2017 March Reviews


Patrick Timmons. 2017. Trump’s Wall at Nixon’s BorderNACLA Report on the Americas Vol 49 Issue 1: 15-24.

Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is a policy that, according to Patrick Timmons, “comes straight from [Richard] Nixon’s playbook.” Arguing that Trump won’t so much build a wall as complete the one already there, in this article Timmons details the original hardening of the U.S.-Mexico border that took place during Nixon’s presidency. Prior to Nixon, the border was relatively fluid, particularly in between the border cities of Juárez and El Paso. However, after the Treasury and Justice Departments launched Operation Intercept in 1969 in a supposed effort to halt the flow of narcotics, transfrontier metropolitan life was completely disrupted, Timmons suggests. Pointing to the ways in which the imposition of stricter border controls were used to pressure the Mexican government on a variety of matters, he posits that Operation Intercept was one example of how Nixon sowed international chaos to achieve various political objectives. These “Nixonian beginnings” to Trump’s wall are worth remembering, Timmons concludes, as the current president’s border policy could be understood as bringing Nixon’s project to a final conclusion.

In lieu of an abstract, an excerpt: Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president who made a promise to close the U.S-Mexican border to illegal drugs and unwanted people part of an election-winning strategy. Speaking on the campaign trail from Anaheim, California, in 1968, Candidate Nixon promised to deal with the “marijuana problem” protested by parents of California’s youth by intercepting Mexican drugs at the border. Then, on September 21, 1969, just eight months after his inauguration, President Nixon’s Treasury and Justice Departments launched Operation Intercept along the almost 2,000 miles of southern border in a supposed attempt to enforce federal narcotics laws…

Keywords: Mexico, United States, Trump, Nixon, Border, War on Drugs

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10714839.2017.1298238

Lindsay J. Twa. 2017. Thoughts of Haiti, Thoughts of Liberia: The Shifting Titles and Interpretations of Edwin White’s Thoughts of the FutureAmerican Art Vol 31 Issue 1: 72-97.

Often, writes Lindsay Twa, nineteenth-century American paintings were given explanatory titles to guide the viewer’s interpretation. Take, for instance, Thoughts of the Future (Thoughts of Liberia, Emancipation), the title given to Edwin D. White’s depiction of a black man reading a newspaper in a relatively barren room. While there are multiple interpretations possible, the title suggests that the subject is dreaming of emigration to Liberia. However, Twa claims that the title is misleading, that it encourages a “safe” reading of the painting. By encouraging an interpretation that suggests that the subject wishes to voluntarily remove himself from the U.S. rather than demand full citizenship for himself, the title guides the viewer away from the “bold and even incendiary” invocation of Haiti within the painting, argues Twa. Proposing that “Haiti carried far greater import and symbolism than has hitherto been acknowledged in interpretations of the painting,” she suggests that the symbolic reference to Haiti gave the painting a dangerous quality. While Twa uses this case study to warn about how titles can shape the interpretation of artwork, her article is also illustrative of how the spectre of the Haitian Revolution could even loom in a painting.

Abstract: Edwin White’s Thoughts of the Future (1861) is remarkable for its highly sensitive rendering of a solitary, newspaper-reading African American. The painting has been included in several surveys of American art, appearing under the title Thoughts of Liberia, Emancipation, a name given to it by its first owner in 1862. The titular mention of Liberia has dominated interpretations of this work, overshadowing the visual reference to Haiti, which looms prominently in a broadside in the painting’s background. This article begins with an overview of the polysemic nineteenth-century discourses that paired Haiti and Liberia, exploring the relationship between title and image. This text, however, then foregrounds the visual invocation of Haiti, arguing that Haiti carried far greater import and symbolism than has hitherto been acknowledged in interpretations of the painting. Through an examination of emigrationist discourse, debates on political recognition, American ethnological racism, and the symbolic references to Haiti in nineteenth-century African American literate communities, my analysis reveals that White’s allusion to Haiti was bold and even incendiary. In this work Haiti not only conjured thoughts of the removal of African Americans from the United States but also their revolutionary potential, and, ultimately, their ability to claim a place within society in the U.S. Thoughts of the Future, therefore, provides a significant cautionary study showing how titles shape our reception of the visual elements within an artwork. In this instance, the addition of “Liberia” to the painting’s title has neutralized the more dangerous and expansive symbolism of White’s invocation of Haiti.

