The eyes of the world have been focusing more on Latin America recently, with such percolating issues as the rising tensions over the Falkland Islands, and the approaching presidential election in Venezuela.
As a specialist in public opinion and political behavior in Latin America, Julio Carrión, professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware, frequently travels to Central and South America to present his research and often is consulted by national media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and the Miami Herald, among others.
Last month, however, Carrión flew east across the Atlantic to deliver a special short course on public opinion in Latin America for master's and doctoral students at the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Spain.
Carrión's course was selected in a public competition in which professors from around the world were invited to submit proposals to the University of Salamanca to offer short-term courses relevant to the education of students interested in Latin America.
Carrión covered existing theories and the state of the art in the study of public opinion in Latin America, drawing on his own research and books, as well as those of other authors.
"There is a growing realization that the analysis and understanding of public opinion will shed significant light on some of the key political developments in the region, such as the emergence of populism," Carrión said, referring to a leader's approach to gaining political power by appealing to the masses through an "us" (ordinary people) versus "them" (the elite) discourse.