Lurching Left: Brazil, Colombia, and Electoral Trends in Latin America

Panel Discussion

Lurching Left: Brazil, Colombia, and Electoral Trends in Latin America

Zoom Webinar

Thursday, April 7, 2022 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET


Since 2018, Latin America has seen leftist parties and candidates winning elections throughout the region. In 2022, polls in Colombia and Brazil have indicated that left-leaning candidates are favorites to take the top jobs in each country. What are the causes of this leftward turn? What implications might this new generation of leftist politics have on Latin America? Can the left find solutions for a continent that was hit harder by Covid than any other region? What impact will the new rise of leftist politics have on the pace of China´s growing influence on the continent? And what are the consequences for Washington´s strategy in the Americas?
Join the discussion on Thursday, April 7 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM ET between Ambassador Liliana Ayalde, Senior Adviser of Americas Program at Center on Strategic and International Studies & Former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Dr. Jorge Castañeda, Former Foreign Minister of Mexico and Global Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at New York University, and Professor Noam Lupu, Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and Associate Director of the LAPOP Lab, to explore the successes of left parties and recent and upcoming elections in Latin America and their consequences to the region. The discussion will be moderated by Carin Zissis, Editor-in-chief of AS/COA Online, the website of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas.


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Liliana Ayalde

Ambassador Liliana Ayalde retired from the U.S. Foreign Service following a distinguished 38-year career with assignments in Washington, D.C. and abroad. She dedicated her diplomatic career to foreign affairs, development, defense, and security in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most recently, Ambassador Ayalde served as the civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor at the United States Southern Command in Miami until September 2019. She served as the U.S. ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil (2013-2016). Prior to this appointment she served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs in the Department of State. She was also the senior deputy assistant administrator for the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Following her assignment as USAID mission director in Colombia, where she had responsibility for the development assistance portfolio under Plan Colombia, she was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay. She also held assignments in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Bolivia with USAID. Ambassador Ayalde is a member of Southern Command’s Advisory Group and the Brazil Institute of the Wilson Center. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including USAID’s Distinguished Career Award, the Department of State’s Distinguished Service Honor Award, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest award given to a civilian by the Department of Defense. She has also been honored with recognitions by the governments in the countries she served in, including the Order of San Carlos by the Government of Colombia, the Order for Gran Cruz by the Government of Paraguay, and several recognitions by the Government of Brazil. Ambassador Ayalde earned her B.A. from the School of International Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. and a M.P.H. from Tulane University in Louisiana. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has a working knowledge of French.


Jorge Castañeda

Dr. Jorge Castañeda was Foreign Minister of Mexico from 2000 to 2003. He is a renowned public intellectual, political scientist, and prolific writer, with an interest in Mexican and Latin American politics, comparative politics and US-Mexican and U.S.-Latin American relations.

Born in Mexico City in 1953, Dr. Castañeda received a B. A. from Princeton University and a B. A. from Université de Paris-I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), an M. A. from the École Pratique de Hautes Etudes, and his Ph. D. in Economic History from the University of Paris-I.

He taught at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM) from 1978 through 2004, at Princeton University, and the University of California, Berkeley and (since 1997) at NYU. Jorge Castañeda was a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1985-87) and was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Grant Recipient (1989-1991).

Among his more than 15 books published in the United States and elsewhere are: Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico (with Robert Pastor), Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War (Knopf, 1993), The Mexican Shock (New Press, 1995), Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara (Knopf, 1997), and Perpetuating Power: How Mexican Presidents Were Chosen (New Press, 2000); Ex-Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants (The New Press, 2007); Mañana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans (Vintage, Random House, 2012); America Through Foreign Eyes (Oxford University Press, 2020)

Jorge Castañeda was appointed Global Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at New York University. He is an Emeritus Member of Human Rights Watch. In April 2008, Castañeda was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and International Member of the American Philosophical Society.


Noam Lupu

Noam Lupu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and Associate Director of the LAPOP Lab. His research interests include comparative political behavior, political parties and partisanship, congruence and representation, legacies of political violence, and class and inequality.

He is the author of Party Brands in Crisis (Cambridge, 2016) and coeditor (with Virginia Oliveros and Luis Schiumerini) of Campaigns and Voters in Developing Democracies (Michigan, 2019). He is currently completing a new book with Leonid Peisakhin entitled, Children of Violence. His research has also appeared in American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, and World Politics, among others



Carin Zissis

Carin Zissis is editor-in-chief of AS/COA Online, the website of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas. In that role, she oversees digital strategy for the organizations, as well as serving as editorial lead on the website’s suite of content. She is the host of of Latin America in Focus podcast, which covers topics ranging from refugee crises to elections to battling fake news. The series doubled listens from 2017 to 2018 and achieved near gender parity of interviewees.
Based in Mexico City since 2013, she covered the 2018 Mexican elections and subsequent presidential transition. With over a decade of editorial experience in both print and online media, her writing and commentary have been featured by AFP, The Boston Globe, Business Insider, CNN, Huffington Post,, U.S. News & World Report, Univision Noticias, World Politics Review, and other outlets. Over the past 15 years, she has reported on and analyzed a range of topics, including Mexican immigration to the United States, the 2009 Honduran coup, Turkish women’s rights, Pakistani tribal areas, and China’s environmental crisis. Prior to joining AS/COA in 2007, she covered Asia as a website staff writer for the Council on Foreign Relations. While there, she produced an interactive guide to North Korean nuclear tensions that earned’s Crisis Guide series a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism.
She holds an MA in Journalism and Latin American Studies from New York University, a BA in History from George Washington University, and is a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI).




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