PODCAST

Latin America in Focus

AS/COA Online

Go in depth on the latest trends in Latin American politics, economics, and culture in this podcast series by Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

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How Latin America Is Fighting Inflation
2d ago
How Latin America Is Fighting Inflation
As economies around the world face inflationary pressures, they may want to check the Latin American playbook. Otaviano Canuto, fellow at the Policy Center for the New South and former World Bank president, talks about why the region is positioned to avoid the runaway inflation woes of the past. But he also warns of social unrest on the horizon amid a shift toward populist leaders who make promises they just can’t keep. Also in this episode, AS/COA Vice President Brian Winter covers the results of the 2022 Capacity to Combat Corruption Index and why Latin America’s anti-corruption drive is alive and well. Access the CCC Index music featured in this episode is “Mamãe Oxum,” recorded by Alexandre and Douglas Lora, and “Tarde,” performed by the Cliff Korman Ensemble. Watch the videos of "Mamãe Oxum" and "Tarde"
How Latin America Is Fighting Inflation
2d ago
How Latin America Is Fighting Inflation
As economies around the world face inflationary pressures, they may want to check the Latin American playbook. Otaviano Canuto, fellow at the Policy Center for the New South and former World Bank president, talks about why the region is positioned to avoid the runaway inflation woes of the past. But he also warns of social unrest on the horizon amid a shift toward populist leaders who make promises they just can’t keep. Also in this episode, AS/COA Vice President Brian Winter covers the results of the 2022 Capacity to Combat Corruption Index and why Latin America’s anti-corruption drive is alive and well. Access the CCC Index music featured in this episode is “Mamãe Oxum,” recorded by Alexandre and Douglas Lora, and “Tarde,” performed by the Cliff Korman Ensemble. Watch the videos of "Mamãe Oxum" and "Tarde"
Colombian Voters Buck the Presidential Status Quo
Jun 9 2022
Colombian Voters Buck the Presidential Status Quo
Colombians dealt a blow to the political status quo by picking two anti-establishment candidates to face off in the second round of their 2022 presidential election. The Washington Post’s Bogotá Bureau Chief, Samantha Schmidt, tells AS/COA Online’s Jon Orbach who they are, what they’re proposing, and tales from a recent trip to one of their hometowns. Editor's note: The introduction to this podcast indicates the Mexican political party know as the PRI will, following 2022 gubernatorial inaugurations, control two of 32 governorships. However, it will control three of 32. Election guide: www.as-coa.org/2022 Runoff poll tracker: music in this episode is Nilko Andreas Guarín performing “Guitar Prelude No. 4 (H. Villa-Lobos)” for the Music Program at Americas Society. Watch the video:
The Once and Future Summit of the Americas
May 26 2022
The Once and Future Summit of the Americas
It’s been a bumpy road to the June 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, which comes as the hemisphere faces challenges like pandemic recovery, spiking inflation, and waning support for democracy. In this episode, AS/COA Senior Director Steve Liston, former U.S. deputy national coordinator for the Summits of the Americas, compares this round to its historic predecessors, explains what distinguishes the event from other summits, and covers what’s needed to make future ones a success. Read Americas Quarterly’s Special Report on the Summit: t.ly/-gD8 Get the who, what, where, when, why of the Ninth Summit: t.ly/UOn7 Check the guest list: t.ly/C9By The salsa music in this podcast was recorded by Uzzo Ismael for Americas Society. Watch him perform “Descarga Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga” on YouTube.
Can Xiomara Castro Take Control of Honduras' Reins?
May 5 2022
Can Xiomara Castro Take Control of Honduras' Reins?
