Southern Cone Unit Staff

Tobias Fontecilla 

IMG_3438Tobias is a recent graduate from the University of Essex where he obtained an M.A. in Political Science in December 2016. He is in the process of launching COHA’s first-ever Southern Cone Unit, focusing on the issues affecting Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. As the son of a political exile from Chile, he has long been connected to the region and he specialized in Latin American politics during his undergraduate studies. Working as a Research Associate at COHA for over four months allowed him to further explore a wide variety of issues affecting Latin America, ranging from corruption, political rhetoric, socioeconomic reform, electoral behavior, and U.S foreign policy. Being fully-trilingual, Tobias translated a number of articles written by his peers from English to Spanish and English to French. Upon completing his term as Research Associate, he was awarded a Fellowship and offered the opportunity to establish and manage the new Southern Cone Unit. His intimate knowledge of the region will help further COHA’s stated agenda in the coming years, with many pernicious political, social, and economic reforms already well under way. Beginning end of September 2017, the articles produced under the umbrella of the Southern Cone Unit will be published in the three major languages used by international institutions (English, Spanish, and French) in order to expand COHA’s influence.


Dr. Charles H. Blake

Blake_headshotCharles Blake is a Professor of Political Science at James Madison University. He earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College and the Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. He received the JMU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2012 and was a co-recipient of the Provost’s Award for Contributions to the Liberal Arts in 2011. His research agenda examines the dynamics of socioeconomic policies and the pursuit of greater governing transparency and accountability in Latin America. He has field experience at research institutes and universities in Argentina, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and Uruguay. His research has been supported by the Fulbright program, the Organization of American States, and the Tinker Foundation. With Stephen Morris, Dr. Blake has co-edited two volumes on corruption dynamics — Corruption and Democracy in Latin America (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009) and Corruption and Politics in Latin America: Regional and National Dynamics (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010). His research has been published in various academic journals, including Comparative Political Studies; Democratization; Journal of Inter-American Studies & World Affairs; The Review of International Political Economy; and Studies in Comparative International Development. His research in progress examines the relationship between federalism and mechanisms of horizontal, societal, and vertical accountability.


Fransisco Ugás

(Santiago, September 15th, 1978 – ) Lawyer, title granted by the Supreme Court of Justice of Chile. Degree in Law and Bachelor in Social Sciences and Humanities, at the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile. Master in Fundamental Rights and also Master in Advanced Studies in Human Rights, both degrees conferred by the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, Spain. He worked as a legal assistant, and later as an attorney at the Legal Counseling Unit of the Metropolitan Regional North Central Prosecutor’s Office. Lawyer at the Human Rights Office of the Judicial Assistance Corporation. Subsequently, he served as an attorney at the Division of Studies of the North Metropolitan Regional Defender Office. Between April 2010 and April 2014, he was the Head of the Legal Area at ​​the Human Rights Program of the Home Office of Chile. From April 2014 to September 2015, he served as Executive Secretary of the above-mentioned Program. From September 2016 until today, he works as an attorney at the Nelson Guillermo Caucoto Pereira and associate attorneys Law firm, in Santiago, Chile.


Jack Pannell

Jack Pannell worked as a Research Associate at COHA from June to August 2017, and has been a Research Fellow with COHA’s Southern Cone Unit since then. He studies History at The University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, with a focus on Latin America. During his studies he focused on Mexican political history and researched the dictatorships in the Southern Cone. After spending a year studying at Universidad de Buenos Aires he developed a keen interest in Argentine politics. He has also worked with American foreign policy, particularly towards Latin America, when working at the office of former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. After completing his degree, Jack hopes to continue to study latin american history and current affairs.


Nessim Achouche

Nessim Achouche is a Political Scientist who holds an MA in Politics and Development in the Global South from Sciences Po Bordeaux with a minor in Latin American politics. He has had experience working in political and social development in the region while interning as well as working for a number of international organizations. He has in the past focused on Indigenous rights interning as an external consultant while at the Organization of American States in Guatemala. Additionally, he has also worked as a research assistant in the Demographic division of the Economic Commission for Latin America helping identify the intersection between migration and indigenous populations across the Americas. Throughout his professional and academic experiences, Nessim has partaken in political development and public policy projects whilst paying particular attention to comparative urban political economy between Latin American and European capitals. In this capacity, he has been accepted in a PhD program at University College of London in 2016. Nessim is fluent in French, Spanish and English and has a basic knowledge of Portuguese.