News and Politics

Breaking the Ice, Not Melting It: The U.S. Rapprochement with Cuba

October 11, 2016

The suitability of the word, “rapprochement,” remains to be seen. U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba took a major swing in December with the proposed resumption of diplomatic relations for the first time in 54 years. In January, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, became the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit the island in 35 years. But despite this improvement and those forthcoming, the events of the past month mean seemingly little—the embargo remains in place, as does one-party rule in Cuba.

Democratic Politics and Social Welfare in the Southern Cone: a Comparative Analysis

October 10, 2016

Democracy does not ensure progressive welfare outcomes: yet, in Latin America such outcomes have been more common under democracy than under authoritarian governments or governments that strongly limit political and economic freedoms.1 I examine the cases of Uruguay and Paraguay to illustrate and qualify this position.

Understanding Citizen Attitudes Towards Corruption in Latin America

October 10, 2016

Under what conditions do voters in Latin America’s democracies punish corrupt politicians? As many of the region’s countries approach or pass their third decade of continuous democratic government, attention has turned from questions of democratic longevity in the region to the quality of democracy that citizens experience. And in Latin America, as in many parts of the world, citizens and policy makers are increasingly preoccupied with political corruption.

Mexico Hopes to Curb Teen Pregnancy Rates

October 11, 2016

“There's just so many ways that we need to go about it. I know that it's often said that teen pregnancy is a cause of poverty. But I'm thinking this is something that exists before the pregnancy in many cases. And so that's something that we need to go to the root of. It's not enough to say that if we are to reduce teen pregnancy rates that it's going to solve that issue of poverty among Latinos.”1

Civil Society and Democracy in Times of Political Crisis

October 11, 2016

Last year, the Obama administration announced a new civil society initiative, Stand with Civil Society, calling for support of civil society groups across the world and acknowledging the role they play in pushing for citizen engagement, equity, transparency and accountability.  These positive perspectives of civil society pushing for more democratic governance contrasts with more skeptical views that civil society may actually negatively impact the prospects for d

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