Latin American Affairs Program

CNA’s Latin American Affairs Program applies CNA’s rigorous and diverse methodological skills, its policy and operational experience, and its commitment to in-depth, on-the-ground data collection and analysis to issues related to Latin American domestic and international security and U.S. security assistance to and with regional partners.

The Latin American Affairs team includes analysts with years of experience conducting field research across the region. The team includes analysts fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. The program’s core team collaborates with other CNA analysts and teams with special technical or functional knowledge and skills in areas such as community policing and criminal investigation operations and techniques, leadership and group network analyses, advanced security technologies, advanced statistical analyses, and military and security policy. The team also works closely with a network of security and political experts from across Latin America and the United States.

The Latin American Affairs Program has provided analytical support to numerous U.S. and foreign public agencies and has collaborated with independent U.S. and foreign foundations and think tanks. Our recent work includes analysis across a wide range of topics, including:

  • Organized crime and illicit trafficking in Central America
  • Security implications of new regional developments such as the Panama Canal expansion; Chinese, Iranian, and Russian defense activities and equipment sales; and new regional defense cooperation institutions
  • Assessment of the effects of U.S. Navy engagement and disaster relief missions in the region
  • Colombia’s demobilization program and the incentives of FARC and ELN fighters
  • Analysis of partner nation and U.S. border control, civil aviation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operational capabilities in the region
  • Leadership and decisionmaking within the Hugo Chávez government
  • Impacts of climate change on national and regional security
  • Community-based self-defense forces in Mexico and their implications for state security reforms
  • Brazil’s growing influence in the region, the reactions of its neighbors, and U.S.-Brazil security relations
  • The effectiveness of U.S. security engagement and capacity building activities in Central America
  • Lessons for the region from Colombia’s counterinsurgency policies

Members of the Latin American Affairs Program Team

  • Alison Vernon
  • Lyntis Beard, Ph.D.
  • Holly Gell
  • Veronica De Allende Birchler, Ph.D.
  • Ariel Michelman-Ribeiro, Ph.D.