Commissioned Reports, Papers and Presentations

Threat Financing, Financial Crimes, and Money Laundering in Latin America

Christopher L. Eddy, Senior Supervisory Intelligence Analyst in the Miami Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
May 2020
This paper outlines vulnerabilities and areas of existing and potential cooperation throughout Latin America and the United States with respect to threat finance, financial crimes, and money laundering. The paper also reviews ongoing compliance and law enforcement efforts and emerging threat areas for policymakers, lawmakers, and law enforcement to consider. The publication is part of LACC's Post-Secondary Outreach and LACC's Governance & Security Program of Excellence. Made possible with support from LACC's US Department of Education Title VI Grant. +Full Paper

Improving Spanish-Language Teacher Retention and Success Among Black Spanish-Language Learners: An HSI-HBCU Collaboration

Uju Anya, The Pennsylvania State University; Melissa Baralt, Florida International University; Déborah Gómez, Florida Memorial University; Habey Hechavarría, Florida International University; William Hobbs, Florida Memorial University; Amber Robinson, Florida International University
2020 LACC congratulates MI-BRIDGE faculty and students for their commissioned publication for the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP). Authored by Dr. Uju Anya (Penn State), Dr. Melissa Baralt (FIU), Dr. Déborah Gómez (Florida Memorial University), Dr. William Hobbs (Florida Memorial University), as well as FIU students Habey Hechavarría (Ph.D.) and Amber Williams (undergrad), this paper reports on an NEH-funded study to improve Spanish-language teacher retention and success among black Spanish-language learners via an HSI-HBCU collaboration. ¡Felicidades! +Full Paper

The New Wars:Democracy, Security and Cooperation in Mexico and Central America

Jose Miguel Cruz, Director of Research, LACC, FIU & Gema Santamaria, Assistant Professor of Latin American History, Loyola University, Chicago
This paper aims at answering the following questions: What are the main characteristics of the security crisis in the sub-region? What are the pitfalls and the lessons to be learned from the security strategies currently pursued by the governments of these countries? What are the main cooperation initiatives in the sub-region on issues of crime, violence, and security? And finally, what can be done in order to build more effective and sustainable cooperation strategies to address the security challenges shared by the sub-region? +Full Paper

El ejército y sus vínculos con la sociedad en Nicaragua*

Elvira Cuadra Lira, Sociologist and Researcher, Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación (CINCO), and Centro de Estudios Internacionales (CEI), Nicaragua
This paper, presented in Spanish, is part of the partnership between LACC and the Jack Gordon Institute for Public Policy. It focuses on the relationship between the Nicaraguan army and the society. +Full Paper

Attitudes toward the National Militaries in the Americas*

Maria Fernanda Boidi, Director, Insights Research & Consulting, Uruguay and Coordinator of Fieldwork Operations, LAPOP, Vanderbilt University & Brian Fonseca, Director, Jack Gordon Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship Studies, FIU
This article analyzes data from the 2014 AmericasBarometer public opinion survey and argues that heightened confidence in the military is driven by favorable evaluations of their performance and limited negative experiences with the military bodies (in particular, little corruption victimization in hands of military officers).+Full Paper

FARC Strategic Communications & The Colombian Peace Process

Dan Restrepo, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
July 2015
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper explores the FARC's continued use of more traditional methods of communication, as well as their target audience, and the communication failures of both the FARC and the Government of Colombia in the context of the Colombian Peace Process. +Full Paper

Assessing the Form and Impact of Russian Strategic Communications in Latin America and the Caribbean

Daniel Kochis, Research Associate, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, The Heritage Foundation
April 2015
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses Russian strategic communications and how they are used to preserve the regime in Moscow. Additionally, he examines Russian propaganda and the vast networks that support the dissemination of misinformation throughout the region. Finally, Kochis outlines major challenges to Russian strategic communication and offers recommendations that may serve to combat anti-U.S. sentiment resulting from Russian strategic communication efforts in the LAC region. +Full Paper

The Russian Media in Latin America

W. Alejandro Sanchez, Senior Research Fellow, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
April 2015
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper examines Russia's messaging in Latin America, and its role in strengthening the growing ties between Russia and Latin America. More specifically, Sanchez looks at Russia’s use of media outlets as “soft power” tools designed to increase the Russian government’s point of view across Latin America. He discusses what kinds of opinions and arguments are presented and how they are received, and finally, the challenges and opportunities for Russian strategic communication in Latin America. +Full Paper

Developing Relationships with the Cuban Military, in the Context of a Changing Cuba

