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  • Author: A. Kadir Yildirim
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Egypt's democratization efforts require domestic and international considerations: Domestically, the country must focus on the economy at the expense of the military's political role: While military involvement in politics is crucial to democratization, improvements in this area represents an outcome, not the cause, of the process. Discussions should concentrate on protecting lower- and middle classes, generate prosperity and create common ground between democracy and class interests. At the international level, Egypt requires countries to support democratization efforts and condemn extra-democratic actions. Meanwhile, the prominence of Islamists causes concerns for Western governments with regard to the Peace Treaty and Israel's security.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Erdal Tanas Karagol
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, political uncertainties in Turkey had negative effects that left the economy vulnerable to public and foreign debt due to high inflation, high budget deficit and high current account deficit. Coalition governments failed to address these problems. Following its rise to power in 2002, the AK Party developed a new perspective for the economy, politics and foreign policy collectively referred as the New Turkey. The government emphasized fiscal discipline, structural transformation and privatization. During this period, Turkey rapidly recovered from the negative effects of the 2001 financial crisis and reached a steady growth rate. The country also survived the 2008 global crisis with minimum damage. The government seeks to meet its targets for the centennial of the Republic's establishment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Zafer Celik, Bekir S. Gul
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The AK Party has been a leading reform actor with particular emphasis on education. AK Party governments implemented educational reforms to increase access to education, improve the quality of education and democratize the education system. Some challenges, however, persisted: Turkey still lags one year behind the OECD average PISA 2009 indicators. This article focuses on the educational policies of the AK Party governments during the last decade. The AK Party's education reforms and policies will be examined through the lenses of access, quality, governance, finance, and democratization of education. The current problems and challenges of Turkey's education system will also be discussed.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel, Alparslan Nas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the conflict between the AK Party government and the Gezi activism with reference to hegemony, power-resistance dichotomy, local/metanarratives and the carnivalesque. The AK Party's 11-year rule revolutionized center-periphery relations in Turkey. The party pioneered the democratization process until the 2011 elections but took an authoritarian turn afterwards –which gave rise to the revolts. However, the protests mobilized a heterogeneous group, some of whom maintained militarist and partiarchal metanarratives while others took a libertarian stance. This paper highlights the fragmentation of discourses under the “Gezi Spirit” as well as among AK Party supporters.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Senem Aydin-Duzgit
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) faced a stalemate of institutional reform between the signing of the Treaty of Nice in 2001 and the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. Although the provisions of the Treaty of Nice were far from resolving the institutional troubles of the EU in the aftermath of the Eastern enlargement, the process for wider reform was painstaking and long. This book explains the convoluted process through which the EU managed to achieve the much-needed, but least expected institutional reform following the Nice Treaty. Thus the major puzzle, which the book tackles, is the dynamics under which the political actors changed their positions and preferences to agree on the Treaty of Lisbon provisions for further institutional reform. In other words, why did political actors shift their preferences in the aftermath of the Treaty of Nice? What were the reasons and processes that pushed the EU towards further reform?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Lisbon
  • Author: Laura R. Olson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE UNITED STATES supposedly is premised on “separation of church and state,” which means the American government should be neutral regarding religion. But is that really true? The author, a law professor and committed secularist, has strong opinions on this matter. Particularly since the 2004 presidential election that returned George W. Bush to the U.S. presidency for a second term, Ledewitz has been concerned that American secularism—both as an individual choice and a stance on the part of government—is under threat. Although the proportion of secular Americans has been growing rapidly in the twenty-first century, the successful marriage of religion and conservative politics in the U.S. might be inhibiting secularism from full acceptance as a valid alternative to religious commitment. After completing two earlier books on secularism in the U.S., Ledewitz reached the rather specific conclusion “that American constitutional law stood in the way of any serious engagement of secularism with religion” (p. xiii, emphasis mine). Thus, he sets forth in Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism to accomplish two tasks. First, he aims to detail how and why he feels current interpretation of “church-state separation” by the U.S. Supreme Court is problematic. Second, he endeavors to construct an alternative legal approach that would put religious people on common ground with secularists before the eyes of American law.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nadia Helmy
