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  • Author: Françoise Montambeault, Graciela Ducatenzeiler
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: After two successive presidential terms, the leader of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) – the Workers' Party – Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, left office in 2011.1 After his first electoral victory in 2002, many observers of the Brazilian political arena expected a radical shift in the country's public policies towards the left. These expectations were rapidly toned down by the moderate nature of the policies and changes implemented under Lula's first government. Notwithstanding, Lula has succeeded in becoming one of the most popular presidents in Brazilian history and, by the end of his second term, about 90 percent of the population approved of his presidency. He attracted a large consensus among leftist forces in favor of market policies, which were accompanied by an important rise in the minimum wage and pension, as well as the expansion of social policies like his flagship program Bolsa Família. Some of his opponents grew to trust him as he tightened fiscal policy and repaid external debt. His government promoted growth through the adoption of economic measures that supported productive investments, including investorfriendly policies and partnerships between the public and private sectors. At the end of his second term, poverty and inequality had been significantly reduced, which had effects not only on wealth distribution, but also on growth by increasing domestic demand. Lula's Brazil also gained international recognition and approbation, becoming an emerging international actor and without a doubt a leader in Latin America.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Davide Grassi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: The return of democracy in Latin America has been associated with a decline in political violence, but also with a failure to redress welfare troubles or restore social justice. This essay provides an exploration of these problematic relationships. It argues that the impact of democracy on social welfare and internal civil violence is complex, develops unevenly and is mediated by a host of contributing factors. The bearing of democracy on political violence has been especially weak. In some countries democratic elites played a role in reducing or eliminating armed conflicts by offering a series of political concessions to the opposition, in particular communication channels with the government and social and political rewards. However, political violence survived or intensified under democracy elsewhere, while it was eradicated by force and (less frequently) by concessions in a number of authoritarian settings. Democracy has also affected welfare policies, through the appearance and progressive strengthening of social organisations and political parties that favoured channelling benefits towards the less advantaged. Yet, welfare protection also took place under populist and authoritarian governments, and it was influenced by a series of additional economic, political and social factors.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Maria Garcia Andia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The strength and quality of democracy depend on how well judiciaries perform and function. In Latin America, after more than 20 years of judicial reforms, there have been some notable achievements. But there is a long way to go before judiciaries can adequately carry out their responsibilities to resolve conflicts, define and interpret rights and laws, and provide the framework for accessible, impartial systems of justice. The judicial reform movement that began in the 1980s—an effort that accompanied the rebuilding of democratic systems—sought to overhaul existing penal codes and procedures to respond to citizens' claims of human rights violations, and to pursue truth, justice and accountability for abuses committed during the dictatorships. Reforms were later expanded and deepened, while others did not take effect until the late 2000s.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: 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
  • Author: Jorge Heine
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: On January 26 and 27, representatives from 61 nations, including 43 heads of state, gathered in Santiago, Chile for the 7th bi-regional summit of EU-LAC Heads of State and Government. It was one of the largest summits ever held in South America, and the first time that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), launched in 2010, participated as the EU's institutional counterpart.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile, Santiago
  • 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
  • Author: Duncan Wood, Marc Frank, John Parisella
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Cuba: Port Upgrades and Free-Trade Zones BY MARC FRANK When Latin American and Caribbean heads of state gather in Cuba in January 2014 for the Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States— CELAC) summit, the agenda will include a side trip to Mariel Bay. There, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Cuban President Raúl Castro will cut the ribbon on a brand new container terminal that Cuba hopes will replace Havana as the country's principal port. Brazil financed more than two-thirds of the $900 million project, built in partnership with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht over six years—providing $670 million in loans for terminal construction and infrastructure development such as rail and road. The facility, with an initial capacity of 850,000 to 1 million containers, will be operated by Singaporean port operator PSA International. The Mariel Bay facility, located 28 miles (45 kilometers) west of the capital on the northern coast, was built to attract traffic from the larger container ships expected to traverse the Panama Canal in 2015. It could also serve as a major transfer point for cargo heading to other destinations. But the competition is already fierce. The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Panama are all rushing to improve their port facilities.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Cynthia Sanborn, Alvaro Paredes
