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Study Group (archive of 2010-11 sessions)

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2010 - 2011
Latin American Study Group

A Discussion with Specialists about the Erosion of Democracy
and the Impact of the War on Drugs across Latin America

What is it about?

Latin America is today an open laboratory for any human rights student, activist or practitioner. After abandoning a long history of dictatorships and civil wars —some of which only three decades ago led to genocide— in most countries of the region human rights violations can be related to low intensity conflicts. In particular, three issues have attained salience over the years. One is the erosion of democracy. Though considered globally Latin America's democratization has proven highly resilient, it is no less true that a number of countries have experienced the erosion of important tenets of democracy, such as freedom of the press, power alternation, the independence of the legislature and judiciary from the executive, and the emergence of political mafias related to non state armed groups and organized crime.

A second aspect, which has become a daily piece in the news across the region, is the impact on the lives and security of a growing number of countries of the war on drugs, which has affected dramatically countries (and their people) as Colombia and Mexico, and which has proliferated as a virus in Central America, the Caribbean and increasingly in South America as well.

Potential Specialists Involved

The Study group will consist in discussions (with a short selected list of readings) with specialist that will address country/specific issues related to their experience and/or academic background regarding the two issues mentioned above.


Study Group Schedule:

November 17, 2010
4:00 PM
Carr Center Conference Room
"Battling Organized Crime in Guatemala:
How a unique UN partnership protects human rights through tough, multi-national law enforcement

with Morris Panner, former Organized Crime Prosecutor and Senior Advisor, Belfer Center's Project Minerva

Preparatory Readings:
  • TBA
Biography of Mr. Morris Panner:

Morris Panner has joined Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a Senior Advisor to its cyber security initiative, Project Minerva. In cooperation with the Harvard Center for International Criminal Justice, Mr. Panner is focusing on a wide range of issues related to organized crime in Latin America, its operations, and the institutional structures designed to combat it. His work will emphasize the role of emerging technologies in these criminal enterprises and study ways in which cyber-crime can be confronted and controlled. read more >

October 20, 2010
4:00 PM
Carr Center Conference Room
"Venezuela's Student Movements, a conversation with student leaders"

with Francisco Marquez, MPP 2012.

Preparatory Readings:

October 6, 2010
4:00 PM
Carr Center Conference Room
"Ecuador's New Constitution: Following the Chavez Model?"

with Pablo Corral Vega, Nieman Fellow 2010-2011, Journalist-Lawyer, Founder of, and

Preparatory Readings:
Biography of Mr. Pablo Corral Vega:

Born in 1966, Ecuadorian photojournalist Pablo Corral Vega has published his work in National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Audubon, GEO, and other international publications.

In 1994 Corral Vega directed the Discovering Ecuador project, a gathering of 38 top international photojournalists from 11 countries. The University of Missouri-Columbia and Imprenta Mariscal in Ecuador later published their photographic documentation.

Corral Vega is also the founder of the Harmonia Terra Foundation, a nonprofit organization that publishes books on Latin American geography and the conservation of nature and culture.

Praised for his journalistic and cultural knowledge of Latin American subjects, Corral Vega is the author of several photographic books, including Bare Earth: A Pictorial Book on Ecuador, Andes of Ecuador: Silent Landscapes, and Ecuador: From Magic to Horror. Inspired by Corral Vega's photographs, award-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa wrote 20 short stories for the National Geographic book, Andes.

Corral Vega has exhibited his photos in Ecuador, Japan, Spain, and the United States as well as at France's Visa Pour L'Image, the world's largest photojournalism festival.

Corral Vega holds a Ph.D. in law and political science from Ecuador's Catholic University of Quito. He currently lives in Quito.

[biography courtesy of National Geographic]

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