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  • Author: Victória Monteiro da Silva Santos
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: By tracing concepts such as truth, justice, reparations, and nonrepeats, as well as models such as the International Commission against Impunity, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, and the Truth Commission, the article discusses some of the ways in which a diversity actors sought to address and transform the complex patterns of organized violence that routinely impact various Latin American societies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Transitional Justice, Justice, Reconciliation , Truth, Reparations
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Susanna B. Hecht
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: The dramatic Amazon fires images of Au-gust 2019 triggered a geopolitical outcry. Brazilian President Bolsonaro, however, unflinchingly continues to support his destructive model of Amazonian development. This article recalls the extent of the disaster and delves into the reasons behind such disdain for environmental concerns.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Environment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Giovanna Kuele, Ariane Francisco
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: There is growing recognition at the UN and among member states that peacekeeping must be made more effective, especially in face of major budget cuts and wavering leadership by traditional actors. Against this backdrop, how can member states improve the quality of pre-deployment and mission preparation for UN peacekeeping? This policy brief focuses on one area in which innovation has become more urgent than ever: enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping through better training. More specifically, we analyze the emerging configurations, innovations, and challenges of international cooperation for peacekeeping training centers (PTCs), drawing on the case of Latin America.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Training, Peace
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Maria Elena Rodriguez, Gabriel de Barros Torres
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: With the purpose of contributing to expanding transnational investment flows, Brazil signed, in 2015, a series of Cooperation and Investment Facilitation Agreements (CIFAs) with African and Latin American countries. Among its provisions, the CIFAs feature distinctive characteristics in terms of direct (and indirect) expropriation, corporate social responsibility, dispute settlement mechanisms and national treatment clauses – ultimately, aiming to provide greater legal certainty for investors. However, civil society organizations have warned against the potential impact of this new model of investment agreements on the autonomy of states to establish regulations in the public interest. As such, this Quarterly Brief seeks to analyze similarities and differences between the new Brazilian CIFAs and traditional bilateral investment agreements – as well as to evaluate them in light of alternative frameworks, elaborated by civil society networks, aimed at balancing investment promotion with human and environmental rights protection.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, Regulation, Social Justice, Land Rights, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Marcelo López de Aragón
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The name Odebrecht has become irremediably tied to one of the largest corruption scandals in Latin American history. In the midst of the ongoing scandal is the man bearing the company’s name, one of Brazil’s richest men, Marcelo Odebrecht; a 48-year- old executive, who went from managing one of the world's largest construction firms to having several high-ranking government officials in Latin America look on nervously as the Brazilian construction tycoon confesses and provides details on an unparalleled and sophisticated bribery and bid-rigging scheme to Brazilian judicial authorities and to US courts.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Eric Miller
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: With a majority government and a different world view than his predecessor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is re-making Canada’s foreign policy priorities and approaches. This paper offers some suggested approaches for engagement with Latin America. In the area of trade, the paper recommends seeking associate membership in the Pacific Alliance while continuing to strengthen linkages with Mexico within the North American commercial policy framework. It also suggests exploring the scope of what is possible with countries with which Canada does not have free trade agreements, especially Brazil and Ecuador. On the security front, the paper suggests that Canada needs a strategy for the Colombian peace process and to step up support to Mexico in strengthening the integrity of the southern border of North America. With regards to foreign policy, Canada needs a serious strategy for the new Cuba and needs to expand its diplomatic representation, namely in Paraguay and Bolivia. Finally, on the institution-building front Canada needs to secure senior positions at the Inter-American Development Bank and Organization of American States in order to help to drive institutional reform. Canada further needs a coherent strategy to attract in-bound foreign investment from Latin America. The region is rich with possibilities and a coherent engagement strategy can deliver much.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America
  • Author: Julia Palmiano Federer, Rachel Gasser
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: In this policy brief, Julia Palmiano Federer and Rachel Gasser explore the nexus between international peace mediation and gender. The publication focuses on the state of play of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda almost two decades since the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000. The WPS Agenda has become a powerful and salient normative instrument in the mediation field and most comprehensively represents the nexus between gender and mediation. Since 2000, it has produced large scale efforts to address existing inequalities between women and men as agents for change in peacemaking activities. While these efforts are embraced by mediators per se, addressing these inequalities in practice has achieved mixed results and can be subject of debate between those doing mediation and those supporting mediation from a distance. This policy brief does not advocate for either a normative or pragmatic approach to integrating mediation and gender, but instead aims to illuminate key conceptual debates and practical realities in the ground in different peace processes around the world. It also illustrates the specific opportunities and challenges faced by national governments in implementing the WPS Agenda at the national policy level through National Action Plans. The policy brief concludes with suggested research agendas and questions for debate and discussion.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Gender Issues, Peace Studies, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: René Castro
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In 2014, world per capita greenhouse gas emissions, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent terms (CO2e), exceeded 7 tons. Per capita emissions for Latin America and the Caribbean were even higher, at 9 tons CO2e. To achieve international goals for the stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is calling for annual emissions to fall to 2 tons per capita by the year 2050 and 1 ton per capita by the year 2100. It is clear that we face a moral problem: everyone needs to, and can contribute to, the fight against climate change (Pope Francis, 2015). Improvements in eco-efficiency—defined as a combination of reducing waste and reducing the use of raw inputs—offer one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering production costs. In addition, changes in culture—at the level of individual businesses, countries, or both—can enhance the eco-competitive position of these businesses and countries. This paper describes three examples from Costa Rica and shows how the goal of achieving carbon neutrality can provide incentives for improving eco-efficiency and eco-competitiveness.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Industrial Policy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jose De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin America's recent economic performance has been disappointing. After a very strong recovery from the Great Recession, growth has slowed considerably, and prospects for 2015 are dim. Among the seven largest economies in the region, output is expected to contract in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela, and Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are projected to grow by only about 3 percent. The decline was not caused by external factors but was mostly cyclical in nature and a result of low productivity. Although monetary and fiscal policies may still have a role in supporting demand in some instances, the main problem in the region is not a lack of demand but low productivity growth. Efforts must be made to foster productivity. Institutional weakness must be addressed and inequality reduced if sustainable high growth is to resume.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Public lending by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) may have done more harm than good in Brazil, adversely affecting real interest rates and productivity growth. Specifically, BNDES's large amounts of subsidized lending are responsible for substantial credit market segmentation, choking off monetary policy transmission. As a result, to maintain price stability the Central Bank of Brazil is forced to raise interest rates more than it might do otherwise in the absence of BNDES lending. Restoring Brazil's capacity to grow in the medium term requires a thorough rethinking of the role of BNDES. In particular, the bank's lending rates should be aligned with market prices, term and risk premia, while taking into account that, with an adequate transparency framework, public development banks can increase private sector participation instead of crowding it out.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The second CIGI Graduate Fellows policy brief examines Brazil's success in ensuring access to essential pharmaceuticals for its citizens, and how this success can be leveraged for other developing countries in similar circumstances. Five unique factors underlie this success, including, among others, a sustained government commitment to public health systems and an indigenous capacity to produce pharmaceuticals domestically, the emergence of a civil society coalition built around the norm of health equity, and the international harmonization of quality assurance and clinical standards related to pharmaceutical research and development. While it is unlikely that other developing countries lacking indigenous manufacturing capacity can achieve similar results in the near to medium-term future, it is instead recommended that private foundations and large bilateral aid country providers invest in a global funding mechanism. This fund would use pre-existing, innovative financing mechanisms to scale up production in the handful of developing countries that have achieved near self-sufficiency in pharmaceutical production, for the benefit of populations beyond their borders.