Dr. Mary Speck joined USIP after serving as executive director of the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission, an independent, bipartisan entity created by Congress to evaluate counternarcotics policies in the Americas and provide practical recommendations on how to both reduce the availability of illicit drugs and minimize the damage associated with drug trafficking. She was a senior associate (non-resident) with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and directed the International Crisis Group’s Mexico and Central America Project, conducting research into organized crime, corruption and security sector reform.

Before joining Crisis Group, she worked as a journalist covering the Andean region as a correspondent for the Miami Herald and reporting freelance from Central and South America. Her commentaries have been published by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Miami Herald, among others. Dr. Speck holds a doctorate in history from Stanford University and a bachelor’s from Bryn Mawr College.

Her research interests include police and justice sector reform, violence prevention, organized crime and corruption.
 

Publications By Mary

Ante desilusión frente a la democracia ¿Pueden las históricas elecciones de Honduras traer el cambio?

Ante desilusión frente a la democracia ¿Pueden las históricas elecciones de Honduras traer el cambio?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

By: Mary Speck, Ph.D.

Los hondureños hicieron historia el 28 de noviembre al elegir a la líder de izquierda Xiomara Castro como la primera presidenta en la historia del país. En un país plagado por inestabilidad política y polarización, los hondureños también demostraron cómo se debe transferir el poder presidencial en una democracia al recibir Castro gentilmente a su oponente conservador, quien luego emitió un comunicado pidiendo "reconciliación y unidad". El nuevo gobierno enfrenta enormes desafíos, que incluyen altas tasas de violencia criminal, corrupción endémica, inseguridad alimentaria crónica y migración irregular. Castro podría verse tentada a tomar atajos políticos y éticos para abordarlos. Pero el número récord de votantes el fin de semana pasado mostró un fuerte deseo de trabajar en los problemas del país en las urnas, no a través de la violencia o medios fuera de lo legal.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Amid Democratic Disillusionment, Can Honduras’ Historic Election Bring Change?

Amid Democratic Disillusionment, Can Honduras’ Historic Election Bring Change?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

By: Mary Speck, Ph.D.

Hondurans made history on November 28, electing leftist Xiomara Castro as the country’s first woman president. In a country plagued by political instability and polarization, Hondurans also demonstrated how presidential power should be transferred in a democracy as Castro graciously received her conservative opponent, who then issued a statement calling for “reconciliation and unity.” The new government faces enormous challenges, including high rates of criminal violence, endemic corruption, chronic food insecurity and irregular migration. Castro could be tempted to cut political and ethical corners in managing them. But the record numbers of voters last weekend showed a strong desire to work on the country’s problems at the ballot box, not through violence or extra-legal means.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

¿Es irreversible el descenso de Nicaragua a una dictadura?

¿Es irreversible el descenso de Nicaragua a una dictadura?

Monday, November 15, 2021

By: Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.

Después de reclamar una victoria decisiva en las elecciones del 7 de noviembre, Daniel Ortega, quien ha estado en el cargo desde 2007, ahora podría liderar Nicaragua hasta 2027, convirtiéndolo en el gobernante con más tiempo en el poder en toda América Latina. El gobierno sandinista aseguró su victoria reprimiendo cualquier disidencia y arrestando a decenas de opositores al régimen. Para Estados Unidos, contrarrestar la corrupción y la represión en Centroamérica es un desafío no solo en estados hostiles como Nicaragua, sino también entre antiguos aliados como El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Is Nicaragua’s Descent into Dictatorship Irreversible?

Is Nicaragua’s Descent into Dictatorship Irreversible?

Monday, November 15, 2021

By: Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.

After claiming a decisive win in the November 7 elections, Daniel Ortega — who has been in office since 2007 — could now lead Nicaragua until 2027, making him Latin America’s longest serving ruler. The Sandinista government ensured its victory by shutting down dissent and arresting dozens of regime opponents. For the United States, countering corruption and repression in Central America is a challenge not only in unfriendly states like Nicaragua but also among erstwhile allies like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

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