WHO: American University Venezuela/Latin America Experts
WHAT: Available to analyze and comment on Venezuelan elections
WHEN: October 3-ongoing
WHERE: American University, in studio, or phone interviews
Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2012) – Venezuela's political future is up for grabs in the Presidential election on October 7. Hugo Chavez has brought revolutionary socialism to the country and has captured the support of the poor, but he has also delivered high inflation, spiraling crime, and political polarization and authoritarianism. His challenger Henrique Capriles is a young and popular governor, who is also trying to appeal to the poor and the middle class. Will the election be rigged by Chavez, or will it be free and fair? What are the implications for Venezuela's declining oil industry, for Latin America, and for the United States? Will Chavez's cancer affect his support or introduce instability if he wins? Will the military accept his defeat? How does Chavez’s mysterious health issues impact his electability? American University experts are available to discuss the election and the future of the region based on the outcome.
Latin America Political/Venezuela Experts
Robert Pastor, School of International Service professor of international relations and director of the Center for North American Studies, served as the U.S. National Security Advisor on Latin America (1977-1981), was a consultant to the State and Defense Departments during the Clinton Administration, and was the founding director of the Carter Center’s Latin American and Caribbean Program. Pastor is the author of The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future (Oxford, 2011).
Eric Hershberg, director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, focuses his research on the comparative politics of Latin America, and on the politics of development. Hershberg’s current research focuses on the state of democracy and emerging development strategies in South America, and the ways in which elites exercise power in Central America. He has served as a consultant to numerous development and educational agencies. (Available for interviews in Spanish)
Ambassador Anthony Quainton, diplomat-in-residence and a professor of U.S. foreign policy at American University’s School of International Service, served as Ambassador of Peru(1989-1992). During his long and distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Quainton served as Ambassador to Nicaragua and Kuwait and the Central African Republic. President Clinton named him Director General of the Foreign Service (1995-1997).
Matthew Taylor, assistant professor in the School of International Service, focuses on Brazil and more broadly Latin American political economy. Taylor can comment on how the Venezuelan election results could affect the largest stakeholder and powerbroker in the region. He has lived in Brazil for more than a decade and most recently served as an assistant professor at the University of São Paulo. Taylor co-edited Corruption and Democracy in Brazil:The Struggle for Accountability (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011). (Available for interviews in Portuguese)
Fulton Armstrong, a senior fellow in the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, has followed Latin American affairs for almost 30 years. Armstrong served as a senior professional staff member responsible for Latin America on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (2008-2011), where he also worked closely with the committee’s investigations team. Among other senior positions, he was National Intelligence Officer for Latin America – the U.S. Intelligence Community’s most senior analyst (2000-2004). He served two terms as Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council(1995-97 & 1998-99)between which he was Deputy NIO for Latin America.
Latin America Economic/Finance Experts
Manuel Suarez-Mier, economist-in residence, knows Latin American economies very well and has had four decades of experience in Venezuela where he was involved in the negotiations of the Latin America Economic System (SELA) which was the first attempt of Latin American nations to have a multilateral economic and political institution which specifically excluded the United States. Suarez-Mier possesses a long career working on Mexico’s financial system and in its foreign service where he served as chief of staff of the Governor of the Bank of Mexico and the top economic diplomat in Washington at the time of the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. More recently, he represented the Attorney General of Mexico in the United States when the Mérida Initiative.(Available for interviews in Spanish)
Arturo Porzecanski, distinguished economist-in-residence, is an expert in international finance, emerging markets and Latin American economics. Porzecanski carries out and publishes research in international finance; provides consulting services to legal and financial firms, as well as to U.S. government agencies and multilateral institutions. Among the positions he held before entering academia was chief economist for emerging markets at ABN AMRO Bank; chief economist for the Americas at ING Bank; chief emerging-markets economist at Kidder, Peabody & Co.; chief economist at Republic National Bank of New York; senior economist at J.P. Morgan Bank. (Available for interviews in Spanish)
Geopolitics of Oil Expert
Jeff Colgan, assistant professor, is an expert in the geopolitics of oil, international security, and international trade. Colgan can speak about how oil money has supported the Chavez regime. He is the author of the forthcoming book Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War.