Greg Weeks

Joshua Davis Talk

Joshua Davis wrote Spare Parts, which I reviewed last year and which became the common reading for the university this year. As chair of the Common Reading Committee, I had the pleasure of having dinner with him and seeing him give a talk on campus this past week (big crowd, 700ish). He's very engaging, and had a message for students about how your career is not a linear thing. He told a great story about how on a lark he went to an arm wrestling competition to watch and was encouraged...

New LAPOP Data

The Latin American Public Opinion Project has released their 2018/2019 AmericasBarometer data. This "Topical Brief" provides an introduction, then you can look at specific country reports on their website. There are a handful now and I assume more to come.

The upshot: Latin Americans are decreasingly happy about democracy. In fact, people who use social media are least satisfied with it. I can see that--swim around in political Twitter (or your friend's incessant...

Will Trump Lose the Hardliner Vote in Florida?

The clash of bases for President Trump is, as so many other things in the administration, unusual and self-defeating. On the one hand, we have the traditional appeal to Cuban-Americans and now also Venezuelan-Americans about harsh policies toward those respective governments. Freedom and all that. On the other, we have the appeal to the racist and rabidly anti-immigrant base, which does not want non-white immigrants of any kind.

That creates what the Associated Press describes...

Lenín Moreno in Crisis

Protests against Lenín Moreno's austerity measures are intensifying, to the point that Moreno actually moved the capital from Quito to Guayaquil.

Of course, it's all playing out across Twitter. Just as Martín Vizvarra had recently done in Peru, Moreno tweeted a picture of himself with the military leadership.  Then he retweeted Juan Guaidó's claim that Nicolás Maduro was responsible. Meanwhile, Rafael Correa is going berserk, calling Moreno a dictator, retweeting...

The Larreta Doctrine

Max Paul Friedman and Tom Long have an opinion piece in Uruguay's El Diario on the Larreta Doctrine. Not familiar with it? That wouldn't be surprising because it's not brought up very often. But it was an effort by former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Eduardo Rodríguez Larreta in 1945 to get Latin American states to collectively protect democracy and human rights. Here is a longer English-language analysis they wrote for Perspectives on Politics.

They argue that there...

Mixing Military and Police Functions in Chile

The Chilean army is at the northern border to fight drug trafficking. They will "track and identify criminals."
El Comando Conjunto Norte, dependiente del Estado Mayor Conjunto de Chile dirige la coordinación de las distintas capacidades de las Fuerzas Armadas con las fuerzas policiales. Los militares prestan el apoyo logístico y tecnológico para rastrear e identificar a los criminales, mientras los elementos de las fuerzas policiales son responsables de aprehenderlos....

Evo's Bid To Stay In Power

Ben Raderstorf and Michael J. Camilleri have a good op-ed in The Washington Post about Evo Morales, who is running for president (yet) again in Sunday's election. They note that Bolivians show clear signs of tiring of his presidency and they express concern that he will gradually govern in a more authoritarian manner. He has centralized power over time.

Basically, this is a question of whether Bolivia looks more politically like Venezuela and Nicaragua, with suppression...

Pressuring Venezuelan Creditors

Mitu Gulati & Ugo Panizza, "Maduro Bonds," Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2018-56

For multiple decades, activists have sought to institute an international legal regime that limits the ability of despotic governments to borrow money and then shift those obligations onto more democratic successor governments. Our goal in this article is to raise the possibility of an alternate legal path to raising the costs of borrowing for...

Do Vaguely Something in Venezuela

Conservative analysts remind everyone of what everyone already knows, that Nicolás Maduro is propped up by foreign governments. Like most other conservatives writing about Venezuela, they want something to be done, but will not actually say what. Here are the verbs they use:

--"unravel" the "network"
--"countering" his external allies
--"take into account" the external state actors
--"challenge" his source of support

So how do we unravel, counter, take into account,...

Parsing U.S. Policy Toward Central America

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozak gave testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. policy toward Mexico and Central America, thought he focuses mostly on the latter. It is a perfect summation of how sticks are characterized as carrots, and the U.S. is, as President Trump might say, perfect.
First, the history of Central American migration:
People have been heading north from the region for several decades, including...
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