Keywords: Haiti, American Art, Edwin White, Liberia

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/692158

Fransje Molenaar. 2017. Power Short-Circuited: Social Movement Organisation under Cartel Rule in Rural GuatemalaJournal of Latin American Studies (published online 13 March 2017): 15-24.

Organized criminal groups, particularly drug cartels, are a major repressive force in Latin America, and social movements must often contend with violence from such groups. As Fransje Molenaar details in this article, the state’s failure to prevent violence from non-state groups against social movements is often experienced as a form of repression, even if the violence was not ordered by the state. Using the Guatemalan electricity movement, Frente en Defensa de los Recursos Naturales y los Derechos de los Pueblos (People’s Rights and Natural Resources Defence Front, FRENA), as a case study, Molenaar illustrates how the Chamales drug cartel began targeting leading activists, and argues that it “added another layer to the complex manifestation of social movement organisation.” The author warns that this “novel form of repression under fragmented sovereignty” may be on the rise, and the collusion between various state and non-state actors detailed in this case may become more commonplace.

Abstract: This article unpacks the effect that the presence of diffuse licit and illicit power structures has on states and citizens in the modern world. It does so by investigating how a drug cartel undermined social movement organisation around electricity provision in the San Marcos province of Guatemala. The cartel's presence contributed directly to the demise of movement activity and impeded the effective development of movement strategies in the face of menacing – albeit veiled – threats. In addition, the state's inability or unwillingness to prevent the violent assassination of movement leaders undermined the legitimacy of the central state in the eyes of movement leaders. This also contributed to the reproduction of the ‘unrule of law’ on the ground through the movement's subsequent rejection of formal state institutions.

Keywords: Organised crime, Social movements, Repression, Fragmented sovereignty, Guatemala

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022216X17000062

Milton Santos (Translated by Tim Clarke and Lucas Melgaço). 2017. The Active Role of Geography: A ManifestoAntipode (published online 21 February 2017): 1-7.

In somewhat of a departure from the usual MIA Digest format, this is not a new article per se, but a translation of a piece first published in Brazil in 2000. Authored by Brazilian geographer Milton Santos, “one of the most quoted, celebrated, and controversial social scientists of the so-called ‘global South’,” the manifesto apparently provoked much debate when first published. The journal Antipode commissioned the translation of Santos’ ten theses on the meaning and value of geography in order to enlarge the debate beyond the Portuguese-speaking world. The journal has also published an excellent introduction to Milton Santos and his concept of “the active role of geography” (authored by Lucas Melgaço), as well as ten commentaries on the manifesto. Together, these various works provide an excellent entry point into ongoing debates amongst Brazilian geographers regarding the “Miltonian” school of thought in geography.

Keywords: Geography, Brazil, Milton Santos

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12318

Marcos Alan S. V. Ferreira. 2017. Criminality and Violence in South America: The Challenges for Peace and UNASUR’s ResponseInternational Studies Perspective. Vol 18 Issue 1: 64-80

Latin America is a region that ranks first in homicide rates with firearms, and third in overall homicide rates worldwide. Although the problem is not new and there has been broad scholarship on the topic of insecurity in Latin America, the article by Marcos Ferreira looks at the issue from an uncommon perspective. The absence of external wars in South America often places it within the discourse of a peaceful region despite of the persisting non-state violence. As a result, theories of peace studies are usually not applied to South American problems with crime. Addressing this gap, Ferreira employs a peace research theoretical framework and a novel method for the studies of crime and violence. His article analyzes how UNASUR deals with the issues of crime and violence by performing content analysis of official UNASUR documents. The study has important practical implications for international cooperation on the issues of insecurity within the region as it provides a detailed discussion of the challenges and tensions that the UNASUR faces in its vision of the problem and the implementation of policies.