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: In the past three decades, Chinese Iranian and Middle East Studies have become more and more systematic, which is reflected not only in the great volume of publication, but also in the varied research methodologies and the increase in Iranian and Middle East academic journals. The development of Chinese Middle East studies have accelerated in particular after Arab Spring revolutions and the political changes in the Middle East (2000- 2013). Research institutes evolved from state-controlled propaganda offices into multi-dimensional academic and non-academic entities, including universities, research institutes, military institutions, government offices, overseas embassies and mass media. At the same time, publications evolved from providing an introduction and overview of Iran and Middle Eastern states to in-depth studies of Middle East politics and economics in three stages: beginnings (1949- 1978), growth (1979- 1999), and dealing with energy, religion, culture, society and security. The Middle East-related research programs' funding provided by provincial, ministerial and national authorities have increased and the quality of research has greatly improved. And finally, China has established, as well as joined, various academic institutions and NGOs, such as the Chinese Middle East Studies Association (CMESA), the Asian Middle East Studies Association (AMESA) and the Arabic Literature Studies Association (ALSA). However, Chinese Middle East Studies remain underdeveloped, both in comparison with China's American, European, and Japanese studies at home, and with Middle East studies in the West.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Government, Politics, Religion, Culture, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, America, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mahmood Shoori
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: The Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran led to serious differences and disputes between the new revolutionary government on the one hand and major world powers as well as countries in the region on the other. Many analysts have, attributed this to the idealism of Iran's revolutionary leaders and their attempts to export the revolution. Often in these works, without paying attention to the events of the years after the revolution, the roots of this aggressive foreign policy are sought in the thoughts and actions of the new revolutionary leaders. This paper, while criticizing this approach, will seek to confirm the hypothesis that the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran was molded principally by actions and reactions that took place between 1980 and 1983 between Iran and the aforementioned nations. In other words, the new foreign policy was not created to be inherently aggressive, but a series of interactive communications, in the outlined time period, have influenced the contours of this new identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Alireza Ahmadi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research
  • Abstract: Having reached an interim accord in Geneva, two governments with a tortured political history must now work to sell it and the diplomatic strategy they have laid out to their own constituencies back home. In this paper, the role of the United States Congress in the process of developing American foreign policy in general and, in the current matter of Iran's nuclear file in particular will be examined. To do so, it describes the history of the relationship between the White House and Congress and then examines the difficult task of the Obama administration to garner support for its strategy in Congress. It reviews the reservations voiced by many in Congress regarding the Geneva nuclear interim accord as well as their misgivings regarding a final agreement. As the matter at hand involves high stake politics in the Middle East, it may carry grave consequences for the status quo in the region. The possible ramifications and the way this effects the position of those in Congress will also be explored. Lastly, since lobby groups have historically had a major role in American foreign policy towards the Middle East, their extensively-discussed role in this case as well as challenges they face will also be touched upon. In general, this paper proposes to describe specifically the way the US policy towards Iran is being formulated and what role Congress plays in the process. Effort will be made to find out to what extent the domestic politics has an impact on the approach of Congress towards Iran and how Congress may be influenced by Middle East regional powers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Krol
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Forecasts of future economic activity underlie any budget revenue projection. However, the forecasters in a government agency may face incentives or pressures that introduce forecast bias. For example, agency forecasters may be rewarded for a rosy growth forecast that allows politicians to avoid politically costly program cuts or tax increases. Similarly they may be penalized for underforecasting economic growth. Where a reward system is asymmetric, it would make sense to observe biased forecasts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: California
