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  • Author: Robert A. Boland
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In the next two years, Brazil will host the three largest mega sports events in the world: the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer, and then the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio in 2016. Other nations in the Americas and across the globe will be watching to see if Brazil's hosting duties lead to broad-based, lasting growth, or are merely an expensive distraction. While history provides examples of both scenarios, hosting such megaevents can provide lasting and transformative value, including to developing nations.
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil
  • Author: Ted Piccone, Jim Swigert, Ariel Fiszbein
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Fresh, unique perspectives on recent books from across the hemisphere originally published in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank Dangerous Liaisons: Organized Crime and Political Finance in Latin America and Beyond by Kevin Casas-Zamora (editor) The Promise of Participation: Experiments in Participatory Governance in Honduras and Guatemala by Daniel Altschuler and Javier Corrales
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In a landmark ruling, the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court last September stripped an estimated 210,000 individuals—most of whom are Dominicans born to Haitian sugar cane workers—of their citizenship, effectively leaving them stateless. The ensuing outcry from the international community has included Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat—two of the best-known contemporary authors from the island of Hispaniola. Friends for over 20 years, Danticat (from Haiti) and Díaz (from the D.R.) have been relentless in their condemnation of the ruling. In a written exchange moderated by Americas Quarterly production editor and Haitian-American Richard André, Díaz and Danticat discuss the roots and legacies of racism and conflict in the neighboring nations, the impact of the court's ruling, and the responsibility of the diaspora to build bridges between Dominicans and Haitians and defend human rights at home and abroad.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Leani García, Rebecca Bintrim, Mercedes Laxague
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Johanna Mendelson Forman, Anthony Spanakos, Roger-Mark De Souza
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Fresh, unique perspectives on recent books from across the hemisphere originally published in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse by Ricardo Hausmann and Francisco R. Rodríguez Oil Sparks in the Amazon: Local Conflicts, Indigenous Populations, and Natural Resources by Patricia I. Vásquez Security in South America: The Role of States and Regional Organizations by Rodrigo Tavares
  • Political Geography: America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Wilda Escarfuller
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The statistics are shocking. Latin America and the Caribbean have the countries with the number one (Dominican Republic) and number three (Venezuela) highest number of traffic deaths per capita in the world. Only Thailand comes close, with 38.1 traffic deaths in 2010 for every 100,000 citizens, placing it second in these grim rankings.
  • Political Geography: America, Latin America, Caribbean, Venezuela
  • Author: Richard E. Feinberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In the coming months, the United States is going to face a tough choice: either alter its policy toward Cuba or face the virtual collapse of its diplomacy in Latin America. The upcoming Summit of the Americas, the seventh meeting of democratically elected heads of state throughout the Americas, due to convene in April 2015 in Panama, will force the Barack Obama administration to choose between its instincts to reset Cuba policy to coincide more closely with hemispheric opinion and its fears of a domestic political backlash.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Cuba, Latin America, Panama
  • Author: Melanne Verveer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When I attended the first Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994, only two female heads of state represented their countries: Dominica and Nicaragua. This past April at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, five of the presidents and prime ministers representing the 33 participating countries were women: from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Their presence was an important example of the progress the hemisphere—and its women—have made. In fact, the region continues to make progress in a variety of areas. Latin America and the Caribbean are tackling ongoing challenges head-on, including promoting girls' education, improving women's and girls' health, facilitating women's political participation, and expanding women's economic opportunities. Governments throughout the hemisphere are increasingly recognizing that no country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil, Caribbean
  • Author: Richard André
