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  • Author: Jose Luis Leon-Manriquez, Nnenna M. Ozobia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Central America is receiving more attention in the U.S. news media and from the U.S. government than at any time since the region's civil wars and domestic insurgencies three decades ago. Unfortunately, the attention is negative. The focus has shifted from the 1980s Cold War battles of President Ronald Reagan's administration to the violence associated with organized crime, drug cartels and street gangs (maras). In Drug Trafficking and the Law in Central America: Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation, Julie Marie Bunck and Michael Ross Fowler—professors of political science at the University of Louisville—provide those interested in Central America, the drug trade and U.S. foreign assistance in the region with an invaluable tool for understanding the causes and implications of drug trafficking through an analysis of what they term the “bridge countries” of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. The authors intentionally do not include Mexico, which they argue (correctly) involves a different dynamic both in terms of the strength or weakness of the state, and the nature of the drug trade.
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: China, Central America
  • Author: Juan C. Cappello, Noah Davis
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The series of scandals have not only tainted FIFA, but undermined trust in the game as well. BY NOAH DAVIS Does FIFA's corruption hurt the beautiful game? Yes FIFA, international soccer's governing body, is corrupt. The degree of corruption may be debatable, but its existence at the highest levels is not. Over the past three years, at least a dozen of the organization's 24 Executive Committee (ExCo) members have been accused of serious improprieties stemming from bribes, illegal ticket sales and other scandals. While Sepp Blatter, FIFA's president since 1998, has escaped punishment—so far, at least—many of his colleagues have fallen or resigned. The endemic corruption not only compromises the quality of play on the field, but reduces fan support of the sport and tarnishes the beauty of the beautiful game. For example, Jack Warner, the president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), resigned in 2011 after facing numerous corruption and bribery charges. In 2006, FIFA's Ethics Committee censured Warner after an audit revealed he made at least $1 million illegally selling World Cup tickets. Warner's deputy, CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer, earned the nickname “Mr. 10 Percent” for his rumored skimming on deals and was suspended for “fraudulent” behavior in 2013.
  • Topic: Corruption, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: South America, England
  • 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: Rubén Perina
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The OAS needs to strengthen its election observation missions.
  • Topic: Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America is a pioneer in gay rights, but popular attitudes lag behind.
  • Topic: United Nations, Law
  • Political Geography: Canada, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico