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  • Author: Jose W. Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: United States-Latin American relations have often suffered from a disconnect. While we stress security issues, the region's leaders speak of poverty reduction and trade. They resent being seen as afterthoughts to U.S. policies focused elsewhere. As a result, the region is sporadically open to new suitors, such as Spanish investors 15 years ago, or the Chinese today.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Robert Muse, Natalie Schachar, Charles Kamasaki
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The re-opening of “people-to-people” travel to Cuba by President Barack Obama in early 2011 was the boldest and, arguably, the single most consequential step taken by his administration in relation to the island. It was in fact a revival of a Clinton-era exemption to the decades-old ban on U.S. citizens visiting that country. The exemption had been closed in 2003 by President George W. Bush.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles Hale
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The field of Latin American studies has been a target for critics ever since it became a prominent feature of the U.S. academic landscape in the 1960s. Earlier critiques were quite severe, often permeated by the premise that studying Latin America from the North (and even the very concept of “Latin America” as an object of study) connoted the region's racial and cultural inferiority. This was further aggravated by the inability to fully disentangle Latin American research from U.S. economic and geopolitical interests. Even the most apparently benign scholarship was considered to be a reinforcement of North–South hierarchies of knowledge and power.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Jesus Velasco
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A recurrent theme in the immigration debate is how the United States can keep and attract the world's brightest minds. President Barack Obama and others favor maintaining and perhaps even expanding the number of visas for high-skilled immigrants. In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama said the U.S. needed to “attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help create jobs and grow our economy.” A few days later, on January 29, 2013, at El Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Obama underlined the point: “Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities[...]but once they earn that diploma, there's a good chance they'll have to leave the country[....]That's why we need comprehensive immigration reform.”
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Carol Stax Brown
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The United States and Latin America are both struggling to find ways to improve participation in quality education in the face of a labor-market skills gap. But all too often, policymakers, businesses and educators have looked to elite universities as a way of meeting those gaps. While important for high-end jobs, labor market and social demands also require us to look elsewhere.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Timothy DeVoogd
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: I expected high school biology students. Instead, I was facing 120 middle school students who were on an outing to Maloka, an innovative science museum in Bogotá. On the fly, I changed my presentation on how the brain works into a series of demonstrations. At the end, I was awed by the questions: “My mother has epilepsy; why is it that she doesn't recognize me when she has a seizure?” “I have a pet bird. Does he learn like I do?”
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nathaniel Parish Flannery
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: José Antonio Pérez remembers as a child seeing migrants climbing onto La Bestia (“The Beast”), the train that carries Central American migrants north to the state of Oaxaca, and wondering where they were going. An uncle told him the migrants were “traveling to El Norte,” the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, Mexico, Oaxaca
  • Author: Sarah Stephens, Joel Brito
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The EU has recognized that its Common Position has failed to improve human rights in Cuba. It's time for the U.S. to do the same with its embargo. The EU is engaged in a discussion that will yield no change in human rights conditions on the island. The U.S. would be wise not to follow the EU's lead.
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba
  • 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: Robert Muse
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Hilary Clinton said in a recent interview that she would like to see the United States "move toward normalizing relations" with Cuba. This remarkable statement—from quite possibly the next president—came at the end of a critique of the current U.S. policy that insists on political and other reforms in Cuba as a precondition for modifying the current sanctions the U.S. imposes on that country.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Sam Quiñones
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In 2014, a rumor spread through Central America that anyone who hoped to reunify with family members in the United States should leave immediately. The rumor, apparently picked up and relayed by one or more television reporters in Honduras, was unequivocal: it was now or never.
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America
  • Author: Richard André
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • 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, Mexico, Arizona
  • Author: Wilda Escarfuller
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Our hemisphere produces some of the best (and best paid) athletes in the world. Unfortunately, many of our soccer (futbol) players go on to play in Europe, where the contracts and endorsements are better. For the same reason, two of those who top the list of baseball player salaries from Venezuela—Cabrera and Santana—playing in U.S. instead of their home country.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Venezuela
  • Author: Jonathan Weigel, Paul Farmer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Haiti is currently battling the world's largest cholera epidemic in half a century. An integrated, comprehensive response—including case-finding and rapid treatment, water and sanitation efforts, and vaccination—could bring cholera to heel on Hispaniola and help prevent its spread elsewhere in the region.1 But the local and international response has, to date, fallen short. Tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths were reported in May and June of this year.2 If the disease had appeared in the United States or elsewhere in the developed world, all available control tools would have been deployed. But the safe, effective and inexpensive cholera vaccine has only recently become available in Haiti. In April, the Haitian Ministry of Health and two healthcare nonprofits began delivering vaccines to about 91,000 people in rural and urban Haiti.
