During my stay at the IISL in Oñati I had the pleasure of working in two related projects: a. A research paper analyzing the role of the judiciary, particularly of the Supreme Court, on Venezuela’s recent turn to authoritarianism experienced after 2014 (under Nicolás Maduro’s rule). I read and coded about seventy (70) cases of constitutional review decided by the Court’s Constitutional Chamber, and explored in detail several key cases decided by the Court against the new opposition-leaning Legislature. This work is part of an ongoing project analyzing the politicization of courts in weakly institutionalized democracies, with an emphasis on the Venezuelan case; b. I continued working in a collaborative project with Dr Bjoern Dressel (Australian National University) and Alexander Stroh (Bayreuth) focused on informal judicial politics in the Global South.
My experience at the IISL in Oñati was excellent in every single respect. From my first contact with the institute’s well-prepared and attentive staff, I received clear and thorough information about all the facilities offered at the Institute (and the Residencia) and the different opportunities to engage with the work of its members. I am also grateful I had the opportunity to present my work at a seminar hosted by the Institute’s Director, Professor Vincenzo Ferrari, and with the presence of the students of Oñati’s Socio-Legal Master (2016-2017), and that I had many opportunities to engage in useful informal conversations with professors, research scholars and students living in the residencia. Professor Ferrari was an excellent host, and the visiting scholars and students offered a really collegial and friendly environment to live and work. I miss Oñati already, and I look forward to having the chance to visit the Institute again in the future.