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Julia E. Sweig

Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies

Expertise

Brazil; Cuba; U.S.-Latin America policy

Programs

Latin America Studies Program

Featured Publications

Op-Ed

Low-Hanging Fruit

Author: Julia E. Sweig
Folha de Sao Paulo

In the wake of the preliminary accord reached with Iran, Julia Sweig proposes that the Obama administration pursue a diplomatic resolution to another vexing element of U.S. foreign affairs: the relationship with Cuba.

See more in Cuba; Politics and Strategy

All Publications

Op-Ed

The Revolution of Santos

Author: Julia E. Sweig
Folha de Sao Paulo

In this column, Julia E. Sweig assesses Colombian president Juan Santos's progress as he begins negotiations with the FARC and the potential political implications the negotiations have for the future.

See more in Colombia

Current Projects

Global Brazil Initiative

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
February 2, 2009—Present

For the first time since the 1890s, when the United States made its international debut, a new player also from the Western Hemisphere is making the world its stage—Brazil. The Global Brazil Initiative addresses the domestic, regional, and international dimensions of Brazil's emergence as world power. Yet the United States faces Brazil's rise with only an imperfect understanding of its interests and influence. The scope and importance of Brazil's emergence, moreover, extends well beyond the U.S.-Brazil relationship: Brazil's growing influence is evident in trade and finance, global governance, energy, environment, climate change, agriculture, peacekeeping, pandemic disease, and poverty.

Brazil's rise points to among the most important strategic shifts within the hemisphere in recent history. The magnitude of this shift, however, should not overshadow Brazil's ongoing challenges, which include lingering poverty and inequality, insecurity, and deficits in education, health care, and infrastructure. These challenges pose multiple demands upon Brazilians. While the future trajectory of Brazil's rise is likely to be curved rather than linear, its course arcs toward greater inclusiveness, a fairer distribution of wealth, and a sustained commitment to global governance that reflect the voices of rising powers, especially democratic rising powers. To enhance the quality of public and policy debate on the domestic, bilateral, regional and global dimensions of this shift, the Global Brazil Initiative engages in research, outreach, and publication—including Julia Sweig's column in Folha de São Paulo, Brazil's leading newspaper—and an ongoing roundtable series. The Global Brazil Initiative is directed by Dr. Julia E. Sweig.

Cuba in the Twenty-First Century

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
January 1, 2010—Present

The Latin America Program's Cuba in the Twenty-First Century project follows Cuba's evolution as political turnover and economic reforms transform the social, economic, and political contract that has been in place over the last century in Cuba. The program also follows the evolution of foreign engagement with Cuba, and of Cuban foreign policy, while tracking key issues in the U.S.-Cuba relationship and exploring common environmental and scientific challenges and opportunities. Cuba in the Twenty-First Century carries out research, outreach, and publication—including Julia Sweig's book Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know—as well as the ongoing Cuba in the Twenty-First Century roundtable series. The Cuba in the Twenty-First Century program is directed by Dr. Julia E. Sweig.

Past Projects

Western Hemisphere Transnational Roundtable Series

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
June 18, 2008—June 30, 2009

The Western Hemisphere Transnational Roundtable Series investigated how economic, social, and human ties between Western Hemisphere nations have been rapidly developing. The program explored the ways in which citizens, families, civil society organizations, and the private sector shape transnational connections and interactions, as well as how governmental policies encourage, constrain, or attempt to guide U.S. bound migration.

Globalization and Democracy in Latin America Roundtable Series

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
July 1, 2007—June 30, 2011

The Globalization and Democracy Roundtable Series examined a broad range of issues facing Latin American and U.S. policymakers, drawing on the experience of practitioners and experts from the public sector, academia, and the private sector. The program examined the state of Latin America's social contract, the rule of law, the informal sector, the digital divide, physical infrastructure and human capacity building, taxation and governments' revenue stream, poverty and inequality, the potential for public-private partnerships, and the potential for energy resources to redress social exclusion.

Latin America, America Latin Roundtable Series

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
October 2006—December 2007

The Latin America, America Latin Roundtable Series examined the broad and varied significance of the rising Latino demographic in the United States. Meetings covered such themes as remittances, transnational gangs, and the rise of the Latino media market.

