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  • Author: Michelle Bachelet
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Women's political and economic participation strengthens democracy, equality and the economy. And while women's empowerment and full participation in society are important goals in themselves, they are also vital for reducing poverty, achieving universal education, improving maternal and child health, and fulfilling other development goals. Increasing the presence of women in politics not only responds to their rights as citizens; it enriches political discourse, decision-making and inclusiveness, and improves social conditions through the passage of equitable laws and policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Magda Hinojosa
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Dilma Rousseff. Laura Chinchilla. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Michelle Bachelet. The political successes of these women should not divert our attention from the sizeable gender imbalance in politics that exists across the region. Slightly more than half of all Latin American citizens are female, but women occupy only one of every seven seats in legislatures—and only one of every 20 mayoral posts in the region. In fact, the existence of a presidenta appears to tell us little about how women fare politically in her country. Although Dilma Rouseff holds Brazil's highest office, only 8.8 percent of federal deputies in Brazil are women and only 14.3 percent of ministers are women. This is far behind the rest of the region. And despite Michelle Bachelet's success in Chile, women's representation in Chile's national legislature is below the regional average. [See Table 1] Women have made tremendous gains since the 1970s, when women's representation in Costa Rica's national assembly (at a mere 7 percent) was the highest in the region, and when five countries filled less than 1 percent of their legislative seats with women. The most striking changes in women's legislative representation have come since 2000—not coincidentally, after the majority of Latin American countries adopted gender quotas during the late 1990s.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Maria de los Angeles Fernandez, Peter M. Siavelis
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Commentary on Chilean democracy has evolved from praise to concern since conservative President Sebastián Piñera moved into La Moneda Palace in 2010, bringing the Right to power for the first time in over 50 years. The praise was well-earned. Piñera's victory not only showed the Right's vote-getting ability; the peaceful alternation of power in Chile offered conclusive demonstration of one of the continent's most successful democratic transitions. Nevertheless, the Right's victory, which ended 20 years of government by the center-left Concertación, also coincided with a challenge to perceptions about Chile as a paragon of fiscal discipline and political stability. Contemporary Chile is convulsed by social mobilization, and by demands for redistribution and deep reforms to the economic and social model that was once heralded across the region.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Some of our hemisphere's emerging leaders in politics, business, civil society, and the arts. In this issue: Politics Innovator: Michèle Audette, Canada Arts Innovator: Mauricio Díaz Calderón, Colombia Civic Innovator: Tania Mattos, Bolivia/United States Business Innovator: Instiglio, United States
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Bolivia
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Politics Innovator: María Rachid, Argentina María Rachid never wanted to become a politician. But she is responsible for some of the most important human rights bills in Argentina's recent history, including the 2010 Marriage Equality Law, which legalized same-sex marriage, and the 2012 Gender Identity Law, which allows transgender people to change gender identity on official documents without prior approval. The 38-year-old has served in the Buenos Aires city legislature since 2011 for the governing Frente Para La Victoria (Front for Victory) coalition. A former vice president of Argentina's Instituto Nacional contra la Discriminación, la Xenofobia y el Racismo (National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism—INADI), Rachid is a long time social activist who didn't always see party politics as the best way to accomplish change. “I never thought I would become a legislator,” she says, though she adds that she was always interested in politics “as a tool to construct a more just society.” Born and raised in Buenos Aires province, Rachid came out as a lesbian as an adult—around the same time that she came of age as a political activist, having left her law studies at the University of Belgrano to focus on a new career as an activist for women's rights and sexual liberation.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba
  • Author: Gabriel Marcella, William McIlhenny
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Leaders' reactions to the revelations are really about domestic politics. Everybody spies, even on allies. BY GABRIEL MARCELLA Should the U.S. spy on its allies? Yes The reported snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) on world leaders is a rich teachable moment. It shows the underside of international relations. Spying on other governments—including friendly ones—is a pillar of modern foreign policy and a vital tool to protect against modern security threats like international crime, terrorism, cyber-attacks, drug trafficking, climate change, and stealing technology. As the saying goes, friends today may be foes tomorrow. We really don't know what information was gathered, but it caused an upheaval in various capitals friendly to the United States. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a long-awaited state visit to the U.S. because of the Edward Snowden revelations, claiming that the NSA spying was an attack “on the sovereignty and the rights of the people” of Brazil. Similarly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was upset by reports that the U.S. was listening to her cell phone communications; she, in turn, demanded a no-spying agreement with the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, France, Brazil
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Luis Antonio Vilchez, Peru Watch a video of Luis Antonio Vilchez dancing in Times Square below. Passing through New York's Times Square one winter day in 2010, Lima native Luis Antonio Vilchez noticed a group of street percussionists playing a familiar Afro-Peruvian rhythm—and immediately decided to join them. Soon, a large crowd gathered as Vilchez, wearing a button-down shirt and a winter coat, burst into a dance performance that was so impressive even the drummers watched in awe. The same kind of impromptu creativity dominates Adú Proyecto Universal (Adú Universal Project), a nonprofit arts organization Vilchez founded four years ago to re-imagine Peruvian identity through dance, theater and percussion. Financed by money the group earns from its performances, Adú (which means “friend” in limeña slang) encourages its 20 members—all dancers—to combine different dance and music genres, crossing back and forth between tradition and modernity.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: Geisselle Sánchez, Silvel Elías
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Although they constitute 40 percent of Guatemala's population, Indigenous Guatemalans face great inequality in terms of access to health, education, housing and—most critically—political representation.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Guatemala
  • Author: Hauke Hartmann, Daniel Schraad-Tischler
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When do inequality and economic frustration erupt into political turmoil?
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Bahrain, Slovakia
  • Author: Richard André, Ryan Berger, Nina Agrawal, Wilda Escarfuller
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Do more Indigenous and Afro-descendant representatives in national congresses make a difference?
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Peru