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  • Author: Robert A. Boland
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In the next two years, Brazil will host the three largest mega sports events in the world: the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer, and then the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio in 2016. Other nations in the Americas and across the globe will be watching to see if Brazil's hosting duties lead to broad-based, lasting growth, or are merely an expensive distraction. While history provides examples of both scenarios, hosting such megaevents can provide lasting and transformative value, including to developing nations.
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil
  • Author: Ted Piccone, Jim Swigert, Ariel Fiszbein
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Fresh, unique perspectives on recent books from across the hemisphere originally published in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank Dangerous Liaisons: Organized Crime and Political Finance in Latin America and Beyond by Kevin Casas-Zamora (editor) The Promise of Participation: Experiments in Participatory Governance in Honduras and Guatemala by Daniel Altschuler and Javier Corrales
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In a landmark ruling, the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court last September stripped an estimated 210,000 individuals—most of whom are Dominicans born to Haitian sugar cane workers—of their citizenship, effectively leaving them stateless. The ensuing outcry from the international community has included Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat—two of the best-known contemporary authors from the island of Hispaniola. Friends for over 20 years, Danticat (from Haiti) and Díaz (from the D.R.) have been relentless in their condemnation of the ruling. In a written exchange moderated by Americas Quarterly production editor and Haitian-American Richard André, Díaz and Danticat discuss the roots and legacies of racism and conflict in the neighboring nations, the impact of the court's ruling, and the responsibility of the diaspora to build bridges between Dominicans and Haitians and defend human rights at home and abroad.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Leani García, Rebecca Bintrim, Mercedes Laxague
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and events from around the hemisphere with AQ's Panorama. Each issue, AQ packs its bags and offers readers travel tips on a new Americas destination.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Johanna Mendelson Forman, Anthony Spanakos, Roger-Mark De Souza
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Fresh, unique perspectives on recent books from across the hemisphere originally published in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse by Ricardo Hausmann and Francisco R. Rodríguez Oil Sparks in the Amazon: Local Conflicts, Indigenous Populations, and Natural Resources by Patricia I. Vásquez Security in South America: The Role of States and Regional Organizations by Rodrigo Tavares
  • Political Geography: America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Wilda Escarfuller
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The statistics are shocking. Latin America and the Caribbean have the countries with the number one (Dominican Republic) and number three (Venezuela) highest number of traffic deaths per capita in the world. Only Thailand comes close, with 38.1 traffic deaths in 2010 for every 100,000 citizens, placing it second in these grim rankings.
  • Political Geography: America, Latin America, Caribbean, Venezuela
  • Author: Richard E. Feinberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In the coming months, the United States is going to face a tough choice: either alter its policy toward Cuba or face the virtual collapse of its diplomacy in Latin America. The upcoming Summit of the Americas, the seventh meeting of democratically elected heads of state throughout the Americas, due to convene in April 2015 in Panama, will force the Barack Obama administration to choose between its instincts to reset Cuba policy to coincide more closely with hemispheric opinion and its fears of a domestic political backlash.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Cuba, Latin America, Panama
  • Author: Melanne Verveer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When I attended the first Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994, only two female heads of state represented their countries: Dominica and Nicaragua. This past April at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, five of the presidents and prime ministers representing the 33 participating countries were women: from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Their presence was an important example of the progress the hemisphere—and its women—have made. In fact, the region continues to make progress in a variety of areas. Latin America and the Caribbean are tackling ongoing challenges head-on, including promoting girls' education, improving women's and girls' health, facilitating women's political participation, and expanding women's economic opportunities. Governments throughout the hemisphere are increasingly recognizing that no country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil, Caribbean
  • Author: Richard André
