Video Archive

Populism and Democracy in Latin America and the United States Roundtable Discussion


This was a roundtable discussion on populism and democracy in Latin America and the United States on Monday, April 9th, 2018.

There were a number of guest speakers both from within the University and out who joined together to hold an open discussion on the topic.

"The People and Populism"

Roberto Alejandro, Associate Professor, Political Science, UMass

"Populist-Constitutionaism in Latin America: the Cases of Venezuela, Boliva, and Ecuador"

Angelica Bernal, Associate Professor, Political Science, UMass

"All Populisms are Not Created Equal"

Robert Samet, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Union College

"Claiming the People's voice. Popular sovereignity and populism in Bolivia"

Luz Maria Sanchez, PhD Student, Political Science, UMass Amherst

Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: Unnatural Disaster and Transnational Community Responses


There were two keynote presenters

The first keynote presenter for the conference was:

Dr. Arturo Massol, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and the Executive Director of Casa Pueblo. 

The second keynote presenter was:

Dr. Jorge Duany, the Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University.

During the conference, attendees heard from scholars and community organizers talk about the dire predicament that Puerto Rico and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens are in. 

Among others, the guest panelists included

César Pérez Lisazuain, a visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at UMass

Marina Moscoso, an Urbanist and Activist

Mariolga Reyes Cruz, Contingent Faculty and Activist

Elections, Social Changes and Political Future of Cuba


Julio César Guanche, PhD, Social Sciences Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Ecuador is a Leading Cuban political analyst and cultural critic.

He discusses the elections, social changes and political future of Cuba.

The talk is in Spanish but is translated into english as well.


Report Back Session 2017 Summer Pre-Dissertation Research Grant


The following recipients of the grant shared their ongoing research:

Vanessa Miranda. PhD Student, Anthropology 

"Nahuatl Discourses and Political Speeches: Outcomes of a Preliminary Fieldwork"


Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas. PhD Candidate, Sociology

"Welcome Home?: Government and Social Reception for Deportees and Return Migrants in Mexico"


Eric Sippert. PhD Candidate, Political Science

"Grassroots Development and Transnational Flows: Building, Hacking, and Translating in Guatemala" 


Ana María Ospina-Pedraza. PhD Candidate, Political Science


"Direct Democracy at Neighborhood assemblies in Buenos Aires, 2002-2002"

Resistances & Protest in Post-Coup Brazil Panel: Feminist, Trans and Rural Movements


We hosted a panel of Brazilian Fellows in residence at The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, who presented their current research.

The panel featured the following scholars presenting:


"Peasants Resisting the Coup: National and Grassroots Experiences of MPA"

Priscila Delgado de Carvalho, PhD Candidate, Political Science Federal University of Minas Gerais - CAPES


"Contemporary Feminist Activism in Brazil"

Ìris Nery do Carmo, PhD Candidate, Social Sciences State University of Campinas - FAPESP


"Self-Defense and Intergenerational Relations in Feminisms"

Laura França Martello, PhD Candidate, Political Science Federal University of Minas Gerais - CAPES


"MONSTRANS: Queer Temporalities Within Trans* Self Representations"

Lino Arruda, PhD Candidate, Literature Federal University of Minas Gerais - CAPES



Cristina Scheibe Wolff, PhD Federal University of Santa Catarina Fullbright Chair in Brazilian Studies, CLACS/UMass






Knowledge Across Borders: A Celebration of US-Mexico Scholarly Exchanges


International collaboration has fueled the development of a number of research projects at UMass Amherst, including the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, a collaboration between UMass Amherst and Instituto Nacional de Astrotisica, Optica y Electronica. This is the world's largest single-dish, steerable, millimeter-wavelength telescope designed specifically for astronomical observations in the wavelength range of 0.85-4mm.

It allows us to explore the formation and evolution of planetary systems, stars, blackholes, and galaxies. And it would not have been possible without partnerships across U.S. and Mexico borders. The event will also feature an interdisciplinary panel highlighting other cross-border collaborations between Five College faculty and their Mexico-based collaborators.

The Return of the Maya: Indigenous and Autonomous Organizing


A talk by Edgar Perez López, Director of DESGUA.

DESGUA is a grassroots organization and network of community groups in Guatemala and the United States working to create economic and educational development with and for returned migrants and Mayan communities in Guatemala.

Every year DESGUA tours the United States to share the story of how the organization is building the Guatemalan Dream in relation to community empowerment, social enterprises, and sustainable development. Their talks offer an overview of their organization and cover topics such as the history of Guatemala, the current expansion of neoliberal policies, the oppression against indigenous communities, the roots of Guatemalan migration, and Mayan cosmology.