  • Author: Thomas L. Hogan, William J. Luther
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Diamond-Dybvig (DD) model is often cited as a theoretical justification for government deposit insurance. In the model, rational agents find it in their interest to withdraw their bank deposits if they suspect other depositors plan to do likewise. When a sufficient number of agents are expected to liquidate their accounts, a bank run ensues. Guaranteeing deposits through a system of government administered deposit insurance removes the temptation to run on the bank and thereby precludes the need to ever use the deposit insurance.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Trevor Burrus
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), and Don Watkins, a fellow at ARI, give a full-throated and spirited defense of Rand's arguments for freedom, self-actualization, and the just society. The book is a clear explanation of objectivism that weaves in timely and accurate policy discussions, such as the chapter on health care, that buttress the overall point.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Melanne Verveer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When I attended the first Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994, only two female heads of state represented their countries: Dominica and Nicaragua. This past April at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, five of the presidents and prime ministers representing the 33 participating countries were women: from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Their presence was an important example of the progress the hemisphere—and its women—have made. In fact, the region continues to make progress in a variety of areas. Latin America and the Caribbean are tackling ongoing challenges head-on, including promoting girls' education, improving women's and girls' health, facilitating women's political participation, and expanding women's economic opportunities. Governments throughout the hemisphere are increasingly recognizing that no country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil, Caribbean
  • Author: Lourdes Melgar
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The time is ripe for a historic transformation of Mexico's energy sector. The 2008 Reforma Energética (Energy Reform)—a congressionally-approved presidential initiative that established or modified seven laws—highlighted the significant challenges facing the Mexican oil industry and the economic implications of a decline in oil production. The problem: it didn't resolve them. With the exception of Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution—PRD), for the first time in Mexican politics the presidential candidates this year set out a series of bold institutional reforms. These included what was unthinkable years ago: turning the state-owned enterprise, Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), into an autonomous firm that could issue stock shares—a model similar to the one adopted by Brazil's Petrobras in the 1990s.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Mexico
  • Author: Michael Shifter
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: At first glance, perhaps the most notable feature of Plan Colombia has been its longevity. Given the current divisiveness in Washington, the bipartisan support it has received across three administrations now seems remarkable. After 12 years, the plan is gradually winding down, but the U.S. allocated more than $300 million under the program in 2012 alone. Although the Plan has evolved considerably since it was approved by the U.S. Congress in July 2000, it has become shorthand for wide-ranging U.S. cooperation with Colombia to assist that country in combating drugs, guerrilla violence, and related institutional and social problems. All told, the U.S. has spent nearly $8 billion on the initiative—more than anywhere outside of the Middle East, and Iraq and Afghanistan since the end of the Cold War. Although the effort gave priority to counter-narcotics operations—and specifically the eradication of coca in southern Colombia—from the outset it also encompassed assistance for the judiciary and economic development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Development, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: 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: David Tebaldi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: One hot afternoon during a visit to Cuba in March 2000, a traveling companion and I hopped into a tricycle cab for a ride from the Hotel Nacional to Old Havana. The young man pedaling the cab overheard us talking and turned his head to ask, “Canadian?” “No, somos Americanos,” I responded. His face lit up. “Every day when I wake up,” he blurted out, “I dream of going to America.” Orlando, whose name has been changed for this article, was in his early 30s. An ophthalmologist by training, he was pedaling a cab because he could not support his wife and three-year-old daughter on his government salary of $20 a month. We hadn't gotten very far when we were pulled over by a policeman. He walked Orlando some distance away from us and after several minutes of what looked like tense conversation, Orlando returned to inform us that he had broken the law by taking foreigners in his pedal cab, which was only for Cuban nationals. Only government-owned taxis were allowed to pick up tourists.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Ukraine, Havana
  • Author: Matthew Aho