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The quality of Chile's universities is well known across the Americas. Two of these—Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileUniversidad de Chile—rank in the top five of the 2011 U.S. News and World Report list of the 100 best schools in the region. Unfortunately, high-quality education comes at a high cost. Chile has the second most expensive private university system of any OECD country, after the United States. And due to the lack of financial aid, Chilean families shoulder 85 percent of the cost of a university education—more than any other developed nation.Until recently, most Chilean youth accepted the cost of education as the price of social mobility. Gabriela San Martín, 24, considered a university degree a ticket to a stable, decent-paying job. She took out a government-financed loan, known as crédito con aval del estado (CAE), to pay for her studies in early childhood education at Universidad Andrés Bello.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: America, Chile
  • Author: Richard M. Abord, Ashley D. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Each year, millions of people across the world find themselves in jail without being convicted of anything-often for months at a time-as they await trial. Alarmingly, although the rights to liberty, security and equal justice under the law are cornerstones of justice systems throughout the Americas, pretrial detention is being employed at rates two to five times greater than the international average, and its use continues to grow unabated.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Francisco Panizza, Jon Samuel, Anthony Hodge, Lisa Sachs, Edwin Julio Palomino Cadenas
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: To secure a positive development outcome from mining, governments first need to create the conditions that will attract investment in new mines. This starts with open and honest means of allocating mineral exploration and development rights, the rule of law, a stable regulatory and fiscal regime, and openness to foreign investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Andrea Baranenko, Venezuela Latin America is moving forward, but Venezuela is moving in the opposite direction,” says Andrea Baranenko, a 28-year-old Venezuelan filmmaker whose recent documentary, Yo Indocumentada (I, Undocumented), exposes the struggles of transgender people in her native country. The film, Baranenko's first feature-length production, tells the story of three Venezuelan women fighting for their right to have an identity. Tamara Adrián, 58, is a lawyer; Desirée Pérez, 46, is a hairdresser; and Victoria González, 27, has been a visual arts student since 2009. These women share more than their nationality: they all carry IDs with masculine names that don't correspond to their actual identities. They're transgender women, who long ago assumed their gender and now defend it in a homophobic and transphobic society.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Reform
  • Political Geography: America, Venezuela, Guatemala
  • Author: Quentin Delpech
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Guate-Mara: the Extortion Economy in GuatemalaBY QUENTIN DELPECH The maras add union-busting to their repertoire of murder and extortion. Behind the walls of export-processing zones in Mixco and Villa Nueva on the outskirts of Guatemala City, apparel workers assemble, sew, label, inspect, and iron millions of garments, packing them in cartons bound for the United States. For more than 30 years, Guatemala's maquilas have been a hub of the global economy; but lately, these plants have been the center of a much darker story. They've become the prime targets of the maras, gangs of criminals that are flourishing in this Central American nation.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: America, Guatemala
  • Author: Robin Dean
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The crowd at Rock al Parque 2012. Photo: Diego Santacruz/AP Rock al Parque With one of the richest musical cultures in the Americas, Colombia has added rock to its repertoire. Devout fans of the music that inspired generations of American and British teenagers since the 1950s have been gathering every year in Bogotá's Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park for Rock al Parque (Rock in the Park), the region's largest annual rock festival.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia, Jamaica
  • Author: Jeremy M. Martin
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The integration of Central America's fragmented electricity market has always seemed a no-brainer—at least to outsiders. A seamless grid for delivery of electricity would not only make regional power generation projects affordable, but would also reduce costs to consumers and governments alike, as well as strengthen energy security at the national level. The foundations for a robust regional electricity market were, in fact, laid by a regional treaty in 1996, establishing the Sistema de Interconexión Eléctrica de los Países de América Central (Central American Electrical Interconnection System—SIEPAC), which aimed to knit together the electrical grids from all six countries. But the original target completion date of 2008 was not met. Although several key pieces of the regional market are under development, the plan has fallen victim to regulatory bottlenecks and the shifting political priorities of individual governments. The unfortunate result: Central America's electricity markets remain mostly within national boundaries.
  • Topic: Power Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: With the exception of Cuba, the hemisphere is a relatively free place to be a journalist compared to much of the rest of the world. But that doesn't mean it's safe or easy, or that it's getting any easier. Below is a catalogue of the abuses, risks and challenges that journalists and media faced in the Americas and in selected countries outside the region last year.
