades

On July 28, Pedro Castillo Terrones, was inaugurated as Peru?s 63rd constitutional president. Castillo?s victory came after a highly contentious electoral process that was characterized by health and safety concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic and false accusations of electoral fraud. Castillo ultimately won by 44,263 votes. In this episode, Margarita R. Seminario sat down with Dr. Jo-Marie Burt of George Mason University and discussed how a rural schoolteacher and union leader like Castillo captured the imagination of poor, rural, indigenous Peruvians who have lived excluded and marginalized for decades. Dr. Burt shared her insights on the recent elections, what to expect during the first 100 days of the Castillo administration, and she highlighted some policy concerns and recommendations for the US government regarding engagement with Peru.   Dr. Burt also recently published a book called ?Transitional Justice in the Aftermath of Civil Conflict Societies: Lessons from Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador? found here: http://www.dplf.org/sites/default/files/pictures/transitional_justice_final.pdf
2021-08-19
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Time to Press ?Reset? and Sketch a Path Forward for Haiti in the Aftermath of the Moïse Assassination

Haiti on a good day is highly complex. The recent set of events triggered by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse created a power vacuum and threw the Caribbean nation into even deeper turmoil.  Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Georges A. Fauriol, Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, to discuss the current crisis in Haiti and how key actors, like the Haitian government, civil society, private sector, and the international community, can play an effective role in sketching a more stable path forward. Fauriol also sketches recommendations for the Biden-Harris administration and the U.S. Congress.
2021-08-05
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Fishing for Solutions: Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in Latin America and the Caribbean

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Michael Eddy, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development to discuss Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in the Western Hemisphere. Highlights of their conversation include: who is impacted by IUU fishing and how, the challenges of combatting IUU fishing, the importance of multilateral efforts and interagency collaboration, as well why this is a priority for the Biden-Harris administration. This podcast was made possible through the generous support of the U.S. Agency for International Development through Environmental Incentives. To learn more about the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development on IUU Fishing, please go to: https://www.usaid.gov/biodiversity/illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing
2021-07-22
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Building the Future: Gender Equity and Global Financial Inclusion

Please enjoy this special Building the Future episode with 35 West host and CSIS Americas Deputy Director Margarita R. Seminario. In this episode, we talk with Mia Mitchell (from the U.S. Department of State) and Sonja Kelly (from the Women's World Banking) to understand the barriers we face to enabling inclusive access to finance to women around the world while discussing the various opportunities that the U.S. government has in overcoming such hurdles.
2021-07-08
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Best of 35 West: An Inclusive Response to Venezuela Migrants in the Caribbean

In this "Best of" 35 West episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Logan Coleman, a Program Manager at the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). They discuss the challenges faced by Venezuelan youth and women in the Caribbean, an often-overlooked host destination for migrants. Logan explains the value of using a gender lens to understand the migrant crisis and explains why Venezuelans are vulnerable to trafficking in persons. She and Margarita explore how programming by PADF and other organizations can address these circumstances. Read PADF's " A Story of Hope" here. This episode was first released on April 15, 2020. 
2021-06-24
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Nicaragua?s IN-credible Elections

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Dr. Jennie K. Lincoln, a Senior Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean at The Carter Center on peace initiatives, to discuss the deterioration of democracy, human rights, and governance in Nicaragua under the Ortega regime. They cover the lack of conditions for elections in November, the challenges faced by voters and candidates, the Ortega regime?s systematic actions against opposition presidential contenders, and need for the international community to act in a determined and coordinated manner.   Since the podcast was recorded on June 7th, two more presidential candidates have been detained and imprisoned and multiple opposition voices brutally silenced.
2021-06-10
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Enfoque de género y el proceso de paz de Colombia: Una conversación con Juanita Millán Hernández

En este episodio especial en español, Margarita R. Seminario conversa con Juanita Millán Hernández, Capitán de Corbeta de la Reserva Activa de la Armada Colombiana y asesora principal en materia de seguridad del equipo de reserva de expertos en mediación del Departamento de Asuntos Políticos y Consolidación de la Paz de las Naciones Unidas. Juanita comparte su experiencia como mediadora durante el proceso de paz de Colombia y nos cuenta su experiencia como la única mujer de la delegación de las Fuerzas Militares de Colombia en la mesa de negociación entre el gobierno colombiano y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. Durante la entrevista, se analiza la importancia de la aplicación de un enfoque de género y como las mujeres efectivamente llegaron a jugar un papel relevante en las negociaciones y en la implementación del proceso de paz. Se referencia en la entrevista una publicación altamente útil: "Una perspectiva de género en la construcción de la paz" que se puede descargar aquí. Gender Perspective and the Colombian Peace Process: A Conversation with Juanita Millán Hernández In this special Spanish-language episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Juanita Millán Hernández, a Lieutenant Commander of the Colombian Navy's active reserve and Senior Mediation Advisor for security arrangements on the Standby Team of the United Nations' Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA). Juanita shares her experiences as a mediator during the Colombian peace process and as the only woman in the Colombian military's delegation to the negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC. During the interview, they analyze the importance of the incorporation of a gender perspective and discuss how Colombian women came to effectively play a relevant role in peace process negotiations and implementation. The interview references a useful publication: "Una perspectiva de género en la construcción de la paz" can be downloaded in Spanish here.
2021-05-27
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Renewables Transition in the Americas: Could Bioenergy Be The Future?

