Francisco Pacho Santos and Eric Farnsworth at Democracy Dialogues


Democracy Dialogues: What Are the Forces Tampering with Elections in Latin America?

Colombia's ex-VP Francisco Santos shares his views on Chinese, Iranian, and Russian influence in the region.


  • Francisco Santos, former Vice President of Colombia and former Colombian Ambassador to the United States
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

“China is becoming such a big game changer in terms of economics that all of a sudden even the European countries say this battle for strategic control of Latin America is 'interesting to us,'” said Ambassador Francisco Santos in an interview with AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth about the multifaceted challenges facing democracy in the Western Hemisphere.  

The Colombian former vice president discussed the role of social media in shaping the narrative around politics in the region. He highlighted how countries like Russia are adapting to tamper with regional dynamics by supporting or undermining political candidates. Santos also cited drug trafficking, criminal gangs, and the influence of external actors—like China, Iran, and Russia—as external threats to the region's democratic stability.

In this thought-provoking conversation, Santos painted a complex picture of the interplay between criminal enterprises and external influences in the Western Hemisphere and underscored the need for a strategic reassessment of U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America.

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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