  • Topic: Development, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Sital Kalantry
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: For the first time in United States history, three of the nine justices sitting on the Supreme Court are women. About 33 percent of state and federal court judges in the U.S. are women, slightly higher than the global average of 27 percent. Why does this matter? Scores of empirical studies have attempted to determine whether the gender of a judge makes a difference to his or her decisions. But regardless of whether it does, equal representation for women in the judiciary strengthens the rule of law and should be a goal across the Americas. Increasingly, women in the region have overcome stiff challenges to becoming judges. Although the statistics for Latin American countries are slightly lower overall than in the U.S., they signal impressive progress. [See Table 1] For example, in 2010 18 percent of judges in Brazil's highest court were women, compared to 0 percent in 1998. In Peru, the figure was 23 percent in 2010 versus 6 percent in 1998.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Brazil, Latin America
  • 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: 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: 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
  • Author: Thomas Shannon Jr.
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: During their meeting in Brazil in March last year, U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff discussed a plan to send 101,000 Brazilian students overseas to study science, engineering, mathematics, and technology-based disciplines. Announced soon after, the initiative, Science Without Borders, has signaled President Rousseff's interest in marking her tenure by building a gateway for her country to the twenty-first century. Just before their tête-à-tête, Obama had announced his own plans to send 100,000 American students to Asia and promised to unveil a similar initiative for Latin America in Santiago, Chile—the next stop on his 2011 Latin America tour. During their Brasília meeting, both leaders talked about the importance of using education to improve national science and engineering capacity to drive economic development, promote social mobility and enhance innovation.
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Brazil
  • Author: R. Evan Ellis
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In the past decade, China's expanding engagement with Latin America has captivated the attention of the region and the United States. Most of the focus, however, has been on whether the new trade and investment is good for the region's long-term development, and whether particular Chinese activities, such as military sales and loans to Venezuela and Ecuador, threaten U.S. interests in the region. Lost are the details and dynamics of how Chinese companies and the Chinese government have adapted to doing business in the region. China's new physical presence in Latin America is the product of a fast-growing commercial and investment presence. But as a consequence of that deepening relationship, Chinese companies and China's diplomatic apparatus have become increasingly immersed in the business, social and political conditions in those countries—and in some cases are even shaping those conditions to suit their interests.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Alicia Barcena, Franciso Rivera-Batiz, Georges Haddad, Rebeca Grynspan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Educational achievement has always marked and defined the middle class. Public policies that have led to mass access to education have led to a broad-based improvement in educational accomplishments, among them higher completion rates in secondary and tertiary education. This has led to more upward mobility in terms of earnings and types of occupation. Still, there has been an education depreciation effect. The higher the average years of schooling, the more demanding the labor market becomes in rewarding those educational achievements. Many non-manual jobs that require more schooling often see their rate of return to education deteriorate. As those non-manual jobs pay less for schooled employees, their workers fall below the income threshold characteristic of the middle class.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: James Bacchus, Bernard K. Gordon
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Do regional trade agreements weaken the global push for free trade? Yes: James Bacchus; No: Bernard K. Gordon In this issue: They waste energy and political capital. Reducing trade barriers makes sense at any level.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sergio Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: "Brazil, the country of the future” was a sarcastic cliché popular among Brazilians to describe a country striving to reach an economic potential that always seemed just out of reach. The past decade, however, offered hope that Brazil was finally fulfilling the cliché's promise. As hyperinflation became a distant memory, the hemisphere's largest country joined Russia, India and China in the ranks of emerging economies. The story of the passage from cliché to reality is explored in Multinacionais brasileiras: competências para a internacionalização (Brazilian Multinationals: Competences for Internationalization), co-authored by Afonso Fleury, a professor in the department of production engineering at Universidade de São Paulo, and Maria Tereza Leme Fleury, director and professor at Escola de Administração de São Paulo da Fundação Getúlio Vargas.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Venezuela
  • Author: Wendy Cukier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: With gun violence once again at the top of the U.S. political agenda, the rest of the world waits anxiously for signs that Washington can move beyond the polarizing national debate over gun control and develop even modest improvements to firearms legislation. The issue is particularly sensitive in the Americas, where the trafficking of American guns, both legal and illegal, represents a threat to public safety. The National Rifle Association (NRA) will be at the center of this debate. Though widely considered one of the most powerful lobby groups in the U.S., the NRA's impact on firearms policies extends far beyond U.S. borders.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Canada
  • Author: Andy Baker
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: "Why do they hate us?” This question1, on so many U.S. citizens' minds over the decade following the September 11, 2001, attacks, is often asked about Islamic extremists and even the broader Muslim world. Among the most common responses is that “they” resent U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. When the focus shifts to Latin America, U.S. foreign policy similarly appears to be the principal reason for anti-Americanism. This seems to make sense. One would be hard-pressed to find another world region with greater and more long-standing grievances about Washington's actions. The Monroe Doctrine, Dollar Diplomacy and Cold War Containment were euphemisms for imperial abuses committed against Latin America over the course of two centuries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Latin America
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Barbara Kotschwar
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The hottest topic in world trade these days is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Hailed as a state-of-the-art free trade agreement (FTA), it will unite 11 countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam—with a combined GDP of almost $21 trillion (about 30 percent of world GDP) and $4.4 trillion in exports of goods and services, or about a fifth of total world exports. If you add Japan and South Korea—who are actively exploring entry later this year—TPP would cover 40 percent of world GDP and nearly a third of world exports.
