Programs in Latin America & the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, CIPE programs have been empowering citizens with the insight and skills needed to participate in the political process and address key democratic challenges. CIPE has helped youth to understand the importance of democracy and a market economy and to acquire the skills necessary for becoming successful leaders and entrepreneurs in their communities. Online platforms have become a powerful tool for CIPE partners to convey vital information and galvanize dialogue about reform.

Regional Program Highlights

  • 3.4 million Paraguayans viewed or listened to two Presidential debates organized by the Development in Democracy Foundation (DENDE), 71 percent of whom said they were hearing the candidates’ economic policy proposals for the first time.
  • The web platform has educated over 50,000 citizens in the region on current democratic and market-oriented policy trends; over 4,000 have engaged in discussions on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • The Ecuadorian Institute of Political Economy (IEEP) launched Emprendedores Ecuatorianos, an educational program promoting entrepreneurship, democracy, and free market values. Nearly 50 university students from rural Ecuador participated in the pilot program, which is modeled on EmprendeAhora in Peru.

Regional: Creating an Online Presence for Democratic Values and Free-Market Principles

In Latin America, many citizens lack an understanding of democratic and free-market principles, and strong, charismatic leaders have exploited that knowledge gap. To address this issue, CIPE partnered with the Political Science Institute (ICP) in Colombia to launch a digital platform to complement its print magazine, Perspectiva. By featuring a slate of new articles, videos and recorded interviews each week, allows ICP to greatly extend its influence and provide much more information. It now publishes 125 percent more original content online than it does in print.

Program Results & Impact

  • Since its launch in June 2012, published more than 350 original pieces that provide indepth analyses and perspectives on the political, economic, and social landscape throughout Latin America. Tying social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into the platform has further expanded its reach.
  • Approximately 20 percent of the website’s 300+ contributing authors are CIPE partners, providing regional perspectives and extending the website’s audience.

Peru: Developing Leadership and Entrepreneurship Skills Among Youth

To build the next generation of Peruvian leaders and create opportunities for sustainable democratic and economic development in Peru, CIPE has worked with Instituto Invertir since 2008 to deliver its EmprendeAhora civic leadership and entrepreneurship program. This initiative targets unemployed youth in rural areas, who, because of high inequality and poor economic development, distrust democratic and free-market systems. EmprendeAhora features classes on entrepreneurial skills, market economies, and the role of private enterprise in a democracy.

Read stories from EmprendeAhora alumni on the CIPE Development Blog.

Program Results & Impact

  • Since 2008, more than 600 young Peruvians completed the EmprendeAhora program. At least 130 businesses have been started or are being started by these alumni, including native product sales, restaurants, and e-businesses.
  • This year, 123 rural university students took part in the program. They were selected from more than 2,700 applicants.
  • In September 2012, Instituto Invertir organized an alumni conference in Lima attended by 110 graduates. It featured workshops and group sessions organized to enhance entrepreneurial skills and knowledge of democracy. Since then, alumni have been holding regular reunions in their communities.

Mexico: Promoting Public Policy Debate in Mexican Elections

In Mexico, lack of reliable information limits the ability of citizens to insist that candidates engage in meaningful discussions of political, economic, and security issues. During Mexico’s 2012 presidential campaign cycle, CIPE worked with the Center of Research for Development (CIDAC) to provide an analysis to the public and candidates for office and to open new channels for dialogue between citizens and policymakers.

Program Results & Impact

  • During the 2012 election cycle, CIDAC selected 53 important policy proposals that would lead to greater equity and prosperity in the country and shared them with each of the main presidential candidates, their policy teams, and the general public through the Internet and social media.
    • More than 60,000 people read CIDAC’s weekly political news analyses on its website and Facebook.
    • Nearly 12,000 readers took part in online discussions on a special Facebook application called “Debate Electoral” in the three months leading up to the election.
    • 35,000 people viewed a series of videos focusing on justice reform.
    • From 2011 to 2012, CIDAC’s Twitter followers increased by 130 percent, to over 15,000, and Facebook fans increased 123 percent, to over 25,000.
  • Mexico’s new president Enrique Peña Nieto adopted 20 of CIDAC’s proposals in areas such as transparency and accountability, anti-corruption, media, and regulation.

Paraguay: Turning Policy Dialogue Into Successful Campaigns

In the aftermath of President Fernando Lugo’s impeachment in mid-2012, CIPE began working with longtime partner the Development in Democracy Foundation (DENDE) to address the lack of policy dialogue in Paraguay’s electoral campaigns in the hopes of avoiding another hollow campaign season in advance of the April 2013 election. Through a process of dialogue between the private sector and broader civil society, DENDE created a series of public policy proposals that it presented to the presidential candidates.

Program Results & Impact

  • DENDE conducted a first of its kind nationwide cell phone survey, gathering 3,450 citizen responses to questions on the economy and social issues, incorporating its responses into the policy recommendations.
  • The two presidential debates were broadcast live over the same signal on all seven public television stations and one cable channel, as well as by 500 commercial and community radio stations. This level of coverage was unprecedented in Latin America.
  • More than 400,000 voters considered changing their vote after hearing the candidates’ policy proposals for the first time during the live debates.
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