32nd Meeting of the Working Group on Latin America

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Started in 2001, the Working Group is one of the longest-running and most successful initiatives at the Inter-American Dialogue. It brings together a select group of political, academic, and civil society leaders from across Latin America to discuss the most pressing issues facing the region. Sessions are intended not only to help shape the Dialogue’s agenda, but also to guide policy cooperation in a broader sense. With meetings alternating between Washington, DC and cities in Latin America, the program is unique in its breadth and long-term perspective. This year’s meeting will take place in Washington, DC. No other project regularly brings together such a group of distinguished experts for a frank, off-the-record discussion on hemispheric affairs.

This meeting will be off the record and will take place in English and Spanish.


8:30 am – 8:45 am  Continental Breakfast & Registration

8:45 am – 9:00 am  Welcome Remarks

9:00 am – 10:30 am  What Happened to the Chilean Model?

What provocked the recent unrest? Is this the end of the post-Pinochet consensus? Has the government of Sebastían Piñera responded correctly? Will a new constitution be enough to restore stability and social peace? What changes should the new constitution include? What are the risks of drafting a new constitution? How can the political system contain and represent new social demands? To what extent is the divide in Chile socioeconomic, ideological or generational? How should alleged human rights violations by the security forces be addressed?

10:30 am – 10:45 am  Coffee Break

10:45 am – 12:15 pm  A Fragmented Southern Cone

Why did Mauricio Macri’s pro-market reforms fail? What lessons can be learned from this experience? How will the government of Alberto Fernández deal with Argentina’s serious economic crisis? What changes can we expect in foreign policy? What will be the role of vice-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner? What does the release of Lula da Silva mean for the future of Brazil? What accounts for the decline in Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity? Is finance minister Paulo Guedes’ agenda of liberalization likely to continue? Are Argentina and Brazil heading for a clash? If so, what are the implications? Is Mercosur in jeopardy? What can we expect from the new government in Uruguay regarding domestic and foreign policy?

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm  Lunch: An Update on Venezuela

What has allowed the Maduro regime to consolidate its control in Venezuela? What will the end of the National Assembly’s term mean for Juan Guaidó’s leadership? Can the opposition regain momentum? What are the prospects that external actors such as the Lima Group, the OAS, the international contact group, and the Grupo de Puebla will help resolve Venezuela’s crises? To what extend should they focus on the humanitarian and refugee crisis? 

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm  Turmoil in Bolivia

Were the presidential elections fraudulent? How do you assess the role of the OAS? Was Evo Morales removed by a military coup? Can the interim government restore peace and organize elections? What are the social and political forces backing the interim administration?  Does the opposition have a coherent leadership?  What has been Evo Morales’ role since his arrival Mexico? What factors have contributed to widespread violence? How will growing social polarization unfold in the next months? Can a divided Latin America be part of the solution? 

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm  The Andes: Protests in Ecuador, Dissatisfaction in Colombia, Peru’s Political Crisis

Has Lenín Moreno managed to control the social and political crisis? Can former president Rafael Correa make a comeback? Will congressional elections next month help resolve Peru’s political and institutional crisis? What did local elections mean for the Duque administration and for Uribe’s leadership? Is the Colombian peace deal collapsing?

4:00 pm – 4:15 pm  Coffee Break

4:15 pm – 5:30 pm  Challenges Facing Mexico and Central America

On balance, how was Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador performed in his first year as president? Why has violence increased?  What is the government’s security strategy? And its foreign policy priorities? How will the government restore economic growth? Is López Obrador’s popularity in peril? Is Nayib Bukele only an effective communicator, or is he committed to implementing significant changes in El Salvador? What are the challenges facing the incoming administration in Guatemala? What is the situation of the rule of law and social unrest in Honduras? Are corruption and violence back on the rise in Central America? What is the outlook for Nicaragua? 

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm  Wrap Up: Making Sense of the Discontent

Are there common factors behind unrest in Latin American countries? What will political fragmentation and instability mean for regional integration? Is the rise of populism from both ends of the political spectrum inevitable? Why is social and political polarization increasing throughout the region? How can political systems regain legitimacy and their citizens’ trust? What can the region do to rekindle economic growth?

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