Democracy Dialogues: Is Latin America's Democracy in Recession?

Freedom House's Michael Abramowitz speaks with AS/COA’s Eric Farnsworth about regional political and civil challenges.


  • Michael Abramowitz, President, Freedom House 
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

"We're in what many have described as a democracy recession, which in Freedom House terms means that every year—for the past 18 years—more countries have experienced declines in political rights and civil liberties than those that experienced improvements," said Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz in a conversation with AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth. In this edition of Democracy Dialogues, Abramowitz delves into the Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World 2024 report, highlighting key findings and democratic trends. 

Abramowitz shares insights from his recent trip to Latin America, focusing on Guatemala's encouraging democratic developments under President Bernardo Arévalo, who has made significant strides against corruption in his short time in office. "We like to think that Guatemala could be a good-news story five years from now if President Arévalo is a success," he said.

The conversation touches on the broader challenges facing democracies worldwide, including rising electoral manipulation, the role of social media, and the influence of foreign actors. Abramowitz talks about the importance of supporting local civil society movements around the globe and emphasizes the importance of the United States maintaining a strong democratic example, especially during electoral processes. He explains how corruption can be the “Achilles' heel of authoritarian regimes,” suggesting that exposing and combating these issues can be a powerful strategy to strengthen democracy.

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 Confidencial Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

Follow the conversation: #DemocracyDialogues | @ASCOA

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