Panel Discussion Tackles the Challenges of Navigating a Changing Southern Hemisphere

A green and gold flyer with four headshots advertises and event.

A panel of Latin American and Caribbean scholars takes the George Mason University stage Tuesday, April 9, to examine how those nations are collaborating on major problems affecting the entire hemisphere.

“The Americas at Risk: U.S. Security Partnership in a Fractured Neighborhood,” sponsored by the Schar School of Policy and Government and its Center for Security Policy Studies at George Mason University, begins at 5 p.m. and will be held in Room 125 of Van Metre Hall at Mason Square in Arlington, Virginia.

The event is free but registration is required at this site.

“This discussion is important as relationships and behaviors among Latin American and Caribbean countries are changing at a rapid pace,” said Schar School professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, who co-organized the event and will introduce the guests. “Our guest speakers have studied the issues—the gangs, the cartels, the political corruption—and can explain to us how changes in those regions are effecting not just the United States, but all of the Americas.”

The panel, moderated by Schar School assistant professor Philip Martin, includes Jazmine Ulloa of the New York Times; Congressional Research Service Latin American Affairs Specialist Clare Ribando Seelke; Director of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies Paul Angelo; and Associate Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and author John Polga-Hecimovich.

At issue: Latin America and the Caribbean are home to a mere 9 percent of the world’s population but more than a third of the world’s homicides. Criminal elements have diversified their illicit activities in recent years and today operate violent transnational networks that traffic in drugs, weapons, contraband, and humans.

Meanwhile, democratic governance is increasingly in jeopardy as autocrats, propped up by countries like China and Russia, repress civil society and deny citizens their rights and free and fair elections.

Although the Western Hemisphere boasts a long tradition of multilateralism, regional institutions have struggled to respond effectively to security challenges. The United States has long tradition of supporting governments and their security forces across the region to counter shared challenges to regional peace and stability.

Yet growing defense challenges in Ukraine, China, and the Middle East have diverted Washington’s attention away from the Americas once again. Monday’s panel will examine what is at stake in the Western Hemisphere, and attempt to answer how the United States and like-minded partners respond.