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Roberto Alvarez, José De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin American performance during the global financial crisis was unprecedented. Many developing and emerging countries successfully weathered the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Was it good luck? Was it good policies? In this paper we compare growth during the Asian and global financial crises and find that a looser monetary policy played an important role in mitigating crisis. We also find that higher private credit, more financial openness, less trade openness, and greater exchange rate intervention worsened economic performance. Our analysis of Latin American countries confirms that effective macroeconomic management was key to good economic performance. Finally, we present evidence from a sample of 31 emerging markets that high terms of trade had a positive impact on resilience.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: El Salvador will choose a new president in a runoff election on March 9. The nation's decision may prove critical to Salvadoran democracy and regional security, in light of substantial evidence linking the ruling party candidate to narcotraffickers, terrorist groups, and violent street gangs. Moreover, foreign interference in the form of billions of dollars in Venezuelan oil revenues has given the ruling party an advantage, despite the fact that its economic policies have increased poverty and stunted economic growth.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Greater investment in agriculture is needed to reduce rural poverty and improve food security. This means not simply increasing supply but ensuring that adequate, nutritious food is accessible to every person at all times. How investment is made, its context and conditions, is at least as important as how much is invested.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Itriago Déborah
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Despite economic growth and the reduction of both poverty and inequality that Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has experienced during the last decade, it still remains the most unequal region in the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Bianca Selway
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: With fifteen UN peacekeeping missions already in operation and another in the Central African Republic on the horizon, UN peacekeeping continues to be in high demand. Today, DPKO deploys more than 83,000 troops, 13,000 police, and 2,000 observers, contributed voluntarily by member states. A majority of these are provided by African and South Asian member states, which together provide 74 percent of the UN's uniformed personnel. Latin America has a longstanding history of participating in UN peacekeeping, stretching back more than fifty years to some of the earliest peacekeeping operations. At present, Latin America contributes almost 7 percent of all UN troops and nearly 2 percent of UN police. Two Latin American states occupy spots in the group of top twenty uniformed contributors: Uruguay with a total of 2,164 uniformed personnel and Brazil with 1,755. Latin American contributions are predominantly military contributions (as opposed to police) to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), with support to missions in sub-Saharan Africa amounting to less than 2 percent of the total uniformed deployments to the region.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, United Nations, Foreign Aid, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Brazil, United Nations, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Multinational enterprises (MNEs) multiplied their profits made in developing countries by four between 2002 and 2011 (at current prices). In Latin America and the Caribbean, they rose from US$20 billion in 2002 to US$113 billion in 2011. The growth rate has been even higher in Africa and China, but much lower in developed countries. This rise is explained by an increase in FDI stock in developing economies and the higher average profitability of MNEs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Latin America
  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: At the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) held in Oslo, Norway on October 2-3, 2013, the forum reviewed and subsequently released its second report on members' experiences in the application of the Santiago Principles for sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). The Santiago Principles were adopted by a group of countries with such funds in September 2008 in response to concerns about threats to political, economic, and financial security in countries receiving SWF investments. The objective was to promote the transparency and accountability of SWFs for the countries of origin as well as the countries in which the funds were investing.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Norway, Latin America, Santiago
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega, José Javier Lanza
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As stepped-up counternarcotics policies in Colombia and Mexico have increased pressure on regional drug trafficking networks, organized crime syndicates have relocated operations to Central America, where law enforcement agencies and institutions are ill-equipped to withstand the onslaught. These multibillion-dollar gangs are making common cause with some local politicians who are following a playbook honed by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. The result in Venezuela was the birth of a narcostate, and similar dramas are playing out in Central America. Like Chávez, caudillos are using the democratic process to seek power, weaken institutions, and undermine the rule of law—generating turmoil that accommodates narcotrafficking. Making matters worse for Honduras is that left-wing activists abroad, in support of ousted president and Chávez acolyte Manuel Zelaya, are waging a very public campaign of outlandish claims seeking to block any US assistance to help the Honduran government resist the drug cartels. It is imperative that US policymakers vigorously support democracy, the rule of law, and antidrug programs in Honduras.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Democratization, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: America, Latin America, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The lingering effects of the eurozone crisis have weakened the European project as a whole. As a result, stronger and more effective cooperation between enthusiastic EU countries such as Poland and Spain is very much needed. Besides cooperation within the EU in such fields as completing the single market and promoting a more holistic approach to the European Neighbourhood Policy, both countries should focus on improving their economic ties in bilateral relations and beyond. Through "smart" trade triangulation, Poland could open new markets in Eastern Europe for Spain, and Spain could reciprocate by doing the same for Poland in Latin America. This could help Poland make the economy more competitive and give Spain a lever for economic recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Felipe Gómez Isa
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: One of the key indicators to determine the degree of success of any given peace process is the stable participation in national politics of former members of armed groups in rebellion against the state. In the case of Colombia, the traditionally exclusive nature of its political system explains why both the enlargement of spaces for democratic participation and the political participation itself of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP) have become key issues to be discussed at the talks in Havana. It would be highly desirable for the obstacles and reticence evinced by specific political sectors to be overcome so that the current peace process can result in both the political participation of the demobilised members of the FARC-EP and greater democracy in Colombia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: For most of the twentieth century, the strategic importance of the North Atlantic outstripped that of the southern part of the ocean. However, the past decade has brought significant shifts in Atlantic dynamics, with regional and external actors developing new interests in the region. Brazil, in particular, has been working to reinforce its control and influence in the South Atlantic. To this end, over the last five years the Brazilian government has launched or intensified efforts meant to securitise the South Atlantic. This strategy combines unilateral initiatives – naval build-up, domestic military publicity efforts, and international legal moves – with a vastly expanded international defence cooperation programme that covers nearly the entire South Atlantic perimeter. This policy brief analyses key components of Brazil's strategy, situating them within the South Atlantic's changing ecology of actors and suggesting some of the potential tensions that may arise from Brazil's growing protagonism in the South Atlantic.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Patrick D. Duddy
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the coming months, Venezuela could experience significant political unrest and violence that lead to the further curtailment of democracy in the country. Presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 7, 2012. President Hugo Chavez is in the midst of a tough reelection campaign against Henrique Capriles Radonski—the young and energetic governor of the state of Miranda–– who enjoys multiparty support and appears to have a better chance of defeating the incumbent than earlier challengers.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Alex Evans, David Steven
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Recent months have seen increasing interest in the idea that Rio+20 could be the launch pad for a new set of 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs). But what would SDGs cover, what would a process to define and then implement them look like, and what would some of the key political challenges be? This short briefing sets out a short summary of current thinking the issue, followed by thoughts about the way forward.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Kathryn Hochstetler
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Brazil has always focused on development strategies, but it has recently shifted more attention, on balance, from thinking of its own development to offering assistance to other countries in their national efforts. Former President Lula da Silva has argued that Brazil's own experience with solving problems in inauspicious conditions makes it a particularly good partner for other developing countries (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada [IPEA] and Agência Brasileira de Cooperação [ABC], 2010: 7). Brazil self-consciously approaches its external development assistance from the perspective of a recipient, endorsing an egalitarian “solidarity diplomacy” that stresses holistic development in its partners. The ultimate aim is “sustainable growth,” which includes “social inclusion and respect for the environment” (IPEA and ABC, 2010: 32-33).