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: It took courage and a splash of audacity for Argentine Congresswoman Laura Alonso to oppose the nationalization of Spanish oil giant Repsol's stake in Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), her country's largest energy company. Her remarks in the Cámara de Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) earlier this year earned her taunts even from fellow deputies from the ruling Peronist coalition of being “traitorous” and an “española” (Spaniard). Alonso gave as good as she got, calling officials in President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's government who orchestrated the takeover mistaken, corrupt and contaminated. “You can't just wave a national flag and evoke patriotism, while at the same time you're signing corrupt deals contrary to the rights of the people behind their backs,” she said in interviews after the speech.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Argentina
  • 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: Daniel Meier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cultures & Conflits
  • Institution: Cultures & Conflits
  • Abstract: Depuis la fin de la guerre civile, la situation des réfugiés palestiniens au Liban a fait l'objet de nombreuses enquêtes et publications. Il faut dire que, dans l'ensemble du monde arabe, le Liban se distingue par sa politique fort restrictive et discriminante à l'égard de ces « étrangers » dont le statut de réfugié n'est pas officiellement reconnu. Les acteurs politiques de l'après-guerre ont donc érigé une véritable frontière entre Libanais et réfugiés Palestiniens au Liban. On peut même dire qu'une partie de l'identité nationale libanaise s'est reformulée autour de la figure honnie du réfugié palestinien, rendue responsable de la guerre civile que le Liban a connu entre 1975 et 1990. De façon symptomatique, les travaux traitant de la réconciliation post-conflit ont largement laissé de côté la problématique des relations libano-palestiniennes, tandis que la politique de reconstruction / réconciliation mise en place par les gouvernements successifs de la seconde République a purement et simplement ignoré l'existence des réfugiés palestiniens.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Lebanon
  • 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
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: Ramon Campos Iriarte
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Pimpineros BY RAMÓN CAMPOS IRIARTE Colombia's pimpineros struggle to survive in the shadowy, violent world of border gas smuggling. José, a tough-looking, dark-skinned man in his 40s, met me at a small restaurant in a crowded neighborhood in Cúcuta, capital of Colombia's Norte de Santander department, and a traditionally “hot” place for contraband and mafia violence. A leader of Sintragasolina, the gas workers' union, José agreed to see me only if we met in a public place in broad daylight to talk about the illegal fuel sellers—known as pimpineros—that he risks his life to defend. Pimpineros' livelihoods depend on the disparity between subsidized Venezuelan gas prices and the highly taxed Colombian ones. In towns like Cúcuta, poverty and violence have pushed entire neighborhoods to become “pueblos bomba”—“pump towns”—whose economies are based entirely on the smuggling, home storage and selling of pimpinas (five-gallon—19-liter—containers) of hydrocarbon-based products. Thousands of low-income Colombian families spend days and nights in their improvised street shacks, pouring gas through handmade funnels into their clients' tanks.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Business Innovator: Felipe Arango, Colombia The Chocó region in western Colombia is one of the most mineral-rich places in the hemisphere. It is also ecologically rich, boasting species of flora thought to be unique to Chocó. But due to years of commercial gold and platinum mining that have leached mercury and cyanide into local rivers, the Chocó region has also become one of the most threatened natural areas in the world. Felipe Arango has been working to change that. Arango, 34, is CEO of Oro Verde—an NGO based in Medellín, Colombia, that empowers local miners to use more ecologically friendly artisanal mining techniques. Founded in 2003, the organization purchases gold produced by certified artisanal miners, many of them Afro-Colombian, and sells it to socially conscious jewelers around the world. Oro Verde takes a 2 percent cut to fund its operations and administration, and contributes its profits and reinvested premiums to the protection of 11,120 acres (4,500 hectares) of tropical rainforest. Oro Verde's gold certification process, meanwhile, has influenced the development of a global “fair-trade, fair-mined” gold certification process.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: New York, Colombia
  • 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: Jose de Cordoba, Britta Crandall, Gabriel Sanchez Zinny
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Blogging the Revolution: Caracas Chronicles and the Hugo Chávez Era by Francisco Toro and Juan Cristobal Nagel BY JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA Venezuela has been on a wild ride since Hugo Chávez was elected president in 1998. Now that the Comandante—as he liked to be called—has left us, things could get loonier a lot faster. That's one reason why Caracas Chronicles, an English-language blog that has provided a running narration since 2002 of the Chávez era, will continue to be an indispensable tool of analysis and information for addicts of the Chávez story—a story that so far has managed to outlive the flamboyant president. With the death of Chávez and his spectacular funeral still fresh in the collective memory, the publication of Blogging the Revolution: Caracas Chronicles and the Hugo Chávez Era, a compilation of some of the blog's best postings, is well timed. It provides an opportunity to look back on the past and to meditate on the future of Venezuela as it teeters between comedy and tragedy. This is an essential read for anybody interested in Venezuela.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Venezuela