  • Political Geography: United States, Malaysia, Canada, Latin America, Singapore, Peru, New Zealand, Brunei
  • Author: Howard J. Wiarda, Flavio Dario Espinal, Pablo E. Guidatti, Cynthia J. Arnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Political and economic integration schemes have long been a staple of Latin American foreign policy. But changes in the regional and global economy since the early 2000s have created new incentives for the reform of global governance mechanisms to reflect the new constellations of political and economic power. South American countries benefited from soaring Chinese demand for commodities, energy and agricultural products, put their fiscal houses in order after years of painful adjustment, and implemented social programs that lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty and reduced inequality. The United States and Europe, meanwhile, remain mired in recession, leading prominent Latin American intellectuals to speak of historic power shifts from West to East.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Gregory Weeks, Pablo Solon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Will ALBA outlive Hugo Chávez? Yes: Pablo Solón; No: Gregory Weeks In this issue: The popular tendencies that led to ALBA remain as relevant today as they were at its creation. Despite its pretentions, the alliance was held together primarily by oil largess that can't last.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • 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
  • Author: Saskia Sassen, Andrew Selee, Moses Naim
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead by Shannon O'Neil BY ANDREW SELEE Click here to view a video interview with Shannon O'Neil. No relationship in the Western Hemisphere is more critical for the United States than its relationship with Mexico. U.S. security is closely tied to Mexico's ability (and willingness) to strengthen its legal and judicial system, and to Mexico's economic potential. And conversely, an improving American economy will have an outsized impact on Mexico's future development. In Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead, Shannon K. O'Neil, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, provides both a readable recent history of Mexico and a cogent argument for why U.S. policymakers, business leaders and citizens should care about the future of their southern neighbor. In one of her more compelling passages, she imagines what it would be like if Mexico's economy were to take off as Spain's did in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Tanya K. Hernandez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The Americas present many contrasting approaches to affirmative action. In the United States, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its constitutionality, while at the same time narrowing the ability to use race in the Fisher v. Texas case. In contrast, several Latin American countries are beginning to explore more dynamic affirmative action policies. While many of these policies are recent and still developing, the new Latin American interest in affirmative action programs indicates how useful such programs can be in pursuing racial justice. In fact, Latin America has in some ways gone much further in broadly embracing affirmative action as a human right-a key, perhaps, to the growing support for the concept.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany, Latin America
  • Author: Eric Farnsworth
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A revolution in supply, driven by technological change and beginning in the United States, is transforming the energy sector. A commodity whose scarcity defined geopolitics and economics from the beginning of the industrial age is now becoming a potentially abundant resource. This will not only reshape the global energy map and global politics, but also change U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. Unimpeded access to cost-effective energy supplies for itself and its primary allies has long been a U.S. strategic interest. Most observers know that Washington's foreign policy and defense priorities in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, including sea lane protection, are buttressed by energy security concerns. Many of these same observers do not appreciate that the Western Hemisphere is also a critical energy partner: peaceful, non-threatening and unthreatened. But all that is about to change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Kent Allen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: E-Commerce: Easing Cross-Border E-Commerce BY KENT ALLEN The age of digital commerce is dawning in Latin America, with cross-border marketers looking to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil as opportunities to connect with online shoppers. Will the region capitalize on its e-commerce potential? The cross-border e-commerce math is simple. More online traffic means more sales opportunities, especially for digitally savvy brands from the U.S. and United Kingdom. The number of Latin Americans accessing the Internet jumped 12 percent last year, and mobile traffic is on the rise too. From July 2011 to July 2012, Flurry Analytics reports that four of the 10 fastest growing iOS and Android markets, as measured by the number of active devices, were in the Americas: Chile (279 percent); Brazil (220 percent); Argentina (217 percent); and Mexico (193 percent). Federico Torres, CEO of Traetelo, a cross-border marketplace solely focused on Latin America, explained why the region's future is digital at the June 2013 Chicago Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, the world's largest e-commerce conference. According to Traetelo, Chile (27 percent growth), Mexico (19 percent) and Brazil (19 percent) were among the five fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world last year. “Three-quarters of Latin America shoppers find the products they search for on U.S. e-commerce sites,” said Torres.