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Environment, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Todd Moss, Sarah Jane Staats, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The international financial institutions dramatically increased their lending in 2008–09 to help developing countries cope with the global financial crisis and support economic recovery. Today, these organizations are seeking billions of dollars in new funding. The IMF, which only a few years ago was losing clients and shedding staff, expanded by $750 billion in 2009. The World Bank and the four regional development banks for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America have asked to increase their capital base by 30 to 200 percent. A general capital increase (GCI) for these development banks is an unusual request. A simultaneous GCI request is a oncein- a-generation occurrence.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ethiopia
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Whitney Parker, Scott Worden, Shani Ross, Sahar Azar
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, war crimes tribunals and reparations programs have emerged as a fundamental building block of durable peace settlements in Latin America, Africa and Asia. They are relatively rare, however, in Muslim countries recovering from conflict-despite the fact that social and criminal justice is a fundamental principle of Islamic law.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Crime, Islam, War, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Arabia, Latin America
  • Author: Milburn Line
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Justice, University of San Diego
  • Abstract: It is time to reconsider U.S. policy in Colombia, including adding a peace agenda to our strategy. Following problematic and inconclusive results of more than a decade of support known as Plan Colombia, which is largely directed to the Colombian military, the Obama administration should retool U.S. policy. Adding support for a peace process offers specific policy benefits , including: protecting civilian populations by reducing violations of human rights and humanitarian law; strengthening democratic practice and creating consensus on a post-conflict Colombia; improving relations between Colombia and its neighbors; creating clearer policy channels for other U.S. priorities, including free trade and efforts to control the illicit narcotics trade; and renewing respect for American leadership in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Cold War, Armed Struggle, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Great Recession included five major surprises: (1) the severity of the global trade and output collapse, (2) the United States suffered a milder than expected recession, (3) Europe saw the onset of a severe sovereign debt crisis, (4) China grew at an extraordinary rate even though it's greatly dependent on exports, and (5) Latin America showed remarkable resilience.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Álvaro Uribe's eight-year military campaign against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has taken a heavy toll on Colombia's largest insurgent organisation. The government is now working to consolidate security gains by expanding state presence in several of the formerly most conflict-ridden regions. This strategy faces numerous challenges, not least because FARC's command and control structure has not collapsed. The insurgents are adapting to military pressure through guerrilla warfare tactics, aggressive recruitment among rural populations, broadened involvement in drug trafficking and alliances with other armed groups and drug trafficking organisations. Colombia's next president, Juan Manuel Santos, will take office on 7 August. As part of an integrated conflict resolution strategy, his government must increase the country's law enforcement and military capability against all illegal armed groups, including FARC. It also has to strengthen institutions, expand the rule of law, rigorously protect human rights, reduce poverty and design the political/negotiations component of a successful conflict resolution strategy. Security consolidation can only take root if Colombia tackles its pervasive problems of organised violence, criminality and illegality in an integrated manner.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Todd Moss, Sarah Jane Staats, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The international financial institutions dramatically increased their lending in 2008–09 to help developing countries cope with the global financial crisis and support economic recovery. Today, these organizations are seeking billions of dollars in new funding. The IMF, which only a few years ago was losing clients and shedding staff, expanded by $750 billion last year. The World Bank and the four regional development banks for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are asking to increase their capital base by 30 to 200 percent. A general capital increase (GCI) for these development banks is an unusual request. A simultaneous GCI request is a once-in-a-generation occurrence.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Christina Lin
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Starting in August, U.S. officials are visiting East Asia, Latin America, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to garner support for tightening Iran sanctions under UN Security Council Resolution 1929. Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department's special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, and Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for terrorist financing and financial crime, started with a trip to Japan and South Korea and are planning a trip to China in late August. On July 29, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing entitled "Implementation of Iran Sanctions" in which both Einhorn and Glaser expressed concern over China's compliance, with Einhorn emphasizing the "need for [China] not to 'backfill' when responsible countries have distanced themselves from Iran."
