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Christopher Sabatini
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As Senior Director of Policy, Christopher Sabatini oversees the Americas Society and Council of the Americas’ (AS/COA) research and publishing programs. In his capacity at the AS/COA, he chairs the organizations’ working group on rule of law which recently published a report on rule of law in the hemisphere titled Rule of Law, Economic Growth and Prosperity, which in 2008 appeared in Spanish. Dr. Sabatini also chairs the AS/COA’s Cuba Working Group. In April 2007, Dr. Sabatini created and launched the AS/COA’s policy journal, Americas Quarterly (AQ). He is now the Editor-in-Chief of AQ and oversees the AQ website ( on which he has a regular blog on policy in the Americas.

From 1997 to 2005, Dr. Sabatini was the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy. As Director, Dr. Sabatini managed the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) grant programs to International Republic Institute, National Democratic Institute, Center for International Private Enterprise, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity as well as dozens of direct grants to research institutes and non-governmental organizations throughout the hemisphere.

From 1995 to 1997 Dr. Sabatini was a Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, working at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Center for Democracy and Governance. He has also served as an advisor to the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Dr. Sabatini has published numerous articles on Latin America, democratization, political parties, and the effectiveness of international programs to support democratic development. His most recent work includes: a book chapter titled, “Labor Reform: Undercompetitive Economies and Unprotected Workforce” in Can Latin America Compete: Confronting the Challenges of Globalization; an article in February/March 2008 issue of American Interest on political movements in the Andean Region; a book chapter on citizenship and democracy in Latin America; and an article on labor reform in the Journal of Democracy.

Sabatini has also written op-eds for U.S. and international newspapers, including the Financial Times, the Christian Science Monitor and the Miami Herald. He has been interviewed by radio, newspaper and television on issues concerning democracy in Latin America and has testified three times before the House Sub Committee on the Western Hemisphere on U.S. policy towards Latin America—most recently in March 2008—and before the House International Relations Committee on human rights in Cuba.
Dr. Sabatini has a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia and is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

Entries by Christopher Sabatini

Cuba, What's Next: It's All About the Regs

(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2015 | 8:05 AM

Just about the time President Barack Obama and his team were at the end of their secret negotiations with the Cuban government that would lead to historic changes to the half-century old U.S. embargo, the insipid song "It's All About the Bass" seemed to be everywhere -- on...

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Wait, Wait, Let Me Guess What Comes Next

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 10:40 AM

I'm not a betting man, but if I were, this is what I'd bet. With a series of statements by leading Cuban-Americans, stories of change inside the island, and growing public pressure and attention to liberalize the U.S. embargo toward Cuba, I'd wager that soon the Cuban government will do...

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Six Points to Watch after Chávez's Cancer Announcement

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 1:32 PM

Amid questions surrounding his health, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez named Vice President Nicolás Maduro as his successor. The December 8 announcement came a week before gubernatorial elections and a month ahead of Chávez's next presidential inauguration, raising questions about what a leadership transition could mean for...

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Indigenous and Presidents Clash in Ecuador and Bolivia

(4) Comments | Posted September 2, 2011 | 4:17 PM

In both Ecuador and Bolivia, the rhetoric of political inclusion is crashing into the politics of identity and collective rights. Both Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Bolivian President Evo Morales and their broad, heterogeneous movements rode to power by tapping popular frustration over social and political exclusion and discrimination. Their...

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A Breath of Freedom Suffocated

(2) Comments | Posted July 26, 2011 | 3:50 PM

Picture this: in a brief moment of reform, the veil of isolation is lifted over an autocratic island. Cubans are allowed to travel freely to visit relatives, breaking a half-century of lockdown to get a taste of the world outside. Realizing the risks that this whiff of exchange and travel...

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Humala: We Wait

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2011 | 4:12 PM

The election guessing game in Peru has ended and now the Humala guessing game has begun. Will Ollanta Humala be the Peruvian equivalent of Venezuela's Chávez or Brazil's Lula? The answer, on which may hang Peru's torrid rates of economic growth--among the highest in the region--and web of...

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Obama's Latin America Trip: It's Not Like He Went to Cancun

(2) Comments | Posted March 24, 2011 | 2:11 PM

Conservative critics have had a field day criticizing President Barack Obama's trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador this week. Former speaker of the House and now presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich implied the President was abdicating his leadership by taking the long-anticipated trip to Brazil,...

