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  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In most countries the process isn't always clear or direct. Who does it, how to do it and how long it can take varies from country to country—a reflection of the vagueness of ILO 169 and the uneven development of government regulations across the hemisphere. To compare, here are the steps you would need to take in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Peru, Guatemala
  • Author: Diana María Ocampo, Sebastian Agudelo
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In Colombia's 2010–2014 National Development Plan, President Juan Manuel Santos listed the mining sector as one of the five engines of the country's economic growth, alongside infrastructure, housing, agriculture, and innovation. At the same time, the government recognized the need for regulatory, legal and policy instruments to make Colombia a regional powerhouse for mining and infrastructure.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Carlos Andrés Baquero Díaz
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), or consulta previa, has expanded throughout South America. Nine states have ratified the International Labour Organization's Convention 169 (ILO169)—the principal treaty regarding consulta previa.* But regulations created by four of those states—Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador—contradict the commitments they accepted when they ratified the treaty, in effect violating the right of Indigenous people to be consulted on administrative and legislative measures that could directly affect them.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Chile, Peru, Ecuador
  • Author: Diana Rodríguez-Franco
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On a hot Sunday morning in July 2013, the inhabitants of Piedras, a small municipality in the Colombian Andes, gathered to decide whether large-scale mining activities should be permitted in their territory.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Francisco Miranda Hamburger
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On May 25, 32 million Colombians will vote in one of the most important presidential elections in the nation's recent history—an election that will turn on the issue that remains Colombia's greatest challenge: putting an end to the armed conflict.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Carolina Ramirez
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The promise of upward mobility for Latin America's new middle classes has led to swelling university enrollment rates, but also to growing debt. In Colombia, high school graduates enrolling in higher education rose from 24.87 percent in 2002 to 45.02 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, in 2011, 23 percent of 25- to 34-year-old Mexicans had attained a university education, compared to only 12 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Álvaro José Mejía Arias
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Since its formation in February 1971, the Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca (Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca—CRIC) has made the education of young Indigenous Colombians one of its most important goals.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Cynthia J. Arnson, Jaana Remes, Patricia Ellen, Raúl Rodríguez-Barocio
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Colombia's 2014 presidential elections marked a watershed in the country's politics. This was not because incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos won by nearly six percentage points, after having narrowly lost the first round to Óscar Iván Zuluaga, a hardliner backed by Santos's political nemesis, former president Álvaro Uribe.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Alberto Bernal
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On July 20, 2010, President Juan Manuel Santos promised the 9 million voters who had just elected him to his first term that he would build on the foundation created “by a giant, our President Álvaro Uribe.” He declared that Colombia could now look to the future with hope, thanks to the multiple successes that Uribe had achieved during his eight years in power.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Juanita León
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: After three years of negotiations with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (Revloutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has decided to go all-in on securing peace for his country. His political and personal commitment became clear earlier this year when he staked his entire campaign for his second term in office on being the candidate of peace. His inauguration, and inaugural speech, drew heavily on the rhetoric and symbols of peace, with multiple images of white doves, including dove lapel pins for the guests.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, Nelson Camilo Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Ultimately, the success of any peace agreement between the Colombian government and the country's largest guerrilla group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC), will hinge on reconciliation. A successful process of reconciliation requires finding the balance between defending the rights of victims and gaining the trust of former combatants—members of the armed forces and the FARC—that they are not being unfairly punished.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Ramon Campos Iriarte
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The recent 50th anniversary of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army—ELN) led journalist Ramón Campos Iriarte to the jungles of Colombia's western Chocó province, where open war between guerrillas, government forces and paramilitary groups has been escalating. The ELN—self-defined as a Marxist-Leninist organization influenced by liberation theology—was created on July 4, 1964, in the mountains of central Colombia by a group of students and clerics inspired by the Cuban Revolution.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Cuba
  • Author: Alejandro Eder Garcés
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Colombia finds itself at a watershed in the country's history. With the possible end to over half a century of violence, a new peaceful future beckons. But Colombia's much-desired peace will not just fall from the sky. It will have to be built by all Colombians through an arduous, perhaps decades-long process.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Ricardo Argüello
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Armed conflict and the presence of non-state armed actors harm both agricultural production and rural households' well-being, for at least two broad reasons. First, conflict disrupts economic activities by hampering access to critical inputs and markets. As a result, producers may reduce or curtail planting or harvesting. Second, rural producers face an unpredictable environment for making economic decisions. Armed actors may “tax” producers, coerce them into growing particular crops (licit and illicit) or require them to follow their rules regarding production and land use. In these cases, farmers grow what will produce the least risk to their quality of life and safety.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Marcela Prieto
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: From its very beginning, Colombia's peace process has aroused enormous expectations, not only within Colombian borders, but also in the international community. The negotiation is, in good measure, the result of the “Policy of Democratic Security” adopted by President Álvaro Uribe Vélez during his two terms (2002 to 2010), which helped limit the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC), weakened the group structurally and turned the dynamic of the armed confrontation back in the state's favor.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Joydeep Mukherji
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Colombia has already had the foresight and wisdom to analyze the experience of other countries in bringing internal conflicts to an end—including South Africa, the Philippines and Northern Ireland. As I write, representatives of the conflicting parties in Northern Ireland have just finished meeting Colombian government and FARC negotiators.
