An article in the Sunday New York Times looks at the role of peace officers in pacifying Rio de Janeiro's favelas. Read "In Rough Slum, Brazil's Police Try Soft Approach" by Alexei Barrionuevo.
For more on Rio's new police tactics, read a recent (Spring 2010) AQ Ask The Experts response from Rio de Janeiro Governer Sérgio Cabral on how communities and policymakers can best protect citizens and take back communities. Also, in that issue, William Bratton and William Andrews propose a new strategy for reducing crime in Latin America.
In May 2010, AQ launched its Spring issue on Transnational Crime and Security in Rio de Janeiro with Governer Cabral as the keynote speaker. He was joined by a panel of security experts from the private sector, government, and civil society. Read the program summary.
The Instituto Mídia Étnica (Ethnic Media Institute) recently began producing “Panafricas: A Perpetual Return to our Motherland,” a six-part documentary series on the shared history of Afro-Brazilians and Africans. The series will showcase the ways in which African culture came to shape Brazilian culture—for example, its language, religious customs, music, and gastronomy. In addition, it will depict how Afro-Brazilian culture in turn impacted African communities following the return of ex-slaves to their lands of origin.
The multi-series documentary will be produced over two years, beginning in the fall of 2010. Each documentary will focus on one region within Africa. Dr. Carlos Moore, an Afro-Cuban ethnologist, historian and international relations scholar, will supervise the project and serve as the films’ narrator. Eventually, the documentaries will be aired on public television and distributed to schools and cultural institutions for educational purposes.
Instituto Mídia Étnica, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, was founded in 2005 by a group of young media professionals hoping to use communications media to combat racial stereotypes and effect social change. It partners with local, national and international organizations; engages in advertising campaigns; and hosts radio and video workshops to bring communications technology to poor communities in Brazil. For more information, visit www.midiaetnica.org.
Americas Quarterly held a panel discussion at the Latin American Studies Association's Annual Conference Policy Dialogue in Toronto, Canada.
When: Thursday, October 7, 2010
6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Where: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
Conference Room B
123 Queen Street West
Map of location
On Thursday, September 30, Latin American nonprofit Un Techo para mi País (A Roof for my Country) will kick off its fifth-ever Encuentro Latinoamericano. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera will attend the official opening.
Javier Corrales, AQ editorial board member and Amherst College professor, writes in The Huffington Post why Cuba's recently announced reforms do nothing to change a history of citizens being cheated by the state.
Cuba's Latest Reforms Won't Work
In early September Fidel Castro, former president of Cuba and now opinion-maker-in-chief, stunned the world twice by declaring, first, that the Cuban model "doesn't work for us" anymore, and second, by arguing a few days later that he didn't really mean what he said. While Fidel Castro seems confused, his brother Raúl, Cuba's official president, seems pretty clear about the issue. With the set of market-oriented reforms that he recently announced, Raúl Castro has essentially confirmed that Fidel's original statement was correct--Cuba's current model needs overhaul. The key question is whether the announced reforms will save Cuba. The answer is no.
Raúl Castro's reforms are no doubt significant. Ten percent of public sector employees will be let go. Self-employment will be allowed in 178 activities. Private restaurants will be allowed to add more tables. Rental markets will be expanded. And for the first time ever, Cubans will be able to hire non-relatives, and Cubans living overseas will be allowed to take part in these new economic liberties. In total, the government expects to authorize 250,000 new businesses, tripling the size of the current self-employed private sector.
There is no question that Cuba needs reform. Cuba is the one country of the Americas that has had not one, not two, but six lost decades, experiencing a deterioration of living relative to its peers steadily since the mid 1950s. Something must change. However, the current reforms won't do the trick. This is not because the reforms are, economically speaking, too modest (they are), but because the most vital political factor that is required for market reforms to be effective is still missing--societal trust in the state.
El martes, sólo cuatro días después de tomar las riendas de la presidencia colombiana, Juan Manuel Santos y su homólogo venezolano se pusieron de acuerdo para reestablecer las relaciones diplomáticas y comerciales. Este avance político pone al revés la decisión del presidente Hugo Chávez en romper las relaciones bilaterales el pasado 22 de julio, después de las denuncias del ahora ex presidente Álvaro Uribe sobre la presunta presencia de guerrillas en territorio venezolano.
To read the rest of the column, click here.
The foreign ministers of Chile and Bolivia met in La Paz last month to begin negotiations on an agenda that includes Bolivia's request for Pacific Ocean access. In an e-mail interview for World Politics Review, Council of the Americas Senior Director of Policy Christopher Sabatini -- with historical research by COA policy associate Nina Agrawal -- explains the context for the Bolivia-Chile maritime dispute.
WPR: What is the origin of the dispute?
Christopher Sabatini: The Bolivia-Chile maritime dispute is actually over landlocked Bolivia's access to the Pacific Ocean. It goes back to colonial times, when viceroys had competing claims over the area -- the Atacama desert -- that lies today in northern Chile and to the southwest of Bolivia. When the South American military leader Simon Bolívar liberated Bolivia in 1825 -- and with it much of present-day Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela -- he declared Bolivia's sovereignty over the Atacama corridor to the Pacific Ocean. It remained disputed, though nominally Bolivian territory until the War of the Pacific (1879-1884) which pitted Chile against Peru and Bolivia. Chile won the war, and part of its spoils was Bolivia's access to the sea, the Atacama corridor.
WPR: How has it impacted bilateral relations historically and more recently?
Sabatini: Chile's sovereignty over Bolivia's one-time ocean-front property has remained a point of contention between the two countries. It's also remained a raw topic inside Bolivia. In 2003, news of a plan to export Bolivian natural gas through Chile to the Pacific sparked popular protests that brought down then-President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. The leader of those protests, the then-head of the coca-growers union, Evo Morales, was later elected president in December 2005.
An ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Morales' election catapulted the issue of Bolivia's contested maritime access to the regional stage when President Chávez famously proclaimed that he would one day "bathe in a Bolivian beach." Relations between Chile and Bolivia at that point deteriorated, and they have continued to vary since that time.
To read the rest of the interview, click here.
Today the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published its report Access to Maternal Health Services from a Human Rights Perspective. The report describes the obligation of the State to guarantee that women—especially those who have historically been marginalized—have equal access to health services related to pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care, as well as other reproductive issues.
The maternal mortality rate in the Americas numbers 22,680 deaths per year. A disproportionate fraction of these cases affect women who are poor, indigenous or of African descent, most of whom live in rural areas. Barriers limiting their access to health care include structural factors in service delivery, inadequate laws and policies, and entrenched practices, attitudes and stereotypes. Among other recommendations, the IACHR suggests that lawmakers incorporate a gender perspective when designing future laws and public policies relating to health services provision.
Broadening access to health care is one of the hemisphere’s biggest challenges. This was made even clearer by the debate in the United States over President Obama’s health care reform bill. But the U.S. was late in coming to this debate. Across the Americas, governments, civil society and business are now moving in innovative ways to reform health care models.
The Summer issue of Americas Quarterly (available in bookstores and on newsstands on August 14) looks at how technology and business are reinventing health care. In this issue, Dr. Julio Frenk reflects on the health care reform he implemented in Mexico, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Panamanian First Lady Marta Linares de Martinelli join other experts in answering how to contain rising health care costs.
A new report from the Due Process of Law Foundation, Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest in Mexico, examines the criminalization of social protest and human rights defenders in Guerrero as well as the culture of impunity surrounding the torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial executions of these defenders. This report is the product of two events in which DPLF and partner human rights organizations previously collaborated—a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and a professional workshop to discuss strategies for litigation.