Latin America: It’s Complicated

April 28, 2021

 Charles Shapiro, US Ambassador (rtd) and President of the World Affairs Council Atlanta

Since the end of the Second World War, US focus on Latin America has been intermittent and inconsistent. It has been intense when we perceived Latin America as part of the Cold War rivalry or when the US private sector saw opportunity. We have been inattentive when we saw other parts of the world as more important or more threatening. Of course, it is Latin America and Latin Americans who are going to resolve their own problems. The United States can help Latin Americans move toward more prosperous, democratic and inclusive societies.

Here is a link to a map of Central and South America which Ambassador Shapiro has asked us to share with you to draw attention in particular to the immense size of the continent as well as to point out that Latin America is substantially further East than North America.

Charles Shapiro is president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and a senior lecturer at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. During his 34-year career at the U.S. Department of State, he held a number of senior positions including Ambassador to Venezuela, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, and Coordinator for Cuban Affairs. Shapiro’s postings include Venezuela, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador and Denmark. His op-eds have been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, The San Diego Union Tribute and most recently the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The Speakers

Charles Shapiro
Charles ShapiroUS Ambassador (rtd) and President of the World Affairs Council Atlanta
Charles Shapiro is president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and a senior lecturer at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. During his 34-year career at the U.S. Department of State, he held a number of senior positions including Ambassador to Venezuela, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, and Coordinator for Cuban Affairs. Shapiro’s postings include Venezuela, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador and Denmark. His op-eds have been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, The San Diego Union Tribute and most recently the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Latin America: It’s Complicated2021-04-30T00:31:44-07:00

Brazil: Dictatorship, Democracy and Disease

April 21, 2021

 Joëlle Uzarski  & Francisco“Paco” Perez

Brazil is one of the world’s most vibrant, multicultural, and ethnically diverse nations. It is the fifth largest by area and seventh most populous, and the planet’s lungs lie mostly within its frontiers. Brazilians joke that theirs is the country of the future, and always will be. Is this changing? Uzarski and Perez will present a brief introduction to Brazil’s history, government, economy, and people. They will address the U.S.-Brazil bilateral relationship, and then focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced traditional diplomatic models and practices to evolve.

Joëlle Uzarski is currently the Public Diplomat in Residence at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2005 following a two-year State Department Senior English Language Fellowship in Uzbekistan. She served overseas at the U.S. embassies in Brazil, Chile, India, Pakistan, and Thailand, where she directed State Department educational and cultural programs in 19 countries. Her most recent assignment was Country Cultural Affairs Officer in Brasilia.  Prior to becoming a diplomat, Joëlle trained teachers and taught students in Korea, Brazil, and Spain.  She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing and her Master’s in Applied Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is from Chicago.

Francisco “Paco” Pérez grew up in Belen, New Mexico and is currently the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He joined the State Department in 2008, following a fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Capitol Hill. He has served in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Benin, and the Department of State, Operations Center. He and his wife, FSO Stephanie Espinal are members of the Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) and have participated in many recruiting events for future Hispanic Foreign Service Officers. Paco is a graduate of the University of Tampa and has a juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

The Speakers

Joëlle Uzarski
Joëlle Uzarski Public Diplomat in Residence at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California
Joëlle Uzarski is currently the Public Diplomat in Residence at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2005 following a two-year State Department Senior English Language Fellowship in Uzbekistan. She served overseas at the U.S. embassies in Brazil, Chile, India, Pakistan, and Thailand, where she directed State Department educational and cultural programs in 19 countries. Her most recent assignment was Country Cultural Affairs Officer in Brasilia.  Prior to becoming a diplomat, Joëlle trained teachers and taught students in Korea, Brazil, and Spain.  She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing and her Master’s in Applied Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is from Chicago.
Francisco “Paco” Pérez
Francisco “Paco” PérezPublic Affairs Officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Francisco “Paco” Pérez grew up in Belen, New Mexico and is currently the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He joined the State Department in 2008, following a fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Capitol Hill. He has served in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Benin, and the Department of State, Operations Center. He and his wife, FSO Stephanie Espinal are members of the Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) and have participated in many recruiting events for future Hispanic Foreign Service Officers. Paco is a graduate of the University of Tampa and has a juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Brazil: Dictatorship, Democracy and Disease2021-04-14T21:23:25-07:00

China and the Americas: Risks and Rewards

April 14, 2021

Eric Farnsworth

China’s entry in the Americas represents the single biggest shift in hemispheric affairs this century. Much of Latin America now counts China as its first or second trade partner, and investment has increased dramatically. The covid pandemic has accelerated China’s efforts across the region further. Meanwhile, the United States has increasingly warned emerging markets worldwide of the risks of “corrosive capital” and the implications of economic and political linkages with Beijing. Why the concern? And what do policy makers, observers, and citizens need to know about China’s continued regional embrace?

Eric Farnsworth has led the Washington office of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society since 2003, during which time the stature and influence of the organization has grown significantly. He maintains an important thought leadership and advocacy role across the broad range of issues affecting the Western Hemisphere, including U.S. relations, economic development, trade, and energy; Asia-Latin American relations and global governance issues; security; and democracy. He is a widely-sought after conference speaker and media commentator, and has published numerous articles and opinion pieces in leading newspapers and policy journals.