In this special guest host episode, Dan Runde, Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS Americas Program, sits down with Ricardo Mussa, CEO of Raízen, a Brazilian integrated energy company focused on bioenergy and renewables. They discuss how Ricardo got his start in the bioenergy business, the steps Raízen is taking to achieve its public commitment to emission reductions, and the status of bioenergy implementation in Brazil as well as its benefits for everyday Brazilians. They also examine the biofuel production process, debunking elements of the "food versus fuel" argument that biofuel production risks interference with food supply security, and analyze the future of U.S.-Brazil cooperation in the biofuels space.
2021-05-13
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Understanding Gang Disengagement and Breaking the Cycle of Encierro, Destierro y Entierro

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Jose Miguel Cruz, Director of Research at Florida International University's Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center.  Jose Miguel shares the results of two USAID-funded studies prepared with Democracy International on gang disengagement in Guatemala and Honduras. They examine the conditions that facilitate gang exit and the role non-state actors like the faith-based groups, civil society organizations, and the private sector can play in promoting gang disengagement. Also, they discuss practical policy recommendations for the U.S. and Northern Triangle governments to promote an enabling environment that reduces gang involvement and promotes decent employment for youth to break the cycle of encierro, destierro, y entierro.   "A Study of Gang Disengagement in Honduras" can be found here. "A Study of Gang Disengagement in Guatemala" can be found here.
2021-04-29
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An Inclusive Response to Venezuela Migrants in the Caribbean

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Logan Coleman, a Program Manager at the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). They discuss the challenges faced by Venezuelan youth and women in the Caribbean, an often-overlooked host destination for migrants. Logan explains the value of using a gender lens to understand the migrant crisis and explains why Venezuelans are vulnerable to trafficking in persons. She and Margarita explore how programming by PADF and other organizations can address these circumstances.    Read PADF's " A Story of Hope" here.
2021-04-15
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Election Watch 2021: Peru's General Election / Elecciones 2021: Las elecciones generales de Perú

In this special Spanish-language episode, Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Piero Corvetto, the Head of Peru?s National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE). Piero introduces the vital role of the ONPE in Peruvian elections and explains the measures being undertaken to ensure citizens can vote safely during the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the importance of Peru's 2021 elections and the challenges in ensuring that Peruvians living abroad can participate.  Elecciones 2021: Las elecciones generales de Perú En este episodio especial en español, Margarita R. Seminario conversa con Piero Corvetto, jefe de la Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales (ONPE) de Perú. Piero explica el papel vital que juega la ONPE en el proceso electoral peruano y comparte las medidas adoptadas para asegurar que peruanos puedan votar de forma segura en el contexto de la pandemia de Covid-19. Ellos conversan sobre la importancia de las elecciones de 2021 y los esfuerzos de la ONPE para garantizar que los peruanos en el extranjero también puedan participar.
2021-04-01
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Venezuela?s Cryptocurrency Experiment

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Moises Rendon, CSIS Senior Associate and the former director of the Future of Venezuela Initiative. Moises introduces the world of cryptocurrencies and outlines key differences between decentralized and public currencies, such as Bitcoin, and state-sponsored cryptocurrencies, like the Venezuelan Petro. They discuss why cryptocurrencies have become so popular in Venezuela, and how they are transforming the humanitarian sector.
2021-03-18
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Tracking the Disruption of Electoral Processes in the Digital Age

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Gerardo Berthin, Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Programs at Freedom House. Gerardo introduces Freedom House's new tracker, "Election Watch for the Digital Age" and explains the methodology Freedom House uses to determine how digital technologies are disrupting electoral processes around the world. They discuss the specific vulnerabilities that may affect this year's elections in Ecuador, El Salvador, and Peru.  Freedom House's "Election Watch for the Digital Age" can be found here.  The Americas Program is also proud to present a new podcast, Mexico Matters. Each week, Mariana Campero, CSIS Senior Associate, will speak with leading voices from both sides of the border to bring you in-depth analysis on the strategic importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. 
2021-02-18
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Venezuela's Security Crisis: The Colombian Perspective

Moises Rendon sits down with Ambassador Francisco Santos Calderón, Colombian Ambassador to the United States and former Vice President of Colombia from 2002 to 2010. They discuss the humanitarian impact of the Venezuelan migrant crisis playing out in neighboring Colombia and the security repercussions of growing criminal presence along the border. Ambassador Santos outlines the recent shifts in the Venezuelan crisis along with his thoughts on why the Biden administration should pay special attention to Venezuela as a regional threat to democracy and stability. 
2021-02-04
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The Biden-Harris Agenda for Latin America: What Can We Expect?

