From the Borderlands to Brazil: Meet Stratfor's Director of Latin America Analysis
Karen Hooper's route to becoming Stratfor's Director of Latin America Analysis began near the U.S. border in Arizona, where she grew up regularly traveling to northern Mexico. Her interest in Mexico grew into a passion for international affairs in general and Latin America in particular. She studied Spanish in Costa Rica and had the rare opportunity to study in Cuba during college. There, Karen's interest in international politics crystallized into a desire to better understand the real drivers of global affairs.
She began to see how nations' differing interests, constraints and geographic traits dominate the international system -- a "realist" view of international relations that reinforced what she had learned during her early travels.
"How do you evaluate a country like Cuba that is operating on such unique moral, legal and economic systems? I really started to embrace geopolitics and a realist point of view," Karen says. "I didn't know it was geopolitics at the time, but when I found Stratfor, I was hooked. I fell in love with the way Stratfor looks at the world -- how we marry an understanding of geographical realities with a methodology that prioritizes a concrete understanding of human motivations."
At Stratfor, Karen currently focuses on Latin America, although she also examines the impacts of global issues such as food availability, political economies and currency and trade flows. "One of my passions is looking at how economic constraints affect decision-makers," she says. "Take Argentina or Brazil, for example. How do they manage their populations given that both countries have pretty strong geographical oddities, not to mention incredibly complex social and political structures?"
As Director of Latin America Analysis, Karen also does speaking engagements, works on consulting projects, trains analysts and is constantly exploring ways to improve Stratfor's intelligence process. "I love that every day is different," she says. "Stratfor provides a setting that is continuously demanding. Over time, I get to create storylines that run for years, because there is a consistent line of thinking and an environment of being challenged by my coworkers and by our executives. You never get bored."
Watch recent videos with Karen Hooper:
- A Narrow Presidential Win in Venezuela
- What Lies Ahead for Mexico
- Brazil Moves to Encourage Industrial Growth
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