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Latin America, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the advent of Plan Colombia in 2000, U.S. policymakers have sought to help Colombian governments win their multiple wars against insurgents, drugs and terrorism. Conventional wisdom had suggested that pursuing these paths concurrently would lead to peace and security. Colombia today is farther from a peace settlement than it has been in years. With national elections scheduled for the first half of 2010 and presidential candidates yet to be defined, peace does not appear on the government's public policy agenda and it has yet to materialize as a campaign issue. Faith in a military victory appears deeply entrenched at a popular level. Illegal armed groups are retrenching and adapting to years of sustained military offensives and the increased capacity of Colombia's armed forces. While security indicators had largely improved, violence in major cities last year jumped sharply, and internal displacement has reached crisis proportions. Colombia's conflict is increasingly affecting the Andean neighborhood, sending hundreds of thousands of Colombians across the borders. Patterns of violence and intimidation are emerging as illegal armed groups increasingly settle into these border regions. Sporadic incursions and incidents at the border have ratcheted up rhetoric and sparked diplomatic standoffs and movement of troops. A recent bilateral military accord between Colombia and the United States has also exacerbated tensions in the hemisphere. Policymakers increasingly question whether staying the course in Colombia is in the U.S. best interests. Some are calling for an overhaul of U.S. policy. Peace and regional security are integral to the multitude of U.S. interests in Colombia, and they should no longer be subsumed to other strategic interests. It is time to seek peace as a priority. This approach should emphasize respect for human rights and the rule of law; support for truth, justice and reparations for the victims of armed conflict; and the facilitation of processes conducive to peace as a key policy objective.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Patricia Vasquez
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Private oil companies invested $800 million in Peru in 2009 alone, and another $1 billion is planned for investments in natural gas developments between 2010-20131, as Peru is rapidly on its way to becoming Latin America's first exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Energy Policy, Social Stratification, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The new Colombian administration that took office in early August faces a unique set of peacemaking challenges and opportunities related to the country's internal armed conflict. Following a spate of tensions with neighboring countries regarding the presence of illegal armed groups along Colombia's border areas, newly-inaugurated President Juan Manuel Santos moved quickly to create new mechanisms with his neighbors to ensure that contentious regional issues are addressed before they reach the boiling point. In a surprising video released just before the president-elect was inaugurated, the top leader of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces-People's Army (FARC-EP), called on Santos to enter a dialogue without preconditions, thereby opening a new window of opportunities to pursue peace. President Santos responded that “the door to dialogue is not locked,” insisting however that the guerrillas must lay down their weapons and meet a series of other pre-conditions before talks could occur. Former mediators differ over whether such preconditions will pose an obstacle to talks. In the final days of August, Brazil and Ecuador rejected a FARC-EP request for meeting with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to discuss a political solution to Colombia's conflict. UNASUR leaders said they would not engage in mediating the conflict in the absence of an express invitation from the Colombian government. The Colombian government has rejected UNASUR mediation and underscored its preference to negotiate directly with the FARC-EP once the latter meets the government's preconditions. Concrete good faith efforts—both public and private—will be required from the government and the guerrillas to build confidence, address the legacy of distrust created by decades of violence and set the stage for future talks.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The survivors of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile are still scrambling to deal with the damage. Here, however, pundits are still scrambling to explain the dramatic difference in impact. Haiti's quake on January 12 came in at 7.0 on the Richter scale, leveled the capital city, and left more than 200,000 dead. Chile's earthquake on February 27 registered a magnitude of 8.8, which means it was 500 times more powerful than the Haiti shock. But fewer than 1,000 Chileans died, and the damage to buildings was considerably less.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Khalid Koser
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Economic and financial crises have always impacted on international migration patterns, processes, and policies. The Great Depression (1929- 33) resulted in massive repatriations of Latin Americans from the United States and the introduction of highly restrictive immigration policies in a number of industrialized countries, including France and Canada. The Oil Crisis (1973) resulted in severe restrictions on labour migration, a concomitant growth in asylum applications and irregular migration in Europe, and the emergence of new flows of labour migration to emerging industrial centres in Asia and Latin America. As a result of the Asian financial crisis (1997-99) several South-East Asian countries introduced policies of national preference and sought to expel migrant workers. The Russian financial crisis (1998) accelerated rates of emigration from Russia, in particular of Russian Jews and the highly-skilled. The gravity of the Latin American financial crisis (1998- 2002) also resulted in a significant exodus, in particular from Argentina.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Alexandre de Gramont
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In his recent article, “Thinking twice about a gold rush: Pacific Rim v. El Salvador” (Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 23, May 24, 2010), Professor Gus Van Harten uses the PacRim v. El Salvador arbitration, pending at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), as the basis for asserting a number of criticisms against the overall system of arbitration under investment treaties.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Gus Van Harten
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Whether it concerns oil drilling or gold mining, sometimes a government, facing new circumstances, must change its mind.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Premila Nazareth Satyanand
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Hitherto, political risk has worried developed country multinational enterprises (MNEs) investing in developing country markets. But as more emerging market firms invest overseas, they too must grapple with this subject. World Investment and Political Risk 2009 looks at this issue for the first time and finds that Brazilian, Russian, Indian, and Chinese (BRIC) firms appear to worry more about political risk than global counterparts. Though these results are based on as mall sample of 90 of the largest BRIC investors, they are thought-provoking nonetheless.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Latin America
  • Author: Davin O'Regan
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The dollar value of cocaine trafficked through West Africa has risen rapidly and surpassed all other illicit commodities smuggled in the subregion. Experience from Latin America and the Caribbean demonstrates that cocaine traffic contributes to dra¬matically higher levels of violence and instability. Co-opting key government officials is the preferred modus operandi of Latin American cocaine traf¬fickers. African governments need to act urgently to protect the integrity of their counternarcotics institutions to prevent this threat from developing deeper roots on the continent.
  • Topic: Crime, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Paul Teng, Margarita Escaler
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Over the last four decades, Brazil has transformed its agricultural sector to become the first tropical agricultural giant and the first to challenge the dominance of the world's major food exporters. This paper examines the secrets of Brazil's success and ponders whether Asia should try to emulate the Brazilian model to help achieve food security for its people and contribute to an increased level of selfsufficiency in the region.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Vesselin Popovski, Johanna Stratton, Kalle Huebner
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A society emerging from war or authoritarianism seeks to reckon with past human rights atrocities that, if not addressed, can threaten the state's legitimacy and democratic foundations. It is in the interests of sustainable peacebuilding and democratic consolidation to promote reconciliation and healing, and foster human rights and the rule of law. In order to achieve such a transformation over the long term, the organizational strategies, political styles and mechanisms used to consolidate democracy are of critical importance and deserve closer comparative analysis with the aim to provide valuable lessons for newly democratizing societies.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Over seven years, the government of President Álvaro Uribe has produced important security gains, but these have been accompanied by serious human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL). Colombia is still not close to the end of its armed conflict. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), paramilitary successors and new illegal armed groups (NIAGs) – all responsible for multiple atrocities against civilians – can survive with drug financing and, to a degree, due to the state's inability to extend its legitimate presence into many rural areas. To move toward lasting peace, the Uribe administration must not only maintain its security achievements but also urgently improve its security policy by addressing serious human rights issues and expanding the rule of law and national reach of the state's civilian institutions. Holding to account senior military involved in extrajudicial killings is a first step but insufficient to curb abuses. International cooperation should focus on supporting the fight to end impunity and protect basic rights.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Hugo Chávez's victory in the 15 February 2009 referendum, permitting indefinite re-election of all elected officials, marked an acceleration of his “Bolivarian revolution” and “socialism of the 21st century”. Chávez has since moved further away from the 1999 constitution, and his government has progressively abandoned core liberal democracy principles guaranteed under the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The executive has increased its power and provoked unrest internally by further politicising the armed forces and the oil sector, as well as exercising mounting influence over the electoral authorities, the legislative organs, the judiciary and other state entities. At the same time, Chávez's attempts to play a political role in other states in the region are producing discomfort abroad. The September 2010 legislative elections promise to further polarise an already seriously divided country, while unresolved social and mounting economic problems generate tensions that exacerbate the risk of political violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Before the global economic crisis began in 2008, all countries in Latin America, long known as the world's most economically and financially volatile region, had experienced five consecutive years of economic growth, a feat that had not been achieved since the 1970s. Yet despite this growth, Latin America's incomeper-capita gap relative to high-income countries and other emerging-market economies widened, and poverty remained stubbornly high. Latin America, in short, suffered from growing pains even when things were going reasonably well.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru
  • Author: Nauja Kleist
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Diaspora and migrant associations are often praised as new 'agents of change' for their contributions to development in their countries of origin. While much is known about Latin American hometown associations, there has been less focus on African diaspora associations. This DIIS Brief examines Somali and Ghanaian migrant associations in Denmark and their involvement in development. It shows how associations involve themselves on the basis of particular loyalties and emphasizes the importance of local partners and collaboration.