  • Political Geography: South Africa, Philippines, Colombia, North Ireland
  • Author: Jose Antonio Caballero
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Judiciary: The Courts in Mexico BY JOSÉ ANTONIO CABALLERO The steady process of change in judicial organizations in Mexico, which began in the mid-1990s, was given a major boost in the past few years with four constitutional amendments. The most significant is a 2008 amendment requiring that all state and federal judicial systems transition from a written-based inquisitorial system to an oral-based accusatorial one by 2016. This will bring greater transparency while better protecting the rights of the accused and allowing for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Halfway into the transition phase, though, the processes' slow implementation poses a risk that states won't meet the 2016 deadline.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Central America, Caribbean, Mexico
  • 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: Diana Villiers Negroponte
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In April last year, the Colombian government announced its intention to pursue the creation of an interconnected electrical grid from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. Naming the project "Connecting the Americas 2022" ("Connect 2022" ), the Colombians had picked up the idea from Washington and included it in last year's agenda at the Summit of the Americas. The goal, as defined by the hemispheric governments that attended the summit, is to create an integrated electrical grid that can provide universal access to electricity through enhanced energy interconnections, power sector investments, renewable energy development, and cooperation. Should it succeed, the project will bring together regional electricity grids, including the Central American electrical grid, known by its Spanish acronym, SIEPAC (see Jeremy Martin's article on the difficulty of completing SIPAC on page 102 of this issue), with South American networks. Completing it, though, requires passing through the Darién Gap.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Germany, Mexico
  • Author: Alejandro Eder Garcés
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: After more than half a century of conflict, efforts to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate Colombia's warring groups are just beginning to take hold. While a few small left-wing guerrilla groups were demobilized in the 1990s, successful reintegration of thousands of ex-combatants—most of them right-wing paramilitaries—into peaceful society has remained elusive. But that seems to be changing. Reintegration involves providing ex-combatants with the educational, material and personal tools to become citizens and gain sustainable employment and income. It is a social and economic process with an open-ended time frame. Because it's so specialized, it mostly takes place at the local level.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Ramon Campos Iriarte
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Pimpineros BY RAMÓN CAMPOS IRIARTE Colombia's pimpineros struggle to survive in the shadowy, violent world of border gas smuggling. José, a tough-looking, dark-skinned man in his 40s, met me at a small restaurant in a crowded neighborhood in Cúcuta, capital of Colombia's Norte de Santander department, and a traditionally “hot” place for contraband and mafia violence. A leader of Sintragasolina, the gas workers' union, José agreed to see me only if we met in a public place in broad daylight to talk about the illegal fuel sellers—known as pimpineros—that he risks his life to defend. Pimpineros' livelihoods depend on the disparity between subsidized Venezuelan gas prices and the highly taxed Colombian ones. In towns like Cúcuta, poverty and violence have pushed entire neighborhoods to become “pueblos bomba”—“pump towns”—whose economies are based entirely on the smuggling, home storage and selling of pimpinas (five-gallon—19-liter—containers) of hydrocarbon-based products. Thousands of low-income Colombian families spend days and nights in their improvised street shacks, pouring gas through handmade funnels into their clients' tanks.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Business Innovator: Felipe Arango, Colombia The Chocó region in western Colombia is one of the most mineral-rich places in the hemisphere. It is also ecologically rich, boasting species of flora thought to be unique to Chocó. But due to years of commercial gold and platinum mining that have leached mercury and cyanide into local rivers, the Chocó region has also become one of the most threatened natural areas in the world. Felipe Arango has been working to change that. Arango, 34, is CEO of Oro Verde—an NGO based in Medellín, Colombia, that empowers local miners to use more ecologically friendly artisanal mining techniques. Founded in 2003, the organization purchases gold produced by certified artisanal miners, many of them Afro-Colombian, and sells it to socially conscious jewelers around the world. Oro Verde takes a 2 percent cut to fund its operations and administration, and contributes its profits and reinvested premiums to the protection of 11,120 acres (4,500 hectares) of tropical rainforest. Oro Verde's gold certification process, meanwhile, has influenced the development of a global “fair-trade, fair-mined” gold certification process.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: New York, Colombia