  • Topic: Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Panorama 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. In this issue: Mexico is Still Waiting for “Los Bitles” World Games, Cali American Sabor 10 Things to Do: Ponce, Puerto Rico Heart-Stopping U.S. Food Festivals From the Think Tanks.
  • Topic: Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Carlos Dada, Jorge Ramos, Ricardo Uceda, Tim Padgett, Michèle Montas-Dominique, Alfredo Corchado
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When you received the Maria Moors Cabot Gold Medal in 2011, you—and the website you founded, El Faro—were cited for your courageous work in investigative journalism in the midst of difficult circumstances. Has the situation for journalism in El Salvador improved in the past two years? Investigating crime and corruption has never been easy in El Salvador, above all due to the lack of guarantees from state and public officials, who are complicit when it comes to this type of crime. But it's much more difficult for local journalists, who live and work in small communities far from the large urban centers. They're exposed to greater risks because the criminals and the corrupt officials whom they seek to expose live in the same town or are people who hold great power in their regions. In 2012, journalists were increasingly under attack from organized crime. The situation is much worse in Honduras and Guatemala, where a number of journalists have been assassinated.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kevin M. Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: From the high-profile cases of the Wikileaker U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley) and the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden to a series of lesser-known cases, the U.S. government has increased the investigation and prosecution of officials who have leaked government information. In many of these cases, the recipient of the information has not been foreign governments but the media, including new Internet-based platforms such as Wikileaks. Despite the novelty of the platforms and the government's harsher response, the law under which leakers have been investigated and indicted (and journalists subpoenaed) is the 1917 Espionage Act.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oliver Stuenkel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama appealed to rising democracies around the world to help spread the democratic message, declaring that "we need your voices to speak out," and reminding them that "part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others."
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Brazil, North America
  • Author: Sam Quiñones, Cristina Manzano, Andres Schipani, Sibylla Brodzinsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: One effect is certainly to have strengthened the hand of institutions- government as well as corporate. Spokespeople for these agencies and companies may object.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Kurt J. Nagle
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Infrastructure: U.S. Seaport Expansion BY KURT J. NAGLE U.S. seaports are in an enhancement and expansion mode. While the widening of the Panama Canal may serve as the catalyst for some of the anticipated $9.2 billion in annual facilities investment in the foreseeable future, this is only part of the story. Several other factors are propelling this huge investment of private capital into U.S. ports. One is the rebounding domestic economy: the value of U.S. exports has risen 70 percent and imports have increased by 53 percent since the first half of 2009. Another driver is the increasing overseas demand for U.S. exports, particularly among the growing middle class in Latin America and parts of Asia. In fact, in the next decade, total U.S. exports are projected to surpass imports for the first time in a generation. Yet another consideration is that manufacturing operations are returning to North America, a development known as “nearsourcing.” With rising labor costs overseas, a narrowing labor differential at home and long transit times to market, a Michigan-based AlixPartners survey conducted in 2012 found that 9 percent of manufacturing executives have already taken steps to “near-source” their operations, and 33 percent plan to do so within the next three years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, California, North America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Prost, Brazil! Grab a stein-full of caipirinha and stroll down to Ipanema beach in your lederhosen—it's Germany-Brazil Year in Brazil. The yearlong festival, aimed at deepening German-Brazilian relations, kicked off in May with the opening of the German-Brazilian Economic Forum in São Paulo. “Brazil is one of the most successful new centers of power in the world,” says Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister. “We want to intensify cooperation with Brazil, not only economically but also culturally.” It's no surprise that Brazil, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has caught the attention of Europe's financial powerhouse. Brazil is Germany's most important trading partner in Latin America, accounting for $14.2 billion in imports in 2012. With some 1,600 German companies in Brazil providing 250,000 jobs and 17 percent of industrial GDP, it's an economic relationship that clearly has mutual benefits.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Europe, Brazil, Germany, Mexico