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: During his 2011 presidential campaign, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala promised a new relationship between the Peruvian state and Indigenous peoples, in which the rights of the latter would be guaranteed and their participation in government would be treatedas fundamental.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Kenneth Bunker, Patricio Navia
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article applies the debate on the recent emergence of outsider candidates in Latin America to independent presidential candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami (ME-O) in Chile in 2009. We test five competing hypotheses to explain his electoral success. First, his support is explained by the consolidation of democracy, reflected by the disposition of voters to disregard the authoritarian/democratic-aligned candidates. Second, his support is explained by the decline of ideological identification, reflected by the disposition of voters to prefer nontraditional candidates. Third, his support is explained by the resurgence of the Left, reflected by the disposition of voters to identify with anti-Washington Consensus candidates. Fourth, his support is explained by the demand for quick government action, reflected in the predisposition of voters to consider candidates who will solve problems fast even if they do not ask voters for their opinions. Fifth, his support is explained by the declining support for established parties, reflected by the predisposition of voters to favor antisystemic candidates. We use survey data to test these hypotheses. We find no evidence to support the claims that ME-O fits any of the explanations. Though he was widely referred to as an outsider, his success seems to respond to national affairs rather than to a regional pattern.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • 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: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: It's time to measure the income share of Latin America's super-rich.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: José Raúl Perales
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The hemisphere's free-trade agreements-and how to untangle them.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America, Caribbean, Mexico
  • Author: Gabriel Marcella
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: What is the Chinese military doing in Latin America?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Zhang Mingde
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A senior Shanghai scholar says China poses no threat to the region.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Caribbean
15. Media 1.5
  • Author: Silvio Waisbord
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: New technology has expanded the media choices available to Latin Americans. But don't expect it to usher in a new era of citizen engagement. (audio interview available)
  • Topic: Government, Communications
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico
  • Author: Jorge Heine, R. Viswanathan
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: India emerges as a major partner for Latin America.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Saskia Sassen
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There is little doubt that the North-South axis remains dominant for Latin America's geopolitical positioning. But new relations are emerging and deepening at subnational levels, in turn creating new intercity geographies and challenging that geopolitical notion. These relations are a direct product of economic and cultural globalization. Some examples are the shift of migration from Ecuador and Colombia toward Spain rather than the U.S., the growing economic relations between Chinese businesses and organizations and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and the emergent relations between these cities and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Internet has allowed a rapidly growing number of people to become a part of diverse networks that crisscross the world. And nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from various parts of the world are establishing active connections over social struggles in Latin America. In other words, beneath the still-dominant North-South geopolitics, transversal geographies are growing in bits and pieces. One trend is the formation of intercity geographies as the number of global cities has expanded since the 1990s. These subnational circuits cut across the world in many directions. A second trend is the growth of civil society organizations and individuals who are connecting around the world in ways that, again, often do not follow the patterns of traditional geopolitics. The New, Multiple Circuits There is no such entity as the global economy. It is more correct to say there are global formations, such as electronic financial markets and firms that operate globally. But what defines the current era is the creation of numerous, highly particular, global circuits—some specialized and some not—interlacing across the world and connecting specific areas, most of which are cities. While many of these global circuits have long existed, they began to proliferate and establish increasingly complex organizational and financial foundations in the 1980s. These emergent intercity geographies function as an infrastructure for globalization, and have led to the increased urbanization of global networks. Different circuits contain different groups of countries and cities. For instance, Mumbai today is part of a global circuit for real estate development that includes investors from cities as diverse as London and Bogotá. Coffee is mostly produced in Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia, but the main place for trading its future is on Wall Street. The specialized circuits in gold, coffee, oil and other commodities each involve particular countries and cities, which will vary depending on whether they are production, trading or financial circuits. If, for example, we track the global circuits of gold as a financial instrument, it is London, New York, Chicago, and Zurich that dominate. But the wholesale trade in the metal brings São Paulo, Johannesburg and Sydney into the circuit, while trade in the commodity, much of it aimed at the retail level, adds Mumbai and Dubai. And then there are the types of circuits a firm such as Wal-Mart needs to outsource the production of vast amounts of goods—circuits that include manufacturing, trading, and financial and insurance