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The quality of Chile's universities is well known across the Americas. Two of these—Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileUniversidad de Chile—rank in the top five of the 2011 U.S. News and World Report list of the 100 best schools in the region. Unfortunately, high-quality education comes at a high cost. Chile has the second most expensive private university system of any OECD country, after the United States. And due to the lack of financial aid, Chilean families shoulder 85 percent of the cost of a university education—more than any other developed nation.Until recently, most Chilean youth accepted the cost of education as the price of social mobility. Gabriela San Martín, 24, considered a university degree a ticket to a stable, decent-paying job. She took out a government-financed loan, known as crédito con aval del estado (CAE), to pay for her studies in early childhood education at Universidad Andrés Bello.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: America, Chile
  • Author: Richard M. Abord, Ashley D. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Each year, millions of people across the world find themselves in jail without being convicted of anything-often for months at a time-as they await trial. Alarmingly, although the rights to liberty, security and equal justice under the law are cornerstones of justice systems throughout the Americas, pretrial detention is being employed at rates two to five times greater than the international average, and its use continues to grow unabated.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Francisco Panizza, Jon Samuel, Anthony Hodge, Lisa Sachs, Edwin Julio Palomino Cadenas
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: To secure a positive development outcome from mining, governments first need to create the conditions that will attract investment in new mines. This starts with open and honest means of allocating mineral exploration and development rights, the rule of law, a stable regulatory and fiscal regime, and openness to foreign investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Andrea Baranenko, Venezuela Latin America is moving forward, but Venezuela is moving in the opposite direction,” says Andrea Baranenko, a 28-year-old Venezuelan filmmaker whose recent documentary, Yo Indocumentada (I, Undocumented), exposes the struggles of transgender people in her native country. The film, Baranenko's first feature-length production, tells the story of three Venezuelan women fighting for their right to have an identity. Tamara Adrián, 58, is a lawyer; Desirée Pérez, 46, is a hairdresser; and Victoria González, 27, has been a visual arts student since 2009. These women share more than their nationality: they all carry IDs with masculine names that don't correspond to their actual identities. They're transgender women, who long ago assumed their gender and now defend it in a homophobic and transphobic society.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Reform
  • Political Geography: America, Venezuela, Guatemala
  • Author: Quentin Delpech
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Guate-Mara: the Extortion Economy in GuatemalaBY QUENTIN DELPECH The maras add union-busting to their repertoire of murder and extortion. Behind the walls of export-processing zones in Mixco and Villa Nueva on the outskirts of Guatemala City, apparel workers assemble, sew, label, inspect, and iron millions of garments, packing them in cartons bound for the United States. For more than 30 years, Guatemala's maquilas have been a hub of the global economy; but lately, these plants have been the center of a much darker story. They've become the prime targets of the maras, gangs of criminals that are flourishing in this Central American nation.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: America, Guatemala
  • Author: Robin Dean
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The crowd at Rock al Parque 2012. Photo: Diego Santacruz/AP Rock al Parque With one of the richest musical cultures in the Americas, Colombia has added rock to its repertoire. Devout fans of the music that inspired generations of American and British teenagers since the 1950s have been gathering every year in Bogotá's Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park for Rock al Parque (Rock in the Park), the region's largest annual rock festival.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia, Jamaica
  • Author: Jeremy M. Martin
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The integration of Central America's fragmented electricity market has always seemed a no-brainer—at least to outsiders. A seamless grid for delivery of electricity would not only make regional power generation projects affordable, but would also reduce costs to consumers and governments alike, as well as strengthen energy security at the national level. The foundations for a robust regional electricity market were, in fact, laid by a regional treaty in 1996, establishing the Sistema de Interconexión Eléctrica de los Países de América Central (Central American Electrical Interconnection System—SIEPAC), which aimed to knit together the electrical grids from all six countries. But the original target completion date of 2008 was not met. Although several key pieces of the regional market are under development, the plan has fallen victim to regulatory bottlenecks and the shifting political priorities of individual governments. The unfortunate result: Central America's electricity markets remain mostly within national boundaries.
  • Topic: Power Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: With the exception of Cuba, the hemisphere is a relatively free place to be a journalist compared to much of the rest of the world. But that doesn't mean it's safe or easy, or that it's getting any easier. Below is a catalogue of the abuses, risks and challenges that journalists and media faced in the Americas and in selected countries outside the region last year.