  • Topic: Migration, Poverty, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Latin America
  • Author: Helle Munk Ravnborg
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: La imagen común de un área protegida es un bosque denso, no intervenido, con una alta diversidad de plantas y animales, y donde el objetivo de la protección es proteger la naturaleza de la (posible) intervención de los seres humanos. Sin embargo, en la realidad las áreas protegidas representan situaciones muy lejanas de esta imagen. A nivel mundial, 12 por ciento de la superficie está declarada área protegida (lista de áreas protegidas de la ONU – 2003), mientras que en Nicaragua este porcentaje llega a 22 por ciento (WRI, 2003). Como observan Haller y Galvin (2008), las 'áreas protegidas' son de hecho la mayor categoría de uso de suelo a nivel mundial. También los objetivos de la protección varían mucho de la imagen común. En la mayoría de las áreas protegidas vive gente, tanto en el mundo como en Nicaragua, y muchas veces el objetivo de la protección es proteger ecosistemas y paisajes que a lo largo del tiempo han sido producidos a través de una interacción específica entre la naturaleza y el ser humano y que prestan valores importantes estéticos, ecológicos y culturales, y que a menudo albergan una rica diversidad biológica (UICN y PNUMA, 2006).
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Steve Jennings, John Magrath
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The timing of rain, and intra-seasonal rainfall patterns are critical to smallholder farmers in developing countries. Seasonality influences farmers' decisions about when to cultivate and sow and harvest. It ultimately contributes to the success or failure of their crops. Worryingly, therefore, farmers are reporting that both the timing of rainy seasons and the pattern of rains within seasons are changing. These perceptions of change are striking in that they are geographically widespread and because the changes are described in remarkably consistent terms. In this paper, we relate the perceptions of farmers from several regions(East Asia, South Asia, Southern and East Africa, and Latin America) of how seasons are changing, and in some cases, how once distinct seasons appear to be disappearing altogether, and the impacts that these changes are having. We then go on to ask two critical questions. Firstly, do meteorological observations support farmers' perceptions of changing seasonality? Secondly, to what extent are these changes consistent with predictions from climate models? We conclude that changing seasonality may be one of the major impacts of climate change faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries over the next few decades. Indeed, this may already be the case. Yet it is relatively unexplored in the literature. We also suggest some of the key adaptation responses that might help farmers cope with these changes.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Bolivia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for six basic reasons: It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and suffers from one of the worst patterns of inequality. Low-income groups in developing countries are the most exposed to climate change impacts. It is the country in South America with the highest percentage of indigenous people, where much of the poverty and inequality is concentrated. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, with a wide variety of ecosystems that are vulnerable to different impacts from climate change. More than half of the country is Amazonian, with high levels of deforestation which adds to the vulnerability to flooding. Located in a climatically volatile region, it is one of the countries in the world most affected by 'natural' disasters in recent years. It is home to about twenty per cent of the world's tropical glaciers, which are retreating more quickly than predicted by many experts.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Bolivia, Amazon Basin
  • Author: Andrew F. Cooper, Timothy M. Shaw
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Each Summit of the Americas forum has been accorded a single imprint. The 1994 Miami summit is remembered as the “Trade Summit,” the 1998 Santiago summit as the “Education Summit,” the 2001 Quebec City Summit as the “Democratic Summit,” and the 2005 Mar del Plata in Argentina—although officially focused on the themes of “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance”—is best remembered as the “Summit of Disorder.” The Fifth Summit of the Americas, April 17 – 19, 2009, presents an opportunity to identify the event with a regional sub-set of the Americas: the Caribbean. The host country, Trinidad and Tobago, is the first Caribbean country to host the event and, with a population of only 1.3 million, is the smallest state ever to host “such a logistically complicated and politically sensitive gathering” (Erikson, 2009: 179). Relegated to a marginal position in the first four summits, the Caribbean now moves to centre stage in 2009.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America, Caribbean, Miami, Santiago, Quebec City, Mar del Plata, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Author: Luís Afonso Lima, Octavio de Barros
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The internationalization of Brazilian companies is a relatively recent phenomenon. From 2000 to 2003, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) averaged USD 0.7 billion a year. Over the four-year period 2004−2008, this average jumped to nearly USD 14 billion. In 2008, when global FDI inflows were estimated to have fallen by 15%, OFDI from Brazil almost tripled, increasing from just over USD 7 billion in 2007 to nearly USD 21 billion in 2008 (annex figure 1 below). Central Bank data put the current stock of Brazilian OFDI at USD 104 billion, an increase of 89% over 2003. Caution is in order about these figures, however, as in Brazilian outflows it is difficult to separate authentic FDI from purely financial investment under the guise of FDI. According to the most recent data, 887 Brazilian companies have invested abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Mortimore, Carlos Razo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite the global crisis, outward FDI by Latin American firms grew by more than 40% in 2008. The picture for 2009 is less clear, due to the expected regional GDP contraction, falling commodity prices, and tightening credit markets. Nonetheless, the authors argue that many countervailing factors make Latin American investment more resilient in the crisis than other regions may be.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Michael Mortimore, Carlos Razo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite the global crisis, outward FDI by Latin American firms grew by more than 40% in 2008. The picture for 2009 is less clear, due to the expected regional GDP contraction, falling commodity prices, and tightening credit markets. Nonetheless, the authors argue that many countervailing factors make Latin American investment more resilient in the crisis than other regions may be.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Lorenzo Cotula
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Over the past 12 months, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines in a flurry of media reports across the world. Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Vesselin Popovski, Nicholas Turner, Thomas Karl Wagner, Greg Lowden
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the context, development and future of the human rights regime in the Americas —a region where people in many states have suffered brutal repression on a massive scale. It argues that the changing nature of human rights violations in Latin America demands a refocusing of international and domestic policies, building state capacity and improving the implementation of judicial reforms. The significant progress achieved in protection of civil and political rights should inspire and guide strategies to promote economic, social and cultural rights.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Evo Morales's efforts to consolidate sweeping reforms on the basis of a controversial new constitution have steered Bolivia into a cul-de-sac. On 8 December 2007, his supporters in the Constituent Assembly (CA) provisionally passed the text by running roughshod over procedures and virtually excluding opposition delegates. Weak attempts to bridge the deepening divide have failed, increasing potential for a violent confrontation both sides still seem to wish to avoid. Openly defying Morales in May 2008, however, Santa Cruz massively approved the department's autonomy statutes by referendum. Two other eastern lowland departments followed suit, with the fourth expected to do so on 22 June. Morales is pushing for final adoption of the constitution by referendum and a popular vote of confidence. The Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU) and several European countries, and the Group of Friends (Argentina, Brazil and Colombia) should provide good offices to help the government and opposition reach urgent agreement on a revised constitution that can keep the country together.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Ted Brennan, Robert "Bobby" Charles, Henry Cuellar, Roberta Jacobson, Armand Peschard-Sverdrup
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Drug abuse and related crime claim nearly thirty-five thousand American lives and sap $180 billion from our economy every year.1 Although the United States is understandably preoccupied with the threat of Islamic terrorism, it must never let down its guard against the well-financed, bloodthirsty, illicit drug cartels that exact a staggering price on our well-being and economy. President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget proposes to spend well over $14 billion for federal programs to suppress demand and attack supply. Because most cocaine and heroin find their way to the U.S. market through Mexico, it is essential that Mexican authorities confront the illegal drug syndicates whose cross-border crime threatens both countries. The Mérida Initiative—named for the Yucatan city where Bush, then-president of Guatemala Óscar Berger, and Mexican president Felipe Calderón met in March 2007—proposes to make a $1.4 billion multiyear U.S. contribution to support Mexican law enforcement and judicial reforms in their antidrug efforts. The challenges are formidable: Mexico's relatively weak judicial institutions are hard-pressed to take on these well-heeled gangsters on their own, and both sides are protective of their national sovereignty. Nevertheless, both countries have signaled their commitment to this cause: at a February 7, 2008, hearing, the Drug Enforcement Agency's chief of intelligence, Anthony Placido, praised the tangible measures being taken and sacrifices being made by Mexico today and urged skeptical U.S. lawmakers to seize the opportunity to cooperate with Mexican allies against a common foe. Despite heavy media focus on the counternarcotics elements of the initiative, when the specifics of the initiative are examined, it is clear that its aim is to strengthen Mexico's security institutions, enabling them to deal with the threat nonstate actors—be they terrorists, organized crime, criminal gangs, or domestic radical groups—pose to the country's security.
