Dr Rodrigo Acuña is a teacher, writer and expert on Latin American politics. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Politics and International Relations and Spanish/Latin American Studies from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, as well as a Diploma in Education from that same institution. In 2013 he completed a PhD on Venezuelan foreign policy after having been awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) by the Federal Government.

Rodrigo has published in numerous media and academic outlets. He has been interviewed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), SBS Radio (Spanish), Al Jazeera (London), Sputnik (Montevideo), Radio Adelaide, 2ser, Venezolana de Televisión and The Wire. He currently works for the NSW Department of Education.

Email: rodrigo.indepj@gmail.com


Book Chapters

Acuña, R. 'Petrocaribe: A project for Development in the Caribbean and Central America?' in Luis Fernando Angosto-Ferrández (ed.), Democracy, Revolution and Geopolitics in Latin America: Venezuela and the International Politics of Discontent (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 67-86.


Academic Publications

Acuña, R. & Yin-Hang To, E. ‘China and Venezuela: South-South Cooperation or Rearticulated Dependency?’, Latin American Perspectives, March 2019, Vol.46 (2), pp. 126-140.

Acuña, R., 'From Allende to the Pink Tide: Issues Past and Present with the Left in Power', Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research (JILAR), vol. 21, no. 3 (November 2015), pp. 405-414.

Acuña, R. and Valverde, E. 'Can the Bolivarian Experiment Implement Transitional Justice in Venezuela?', Macquarie Law Journal, vol. 13 (2014), pp. 129-146.

Acuña, R. 'Competing Visions Past and Present for Latin America and the Caribbean', Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research (JILAR), vol. 19, no. 2 (December 2013), pp. 304-313.

Acuña, R. and Valverde, E. 'Venezuela: transitional justice and Chávez' in Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky (eds.), Encyclopedia on Transitional Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), (vol. 2), p.503-509.

Acuña, R. 'America's Backyard: The United States and Latin America from the Monroe Doctrine to the War on Terror', Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research (JILAR), vol. 16, no1 (July 2010), pp. 78-79.  (Book review).

Creative Publications  

Acuña, R. ‘The General’s Dreams’, Unsweetened 2007 Literary Journal.

Media Publications

Acuña, R. ‘Chile: Killing of Mapuche activist provokes large protests’, Latin America Bureau, 27 November 2018.

Acuña, R. ‘Venezuela: Regime Change in Real Time’, American Herald Tribune, 20 July 2017.

Acuña, R. 'Castro, la revolución cubana y sus lecciones para América Latina', Enero 2017, ALBORADA: Latin America Uncovered

Acuña, R. 'Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolution and its lessons for Latin America', Progress in Political Economy (PPE), Blog of the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, 20 December 2016. 

Acuña, R. 'Strength in Unity', Alborada: Latin America Uncovered, iss. 1, Spring/Summer 2015, p. 40.

Acuña, R. ‘VII Summit Of The Americas: The New York Times Versus Reality’, New Matilda, 23 April 2015.

Acuña R. and Angosto Ferrández, L. F. 'Don't write off Maduro: why Venezuela is not another Ukraine', The Conversation, 24 March 2014.

Acuña, R. 'Venezuela: same old, same old...', Latin America Bureau, 25 February 2014.

Acuña, R. 'Contrasting Perspectives on Latin America', Canadian Dimensions, vol. 47, no. 5, September-October 2013, pp. 44-45.

Acuña, R. 'Chavez's death: a Latin American perspective', ON LINE Opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate, 8 March 2013.

Acuña, R. 'The dubious removal of Paraguay's former bishop president', Eureka Street, July 2012, vol. 22, no. 13, pp. 57-60.

Acuña, R. 'Cuba, the two blockades and more...', ON LINE Opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate, 5 January 2012.

Acuña, R. 'The Captain Of A Sinking Ship?', New Matilda, 10 October 2011.

Acuña, R. 'American influence?', The Drum Opinion , Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC),  15 July 2009. 

Acuña, R. 'Petroleum and progress', The Drum Opinion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 19 May 2009.

Acuña, R. ‘El Salvador: rise of the left’, Eureka Street, 24 March 2009.

Acuña, R. ‘Hugo Chávez until 2019!’, The Drum Opinion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 24 February 2009.

Acuña, R. 'Fidel Castro: His last days in Havana?', The Drum Opinion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 3 February 2009.

Acuña, R. 'My Fellow Americans', New Matilda, 3 December 2008.

Acuña, R. ‘Bolivian crisis unites South America against US’, The Drum Opinion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 30 September 2008.

Acuña, R. ‘Settling accounts: Latin American rage reaches the US’, The Drum Opinion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 20 August 2008.

Acuña, R. ‘Colombia’s Uribe soaks up the glory of Betancourt’s release’, ON LINE Opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate, 5 August 2008.

Acuña, R. 'Paraguay: how Lugo Méndez went from Bishop to President', The Diplomat, May 2008.

Acuña, R. 'Trouble south of the border’, New Matilda, 13 March 2008.

Acuña, R. 'Colombia: mixed messages', The Diplomat, January 2008.

Acuña, R. ‘Venezuela: no to socialism for the 21st century’, New Matilda, 6 December 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Hurricane Hugo and Typhoon Mahmoud’, New Matilda, 19 November 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Whose Che?’, New Matilda, 10 October 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Cuban detainees hope for fair trial’, Eureka Street, 4 October 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Latin America: Pilger goes Latino’, New Matilda, 27 September 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘The battle of Chile continues’, New Matilda, 12 September 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Tariq Ali's Latin American “axis of hope”’, Eureka Street, 11 July 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Chile of Venezuela - Which is the Good Democracy?’, Red Pepper, 20 June 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Venezuela: eat the press’, New Matilda, 13 June 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Cuba: after Fidel, who?’, New Matilda, 2 May 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Chávez embraces Christian socialism’, Eureka Street, 17 April 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Latin America: Dubya rides south’, New Matilda, 14 March 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Latin America: the pink tide’, New Matilda, 31 January 2007.

