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  • Author: Guillermo Cruces, Leonardo Gasparini
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Latin American countries have succeeded in reducing poverty and income inequality over the last decade thanks in part to both economic growth and deliberate social policy measures. This study provides an overview of the available evidence of the changes in income distribution that have occurred in Latin America over the past two decades and their causes. While some attribute the improvements in distribution to changes in the international economy and the positive trend in the Latin American countries' terms of trade, others highlight the influence of changes in public policy. Both of these two sets of factors may have played an important role and may have interacted with one another in various ways.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Gabriel Marcella
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a transformation of security in Latin America. Latin American countries have been moving toward the concepts of multidimensional security and security of the individual and society, and away from the classical understanding of the security dilemma posed by an external threat to the state. Illegal narcotics, the proliferation of guns, and other transnational threats, combined with undergoverned space and the weak state syndrome, generated an extraordinary crime wave, which gives the region the highest murder rate in the world. Moreover, crime imposes a heavy cost on economic growth and democratic governance. This insecurity crosses international borders, and the institutions of public security—police, military, and judicial systems—are hard pressed to meet the challenge. The privatization of security is a symptom of the problem and a potential source of abuse. The United States shares responsibility for the violence due to U.S. demand for illegal drugs and the fact that it is a supplier of arms to Latin America. At the same time, there is a growing consensus in support of common action, as evidenced by the international coalition that is operating under Operation Martillo—the antinarcotics effort in the Caribbean and Central America. Moreover, a number of Latin American countries contribute to international peace operations. Accordingly, the new strategic consensus among Latin American countries should be a cause for common action.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Osvaldo Rosales, Sebastián Herreros
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This article presents a brief characterization of Latin America and the Caribbean's foreign trade, as well as its trade integration efforts. The first section examines the region's recent trade performance in terms of share in world trade, trade openness, main partners, most dynamic sectors, and export concentration. Particular emphasis is placed on the dynamics of the region's foreign trade in the past decade, including the growing importance of trade with China and its implications. The second section focuses on the recent evolution of intra-regional trade and of regional economic integration initiatives. The third section deals with trade negotiations with extra-regional partners. The fourth and final section outlines some policy challenges the region faces to increase the contribution of trade to its development prospects.
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Harold Trinkunas
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: In the wake of the Cold War, regional democratization and economic liberalization were supposed to usher in an opportunity to build a common hemispheric security agenda, designed to unite the United States and Latin America in collaboration against the "new" security threats posed by organized crime and violent nonstate actors. Two decades later, the threats remain much the same, yet the hemispheric security agenda has fragmented, replaced in part by projects designed to build specifically South American regional institutions. As some scholars predicted, heterogeneous threat perceptions across the region, differences over democratization, and tensions over the effects of free trade and market liberalization have confounded the effort to build a hemispheric security agenda. Yet the efforts by former President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela to radically transform the regional security order by building a Bolivarian alliance of states as an explicit counterweight to U.S. power have also fallen short. Instead, Brazil's ascent as a global economic power and the growing prosperity of the region as a whole has created an opportunity for Brazil to organize new mid-range political institutions, embodied in the Union of South American States (UNASUR), that exclude the United States yet pursue a consensual security agenda. This emerging regional order is designed by Brazil to secure its leadership in South America and allow it to choose when and where to involve the United States in managing regional crises. Yet, Brazil is finding that the very obstacles that confounded hemispheric security collaboration after the Cold War still endure in South America, limiting the effectiveness of the emerging regional security order.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Cynthia Watson
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: China's involvement in Latin America has grown steadily over the past decade but there are a number of constraints on the role of the People's Liberation Army that prevents it from becoming the most important mechanism in expanding China's role in Latin America. This paper discusses those constraints and the methods China's military has used to engage with Latin America in the twenty-first century.
