Latin America

The Etymology of “Latin” America

May 6, 2016

Have you ever wondered why Central America, the Caribbean, and South America are commonly referred to as “Latin” America? No one in these regions speaks Latin today. The primary language is Castilian Spanish but there is also wide use of Portuguese, French, English, Dutch, and indigenous languages such as Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, and hundreds of others.

In Defense of the King: Observations on Spanish American Royalism in the Era of Independence

June 15, 2016

Among historians, Latin American independence has been and continues to be a thoroughly researched field. Beginning with the personal accounts of participants in the wars of independence published in the first half of the nineteenth century, decade after decade historians have produced a steady stream of scholarship on the events which gave birth to the multiple nations of the Americas.

Civil Society and Democracy in Times of Political Crisis

June 14, 2016

Last year, the Obama administration announced a new civil society initiative, Stand with Civil Society, calling for support of civil society groups across the world and acknowledging the role they play in pushing for citizen engagement, equity, transparency and accountability.  These positive perspectives of civil society pushing for more democratic governance contrasts with more skeptical views that civil society may actually negatively impact the prospects for developing strong democrac

Reflections on the Inter-Oceanic Highway in the Southwestern Amazon

April 27, 2016

A mainstay of development policy has been the promotion of roads and other infrastructure to support economic development (World Bank 1994). In the last decade-plus, infrastructure has again been prioritized, increasingly as a means of fostering economic integration among neighboring countries (Bourguignon and Pleskovic 2008).

Authors Rut Diamint and Laura Tedesco Present their Recent Book "Latin America´s Leaders"

April 26, 2016

The research behind Latin America´s Leaders (ZED Books, London, 2015) was motivated by questions related to the democratic quality of leaders. Why do democratically elected leaders undermine democracy as soon as they are in power? Why has the return to democracy not done away with Latin America’s tendency to generate authoritarian leaders?

Response to New York Times Negative Stories

Last week’s Sunday New York Times highlighted four Latin American countries in separate mind-numbing stories.   In Bolivia, a large lake had dried up due to environmental mismanagement and climate change.  In Colombia, the peace process is advancing, but challenges remain with regards to the reintegration of combatants. In Venezuela, the economic crisis is such that beans cost 10% of the monthly salary and a cup of coffee costs $300 with black-market pricing.

Alternative Approaches to Community-Based Development in the Global South

The term “development” is highly contested and means very different things to different people.  Despite the ambiguity surrounding the concept, scholars of development have identified patterns in the way people imagine, talk about, and pursue development goals.  Among the most common definitions of development in use today are those associated with a perspective known as “neoliberalism”, which asserts that human well-being can best be advanced by the promotion of strong private property right

Expert Advice and Noncommunicable Diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean

In the world of global public health, there is considerable tension over what kind of diseases should take priority in the allotment of scarce resources.  Roughly speaking, the main division is infectious versus noncommunicable diseases, and there exists further debate within each of these categories.   A perfect example is the evaluation of the World Health Organization’s handling (or bungling) of the west African Ebola epidemic of 2014.  Many critics laid blame for the WHO’s slow and uncoor

Beyond the Left Turn: The Second Wave of Incorporation of the Popular Sectors

April 26, 2016

Neoliberalism has been defined as crucial to the reformulation of state-society relations in the postcorporatist period because it has undermined the national-populist or –as Cavarozzi and Garretón (1989) called it– “state-centered matrix”, through the weakening, and sometimes destruction, of existing corporatist arrangements (Oxhorn, 1998).

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