  • Topic: Crime, War on Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: One step ahead of the devil himself, Fidel Castro is proposing to pass the baton to his revolutionary partner and younger brother, Raúl. With characteristic audacity, the old dictator is hoping that he can bamboozle a gullible international community into recognizing such a succession as a fait accompli. Of course, there is no reason that the successor regime will be able to consummate this arrangement as long as the rest of the world gives the welfare of the Cuban people a second thought. Fidel's disintegration makes way for an extraordinarily expectant time in Cuba's history. Men and women of good will on the island may yet snatch their future from a decrepit and discredited regime, and outsiders' only role should be to help them in every way possible. We should bear in mind at this critical hour that one false move—by the United States, in particular—could confer legitimacy on a “new” Cuban dictator and consign 11 million Cubans to prolonged desperation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Communism
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Megan Davy
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) economies, usually susceptible to international financial turmoil, are especially vulnerable to even minor tremors in U.S. markets. Regional policymakers and entrepreneurs, therefore, have been closely watching the current U.S. subprime credit crisis. Here is the good news: all signs point to relatively minor symptoms in LAC countries—despite a rocky financial history during the 1980s and 1990s—thanks in large part to reforms undertaken in response to previous financial crises, as well as continued high commodity prices that will likely buoy export markets. Although the economic downturn in the United States and other global markets will likely expose lingering weaknesses in the region's economy, this latest crisis can provide an impetus to complete the unfinished business of building more modern, resilient economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: If Time magazine had wanted to recognize a true democrat and reformer as the 2007 Person of the Year, they would have chosen Brazil's president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva over Russia's Vladimir Putin. Working within Brazil's free, pluralistic democratic system, Lula has focused on economic growth and social justice, getting tangible results with his new anti-hunger and poverty programs. Unlike Putin, Lula is also strengthening key institutions and the rule of law.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Raj M. Desai
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: With Raúl Castro's selection as president of Cuba, the post-Fidel era has begun. Raúl has affirmed that the country will remain on the Socialist path. But during his tenure he is likely to face growing pressures to reform to the Cuban economy.
  • Topic: Markets
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Virginia M. Bouvier
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing discusses the condition of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), their hostages and the potential direction of this situation. The briefing stresses insights that key figures in the issue raised in recent visits to Washington, DC.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Irresponsible arms transfers are undermining many developing countries' chances of achieving their Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. This paper shows new evidence of how this is happening in parts of Asia, Latin America, and Africa - either by draining governments' resources or by fuelling armed violence or conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: In sharp contrast to many emergers, Brazil was still growing very robustly in Q3. But the intensification of the global crisis, and its numerous repercussions – many of which were unforeseen – since September has been so great that it has stopped the economy in its tracks. The clearest sign of this is that annual import growth, which had been growing at close to 60% mid-year, dropped to only 9.2% in November. This is an indication of the extent to which previously soaring domestic demand growth, particularly investment, has slowed. Export volumes were already weakening in Q3 and the major deterioration in the global background since then is expected to lead to exports falling by nearly 3% in 2009 as a whole. This, together with the much lower commodity prices than firms will have budgeted for and the global fall in business confidence, will cause investment to shrink in 2009 after 15% growth in 2008. Consumer spending growth is also forecast to slow significantly but should at least stay positive, helped by an expected moderation in inflation. Meanwhile, given its healthy fiscal position, the government is likely to step up its spending. Overall, GDP growth is now forecast to slow to 1.3% in 2009. Although scope for the central bank to cut interest rates remains constrained by the weak BRL and 6%+ inflation, the rapid pace of the slowdown in both Brazil and the rest of the world may lead to a substantial reduction in underlying inflation pressures. This could pave the way for interest rate cuts to start in early-2009.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Roger F. Noriega
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean always seems to inspire criticism: Too much, too little, too late. Back off. Get in the game. Don't just stand there, do something. Don't do something, just stand there. Our geographic closeness has meant a rich, natural partnership, but this proximity easily stirs concerns over sovereignty. When the United States is preoccupied with events in other parts of the world, regional pundits accuse Washington of indifference. If we speak clearly on the issues in Latin America, we are excoriated for poking our nose “where it doesn't belong.” So where does this leave U.S. foreign policy in the region? It could be that what we do may not be as important as how we do it. The first step in developing a new paradigm for engaging the Americas is using the 2008 election cycle here at home to develop a serious domestic constituency for our policy. Then we should shape that policy through a conscientious dialogue with stakeholders in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Roger Noriega
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Most of the fiercest opponents of the comprehensive immigration reform legislation saw no higher priority than securing our borders. With that divisive bill shelved for the foreseeable future, controlling our frontiers remains an urgent challenge. As we focus our attention on that task, many will be surprised to discover that our neighbor to the south is in the fight of its life. Unless we provide Mexico with the substantial help it needs and wants to battle the deadly drug syndicates that terrorize that nation, we may soon find our southern border more porous, dangerous, and unmanageable than ever.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, War on Drugs
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Roger Noriega
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean always seems to inspire criticism: Too much, too little, too late. Back off. Get in the game. Don't just stand there, do something. Don't do something, just stand there. Our geographic closeness has meant a rich, natural partnership, but this proximity easily stirs concerns over sovereignty. When the United States is preoccupied with events in other parts of the world, regional pundits accuse Washington of indifference. If we speak clearly on the issues in Latin America, we are excoriated for poking our nose “where it doesn't belong.” So where does this leave U.S. foreign policy in the region? It could be that what we do may not be as important as how we do it. The first step in developing a new paradigm for engaging the Americas is using the 2008 election cycle here at home to develop a serious domestic constituency for our policy. Then we should shape that policy through a conscientious dialogue with stakeholders in the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Moscow, Latin America
  • Author: Roger Noriega
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Not long ago, the governments of the Americas recognized the value of working together to consolidate the historic, promising trend toward democracy. Now, with democracy being dismantled in several nations and being assailed by authoritarian Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez Frías, Latin American countries seem to have abandoned the fraternal ideal of inter-American solidarity. The United States and the Organization of American States (OAS) can both do more to salvage the regional commitment to democracy, but unless Latin American and Caribbean governments are willing to stand together to defend their principles, the end of democratic solidarity is in sight.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Latin America, Caribbean, Venezuela
