Leonardo Vivas

Leonardo Vivas teaches international politics at Emerson College and is a consultant for Freedom House. He is a former professor and coordinator of the Latin American Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Vivas is a sociologist who studied at Central University in Venezuela, and he went on to get an M.Phil from University of Sussex, UK, and a PhD from Nanterre Université in Paris.
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After Recent Protests, Cuba Will Not Be the Same

The wave of protests that engulfed Cuba on July 11 has become a milestone in the island's recent struggle for a free society. Limited at first, like so many protests across Latin America over the last few years, they soon spread out to most of the country, including small towns. It began in San Antonio de los Banos, a town about 16 miles south of Havana, as a reaction to the worsening living... Continue Reading

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Joe Biden Faces Many Challenges in Latin America

Donald Trump, the 45th US president, broke with decades of a relatively bipartisan foreign policy consensus by wreaking havoc on US bilateral relations with China and the European Union. Latin America was an exception to the Trump playbook. It is true that US relations with Mexico were rocky during the beginning of the Trump administration. Immigration from Central America and Mexico was... Continue Reading

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Good Bye, American Exceptionalism

Wednesday, January 20, 2021, was a bright day. The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States seemed to mark the end of the dysfunctional period of Donald Trump. The transition comes amid powerful calls to overcome the bitterness of polarized politics, appealing to the better angels of a battered national ego and levitating from Amanda Gorman’s pristine poetics. The... Continue Reading

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Why Maximum Pressure on Venezuela Is the Only Way Out

Venezuela’s dictatorship has proved to be highly resilient. It mutated from a lively democracy in the second half of the 20th century to a hybrid regime where unfree and unfair elections were held and repression reigned, giving way to the current dictatorial domination. In the process, it also destroyed the economy and brought down most institutions. Moreover, it has become a co-opted state... Continue Reading

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What Is Driving the Protests in Latin America?

The first thing to bear in mind when looking at the recent violent demonstrations that have occurred in Latin American countries like Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Bolivia is to resist the spell of common myths about the region. Latin America is a vast territory composed of 20 countries, from Mexico on the US border to Argentina and Chile in the confines of Antarctica. So when upheaval occurs in a... Continue Reading

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Is the Time Up for Nicolás Maduro?

After a few years preaching in the wilderness, Venezuela’s democratic forces found a new energy with Juan Guaidó. Until January this year, Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s strongman, seemed to have overcome all the obstacles in his battle for political survival. Appointed by Hugo Chávez — the founder of 21st-century socialism in Latin America and well known for his inexhaustible charisma... Continue Reading

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Nicolás Maduro: The New Tropical Czar Has No Clothes

Maduro may still be in office, but nothing in the Venezuelan landscape looks rosy for the government. On May 20, Nicolás Maduro was re-elected president of Venezuela after an election almost everyone within and outside the country dubbed not free and fair. He presided over a process where most main political adversaries were jailed, exiled or disqualified, the government controlled every bit... Continue Reading

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Latin America Without Chavez?

An exploration of the rise and fall of Chavez’s left-wing populism, not only in Venezuela but in the wider Latin America region. Latin America has a double penchant: for the past and for drama. Though the continent’s response to the world’s economic doldrums is today the envy of many countries, particularly in Europe, endemic inequality has always allowed populists a high hand in shaping... Continue Reading

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Honduras: Back to the Future

On June 1st 2011 the Organization of American States (OAS) - the most important regional institution which with the exception of Cuba gathers all countries of the Americas – revoked the suspension of Honduras’ membership.  The exclusion had taken place only two years earlier, after President Mel Zelaya was ousted from power by a tight alliance of the military and most internal... Continue Reading

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