democracy

Drug Cartels and their Interference in Politics: The Loss of Electoral Competitiveness in Municipal Elections in Mexico

March 15, 2017

The scandalous financing of several municipal candidates by the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa and Matamoros in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in 2012[i] have not been isolated phenomena. Many news media have reported the intrusion of narcos in local (municipal) elections by not only financing specific candidates, but also by threatening or assassinating candidates.   Why have narcos been investing resources to interfere in municipal elections?

Nicaraguan Democracy: Successes & Challenges

December 6, 2016

Nicaragua held its presidential elections last week, and current president Daniel Ortega was elected unanimously for the fourth time, garnering 72% of votes with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his running mate (Wroughton & Pretel, 2016). The next closest competitor, center-right candidate Maximino Rodriguez, only managed to amass 14.2% of the vote (BBC, 2016). This was no surprise, as in previous months, the courts blocked the main opposition coalition from participating in the election. Mr.

Venezuela Ousts Three U.S. Diplomats Amid Protests

October 20, 2016

Claims of conspiracy and sabotage, ones all-too-familiar for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, resulted in the expulsion of three U.S. diplomats from Venezuela on February 16th. As might be expected, the decision was made after the U.S. State Department articulated its concerns over the perpetual discord throughout the nation, most evident in the February 12th protest that gained international attention. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry was quick to issue a statement critiquing the U.S.

Protests in Venezuela: A Repeat of 1989 or 2002?

October 20, 2016

On February 12th Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez called on opponents of the socialist Venezuelan government to take to the streets and support student groups that had been protesting the overwhelming problem of violent crime in Tachira State the week before. Ever since protests have continued on an almost nationwide scale.

Impressions from Venezuela Institutional Deterioration, Violence and Social Unrest

October 20, 2016

Venezuela is an incredibly dynamic country. After several decades of stability, the country has been shaken by major political realignments, economic shifts and policy changes since El Caracazo took place in 1989. In that year, the population rose up violently in response to the government's economic reforms that included increases in the price of gasoline and transportation.

Voluntary Voting in Chile: A Better Democracy?

October 20, 2016

On January 31st, 2012, Chile passed a law changing the vote from compulsory to voluntary, while at the same time expanding the register, allowing every citizen over the age of 18 to vote automatically, without the need to be registered. This contrasted with the previous mechanism, a registration system that was voluntary, but once citizens were inside they were forced to vote in every election, albeit under a weak threat of a pecuniary sanction.

Bachelet's Inauguration: Promise for Change Under Permanent Climate of Status Quo

October 20, 2016

As tradition mandates, every 11th day of the month of March following the election of a new president, Chile celebrates the inauguration of its new Chief Executive. In 2014, Michelle Bachelet becomes the first president to be inaugurated for a second time since the return of democracy in 1989. She  takes the reigns back from Sebastián Piñera, who governed the country for the last four years.

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