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  • Author: Ryan C. Berg
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Much of Brazil’s deadly urban violence is the direct result of territorial battles involving the country’s powerful transnational organized crime groups, many of which trace their origins to the country’s dangerous and overcrowded prisons. The Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), or First Capital Command, took shape in São Paulo during the early 1990s, as inmates organized against poor prison conditions to impose order and preserve lives. Eventually, the PCC developed an ability to project its influence and control well beyond prison walls and into Brazil’s sprawling urban slums. The PCC has vanquished many of its domestic rivals, enjoys a footprint in every state in Brazil, runs operations in almost every country of South America, and is now more globally minded than ever before, recruiting guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and Venezuelan refugees and partnering with European mafia groups and Lebanese Hezbollah. Law-and-order strategies that “stuff” Brazil’s crowded prisons with new inmates may actually exacerbate the problem, given that the PCC has effectively converted the country’s prisons into logistical hubs and training centers of illicit activity. To fight the PCC, the US should designate it as a transnational organized crime group to confer the benefits of multiple pieces of legislation and seek extradition of key PCC leaders.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Non State Actors, Law Enforcement, Prisons/Penal Systems, Violence
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of income inequality in Latin America over the long run, comparing them with explanations of why the whole region is unequal. I first show how land inequality can account for differences between Latin America and other parts of the world but how it does not explain within-region differences. Using qualitative comparative analysis, I then consider how political institution and actors interact with the economic structure (i.e., type of export specialization) and with the ethnic composition of the population. The paper has several findings. A low indigenous/afrodescendant population is a necessary condition for relatively low inequality. I identify two sufficient-condition paths, both of which include the role of democracy, political equality, and a small indigenous and afrodescendant population. The first path also includes a favorable export specialization, while the second one includes the presence of leftist presidents instead. The paper calls for more explicit comparisons between our analytical models for the whole region and our explanations of between-country differences. Hopefully, the paper can also trigger more research on how the interactions between ethnicity, politics, and the export structure shape inequality in Latin America.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Political Economy, Poverty, Race, Social Movement, Democracy, Inequality, Ethnicity
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Max Paul Friedman
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Columbia University
  • Abstract: Columbia University ILAS panel on Democratic presidential candidates and Latin America. Among leading Democratic candidates some basics are widely shared. They agree that military force should be a last resort and that long-term occupations are damaging. They promise to reinvest in diplomacy and rehabilitate the US image abroad, as well as trying to achieve US policy goals, by rebuilding alliances and recommitting to multilateralism on climate change, on nuclear arms control. They want to use foreign aid and international institutions to improve human security, address the root causes of migration, and seek diplomatic solutions to conflicts. There is a rough division between the mainstream, Obama-style approach represented by Joe Biden and the mayor from South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttegieg, who both believe that US alliances and international institutions are force multipliers for the United States. Together, the so-called moderate candidates have about 40% of the Democratic voter support in surveys. The progressive wing is represented by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who want to reduce US military activity abroad and also reform the global economic order in order to reduce inequality, conflict, and environmental damage. Together, Sanders and Warren have about 40% of the Democratic vote as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center began an effort in partnership with the United States Department of Energy to consider a fresh approach to energy in the Americas that is comprehensive in nature and targeted in its approach. Following a year-long period of engagements alongside six representative stakeholder countries participating, the resulting report: “A New US Energy Strategy for the Western Hemisphere,” was launched in March 2020 and will serve as the launch point for additional work by the Atlantic Council on energy and sustainability issues across the hemisphere.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Governance, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In October 2019, PeaceGame Venezuela convened global leaders in Washington, D.C. to advance thinking around how Venezuelans and the international community should prepare for the potential of complete state collapse in Venezuela. This undesirable scenario must be considered as the domestic situation and the regional and global implications further deteriorate. This high-level crisis simulation was a collaboration between Foreign Policy, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, and Florida International University.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Democracy, Crisis Management, Peace, Transition
