Category Archives: Natalie Fiertz

A Pot Boiling Over: Chile Most Worsened in 2020

BY NATALIE FIERTZ On October 7, in the Santiago metro, a group of students began jumping turnstiles to protest a four percent rise in peak-time fares announced the day before. This was the second increase in fares for public transportation, which were already more than twice as expensive as those in neighboring Buenos Aires or […]

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Colombia’s Peace Deal Unravels

BY NATALIE FIERTZ Colombia saw its worst year-on-year change in the history of the Fragile States Index (FSI) in 2020, breaking a trend of almost uninterrupted improvement since the Index’s inauguration. The 2016 peace deal between Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government is looking increasingly fragile, with faith in the process […]

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What Else Could Go Wrong? Mozambique Continues Worsening Trend

BY NATALIE FIERTZ A combination of natural disasters, insurgent attacks, and a contested election resulted in another challenging year for Mozambique, which tied with Libya for the second-most worsened country on the 2020 Fragile States Index (FSI). Already beset by increasing structural pressures across multiple indicators, Mozambique’s steady worsening over the past several years in […]

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Division in India

BY NATALIE FIERTZ In 1989, foreshadowing events to come, India’s current ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued the Palampur Resolution, throwing their support behind the construction of a temple devoted to the Hindu deity Rama on the site of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. This was a remarkable gamble at the time, as […]

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Ten Countries to Watch for in Fragile States Index 2020

BY J.J. MESSNER AND NATALIE FIERTZ After 15 years of producing the Fragile States Index (FSI), we are frequently asked about how predictive of a tool it really is. So, to what extent can the FSI signal emerging crisis, as opposed to merely diagnosing current conditions? Though prediction is inevitably bound by probability and uncertainty, […]

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The Sad Song of Venezuela

BY NATALIE FIERTZ When the famed Chilean author, Isabel Allende, had to leave her native country in the wake of the military coup against leftist president Salvador Allende in 1973, she and her family fled to the safety and stability of Venezuela, then a beacon among the tumult of Latin America. In a recent interview, […]

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Brazil’s Slide Continues and Takes a Lurch to the Right

BY NATALIE FIERTZ As Brazil continues its 5-year slide of worsening on the Fragile States Index (FSI), this year marks the country’s sharpest year-on-year decline yet, seeing it tie for most-worsened country. Dashing tentative hopes for reversal and recovery that had emerged at the end of 2017, 2018 saw the collapse of the first shoots […]

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Second Time Unlucky for Nicaragua

BY NATALIE FIERTZ In a sharp reversal from nearly a decade of almost continuous improvement, Nicaragua has taken a sharp turn to rank as the third most-worsened country on the 2019 Fragile States Index (FSI). The eruption of mass protests (quelled only after months of violent crackdowns) has shaken the image of Nicaragua as an […]

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Taken to the Cleaners: As Brazil Faces Significant Challenges, Hope May be in Sight

Brazil continued the four-year slide that began in 2014, the year that saw the beginning of Operação Lava Jato (“Operation Car Wash”) as well as the global crash of commodity prices that had driven the Brazilian boom in growth that had helped lift tens of millions out of poverty. In contrast, the intervening years have seen the country roiled by surging unemployment and widening corruption investigations that threaten to engulf the entire political system. These difficulties have encompassed most of the pressures covered by the Fragile States Index, with fully two-thirds of its indicators seeing a significant decline.[1] This year, however, the rate of worsening slowed substantially, with Brazil’s total score increasing by only 0.5 points and, although serious challenges remain, the first tentative signs of economic recovery may be evident.

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The Authoritarian’s Playbook: Central Europe’s Slide Toward Illiberalism

At the beginning of the 21st century, Hungary and Poland were frequently lauded as two of the most successful examples of democratic transitions, emerging from the shadow of communist dictatorships and joining the Euro-Atlantic community through membership in organizations such as NATO and the European Union.[1] Today the two countries are again often mentioned together, but now as vanguards of rising illiberal populism and democratic deterioration. The similar trajectories of the two countries is reflected in the trend of several of the Fragile States Index’s (FSI) component indicators, most notably Group Grievance and Human Rights and Rule of Law.

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