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  • The Future of Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Voz de América’s Celia Mendoza reported live Tuesday from the launch of Americas Quarterly’s Winter 2013 issue on natural resource extraction in Latin America, which took place at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York.

    The event, entitled “Natural Resource Extraction: Where Are We Heading?” featured panelists Maj. Gen. Richard L. Engel, the director of the environment and natural resources at the National Intelligence Council, as well as AQ author Bernice Lee, research director of energy, environment and resource governance at Chatham House. During a discussion moderated by AQ Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini, both panelists discussed the impact of natural resource extraction on national security, the environment, and economic and social development.

    “There’s always a great risk to the economy for states that depend too much on natural resources,” said Sabatini in an interview with VOA.  Sabatini said that resource producers must be especially conscious of price volatility, and ensure that taxes and royalties invested in public resources have an impact at the local level. High-tech mining equipment and other technology “comes from abroad and generates fewer opportunities for local workers,” he added.


  • Bernice Lee of Chatham House Proposes Resources 30 (R30) Group

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    In a guest post for the Financial Times' "Beyond Brics," blog, Bernice Lee of Chatham House proposes that the world's top 30 resource-producing and resource-consuming nations form a Resources 30 (R30) group to cooperate on global natural resources management and to tackle problems like resource price volatility, competition, and social and political conflict.

    Read Lee's exclusive article, "The Geopolitics of the Modern Resource Boom," in the recently-launched Winter 2013 issue of Americas Quarterly on natural resource extraction in Latin America.

    Guest post: let's start an R30 Group to manage global resources

    by Bernice Lee 

    Resource insecurity is back with a vengeance. It is time for world leaders to respond to burgeoning demand from emerging economies, which has driven up commodity prices and made them more volatile, and led to supply disruptions, environmental degradation and political tensions.
     
    Governments have mostly reacted with unilateral – and often myopic – policies, alongside vague attempts at collaboration. This is not enough. The world’s top resource-producing and resource-consuming nations should establish a Resources 30 (R30) Group, and cooperate in managing global natural resources.
     
    As my forthcoming article in the new issue of Americas Quarterly argues, the world needs a ‘coalition of the committed’ which would comprise 30 countries critical to the stability and functioning of resources markets.
    We at Chatham House, drawing on our Resources Futures report released last month, envision the R30 as an informal forum – with smaller working groups – in which governments, experts, and other stakeholders would tackle urgent issues. There would be plenty to keep them busy.


  • New Americas Quarterly on Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America Released

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    AQ Winter 2013

    The Winter 2013 issue of Americas Quarterly, released on January 29, addresses the potentials and pitfalls presented by the growing global demand for and investment in natural resources: understanding the sources of conflict between investors and citizens, improving the public management of mining royalties and taxes, and recognizing examples of good—and bad—corporate practices. Plus, the new AQ looks at ways to address the alarming pretrial detention rates in in the Americas, the changing demands of Chile’s new middle-class voter, and Ciudad Juárez’ bid to remake its image and rebuild its economy.

    Our natural resource section includes articles on how a changing global landscape in natural resources is recasting geopolitics, the multiple causes of social conflict over resource extraction, persistent resource nationalism in Latin America, and how Bolivia, Chile and Peru have addressed the region’s “resource course.”

    Plus, a 30-page photo essay offers an on-the-ground look at mining projects and the communities around them. Based on a series of in-depth case studies, AQ analyzes how three Latin American countries—Chile, Colombia and Peru—have managed natural resource extraction projects in the areas of governance, community relations and consulta previa (prior consultation), value-added economic development, and the environment—and provides recommendations in all four areas.

    Read the table of contents. Plus, the Winter 2013 AQ marks the launch of our new app. Subscribe now to take advantage of our special limited-time discount


  • The Brookings Institution’s Piccone Advises Obama to Move on Cuba

    Friday, January 25, 2013

    In a memorandum to U.S. President Barack Obama published on January 17, Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution, advises the president to move toward normalizing relations with Cuba in his second term.  The memo is part of the “Big Bets and Black Swans” series of memos by The Brookings Institution, which identifies the president’s best foreign policy opportunities—and biggest potential disasters— in the next four years.

    Read More

  • Symposium: The Triangle of Sino-American Energy Diplomacy

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    As China moves aggressively to establish bilateral trade relations with resource-rich states, it finds itself not in a tête-à-tête with its partners but a ménage a trois. There’s always a third party in the room: the United States.

    The U.S. has interests in almost every country where China seeks resources. In some cases—Iran, for example, or Venezuela—the relationship is adversarial. In others—Australia, Saudi Arabia—friendly. In yet others—Russia, Nigeria—neutral. Regardless of which, Sino-American competition for resources is inevitably a triangular affair.

    Read More

  • What Can Latin America Expect from the Next Secretary of State?

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    In an op-ed for Fox News LatinoChristopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, praises outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for focusing on gender equality and social inclusion in Latin America during her tenure, and predicts that U.S.-Latin America relations will receive less attention while the U.S.' secretary of state nominee, Senator John Kerry, focuses on foreign policy in the Middle East and China.  