Moises Rendon sits down with CSIS Senior Advisor Ambassador William Brownfield, former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, and Colombia. They discuss developments in these three countries considering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chile's constitutional referendum, and the Biden-Harris Administration's priorities for the region. Ambassador Brownfield outlines his policy recommendations for the Biden administration in its efforts to engage the region going forward.
2021-01-21
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Forced Labor & Environmental Degradation in the Mining Industry

Forced Labor & Environmental Degradation in the Mining Industry   In this special Spanish-language episode, Margarita sits down with Pilar Velasquez of the office of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in the bureau of international labor affairs at the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). They discuss informal and illegal gold mining and its connection to environmental degradation and forced labor in the Andean region. Pilar introduces some of the USDOL's efforts to mitigate these environmental and human rights effects and discusses how the private sector and civil society can engage with this issue.     Trabajo forzoso y degradación ambiental en el sector minero   En este episodio especial en español, Margarita conversa con Pilar Velásquez de la oficina de trabajo infantil, trabajo forzado, y trata de personas de la oficina de asuntos internacionales laborales en el Departamento de Trabajo de los Estados Unidos (USDOL). Pilar y Margarita conversan sobre la minería de oro informal e ilegal en la Región Andina y su conexión con la degradación ambiental y el trabajo forzoso. Pilar comparte algunos esfuerzos del USDOL para mitigar estos efectos y analiza el papel del sector privado y de la sociedad civil.
2021-01-07
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How Can Latin America Achieve Equity and Social Inclusion?

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, director of the department of social inclusion at the Organization of American States (OAS). They discuss food insecurity, poverty, gender disparities, and other barriers to social inclusion in the region. Betilde outlines how the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations, including women, indigenous peoples, Afro-Latinos, and people with disabilities. She shares her vision for how the OAS can work with other organizations to achieve greater equity and social inclusion in the region.
2020-12-10
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How USAID is Prioritizing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Luis Felipe Duchicela, Senior Advisor for Indigenous Peoples' Issues for the Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance at USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. They discuss how Luis Felipe's background brought him to this leadership position, and USAID's new Policy on Promoting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Luis Felipe outlines the barriers that the international development community has historically faced in assisting indigenous communities, and how those barriers helped shape USAID's new policy.
2020-11-19
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The Responsibility to Protect Venezuelans

Moises Rendon sits down with Elisabeth Pramendorfer, Senior Human Rights Officer at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. They discuss how the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) applies to the case of Venezuela, particularly considering the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council Independent fact-finding mission. Elisabeth outlines common misconceptions about the use and scope of R2P and discusses next steps for the international community to protect human rights in Venezuela.
2020-11-05
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Combatting trafficking in persons in the Andean region

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Ambassador John C. Richmond, the United States Ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. They discuss trafficking in persons in the Andean region, and particularly in the context of the informal mining sector. Ambassador Richmond outlines the progress that has been made in the past 20 years to identify, monitor, and combat trafficking in the region, as well as how these efforts have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  
2020-10-22
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Reducing Crime and Poverty: A Conversation with María Eugenia Vidal

This is a special Spanish-language episode of 35 West hosted by Dan Runde, Senior Vice President and the Director of the CSIS Americas Program. Dan sits down with María Eugenia Vidal, the former Governor of the Buenos Aires Province in Argentina. They discuss how she got her start in politics, as well as key policy issues she prioritized during her time as governor, including crime reduction and poverty. They also discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in key sectors, such as education.   Cómo Reducir el Crimen y la Pobreza: Una Conversación con María Eugenia Vidal Este es un episodio especial de 35 West presentado por Dan Runde, Vicepresidente y director del Programa de las Américas en CSIS. Dan conversa con Maria Eugenia Vidal, la ex gobernadora de la provincia de Buenos Aires en Argentina, sobre cómo ella se inició en la política y sobre temas en materia de política pública durante su mandato, como la reducción del delito y la pobreza. También conversan sobre cómo se ha acelerado la transformación digital en sectores como, por ejemplo, la educación, a causa de la pandemia de Covid-19.  
2020-10-08
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Inside the Orange Economy

Margarita R. Seminario sits down with Felipe Buitrago Restrepo, Viceminister for Creativity and the Orange Economy in the Colombian Ministry of Culture. Viceminister Buitrago shares his experience in designing policies to promote the orange economy in Colombia. They discuss the untapped potential of the creative economy in Latin America, as well as how creative industries have been transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 
2020-09-24
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Unpacking USAID's Efforts in Venezuela: A Discussion with Acting Administrator Barsa

Moises Rendon sits down with John Barsa, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). They discuss how Venezuela fits into Administrator Barsa's global vision for USAID, the challenges the agency has faced in providing critical humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, and the United States' perspective on Venezuela's upcoming parliamentary elections. 
2020-08-27
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