  • Author: Aldo Civico, Alfredo Rangel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Will the negotiations between the government and the FARC bring lasting peace to Colombia? Yes: Aldo Civico; No: Alfredo Rangel In this issue: Pragmatism on both sides of the negotiating table suggests a willingness to end the armed conflict. The FARC's escalating demands; ongoing attacks and intransigence demonstrate that it doesn't really want peace.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Politics Innovator: María Rachid, Argentina María Rachid never wanted to become a politician. But she is responsible for some of the most important human rights bills in Argentina's recent history, including the 2010 Marriage Equality Law, which legalized same-sex marriage, and the 2012 Gender Identity Law, which allows transgender people to change gender identity on official documents without prior approval. The 38-year-old has served in the Buenos Aires city legislature since 2011 for the governing Frente Para La Victoria (Front for Victory) coalition. A former vice president of Argentina's Instituto Nacional contra la Discriminación, la Xenofobia y el Racismo (National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism—INADI), Rachid is a long time social activist who didn't always see party politics as the best way to accomplish change. “I never thought I would become a legislator,” she says, though she adds that she was always interested in politics “as a tool to construct a more just society.” Born and raised in Buenos Aires province, Rachid came out as a lesbian as an adult—around the same time that she came of age as a political activist, having left her law studies at the University of Belgrano to focus on a new career as an activist for women's rights and sexual liberation.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba
  • Author: John Carey, Adriana La Rotta, Nancy Perez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century edited by Carlos de la Torre and Cynthia J. Arnson BY JOHN M. CAREY Legend has it that on his deathbed, Juan Domingo Perón, the former President of Argentina, uttered a curse condemning any would-be biographer to dedicate his or her career to defining populism. Or perhaps the curse was issued on the lost page of the late Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas' suicide note, or slipped in among the bills in an envelope passed surreptitiously by Alberto Fujimori to some Peruvian legislator, or whispered by the recently deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez into the ear of his successor, Nicolás Maduro. No matter. Whoever first uttered the curse, it worked: political scientists studying the region have wrestled and been obsessed with the concept for decades. We want to write about populism. Indeed, we need to write about it, because populism is among the most important and persistent phenomena in modern Latin American politics. But because the populist label has been applied to such a broad array of phenomena, we are condemned to define it before we can embark on any serious analysis. Academic exactitude being what it is, this leads first to extended consideration of what others have held populism to be, followed by a self-perpetuating and seemingly inescapable cycle of judgment, distinction and justification.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Colombia, Latin America, Central America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In most countries the process isn't always clear or direct. Who does it, how to do it and how long it can take varies from country to country—a reflection of the vagueness of ILO 169 and the uneven development of government regulations across the hemisphere. To compare, here are the steps you would need to take in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Peru
  • Author: Diana María Ocampo, Sebastian Agudelo
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In Colombia's 2010-2014 National Development Plan, President Juan Manuel Santos listed the mining sector as one of the five engines of the country's economic growth, alongside infrastructure, housing, agriculture, and innovation. At the same time, the government recognized the need for regulatory, legal and policy instruments to make Colombia a regional powerhouse for mining and infrastructure.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Carlos Andrés Baquero Díaz
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), or consulta previa, has expanded throughout South America. Nine states have ratified the International Labour Organization's Convention 169 (ILO169)—the principal treaty regarding consulta previa. But regulations created by four of those states—Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador—contradict the commitments they accepted when they ratified the treaty, in effect violating the right of Indigenous people to be consulted on administrative and legislative measures that could directly affect them.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Chile, Peru
  • Author: Diana Rodríguez-Franco
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On a hot Sunday morning in July 2013, the inhabitants of Piedras, a small municipality in the Colombian Andes, gathered to decide whether large-scale mining activities should be permitted in their territory.
