The 2020 Election and Latin American Politics

Another event I had the opportunity this semester was a discussion of potential effects of the US presidential on Latin American politics. This event was also hosted by Dr. Kenney and featured two guest speakers in Dr. Paolo Moreira and Dr. Rossana Castiglioni. This event occurred only 10 days after the election (November 13th), so the exact outcome of the election remained very uncertain. Additionally, the speakers were simply offering projections on potential changes in American policy toward Latin America – as such, the ideas discussed in this post should be considered in that context.

            Now, given President-elect Biden’s stark policy contrasts with President Trump, it is reasonable to imagine that there will be changes in America’s policy toward Latin America. Among other things, the panelists anticipated that US diplomatic efforts would place greater emphasis on developing democratic institutions and ensuring human rights. However, they noted that given the vast asymmetries in power between the US and Latin American countries, it is unlikely that there will be massive changes in US policy toward Latin America.

            The panelists did note that there might be a few areas of policy change, though they warned against any expectation of dramatic changes from the pre-Trump era norms. For instance, they hypothesized that immigration rules would return to “normal” and that the US would make Amazon protections a diplomatic priority.            

One final observation made by the panelists was that the US election highlighted the instability that exists even within the US political system. While the instability and uncertainty in Latin American governments are far greater than we experienced in the past election, it still gives us a taste of the ease with which uncertainty can be introduced into the political process.

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