Geoff Thale, Program Director, Washington Office on Latin America
February 2015
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses how the initial steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba opens both opportunities and challenges for agencies of the U.S. government, including the military, as the nation moves toward more normal relations. +Full Paper

U.S.—Cuba Normalizations: Strategic Impacts for U.S. National Security

Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
February 2015
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses the strategic impacts regarding the renewed relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. Piccone discusses the implications for U.S.-Cuban bilateral relations, U.S. relations in the region, and U.S. relations on the global level. +Full Paper

The Dissolution of Hierarchies and the Impact of the Crime-Terror Relationship

Chris Dishman, South Central Region Director, Department of Homeland Security
December 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses the potential Crime-Terror Nexus in Latin America. Dishman discusses the motivational goals of both criminal and terrorist leadership in the formation of a nexus between organizations. He analyzes the current role of these organizations and the transactional relationship between them. +Full Paper

Latin American & Caribbean Policy in the Past Decade: An Informal Assessment

Eric Farnsworth, VP, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
September 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses the state of U.S.—Latin American relations in the Twenty-First Century. Farnsworth discusses the shifting strategic dimensions in the hemisphere including political, social, and economic trends. He then discusses the shifting tools that are available to policy makers in the U.S. and emphasizes the need to continue working to improve the dire situation in Central America. +Full Paper

U.S.—Latin American Relations

Shannon K. O’Neil, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
September 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses the state of U.S.—Latin American relations in the Twenty-First Century. O’Neil discusses positive (economic) and negative (crime and violence) regional trends over the past fifteen years. She emphasizes the need to grow economic ties, prioritize bilateral relations, and improve security, while analyzing changes that will affect U.S.—Latin American relations going forward. +Full Paper

Beyond Petrocaribe: An Alternative Energy Future for Central America and the Caribbean

Alexis Arthur, Energy Policy Associate, Institute of the Americas
June 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses the state of Petrocaribe. Arthur provides a brief history of Petrocaribe, examines its weakening, and outlines future challenges to opportunities afforded by a shift to natural gas. She also discusses the economic, political, and social impacts that a potential Petrocaribe collapse would have on Venezuela, the Caribbean, and Central America. She emphasizes the need for Latin America to develop infrastructure in renewable energy and calls for a more diverse energy matrix to ensure energy security and to provide a foundation for economic growth and sustainable development. +Full Paper

Assessing the Risks Associated with the Possible End of Petrocaribe Oil Subsidies

Harold Trinkunas, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
June 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses the possible collapse of Petrocaribe. Trinkunas states that Venezuela's role in Petrocaribe is unsustainable. He notes the fact that the level of economic, social, political and security risks are strongly tied to the speed at which Petrocaribe may come to an end, and outlines mitigating factors. Lastly, this paper provides recommendations for the U.S. to further prepare for the possible consequences of Petrocaribe’s end. +Full Paper

China’s Great Leap Outward and Latin America

Andrew Scobell, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation
April 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this commissioned paper discusses extra-hemispheric actors in Latin America with a special focus on China. Scobell discusses the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s putative outward orientation and threat perceptions since the launching of the so-called ‘reform and opening’ policy was launched some five decades ago. It also locates where Latin America fits in the Chinese worldview and the major factors driving China’s strategy toward this region of considerable interest to the United States. Lastly, this paper assesses some implications for the United States. +Full Paper

Russia’s Goals, Strategies, and Tactics in Latin America

Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow, American Foreign Policy Council
April 2014
This commissioned paper delivered as part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series examines extra-hemispheric actors in Latin America. Blank discusses Russia’s increased presence in the region and analyzes the motivation for Russian engagement in Latin America. At a time when attention is focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the author states that Moscow is simultaneously expanding its presence in Latin America. This paper attempts to provide an assessment of Moscow’s goals, strategies, tactics, and, policy instruments and concludes with recommendations to the U.S. Government and armed forces. +Full Paper

Russia in Latin America

Eugene Rumer, Senior Associate and Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 2014
This commissioned paper delivered as part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series focuses on Russia in the LAC region. More specifically, Rumer provides historical context to current policy related to Latin America and the Caribbean, discusses balances of power and calculated risk-taking. Ultimately, Rumer argues that although the U.S. should continue to follow Russian engagement in the region, Latin America does not occupy a prominent place in Russia's policy agenda and poses no major threat to U.S. interests in the region. +Full Paper