  • Political Geography: South Africa, Colombia
  • Author: Francisco Miranda Hamburger
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On May 25, 32 million Colombians will vote in one of the most important presidential elections in the nation's recent history—an election that will turn on the issue that remains Colombia's greatest challenge: putting an end to the armed conflict.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Álvaro José Mejía Arias
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Since its formation in February 1971, the Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca (Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca—CRIC) has made the education of young Indigenous Colombians one of its most important goals.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Business Innovator: Lisa Besserman Lisa Besserman could be at home anywhere in the world; but last year, the Queens, New York, native put down roots in Argentina to launch Startup Buenos Aires, to motivate, support and connect startups across the globe. The 29-year-old tech entrepreneur, named one of the “100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter” by Business Insider Australia in May, says that her goal is to put Buenos Aires “on the map of global startup ecosystems.” Her clients seem to agree. A year after its launch, her organization—which helps local startups find employees and funding, and connects local tech talent to projects and employers—has attracted some 4,000 members, including foreign firms. Besserman is a successful example of a new class of global workers that could be called “tech nomads.” In November 2012, feeling constrained by corporate culture in New York City, Besserman left her job as director of operations at AirKast Inc., a mobile app development startup, and looked at a map to determine where she'd begin her next business venture. The only requirement: the city had to have a similar time zone to the East Coast to make doing business easier.
  • Political Geography: New York, Colombia, Cuba
  • Author: Jaana Remes, Patricia Ellen, Raúl Rodríguez-Barocio, Cynthia J. Arnson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Peace: Elections and Peace in Colombia BY CYNTHIA J. ARNSON Colombia's 2014 presidential elections marked a watershed in the country's politics. This was not because incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos won by nearly six percentage points, after having narrowly lost the first round to Óscar Iván Zuluaga, a hardliner backed by Santos's political nemesis, former president Álvaro Uribe. Rather, the campaign offered—as never before—starkly opposing visions of how to end Colombia's 50-year conflict with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC): through direct peace negotiations on a tightly constructed agenda, or through military action aimed at the FARC's defeat or surrender. Understanding how the elections became a referendum on the peace process—and on uribismo itself—requires looking less at the candidates themselves than at the alliance, and then bitter parting, of Santos and Uribe. Santos and Zuluaga served together in Uribe's cabinet, Santos as defense minister and Zuluaga as finance minister. Both had similar attitudes toward Colombia's economic opening and management, which led to record levels of foreign direct investment and growth rates well above the Latin American average.
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In most countries the process isn't always clear or direct. Who does it, how to do it and how long it can take varies from country to country—a refl ection of the vagueness of ILO 169 and the uneven development of government regulations across the hemisphere. To compare, here are the steps you would need to take in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Peru, Guatemala
  • Author: Sebastian Agudelo, Diana María Ocampo
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In Colombia's 2010–2014 National Development Plan, President Juan Manuel Santos listed the mining sector as one of the five engines of the country's economic growth, alongside infrastructure, housing, agriculture, and innovation. At the same time, the government recognized the need for regulatory, legal and policy instruments to make Colombia a regional powerhouse for mining and infrastructure.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Carlos Andrés Baquero Díaz
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), or consulta previa, has expanded throughout South America. Nine states have ratified the International Labour Organization's Convention 169 (ILO169)— the principal treaty regarding consulta previa. But regulations created by four of those states— Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador—contradict the commitments they accepted when they ratified the treaty, in effect violating the right of Indigenous people to be consulted on administrative and legislative measures that could directly affect them.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador
  • Author: Diana Rodríguez-Franco
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On a hot Sunday morning in July 2013, the inhabitants of Piedras, a small municipality in the Colombian Andes, gathered to decide whether large-scale mining activities should be permitted in their territory.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Francisco Miranda Hamburger
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On May 25, 32 million Colombians will vote in one of the most important presidential elections in the nation's recent history—an election that will turn on the issue that remains Colombia's greatest challenge: putting an end to the armed conflict.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Carlos Ignacio Rojas, Alejandro Vera
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The merger of the Colombian, Chilean and Peruvian stock exchanges is a milestone for hemisphere finance-and a sign of renewed economic confidence.
