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  • Author: Elizabeth T. Capiero, David E. Bloom
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: This year, about 75 percent of those who die in the Americas will die of an NCD. Over 33 percent of these NCD deaths will occur in people under age 70 and thus are considered premature. Some 25 percent of all NCD deaths will occur among working-age people. Although the four main NCDs pose the greatest health burden, other NCDs—ranging from neuropsychiatric conditions (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's disease) to musculoskeletal conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis) and sense organ disorders (e.g., cataracts, hearing loss)—are responsible for a large proportion of ill health, disability and human suffering. To complicate matters, many people with an NCD have more than one coexisting condition, greatly increasing both suffering and costs.
  • Author: Alana Tummino
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Across Latin America, retailers, telecommunications companies and shopping malls are reaping the benefits of a growing middle class that is able to shop more and spend more. According to McKinsey Company, Latin America is one of the largest emerging markets in the world with a combined GDP of $3.2 trillion, boasting triple the GDP per capita of China and seven times that of India.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: China, India, Latin America
  • Author: Richard André
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The quality of Chile's universities is well known across the Americas. Two of these—Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileUniversidad de Chile—rank in the top five of the 2011 U.S. News and World Report list of the 100 best schools in the region. Unfortunately, high-quality education comes at a high cost. Chile has the second most expensive private university system of any OECD country, after the United States. And due to the lack of financial aid, Chilean families shoulder 85 percent of the cost of a university education—more than any other developed nation.Until recently, most Chilean youth accepted the cost of education as the price of social mobility. Gabriela San Martín, 24, considered a university degree a ticket to a stable, decent-paying job. She took out a government-financed loan, known as crédito con aval del estado (CAE), to pay for her studies in early childhood education at Universidad Andrés Bello.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: America, Chile
  • Author: Lauren Villagran, Mitra Taj, Taylor Barnes, Haley Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Six days a week, María Felicitas Camacho Maya, 62, unlocks the door to Lilian Michel, a bright white salon in Mexico City's upscale Condesa neighborhood. She slips a white smock over her blouse and checks her hair at an island of oval mirrors. América Luz Valencia, a 27-year-old manicurist, arrives an hour or so later, her stylish hair sleek as a black onyx blade. Once her first customer for a manicure walks in, she'll clip, file and polish hands and feet for hours, sometimes without a break. Both the business owner and her younger employee are aspiring members of Mexico's diverse and rapidly expanding middle class. They demonstrate the critical role working women now play in their families' social mobility.
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Mexico
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: "Don't be afraid of bureaucracy. Turn it into an opportunity." According to Brazilian entrepreneur Edivan Costa, that has been the guiding phrase of his life and career. But he is the first to admit that in his country, it's easier said than done: Brazil ranks 126th out of 183 countries in ease of starting a new business, according to the World Bank/International Finance Corporation's 2012 annual Doing Business report. That's why Costa founded SEDI, a company dedicated to helping new businesses navigate Brazil's often-frustrating bureaucracy. SEDI, the acronym for Serviços Especializados de Despachante Imobiliário (Specialized Forwarding Agent Services), offers one-stop shopping for businesses trying to obtain the federal, state and municipal licenses they need to operate. And that's a significant service in a country where, according to the Doing Business report, it takes an average of 13 procedures and 119 days to register and license a business. Certain businesses, such as a gas station, can require 120 separate licenses. It's one reason why 40 percent of Brazilian start-up businesses do not survive more than two years after opening, according to a 2011 report from Brazil's national statistics agency, IBGE.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico
  • Author: Luis Cubeddu, Camilo Tovar, Evridiki Tsounta
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Since 2003, mortgage credit in Latin America has expanded at an annual rate of 14 percent (adjusted for inflation)—well above rates observed in emerging Asia but below the exorbitant rates seen in emerging Europe before its housing bust. The region's credit expansion has been accompanied by burgeoning real estate prices and construction activity—now representing more than 6 percent of GDP, higher than in emerging Asia or Europe. Mortgage growth has been particularly strong in Brazil, where the five-fold increase in mortgage credit since 2007 has been accompanied by a near tripling of house prices in the main metropolitan areas.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: It's time to add another stop on Peru's archeological tour. Chavín de Huántar may lack the vertigo-inducing majesty and mystery of Machu Picchu or the intriguing juxtaposition of the pre-Incan pyramid of Huaca Pucllana with urban Lima, but it has two other important traits: novelty and a dash of creepiness.
The Chavín period existed from roughly 1200 B.C. to 500 B.C. and once stretched almost along the entire coast of Peru. The spiritual center was in Chavín de Huántar in Peru's Ancash region, the site of one of the period's most outstanding temples.
