Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy


In recent years, as leading authoritarian countries such as China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela have become emboldened within the global arena, challenging the liberal international political order, the advanced democracies have retreated rather than responding to this threat.

Understanding Authoritarian Regionalism

October 2018

Taking advantage of broad global respect for regionalism, authoritarian regimes are using their own regional organizations to bolster fellow autocracies. These groupings offer a mechanism for lending legitimacy, redistributing resources, and insulating members from democratic influences.

Latin America’s New Turbulence: Can Democracy Win in Venezuela?

April 2016

Venezuela’s competitive authoritarian regime now confronts a highly mobilized opposition with a large majority in the legislature. What are the prospects for successful democratic change amidst a deteriorating security situation and an economy in freefall?

The Authoritarian Resurgence: Autocratic Legalism in Venezuela

April 2015

Why do some hybrid regimes remain stable over time, while others become more authoritarian? Venezuela’s autocratic turn has been driven by the ruling party’s declining electoral fortunes and by a foreign policy that has shielded it from international scrutiny.

Latin America’s Authoritarian Drift: Chavismo After Chávez?

July 2013
Can a regime built by and centered around a populist strongman survive that strongman’s death? A natural experiment is now unfolding in Venezuela as a resurgent opposition and a crisis of governability converge on the would-be heirs of Hugo Chávez.

Lessons from Latin America: The Rise of Rentier Populism

April 2013

Latin America’s much-discussed political “left turn” has taken two very different forms. Why has the region’s commodities boom led some left-turn states to move toward “plebiscitarian superpresidentialism,” while others have resisted this temptation?

Latin America: A Setback for Chávez

January 2011

Hugo Chávez has been running a bounded competitive-authoritarian regime for some time, but its ability to compete is now slipping. Will this tend to make it less authoritarian—or even more so?

Latin America: A Surge to the Center

January 2011

The left-right ideological divide has begun to narrow in Latin America as citizens and leaders increasingly choose a pragmatic approach to politics and embrace the rules of the democratic game.

Hugo Chávez's "Petro-Socialism"

April 2009

Will Hugo Chávez’s victory in the 15 February 2009 vote to end term limits enable him to drive Venezuela toward “Bolivarian socialism”? There are reasons to doubt this, but for now democracy’s prospects do not look encouraging.

Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples

October 2007

Where indigenous peoples constitute a smaller share of the electorate, their recent inclusion denotes a more generalized opening of the political system to excluded and vulnerable sectors of society.