Mr. Farnsworth began his career in Washington with the US Department of State. During his time in government he served in positions of increasing responsibility in the foreign policy and trade communities, from Western Hemisphere Affairs at State to the Office of the US Trade Representative, culminating in a three and a half year appointment as the senior advisor to the White House Special Envoy for the Americas. In this capacity he played an important role in developing and implementing the administration’s policies toward the Western Hemisphere.

Previously, Mr. Farnsworth was managing director of Manatt Jones Global Strategies, an advisory and strategic consulting group. He also worked in the global public policy division of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and in the US Senate with Sam Nunn (D-GA) and the US House of Representatives with John Edward Porter (R-IL). In 2016 he was decorated by the King of Spain for his work to promote bilateral and regional relations.

The Speaker

Eric Farnsworth
Eric FarnsworthVice President, Council of the Americas and the America Society
Eric Farnsworth has led the Washington office of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society since 2003, during which time the stature and influence of the organization has grown significantly. He maintains an important thought leadership and advocacy role across the broad range of issues affecting the Western Hemisphere, including U.S. relations, economic development, trade, and energy; Asia-Latin American relations and global governance issues; security; and democracy. He is a widely-sought after conference speaker and media commentator, and has published numerous articles and opinion pieces in leading newspapers and policy journals.

Mr. Farnsworth began his career in Washington with the US Department of State. During his time in government he served in positions of increasing responsibility in the foreign policy and trade communities, from Western Hemisphere Affairs at State to the Office of the US Trade Representative, culminating in a three and a half year appointment as the senior advisor to the White House Special Envoy for the Americas. In this capacity he played an important role in developing and implementing the administration’s policies toward the Western Hemisphere.

Previously, Mr. Farnsworth was managing director of Manatt Jones Global Strategies, an advisory and strategic consulting group. He also worked in the global public policy division of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and in the US Senate with Sam Nunn (D-GA) and the US House of Representatives with John Edward Porter (R-IL). In 2016 he was decorated by the King of Spain for his work to promote bilateral and regional relations.

China and the Americas: Risks and Rewards2021-04-08T09:56:22-07:00

Democratic Backsliding in Latin America: What Can the Biden Administration Do?

April 07, 2021

Dr. Eduardo Gamarra

Academics, policymakers, and pundits alike have warned that democracy in the region is backsliding. Concern is voiced not just about left leaning regimes such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela but also about right leaning ones such as Brazil, Colombia, and El Salvador. This trend poses a significant challenge to the Biden Administration which must respond to this backsliding in an unprecedented context.

Eduardo A. Gamarra is a tenured full professor of political science in the department of politics and international relations at Florida International University. He has been at FIU since 1986 where he also directed the Latin American and Caribbean Center LACC from 1994 to 2007. In February 2016 he was appointed founding director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at the Stephen Green School of International and Public Affairs.

Gamarra obtained his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. At Pitt, Gamarra worked under the mentorship of James M. Malloy, one of the leading experts on Bolivia and the Andes. With Malloy he wrote his first book entitled Revolution and Reaction: Bolivia 1964-1984. He has since written, co-written or co-edited twelve books and nearly one hundred scholarly articles on the Latin American and Caribbean Affairs.

The Speaker

Dr. Eduardo Gamarra
Dr. Eduardo GamarraProfessor Florida International University
Dr. Eduardo Gamarra is a tenured full professor of political science in the department of politics and international relations at Florida International University. He has been at FIU since 1986 where he also directed the Latin American and Caribbean Center LACC from 1994 to 2007. In February 2016 he was appointed founding director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at the Stephen Green School of International and Public Affairs.

Gamarra obtained his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. At Pitt, Gamarra worked under the mentorship of James M. Malloy, one of the leading experts on Bolivia and the Andes. With Malloy he wrote his first book entitled Revolution and Reaction: Bolivia 1964-1984. He has since written, co-written or co-edited twelve books and nearly one hundred scholarly articles on the Latin American and Caribbean Affairs.

Democratic Backsliding in Latin America: What Can the Biden Administration Do?2021-04-04T23:08:31-07:00

US-Cuba Relations, the Hemispheric Consequences and the OAS

The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba after more than fifty years is expected to reverberate throughout the Western Hemisphere and impact relationships within the Organization of American States. How far will this new development take us and how open will Cuba be to development, private investment, greater freedoms and fundamental changes to its long held ideologies and political system?

(more…)

US-Cuba Relations, the Hemispheric Consequences and the OAS2019-05-01T14:20:26-07:00

The Santa Rosa Model: A Colombia Success Story

Although Colombia has been pushed off the front pages by Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, Colombia remains one of the largest recipients of US foreign assistance. Colombia is also a US foreign policy priority in terms of the “wars” on drugs and terror as well as our commitment to strengthening democracies. Not only is Colombia America’s staunchest ally in the hemisphere, it offers an underappreciated model of successful cooperation with the U.S. Santa Rosa del Sur, a small town in Colombia’s Southern Bolivar Department, was once in the heart of northern Colombia drug production with a heavy involvement of leftist guerilla groups. The farmers had no choice but to grow coca for peanuts, so to speak. Ten years later they thrive by growing cocoa and other legally marketable crops. USAID helped to make that happen. Our speaker was part of this durable transformation, and this program will tell us how it came about.

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The Santa Rosa Model: A Colombia Success Story2019-05-01T14:20:27-07:00
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