  • Political Geography: America, Cuba
  • Author: Santiago A. Canton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Inter-American System enshrined the right to freedom of thought and expression in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In 1998, to further protect this right, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission) established the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. I served as the first head of the office.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Robert A. Boland, Victor A. Matheson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The urgency and scale of hosting can provide a needed boost to public investment and transform a country's image, infrastructure and business conditions beyond the games. BY ROBERT A. BOLAND Do megasports events contribute to economic development? Yes Following the 2014 World Cup? Read more coverage here. In the next two years, Brazil will host the three largest mega sports events in the world: the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer, and then the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio in 2016. Other nations in the Americas and across the globe will be watching to see if Brazil's hosting duties lead to broad-based, lasting growth, or are merely an expensive distraction. While history provides examples of both scenarios, hosting such megaevents can provide lasting and transformative value, including to developing nations. Megaevents can accelerate the process of planning for and executing much-needed public investment, while the host countries or cities can rebrand themselves as safe for investment and trade, and as a destination for tourism. For democratic governments, the construction blitz around megaevents can cut through political deadlock, representing the best available chance to quickly bring about focused and necessary change. The ability to develop infrastructure that can improve the quality of life, health and economic strength of the host nation is key. Hosts with plans focusing on self-improvement, investment and the enlargement of existing assets tend to fare better than countries that simply build competition venues.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Francisca Valenzuela, Chile Singer. Fashion designer. Entrepreneur. At 27, Francisca Valenzuela has already reached the kind of success usually associated with a professionally managed career. But instead of a top agent or a big record label, the San Francisco-born Chilean artist owes her achievements to a team that includes her mother, biochemist Bernardita Méndez, her boyfriend and artistic confidante Vicente Sanfuentes, and a small, committed staff in Chile that has skillfully used social media—including 275,000 Twitter followers and fans known as “Franáticos”—to spread the word of her talents. Valenzuela is one of the most engaging examples of a new generation of artist-entrepreneurs who are controlling their own career paths. “I'm not waiting for someone to come rescue me industry-wise,” Valenzuela says, describing how, when her music took off in her late teens, she and her mother purchased Business for Dummies online to understand the fine print in her first contract. Valenzuela's early musical success—with a hit single, Peces (Fish) in 2006—came after years of performing in talent shows, but she was never “serious” about music until she started performing on the underground jazz circuit in Chile. She eventually dropped out of the Universidad Católica de Chile, where she was studying journalism, to pursue her burgeoning musical career. Along the way, she has had two books published, two pop-rock albums that went platinum and gold in Chile, and designed a clothing line for the Chilean brand Foster. Now, Valenzuela develops projects and artistic collaborations through her own company, FRANTASTIC Productions. “We've structured an independent enterprise basically run by two people [that's] competitive with counterparts who have a whole corporate background,” she says proudly. Valenzuela's do-it-yourself ethic in the music industry is not the only thing that sets her apart from many of her peers. Valenzuela spent the first 12 years of her life in the United States before the family relocated to Santiago. In fact, Valenzuela's first book—Defenseless Waters, a collection of poems that she published at age 13 about themes ranging from long-lost love to social injustice to nature—was written in English. “When I was young in the Bay Area, everyone seemed to be doing extracurricular activities, sports, painting, nurturing kids,” she recalls. Valenzuela's literary background and political convictions have inspired her songwriting in Spanish. The title song of her latest album, Buen Soldado (Good Soldier, 2011), focuses on the power dynamic between men and women, and she has been an outspoken advocate of sexual diversity and LGBT rights in Chile, participating in gay rights marches since she was 14.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Brazil