The dig has been led by Stanford University archeologist John Rick for over 18 years. Rick has been slowly peeling away the dirt covering the mysteries: a network of tunnels where he believes followers spent days underground; evidence of likely human sacrifices; and shards of delicately sculptured pottery still bearing the original paint.
Also present on the archeological site are a circular plaza and El Lanzón, a ceremonial totem that has been restored to its original condition—perhaps the best-preserved icon of a major New World culture found so far.
  • Political Geography: Peru
  • Author: Jose Luis Leon-Manriquez, Nnenna M. Ozobia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Central America is receiving more attention in the U.S. news media and from the U.S. government than at any time since the region's civil wars and domestic insurgencies three decades ago. Unfortunately, the attention is negative. The focus has shifted from the 1980s Cold War battles of President Ronald Reagan's administration to the violence associated with organized crime, drug cartels and street gangs (maras). In Drug Trafficking and the Law in Central America: Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation, Julie Marie Bunck and Michael Ross Fowler—professors of political science at the University of Louisville—provide those interested in Central America, the drug trade and U.S. foreign assistance in the region with an invaluable tool for understanding the causes and implications of drug trafficking through an analysis of what they term the “bridge countries” of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. The authors intentionally do not include Mexico, which they argue (correctly) involves a different dynamic both in terms of the strength or weakness of the state, and the nature of the drug trade.
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: China, Central America
  • Author: Wilda Escarfiller, Leani García
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Think that your mobile phone is a modern device? Hardly. While the components and circuitry may be highly technical, the materials that go into it are as old as the earth. And the conditions under which they are extracted—often in remote areas high in the mountains or the desert—are the roots of an industry that has driven the global economy for millennia, and will continue to do so. When you're standing at the edge of an open-pit copper mine, you couldn't feel more removed from the digital world, yet you're just at the beginning of it. What you're holding in your hand is simply the most modern creation from some of the oldest materials in the world, and a lot of history in getting them there. Here are some of the more basic elements that go into our mobile phones, and where they are found in our hemisphere. Data is from 2010 and measured in short tons.
  • Author: Bernice Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The specter of resource insecurity is back. Intensified resource stress, driven in part by the booming demand from emerging economies and a decade of tight commodity markets, is reshaping the global economy. Whether the resources are actually diminishing is a matter of debate, but one thing is clear: the resources sector is increasingly characterized by supply disruptions, volatile prices and rising political tensions over access. In many places, myopic government policies have exacerbated the challenges.
  • Author: Hal Weitzman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America's political Left has displayed symptoms of bipolarity for much of the past decade. An early purveyor of this diagnosis was Jorge Castañeda, former Mexican foreign secretary (2001-2003), who in 2004 identified what he called "two Lefts" in a piece for Project Syndicate. One Left had "truly socialist and progressive roots" that was "following pragmatic, sensible and realistic paths." The other stemmed from "a populist, purely nationalist past" that had "proven much less responsive to modernizing influences."
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Richard M. Abord, Ashley D. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Each year, millions of people across the world find themselves in jail without being convicted of anything-often for months at a time-as they await trial. Alarmingly, although the rights to liberty, security and equal justice under the law are cornerstones of justice systems throughout the Americas, pretrial detention is being employed at rates two to five times greater than the international average, and its use continues to grow unabated.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Anthony Bebbington
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The extraction of oil, natural gas and minerals is transforming Latin America. The conflicts that accompany this extraction have become part of the social and political landscape in much of the region. Some of this conflict has been violent. In June 2009, a confrontation between protestors and police in Bagua, Peru left at least 43 people dead, including 33 policemen. In September 2011, the Bolivian government cracked down on protestors who marched from Trinidad to La Paz in opposition to a highway designed to pass through the Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure (Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park-TIPNIS) that, among other things, would have facilitated hydrocarbon extraction. Mining Watch reports that since 2008, four activists have been murdered in Cabañas, El Salvador, where Canada's Pacific Rim Mining Corporation hopes to open a new gold mine; local organizations believe these deaths are linked to the mining project. In the Cajamarca region of Peru, site of the Yanacocha gold mine, many activists and protestors have been harassed and some killed for over a decade.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Anita Isaacs, Rachel Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The imposing statue of Anastasio Tzul, the nineteenth-century Guatemalan Indigenous intellectual and resistance leader, has presided over the tree-lined square in the town of Totonicapán in western Guatemala for as long as anyone can remember. But on a recent visit, it stood in mourning. Tzul, gripping the wooden cane carried by traditional Mayan authorities, was shrouded in a cape of black cloth, and the Guatemalan flag behind him was replaced with a sheet of black plastic, flying at half-staff. Scraps of paper carrying words of remembrance, of sorrow and fury, were haphazardly taped to the statue's base, and passersby—men and women, young and old—circled the figure reading each of the hand-scrawled messages. Although they said little, their faces made their feelings clear: pain, stoicism and defiance.
