Democracy Dialogues: A 2024 Outlook on Latin America

Human rights advocate José Miguel Vivanco discussed Latin America's democratic challenges and opportunities. 


  • José Miguel Vivanco, Partner at Dentons Global Advisors (DGA); Adjunct Senior Fellow for Human Rights at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

"If we have an exemplary electoral process in the United States... that example certainly could influence the region in a positive way," said José Miguel Vivanco, a prominent human rights advocate, in an interview with AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth on Latin America's 2024 democratic outlook. In the last Democracy Dialogues episode of 2023, Farnsworth and Vivanco look at trends across Latin America and what to expect in 2024. 

Vivanco noted his concern over Latin American citizens losing faith in the democratic system. "They are losing faith because they see different political parties, different options that are alternating power during the last 20, 25 years and leaders promise to fight against corruption, forth." As citizens see no change in their daily lives, they become anxious, creating fertile ground for the rise of authoritarian and populist movements, explained Vivanco.

A challenge facing Latin American elections is the rising claims of electoral fraud and institutional changes that threaten electoral processes. Vivanco posed an example in El Salvador, where President Nayib Bukele decided to run for reelection despite a constitutional prohibition. "If a leader is able to undercut the independence of the judiciary... that is pretty much the beginning of the end of a democratic system," he said.

Farnsworth and Vivanco concluded their discussion by analyzing the link between the 2024 United States presidential elections and its influence on electoral processes in Latin America. "Accepting the results of the next presidential election, the impact, the ramification that that kind of electoral procedure in the United States has for the rest of the world, particularly Latin America, is very important," said Vivanco.

Democracy Dialogues is a series of conversations we need to be having now on the state of democracy in the Americas. Hosted by Eric Farnsworth, these one-on-one interviews with leading democracy practitioners explore the most difficult issues of regional democratic governance with an eye toward pragmatic, well-calibrated solutions.

Past featured guests have included Colombia's then-President Iván Duque, NBA Basketball Star Enes Kanter Freedom, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, CubaDecide founder Rosa María Payá, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly Brian Winter, and founder and Editor of Nicaragua's Confidential Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

Follow the conversation: #DemocracyDialogues | @ASCOA

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