  • Author: Ted Piccone, Jim Swigert, Ariel Fiszbein
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank BY TED PICCONE Popular interest in Cuba will continue to grow as Americans open their eyes and ears to one key fact: after 55 years, Cuba is changing. It is shifting from a highly centralized, paternalistic, socialist regime, both lauded and vilified for achieving social progress at the cost of democracy and civil liberties, to a hybrid system in which individual initiative, decentralization and some forms of limited debate are encouraged. As the Castro brothers prepare to leave the scene, they are handing power to a more institutionalized Communist party that maintains tight political control even as it liberalizes the economy. Marc Frank's new book, Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana, expertly captures this evolving terrain. He provides a clear and compelling guide to the transition from Fidel to Raúl Castro after the demise of the Soviet Union. Frank, currently a freelance journalist for Thomson Reuters and the Financial Times, deploys his two decades in Cuba and his extensive network of colleagues, friends and family (he is married to a Cuban) to explain to both seasoned and amateur observers why Cuba's leaders are embarking on a new path. This is no easy assignment. Nearly everything about life in Cuba today is complicated by Cuba's outsized role during the Cold War, the trauma of exile and the opaque nature of its regime. Despite Cuba's controlled media environment, Frank managed to open doors to information not readily available to others, a testament to his intrepid reporting.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: America, Soviet Union, Cuba
  • Author: Matthew Budd, Marcela Donadio
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: With 11 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, Nicaragua stands out as a relatively fortunate exception in a region whose homicide rates rank among the world's highest. Its northern neighbors all recorded rates at least three times greater: with Guatemala at 34.3 murders per 100,000 citizens; El Salvador at 41.5; and—at the top of this grim list—Honduras at 85.5. To the south of Nicaragua, only traditionally stable and more developed Costa Rica recorded a lower rate (8.8). Panama registered 17.6 murders per 100,000 in 2012.
  • Political Geography: America, Tanzania, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Nathaniel Parish Flannery
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Can Mexico exploit its new demographic dividend? With contributing research from Miryam Hazán and Carlos López Portillo Maltos of Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT). Read a sidebar on Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT's) electronic job bank. Read a sidebar on Mexican migrants' return to restaurant work. José Antonio Pérez remembers as a child seeing migrants climbing onto La Bestia ("The Beast"), the train that carries Central American migrants north to the state of Oaxaca, and wondering where they were going. An uncle told him the migrants were "traveling to El Norte," the United States. "I didn't understand," Pérez recalled. "I only understood when I was older." At the age of 14, he joined them. He left his hometown of Arriaga, Chiapas, in 2003 and found work in a greenhouse in Chestertown, Virginia.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Mexico
  • Author: Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Children are the unwitting victims of exclusionary policies toward immigrants. (video interview available)
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: America, Georgia
  • Author: Judith A. Morrison
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Why smart policies require better data. (video interview available)
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Mark Warschauer
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Wider access to computers in schools is no magic bullet.
  • Topic: Economics, Communications
  • Political Geography: America, Venezuela
  • Author: Hilda L. Solis
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The U.S. labor secretary offers a blueprint for immigration reform.