  • Author: Mari Hayman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Propelled by the skyrocketing global price of minerals, illegal mining has recently come into focus as a major environmental and social concern. Images of pristine rainforest scarred by clear-cuts, toxic mercury released into rivers and the air, and accounts of human trafficking, child labor and prostitution in remote mining encampments all point to the need for Latin American governments to rein in the practice.
  • Author: Rosemary Thorp, Jose Carlos Orihuela, Maritza Paredes
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A country's ownership of rich natural resources is not necessarily a blessing. It presents a set of extraordinary challenges for policy makers. Bonanzas in foreign exchange all too easily create overvaluation and undermine efforts at economic diversification. At the socio-political level, mineral exploitation provokes intractable social conflicts, while the prospect of environmental contamination is ever-present.
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America
  • Author: Gregory Elacqua, Cristobal Aninat
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Chile's middle class has always played a key role in the country's politics. In the first four presidential elections after the 1989 democratic transition, middle-class voters were a decisive factor in the victories of center-left Concertación candidates Patricio Aylwin, Eduardo Frei, Ricardo Lagos, and Michelle Bachelet. By 2009, however, Chile's middle class turned away from the Concertación and voted for Sebastián Piñera, a center-right businessman and former senator who became the country's first non-Concertación president since the return to democracy.
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Francisco Panizza, Jon Samuel, Anthony Hodge, Lisa Sachs, Edwin Julio Palomino Cadenas
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: To secure a positive development outcome from mining, governments first need to create the conditions that will attract investment in new mines. This starts with open and honest means of allocating mineral exploration and development rights, the rule of law, a stable regulatory and fiscal regime, and openness to foreign investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Joseph J. Kolb
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Documenting the return of civic and economic normalcy to a city under siege. Civic and economic life is coming back to a city once synonymous with gangland murders and violence against women. The lunch shift is in full swing at Viva Juárez restaurant. After a morning of shopping, pedestrians trickle into the popular eatery on Avenida Benito Juárez, where cooks chop onions and peppers at a formica counter and the aroma of carnitas wafts onto the sidewalk. The mood inside Viva Juárez and on the nearby streets is relaxed. But the bullet holes in the peeled and faded burnt-orange façade of the nearby Del Pueblo restaurant, closed down after a shooting, are stark reminders of the city's recent history as the “Murder Capital of the World.”
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: David C. Brotherton, Carlos E. Ponce
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: After decades of gang-related violence, resulting in unfathomable bloodshed and a worsening security crisis, change has come to El Salvador. One reason is the truce signed by the notorious street gangs Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18—now nearing its one-year anniversary. In the process, El Salvador has transformed itself from a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world to a regional leader on solutions for combating gang violence. The outcomes of the truce are unequivocal. The homicide rate has dropped 60 percent, from 14 per day before the truce to five per day today. Extortion has declined by 10 percent and kidnappings have fallen by 50 percent, according to the Salvadoran government. And due to less punitive crackdowns on gangs, fewer young people are serving time in the most overcrowded prison system in Central America, where 27,000 inmates languish in institutions built for 7,000. Now residents in poor communities once paralyzed by fear and intimidation are again engaged in rebuilding a society still ravaged by the civil war that ended 21 years ago.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Central America, El Salvador
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Andrea Baranenko, Venezuela Latin America is moving forward, but Venezuela is moving in the opposite direction,” says Andrea Baranenko, a 28-year-old Venezuelan filmmaker whose recent documentary, Yo Indocumentada (I, Undocumented), exposes the struggles of transgender people in her native country. The film, Baranenko's first feature-length production, tells the story of three Venezuelan women fighting for their right to have an identity. Tamara Adrián, 58, is a lawyer; Desirée Pérez, 46, is a hairdresser; and Victoria González, 27, has been a visual arts student since 2009. These women share more than their nationality: they all carry IDs with masculine names that don't correspond to their actual identities. They're transgender women, who long ago assumed their gender and now defend it in a homophobic and transphobic society.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Reform
  • Political Geography: America, Venezuela, Guatemala
  • Author: Aurora Garcia Ballesteros, Beatriz Cristina Jiminez Blasco