  • Author: John Carey, Adriana La Rotta, Nancy Perez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century edited by Carlos de la Torre and Cynthia J. Arnson BY JOHN M. CAREY Legend has it that on his deathbed, Juan Domingo Perón, the former President of Argentina, uttered a curse condemning any would-be biographer to dedicate his or her career to defining populism. Or perhaps the curse was issued on the lost page of the late Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas' suicide note, or slipped in among the bills in an envelope passed surreptitiously by Alberto Fujimori to some Peruvian legislator, or whispered by the recently deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez into the ear of his successor, Nicolás Maduro. No matter. Whoever first uttered the curse, it worked: political scientists studying the region have wrestled and been obsessed with the concept for decades. We want to write about populism. Indeed, we need to write about it, because populism is among the most important and persistent phenomena in modern Latin American politics. But because the populist label has been applied to such a broad array of phenomena, we are condemned to define it before we can embark on any serious analysis. Academic exactitude being what it is, this leads first to extended consideration of what others have held populism to be, followed by a self-perpetuating and seemingly inescapable cycle of judgment, distinction and justification.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Colombia, Latin America, Central America
  • 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: Albert Fishlow, Alejandro Garro, Matthew Aho
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Breves narrativas diplomáticas by Celso Amorim BY ALBERT FISHLOW Brazil featured early in the international crisis that erupted from Edward Snowden's disclosures of U.S. access to telephone conversations of more than 30 foreign leaders over the past decade, when Rio de Janeiro-based journalist Glenn Greenwald provided information about U.S. spying in Brazil to O Globo's television program, Fantástico. In response, President Dilma Rousseff took the unusual and unprecedented step of canceling her scheduled state visit to the United States. (That cancellation had some positive consequences for President Barack Obama; at least he did not have to worry about holding a state meeting during the Congress-imposed shutdown of U.S. government spending.) The Snowden disclosures increase the relevance of Celso Amorim's new book, Breves narrativas diplomáticas (Brief Diplomatic Narratives). Amorim, who served as Brazilian minister of foreign relations under two administrations of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and is now minister of defense in the Rousseff government, presents—as he had done in an earlier volume Conversas com jovens diplomatas (Conversations with Young Diplomats)—some highlights of his service as foreign minister. The emphasis in this book is on his first years as foreign minister, and gives the reader a window into Brazil's shift in foreign policy after 2003.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil
  • Author: Jose W. Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: United States-Latin American relations have often suffered from a disconnect. While we stress security issues, the region's leaders speak of poverty reduction and trade. They resent being seen as afterthoughts to U.S. policies focused elsewhere. As a result, the region is sporadically open to new suitors, such as Spanish investors 15 years ago, or the Chinese today. Despite their frustration with Washington, Latin American leaders recognize that, as the hemisphere's largest economy and market, the U.S. remains the indispensable partner. The challenge, both for the U.S. and Latin America, is to agree on common economic priorities both sides can pursue jointly, rather than continuing parallel dialogues. Economic growth, poverty reduction and job creation are common elements on both sides' wish lists. Politically, the stars are more aligned than ever in recent history for a renewed emphasis on economics in our relations with Latin America. The administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has made clear that its priority will be economic reform at home and more integrated North American markets and supply chains. From the beginning of his term, the Mexican president called for elevating our economic diplomacy to the same levels as our security relationship, which led to the first High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) between Mexico and the U.S. in late September.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Michael McDonald
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Dispatches: Guatemalan Migrants BY Michael Mcdonald Guatemalans returning home from the U.S. face unemployment, a maze of red tape—and social stigma. (slideshow available) Read a sidebar about voluntary return migration. Read a sidebar about the stigma that return migrants face. View a slideshow of return migrants in Guatemala below. Fidelino Gómez remembers fondly the years he spent in Iowa, where his middle child was born. Standing outside his one-room wood home in his native Guatemala, Gómez, 34, thumbs through pictures he took of the Mississippi River, snowy Midwest winters and gatherings with family and friends. He recalls easier times. “We lived well,” Gómez says under the searing sun. “We could feed our children, pay our bills, and we still had money left over.” From 2004 to 2008, Gómez and his wife María earned roughly $7 an hour working at Agriprocessors Inc., a slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The money was more than they ever imagined as subsistence farmers back home. But the family's dream was cut short when United States immigration officials raided the plant in May 2008, arresting hundreds of undocumented Guatemalan workers and deporting them. Now, like more than 100 other families deported after the Postville raid, they struggle to eke out a living back in the economically depressed farming village San José Calderas, some 40 miles (64 km) west of Guatemala City. They grow corn and beans to feed their loved ones and do odd jobs, scraping by on the equivalent of between $15 and $30 per month.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Guatemala
  • 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