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Andrew Selee
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Mexico has undergone major changes over the past two decades, as its political system shifted from one dominated by a single official party to a highly competitive democracy, and its economy opened up dramatically to global competition. These changes have produced significant dislocations in Mexican society, including high out-migration and a spiral of drug-trafficking related violence. However, signs are that Mexico has now set the foundations for future success. Average income has grown significantly, violence is plateauing, and out-migration has dropped dramatically. There are potential pitfalls ahead, but the country's future looks far brighter today than it did a decade or two ago. If Mexico continues to grow and deepen its democratic process, these changes will have a profound effect on the United States, its neighbor to the north, as well.
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Thomas J. Trebat
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This article examines whether increasing global confidence in Brazil is well founded and, if so, what the implications might be for the global community. Landmark political, economic, and social achievements in contemporary Brazil are reviewed as well as the obstacles to raise human welfare to developed country standards within the next decade. The paper concludes that Brazil's growing influence in the global community is based on sound empirical evidence, a diverse economy, and an emerging society; it is not the result of passing good fortune. At the same time, the crushing legacy of past problems in areas that are vital to human welfare, including the education system and deficiencies in innovation and technological advance, continues to weigh heavily. Depending on how well its leadership deals with the legacy of the past, Brazil could become a more important actor in the international community over the next ten years. Brazil's rising use of "soft power" will contribute to addressing global issues such as clean forms of energy, sustainability, food security, and social inclusion. Even for this possibility alone, Brazil merits much close attention from a global community not yet fully aware of Brazil's transformation.
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Christopher Sabatini
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: For decades, the standard framework for describing and understanding U.S.-Latin American relations has been the overwhelming hegemonic power of the “colossus of the north.” Now, though, with the rise of regional powers like Brazil, the importance of new emerging economies like China, and the diversity of political and economic models in the region, policymakers and observers are beginning to discuss the decline of U.S. power in the region. Whether real or perceived, the effects of waning U.S. influence are already shaping countries' calculations in their domestic and foreign policies and the formation of multilateral alliances. What are the implications of the perceived decline of U.S. hegemony for Latin America? This article explores the possible facets of the decline of U.S. influence in the region. It will start by examining whether, indeed, the United States' ability to shape outcomes or impose its preferences in the region has diminished or shifted in how it must conduct diplomacy. Second, it will examine the possible outcomes of diminished influence. Finally, this article will consider the times when there have been a convergence of values and interest between the United States and governments in the region, and the likely effect that diminished U.S. power will have on areas of common interest: democracy, human rights, and the peaceful resolution of intra-regional conflicts.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Ania Calderón, Sergio Fajardo
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The vision of an academic-turned-politician has brought a stream of creativity to local public administration in Colombia. It is said that disruptive innovation occurs at the edge of disciplines. And Sergio Fajardo, mathematician and former journalist, has managed to leverage such cross-discipline dialogues and energize communities to engage with public planning objectives. As mayor of Medellín in Colombia from 2004 to 2007, he "introduced transparency fairs, broke clientelistic political networks, raised tax receipts, improved public services, established civic pacts and restored citizens' sense of hope," and the Inter-American Development Bank recognized the city as an exemplary case of good public administration in Latin America. Furthermore, Medellín was recently named the world's most innovative city in a competition organized by the non-profit Urban Land Institute. In the following interview with Ania Calderón of the Journal, Dr. Fajardo highlights the importance of building trust in society to face the public management challenges of developing countries in Latin America and explains how, as governor of the state of Antioquia, the scale of impact he now faces at a regional versus local level can be tackled with the same mission, but carried under a different leadership role.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Madeline K. B. Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America Gustavo A. Flores-Macías (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 261 pages.
  • Political Geography: New York, Latin America
  • Author: Devi Nampiaparampil
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering Hal Weitzman(Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley Sons, 2012), 260 pages.