  • Topic: Government, Immigration, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Matias Spektor
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Read any Brazilian foreign policy college textbook and you will be surprised. Global order since 1945 is not described as open, inclusive or rooted in multilateralism. Instead, you learn that big powers impose their will on the weak through force and rules that are strict and often arbitrary. In this world view, international institutions bend over backwards to please their most powerful masters. International law, when it is used by the strong, is less about binding great powers and self-restraint than about strong players controlling weaker ones. After finishing the book, you couldn't be blamed for believing that the liberal international order has never established the just, level playing field for world politics that its supporters claim. This intellectual approach is responsible for the ambiguity at the heart of Brazilian strategic thinking. On one hand, Brazil has benefited enormously from existing patterns of global order. It was transformed from a modest rural economy in the 1940s into an industrial powerhouse less than 50 years later, thanks to the twin forces of capitalism and an alliance system that kept it safe. On the other hand, the world has been a nasty place for Brazil. Today, it is one of the most unequal societies in the world. Millions still live in poverty and violence abounds. In 2009, there were more violent civilian deaths in the state of Rio de Janeiro alone than in the whole of Iraq. No doubt a fair share of the blame belongs to successive generations of Brazilian politicians and policymakers. But some of it is a function of the many inequities and distortions that recur when you are on the “periphery” of a very unequal international system. The result is a view of global order that vastly differs from perceptions held by the United States. Take, for instance, Brazilian perceptions of “international threats.” Polls show that the average Brazilian worries little about terrorism, radical Islam or a major international war. Instead, the primary fears concern climate change, poverty and infectious disease. Many Brazilians, in fact, fear the U.S., focusing in particular on the perceived threat it poses to the natural riches of the Amazon and the newfound oil fields under the Brazilian seabed. Perceptions matter enormously. It is no wonder that the Brazilian military spends a chunk of its time studying how Vietnamese guerrillas won a war against far superior forces in jungle battlefields. Nor should it be a surprise that Brazil is now investing heavily in the development of nuclear-propulsion submarines that its admirals think will facilitate the nation's ability to defend oil wells in open waters. But Brazil is nowhere near being a revolutionary state. While its leaders believe that a major transition of global power is currently underway, they want to be seen as smooth operators when new rules to the game emerge. Their designs are moderate because they have a stake in preserving the principles that underwrite Brazil's emergence as a major world player. They will not seek to radically overturn existing norms and practices but to adapt them to suit their own interests instead. Could Brazilian intentions change over time? No doubt. Notions of what constitutes the national interest will transform as the country rises. Brazil's international ambitions are likely to expand—no matter who runs the country. Three factors will shape the way national goals will evolve in the next few years: the relationship with the U.S., Brasilia's strategies for dealing with the rest of South America, and Brazil's ideas about how to produce global order. When it Comes to the U.S., Lie Low Brazilian officials are used to repeating that to be on the U.S. “radar screen” is not good. In their eyes, being the source of American attention poses two possible threats. It either raises expectations in Washington that Brazil will work as a “responsible stakeholder” according to some arbitrary criteria of what “responsible” means, or it turns Brazil into a target of U.S. pressure when interests don't coincide. As a result, there is a consensus among Brazilians that a policy of “ducking”—hiding your head underwater when the hegemonic eagle is around—has served them well. Whether this judgment is correct or not is for historians to explore. But the utility of a policy based on such a consensus is declining fast. You cannot flex your diplomatic muscle abroad and hope to go unnoticed. Furthermore, being a “rising state” is never a mere function of concrete things, such as a growing economy, skilled armies, mighty industries, a booming middle class, or a functional state that is effective in tax collection and the provision of public goods. The perception of other states matters just as much. And nobody's perception matters more than that of the most powerful state of all: the United States. Brazil's current rise is therefore deeply intertwined with the perception in Washington that Brazil is moving upwards in global hierarchies. Securing the acceptance or the implicit support of the U.S. while maintaining some distance will always be a fragile position to maintain. But as Brazil grows more powerful, it will be difficult to accomplish its global objectives without the complicity—and the tacit acceptance—of the United States. For Brazil this means that the “off the radar” option will become increasingly difficult. Not the Natural Regional Leader Brazil accounts for over 50 percent of South America's wealth, people and territory. If power were a product of relative material capabilities alone, Brazil would be more powerful in its own region than China, India, Turkey or South Africa are in theirs. But Brazil is not your typical regional power. It has sponsored layers of formal institutions and regional