Democratic Backsliding and International Relations in the Americas


Thursday, February 25, 2021, 3:00pm



CELSO AMORIM, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense, Brazil; SUSANA MALCORRA, Dean, IE School of Global and Public Affairs and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Argentina; AMBASSADOR THOMAS SHANNON, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard Kennedy School and Former U.S. Under Secretary of State

Moderated by STEVEN LEVITSKY, Director, DRCLAS; David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government, Harvard University

In recent years, several countries throughout the Americas have increasingly experienced concerning signs of democratic backsliding: Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Paraguay and Peru have all seen varying degrees of deterioration of their democratic institutions such as independence of the judiciary or the right to free protest. Similarly, the United States, which has long prided itself as a champion of democracy in the region and the world, was shaken by an unprecedented threat to its democracy on January 6 when a mob of insurgents sieged the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn election results. What are the main challenges to democracy in the Western Hemisphere? How are international organizations and foreign policymakers responding to de-democratization in the Americas? What is the role of diplomacy in defending democracy? And what is the role of civil society in reversing these trends?

Presented in collaboration with Future of Diplomacy Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School.

Contact Information: Tim Linden,