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Elina Ribakova
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: COVID-19 is by far the biggest challenge policymakers in emerging economies have had to deal with in recent history. Beyond the potentially large negative impact on these countries’ fiscal accounts, and the related solvency issues, worsening conditions for these countries’ external funding are a major challenge.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Regulation, Finance, Economy, Central Bank, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Élie Tenenbaum, Morgan Paglia, Nathalie Ruffié
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: France is one of the few nations in the world to benefit from a permanent global military presence. With more than 10,000 military personnel from all three services, deployed across the five continents and the three main oceanic basins, it benefits from the second largest network of prepositioned forces in the world. This global military posture is structured around five “presence forces”, based in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates, as well as five “sovereignty forces” in the dependent overseas territories of the Antilles, French Guyana, Southern Indian Ocean, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Over the past twenty years, this unique force posture has been hit by a series of deep budgetary cuts, translating into staff reductions and persisting delays in equipment delivery. As a result, the current military presence is under serious strain, as some capability are now weighing on the ability of these prepositioned forces to contribute as much as they could to the five strategic functions reiterated in the 2017 Strategic Review. These considerations are all the more important given the coming demographic, climatic, economic, geopolitical, and of course military challenges that will dramatically constrain the operational environment of the French forces in the coming years.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, France, Latin America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Ebru īlter Akarçay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Early studies on presidentialism associated the design with political instability and weak democratic credentials, with deeply divided societies being particularly advised not to craft presidential regimes. Practices of presidentialism around the world later reframed the debate, as the focus shifted to variants of presidentialism. Presidentialism, in all its shades and colors, negates a monolithic set of political outcomes as evidenced by the constant experimentation in Latin America. This study scrutinizes how some reforms in Latin America served to pluralize presidentialism whereas other steps reinforced the opposite results. Lessons can be drawn from the two steps forward and one step back advance of presidentialism in the region. While the changing role of vice presidency, the impact of electoral system reform, and allowing for presidential exit through the intervention of the electorate diffuse power, the growing legislative powers of presidents and flexibilization of term limits dent pluralization.
  • Topic: Reform, Democracy, Political structure, Political stability
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Natalia Garbiras-Díaz, Miguel García-Sánchez, Aila M. Matanock
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Citizens are often asked to evaluate peace agreements seeking to end civil conflicts, by voting on referendums or the negotiating leaders or, even when not voting, deciding whether to cooperate with the implementation of policies like combatant reintegration. In this paper, we assess how citizens form attitudes towards the provisions in peace agreements. These contexts tend to have high polarization, and citizens are asked to weigh in on complex policies, so we theorize that citizens will use cues from political elites with whom they have affinity, and, without these cues, information will have less effect. We assess our theory using survey experiments in Colombia. We find citizens rely on political elites’ cues to form their opinion on a peace agreement’s provisions, with the direction depending on the citizen’s affinity with the political elites. Additional information about these policies has little effect. The paper suggests that even these high stakes decisions can be seen as political decisions as usual.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Citizenship, Conflict, Peace, Elites
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Gala Díaz Langou, Gimena de León, José Florito, Florencia Caro Sachetti, Alejandro Biondi, Matilde Karczmarczyk
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC)
  • Abstract: The Gender of Work is the result of a joint initiative between CIPPEC, the International Labor Organization, UN Women and the United Nations Development Program. It focuses on diagnosing the gender gaps that violate the economic rights of women in Argentina, and to present policy suggestions for removing the obstacles that make it impossible for women’s trajectories in the labor market to be substantively equal to those of men. In the Latin American context specifically (but not exclusively), there are three key issues that public policies should take into account when attempting to close the gender gaps in the exercise of economic autonomy. These can be summarized as (1) a human-rights perspective on substantive gender equality, that connects it with sustainable development priorities as described in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and approved by the United Nations in 2015; (2) the acknowledgement of intersectionality and interculturality when tackling discriminative societal structures and (3) the principle of integrality as fundamental to the achievement of physical, decision-making, and economic autonomy.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America