norms, but its leaders recoil at the thought of pooling sovereignty into supranational bodies. Yes, Brazil has modernized South American politics by promoting norms to protect democracy and to establish a regional zone of peace, but its efforts at promoting a regional sense of shared purposes have been mixed and, some say, halfhearted at best. Brazilian public opinion and private-sector business increasingly doubt the benefits of deep regional integration with neighbors, and plans for a South American Free Trade Zone have gone asunder. And yes, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), from 1998 to 2007, Brazil spent far more on its armed forces than Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela combined. Yet, Brazil's ability to project military power abroad remains minimal. The end result is that many challenge the notion that Brazil is a regional leader. From the perspective of smaller neighboring countries, it remains a country that is too hard to follow sometimes. If you are sitting on its borders, as 10 South American nations do, you find it difficult to jump on its bandwagon. This is problematic for Brazil. As a major and growing regional creditor, investor, consumer, and exporter, its own economic fate is interconnected with that of its neighbors. Crises abroad impact its banks and companies at home as never before. Populism, ethnic nationalism, narcotics trafficking, guerrilla warfare, deforestation, unlawful pasturing, economic decay, and political upheaval in neighbors will deeply harm Brazilian interests. Whether, when and how Brazil will develop the policy instruments to shape a regional order beneficial to itself remains to be seen. But curiously enough, Brazilian leaders do not normally think their interests in South America might converge with those of the United States. On the contrary, Brazil in the twenty-first century has geared its regional policies to deflect, hedge, bind, and restrain U.S. power in South America to the extent that it can. This is not to say that Brazil is a stubborn challenger of U.S. interests in the region. That would be silly for a country whose success depends on the perception of economic gain and regional stability. But it means that future generations of Brazilians might discover that if they want to unlock some of the most pressing problems in the region, perhaps they will have to reconsider their attitude towards the United States...
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Law, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, South America, Venezuela, Chile
  • Author: Saskia Sassen
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There is little doubt that the North-South axis remains dominant for Latin America's geopolitical positioning. But new relations are emerging and deepening at subnational levels, in turn creating new intercity geographies and challenging that geopolitical notion. These relations are a direct product of economic and cultural globalization. Some examples are the shift of migration from Ecuador and Colombia toward Spain rather than the U.S., the growing economic relations between Chinese businesses and organizations and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and the emergent relations between these cities and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Internet has allowed a rapidly growing number of people to become a part of diverse networks that crisscross the world. And nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from various parts of the world are establishing active connections over social struggles in Latin America. In other words, beneath the still-dominant North-South geopolitics, transversal geographies are growing in bits and pieces. One trend is the formation of intercity geographies as the number of global cities has expanded since the 1990s. These subnational circuits cut across the world in many directions. A second trend is the growth of civil society organizations and individuals who are connecting around the world in ways that, again, often do not follow the patterns of traditional geopolitics. The New, Multiple Circuits There is no such entity as the global economy. It is more correct to say there are global formations, such as electronic financial markets and firms that operate globally. But what defines the current era is the creation of numerous, highly particular, global circuits—some specialized and some not—interlacing across the world and connecting specific areas, most of which are cities. While many of these global circuits have long existed, they began to proliferate and establish increasingly complex organizational and financial foundations in the 1980s. These emergent intercity geographies function as an infrastructure for globalization, and have led to the increased urbanization of global networks. Different circuits contain different groups of countries and cities. For instance, Mumbai today is part of a global circuit for real estate development that includes investors from cities as diverse as London and Bogotá. Coffee is mostly produced in Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia, but the main place for trading its future is on Wall Street. The specialized circuits in gold, coffee, oil and other commodities each involve particular countries and cities, which will vary depending on whether they are production, trading or financial circuits. If, for example, we track the global circuits of gold as a financial instrument, it is London, New York, Chicago, and Zurich that dominate. But the wholesale trade in the metal brings São Paulo, Johannesburg and Sydney into the circuit, while trade in the commodity, much of it aimed at the retail level, adds Mumbai and Dubai. And then there are the types of circuits a firm such as Wal-Mart needs to outsource the production of vast amounts of goods—circuits that include manufacturing, trading, and financial and