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The CSIS Americas Program podcast looks at the politics and policies of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere. It especially focuses on U.S. engagement with the region, whether on trade, diplomacy, or security issues like drugs and terrorism. Guests include top policymakers from the U.S. and other countries.

The CSIS Americas Program podcast looks at the politics and policies of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere. It especially focuses on U.S. engagement with the region, whether on trade, diplomacy, or security issues like drugs and terrorism. Guests include top policymakers from the U.S. and other countries.
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The CSIS Americas Program podcast looks at the politics and policies of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere. It especially focuses on U.S. engagement with the region, whether on trade, diplomacy, or security issues like drugs and terrorism. Guests include top policymakers from the U.S. and other countries.




Code Breaker

Has incoming Mexican president López Obrador cracked the Trump code? So far, his non-confrontational stance with the U.S. has analysts predicting a more tranquil bilateral relationship than expected. Mexico expert Pamela Starr from the University of Southern California returns to assess AMLO’s priorities, Cabinet picks, and possible friction points with the U.S. Richard vows to go NAFTA-free after this episode.


Brazil’s Turn

Voters in Brazil joined the trend of upending expectations by giving Jair Bolsonaro 46% in the first round of the presidential elections. Is this jolt part of the global antiestablishment movement, or is it uniquely Brazilian? Gabrielle Trebat, a former Treasury Department official and a Brazil expert at McLarty Associates, provides details on the political landscape and insights on Bolsonero’s potential policies, including his almost complete lack of knowledge of the U.S.


Louisiana Purchase

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) talks about his recent trip to Guatemala and Mexico, and discusses U.S. efforts to help fight corruption, strengthen borders, and to go after narcotics traffickers. The real hope, he believes, is in strengthening the regional economies through trade and development, a trend that also delivers economic benefits to states like Louisiana.


How Bad is Venezuela’s exodus?

Once South America’s richest country has now collapsed. About 2.5 million Venezuelans have fled their country in the last few years, putting unprecedented pressure on overwhelmed neighbors like Colombia and Brazil. Francisco Santos, Colombian Ambassador to the U.S., and David Smolansky, Chair of an Organization of American States Working Group, give their take.


Blame Canada

Has everything gone wrong since Trump came along? Regardless of whether Canada stays, walks or sprints away from a NAFTA deal, the experience has forced Canada to look at its entire relationship with the U.S. Christopher Sands of SAIS is back to talk about the effects on trade, travel, defense, Canadian nationalism, and his consumption of Molson.


Auto Destruct

How will the enhanced “rule of origin” content requirements affect the North American automotive industry, especially in Mexico? Dr. Luz Maria de la Mora, a former Mexican trade negotiator, explains what Mexico got and what it gave up on autos, dispute resolution, and other proposed changes to NAFTA. Finally, what does this do to Mexico’s relationship with Canada?


Venezuela Adds More Money and Loses More People

Venezuela is currently experiencing 44 million percent (not a typo) annual inflation. Apart from forcing everyone to do more math, what is the Maduro regime doing about it? Unfortunately, nothing that matters, according to Professor Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Moises Rendon of CSIS joins us to describe the human cost, including Venezuelans fleeing their country, starvation, and misery. Both predict that nothing will improve without a new government, but even...


Coming Clean in Argentina

Crisis, scandal, and politics in Argentina. Does bad news for Cristina Kirchner equal good times for Mauricio Macri? Benjamin Gedan of the Wilson Center argues that Argentina’s very own Car Wash scandal – complete with couriers carrying cash to the Kirchners - gives President Macri a short reprieve, but that voters will hold him accountable for a tumbling economy in next year’s presidential elections.



Will Andrés Manuel López Obrador the “leftwing firebrand” or the “realistic pragmatist” show up for work on December 1? Mexico expert Duncan Wood of the Wilson Center helps sort out Mexican president-elect AMLO’s mandate and governing philosophy, and predicts that renewed Central American migration will trigger AMLO’s first bilateral crisis with the U.S.


Continental Divide: What’s Up With NAFTA?

Once again, a NAFTA deal may be close – or not. Tossing in tariffs, our experts Scott Miller and Chris Sands return to tell us why the Mexicans are up, the Canadians are down, and why farmers and car manufacturers are out of luck. Do we have a deal or no deal before the U.S. mid-term elections and the new Mexican government takes power, and if not, does it matter?


North American Work Out

What kind of workers does the North American economy need, and how will it get them? Former U.S. diplomat Anthony Wayne points out the “alarming skills gap,” in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, the rapid technological changes, and the need for the education system, private sector, and governments to come up with a better process. Even setting aside the national politics – which are difficult – this will not be easy.


The God That Failed – Again

Nicaragua joins – again – the list of imploding socialist states in Latin America. Daniel Ortega is using increasingly brutal tactics, including paramilitary death squads, to put down protests led in part by the Catholic Church. Mark Schneider, former Peace Corps director and a long-time expert on Central America, refreshes our memory on how Nicaragua ended up where it started forty years ago.


Blockchain Can Help Venezuela

How low can Venezuela go? We’ve been predicting its collapse for a year, but it’s still around. Moises Rendon, our resident Venezuela expert, updates us on the misery resulting from the Maduro government’s policies, and explains how blockchain technology could help Venezuela rebuild once it hits bottom. More than a source of digital currency, the technology enables international aid, electoral security, the protection of property rights, and helps fight corruption. For more information,...


AMLO Wins Big

Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s big victory in Mexico may mean changes for the U.S. Shannon O’Neil of the Council on Foreign relations returns to assess AMLO’s top priorities, his initial post-election signals, and the prospect of good relations with President Trump.


Apprehensive at the Border

The former Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Alan Bersin, explains exactly how the Trump Administration policy of detaining migrants works. He and Richard discuss the steep decline over the last two decade in apprehensions on the southwest border, the spike in Central American migration, and a potential remedy for the broken asylum process.


Not Like a G7

President Trump got very mad at Prime Minister Trudeau at the recent G7 Summit in Canada. Christopher Sands of the School of Advanced International Studies explains how the blow up may affect Canadian politics and trade with the U.S. He also reveals what Canadians really think of Americans. Sarah Baumunk returns with Big Little News about which non-Americans to cheer on in the World Cup.


Oil and Politics in Latin America

The top oil producing countries in Latin America are all having elections this year. How will political changes in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela affect their oil output, and does this matter for the United States? Most importantly, will a new government in Mexico reverse course or slow roll broader energy reforms? Expert Lisa Viscidi of the Inter-American Dialogue explains the details.


Borderline Normal

Are Mexico and the United States growing apart, or are they growing together? Mexico expert Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, discusses his new book, Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together. He talks about counterintuitive trends such as Mexican investment in the U.S., a new attitude towards history among younger Mexicans, and border communities drawing closer for purely practical reasons.


Cross-Border Criminals

It’s not just drugs anymore. Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) organizations in Latin America traffic in people and money, and participate in illegal mining. Expert Evan Ellis, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, argues in his latest book for a “whole-government” approach to replace a sole focus on taking out high-value targets such as cartel leaders. Changes are needed, says Ellis, in how we partner with Latin American governments, and how we organize the U.S. government to fight...


Post-Venezuela Elections: What Really Counts?

After one of the lowest participations in Venezuela’s Electoral history, and widely seen as fraudulent, the U.S. and other like-minded countries are not recognizing the results of May 20th Venezuela’s presidential elections. Unfortunately for the people of Venezuela, the on-the-ground humanitarian and economic crisis will only likely to exacerbate, triggering further humanitarian and security threats to the region. During this 35 West Special Spanish Episode, CSIS Associate Fellow Moises...