In her first 100 days, Honduran President Xiomara Castro has taken some steps forward on campaign pledges, but her leadership has been overshadowed by two former presidents: her outspoken husband and Juan Orlando Hernández, who was extradited the United States on charges of narcotrafficking. Can she take control of the reins? AS/COA Online’s Chase Harrison spoke to journalist Jeff Ernst, who covers Honduras. The music in this episode is Aurelio Martínez performing at the Americas Society. Watch a video of his performance:
How VP Choices Are Shaping Presidential Races in Colombia and Brazil
Apr 25 2022
How VP Choices Are Shaping Presidential Races in Colombia and Brazil
The choice of a running mate gives a presidential hopeful a chance to widen the net, solidify a profile, or win over a rival’s supporters. What can we glean from vice-presidential choices in Brazil and Colombia, both of which hold game-changing elections in the coming months? In this episode, we hear from Colombia Risk Analysis’ Sergio Guzman on VP choices for the top three candidates, as well as how Gustavo Petro’s running mate Francia Márquez reframed the race. Then Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Thomas Traumann explains Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s vice-presidential play for the center and why incumbent Jair Bolsonaro’s ticket is all about him. For polls and more on this year’s Latin American elections, visit: www.as-coa.org/2022 The music in this episode is Danilo Brito performing Madrigal Merencório for Americas Society. Watch the video:
Guillermo Lasso's Tricky Year
Apr 8 2022
Guillermo Lasso's Tricky Year
One year ago, Guillermo Lasso beat the odds to capture Ecuador’s presidency. After some early successes, Lasso finds himself struggling to work with a fragmented Congress, as security problems mount. What’s the path forward for the business-friendly leader? Paolo Moncagatta of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito explains Lasso’s options. See AS/COA’s Brazil elections poll tracker: music featured in this podcast is Santiago Del Curto "Three Smiles for Tracey" by A. Hailstork for Americas Society. Watch the video:
Why Is Mexico Holding a Presidential Recall Vote?
Mar 23 2022
Why Is Mexico Holding a Presidential Recall Vote?
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has long pledged that voters would get to decide whether he should finish his six-year term. One constitutional reform and millions of signatures later, they’ll get to do just that in a recall vote on April 10. But, given that all signs point to voters of all stripes agreeing he should finish his time in office, why hold it? Journalist and political analyst Fernanda Caso of Gatopardo and Latitud 3°12 shares answers with AS/COA Online’s Carin Zissis. See AS/COA’s tracker of AMLO’s approval: t.ly/mH9E Find out about other Latin American votes in our 2022 election guide: Caso on Gatopardo’s weekly podcast: t.ly/Lzyw The music featured in this podcast is Mexico’s Ónix Ensamble performing Charles Halka’s “Por la fuerza las tierras” for Americas Society. Watch the video:
From Fertilizers to Fuel—What the Ukraine Crisis Means for Latin America
Mar 10 2022
From Fertilizers to Fuel—What the Ukraine Crisis Means for Latin America
Jair Bolsonaro drew criticism for meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. Why would the Brazilian president take such a questionable step? One big reason was fertilizer imports that power his country's agricultural sector, but it looks like the trip did little to stem rising food prices. In this episode, Samantha Pearson, São Paulo-based correspondent for The Wall Street Journal tells AS/COA Online’s Chase Harrison how the conflict in the Ukraine is being felt economically and politically in Latin America. The music in this episode is “Menino das Laranjas" performed by Jamile Staevie and Saul Cosme. Watch the video: Pearson’s coverage of how the conflict is affecting Brazilian agriculture:
What the IMF's Ilan Goldfajn Sees in Latin America's Economic Future
Feb 23 2022
What the IMF's Ilan Goldfajn Sees in Latin America's Economic Future
In the pandemic, Latin American countries used every bit of fiscal space to stimulate their economies and aid their populations. Now, says Ilan Goldfajn, the director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, they face the reality of ensuring fiscal responsibility while also increasing the region’s growth potential and balancing social demands. In a public AS/COA event, he addressed the region’s path forward. The music in this episode is “New Padjanbel," performed by the Jacques Schwarz-Bart Quintet. Watch the video:
The Elections of Colombia's Discontent
Feb 15 2022
The Elections of Colombia's Discontent
Colombians could get three chances to cast ballots for the next president this year: in March’s interparty consultations, May’s first round, and a June runoff. A crowded candidate field ahead of the March elections—which coincide with legislative elections—is indicative of widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo, says Muni Jensen, a former Colombian diplomat now a political analyst with the Albright Stonebridge Group. She gives a rundown of the notable candidates, the mood of voters, and how the new Congress may be reshaped. More coverage at AS/COA’s 2022 Election Guide: as-coa.org/2022 The music in this episode is “Las Horas,” performed by Colombian trio Trip Trip Trip. Watch the video: bit.ly/3gJfKoZ
Can Latin America Power Up Its Lithium Prospects?
Jan 31 2022
Can Latin America Power Up Its Lithium Prospects?
Demand for lithium is expected to keep growing exponentially in the race to ensure we can power our smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles. That could be a boon for Latin American economies, home to the lithium triangle countries of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. But of course, things aren’t always that simple. Luna Lithium’s Emily Hersh talks with AS/COA’s Carin Zissis about statist approaches, environmental worries, community concerns, and prospects for a lithium OPEC.