insurance services. The 250,000 multinationals in the world, together with their over 1 million affiliates and partnership arrangements worldwide, have created a new pattern of relations that combine global dispersal with the spatial concentration of certain functions often while retaining headquarters in their home countries. The same is true of the 100 top global advanced-services firms that together have operations in 350 cities outside their home base. While financial services can be bought everywhere electronically, the headquarters of leading global financial services firms tend to be concentrated in a limited number of cities. Each of these financial centers specializes in specific segments of global finance, even as they engage in routine types of transactions executed by all financial centers. It's not just global economic forces that feed this proliferation of circuits. Forces such as migration and cultural exchange, along with civil society struggles to protect human rights, preserve the environment and promote social justice, which also contribute to circuit formation and development. NGOs fighting for the protection of the rainforest function in circuits that include Brazil and Indonesia as homes of the major rainforests, the global media centers of New York and London, and the places where the key forestry companies selling and buying wood are headquartered—notably Oslo, London and Tokyo. There are even music circuits that connect specific areas of India with London, New York, Chicago, and Johannesburg. Adopting the perspective of one of these cities reveals the diversity and specificity of its location on some or many of these circuits, which is determined by its unique capabilities. Ultimately, being a global firm or market means entering the specificities and particularities of national economies. This explains why global firms and markets need more and more global cities as they expand their operations across the world. While there is competition among cities, there is far less of it than is usually assumed. A global firm does not want one global city, but many. Moreover, given the variable level of specialization of globalized firms, their preferred cities will vary. Firms thrive on the specialized differences of cities, and it is those differences that give a city its particular advantage in the global economy. Thus, the economic history of a place matters for the type of knowledge economy that a city or city-region ends up developing. This goes against the common view that globalization homogenizes economies. Globalization homogenizes standards—for managing, accounting, building state-of-the-art office districts, and so on. But it needs diverse specialized economic capabilities. Latin America on the Circuit This allows many of Latin America's cities to become part of global circuits. Some, such as São Paulo and Buenos Aires, are located on hundreds of such circuits, others just on a few. Regardless of the case, these cities are not necessarily competing with one other. The growing number of global cities, each specialized, signals a shift to a multipolar world. Clearly, the major Latin American cities have circuits that connect them directly to destinations across the world. What is perhaps most surprising is the intensity of connections with Asia and Europe. Traditional geopolitics would lead one to think that Latin America connects, above all, with North America. There is a strong tendency for global money flows to generate partial geographies. This becomes clear, for example, when we consider foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America, a disproportionate share of which goes to a handful of countries. In 2008, for example (a relative peak of FDI), FDI flows into Latin America were topped by Brazil at $45.1 billion, followed at a distance by Mexico at $23.7 billion, Chile at $15.2 billion, and Argentina with $9.7 billion. On average, between 1991–1996 and 2003–2008, FDI in Brazil increased more than five-fold while tripling in Chile and Mexico. Among the countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region receiving the lowest levels of foreign investment in 2008 were Haiti, at $30 million; Guyana, at $178 million; and Paraguay, at $109 million. Globalization and the new information and communication technologies have enabled a variety of local activists and organizations to enter international arenas that were once the exclusive domain of national states. Going global has also been partly facilitated and conditioned by the infrastructure of the global economy…
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America, South Africa, London, Colombia, Latin America, Mumbai, Sydney, Ecuador, Dubai, Chicago
  • Author: Gaston Chillier, Ernesto Seman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Most Latin American countries have regarded immigration policy as a function of border protection, using approaches that emphasize security and law enforcement, including strict regulation of work and residency permits. Nevertheless, such policies have not only failed in recent years to curb the growth of undocumented migrants; they have also clashed with resolutions adopted in 2003 and 2008 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that guarantee migrant rights. Argentina is a notable exception. Thanks to a law passed in 2004, it has emerged as a model for innovative immigration policymaking. The law incorporated the recognition of migration as a human right. But what really made it historic was the open, consultative process used to conceive, develop and pass the legislation. How Argentina got there is an instructive story—and it may hold lessons for its neighbors and for other areas of the world. A Country of Immigrants Struggles with Its Limits As a country known both as a source and a destination for immigrants, Argentina has always carved out a special place for itself