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America has historically played an important role in Spain's migratory cycles—both as a sender and as a recipient. Spanish political immigration to the hemisphere surged following the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and again after World War II, when Spaniards flocked to Latin America for economic reasons. The flow reversed with the late-1980s economic crises in Latin America. Between 1996 and 2010, Latin Americans in Spain—measured by those who obtained Spanish citizenship—grew nearly tenfold, from 263,190 to 2,459,089. Now Europe's economic crisis, which has acutely affected Spain, is causing the flows to shift again. According to data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE), for the first time in this century, more people are now leaving Spain than moving to it. Net migration in 2011 was reported at negative 50,090 people, with 507,740 leaving Spain and 457,650 arriving.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, War
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Spain
  • Author: Olivia Crellin
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In October 1988, a national plebiscite to extend the military rule of then-Chilean President Augusto Pinochet was voted down by 56 percent of the electorate. This transformational event has been re-imagined 24 years later in a film named after the “No” coalition of 16 political parties that led the opposition campaign.No is the third and final work in a cinematic depiction of the period of Pinochet's rule (1973–1989) by Chilean director Pablo Larraín, 36. The first two were Tony Manero (2008) and Post Mortem (2010). The 110-minute film, starring Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, is based on Plebiscito, an unproduced play by Chilean novelist Antonio Skármeta about René Saavedra, a young advertising executive who spearheaded the “No” campaign and managed to outflank the pro-Pinochet forces, who were outspending the opposition 30-to-1, with a shrewd messaging strategy that mobilized almost 4 million supporters.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Uruguay, Chile, Havana
  • 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: Leani García
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There's no denying it; whether it's share of trade or percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the hemi sphere, the U.S.' economic presence has decreased. Even when the U.S. didn't slip a place in terms of a trade partner, its overall share of countries' imports or exports declined across the board, while other countries' increased—especially China's. In the same period, in Argentina and Brazil, the share of U.S. FDI declined by 22% and 27%, respectively.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, 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: 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: Alejandro M. Werner, Oya Celasun
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America has bounced back economically in the past decade. Between 2002 and 2012, the region has seen strong and stable growth, low inflation and improved economic fundamentals. As a result, the weight of the region in global economic output increased from about 6 percent in the 1990s to 8 percent in 2012. With that has come a greater voice in the global economy.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Seth Colby
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In November 2009, the cover of The Economist showed the iconic Christ statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro blasting off into outer space. This image, along with the cover headline, "Brazil Takes Off," represented the Carnaval-like euphoria about Brazil that infected journalists and financial markets at the time, buoyed by the country's impressive economic performance in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Mariano Bertucci
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The study of what scholars focus on and debate helps to shape how policy is understood and discussed in the public realm and, sometimes, even made. However, a close look at the past three decades of scholarly publications on U.S.–Latin American relations, covering 174 peer-reviewed articles and 167 non-edited books, reveals a disconnect with many of the themes and realities in the region today.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Daniel Kurtz-Phelan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In June 2003, Brazil's then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva found himself on the sidelines of a G8 summit in France, along with his counterparts from India and South Africa. They had been invited to the summit as observers, but the invitation served mostly to underscore a common frustration. "What is the use of being invited for dessert at the banquet of the powerful?" as Lula later put it. "We do not want to participate only to eat the dessert; we want to eat the main course, dessert and then coffee."
  • Political Geography: India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Shefga Siegel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, prices of major commodities (e.g., oil, coal, copper, gold, silver, tin, and iron ore) have skyrocketed, igniting a global boom in natural resources. Before this fairly recent development, a common assumption was that the world was entering a period of resource scarcity, most notably for oil, which would accelerate an eventual transition to renewable energy and weaken the reliance on carbon-loaded fossil fuels. While popular perceptions of oil and gas extraction are marked by explosive gushers needing only to be pumped—think of the 2007 film There Will Be Blood—deposits of commonly used resources are deeper, more remote, require more mining and processing, are more energy- and water-intensive, and more toxic than such images represent.
