February News 2018

Currently @ LATINNO

February's newsletter will be dedicated to the different participatory innovations implemented by the civil society in order to increase accountability through the dissemination of public information regarding public authorities and the active engagement of citizens in the political process.

This month, the contributions put forward by the project's database were shared with students, academics, and practitioners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by LATINNO's founder and coordinator, Thamy Pogrebinschi. She discussed the transition from single case-studies to large-scale comparative research in the field of participatory democracy in Latin America and addressed some of the unresolved quests of the literature.

LATINNO at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Ends of Citizen Participation: Accountability

The LATINNO project is built upon the idea that citizen participation is not merely the end of democratic innovations, but a means to increase political inclusion and responsiveness, strengthen the rule of law, and improve accountability and social equality. Achieving accountability through non-electoral forms can be achieved by implementing democratic innovations that render governments, institutions, elected officials and representatives answerable and responsible for their actions and inactions. The project has found that 18%of the circa 2,400 participatory innovations implemented in Latin America from 1990-2016 have been created with the specific primary end of enhancing accountability. 

Some examples include but are not limited to Argentina's We are All District Attorneys, where voters can report irregularities during election day or confirm the transparency of the process; Venezuela's You Abused!where citizens can report breaches to the norms that regulate electoral campaigns; and Bolivia's My Vote Decides, where citizens shared their voting experience during the Constitutional Referendum of 2016.

Featured Cases is a digital platform that provides information regarding the candidates of diverse local, regional and national elections in Chile. The initiative is promoted by civil society actors and allows those who use the platform to identify and weigh their preferences. Subsequently, this digital innovation identifies the candidate that best relates to the priorities of the participant. Moreover, the platform allows citizens to share information and compare different candidates.


Who do we elect? (¿A quién elegimos?) is a digital platform that provides information about candidates during elections in Paraguay. In addition, it provides information on elected officials once they assume office. The platform also allows direct consultationswith the authorities, enabling a dialogue between citizens and politicians. Answers are published so that other citizens can consult them as well. The platform also facilitates citizen debates through an online forum.


Newest Innovation

The ElecciónMP App (lit. Election Attorney General) is a project implemented by different civil society organizations in Guatemala with the aim of increasing accountability by creating an offline and online platform where citizens can share and have access to the profiles of the candidates running for Attorney General. Thelma Aldana, Guatemala's current attorney general, has been a crucial figure in the country's fight against corruption and a key ally of CICIG, the UN-backed Commission Against Impunity. Some of the members of the committee in charge of electing her successor have been found to have "questionable ties to underworld figures," and the active involvement of the civil society could be critical for a transparent election.