China-Latin America and Caribbean Relations & U.S. Policy Response

Gonzalo Paz, Adjunct Professional Lecturer, School of International Service, American University
April 2014
Part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series, this paper provides insight regarding China's presence in Latin America and the Caribbean and positions economic engagement through trade, investment and financial cooperation at the core of the relationship. Paz notes the fluidity of political dialogue between the two regions and U.S. reactions to China's increased presence in LAC. +Full Paper

Immigrant Latinas and their Shahadah in Miami

Stephanie Londono, Independent Researcher
April 2014
This commissioned paper delivered as part of LACC's Islam in Latin America project focuses on immigration, gender and religion and Latino Muslims. Londono pays particular attention to pre-conversion religious participation, Latinas' motives for conversion, how experiences of oppression influence Latinas' decisions to convert to Islam, and adjustments made by Latina Muslims in Miami. She provides an astute examination of the nuances related to Latina conversion to Islam, how their new religious membership encourages or obstructs their civic engagement and assimilation, and how their experiences as immigrants inform their conversion to a “foreign religion.” +Full Paper

U.S. Influence in Latin America

Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue & Adjunct Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
March 2014
This commissioned paper delivered as part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series responds to the assertion that U.S. influence in Latin America has declined considerably over recent years. He discusses Latin America's increased independence and assertiveness on the global stage, facilitated by strong economic growth, and puts the question of diminished influence in context by mentioning areas of ongoing engagement. Finally, Shifter provides policy recommendations related to the issue of U.S. influence in the region. +Full Paper

Not Critical, but Contested: Assessing the State of U.S. Influence in Latin America

Hal Brands, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy, Duke University
March 2014
This commissioned paper delivered as part of the LACC/ARC/U.S. Southern Command Policy Roundtable Series examines U.S. influence in Latin America. More specifically, how it relates to regional and extra-regional powers, how the U.S. military enhances U.S. influence over the region and what activities are key to preserving U.S. influence in the future. +Full Paper

Sephardic Beauty Queens

Adriana Brodsky, Associate Professor, Department of History, St. Mary's College of Maryland
March 2013
This commissioned paper presented as part of the LACC/Jewish Studies Program Latin American Jewry Series examines the relationship between Sephardi identity, Zionism and nationalism in Argentina from the 1940s through the 1970s through the lens of competing Purim contests and Ashkenazi and Sephardi versions of Queen Esther. More specifically, Brodsky traces the history and development of beauty contests and how they informed and influenced the process of the creation of the Argentine Jewish community. +Full Paper

Assimilation or Transnationalism? Evidence from the Latino National Survey 2006

Silvia Pedraza, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan
September 2012
This commissioned paper presents the research findings of Pedraza and Back who used data from the 2006 National Latino Survey to assess the extent to which Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and South American immigrants have assimilated or engaged in transnational practices and which social characteristics might predict such behaviors. +Full Paper

Cinema and Reality in Haiti

Arnold Antonin, Film Director and Founder, Arnold Antonin Films, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
August 2012
This commissioned paper focuses on documentary film making and its role in depicting and constructing "reality" or "realities" in Haiti. More specifically, Antonin examines artistic subjectivity and the powerful interplay of the "imagined" and the "real" in Haiti and highlights the true impact of film on various facets of the Haitian existence. Antonin explores how film responds to a country characterized by contradictions and helps to not only actively and deliberately shape the cultural landscape of the country, but also its political, social and environmental. Part of LACC's 15th Annual Haitian Summer Institute Lecture Series. Part of LACC's Haitian Art Digital Archive (HADA) project. +Full Paper (Haitian Creole Version) +Full Paper (Spanish Version)

Hot Gingerbread: The Significance of Late 19th Century Architecture in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Olsen Jean Julien, Owner and Lead Architect, Phenixience Architecture and Engineering Firm, Haiti, Former Manager, Smithsonian Cultural Recovery Center, Haiti & Former Minister of Culture and Communication, Haiti
July 2012
This commissioned presentation examines Haitian architecture, and in particular, the development, evolution and value of traditional architecture of the 19th century. Additionally, Jean Julien examines issues related to the vulnerability of Haiti's architecture and the importance of preserving it as part of Haiti's cultural patrimony . Part of LACC's 15th Annual Haitian Summer Institute Lecture Series. Part of LACC's Haitian Art Digital Archive (HADA) project. +Full Presentation (Haitian Creole Version) - 180MB