  • Author: Jorge Derpic, Sara Shahriari
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Dispatches: El Alto, Bolivia BY JORGE DERPIC AND SARA SHAHRIARI The former settlement on a plateau above La Paz is becoming a city unto itself, due in no small part to onetime protest leader and now favorite son, President Evo Morales. Blazing sun, freezing nights, roads clogged with traffic, and a vast maze of adobe houses populated by nearly a million people. This is the Bolivian city of El Alto. Once an outlying neighborhood on the high plains above La Paz, El Alto has today surpassed its population. Matching El Alto's growing profile, the city is also about to host some major public projects. President Evo Morales has promised a multi-million dollar soccer stadium and—perhaps most important—the government is installing natural gas connections to tens of thousands of homes. El Alto's new look also underlines its newfound political influence. Just a decade ago, in October 2003, demonstrators filled the streets to protest the Bolivian government's plans to export natural gas through Chile, turning the city into a battlefield. Those bloody days of conflict—known as the “gas war”—left more than 60 civilians dead in clashes with police and soldiers. The conflict set the stage for the rise of Morales, who in 2006 became Bolivia's first Indigenous president.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Chile, Bolivia
  • Author: Aldo Civico, Alfredo Rangel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Will the negotiations between the government and the FARC bring lasting peace to Colombia? Yes: Aldo Civico; No: Alfredo Rangel In this issue: Pragmatism on both sides of the negotiating table suggests a willingness to end the armed conflict. The FARC's escalating demands; ongoing attacks and intransigence demonstrate that it doesn't really want peace.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Politics Innovator: María Rachid, Argentina María Rachid never wanted to become a politician. But she is responsible for some of the most important human rights bills in Argentina's recent history, including the 2010 Marriage Equality Law, which legalized same-sex marriage, and the 2012 Gender Identity Law, which allows transgender people to change gender identity on official documents without prior approval. The 38-year-old has served in the Buenos Aires city legislature since 2011 for the governing Frente Para La Victoria (Front for Victory) coalition. A former vice president of Argentina's Instituto Nacional contra la Discriminación, la Xenofobia y el Racismo (National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism—INADI), Rachid is a long time social activist who didn't always see party politics as the best way to accomplish change. “I never thought I would become a legislator,” she says, though she adds that she was always interested in politics “as a tool to construct a more just society.” Born and raised in Buenos Aires province, Rachid came out as a lesbian as an adult—around the same time that she came of age as a political activist, having left her law studies at the University of Belgrano to focus on a new career as an activist for women's rights and sexual liberation.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba
  • Author: Kurt J. Nagle
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Infrastructure: U.S. Seaport Expansion BY KURT J. NAGLE U.S. seaports are in an enhancement and expansion mode. While the widening of the Panama Canal may serve as the catalyst for some of the anticipated $9.2 billion in annual facilities investment in the foreseeable future, this is only part of the story. Several other factors are propelling this huge investment of private capital into U.S. ports. One is the rebounding domestic economy: the value of U.S. exports has risen 70 percent and imports have increased by 53 percent since the first half of 2009. Another driver is the increasing overseas demand for U.S. exports, particularly among the growing middle class in Latin America and parts of Asia. In fact, in the next decade, total U.S. exports are projected to surpass imports for the first time in a generation. Yet another consideration is that manufacturing operations are returning to North America, a development known as “nearsourcing.” With rising labor costs overseas, a narrowing labor differential at home and long transit times to market, a Michigan-based AlixPartners survey conducted in 2012 found that 9 percent of manufacturing executives have already taken steps to “near-source” their operations, and 33 percent plan to do so within the next three years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, California, North America
  • Author: Nathaniel Parish Flannery
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Dispatches: Xaltianguis, Mexico BY NATHANIEL PARISH FLANNERY How armed housewives in the hills of Mexico are fighting back against narcotraffickers—without the state. View a slideshow from Xaltianguis, Mexico below. Angelica Romero, a middle-aged mother of two, views her reflection in the bedroom mirror. She tucks her blue T-shirt into her jeans, pulls her hair back in a ponytail, and slips a tan baseball cap onto her head. In black letters across the brim, it reads: “Citizen Police.” Only a few months earlier, residents of Romero's town, Xaltianguis, located in the verdant hills outside Acapulco, had been paralyzed by fear of kidnapping gangs, armed robbers and extortionists. But since the townspeople banded together to form a militia this summer, the crime wave has come to an end.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Gabriel Marcella, William McIlhenny