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A Middle East-Like Revolution in Cuba? Don't Hold Your Breath

(8) Comments | Posted February 28, 2011 | 3:34 PM

The people-power revolutions that ousted the decades-old autocratic governments of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and continue to rock the rest of the Middle East have prompted Cuba-watchers yet again -- to wonder when the last redoubt of Cold War dictatorship in the...

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Economics of Colombia and Panama-U.S. Free Trade Agreements Speak for Themselves

(3) Comments | Posted February 21, 2011 | 5:36 PM

In contrast to the looming political fights over spending, healthcare repeal, and immigration, free trade could be a rare case where President Barack Obama can benefit from Republican control of the House of Representatives. After all, the pending Colombia and Panama free-trade agreements (FTAs) were originally negotiated by George W....

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As Latin America Changes, Will the U.S. Policy Debate?

(9) Comments | Posted January 10, 2011 | 6:21 PM

Latin America is changing. Do we have the intellectual tools and framework to deal with it?

From Brazil to Mexico, Latin America has found a new diplomatic muscle, asserting itself into international issues and all the while deepening ties with new trade partners from China to Russia....

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A More Mature Immigration Policy

(7) Comments | Posted October 18, 2010 | 5:47 PM

I've never been one of those people who, in lamenting policy and politics in the U.S., builds up another country to disparage my own. Yet I must admit, this week I felt pangs of envy in hearing Québec officials talk with cool rationale about the economic calculations...

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Does Rule of Law Really Matter for Development?

(6) Comments | Posted July 13, 2010 | 2:25 PM

We hear it often: the rule of law is essential for investment. For over a decade, a legion of organizations and scholars--from the World Bank to Douglass North--have argued that if countries really want to develop they need to develop an independent, impartial, pro-market system for...

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Handling Dissent in the OAS: Can Hillary Clinton Negotiate Honduras' Return?

(6) Comments | Posted June 7, 2010 | 11:48 AM

This week, from June 6 to 8, the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold its General Assembly with all the region's foreign ministers and secretaries gathering in Lima to discuss affairs in the hemisphere... well, almost. Last year the theme of the General Assembly, held in...

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The Favelas in Rio de Janeiro: Pacify and Serve

(1) Comments | Posted May 18, 2010 | 4:45 PM

Asserting the democratic rule of law and recovering social peace is a difficult task, especially in places like Rio de Janeiro's favelas and Colombia's one-time, crime-ridden cities and war-torn countryside. Democratic and sustainable crime control means establishing state control in places where it has never been...

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Obama's Latin American Policy: Talking Like It's 1999

(9) Comments | Posted April 7, 2010 | 11:54 PM

When it comes to Latin America, the Obama administration's change in tone from the early days of the last administration has been tremendously important. The emphasis on multilateralism has helped to salve long-standing wounds. The emphasis on broader social goals and the willingness to listen...

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Global Migration and Business: Help Wanted but Don't Ask Us for Any

(1) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 9:34 PM

The occasional explosion of violence between native born-French and Northern African immigrants or the recent riots between African immigrants and Italian citizens in Calabria, Italy remind us that immigration is not just a U.S. phenomenon.  (The violence also reminds us that for all the ugliness of...

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The Age of Discontent in the Americas? Not Really

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2010 | 1:03 PM

According to the UN Commission on Trade and Development over 60 percent of the population south of the Rio Grande is under 35 years old. Latin America's young people will have an impact on political stability and the economy not just in their home countries but also in the U.S.,...

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Moving U.S. Policy Beyond Hemispheric Crises

(2) Comments | Posted February 9, 2010 | 11:48 PM

Two recent crises have overtaken the U.S.'s broader policy framework and agenda for the region. First, there was the coup in Honduras, now the tragedy in Haiti. The first was a potentially avoidable political train wreck that ended up dividing the hemisphere, the latter, one of the worst humanitarian disasters...

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The 7 Things President Hugo Chávez Has Taught Me

(101) Comments | Posted February 4, 2010 | 1:02 PM

With the 11th anniversary this week of President Hugo Chávez's ascension to power, I started reflecting on what I had learned from the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution. President Chávez's behavior and profile, internationally and nationally, provide a powerful lesson on how to challenge and defy traditional wisdom--and...

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Sunday's Elections Left As Risky Option in Honduras

(41) Comments | Posted November 27, 2009 | 8:56 AM

As Hondurans go to the polls this Sunday, months of negotiations and years of diplomatic precedent hang in the balance. The Obama administration hopes that the presidential elections will end the political crisis in Honduras. The deep divisions in Honduran society and the firmness with which most Latin American leaders...

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