Council Special Report: Bolivia on the Brink

Fellows: Major General William L. Nash, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
Author: Eduardo A. Gamarra
April 2006—February 2007

This Council Special Report, "Bolivia on the Brink," encourages the U.S. government to redirect its policy toward Bolivia from a "wait and see" approach to an emphasis on conflict prevention and preserving the democratic process in order to address the nation's many challenges.

Council Special Report: Challenges for a Postelection Mexico

Author: Pamela K. Starr
Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
February 2006—June/November 2006

The contentious July 2006 Mexican presidential election placed Mexico squarely back on the U.S. foreign policy agenda. This Council Special Report, titled "Challenges for a Postelection Mexico," offers concrete policy recommendations to the U.S. government on how to help Mexico deal with future challenges.

Council Special Report: Living with Hugo

Fellows: Major General William L. Nash, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
Author: Richard Lapper
November 2005—November 2006

With polls showing Hugo Chávez strongly in the lead in the Venezuelan presidential election on December 3, 2006, this Council Special Report argues that the United States needs to prepare for another six-year term with the controversial leader. The report, titled "Living with Hugo," proposes a new strategic framework for U.S. policy toward Venezuela.

Study Group on Anti-Americanism

Staff: Nancy E. Roman
Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
May 1, 2005—April 1, 2006

The Study Group on Anti-Americanism proceeded from the core recognition that anti-American sentiment, when examined at the time of this project in 2005-2006, was characteristically different in scope and magnitude, and waiting for it to pass would be risky to American foreign policy and the American people.

Andean Roundtable

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
December 1, 2001—January 1, 2006

The Andean Roundtable Series addressed strategic questions related to developments in Colombia's war, Venezuela's political crisis, the crises of governance in the Andean countries, as well as the policies of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and other international organizations regarding Colombia's conflict and its spread. The roundtable series also addressed thematic issues such as the connection between energy and security, corruption, and the use of natural resources in the Andes. The series drew on a wide range of speakers, ranging from academia, the policy community, as well as U.S. and foreign government officials.

Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
September 1, 2000—February 28, 2001

This follow-on report on "U.S. Policy Toward Cuba" complemented the earlier Task Force publication, "Independent Task Force on U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century."

Latin America Roundtable

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
October 1, 1999—December 31, 2009

The Latin America Roundtable provided updates on breaking economic and political events in Latin America. Seminars examined prospects for Colombia's future; the Chávez regime in Venezuela; Argentine presidential elections; the politics of Mexican economic and political transition; Latin America's response to the global economic crisis; and the problems of development and regional integration in the Caribbean. The roundtable also expanded its activities in Washington, D.C., to examine topics such as the consolidation of democracy, U.S.-Latin American relations, and country-specific focuses on Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and Cuba.

Roundtable on Cuba and U.S.-Cuban Relations

Chairs: Bernard W. Aronson, and William D. Rogers
Fellow: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
October 1, 1999—March 1, 2001

This roundtable addressed a range of issues related to Cuba and U.S.-Cuban relations, such as the resolution of outstanding property claims; bilateral and regional security interests; the status of the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay; the implications for the Western Hemisphere of the restoration of a Cuban sugar quota; the impact on the Caribbean economy of resuming normal bilateral trade relations; Cuban participation in the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); prospects for Cuba's reentry into the Organization of American States (OAS); and the integration of Cuba into the international financial system. In addition, the roundtable examined history, culture, race, and religion as they pertain to current conditions on the island and to policy implications for the United States.

Independent Task Force on U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century

Chairs: Bernard W. Aronson, and William D. Rogers
Fellows: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies, and Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
December 1, 1998—February 28, 2001

This Independent Task Force report represented a significant step forward in deepening a bipartisan consensus for a new U.S. policy toward Cuba. While avoiding the highly politicized debate over whether to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba, the report touched on the terms for American investment in Cuba in its recommendation for the settlement of Cuban expropriation claims. The report sought to stimulate a discussion among those interested in crafting a creative and dynamic policy toward Cuba.

CFR Events

Roundtable Meeting

U.S.-Cuba: American Public Opinion Today

Introductory Speaker:

Jason Marczak, Atlantic Council

Speakers:

Glen Bolger, Public Opinion Strategies, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studie, Council on Foreign Relations, Adriana Vargas, Univision
February 25, 2014

This meeting is on the record.