Acuña, R. ‘Tariq the pirate: a review of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'‘, ON LINE Opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate, 14 December 2006.

Acuña, R. ‘The return of the Sandinistas: a complicated affair’, ON LINE Opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate, 24 November 2006.

Acuña, R. ‘Howard’s Ten Years in Power’, ZNet, 23 March 2006.

Media Interviews

Acuña, R., ‘Elecciones federales en Australia’, GPS Internacional, Sputnik, 22 May 2019.

Acuña, R., 'Crisis in Venezuela', ABC South East, 18 May 2017. 

Acuña, R., 'Así ven la Revolución Bolivariana en Sidney, Australia', Vicepresidencia de Venezuela, 8 March 2017. 

Acuña, R., 'La importancia estratégica del pensamiento de Hugo Chávez', Venezolana de Televisión, 7 March 2017.

Acuña, R. 'Y en eso se fue Fidel ¿y qué dejó su estela? ', SBS Radio Spanish, 27 November 2016.

Acuña, R., 'Human Rights in Latin America Film Event 2016', 2RRR 88.5FM, 21 September 2016. 

Acuña, R., 'El estado de excepción en Venezuela', SBS Radio Spanish, 18 May 2016.

Acuña, R., 'La vanidad de 'El Chapo' fue su talón de Aquiles', SBS Radio Spanish, 11 January 2016. 

Acuña, R. 'Los desafíos que representa la “amistad” entre Cuba y Estados Unidos', SBS Radio Spanish, 13 April 2015.

Acuña, R. 'Gobierno australiano implementa medidas para evitar ataques terroristas', SBS Radio Spanish, 26 August 2014.

Acuña, R., 'Promoción del Festival de Derechos Humanos, PukaÑawi', El Mañanero, Canal 2 Red Uno Sucre, Bolivia, 10 July 2014.

Acuña, R. 'US stake in the Venezuelan protests unfolds..' The Wire, 26 February 2014. 

Acuña, R. Interview on the Drive program 702 ABC Sydney (Digital Radio), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 6 March 2013.

Acuña, R.Interview with Rear Vision program 'Hugo Chavez, the unlikely president', Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 7 October 2012.

Acuña, R.'Colombian Government and the FARC rebels begin to talk peace', The Wire, 18 October 2012.

Acuña, R. 'Presidential campaign started in Venezuela', SBS Radio Spanish, 11 July 2012.

Acuña, R. 'Covering the Honduran coup', Listening Post program, Al Jazeera (London), 31 July 2009.

Acuña, R. 'Media coverage of the rescue of Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt', Listening Post program, Al Jazeera (London), 5 September 2008.

Conference Papers

Acuña, R. “Manufacturing Consent: A Case Study of the Venezuelan Crisis”, Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS) and the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Australia, Canberra 11 August 2017.

Acuña, R. "Venezuela, la Guerra Mediática y una Visión desde Australia". Embajada de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Canberra, 16 June 2017. 

Acuña, R. 'Venezuelan Foreign Policy under the Bolivarian Revolution: Its global impact & implications', paper delivered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Caracas 8 March 2017.

To, E. and Acuña, R. 'The Magical State and the Red Dragon: Sino-Venezuelan Oil Cooperation or Rearticulated Dependency?', ILAS@40 - Past, Present & Future: Celebrating Latin American Studies at La Trobe University, Melbourne, 3 November 2016.

Acuña, R. 'My story & research: From 'Mi Tierra' to Australia-Pacific', paper delivered at the Research Bites: Ibero-American Researchers in Australia, Cervantes Institute, Sydney, 8 September 2016.  

Acuña, R. 'Venezuelan Foreign Policy & Latin American Unification: Pushing Back the Pink Tide', paper delivered at the Department of Political Economy, Sydney University, 7 April 2016.

Acuña, R., 'The History of Paramilitary Violence in Colombia', paper delivered at the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (NSW Branch, Lidcombe), Sydney 9 April 2016.

Acuña, R. 'UNASUR: Achievements, Setbacks and the Potential for South American Integration', paper delivered at AILASA 2014 Conference, University of Sydney, 4 July 2014.

Acuña, R. 'Venezuela after Chávez', paper delivered at LATITUDES / Latin American Research Group Australia, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 6 June 2014. 

Acuña, R. 'Chilean Foreign Policy from Allende to Piñera: Sovereignty, servility and geostrategic complementarity with U.S. power', paper delivered at 40 years is Nothing: History and memory of the 1973 coups d'état in Uruguay and Chile seminar, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 4 October 2013.

Acuña, R. 'Petrocaribe: Fostering development in the Caribbean and Central America, or plain old oil diplomacy?', paper delivered at Democracy, revolution and geo-politics in Latin America conference, University of Sydney, 12 October 2012.

Acuña, R. and Valverde, E. 'Transitional Justice in Venezuela', paper delivered at AILASA 2010 Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 4 July 2010.

Acuña, R. 'Venezuela: The new engine for Latin American unity?', paper delivered at the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies and LAIRS, University of Sydney, 8 October 2008.

Acuña, R. 'Salvador Allende and His Legacy', paper delivered at New South Wales Parliament Theatre, 24 June 2008.


Awards and Scholarships


Australian Post Graduate Award (APA) Scholarship from the Australian Federal Government to complete a doctoral thesis

Learning and Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University


Benchmark Prize in Hispanic Studies
University of New South Wales (Awarded for the highest mark obtained by a student completing a major in history within the Department of Spanish & Latin American Studies)