Populist Threats to Democracy in Central America

Washington, D.C.

September 22, 2009

As the Honduran crisis unfolds in the early months of the Obama administration, Venezuelan-style populism continues to imperil democratic institutions and the dynamics of international trade in Central America. At the same time, organized crime, drug trade, and gang violence continue to affect regional security.   Together with IFPA, the Hudson Institute's Center for Latin American Studies convened a panel to discuss the political and economic challenges to democracy in the region.

The Program

Eduardo Ulibarri: Renewed Political Risks In Central America
The former editor-in-chief of La Nación, Costa Rica's main newspaper, Ulibarri is a respected political analyst, commentator, and consultant for leading media in Latin America. He is president of the Insituto de Prensa y Libertad de Expresión (IPLEX) in San José, as well as a professor at the University of Costa Rica.
The Hon. Regina Vargo: DR-CAFTA, Trade and Regional Stability
A former assistant U.S. trade representative for the Americas, Vargo was chief U.S. negotiator for the U.S.- Dominican Republic-Central America Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). She currently serves as senior director of global trade practice at Greenberg Traurig, LLP.
Thomas W. O' Donnell: Petrocaribe and Petrodiplomacy
A nuclear physicist and energy expert, O'Donnell is a 2008 U.S. Fulbright scholar to Venezuela, where he is currently affiliated with the Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo, Universidad Central de Venezuela (CENDES-UCV) in Caracas, studying the political economy of oil in the internal and external policies of the Bolivarian state.
Diana Villiers Negroponte: Maras, Organized Crime, and Citizen Security
A nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Negroponte is a specialist in Latin American affairs and author of The Merida Initiative and Central America: The Challenges of Containing Public Insecurity and Criminal Violence.
The Hon. Roberto Flores Bermúdez: The Democratic Process in Honduras and Its Implications for Central America
The former foreign minister of Honduras, Flores is also the former Honduran ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the former representative of Honduras to the United Nations.
Jaime Daremblum (Moderator)
Ambassador Daremblum is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Hudson Institute.