Miami Dade College hosted former heads of state, thought leaders and journalists from Latin America at the Third Presidential Dialogue, a forum organized by the acclaimed Mezerhane Endowed Chair at MDC and the Iniciativa Democrática de España y las Américas (IDEA).
The forum addressed the pressing issue of organized crime and its apparent hijacking of democracies in Latin America. Participants analyzed the ominous development of political and social phenomena such as the rise of narco-populism, the breakdown of democratic states, and the scope of transitional justice.
These developments were explored in contrast with the military dictatorships of the past century – particularly the 1980s – and in favor of a transition toward civil democracy supported by the international community.
Panelists acknowledged that many fledgling Latin American democracies are plagued by crime and corruption, as government officials partner with criminals in order to ensure their own power and longevity. Some governments even have taken control over illegal activities rather than purging violent gangs.
Conducted in Spanish with English translations, the forum presented the former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, former Colombian President Andres Pastrana, former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez, former Ecuadorian President Jamil Mahuad, former Uruguayan President Luis Alberto Lacalle, Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, chairman of Grupo Mezerhane and editor of Diario Las Americas Nelson J. Mezerhane, and IDEA’s executive director and MDC visiting professor Dr. Asdrúbal Aguiar.