Czech Professor lectured at UM
Karel Kouba, Political Science Professor and coordinator of PhD Latin-American Studies at the University of Hradec Králové (Czech Republic), offered two lectures for the Degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE).
Mr. Kouba visited the UM from the 31st of October until the 11th of November as a guest lecturer, sponsored by the Erasmus+ Program, which supports the mobility of students and professors through an European scholarship funding. On Friday the 4th and Monday the 7th of November, imparted lectures at the Current Politics Seminar. He also held meetings with the University of Montevideo's research staff from the School of Communication and the Center For Latin American Research & Documentation (CEDEI). Additionally, he met with Mr. Juan Manuel Gutiérrez Carrau, rector of the University, and shared a business lunch with the director of International Relations, Luisa Peirano, and the International Development Manager, Virginia Whitelaw.
Lectures on Democracy in Central Europe and Latin-America
Kouba's lectures focused on the challenges to democracy in Central Europe. He explained tha “It is rarely acknowledged how the trajectories of democratization in Latin American and post-communist countries follow similar patterns. After the 1990s, when democracy seemed to be consolidated in both regions, democracy has been critically challenged in many countries in both regions. Once democratic governments in Nicaragua or Venezuela have been transformed into dictatorships. Similarly, severe challenges to democracy are present in Central European countries, such as Hungary and Poland. In my lectures I want to emphasize some of the similarities in both regions: the rise of populism, the collapse of traditional party systems, or the legacy of the past. This is especially important also because of our shared tragic history of past dictatorial regimes.”
Regarding the objectives of these lectures, Kouba explained that as a political scientist, he followed and wrote on the democratic deficiencies in countries as diverse as the Czech Republic and Nicaragua. He pointed out, "With these lectures, I hope students become aware of the challenges that democracies face. Unlike in the past, when military coups ended abruptly with democratic governments, nowadays, democracies tend to die gradually, imperceptibly, and silently. They die from the inside and are suffocated by political figures who initially reached power through democratic channels. All of this means that democrats should be on alert for the first signs of the downfall of democracy, which aren't easily detected."
Dr. Kouba's research focuses on the democratization processes of Latin America and Central and Oriental Europe countries. He has published in academic journals on electoral behavior, systems, political instability, and comparative politics. His last article ('The Democratic Cost of Consecutive Re-election and Presidential Term-Limit Evasion in Latin America,' in 'Government and Opposition') analyses the effects of presidential re-election on democracy in Latin-American countries. For more information on professor Kouba: www.karelkouba.org