New Challenges and Opportunities for Democracy in the Western Hemisphere

Election workers count votes during Chile’s 1988 plebiscite, which ended Pinochet’s dictatorship. Source: Flickr

When I started out as a junior State Department diplomat at the close of the Carter Administration in the dark days of the Cold War, the state of democracy in Latin America was abysmal. Military dictatorship was the norm throughout the region. During my early State Department years I worked to support, sustain, and contribute to the so-called third wave of democracy in the Americas that helped make the Latin America region, as the Economist recently said, “the most democratic region of the developing world,” behind only North America and Western Europe.

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Youth are driving change in Latin America

Latin Americans discussing youth political participation

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Twelve young Latin American political leaders and activists recently gathered in Guatemala for an NDI-led workshop on youth political participation. Conversations ranged from what motivates youth to get involved in politics, to how sociocultural norms about youth affect their work, and what tactics youth have used to elevate their political voices in their home countries of El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. Amidst widespread myths about youth political apathy, these diverse young activists represent a generation that is motivated to build more inclusive, democratic societies.

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Red Innovación at 3 Years: Connecting Democracy Activists Throughout Latin America

Dan Wagner, CEO of Civis Analytics and National Analytic Director for the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns, participates in a Red Innovación Google Hangout on campaign strategies.

Since its launch three years ago, online platform Red Innovación has helped activists throughout Latin America efficiently share tools and materials that contribute to political reform and good governance initiatives. In honor of next month's launch of the new Virtual Diploma in Communication Policy, which is hosted by Argentine partner Civil Association of Popular Studies (Asociacion Civil de Estudios Populares, ACEP) in partnership with Red Innovación and will provide training on new communications strategies, here is a recap of Red Innovación’s successes.

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Women Making Democracy Happen

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate all that women have achieved while recognizing the barriers that still stand in the way of gender equality.

This year’s theme is “Make It Happen.” Since its founding in 1983, NDI has sought to live those words by helping to give women the tools to participate, compete and lead as equal and active partners in democratic change.

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