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Leaders' reactions to the revelations are really about domestic politics. Everybody spies, even on allies. BY GABRIEL MARCELLA Should the U.S. spy on its allies? Yes The reported snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) on world leaders is a rich teachable moment. It shows the underside of international relations. Spying on other governments—including friendly ones—is a pillar of modern foreign policy and a vital tool to protect against modern security threats like international crime, terrorism, cyber-attacks, drug trafficking, climate change, and stealing technology. As the saying goes, friends today may be foes tomorrow. We really don't know what information was gathered, but it caused an upheaval in various capitals friendly to the United States. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a long-awaited state visit to the U.S. because of the Edward Snowden revelations, claiming that the NSA spying was an attack “on the sovereignty and the rights of the people” of Brazil. Similarly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was upset by reports that the U.S. was listening to her cell phone communications; she, in turn, demanded a no-spying agreement with the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, France, Brazil
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Arts Innovator: Luis Antonio Vilchez, Peru Watch a video of Luis Antonio Vilchez dancing in Times Square below. Passing through New York's Times Square one winter day in 2010, Lima native Luis Antonio Vilchez noticed a group of street percussionists playing a familiar Afro-Peruvian rhythm—and immediately decided to join them. Soon, a large crowd gathered as Vilchez, wearing a button-down shirt and a winter coat, burst into a dance performance that was so impressive even the drummers watched in awe. The same kind of impromptu creativity dominates Adú Proyecto Universal (Adú Universal Project), a nonprofit arts organization Vilchez founded four years ago to re-imagine Peruvian identity through dance, theater and percussion. Financed by money the group earns from its performances, Adú (which means “friend” in limeña slang) encourages its 20 members—all dancers—to combine different dance and music genres, crossing back and forth between tradition and modernity.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: 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
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cultures & Conflits
  • Institution: Cultures & Conflits
  • Abstract: Cette nouvelle livraison de la revue Cultures Conflits présente un dossier consacré à des usages variés de la « biopolitique », issue des travaux de Michel Foucault. Au-delà de cette notion, cet ensemble est à replacer dans le cadre plus large des discussions portant sur les transformations contemporaines de l'exercice du pouvoir. D'un point de vue général, il entend en cela prolonger un certain nombre de réflexions initiées depuis une dizaine d'années dans la revue, au sujet des formes contemporaines de l'exception politique (n° 58, 61 et 68), des technologies de contrôle et de surveillance des individus (n° 53, 55, 64, 74 et 76) ou des pratiques de marquage et de mise à l'écart de certaines catégories de population (n° 49, 57, 69, 71, 72 et 73). D'un point de vue particulier, il s'agit ici, conformément à la vocation de la revue, de se placer sur le plan de l'analyse des relations internationales.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Berthold Kuhn, Yangyong Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Climate protection issues are receiving more attention in China. Responding to this survey, 133 environmental and climate protection experts indicated that the government is a key factor in raising awareness of climate protection in China. Experts participating in the survey also referred to the role of the media – in particular social media – NGOs and educational institutions in spreading climate protection awareness. Additionally, interviews were carried out with 40 of the experts, who were grouped into different categories to discover whether there were any striking differences of opinion between experts of different backgrounds. Their assessments revealed few statistically relevant differences, though some are worth noting: Chinese researchers, project managers and representatives of NGOs were more positive than international experts regarding the impact of the Rio+20 conference on climate change discourse in China. Also, the youngest experts with the least international experience evaluated the potential of green volunteer work highest.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Bruce Gilley
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: It is a commonly expressed idea that a key goal of intervention in and assistance to foreign nations is to establish (or re-establish) legitimate political authority. Historically, even so great a skeptic as John Stuart Mill allowed that intervention could be justified if it were "for the good of the people themselves" as measured by their willingness to support and defend the results. In recent times, President George W. Bush justified his post-war emphasis on democracybuilding in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East with the logic that "nations in the region will have greater stability because governments will have greater legitimacy." President Obama applauded French intervention in Mali for its ability "to reaffirm democracy and legitimacy and an effective government" in the country