Abstract: This article aims to present the main challenges related to violence and crime in South America and to analyze how the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has responded. A content analysis of the official documents and minutes of three UNASUR councils is presented. The councils examined are the Defense Council, the World Drug Problem Council, and the Council on Citizen Security, Justice and Coordinated Action against Transnational Organized Crime. Notwithstanding its innovative bureaucratic structure, this research suggests that the structures of UNASUR have not kept pace with the growth of violence and crime.

Keywords: UNASUR, violence, crime, regional organizations, cooperation

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isp/ekw008

David Kuehn & Harold Trinkunas (2017): Conditions of military contestation in populist Latin AmericaDemocratization, Published online: 06 Mar

The relationship between civilian leaders and their militaries have been often tense in many Latin American countries. Indeed, populism and militarism are two tendencies that characterized Latin American politics for much of the twentieth century. That is, personalistic leaders who seek the top-down political mobilization of mass constituencies by challenging elite groups on behalf of ‘the people’ have been often confronted by military coups. The article by Kuehn and Trinkunas asks an important question of under what conditions some Latin American populist presidents are challenged by their militaries and others are not. Conducting a rigorous qualitative analysis, the authors explore six possible causes of civil-military conflict: “the populist leaders’ ideological position; their degree of radicalism; the availability of natural-resource rents; their capacity to mobilize domestic support; the existence of functional checks and balances; and the effects of the international environment.” Some of these conditions act in confluence, while some reveal unexpected effects on civil-military conflict. Overall, both the original dataset and the findings of this analysis provide significant contribution to the literature on civil-military relations.

Abstract: Latin America experienced recurring episodes of populism, and of military reaction against populists, during the twentieth century, frequently ending in coups d’état. In the twenty-first century, military coups appear to have died out even as populist regimes returned during the third wave of democracy. This paper examines military contestation in populist regimes, both left and right, and how it has changed in the contemporary period. Combining fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Latin American presidencies (1982–2012) and four focused case analyses, we find that military contestation in contemporary populist regimes is driven by radical presidential policies that threaten or actually violate the institutional interests of key elites, among them the military, which in turn is facilitated by the interplay of political, social, economic, and international conditions. Counterintuitively, two of these conditions, the presence of rents and regime capacity for mass mobilization, operate in theoretically unexpected ways, contributing to military contestation.

Keywords: Civil–military relations; military; coup d’état; populism; Latin America

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2017.1293659

Alejandro Corda & Mariano Fusero. 2017. Cannabis in Latin America and the Caribbean: from punishment to regulationPolicy, Published online: 15 Mar.

Decriminalization? Legalization? Prohibition? Whatever its status, cannabis remains a widely used substance, produced and consumed across the globe. The authors offer insight into the legal and social issues that have shaped marijuana policy across the Americas and argue in favor of wide-reaching reforms.

Abstract:The prohibitionist approach imposed on cannabis by the international drug control system still persists in nearly all of the Latin American and Caribbean countries examined. In almost all of them, possession falls under criminal law. Some countries’ legislation establishes thresholds below which cannabis possession should not be considered a crime. Only in Uruguay does the law include regulation of the entire chain. • Although cannabis organizations and other groups have managed to place the issue on the agenda, in most countries reforms are still pending or have been inadequate. The inclusion of relatives and users of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic purposes has helped give impetus to the movement and to raise awareness among both political stakeholders and the public. • Many of the reforms under way do not recognize the need to regulate the recreational and cultural use of cannabis and run the risk of perpetuating the current consequences, with the persistent impact on health, security, institutionality and human rights that the prohibition of cannabis and the lack of state regulation allow and encourage. • The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean should prepare for future reform scenarios, instead of considering temporary measures that will perpetuate the same harmful consequences. Limiting reform solely to medicinal cannabis is only a partial, inadequate and temporary solution. If change is truly sought, it is necessary to move toward models of state regulation of cannabis for all purposes.

Keywords: Cannabis, marijuana, decriminalization, drug regulation, Latin America, Caribbean

URL: https://www.tni.org/en/publication/cannabis-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean

Letnie Rock & Debra D. Joseph. 2017. Topic: Addressing HIV and AIDS in the English-speaking Caribbean: theoretical approaches, intervention and educationSocial Work International, Published online: 28 Feb.

Stigma remains a significant barrier to the treatment of HIV in Caribbean societies, with significant negative effects on treatment-seeking and quality of care. In a recent article in Social Work International, Rock and Joseph argue for the need to target stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV status in the Caribbean. As evidenced by the success of several education programs and regional initiatives, social workers, in particular, may play a key role in promoting open dialogue about HIV.

Abstract:HIV has created health and socio-economic challenges for Caribbean societies. The HIV prevalence in the Caribbean is high and rates second to that of sub-Saharan Africa. One of the main barriers affecting interventions in the Caribbean is the pervasiveness of stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and marginalized groups. This paper will focus on how theory can be used by social workers, including social workers in the Caribbean, in their work with PLHIV. Initiatives taken within social work education to prepare social workers to adequately address HIV-related stigma and discrimination are discussed.

Keywords: education, anti-discriminatory practice, education, theory, knowledge, equalities, values, cultural competency, Caribbean, HIV, stigma

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2017.1295032 

UN Women. 2017. Women and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

March 8 was International Women’s Day, and to celebrate, UN Women released a series of articles and info-graphics about how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impact women. From clean water and sanitation to quality education, the SDGs, UN Women argues, depend immensely on the participation of women and girls. Click through the content, watch videos, and dig into the data to explore just how the SDGs affect and are affected by the women of the world.

Excerpt: The issue. She walks for hours to fetch water and toils in drought-prone fields to feed her family…She left her country with the promise of a good job only to find herself forced into sex work…She picks up the pieces after a cyclone destroys her makeshift home and small business…She is the provider, farmer, teacher, doctor, entrepreneur, minister, leader, mother — contributing every day to her household, society and the economy.Women and girls make up more than half the world’s population — and they are on the frontlines — often more deeply impacted than men and boys by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and global economic crises. Their contributions and leadership are central to finding a solution.With the new global 2030 roadmap and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by UN Member States on 25 September 2015, we take a look at how women are affected by each of the 17 proposed SDGs, as well as how women and girls can — and will — be key to achieving each of these goals.In this editorial spotlight, we showcase data, stories, videos and publications to illustrate the impact of each SDG on women and girls, and some of UN Women’s efforts towards each goal, including our programmes, intergovernmental work and advocacy for policy change.

Keywords: UN Women, Sustainable Development Goals, Global 2030 Roadmap, International Women’s Day

DOI: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/women-and-the-sdgs

Garfield O. Blake. 2017. Using Changes in U.S. Immigration Laws to Estimate the Effect of Deportations on Crime in Latin America and the CaribbeanSocial Science Quarterly (published online 22 Feb 2017): 1-17.

Over the past two decades, the number of criminals deported from the United States to Latin American and Caribbean countries has grown by more than 1,000 percent, and governments in those countries claim to have seen an increase in violent crime as a result. In this article Garfield Blake examines whether the record level of criminal deportees from the United States has indeed led to an increase in crime, and he finds that it does. In specific, the article suggests that a growth in criminal deportations leads to higher homicide rates in the receiving countries: “For every 14 criminals deported, one additional person is murdered in the receiving country.” Moreover, Blake finds that with each deportation the United States saves $146,000 per year, while a $2,000 marginal social cost is imposed on the receiving country. Given this impact, Blake suggests that the deportation process can be greatly improved by providing the receiving country with more information on the deportees, as well as by doing more to support the resettlement and reintegration process.

Abstract: The objective of this article is to obtain estimates of the effect of criminal deportees from the United States on home country crime that are not affected by the presence of simultaneity. Simultaneity between criminal deportation from the United States and crime rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) makes it difficult to isolate the causal effect of changes in the number of criminal deportees from the United States on crime in LAC. Method. To break that simultaneity, this article uses the timing of changes to U.S. immigration laws as an instrument for changes in the number of criminal deportees. Result. Increases in criminal deportations are shown to be disproportionately concentrated in years when there are changes to U.S. immigration laws. The resulting elasticity is two times greater than the OLS estimate. One of every 14 prisoners deported as a result of changes in U.S. immigration legislation is associated with one homicide per year in the receiving country. Conclusion. The process of accomplishing deportation can be greatly improved if the United States provides the receiving countries with more information on deportees, including more detailed criminal records and increased assistance with the resettlement and reintegration process, especially if they are not allowed to be incarcerated upon returning home.

Keywords: Deportations, Crime, Latin America, Caribbean, United States, Social Costs

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12385

Kenneth B. Haesly, II. 2016. How to Solve a Problem Like Venezuela? An Argument for Virtual CurrencyLaw and Business Review of the Americas. Vol. 22 Issue 3.

Bitcoin may not be as much of a buzzword as it was a few years back, but in a recent provocative article in Law and Business Review of the Americas, Haesly purports that it could be the solution to Venezuela’s current economic crisis. Why would Venezuelans benefit from virtual currency, and what would the institution of such a system look like in practice? Is it legal? Read Haesly’s article to find the answers to these questions, and to decide whether the currency of the future has you convinced.

Abstract: Nationalizing the oil industry has been but one example of a history of fiscal mismanagement in Venezuela, and, combined with the recent collapse in oil prices, has led to the extreme economic crisis Venezuela now finds itself in. A quick look at global headlines further solidifies that things are not going great in Venezuela. As a result of global commodity destabilization and widespread economic mismanagement by President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government, the Latin American country with the largest reserves of conventional oil in the Western Hemisphere is sinking deeper and deeper into crisis. The country can no longer produce enough food on its own, and cannot import what it needs from abroad, leading to riots and looting of grocery stores and food trucks that are often accompanied by armed military personnel. Thousands of Venezuelans travel hundreds of miles or more to cross the borders of Colombia to buy basic foods and medicine. In April, an official two-day work week was introduced to save on electricity costs. The health care system has collapsed, the crime rate is at an all time high, and hyperinflation threatens to decimate the domestic currency, whose value has been in steady decline for years. The economic outlook does not indicate much hope for improvement - Venezuela owes over one hundred billion dollars to foreign creditors, with much of the foreign debt owed by the national oil company, PDVSA. If oil prices remain low, chances are high that Venezuela will default on payments owed, bringing bondholder lawsuits and disrupting PDVSA operations that could result in the seizure of overseas assets.

Keywords: Venezuela, Currency, Internet Access, Prices, Politics, Virtual Currency

DOI: http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/lbramrca22&div=1&id=&page=&collection=journals

Mariana Lagos-Gallego, Julio César Gutierrez-Segura, Guillermo J. Lagos-Grisales, & Alfonso J. Rodriguez-Morales. 2017. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Internally Displaced People of Colombia: An Ecological StudyTravel Medicine and Infectious Disease. Published online February 24, 2017.

What are the psychological ramifications of internal displacement? Forced to abandon their homes to seek asylum within other regions of their home country, internally displaced people (IDPs) suffer immense amounts of stress and psychological burden. In Colombia, over six million individuals were IDPs in 2016, yielding a need for investigation of the impact of this mass trauma on psychological functioning and risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lagos-Gallego and colleagues take on this research in a recent study published in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, tackling tricky questions, such as how to address the barriers to healthcare for IDPs, and whether standard treatments for PTSD are appropriate in IDP populations.

Abstract: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been described as one of the most frequently reported mental condition among refugees and internally displaced populations (IDPs). Despite this, little has been reported about it in Latin America, even in Colombia, the country with the highest number of IDPs in the in the world. This ecological study assessed incidence and differences of PTSD in general population and IDPs in Colombia and its departments (32) during 2009–2012. Epidemiological data was collected from the National Health Records System (RIPS), retrieving the ICD-10 code F43.1 in both populations. We estimated PTSD incidence rates on both populations (cases/100,000 pop), using reference population of the IDPs (SISDHES and the general population was taken from the (DANE). Incidence rates ratios were calculated comparing both populations. In general population, 6619 cases of PTSD occurred (14.5 cases/100,000 pop, 95%CI 14.0–15.0) while 177 among IDPs (73.8 cases/100,000 pop, 95%CI 63.0–85.0). PTSD was 5.1 times higher among IDPs than in general population. Ranging from 1.6 (Tolima) to 15.8 (Quindío) (median: 4.4). In departments with higher incidence, also it was in IDPs (r2 = 0.4899; p < 0.01). This study evidenced a significantly higher PTSD incidence among IDPs, when compared with general population in the same territories. This has relevant implications for screening, diagnosis and management of PTSD among IDPs, especially in high incidence areas. More studies are required to improve the understanding of this condition among vulnerable populations, as well to provide better medical and psychological interventions and for the development of public policies in countries, such as Colombia, with IDPs.

Keywords: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Internally Displaced People; Epidemiology; Psychiatry; Colombia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2017.02.008

Amy Strecker. 2017. Indigenous Land Rights and Caribbean Reparations DiscourseLeiden Journal of International Law (published online 23 Feb 2017): 1-18.

In 2014 the CARICOM member states launched a bid to seek reparations for slavery from Britain, France, and the Netherlands, the first such attempt to do so collectively. It was also the first time that the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean were included in the reparations discourse, as the claim also seeks reparations for native genocide and land appropriation. In this article Amy Strecker considers the contradictory fact that some of the same CARICOM member states seeking those reparations are also responsible for contemporary violation of indigenous rights. This is a problem for the political legitimacy of the reparations discourse, Strecker believes, for if the bid for reparations is successful it would require the governments “who are already unwilling” to support indigenous development programs to suddenly pursue such. While Strecker’s ultimate position on the legitimacy of the reparations claim can be challenged, her analysis is insightful and important.

Abstract: In March 2014, a meeting of CARICOM states approved a ten-point plan of the Caribbean Reparations Commission to achieve reparatory justice for the victims of slavery, genocide and racial apartheid in the Caribbean. With assistance from the London-based law firm Leigh Day, the aim is to reach a negotiated settlement with the governments of Britain, France and the Netherlands. What makes this case different from previous discussions on Caribbean reparations is that the claim includes an indigenous component, with ‘native genocide’ included in the title and an ‘indigenous peoples’ development program’ included within the ten-point plan for reparations. Yet reparations are problematic in the Caribbean context due to the ongoing violation of indigenous rights internally. This article analyzes the various dimensions of the Caribbean reparations discourse with regard to contemporary indigenous communities in the region. It highlights the problems at regional level with regard to state responsibility and indigenous rights, particularly in relation to land, and argues that this presents a problematic element in the claim due to the fact that violations are being perpetrated against indigenous peoples by the same states who are representing them in the Caribbean Reparations Commission. Finally, it discusses the onus on European governments to acknowledge past wrongs and the potential of ‘cultural reparations’ to contribute to the Caribbean reparatory justice programme more generally.

Keywords: Caribbean Reparations, Cultural Heritage, Indigenous Peoples, Land Rights, State Responsibility

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0922156517000073

Jeb Sprague-Silgado. 2017. The Caribbean Cruise Ship Business and the Emergence of a Transnational Capitalist ClassJournal of World-Systems Research 23, 1 (Winter/Spring 2017): 93-125.

In 2015, 23 million passengers traversed through the Caribbean on a luxury cruise. An important part of the globalizing economy, the cruise ship industry has in the past few decades gone through fundamental changes due to “the global system’s changing social and class relations,” Jeb Sprague-Silgado argues in this article. He examines here how the emergence of a transnational capitalist class (TCC) has restructured the cruise business through the highly gendered and racialized “flexibilized” exploitation of labour, as well as through changing corporate relations with the state. Finding the cruise ship industry “functions as an oligopoly controlled by groups from the TCC,” Sprague-Silgado illustrates how efficiently the major cruise corporations concentrate and centralize capital, while importantly highlighting the major ecological and social costs that necessarily correspond with such accumulation

Abstract: This paper will provide an overview of the fundamental changes that the cruise ship business has undergone with the emergence of capitalist globalization and in the context of the Caribbean region. Rising profits and investments in tourism during the later decades of the 20th century and into the 21st century have been an important part of the globalizing economy. This has been a consequence of both the major technological and organizational developments of global capitalism, but also, and most importantly, of the global system’s changing social and class relations. The shifting social relations and productive activities that undergird the cruise ship business have meant gains for some involved, most especially, transnational capitalists, and exploitative and contradictory dynamics for many others. Annually millions of tourists from high consuming sectors worldwide partake in brief holiday escapes aboard cruise ship vessels. At the same time, the cruise ship business has become an oligopoly, controlled by a handful of large companies, that has driven many competitors out of business or acquiried them. Labor in the business has become more flexibilized, with low-wage workers (from a variety of nationalities) whose activities are increasingly standardized, monitored and micro-managed. While moving away from indicative development planning (with an eye to national goals), state policymakers in the Caribbean, for their own social reproduction, increasingly promote the interests of transnational capital such as with the cruise ship business. Importantly, labor and environmental protections have been stymied as the cruise ship companies, adept at public relations and skirting regulations, remain largely unaccountable.