Transformations in the Argentine Jewish Community: The Rise of New Social Actors

Damian Setton, Ph.D., Researcher, CONICET & Professor, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 2012
This commissioned paper addresses the civic, social, political and religious changes occurring within the Jewish community in Argentina. In his paper, Setton discusses nuanced processes of identification, new approaches to engagement and increased visibility of affiliated and non-affiliated Jews in larger Argentine society. Part of the LACC/Judaic Studies Program Latin American Jewry Series. +Full Paper

Art at The End of The Tunnel

Juan Carlos Botero, Author & Columnist
September 2011
This commissioned paper examines the influence of literature and the arts on the formation and transformation of Latin American politics and society. It explores the role of The Artist in the interpretation of and contribution to realities of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as those that exist beyond borders, and recognizes the importance of The Artist's effort to shed light on the human condition and unique ability to enhance the understanding of issues over time and space. +Full Paper

The Importance of the Creole Language in Haiti's Education System

Yves Dejean, Professor, State University of Haiti
September 2011
This commissioned paper by Professor Yves Dejean discusses the necessity for the full integration of Haitian Creole into the education system in Haiti. It examines how the failure to treat Haitian Creole as the primary language of instruction in Haiti results in the marginalization and under-education of the majority of Haitians, which ultimately has significant and negative impacts on the development of the country and its people. It also stresses the complexity of the Haitian Creole language and disproves stereotypes that question the capacity of Haitian Creole to sufficiently address issues related to science, social science, technology, etc. +Full Paper (Haitian Creole Version)

Cultural Recovery in Haiti: Conservation Efforts to Recover Patrimony Damaged by the January 12, 2010 Earthquake

Stephanie Hornbeck, Chief Conservator, Smithsonian Institution Haiti Cultural Recovery Project & Principal, Caryatid Conservation Services
September 2011
This commissioned report, authored by Stephanie Hornbeck, outlines the work being done by the Smithsonian in Haiti to protect, stabilize, conserve and restore some of the country's most important and treasured works of art. Project contributors include conservation experts from across the globe as well a members of the local community in Port-au-Prince. +Full Report

The Constitutional Isolation of Cuban Socialism

Rafael Rojas, Professor, CIDE, Mexico
August 2011
This commissioned paper, authored by Dr. Rafael Rojas, examines how historically even leftist Latin American governments have failed to embrace the Cuban constitution as a model and rather have opted for those based on liberal democratic principles. +Full Paper (Spanish Version)

The Media in Haiti: Internews' Efforts to Enhance Coverage and Build Capacity in Post-Quake Haiti

Yves Colon, Journalist & Lecturer, University of Miami
July 2011
This report is authored by journalist and scholar, Yves Colon. It provides a glimpse of the challenges faced by Internews in it works to provide educational and information news programming to the Haitian public and also offers prospects for an increased impact by the media on the future development of Haitian society. +Full Report

“Two Cousins”: A Short Story of Haiti and the United States of America During the 19th and 20th Centuries

Watson Denis, Professor, State University of Haiti
August 2010
This commissioned paper, authored by Dr. Watson Denis, discusses historical and modern relations between Haiti and the U.S.A., two countries who liberated themselves from colonization and demanded their own independence. Dr. Denis argues that, despite vast cultural, economic, and political differences, Haiti and the U.S.A. are diplomatically and historically cousins. +Full Paper (English Version) +Full Paper(Haitian Creole Version)

Changing Identities Among Latin America's Youth

Dina Krauskopf, Emeritus Professor, University of Costa Rica
March 2010
This commissioned paper, authored by Dr. Dina Krauskopf, explores the changing identities among Latin America's as a result of globalization. Dr. Krauskopf argues that identities among youth have become more important as being young has become an identity in and of itself and thus needs to be taken into account in policies throughout the region. +Full Paper

Nicaragua: A Lost Revolution

Sergio Ramirez, Author & Former Vice-President of Nicaragua
February 2010
This commissioned paper written by acclaimed author and political leader, Sergio Ramirez, focuses on contemporary politics in Nicaragua. Ramirez recounts important advances made during the Sandinista Revolution and examines how and why progress made decades ago seems to have vanished and left Nicaragua politically, socially and economically vulnerable once again. +Full Paper

Democratic Deficits and Hemispheric Security

Joseph S. Tulchin Senior Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center
September 2009
In this commissioned paper, Dr. Joseph S. Tulchin examines how individual Latin American nations cooperate with other nations in order to maximize the security of each and of all nations in the region. The paper begins with a brief history of community security efforts and their successes and failure and concludes with Dr. Tulchin's proposed approach to enhance cooperation in the region on matters of defense and security. +Full Paper