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Peru
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Peru's new Minister of Mines and Energy, Carlos Herrera, announced yesterday that authorities from the country's Comité de Operación Económica del Sistema—the national agency responsible for energy oversight—would begin rationing energy in Peru's major northern cities Trujillo and Cajamarca. Although the likely need for electricity rationing in 2011 was predicted last year by former Mines and Energy Minister Pedro Sánchez, the implementation of cuts highlights Peru's infrastructural shortcomings in the energy sector. According to the government statement, hydroelectric facilities in Peru's central regions produce sufficient energy to fulfill demand, but the country “does not have the capacity to transport sufficient electricity to the north.” Power will initially be cut only during nighttime hours in the affected areas and the government has voiced support for plans to import electricity from Ecuador, Colombia and Chile in the near future.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador
  • Author: Joel Hirst
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: What is ALBA and what does it do? A guide to President Chávez and Fidel Castro's regional project.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Caribbean, Venezuela, Ecuador
  • 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: Raul Rivera
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Most people have grown used to thinking about Latin America as a region of marginal global importance: painfully poor, violent, politically and economically unstable and, to top it all, fragmented into some 20-odd countries, each one different from the other. So when Jerry Wind, founding editor of Wharton School Publishing, invited me to speak on Latin America at a Wharton conference aimed at senior U.S. executives, I wondered what a group of U.S. businesspeople would be interested to hear about the region. Who, after all, would want to do business in a place like that? But how accurate are those perceptions? As I prepared for my talk, my conclusion was: not much. Let's address the four principal myths about the region one by one. Myth 1: Latin America Really Does not Matter Economically To start, the territory of continental Latin America is larger than the U.S. and China combined, four times larger than the European Union, and seven times larger than India—a country roughly the size of Argentina. With almost every ecosystem represented, it is in fact the world's most biodiverse region, containing five of the world's ten most biodiverse countries. The region's bio-capacity (the biological productivity of the land measured in hectares per capita) is also larger than any other's. Witness the region's role in the global food chain: it is the largest producer of soybeans, coffee, sugar, bananas, orange juice, a leading fishmeal producer, and a major grain and meat exporter. Its mineral riches keep world industry running: silver, gold, copper, zinc, lead, tin, bismuth, molybdenum, rhenium, telurium, borium, strontium—you name it. And it produces one out of every six barrels of oil. In fact, much of the global community depends on Latin America's vast riches for its prosperity—indeed, for its survival. To that point: the Amazon basin plays a crucial role in the recycling of atmospheric carbon, absorbing one fourth of all global emissions. Latin America's population, now approaching 600 million, is twice that of the U.S. and significantly larger than the combined population of the European Union. Those numbers do not include some 50 million U.S. permanent residents and citizens who trace their origins back to the region (and keep close ties with it). By 2050, the region's population will have risen to an estimated 800 million. Latin America is not poor either. It boasts a per-capita GDP similar to the global average: $10,000. It is no richer or poorer than the rest of the world. In fact, 400 million people, or two-thirds of all Latin Americans, already belong to the global middle class, with their purchasing power fueling much of Latin America's growth. With some 200 million people still living in poverty, Latin America's poor are still numerous. But their ranks are declining fast, at a rate of 5 million a year over the past decade. As a result, its Gini coefficient improved by 10 percent between 2002 and 2008. In brief: the world's poor are now elsewhere—mainly in Asia and Africa. A population this large combined with average income levels have turned Latin America into the fourth largest economy in the world, with a regional GDP of some $6 trillion (purchasing power parity). That is larger than that of Russia and India's combined—larger, in fact, than that of any country or region other than the U.S., the EU and China. Not bad for a “region of marginal importance.” You could argue that Latin America's fragmentation into small, separate markets makes all the difference. But you would be wrong. As a result of the free-market reforms of the past decades, Latin America's economy is now the most open to trade in the developing world, with average tariffs down to 10 percent or less. Intraregional trade is booming. Most significantly, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have signed bilateral free-trade agreements (with both the EU and the U.S., though Colombia's is waiting for the U.S. Congress' approval). These agreements are giving rise to a free-trade zone of some 200 million consumers, larger than Brazil and fully open to global trade. Surprisingly, it does not yet have a name—or a space among the BRICs. It will, though. Let's name these four countries the L-4 for now...
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, India, Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Chile, Peru
  • 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: 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: 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: Gabriel Ahumada decided to become a flutist more or less on a whim. As a child, he listened to classical music at home in Bogotá, Colombia, and took piano lessons, but if you had asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would have said “conductor of an orchestra.” He was advised to study a more classical instrument. Flipping through a catalogue of wind instruments one day, Ahumada picked the flute. “It seemed the easiest to learn,” he explains. Colombian classical music has been reaping the benefits of that decision ever since. Ahumada grew up to become not only one of his country's most accomplished flutists, but also a teacher helping to develop the next generation of Colombian musicians.
  • Political Geography: Colombia