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since its financial crisis six years ago, Argentina has faded somewhat from the headlines. This is no doubt due in large part to the disproportionate space our media outlets now devote to Iraq and Iran, but also to the fact that other Latin American news stories—particularly Fidel Castro's surgery and the antics of Venezuela's clownish president Hugo Chávez—have dominated coverage of the area. Argentina is not, however, a negligent regional actor.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Argentina, South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The recent passing of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the events surrounding his last illness, death, and burial remind us that we are living through the last moments of a Latin American drama which began nearly a half-century ago with the Cuban Revolution. The only thing lacking to bring the curtain down once and for all is the disappearance of Fidel Castro, who began the whole business. Though no one knows precisely when that eventuality will occur, the Cuban strongman's unprecedented decision last July to transfer effective power to his younger brother Raúl and his failure to reappear publicly after abdominal surgery after nearly six months suggest it cannot be far off.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: South America, Cuba, Latin America
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As international pressure on the Iranian government toughens, the Iranian regime is facing more fragmentation at home. In an unprecedented action against a sitting president, 150 of the 290 members of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) signed a letter blaming President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad for raging inflation and high unemployment, and criticizing his travel to Latin America at a time when he has not sent the Majlis a draft budget for the fiscal year that starts March 21. Under Iranian law, this letter constitutes the first step required if the Majlis wants to remove the president from office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The U.S. government has sought to advance democratic and free-market change in Cuba for 47 years. Those efforts have failed. Indeed, the transfer of power from Fidel Castro has produced little change in Cuba's politics and took place with no manifestations of broad popular demands for an end to one-party Communist rule. Instead, the Cuban people appear to be resigned to peaceful and gradual change on the island. Most observers judge that any transition to democracy, rule of law, and capitalism is years away.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Adam Lerrick
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: World Bank money is building schools in China's impoverished western provinces, but the bill for interest charges is being mailed to the United Kingdom, attention Chancellor of Exchequer Gordon Brown. Mexico, Chile, and Brazil will soon be lining up for the same deal. This is but the latest scheme designed to preserve the World Bank's lending role at a time when the need and demand for its services are falling. Major middle-income countries, the cream of the bank's lending portfolio and where more than 80 percent of Latin Americans live, are curbing their borrowing and paying down their balances, setting off alarms at the bank. Net loan flows have shifted from a positive $10 billion in 1999–2001, to a negative $15 billion in 2002–2004.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Third World
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Brazil, Latin America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Raúl Zibechi
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Although every Latin American government pays lip service to integration, taking the concrete steps needed to attain it is much more difficult than simply issuing declarations. In the wake of the collapse of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), Latin America faces the dilemma of remaining divided and at the mercy of the interests of the great powers, or setting out on the road to continental unity. Even if the forces in favor of integration prevail, the type of integration to be constructed remains to be defined.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Laura Carlsen
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The stage was set for a showdown. When the Bush cabinet announced intentions to revive the moribund Free Trade Area of the Americas at the Fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, the countries of the Southern Common Market closed ranks to prevent it. What followed was a diplomatic melee that reflects not so much divisions within Latin America, as a growing resistance to the current free trade model throughout the developing world.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Conn Hallinan
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: It would be easy to make fun of President Bush's recent fiasco at the 4th Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina. His grand plan for a free trade zone reaching from the Artic Circle to Tierra del Fuego was soundly rejected by nations fed up with the economic and social chaos wrought by neoliberalism. At a press conference, South American journalists asked him rude questions about Karl Rove. And the President ended the whole debacle by uttering what may be the most trenchant observation the man has ever made on Latin America: "Wow! Brazil is big!"
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Nadia Martinez
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: After 17 years at the helm of Latin America's largest source of development financing, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is stepping down. Enrique Iglesias is slated to pass the reins to his successor in September. Like the recent fight over the leadership position at the Organization of American States, this contest promises to be a long and arduous process of political negotiation. As the United States attempts to maintain its traditionally hegemonic role in Latin America, Brazil is more boldly gaining some of that ground. And with annual lending to Latin American countries surpassing $8 billion annually, the IDB has significant influence over the region's economies.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Laura Carlsen
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The May 2 victory of Chilean Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza as secretary general of the Organization of American States ends one phase of a drama that is only beginning. The showdown over the leadership of the OAS began when Costa Rica's former president Miguel Angel Rodríguez resigned in October 2004 due to corruption charges in his home country. Rodríguez was elected by consensus and had served only three weeks of his five–year term when forced to leave.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: After a decade of rapid economic growth, the Dominican Republic entered a downward spiral in 2003. The economy shrank for the first time since 1990, the inflation rate quadrupled, the Dominican peso collapsed, government debt more than doubled, interest rates soared, and the central bank incurred large losses.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Jacob Steinfeld
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (FDI) HAS TRANSFORMED MEXICO'S BANKING SYSTEM during the past decade, making it the second largest in Latin America with $165 billion in commercial assets in 2003. In the past four years, Mexico received $25.3 billion of FDI into its financial sector. This composes nearly 40 percent of total FDI inflows into the country. As a result of FDI flowing into the country's financial sector, the Mexican banking system has the highest ratio of foreign ownership in Latin America.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Simon Johnson, Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Institutions such as strong property rights and the rule of law are important for both long-run economic performance and short-run volatility. Developing good institutions is generally viewed as a desirable goal, but there is no agreed road map for such changes.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Eastern Europe, East Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: This series began more than a dozen years ago with an essay titled "U.S.-Latin American Relations: Where Are We Now?" Since this is the last issue of Latin American Outlook, it seems worthwhile to pose the question again.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The March presidential election in El Salvador, in which the conservative ARENA (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) Party won its fourth consecutive victory in fifteen years, invites serious consideration and analysis. At a time when many governments in Latin America are being voted out of office by anti-establishment (and sometimes, anti-party) candidates, and attacks on "neo-liberalism" and globalization are increasingly the order of the day, El Salvador seems to be swimming strongly against the tide. What lies behind this anomaly?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America, El Salvador
