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Forging an independent economic model


After the coup against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973, Chile became the first of many experiments in neoliberal economics, a model that brought continued extreme economic inequality, devastation of natural resources, and IMF debt-financed austerity. Brutal forms of social control led to popular resistance and in some cases civil war. This panel will explore how progressive and left-of-center governments of the past two decades have practiced, to varying degrees, increased proactive citizen participatory democracy, respect for multipolarity, conservation of national resources, complementary trade, regional integration, constitutional reform, and experiments in post-neoliberal models. The result has been to propose new models of economic governance focused on health, well-being, and stewardship of community-controlled resources.



Alexander Main

Alexander Main is Director of International Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. His areas of expertise include Latin American integration and regionalism, US security and counternarcotics policy in Central America, US development assistance to Haiti, and US relations with Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras and Venezuela. He holds degrees in history and political science from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Cristina Espinel, MA (Moderator)

Cristina Espinel is from Colombia. She is a co-founder of the Colombia Human Rights Committee, which has been working since 1981 to educate and inform policy-makers, the media, and the
general public as to human rights and humanitarian law issues in Colombia, and to support the initiatives of Colombian communities seeking non-violent change by non-violent means. Cristina has a master’s degree in counseling and human development from George Washington University, and with a specialization in play therapy. She works with children from 3 to 12 years old, most of whom have come from countries experiencing armed conflict and/or have been victims of domestic violence.

Kevin Young, PhD

Kevin Young teaches Latin American history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of Blood of the Earth: Resource Nationalism, Revolution, and Empire in Bolivia (2017), editor of Making the Revolution: Histories of the Latin American Left (2019), and co-author of Levers of Power: How the 1% Rules and What the 99% Can Do About It (2020). In 2019 he co-directed and produced a documentary, Venezuelans under Siege, about U.S. sanctions and Venezuelan communes’ experiments in participatory democracy. For recent writing see

Jose Luis Granados Ceja

José Luis Granados Ceja is a journalist and political analyst based in Mexico City. He is a staff writer with Venezuela Analysis, covering regional and international issues, and writes a monthly opinion column for the Mexico Solidarity Project. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the defense and promotion of human rights at the Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México.

Nick Estes, PhD

Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization. For 2017-2018, Estes was the American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. Estes is the author of the book Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (Verso, 2019) and he co-edited Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement (University of Minnesota, 2019), which draws together more than thirty contributors, including leaders, scholars, and activists of the Standing Rock movement.


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