Watch

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Assessing U.S.-Brazil Relations

Speakers:

Donna J. Hrinak, President, Boeing Brazil; Member, CFR Independent Task Force Report, Global Brazil and U.S.-Brazil Relations, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Director, CFR Independent Task Force Report, Global Brazil and U.S.-Brazil Relations

Presider:

Edward Schumacher-Matos, Ombudsman, NPR; James Madison Visiting Professor, Columbia Journalism School
April 11, 2012 8:00-8:30 a.m. - Breakfast Reception
8:30-9:30 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Corporate Meeting

Corporate Conference Call: April and the Americas

Speakers:

Shannon K. O’Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Toni Johnson, Senior Editor/Senior Staff Writer, CFR.org
April 5, 2012 2:30-3:30 p.m. - Conference Call

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Academic Conference Call

Global Brazil

Speaker:

Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
December 8, 2011 12:00-1:00 p.m. - (ET)

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Assessing Brazil's Agenda at Home and Abroad

Speakers:

Kellie Meiman Hock, Managing Director, McLarty Associates, Riordan Roett, Director, Western Hemisphere Program, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Bernard W. Aronson, Managing Partner, ACON Investments
March 25, 2011 12:00-12:30 p.m. - Lunch Reception
12:30-1:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Academic Conference Call

Cuba on the World Stage

Speaker:

Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
February 11, 2010

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Cuba in the Twenty-First Century

Speakers:

Carlos A. Saladrigas, Co-Chairman, Cuba Study Group; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Regis Human Resources Group, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know

Presider:

Donna J. Hrinak, Senior Director, Latin America Government Affairs, PepsiCo, Inc.
January 21, 2010 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Latin America Elections Update

Speakers:

Pamela Starr, Analyst, Latin America, Eurasia Group; Author, Challenges for a Postelection Mexico; Issues for U.S. Policy, A Council on Foreign Relations Special Report, Richard E. Feinberg, Professor, International Political Economy, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego; Codirector, Leadership Council on Inter-American Summitry, David J. Rothkopf, Chairman and CEO, The Rothkopf Group, LLC; Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
November 27, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Understanding Anti-Americanism

Speakers:

Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University, Robert O. Keohane, Professor of International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Vice President and Director of Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 15, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century

Speaker:

Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly
April 27, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

General Meeting

Transition 2005: Latin America: CAFTA and Other Policy Challenges

Presider:

Julia E. Sweig, Senior Fellow, Latin America Program, Council on Foreign Relations

Speakers:

Jim Kolbe, Member, U.S.House of Representative (R-AZ), Sander Levin, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-MI)
April 22, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Press/Panels

Panel

U.S.-Cuba: American Public Opinion Today

This roundtable presented and analyzed the results of a national, bipartisan poll conducted by the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, tracking public opinion and attitudes in the United States toward Cuba and U.S. policy toward the island.

Listen

Article

Op-Ed: Obama, o republicano (Folha)

In this column, Dr. Julia Sweig argues that President Obama's foreign policy positions will make it difficult for Mitt Romney to define his agenda against Obama's in the run up to the election.

Video Interview

Interview: Brazil's Global Agenda

Dr. Julia Sweig assesses Brazil's domestic imperatives and foreign policy agenda under the Rousseff administration. Dr. Harley Shaiken, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted the interview.

Watch

Article

Op-Ed: A revolução de Santos (Folha)

In this column, Dr. Julia Sweig assesses Colombian president Juan Santos's progress as he begins negotiations with the FARC and the potential political implications the negotiations have for the future.

Article

Op-Ed: As cores das convenções (Folha)

Dr. Julia Sweig explores the contrast between the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions in diversity and political culture.

Article

Op-Ed: Menos é mais no Rio? (Folha)

Dr. Julia Sweig analyzes expectations and measurements of success at this week's G-20 Summit in Mexico and Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil.

Article

Op-ed: A Política Externa de Marco Rubio (Folha)

Dr. Julia Sweig discusses U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's foreign policy positions and their significance if he is chosen as Republican Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, in Folha de Sao Paulo.