    After Hillary Clinton, What Can Latin America Expect from the Next Secretary of State?

    By Christopher Sabatini

    In her four-year term, Hillary Clinton has not only been the State Department's most traveled secretary of state in history, she's also been a frequent flier to Latin America and the Caribbean. In 22 trips to the region (including Canada), she traveled to 31countries. 

    Can we expect the same level of attention from secretary of state nominee, Senator John Kerry? Not likely, though that may not be a bad thing.

    By 2008, U.S. political capital in the region was badly damaged. In the first four years of President George W. Bush's administration, a number of high-level government officials made little effort to hide their preferences for specific candidates or parties in elections in Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela, violating a long-standing policy—in place since the presidency of President Bush's father—to support the process of democratic elections regardless of their outcomes. Moreover, the brief embrace of the seizure of power in Venezuela during the confusion that erupted on April 11, 2002 after troops, acting on orders from President Hugo Chávez, fired on protestors—further inflamed regional suspicions that the U.S. was up to its old habits of interventionism in the region.


  • AQ's Sabatini speaks to VOA's Foro Interamericano about Venezuela

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    Americas Quarterly Editor-in-Chief and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas Christopher Sabatini participated in a virtual discussion with Ray Walser, a senior analyst at the Heritage Foundation, former Venezuelan deputy Eustoquio Contreras, and Venzuelan lawyer Antonio Rosich as part of Voz de América's Foro Interamericana (Interamerican Forum) on Friday. The discussion, moderated by VOA's Patricia Dalmasy, focused on the Venezuelan Supreme Court's decision to indefinitely postpone Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' scheduled inauguration as he fights cancer in Cuba, and the implications for Venezuela's political future as the president's ability to run the country remains unclear.

    "There's a large part of the [Venezuelan] population that is not in favor of Chávez...and they also have to be represented," Sabatini said. "We're not talking about a totally homogenous popular will. There's a very large division in the country and this type of uncertainty and lack of transparency is very dangerous in terms of polarization."

    Sabatini acknowledged that the U.S. government's response to the political uncertainty in Venezuela has been "cautious," and urged observers not to jump to conclusions about the motivations of regional heads of state that arrived in Venezuela to show support for the ailing Chávez on January 10, the day of his intended inauguration. "We don't know if they're there out of principle, or because of the benefits," Sabatini said, referring to the importance of Venezuela's petroleum exports to its neighbors. 

    Watch the discussion here.

    Follow AQ's continuous Venezuela coverage here.


  • AQ discusses Venezuela's future with Voz de América

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Americas Quarterly Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini spoke to Voz de América (VOA) reporter Celia Mendoza in a report that aired Wednesday about Venezuela’s uncertain future as the ailing President Hugo Chávez’ ability to govern the country remains in doubt.

    Chávez remains in Cuba, recuperating from his fourth cancer-related surgery since 2011, and has not been seen in public since early December. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan National Assembly and Supreme Court have announced that the president’s inauguration, scheduled for Thursday, January 10, can be legally postponed until Chávez is well enough to resume governing—though the political opposition claims that doing so is unconstitutional.

    Sabatini criticized the Venezuelan government for its failure to provide meaningful details about the current state of Chávez’ health. “President Chávez is not being open and transparent about his treatment, and that is a good symbol of the confusion that exists in Venezuela, as well as the lack of transparency and honesty of the government toward Venezuelan citizens,” Sabatini said. “That generates a lot of uncertainty and questions throughout the region.”


  • APEC 2013: Resilient Asia-Pacific: Engine of Global Growth

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    As Indonesia takes the helm for APEC 2013, the Asia-Pacific continues to emerge as the potential trendsetter for future models of sustainable growth, trade and investment liberalization, and fostering innovation to address economic and demographic challenges. Two distinct visions for multilateral trading relationships the Asia Society will join the U.S. National Center for APEC and the U.S. APEC Business Coalition in hosting an APEC briefing—the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership—continue to coalesce in the region.

    Read More

  • In Latin America, Creative Focus Could Pay Off

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    In an article for World Politics Review, Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, proposes four ways that the Obama administration can deepen its ties with Latin America: pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strengthening NAFTA, improving relations with Cuba and building a strategic partnership with Brazil over the next four years.

    In Latin America, Creative Focus Could Pay Off

    By Christopher Sabatini

    For decades, Latin America policy specialists have lamented how the Western Hemisphere is never a priority for U.S. presidents. For all the United States’ economic and cultural ties with the region, however, America’s neighbors to the south do not face the kinds of imminent threats that tend to get a president’s undivided attention -- and fortunately so. 

    But while Latin America may never, and arguably should never, figure on the list of the U.S. executive’s top concerns, several innovative pushes across the U.S. foreign policy apparatus would not only dramatically help advance U.S. relations and leadership in the region, they would also set the tone for relations for decades to come, while making sure the region never gets what many have wrongly longed for: the president’s urgent attention.


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