services. The 250,000 multinationals in the world, together with their over 1 million affiliates and partnership arrangements worldwide, have created a new pattern of relations that combine global dispersal with the spatial concentration of certain functions often while retaining headquarters in their home countries. The same is true of the 100 top global advanced-services firms that together have operations in 350 cities outside their home base. While financial services can be bought everywhere electronically, the headquarters of leading global financial services firms tend to be concentrated in a limited number of cities. Each of these financial centers specializes in specific segments of global finance, even as they engage in routine types of transactions executed by all financial centers. It's not just global economic forces that feed this proliferation of circuits. Forces such as migration and cultural exchange, along with civil society struggles to protect human rights, preserve the environment and promote social justice, which also contribute to circuit formation and development. NGOs fighting for the protection of the rainforest function in circuits that include Brazil and Indonesia as homes of the major rainforests, the global media centers of New York and London, and the places where the key forestry companies selling and buying wood are headquartered—notably Oslo, London and Tokyo. There are even music circuits that connect specific areas of India with London, New York, Chicago, and Johannesburg. Adopting the perspective of one of these cities reveals the diversity and specificity of its location on some or many of these circuits, which is determined by its unique capabilities. Ultimately, being a global firm or market means entering the specificities and particularities of national economies. This explains why global firms and markets need more and more global cities as they expand their operations across the world. While there is competition among cities, there is far less of it than is usually assumed. A global firm does not want one global city, but many. Moreover, given the variable level of specialization of globalized firms, their preferred cities will vary. Firms thrive on the specialized differences of cities, and it is those differences that give a city its particular advantage in the global economy. Thus, the economic history of a place matters for the type of knowledge economy that a city or city-region ends up developing. This goes against the common view that globalization homogenizes economies. Globalization homogenizes standards—for managing, accounting, building state-of-the-art office districts, and so on. But it needs diverse specialized economic capabilities. Latin America on the Circuit This allows many of Latin America's cities to become part of global circuits. Some, such as São Paulo and Buenos Aires, are located on hundreds of such circuits, others just on a few. Regardless of the case, these cities are not necessarily competing with one other. The growing number of global cities, each specialized, signals a shift to a multipolar world. Clearly, the major Latin American cities have circuits that connect them directly to destinations across the world. What is perhaps most surprising is the intensity of connections with Asia and Europe. Traditional geopolitics would lead one to think that Latin America connects, above all, with North America. There is a strong tendency for global money flows to generate partial geographies. This becomes clear, for example, when we consider foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America, a disproportionate share of which goes to a handful of countries. In 2008, for example (a relative peak of FDI), FDI flows into Latin America were topped by Brazil at $45.1 billion, followed at a distance by Mexico at $23.7 billion, Chile at $15.2 billion, and Argentina with $9.7 billion. On average, between 1991–1996 and 2003–2008, FDI in Brazil increased more than five-fold while tripling in Chile and Mexico. Among the countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region receiving the lowest levels of foreign investment in 2008 were Haiti, at $30 million; Guyana, at $178 million; and Paraguay, at $109 million. Globalization and the new information and communication technologies have enabled a variety of local activists and organizations to enter international arenas that were once the exclusive domain of national states. Going global has also been partly facilitated and conditioned by the infrastructure of the global economy…
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America, South Africa, London, Colombia, Latin America, Mumbai, Sydney, Ecuador, Dubai, Chicago
  • Author: Kevin P. Gallagher, Arturo Sarukhan, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kurt G. Weyland
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Do traditional models of international relations apply in Latin America?
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Luis Moreno Ocampo, Susan Segal, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Carlos Chamorro, Enrique Krauze, Alma Guillermoprieto, Dolores Huerta
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Reflections on a changing hemisphere.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Latin America
  • Author: Eduardo Silva
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: At the turn of the twenty-first century, the Latin American Left experienced an extraordinary revival, especially in South America. By 2009, eight South American countries and two Central American nations had elected left-wing governments. Is this revival a harbinger of a progressive renaissance or a throwback to failed experiments? Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings attempts to answer this question by analyzing the extent to which these governments have improved the livelihoods of their citizens. The seven essays that make up the volume, written by distinguished U.S. and Brazil-based scholars, provide a sharp, scholarly comparison of the outcomes achieved by governments of the moderate left and what coeditor Kurt Weyland of the University of Texas at Austin calls the “contestatory” or more radical left, in an introduction that lays out the theoretical framework. This book, which was also edited by Raúl L. Madrid and Wendy Hunter of the University of Texas, fills a critical gap in the burgeoning literature on the subject.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Latin America