  • Political Geography: America, Cuba
  • Author: Santiago A. Canton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Inter-American System enshrined the right to freedom of thought and expression in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In 1998, to further protect this right, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR or the Commission) established the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. I served as the first head of the office.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Robert A. Boland, Victor A. Matheson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The urgency and scale of hosting can provide a needed boost to public investment and transform a country's image, infrastructure and business conditions beyond the games. BY ROBERT A. BOLAND Do megasports events contribute to economic development? Yes Following the 2014 World Cup? Read more coverage here. In the next two years, Brazil will host the three largest mega sports events in the world: the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer, and then the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio in 2016. Other nations in the Americas and across the globe will be watching to see if Brazil's hosting duties lead to broad-based, lasting growth, or are merely an expensive distraction. While history provides examples of both scenarios, hosting such megaevents can provide lasting and transformative value, including to developing nations. Megaevents can accelerate the process of planning for and executing much-needed public investment, while the host countries or cities can rebrand themselves as safe for investment and trade, and as a destination for tourism. For democratic governments, the construction blitz around megaevents can cut through political deadlock, representing the best available chance to quickly bring about focused and necessary change. The ability to develop infrastructure that can improve the quality of life, health and economic strength of the host nation is key. Hosts with plans focusing on self-improvement, investment and the enlargement of existing assets tend to fare better than countries that simply build competition venues.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Francisca Valenzuela, Chile Singer. Fashion designer. Entrepreneur. At 27, Francisca Valenzuela has already reached the kind of success usually associated with a professionally managed career. But instead of a top agent or a big record label, the San Francisco-born Chilean artist owes her achievements to a team that includes her mother, biochemist Bernardita Méndez, her boyfriend and artistic confidante Vicente Sanfuentes, and a small, committed staff in Chile that has skillfully used social media—including 275,000 Twitter followers and fans known as “Franáticos”—to spread the word of her talents. Valenzuela is one of the most engaging examples of a new generation of artist-entrepreneurs who are controlling their own career paths. “I'm not waiting for someone to come rescue me industry-wise,” Valenzuela says, describing how, when her music took off in her late teens, she and her mother purchased Business for Dummies online to understand the fine print in her first contract. Valenzuela's early musical success—with a hit single, Peces (Fish) in 2006—came after years of performing in talent shows, but she was never “serious” about music until she started performing on the underground jazz circuit in Chile. She eventually dropped out of the Universidad Católica de Chile, where she was studying journalism, to pursue her burgeoning musical career. Along the way, she has had two books published, two pop-rock albums that went platinum and gold in Chile, and designed a clothing line for the Chilean brand Foster. Now, Valenzuela develops projects and artistic collaborations through her own company, FRANTASTIC Productions. “We've structured an independent enterprise basically run by two people [that's] competitive with counterparts who have a whole corporate background,” she says proudly. Valenzuela's do-it-yourself ethic in the music industry is not the only thing that sets her apart from many of her peers. Valenzuela spent the first 12 years of her life in the United States before the family relocated to Santiago. In fact, Valenzuela's first book—Defenseless Waters, a collection of poems that she published at age 13 about themes ranging from long-lost love to social injustice to nature—was written in English. “When I was young in the Bay Area, everyone seemed to be doing extracurricular activities, sports, painting, nurturing kids,” she recalls. Valenzuela's literary background and political convictions have inspired her songwriting in Spanish. The title song of her latest album, Buen Soldado (Good Soldier, 2011), focuses on the power dynamic between men and women, and she has been an outspoken advocate of sexual diversity and LGBT rights in Chile, participating in gay rights marches since she was 14.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Brazil
  • Author: Ted Piccone, Jim Swigert, Ariel Fiszbein
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank BY TED PICCONE Popular interest in Cuba will continue to grow as Americans open their eyes and ears to one key fact: after 55 years, Cuba is changing. It is shifting from a highly centralized, paternalistic, socialist regime, both lauded and vilified for achieving social progress at the cost of democracy and civil liberties, to a hybrid system in which individual initiative, decentralization and some forms of limited debate are encouraged. As the Castro brothers prepare to leave the scene, they are handing power to a more institutionalized Communist party that maintains tight political control even as it liberalizes the economy. Marc Frank's new book, Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana, expertly captures this evolving terrain. He provides a clear and compelling guide to the transition from Fidel to Raúl Castro after the demise of the Soviet Union. Frank, currently a freelance journalist for Thomson Reuters and the Financial Times, deploys his two decades in Cuba and his extensive network of colleagues, friends and family (he is married to a Cuban) to explain to both seasoned and amateur observers why Cuba's leaders are embarking on a new path. This is no easy assignment. Nearly everything about life in Cuba today is complicated by Cuba's outsized role during the Cold War, the trauma of exile and the opaque nature of its regime. Despite Cuba's controlled media environment, Frank managed to open doors to information not readily available to others, a testament to his intrepid reporting.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: America, Soviet Union, Cuba