  • Topic: Cold War, War on Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Sophie von Hatzfeldt
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Chile has a dire need as well as a vast potential to expand renewable energy production and the government has recently introduced regulatory reforms and incentives to facilitate their development. Nevertheless, the governance structure of the electricity sector poses significant barriers to the attainment of national energy aims. Actors from the state, private sector, as well as civil society must tackle the main constraints to provide a cohesive and targeted policy response to the issue.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Ashley Neese Bybee
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: In the last decade, West Africa emerged as a major transit hub for Latin American Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) transporting cocaine to Western Europe. Since that time, there has been cause for hope and despair. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and an array of international donors have made great strides in acknowledging the growing problem of drug trafficking and have implemented practical measures to stem this flow. All the while, the fears of many observers have been confirmed as the insidious effects of the drug trade have begun to take effect in many West African states. Consumption is on the rise and narco-corruption now undermines the rule of law and legitimate economic growth necessary for development and stability. One of the most alarming trends that place Africa and Africans on the radar of policy makers, law enforcement, and researchers alike is the number of new fronts on which the illicit drug trade is growing. Its geographic expansion beyond the relatively confined region of West Africa is now endangering East and Southern Africa. The arrival of new drugs to the region—heroin and Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS, commonly referred to as synthetic drugs)—has been accompanied by the discovery of local manufacturing facilities to process them. Lastly, the growing level of involvement by Africans—who initially served as facilitators but now appear to be taking a more proactive role—raises concerns that a new generation of African DTOs is rising in the ranks. This paper examines how each of these trends are contributing to the twenty-first century expansion of the drug trade in Africa and summarizes some of the impacts they are having on the states and their populations.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America, Western Europe
  • Author: Emmania Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Louise Shelley's new book, Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective is the culmination of sixteen years of research, providing both an excellent introduction to human trafficking and a comprehensive examination of its growth. The book balances breadth and depth by combining firsthand accounts of field practitioners with the analyses of academic experts across the globe. Shelley illustrates how human trafficking's exponential growth during the last twenty years was fueled by regional conflicts, globalization, and climate change. These factors displace populations, and make them vulnerable to exploitation in sectors ranging from agriculture to sex work. Shelley believes that in order to stem human trafficking's current momentum there needs to be a concerted multilateral effort by organizations, government, and civil society, transcending political boundaries. In attempting to be thorough, Shelley occasionally includes some controversial research claims. For example, while discussing trafficking in the United States, Orlando Patterson is cited claiming that the prevalence of exploitation within the African American community arises from "centuries of slavery [emasculating] the role of the father and [encouraging] . . . breeding of children without attention to their supervision." However, Shelley refers to other experts, and her approach provides readers with a broad spectrum of knowledge. For those unfamiliar with the subject matter, Shelley's research incorporates historical context and explains the push and pull factors behind human trafficking. Experts will find the book's truly global perspective satisfying. Case studies cover multiple countries in every major region, from developing nations such as Nepal and China in Asia and Honduras and Brazil in Latin America, to developed nations such as the United States and Canada in North America. For its versatility, Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective deserves a place on anyone's bookshelf.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Mario Bours Laborin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: As ideological challenges to the West dissipated after the end of the Cold War, many authoritarian regimes found themselves political and economic orphans. In this context, a new breed of hybrid regime emerged—democratic in appearance but authoritarian in nature. The democratic aspects of these regimes were mostly a product of the desire to conform to Western norms in order to access aid as well as political good standing.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Davila-Poblete, Maria Nieves Rico
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since the mid-1990s, worldwide focus on water scarcity has exploded. Attention has moved beyond the technical dimensions of water provision to the political and social contexts in which water management occurs. In many places, especially where water is scarce, control over water confers power. The political analysis of water is then an analysis of power relations. As social scientists have entered the water world, and more and more case studies are carried out in Latin America, Africa and Asia, another facet of the politics of water that has been brought to light is gender differentiation in water usage and water management. In our 2005 book, Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, we provided a framework for understanding the connection between water and gender and a review of the development of global water policy and gender policy since the early 1990s, using case studies from six Latin American countries to highlight the role of women in water management. We found that substantial change is still needed to overcome pernicious gender bias and imbalances that distort water management and lead to ineffective planning in the water sector.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America