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Amy Zalman
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The title of Moises Naim's newest book is an apt summary of its basic thesis. The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn't What it Used to Be is about exactly that: how the large institutions and bureaucracies that have controlled territory, ideology and wealth for the last several hundred years have been compelled to cede this control to numerous smaller players.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: When I looked at the intelligence system, as the Chief Intelligence Officer for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan in 2009, I realized that for us to be successful with President Obama's new population-centric strategy we had to refocus on the right aspects of the environment. We were focused to a large degree – I would say 95 percent – on the enemy networks (e.g. Taliban, the Haqqani Network, etc.). We had tremendous fidelity on those issues because we had been studying them for years. What we quickly realized was that we had no knowledge, no real understanding of the various tribal elements within Afghanistan. We had to understand the cultures that existed, the dynamics of the type of government that we were trying to support and the population centers in which we were actually operating. We honestly did not have any deep understanding of any of that. We were trying to figure out who was who, from the local governments on up to the national government, and we did not have any captured data, information or knowledge. We did not have that real depth of understanding that we had in other places – in Iraq it took us a while to get there. Those conditions led me and two colleagues to sit down and put our thoughts together to say we needed to do something different. We needed to completely realign our focus to the population and to the build out of the Afghan National Security Forces. We outlined the color system: the red, the white, the green, and the blue. The red was the enemy; white was the population; green was Afghan National Security Forces; and blue was us. We had a really good picture of the red and the blue, but we had no picture of the green or the white, and it was really stunning. So, we decided to put our thoughts down on paper.
  • Topic: Government, National Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Surveying today's Middle Eastern and North African landscape offers few straws of hope. Iran's reemergence producing a potential catalyst for a focus on core domestic political, economic and social issues could be one of those few straws. Whether Iran wittingly or unwittingly plays that role, the Middle East and North Africa are only likely to break their internecine cycle of violence and despair when the alternative becomes too costly. A resolution of the nuclear issue offers Iran far more than the ultimate lifting of crippling international sanctions. It would also allow Iran to capitalize on geostrategic gains it has made despite its international isolation. What worries opponents of the nuclear deal like Israel and Saudi Arabia most is the potential transformation of Iran from a game spoiler into a constructive player.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Hakki Tas
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Gladio Scandal in Europe and, more recently, Turkey's Ergenekon trials highlight the importance of hidden power networks behind the façade of parliamentary democracy. Dubbed as “deep state” in the Turkish context, the phenomenon suffers from a scarcity of scholarly analyses. This paper demonstrates the lack of academic interest in this complex issue in Europe, and Turkey in particular. After reviewing the central currents in the academic literature on the Turkish deep state, it offers an analysis of the Ergenekon affair in continuity with Turkey's recent past.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Austerity measures are painful. This is why they are unpopular. It is also the reason why governments tend to postpone them until they become unavoidable. They become unavoidable when financial markets raise doubts about the solvency of the country and interest rates on the public debt rise sharply, calling into question the government's ability to refinance its debt. At that point, citizens understand that unless tough austerity measures are adopted the situation might get much worse. They are ultimately willing to accept austerity as the least worse solution.
  • Topic: Government, Reform
  • Author: Susannah Verney
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Greek election of May 2012 failed to produce a government, resulting in repeat elections six weeks later. This shock outcome was a symptom of a broader delegitimation of the national political system. Over the past decade Eurobarometer data show a much more extensive loss of confidence in political institutions in Greece than in the European Union as a whole. In a first phase, rising political discontent was managed within the traditional political framework through alternation in power between the two major parties. In contrast, the second phase, following the outbreak of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, led to the dramatic fragmentation of the party system and changed the mode of government formation. This process is not reversible and entails serious democratic dangers.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece