Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

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Costa Rica Inches Toward Coveted APEC Membership

If President Laura Chinchilla gets her way, Costa Rica will be among the first countries to join the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) since a moratorium on new members was set in 1998. But joining the group is an uphill battle, and the president knows that. Costa Rica is now one of more than … Read more

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Afro-Bolivian Royalty

Bolivia has a king. And he is not one of indigenous descent, but surprisingly, African. Julio Pinedo—one of the many Afro-Bolivians who make a living growing coca—found out a few years ago that he is a direct descendant of Bonifaz, a tribal king from Central Africa. Now, he’s the country’s first Afro-Bolivian king in 500 … Read more

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Peru’s Humala Aims to Reassure Investors

Ollanta Humala’s 2.95 percentage point win in Peru’s presidential election on June 5 triggered the local stock index’s biggest crash ever and sent some middle-class families in Lima, haunted by the ghosts of hyperinflation and past economic calamity, running to supermarkets to stock up on basic supplies. But the IGRA index recovered the 12.5 percent … Read more

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Brazil’s Recognition of Same-Sex Unions

In a historic and unanimous ruling, the Brazilian Supreme Federal Tribunal declared on May 5 that people in “stable, enduring and public” same-sex relations must be granted the same rights as people in straight marriages.  The ruling does not exactly establish gay marriage in Brazil as it is in Canada, Argentina and Mexico City, but … Read more

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[i]AQ[/i] Interview: Jesus Aguais on Homophobia and HIV/AIDS

The annual International Day Against Homophobia on May 17 offers an opportunity to reflect on the state of the worldwide gay rights movement. Jesus Aguais, an AQ Innovator (Fall 2007) and executive director of New York-based Aid for AIDS International, talks with AQ Online about homophobia’s implications on HIV/AIDS and Latin America’s recent progress in … Read more

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[i]AQ[/i] Interview: Judith Morrison on Afro Latinos in the Region

Afro Latinos continue to make significant strides in furthering their integration across the Americas. Judith Morrison, senior advisor in the social sector of the gender and diversity unit at the Inter-American Development Bank talks with AQ online about how African descendant communities are using technology to increase inclusion as well as the role of government … Read more

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Obama’s Trip to Latin America: Accomplishments, Shortcomings, and What It Presages for U.S.-Hemispheric Relations

Typically, it takes time to gauge the full effect of a presidential visit, and the March visit by President Barak Obama to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador is no exception. If anything, because of the controversy that ensued over whether Obama should have taken the trip in the first place and because it was his … Read more

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Brazil-China: What’s Next After Rousseff’s Visit?

Matías Spektor has a feature article in the Spring 2011 issue of Americas Quarterly titled “One Foot in the Region; Eyes on the Global Prize.” It can be accessed here. President Dilma Rousseff’s five-day trip to China in mid-April yielded modest but palpable progress in a trade relationship that is now Brazil’s most important and … Read more

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A Plurality Loses the Vote in Peru and Faces a Tough Choice

Peruvians are bracing themselves for one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in recent history, with nationalist Ollanta Humala set to face off against right-wing Keiko Fujimori on June 5. The former colonel, who once led a coup against the corrupt administration of Ms. Fujimori’s father Alberto, has garnered 31 percent of the vote with … Read more

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Canada’s Conservatives and Liberals Square Off Ahead of May Election

The defeat of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government in the House of Commons on March 25 has set the stage for a federal election on May 2. But voter fatigue—this is the fourth election in seven years—may explain why Canadians are not yet consumed by election fever. The Conservatives’ downfall came after opposition … Read more

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Lessons for Regionwide Engagement from Obama’s Latin America Trip

President Obama’s trip to Latin America can be broken down as an essentially successful visit to Brazil and an uneventful trip to Chile and El Salvador. Unfortunately, the disappointing visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America has cast a shadow on the accomplishments achieved in Brazil. The main oversight of the trip is that Latin America should … Read more

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Obama’s Moment to Get It Right in Latin America

Amidst nuclear meltdown in Japan, growing pressures to respond to the carnage in Libya and the specter of a possible U.S. government shutdown, flitting rumors have circulated that the visit of President Barack Obama to three Latin American countries may be cancelled or postponed.  This would be a major setback in U.S. relations with the … Read more

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Mexico’s Fiscal Conundrum

Mexico’s reliance on deficit spending to fund environmental, social and income redistribution programs is a rising concern for its long-term fiscal situation. This is a challenge compounded by its historic reliance on declining oil tax revenue and the need for a structural fiscal reform. Without it, federal government debt will increase and future generations of … Read more

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New Revelations in Bolivian Terror Case

Nearly two years later, a new video and WikiLeaks cable are again calling into question the circumstances around the death of Eduardo Rózsa. The Bolivian citizen of Hungarian descent, along with four others, was killed during an April 2009 raid by Bolivian counterterrorist forces in Santa Cruz for their alleged involvement in a terrorist group … Read more

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Rebuilding Business after the Chilean Earthquake

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Chile on February 27, 2010, left local micro-enterprises in a dire situation. In the southern coast, where the effects were most severe, entire fishing villages and towns were wiped out. Small entrepreneurs saw their businesses literally crumble to the ground. In the most affected areas, 98 percent … Read more

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