Keywords: Caribbean, Tourism, Cruise Ships, Global Capitalism, Transnational Capitalist Class

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/JWSR.2017.623

Oscar Sosa López. 2017. Urban Mobility and Politics in Mexico City: The Case of the Frente Amplio contra la SupervíaLatin American Perspectives. Vol 44 Issue 2.

The article by Oscar Sosa López analyzes the politics of infrastructure in Mexico City by looking at the transportation reform and, especially, the case of Supervía construction. Supervía is an elevated toll road that cuts through a natural reserve area connecting a wealthy neighborhood with an important business center. Although the project had been flagged as part of the overarching commitment to a sustainable democratic development of the city infrastructure, it brought about a significant backlash from various groups of citizens united in the Frente Amplio social movement. Certain areas of a neighborhood through which the highway passed were expropriated and the citizens’ were excluded from the decision-making process. While the Frente Amplio employed various means of social protest, including alliances with experts, in order to halt the project, it was not able to stop the construction. Sosa López argues that the public-private partnership which was the Supervía reifies the patterns of exclusion and authoritarian decision-making. Overall, this article provides an important perspective on power relations among city dwellers that are manifested through the urban infrastructure.

Abstract: Study of the struggle of a social movement, the Frente Amplio contra la Supervía, to stop the construction of an urban toll road in the southwestern end of Mexico City reveals that investments in transportation assumed to benefit the larger public are in fact creating new landscapes of infrastructural and democratic exclusion. Examination of the forms of citizen mobilization, alliances among diverse actors, and the role of accountability institutions as spaces for democratic experimentation suggests that struggles against large infrastructure projects allow citizens and the state to redraw the limits of authoritarianism and the meaning of sustainability and democracy in the city.

Keywords: Urban Infrastructure, Urban Citizenship, Sustainable Mobility, Urban Politics, Mexico City

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0094582X16682781 

José Ernesto Amorós, Fernando Borraz, Leonardo Veiga. 2016. Entrepreneurship and Socioeconomic Indicators in Latin AmericaLatin American Research Review. Vol 51 Issue 4.

Recent developmentalist literature has emphasized that entrepreneurship activities and small businesses are crucial factors for economic growth, contrary to the previous common belief that larger companies are primary drivers of international economic success. However, there are two major types of entrepreneurship, the opportunity-based and the necessity-based one, that differ in the motivation of people to start their own business and, therefore, vary in their relationship with different socioeconomic factors. While opportunity-based entrepreneurship emerges when individuals take advantages of new market opportunities, necessity-based entrepreneurship refers to opening of a new business for the lack of an alternative employment opportunities. The article by Amorós et al. contributes to the discussion on the relationship between these types of entrepreneurship and economic growth by analyzing a number of socioeconomic factors behind the creation of small firms across Latin America. In doing so, the authors employ rigorous methods to test several hypotheses and outline the avenues for future research.

Abstract: This article examines the relationship between entrepreneurial activity and a set of economic variables including gross domestic product, economic growth, unemployment, informality, corruption perceptions, macroeconomic stability, and labor regulations. We use panel data from nine Latin American countries covered by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor from 2000 to 2010. We focus on necessity-based entrepreneurship, as the rates of this type of activity are relatively high in Latin America. The results show that economic growth is positively related to opportunity-based entrepreneurship. Other factors such as inflation, informality, and transparency (versus corruption) are positively associated with higher rates of necessity-based entrepreneurship. Lines of future research and policy implications are discussed.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Socioeconomic Factors, Gross Domestic Product, Economic Development, Unemployment, Transparency in Government, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/lar.2016.0055