in Latin America. In the nineteenth century, it forged a national identity through an open-door immigration policy that was geared selectively toward European immigrants. But migration from neighboring countries such as Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay increased steadily to the point that—by the 1960s—the number of immigrants from its neighbors outpaced arrivals from Europe. In response, Argentina imposed stricter controls on the entry and exit of foreigners, beginning with legislation introduced in 1966. The legislation established new measures for deporting undocumented immigrants. In 1981, under the military dictatorship, legislative decrees that allowed the state to expel migrants were codified into law for the first time as Law 22.439, also known as La Ley Videla (named after the military dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who was later convicted of human rights violations). The law contained several provisions that affected constitutional guarantees, including the right of authorities to detain and expel foreigners without judicial redress; the obligation of public officials to report the presence of unauthorized immigrants; and restrictions on their health care and education. For example, undocumented immigrants could receive emergency health care, but hospitals were then obligated to report them. The resolutions and decrees of the National Migration Office—first established in 1949—turned the office into a vehicle for the violation of migrant rights and precluded it from regulating immigration and addressing immigrants' status. From the downfall of the military dictatorship in 1983 until 2003, congress failed to repeal La Ley Videla or enact an immigration law in accordance with the constitution and international human rights treaties recognizing migrant rights. In fact, the executive branch expanded the law's discriminatory features and promoted the autonomy of the National Migration Office to establish criteria for admission and expulsion from the country without any legal oversight. The continuation of La Ley Videla relegated close to 800,000 immigrants—most of whom came from neighboring countries—to “irregular” status, with serious sociopolitical consequences. Efforts to rectify the situation at first met little success. In the absence of reform, Argentine immigration policy was based on individual agreements with countries like Bolivia and Peru to regulate immigrant flows. These agreements failed to address the larger realities of immigrant flows and Argentine authorities often expelled immigrants despite the treaties. As a result, courts repeatedly upheld detentions and expulsions sanctioned by the immigration authorities, with no formal mechanisms to ensure justice for immigrants. In turn, the high cost of filing or pursuing an appeal generally made this an unlikely option. In 1996, this unjust and unsustainable situation led to the creation of the Roundtable of Civil Society Organizations for the Defense of Migrant Rights, a diverse coalition of human rights groups. The roundtable sought to counter xenophobic rhetoric from state ministries and from the president. It worked for migrant rights and included a diverse coalition of immigrant associations, religious groups, unions, and academic institutions. A key goal was to expose the contradictions and inconsistencies of La Ley Videla by sponsoring reports on human rights abuses of migrants, bringing cases to court and submitting complaints to the Inter-American Human Rights System. In 2000, the organization outlined a specific agenda to repeal La Ley Videla and to pass a new immigration law that respected the rights of foreigners. Criteria for the new legislation included: administrative and judicial control over the National Migration Office; reform of deportation and detention procedures to guarantee due process; recognition of the rights of migrants and their families to normalize their immigration status; and elimination of discrimination and other forms of restrictive control in order to ensure access to constitutionally guaranteed social rights and services…
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Immigration
  • Political Geography: America, Argentina, Latin America, Chile, Bolivia
  • Author: Robert Maguire
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Haiti's next president must put the country on a path to real development.
  • Topic: Development, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Haiti
  • Author: Jose Antonio Lucero
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Has the increased political involvement of Indigenous peoples improved their situation?
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Americas Quarterly: Why is China today so interested economically in Latin America? Li Jinzhang: After 30 years of reform and economic opening, China has scored remarkable achievements in economic and social development, and its connections with the rest of the world have become closer. China needs the world to achieve development, and the world needs China as a contributor to development and stability. Latin America is an important part of the developing world. In recent years, China and Latin America have drawn on their respective strengths and economic complementarity. The result has been rapid growth in economic cooperation and trade, and a vigorous boost to their respective economies. These synergies have brought real benefits to our peoples and contributed to global development and stability. Moreover, the potential for future growth in cooperation and trade is huge. We hope to achieve mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development through closer economic cooperation and trade with the region.
  • Political Geography: China, America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Anthony DePalma
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Brazil