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  • Author: Cedric Herring
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: For many people, gender diversity is important because it removes barriers that have historically prevented women from taking their rightful places in the corridors of power. But there's also a specific business case to be made: including more women in the corporate setting will help meet customers' needs, enrich understanding of the pulse of the marketplace and improve the quality of products and services. The business case rests on what should be an obvious point: companies cannot effectively sell to women if they do not understand and value women, whether as customers or as employees. Therefore, increasing gender diversity in Latin American companies, especially in mass consumer-oriented sectors where women form large portions of the actual or potential customer base, will help boost their bottom line. In the United States, proponents of diversity commonly make the claim that diversity pays. The greater the diversity among employees, the broader their perspectives, resulting in an ability to marshal a wider array of intellectual and cultural resources to solve problems. Diversity also is a source of creative conflict that can lead to a re-examination of assumptions that would otherwise be dominated by male points of view. The putative competitive advantages—fresh ideas, positive outreach and communication with customers, more qualified workers— have persuaded many companies that diversity can produce greater profit.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Shifter
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: At first glance, perhaps the most notable feature of Plan Colombia has been its longevity. Given the current divisiveness in Washington, the bipartisan support it has received across three administrations now seems remarkable. After 12 years, the plan is gradually winding down, but the U.S. allocated more than $300 million under the program in 2012 alone. Although the Plan has evolved considerably since it was approved by the U.S. Congress in July 2000, it has become shorthand for wide-ranging U.S. cooperation with Colombia to assist that country in combating drugs, guerrilla violence, and related institutional and social problems. All told, the U.S. has spent nearly $8 billion on the initiative—more than anywhere outside of the Middle East, and Iraq and Afghanistan since the end of the Cold War. Although the effort gave priority to counter-narcotics operations—and specifically the eradication of coca in southern Colombia—from the outset it also encompassed assistance for the judiciary and economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Joan Caivano, Jane Marcus-Delgado
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Every day, women across Latin America are terminating their pregnancies under illegal and unsafe circumstances. The number of unsafe abortions—which represent about 95 percent of the total—grew from 3.9 million in 2003 to 4.2 million in 2008, with the annual abortion rate holding steady during that period, at about 32 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages 15 to 44. That's more than double the rate in Western Europe (12 per 1,000)—where abortion is generally permitted without exception. The high rate of unsafe abortions, which is defined by the World Health Organization as a termination of pregnancy performed by individuals without necessary skills, or under conditions that are below minimum medical standards (or both), underlines the dismal state of reproductive rights in the region. And it has had chilling consequences for poor and rural women in particular.
  • Topic: World Health Organization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Renata Avelar Giannini
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The United Nations Security Council has promoted a gender focus in peacekeeping operations, including the protection of civilians, since the adoption of Resolution 1325 (RES1325) in 2000. The logic is simple: involving women in peace negotiations and reconstruction efforts helps ensure a more equitable and stable society following conflict. Since December 2000, Latin American participation in peacekeeping operations has increased by nearly 1,000 percent.1 Of 7,140 military troops deployed in peacekeeping operations worldwide, female personnel participating in those missions total 238, or 3.3 percent. In the two missions with the most Latin American personnel, the region's female representation is higher than that of many other countries, but still lower than the target of 10 percent laid out in UN RES1325. For example, female personnel make up only 2 percent of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), but they make up 2.5 percent of all troops deployed from Latin America.2 Likewise, in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, overall female participation is 2.2 percent, but women make up 6.4 percent of Latin American personnel deployed.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Stephanie George, Susan Silbermann, Elisa Garcia C.
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When I started my career over 30 years ago, there was strong resistance among companies to take a chance on a young woman whose nurturing and collaborative style seemed foreign to the traditional corporate culture. But I was lucky enough to work at two trendsetting companies, Disney/ABC and Time Warner, both of which recognized the importance of having women in the C-suite and championed sponsorship strategies and programs for women's advancement. The programs I participated in gave me access to top executives, prepared me to move forward in my career, and provided the necessary skills and acumen to better serve on corporate boards. While I learned a lot about business from these initiatives, I've also always stayed true to my own corporate style and I encourage other women to do the same. I'm more likely to start a business meeting with a hug than with a handshake. I manage my direct reports through motivation, not intimidation. I see colleagues as teammates, not adversaries.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Maria Garcia Andia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The strength and quality of democracy depend on how well judiciaries perform and function. In Latin America, after more than 20 years of judicial reforms, there have been some notable achievements. But there is a long way to go before judiciaries can adequately carry out their responsibilities to resolve conflicts, define and interpret rights and laws, and provide the framework for accessible, impartial systems of justice. The judicial reform movement that began in the 1980s—an effort that accompanied the rebuilding of democratic systems—sought to overhaul existing penal codes and procedures to respond to citizens' claims of human rights violations, and to pursue truth, justice and accountability for abuses committed during the dictatorships. Reforms were later expanded and deepened, while others did not take effect until the late 2000s.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Peter Klingstone, Lisa Schineller
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Is Brazil's economy too commodity-dependent? Yes: Peter Kingstone; No: Lisa Schineller In this issue: Brazil's reliance on commodity exports threatens its medium- and long-term growth prospects. Brazil's economic success is based on more than the demand for natural resources.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil
  • Author: David Tebaldi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: One hot afternoon during a visit to Cuba in March 2000, a traveling companion and I hopped into a tricycle cab for a ride from the Hotel Nacional to Old Havana. The young man pedaling the cab overheard us talking and turned his head to ask, “Canadian?” “No, somos Americanos,” I responded. His face lit up. “Every day when I wake up,” he blurted out, “I dream of going to America.” Orlando, whose name has been changed for this article, was in his early 30s. An ophthalmologist by training, he was pedaling a cab because he could not support his wife and three-year-old daughter on his government salary of $20 a month. We hadn't gotten very far when we were pulled over by a policeman. He walked Orlando some distance away from us and after several minutes of what looked like tense conversation, Orlando returned to inform us that he had broken the law by taking foreigners in his pedal cab, which was only for Cuban nationals. Only government-owned taxis were allowed to pick up tourists.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Ukraine, Havana
  • Author: Matthew Aho
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: It took courage and a splash of audacity for Argentine Congresswoman Laura Alonso to oppose the nationalization of Spanish oil giant Repsol's stake in Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), her country's largest energy company. Her remarks in the Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) earlier this year earned her taunts even from fellow deputies from the ruling Peronist coalition of being “traitorous” and an “española” (Spaniard). Alonso gave as good as she got, calling officials in President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's government who orchestrated the takeover mistaken, corrupt and contaminated. “You can't just wave a national flag and evoke patriotism, while at the same time you're signing corrupt deals contrary to the rights of the people behind their backs,” she said in interviews after the speech.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Argentina
  • Author: Olivia Ruggles-Brise
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America's travel and tourism industry took a hit during the 2008–2009 recession. International arrivals slowed and tourists had less money to spend. But over the longer term, tourism has been a success story—and forecasts suggest continued growth. That should surprise no one. Latin America's sheer diversity in scenic beauty, cuisine and cultures has combined with an increasingly sophisticated domestic industry to cater to every kind of traveler. Since 2006, tourism's direct contribution to GDP in Latin America has grown by 7 percent in real terms—more than double the world average—to reach an estimated $134 billion in 2011. This figure, which is projected to rise to $224 billion in 2022, includes revenue generated by tourism-oriented services such as hotels and airlines, as well as restaurant and leisure industries that cater to tourists. Forecasts for this year suggest tourism's direct contributions will grow by 6.5 percent, behind only Northeast and South Asia (6.7 percent).
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Latin America