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The Left in Latin America: Nicaragua & Venezuela

Hosted by the Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC)

TW2.9.04, Tower 2


Dr Matt Wilde

Dr Matt Wilde

Lecturer in Human Geography - University of Leicester

Eline van Ommen

Eline van Ommen

Graduate Teaching Assistant - Department of International History

Professor Francisco Panizza

Professor Francisco Panizza

Professor in Latin American and Comparative Politics - Department of Government


Professor Tanya Harmer

Professor Tanya Harmer

Associate Professor - Department of International History

In the past few months protests in Nicaragua and Venezuela have been met with police and army repression, evidence of vigilante killings and the mass movement of people to neighbouring countries and beyond. In both countries institutions have collapsed or are under severe threat, the legitimacy of democratic government is questioned, living standards are falling, the legacy of Sandinista and Chavez revolutions seemingly diminished.

As part of a series of events on the left in Latin America to be hosted by LACC this year, this panel will discuss the left in Nicaragua and Venezuela. It will ask what the origins and basis for protests against self-proclaimed left-wing governments are in both countries and why these have been met with force. Is the left the face of authoritarianism? What does "the left" stand for today? If ballot boxes return centre-right parties to power, how has the left responded and how should it? 

Eline van Ommen 

Eline van Ommen is a PhD candidate in International History at the LSE. She holds BA in History from the University of Groningen and a MSc Empires, Colonialism, and Globalisation (with Distinction) from the LSE. Eline van Ommen works on the international history of the Nicaraguan Revolution (1977-1990). Her PhD project draws on a wide range of sources, including official state documents and the archives of transnational networks from Nicaragua, Cuba, Europe, and the United States.


Francisco Panizza

Francisco Panizza was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he studied law. He has an MA and a PhD in Politics from the University of Essex. From 1991 to 1995 he was a researcher in the Research Department of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. He joined the Department of Government in 1995. He is the co-editor of Routledge Series Conceptualizing Comparative Politics.

Matt Wilde

Matt is an urban ethnographer specialising in research on everyday politics, popular democracies, the state and political economy. Matt received his PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2013 and joined the University of Leicester in 2018. He previously held teaching and research positions with the Institute of Latin American Studies, the University of Sussex and the LSE.

Matt has carried out fieldwork in Venezuela since 2008 and the UK since 2015. In Venezuela, my work explores the relationship between the petrostate, grassroots politics and everyday barrio life amid the political movement often known as the Bolivarian Revolution. In the UK, Matt focuses on the politics of housing, neighbourhood activism and austerity governance in contemporary London. His research aims to offer new insights to the study of urban life by linking ethnographic explorations of social movements, the state and political economy to areas such as kinship, popular religion and everyday moralities. To date his work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Society for Latin American Studies and the Camel Trust.


Chair - Tanya Harmer 

Dr Tanya Harmer is a specialist on the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle. She has written an inter-American history of Chile during the presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-73) and conducted research on Brazilian Cold War interventions in the Southern Cone of Latin America, US-Chilean relations in the mid-1970s and the Cuban Revolution’s influence in Latin America. Her current research deals with the history of Chile’s Revolutionary Left. She has recently published articles on internationalist revolutionary guerrilla movements and transnational solidarity networks. Her next monograph will be a biography of Beatriz Allende and Chile’s revolutionary generation. Dr Harmer obtained her BA at the University of Leeds before moving to the London School of Economics to do her MA and PhD in International History, for which she was awarded an AHRC scholarship. Prior to being appointed as a lecturer in the department in 2009, she was an LSE fellow. She has also held visiting teaching positions at Columbia University in New York (2012-13) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2010, 2013).


Event Hastag: #LSELatAm

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