  • Topic: Environment, Oil, Natural Resources
  • 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: Quentin Delpech
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Guate-Mara: the Extortion Economy in GuatemalaBY QUENTIN DELPECH The maras add union-busting to their repertoire of murder and extortion. Behind the walls of export-processing zones in Mixco and Villa Nueva on the outskirts of Guatemala City, apparel workers assemble, sew, label, inspect, and iron millions of garments, packing them in cartons bound for the United States. For more than 30 years, Guatemala's maquilas have been a hub of the global economy; but lately, these plants have been the center of a much darker story. They've become the prime targets of the maras, gangs of criminals that are flourishing in this Central American nation.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: America, Guatemala
  • Author: 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: Jose Antonio Caballero
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Judiciary: The Courts in Mexico BY JOSÉ ANTONIO CABALLERO The steady process of change in judicial organizations in Mexico, which began in the mid-1990s, was given a major boost in the past few years with four constitutional amendments. The most significant is a 2008 amendment requiring that all state and federal judicial systems transition from a written-based inquisitorial system to an oral-based accusatorial one by 2016. This will bring greater transparency while better protecting the rights of the accused and allowing for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Halfway into the transition phase, though, the processes' slow implementation poses a risk that states won't meet the 2016 deadline.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Central America, Caribbean, Mexico
  • Author: Robin Dean
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The crowd at Rock al Parque 2012. Photo: Diego Santacruz/AP Rock al Parque With one of the richest musical cultures in the Americas, Colombia has added rock to its repertoire. Devout fans of the music that inspired generations of American and British teenagers since the 1950s have been gathering every year in Bogotá's Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park for Rock al Parque (Rock in the Park), the region's largest annual rock festival.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Colombia, Jamaica
  • Author: 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
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: We created the Social Inclusion Index last year for the fifth anniversary issue of AQ to provide a more nuanced and multifaceted discussion of a topic that is very much on the agenda of policymakers, multilateral agencies and politicians.
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Michael Levi, Jason Bordoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The energy landscape in the Americas has shifted dramatically in just a few years. Only a decade ago, experts expected most of the world's new oil supplies to come from the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Now the odds are that most of the growth in global oil supplies will come from North America and Brazil. Just five years ago, conventional wisdom held that North America would become a big importer of natural gas—with some supplies coming from its neighbors to the south. Now, a boom in natural gas production raises the prospect that the U.S. will become a gas exporter. This is occurring at a time when developing countries in Asia are driving the growth in world oil demand. The collision of these trends is radically reshaping the global energy map—reducing oil imports to Europe and North America while increasing shipments from producers in the Middle East, Africa and Russia to the Pacific Rim.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Canada, Germany, North America
  • Author: Ban Ki-moon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The private sector has long been a key partner for the United Nations on advancing sustainable development initiatives throughout the world. Today, climate change presents one of the most urgent global challenges to sustainable development, and it will demand the support and engagement of the private sector to confront it effectively. Investing in green energy is not only the right thing to do morally, but also, for companies who take it up, benefits the bottom line.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: New York, United Nations
  • Author: Steven Cohen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Climate change has been called the biggest global challenge of the current generation. As scientific uncertainty has diminished, climate change has emerged as an important item on the international institutional agenda.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • 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: Claire Casey
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Brazil's pro-álcool (pro alcohol) policy, which for decades had sought to substitute gasoline with locally produced sugarcane ethanol—a goal once dismissed as folly—suddenly became a world model. Brazil was hailed as the "Saudi Arabia of biofuels," and massive investment plans were launched. That year, my firm, Garten-Rothkopf, published the first major study of global biofuels markets, investment, innovation, and infrastructure. We found that Brazil had the conditions for sustained global competitiveness in this nascent industry, but faced multiple hurdles. Seven years later, that industry is limping along—short on investment and unable to compete in its own domestic market. The unfulfilled promise of Brazilian ethanol reflects a broader tension in the country's energy policy, a tension that has plagued Brazil's new energy projects—from the exploitation of its massive pré-sal (pre-salt) oil reserves to its rich wind resources—and remains a factor in the development of new shale resources. Brazil can become a net exporter of energy. The abundance of its domestic energy resource wealth, both renewable and fossil, is extraordinary. Yet today, the Brazilian government faces energy supply challenges in both fuels and power, as it struggles with stagnant economic growth and a mix of energy policies that can only be called unsustainable.
  • Topic: Biofuels
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Jennifer McCoy, Michael McCarthy
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In April 14, Venezuelans turned out en masse for a special presidential election. More than 79 percent of the electorate voted to fill the 2013–2019 term left vacant by Hugo Chávez' March 5 death from cancer. The photo-finish surprised and captivated the country, with interim President Nicolás Maduro defeating opposition Governor Henrique Capriles by a slim margin, 1.5 percent, or around 220,000 votes. Capriles reacted by demanding first a recount and then filing a claim to nullify the elections—a sharp contrast to his acceptance of his 11-point loss to Chávez in the October 2012 election. The events raised two questions: the first over Chávez' seemingly (and unexpectedly) weak legacy to Venezuela's electoral politics; the second over whether the opposition's rejection of the electoral results—and by implication, the system—is likely to become an enduring feature of their political strategy.
  • Political Geography: Venezuela