Chairman Cook on the hearing: “This year, the Western hemisphere will hold 12 elections in nine countries in the region, including six presidential elections. These events have the potential to alter the political trajectory of the region and impact U.S. interests. In particular, Brazil’s elections could affect the country’s reforms, Colombia’s elections may influence the fate of the peace deal and the country’s approach to coca production, and Mexico’s elections might impact its energy reforms, which have revolutionized the energy landscape for North America. Further challenges may also occur as Venezuela holds a controversial presidential election and Raul Castro eventually steps down as the official leader of Cuba. This hearing will examine this electoral landscape, the political context from anti-corruption efforts in the region, and challenges for public institutions to ensure free and fair elections. I look forward to considering how the United States can best support democracy and citizens’ ability to choose their leaders freely in these elections.”

Opening Statements


Ms. Katya Rimkunas
Deputy Director
Latin America and the Caribbean
International Republican Institute
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Michael Svetlik
Vice President of Programs
International Foundation for Electoral Systems
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Jim Swigert
Senior Associate and Regional Director
Latin America and Caribbean Programs
National Democratic Institute
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]


Hearing transcript (PDF)