Three Stories You May Have Missed in 2021
Dec 20 2021
Three Stories You May Have Missed in 2021
We dive into the under-covered but crucial issues facing the region this year. In this episode: AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth gets into how the high number of U.S. ambassador vacancies can upend Washington's Latin America policy, U.S.-Mexico Foundation's Axel Cabrera and Pedro Casas Alatriste cover why a surge in migration to Mexico could prompt a change to the immigration narrative, and the Panama Canal Authority's Ilya Espino de Marotta explains how supply chain delays and climate change affect the hemisphere's busiest waterway.
The Democracy that Chileans Want
Dec 9 2021
The Democracy that Chileans Want
The presidential runoff between the right’s José Antonio Kast and the left’s Gabriel Boric leaves many voters feeling like “orphans” with no political home, raising a fundamental question about what type of democracy Chile wants, says CNN Chile host and La Tercera columnist Paula Escobar Chavarría. In this interview, she talks about what makes a candidate extreme, the ways Kast and Boric risk alienating female voters, and the parallels between Chile’s 2021 presidential race and the first vote in which she participated: the 1988 referendum.
COP26's Gauntlet for Brazil and Latin America
Nov 23 2021
COP26's Gauntlet for Brazil and Latin America
At November’s COP26 climate conference, countries met to generate stronger action on climate change. In attendance was Institute Talanoa’s Natalie Unterstell, a former Brazilian negotiator at climate summits. Unterstell talks to AS/COA Online’s Luisa Leme about what happened at COP26, what it means for Latin America, and what more Brazil—the region’s biggest contributor to climate change—can do.
Democratic Tests in Honduras and Nicaragua
Nov 1 2021
Democratic Tests in Honduras and Nicaragua
November brings with it two tricky electoral tests in Central America—Nicaragua on November 7 and Honduras on November 28. Both will be major tests for the countries democratic systems and for the ability of citizens to make their voices heard. In conversations with AS/COA Online, International Crisis Group’s Tiziano Breda explains the electoral scenario for both elections while El Milenio’s Juan Pablo Sabillón explains his organization’s efforts to battle young voters’ discontent with democracy.
Rewriting Mexico’s Security and Energy Agendas
Oct 13 2021
Rewriting Mexico’s Security and Energy Agendas
October 2021 opened with big shifts in areas high on Mexico’s agenda: security and energy. Both issues are, arguably, the most crucial to the country’s future course. In conversations with AS/COA’s Carin Zissis, UC San Diego’s Cecilia Farfán-Méndez covers what’s new—and not so new—in an updated U.S.-Mexico security accord while Montserrat Ramiro, former commissioner of Mexico’s energy regulatory agency, gets into why a new electricity reform is sparking discord.
What to Expect When Expecting the Brazilian Elections
Sep 30 2021
What to Expect When Expecting the Brazilian Elections
We're one year out from Brazil's October 2022 presidential vote, but there are a lot of clues about the shape of the race already. IDEIA Big Data’s Mauricio Moura tells AS/COA Online's Luisa Leme how Jair Bolsonaro’s approval ratings, the pandemic, technology, and Brazilians' lack of interest in politics could make—or break—the incumbent’s reelection plans.
El Salvador's Bitcoin Gamble
Sep 16 2021
El Salvador's Bitcoin Gamble
On September 7, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt a cryptocurrency as official legal tender. But while President Nayib Bukele has grown accustomed to high levels of popularity, citizens marked the country’s September 15 bicentennial by protesting his Bitcoin decision. The National Association of Private Enterprise’s Leonor Selva tells AS/COA’s Chase Harrison about implementation missteps and what other Latin American countries are learning from the experiment.
The Midway Point for Mexico's AMLO
Sep 1 2021
The Midway Point for Mexico's AMLO
Luis Rubio, president of México Evalúa, joins AS/COA’s Carin Zissis to dig into how President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will work with a newly elected legislature as he shapes his legacy halfway into his presidency, as well as how U.S.-Mexico relations do—and don’t—work as a check on the Mexican leader’s power.
How to Vaccinate a Hemisphere
Aug 5 2021
How to Vaccinate a Hemisphere
Acquiring hundreds of millions of vaccines is one thing. Getting them in the arms of hundreds of millions of Latin Americans is another. But partnerships with the private sector, existing vaccination networks, and the potential for boosted domestic production could upgrade the pandemic outlook for a region that could use some bullish pandemic projections. Direct Relief’s Thomas Tighe and Dr. Marco Aurelio Sáfadi talk with us about the on-the-ground logistics of vaccine rollout in the region.