Venezuela's New Political Landscape and the Current Crisis: An Open Debate


In August 2017, after months of social unrest and facing a deepening economic crisis, the government of Nicolás Maduro installed a Constituent Assembly of dubious electoral origins that overrides powers of all other democratically elected officials and institutions in the country. Confronting generalized international rejection, during its first month in power the Constituent Assembly has laid bare an authoritarian power grab, cracking down on dissent, claiming its authority over all branches of government –including the National Assembly controlled by the opposition–and extending its mandate from six months to up to two years.

A recent move to “speed-up” overdue elections for state governors while ordering investigations of top opposition leaders for ‘treason’ has divided the opposition between groups willing to participate in regional elections, and those who call for abstention. In this context, hopes for a democratic and negotiated solution of the Venezuelan conflict are waning. With a fragmented opposition and an emboldened government, multilateral diplomatic initiatives for talks have been stalled for months. The United States’ sanctions, and the Trump’s administration threats of military actions have further complicated the prospects of a negotiated and democratic solution for Venezuela.

This panel of experts will examine the reconfiguration of power in Venezuela amid extended economic and humanitarian crises, mapping the most significant changes in the political landscape of the country, and discussing its consequences for the prospects of democracy in the country and in the region.


Javier Corrales, Professor, Political Science, Amherst College

Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor, Gallatin School, New York University

Moderated by:

Martha Fuentes-Bautista (UMASS Amherst)

With an introduction by:

Sonia Álvarez (UMASS Amherst)

Women's Resistance to Military Dictatorship and the New Conservative Coup in Brazil


Professor Cristina Scheibe Wolff is a feminist historian from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, and our 2017 Fulbright Chair in Brazilian Studies!

She is offering a talk entitled, "Women's Resistance to Military Dictatorship and the New Conservative Coup in Brazil"

What are the connections between women's resistance to Military Dictatorship (1964-1989) and the new wave of women's and feminists protests in the last few years, in Brazil? We want to analyze the ways misogyny and gender helped the new Coup against president Dilma Roussef and, on the other had, women's resistance, in the past and present, against conservative forces and discourses.

Puerto Rico Conference: Savage Neoliberalism, Colonialism, and Financial Despotism


This past June the United States Congress approved the establishment of a Fiscal Oversight Board to take control over all budgetary decisions by the government of Puerto Rico. The Board, known in Spanish as “Junta de Control Fiscal,” consists of seven persons, all appointed by President Obama acting on recommendations by both the Republican and Democratic congressional leadership. President Obama appointed all members, three of whom are Puerto Ricans. The governor of Puerto Rico is an ex-officio member of the Board with voice but no vote. The Governor of Puerto Rico is mandated by the law that creates the Junta to submit all fiscal plans and annual budgets to this seven-members body, which will in turn determine whether these budgets help the island to return to the financial markets. Tellingly, the Congressional bill did not stipulate economic growth as one of its goals. Rather, the explicit objectives seek to make the government more efficient in the provision of public services; to organize the local finances to make possible that bond holders of Puerto Rican debt, contingent on resources available, will be paid; to open doors in the financial markets now closed to the central government and its public corporations, and to foster projects aimed at reducing the island’s dependence on oil for all its energy needs. All of this can be expressed in a different way: Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States confronting an unsustainable pattern of public indebtedness, which led the Federal government to take over. This is a situation in which imperialism, colonialism, and neoliberalism coalesce in a society that has been fraying for a long time and is now moving toward a humanitarian crisis. With a public debt of seventy billion in a country where annual tax revenues are ten billion, an additional forty billion in retirement obligations, and amid a recession for more than a decade, the Puerto Rican model is no longer viable. Per the Congressional logic, supported by local elites, the solution does not lie in democracy but in a suspension of democratic practices as well as in the imposition of the well-known recipe of privatization and higher taxes that ravaged Latin American economies in the 1980s as it is now ravaging the Greek economy. The triad mentioned above of neoliberalism, colonialism, and despotism, and will design public policies that, likely, will deepen the deterioration of the social fabric and create conditions for a radical reformulation of the present colonial relationship with the United States government. The main goals of the event are to educate the Five College community on the important events now taking place on the island and to build bridges with the local Puerto Rican community in Holyoke and Springfield, and regionally.


Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

312 Machmer Hall

240 Hicks Way

University of Massachusetts

Amherst, MA 01003-9277

Tel: (413) 545-4648
Fax: (413) 545-1244


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