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The collapse of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government in Haiti and his unseemly flight out of the country may have come as a surprise to Americans and others who were not watching closely. It could not have been unexpected by those who were. Haitian history tends to repeat itself, and after a long detour, the circle closed once again. Even the sudden occupation of the country by a multinational force headed by the U.S. Marines is not without precedent. The big question is whether this time the cycle of failure will be broken.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Anyone who follows the Latin American news—even out of the corner of one eye—must be aware of the fact that Colombia, one of South America's largest and most strategically and economically important nations, has been bogged down for more than a decade in a seemingly intractable civil conflict. The term "civil war" is a misnomer in this case, to the extent that it suggests that roughly equal forces are confronting one another. The Colombian case is less dramatic than this but far more complex. On one hand there is the Colombian state and most ordinary citizens—some 40 million of them; on the other, two guerrilla groups, the most important of which, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), can count on roughly 17,000 armed militants. The failure of the Colombian state to provide basic security from the guerrillas, particularly in rural areas, led during the last two decades to the more or less spontaneous creation of the so-called Autonomous Defense Forces—paramilitary forces, or "paras," for short—whose ranks today number 13,000. While the FARC and other self-styled guerrilla formations claim to be fighting for a Marxist revolutionary project, their ideology is largely decorative. In fact they are thugs for whom violence is a way of life and has been for many years. They specialize in kidnappings and murders. The FARC alone has kidnapped more than a thousand people—politicians (including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt), soldiers, and police, presumably to win release of about five hundred militants captured by government forces. What makes the FARC an enduring phenomenon is not that it enjoys much popular support, but that, because it engages in drug trafficking on a monumental scale, it is perhaps the most economically self-sufficient insurgency in the history of Latin America.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Probably more than any other Latin American country, the Argentine Republic is susceptible to abrupt changes of spirit and mood. Ten years ago it was apparently hurling itself, pell-mell, into the twenty-first century as South America's great example of economic liberalization and diplomatic alignment with the United States. Today both notions are distinctly out of fashion there, and no wonder—the advantages of both were drastically oversold to the public by the administration of President Carlos Menem (1989-1999). At the end of 2000 the economy virtually collapsed; for a time it appeared as if the country might actually dissolve as a coherent political community. Thanks to the strong hand of Senator Eduardo Duhalde, who took over at the end of 2000 from Fernando de la Rúa, Menem's successor, civic order was restored, though the last three years have been the worst in Argentina's modern history, more dismal even than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Claude Barfield
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush offer distinct visions of how free trade would operate for the next four years. Senator Kerry has staked out a more unilateralist position with promises to review all trade agreements to strengthen labor and environmental sanctions, while President Bush reinstated trade promotion authority and expanded free trade agreements. The next president will face challenges regarding the WTO Doha Round and markets in Latin America and Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Craig Fagan
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Wilson Center
  • Abstract: Urban issues and poverty in Latin America are an integral part of any policy debate on the region. With nearly 90% of its diverse population and 50% of its poor residing in cities, effective and efficient solutions to the problems of poverty are imperative to respond to the increasing demographic and economic pressures placed on Latin America's limited social resources.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: John Lindsay-Poland
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The United States maintains a complex web of military facilities and functions in Latin America and the Caribbean, what the U.S. Southern Command (known as SouthCom) calls its "theater architecture." U.S. military facilities represent tangible commitments to an ineffective supply-side drug war and to underlying policy priorities, including ensuring access to strategic resources, especially oil.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: George W. Grayson
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Mexico's southern flank constitutes a porous, crime-ridden third border of the United States. The problem is that both President Vicente Fox and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge concentrate on the U.S.-Mexican frontier, while neglecting the Mexican-Guatemalan interface that provides an open sesame for narcotraffickers, illegal aliens, prostitutes, smugglers, and terrorists.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Andre Belelieu
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On December 12, 2001, Canada and the United States signed the Smart Border Declaration, which gave birth to the 30-point Smart Border Action Plan. This bilateral agreement instantly became the de facto framework for ensuring the world's longest undefended border remained secure, while facilitating the flow of people, goods, and services, and was a key component in the larger homeland security goal of creating a zone of confidence against terrorist activity, while causing minimal damage to the world's largest trading relationship. Two years later, the Canadian and U.S. governments can point to progress on all 30 points contained in the Action Plan. Through cooperation and an understanding that a smart border works in the interest of both countries, Canada and the United States can claim to be closer than ever to ensuring that the Canada-U.S. border remains “open to trade and closed to terrorists.”
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Sidney Weintraub
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Some significant outcomes in Mexico during the past quarter century are worth reviewing. There has been practically no growth in real per capita income since 1980. Until the presidential transition from Ernesto Zedillo to Vicente Fox, there were financial collapses either ending, starting, or during every other sexenio (six-year term) over this period. Perhaps these monotonic curses are a thing of the past, but no Mexican would “bet the farm” on this. These financial collapses were generally accompanied by economic downturns, spectacularly so in 1982 and 1994. Mexicans who came of age over the past 25 years—those now about 40 to 50—have known nothing other than repetitive currency depreciations and lack of sustained growth, and these expectations surely have been programmed indelibly into their psyches. A Mexican would have to be unthinking not to be pessimistic about the future based on recent economic management of the country, its currency, and its financial solidity.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Struggle over the Referendum On September 25, the new National Electoral Commission (CNE) issued the regulations that will govern referenda for the recall of elected officials. These long-awaited norms will make it possible for a popular vote to be held on President Chávez's stewardship in office by early March (157 days from the time the opposition submits a request to the commission, as it now has done). The commission's decision—not really welcomed by the president—changes Venezuela's political landscape. Although the outcome of the campaign for a referendum remains in doubt, this action gives encouragement to the alliance of the opposition parties seeking the president's removal. Chávez will now have to consider how to adjust his own strategy to deal with this new situation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Diaz
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the invitation of the White House, Argentina's newly elected president, Nestor Kirchner, will be paying a visit to President George W. Bush this Wednesday, July 23. This is the latest and most notable signal from Washington of an interest in engaging and working with the new government in Buenos Aires. The hope in Foggy Bottom is that this outreach can translate into the kind of constructive and comprehensive relationship that President Bush has established with Brazil's new president, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Kirchner's regional partner. Whether Kirchner has the savvy to exploit the gesture to set a tone for the bilateral relationship and establish the general parameters of a mutually rewarding policy agenda will be evident soon enough.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-two years after the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT) was established, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva—one of the PT's founders—became Brazil's president. His election on October 27, 2002, marked the first time a candidate with a limited formal education, a background of poverty and disadvantage, and a fully elaborated leftist agenda had been elected to Brazil's highest office.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Armand Peschard-Sverdrup
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On July 6, 2003, as many as 64.7 million registered voters will be heading to the polls to cast their votes for all 500 seats in the lower house of the Mexican Congress—the Chamber of Deputies. Of all 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, 300 are elected via direct representation (mayoria relativa) and 200 via proportional representation (representacion proporcional).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America