Article

Op-Ed: Equilíbrio Entre Mercado E Estado (Folha)

Dr. Julia Sweig measures the balance between market and state in a review of David Rothkopf's latest book, Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry between Big Business and Government and the Reckoning that Lies Ahead.

Article

Book Review: "Andean Ascent"

Hal Weitzman's Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering explains how Latin America has found its feet without Washington, says Dr. Julia Sweig in this book review for Financial Times.

Article

Op-Ed: Dilma Em Cuba (Folha de Sao Paulo)

Dr. Julia Sweig analyzes the significance of the first-ever Communist Party Conference in Cuba. The article was originally published in Portuguese in Brazil's leading newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo.

Article

Op-Ed: Dilma in Cuba

Dr. Julia Sweig discusses President Dilma Rousseff's first visit to Cuba in Folha de S. Paulo.

Article

Media Mention: "Crise Impede Aprofundamento De Relações Brasil-EUA, Diz Especialista" (Valor Econômico)

Dr. Julia Sweig's perspective on U.S.-Brazil relations receives coverage in Valor Econômico, Brazil's leading journal on finance and economics, in the article, "Crise Impede Aprofundamento De Relações Brasil-EUA, Diz Especialista" (Crisis Impedes the Deepening of U.S.-Brazil Relations, Says Specialist). The article followed Dr. Sweig's visit to the Fundação Getulio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro.

Article

Media Mention: "Mensagem a Obama" (Estadao de Sao Paulo)

Brazil's Estadao de Sao Paulo publishes an editorial, "Mensagem a Obama" (Message To Obama), calling attention to the CFR Independent Task Force report, "Global Brazil and U.S.-Brazil Relations, " directed by Dr. Julia Sweig. The Task Force on Brazil published its findings and conclusions in a final report, Global Brazil and U.S.-Brazil Relations, in July 2011.

Article

Media Mention: "Relatório Recomenda Aos EUA Apoio Ao Brasil Por Vaga Permanente No Conselho De Segurança Da ONU" (Globo)

Rio de Janeiro's leading newspaper, Globo, publishes an article, titled "Relatório Recomenda Aos EUA Apoio Ao Brasil Por Vaga Permanente No Conselho De Segurança Da ONU" (Report Recommends U.S. Support For Brazil For A Permanent Seat On The U.N. Security Council). The article highlights policy recommendations presented by CFR's Independent Task Force on Brazil, which was directed by Dr. Sweig.

Video Interview

BBC News, World News America: Cuba's Massive Layoff Plan 'Dramatic and Significant'

In 2010, the Cuban government announced that it would lay off hundreds of thousands of state employees to help revive the nation's economy. Dr. Julia Sweig, who the month before held a rare meeting with former President Fidel Castro, explains how the announcement was meant to help the Cuban private sector and businesses.

Watch

Bio

Julia E. Sweig is the Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America Studies and director for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Dr. Sweig also directs CFR's Global Brazil initiative.

Dr. Sweig writes a bi-weekly column for Folha de São Paulo, Brazil's leading newspaper. She is the author of Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2009, 2013) and Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century (Public Affairs, 2006), as well as numerous publications on Latin America and American foreign policy. Dr. Sweig's Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground (Harvard University Press, 2002) received the American Historical Association's Herbert Feis Award for best book of the year by an independent scholar.

Dr. Sweig serves on the international advisory board of the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI). She was the Sol M. Linowitz professor of international relations, Hamilton College in 2011, and, from 1999 to 2008, served as a consultant on Latin American affairs for the Aspen Institute's Congressional Program.

She holds a BA from the University of California and an MA and PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Selected Publications:

"Getting Latin America Right," The National Interest (January/February 2013); "A New Global Player: Brazil's Far-Flung Agenda," Foreign Affairs (November/December 2010); "The Hemispheric Divide," The National Interest (March/April 2009); Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2009), Second edition (2012); "Fidel's Final Victory," Foreign Affairs (January/February 2007); Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century (PublicAffairs, 2006); "What Kind of War for Colombia?" Foreign Affairs (September/October 2002); Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground (Harvard University Press, 2002)

Languages:

Spanish (fluent); Portuguese (familiar)

Honors:

Outstanding Alumni Achievement, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2011; Herbert Feis Award for Best Book of the Year for Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground, American Historical Association, 2003