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Challenging Autocracy From the Front Lines

Date & Time

Sep. 27, 2023
12:00am – 12:00am ET


6th Floor Flom Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center
& Online


In a new Wilson Center report, Venezuelan opposition leader and former political prisoner Leopoldo López details the intensifying cooperation among members of a global “autocratic network,” as authoritarian nations such as China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela prop up one another and repress pro-democracy movements worldwide. Increasingly, their cooperation includes military support, the sharing of technology for surveillance and censorship, sanctions evasion, and the transnational harassment of dissidents.

Drawing on personal experience and conversations with pro-democracy activists worldwide, López’s report, “Challenging Autocracy from the Front Lines,” argues that the international response to the “autocratic network” must involve greater cooperation among pro-democracy movements and far more robust international support for individuals fighting to restore democracy.

On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the Wilson Center hosted a conversation on López’s policy recommendations, with insights from pro-democracy activists from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Challenging Autocracy Cover

Challenging Autocracy From the Front Lines

In this new report, Leopoldo López, a Venezuelan opposition leader and a Public Policy Fellow in the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program, argues that “the cooperation of nations like Venezuela, Iran, Russia, Cuba, China, Belarus, Zimbabwe, and others should be recognized as an interest-based, transnational attempt to undermine democracy and make the world safer for authoritarianism.”

Read the Report

Hosted By

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and US-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial US-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in US-Africa relations.    Read more

Indo-Pacific Program

The Indo-Pacific Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on US interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program is focused on Europe’s capabilities, and how it engages on critical global issues.  We investigate European approaches to critical global issues. We examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our initiatives include “Ukraine in Europe” – an examination of what it will take to make Ukraine’s European future a reality.  But we also examine the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE, Europe’s energy security, transatlantic trade disputes, and challenges to democracy. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier US center for advanced research on Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more

Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform US foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more

Brazil Institute

The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and US institutions in all sectors. The Brazil Institute plays this role by producing independent research and programs that bridge the gap between scholarship and policy, and by serving as a crossroads for leading policymakers, scholars and private sector representatives who are committed to addressing Brazil’s challenges and opportunities.  Read more

Argentina Project

The Argentina Project is the premier institution for policy-relevant research on politics and economics in Argentina.   Read more

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