Jennifer McCoy, director of the Americas Program at The Carter Center and political scientist at Georgia State University will be attending the Summit of the Americas in Panama this week and is available for news commentary.

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The presidents of nations in the Western Hemisphere, including Barack Obama and, for the first time, Raul Castro, will meet April 10-11 in Panama City for the eighth Summit of the Americas, along with parallel summits of university presidents, private sector leaders, and civil society leaders.

McCoy directs Georgia State University’s new Global Studies Institute, is Distinguished University Professor of Political Science, and for the past sixteen years has directed the Carter Center’s Americas Program. She has participated in many past summits and is a specialist in U.S.-Latin American relations, Venezuelan politics, the Colombian peace process, and U.S.-Cuba relations. “This summit represents an extraordinary opportunity for the United States to deepen its ties with a hemisphere of like-minded democracies and large consumer market,” McCoy said. “It comes on the brink of normalization of relations with Cuba after fifty years of hostility, but also at a moment of extraordinary tension with Venezuela, the fourth largest exporter of oil to the United States.

“The Obama-Castro show, along with the Obama-Maduro show, highlighting themes of human rights and democracy, will be front and center at this Summit, although the official theme is prosperity with equity -- a crucial topic for political stability and effective governance in the entire hemisphere,” she continued.

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