Started in 2001, the Working Group on Latin America 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. No other project regularly brings together such a group of distinguished experts for a frank, off-the-record discussion on hemispheric affairs.
Although meetings traditionally alternate between Washington, DC, and cities in Latin America, this session will take place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This gathering is a follow-up to the 33rd Meeting that took place in December 2020.
This meeting will be off the record and will take place in English and Spanish.
11:00AM: WELCOME REMARKS
11:03am – 11:30am: Second round in Ecuador
What is the likely outcome of the April 11 runoff between Andrés Arauz and Guillermo Lasso? Can Lasso unify the anti-Correa vote? What is the role of third-place candidate Yaku Pérez? Would Rafael Correa be the power behind the throne if Arauz wins? What are the candidates’ plans to tackle Ecuador’s pressing economic problems? What would an Arauz win mean for Ecuador? Would it signal a return of left-wing governments in Latin America?
11:30am – 12:15pm: Impending changes in US-Mexico relations
Will legislative and gubernatorial elections in July consolidate AMLO’s control of the political landscape? Is there a viable opposition to Morena? What are the most concerning issues regarding rule of law in Mexico? Are Mexico and the US heading towards a more confrontational relationship? How might AMLO respond to Biden’s agenda on human rights, corruption, and climate change? How will changes in US policy on security and immigration affect Mexico? Will the White House pressure Mexico on the environment and labor rights in the context of USMCA? Is Mexico’s recent energy reform a threat to US investments in the country?
12:15pm – 1:00pm: Biden’s plans for Central America
Are democratic institutions under threat in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras? What are the implications of recent legislative elections in El Salvador and formal drug charges against Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández? What should be the role of the US in strengthening rule of law in the Northern Triangle? Is Biden’s 4-billion-dollar plan to tackle the “root causes” of emigration realistic? Are Biden’s proposed changes to the US immigration system enough? What can the hemisphere do about the Nicaraguan crisis?
2:00pm – 2:30pm: Update on Bolivia, Chile and Peru
How is Bolivia four months after president Luis Arce took office? What has been the role of former president Evo Morales? What can we expect regarding Chile’s April 11 election of a constitutional convention? What might the new constitution look like? What is the outlook for Peru’s April 11 presidential election? Who are the main contenders? What would the election of the leading candidates mean for the country moving forward?
2:30pm – 3:15pm: Brazil and the United States: cooperation or confrontation?
Will Jair Bolsonaro’s reelection ambitions and alliance with centrist parties lead to changes in economic and foreign policy? How has the Brazilian president responded to growing discontent? What signals have Brazil and the US sent each other since Biden took office? Are differences over climate change, democratic institutions and other issues solvable? What is the role of the Brazilian military in managing the relationship with the United States? What are the areas of potential collaboration? Can Washington and Brasilia cooperate in checking China’s growing influence in the region?
3:20pm – 4:00pm: Is there a way forward for Venezuela?
Has Nicolás Maduro quashed opposition to his rule? Are challengers to Juan Guaidó’s leadership emerging within the opposition? Is there a viable strategy to pursue a democratic transition? What has been the impact of de facto dollarization for the economy? Are US sanctions likely to be revised under Biden? How can US policy focus more on the humanitarian crisis and working closely with Venezuelan civil society groups? With chavismo now controlling the National Assembly, is dialogue between the opposition and the regime still possible?