Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, discusses how Latin America’s vulnerable middle classes can better achieve social and economic stability in a special article for CNN World-GPS.
By Christopher Sabatini
Whether its growth is being hailed as a major advance for Latin America or its alleged decline in the developed world is taken as a sign of the global North’s impending fall, the middle class has assumed almost totemic status in popular discussions. The reality, though, is more complex.
The confusion stems in large part from how we define the middle class.
In the seemingly interminable 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign, the U.S middle class loomed like an endangered species, so much time was spent by the candidates positioning themselves as the savior of the supposedly beleaguered middle class. Lost within the debate was the matter of whether the U.S. middle class was actually shrinking and why – or why not.
Americas Quarterly Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini spoke to Laura Ingle on Fox News’ “On the Hunt” on Thursday to analyze whether reforms to Cuba’s migration policy will bring real change to ordinary Cubans, and how the U.S. should respond.
During the interview, Sabatini discussed the Cuban government’s new laws and regulations governing travel and emigration, promulgated in October 2012 and set to go into effect on January 14. The reforms have liberalized the Cuba’s travel and emigration policies by removing a 50-year-old requirement that Cubans secure an exit visa before leaving the country, and by extending the amount of time they can live overseas, among other changes.
Jason Marczak, Senior Editor of Americas Quarterly and Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, discusses in an article for the Miami Herald the innovative efforts by El Salvador's private-sector to reduce violence and re-insert former gang members into society.
By Jason Marczak
Nine months after a gang truce more than halved the daily homicide rate in El Salvador, a new agreement between the maras and the facilitators of the peace process promises to pave the way for a long-term solution to the criminal violence that has gripped the country since the end of the civil war. The Dec. 4 pact will create 10 nationwide peace zones in which gangs will commit to end all homicides, extortions, thefts, and kidnapping.
The plan is intended to provide a first step in which gang members (mareros) will begin to reinsert themselves into society.
But where do they go? Former gang members — often tattooed and with little or no formal education or work experience — are at an inherent disadvantage in competing for jobs. In a country with high youth unemployment and underemployment, businesses are understandably either reluctant to take their chances in hiring former gang members or do not have the right employment opportunities.
Agentes de Cambio (Agents of Change), a free month-long arts and music celebration in Bogotá, kicked off on December 1 in Bogotá’s Parque 93 as part of a campaign to fight racism and discrimination around the world. Agentes de Cambio is sponsored by the Ford Foundation in celebration of its 50 years of work supporting leaders of social and political change in Latin America.
The concert series will be held throughout the month of December and will feature artists like Susana Baca, the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra and Totó La Momposina. This Tuesday, the Afro-Colombian hip-hop group ChocQuibTown, which was featured in the Summer 2010 issue of Americas Quarterly, performed in the park as a surprise guest.
Americas Quarterly Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini and World Bank Senior Economist Jamele Rigolini spoke to The Takeaway's John Hockenberry to discuss the definition and growth of Latin America’s middle class.
During the interview on Monday, Sabatini and Rigolini discussed the recently-released issue of the Fall 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly, “Latin America’s Real Middle Class,” and the World Bank report on the Latin American middle class that was published in early November. Rigolini also contributed an article to the latest AQ, entitled “Latin America’s Middle Class in Global Perspective.”
Both Sabatini and Rigolini agreed that economic growth was a fundamental driver of Latin America’s middle-class expansion, which has swelled by 50 million people in the last 10 years to include roughly one-third of all people living in the Western Hemisphere. Improvements in social policy, including universal health care, insurance, and pension plans, have also been important drivers of middle-class growth.
This Monday, AQ Editor-in-Chief and AS/COA Senior Director of Policy Christopher Sabatini appeared as a guest on Pura Política, a weekly political talk show on NY1 Noticias hosted by Juan Manuel Benítez.
During the interview, Sabatini announces the launch of the Fall 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly, entitled “Latin America’s Real Middle Class.” While he acknowledges the progress that Latin America has made over the last 20 years in overcoming poverty and inequality, Sabatini highlights the fact that Latin America’s middle class remains economically vulnerable. “We have to be very clear,” Sabatini says. “This is not the middle class of the developed world. Nonetheless, it is very important in that it’s consuming more, it represents a new market for investment, and it represents a new frontier for business.”
Americas Quarterly is pleased to announce the launch of its new software application, the AQ app, for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, and Android. The AQ app offers all the features of the full print edition of Americas Quarterly to our readers with mobile devices, starting with the new Fall 2012 Issue, Latin America’s Real Middle Class.
The new app contains AQ text-formatted articles that can be downloaded, bookmarked and read offline in a digital version of the print edition. Stay tuned for new features for the AQ app, available in the coming months, which will include special access to video, slideshows, and interactive features from the print edition.
Starting now, the app can be downloaded for free, directly from iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play onto your mobile device. The free app download includes a complimentary RSS feed of all new AQ Online content.
In his article, Shannon discusses the Brazilian diplomatic initiative Science Without Borders as a way to promote Brazil's scientific and economic capabilites in the future. By partnering with academic institutions in a core group of countries, including the United States and Canada, this innovative new government program will fund study abroad scholarships for 75,000 Brazilian students, with an additional 26,000 scholarships funded through the private sector. In the end, this public-private partnership would enable Brazilian students to acquire scientific and technical skills abroad while mastering foreign languages and interning at major science and technology companies. In return, the U.S. will benefit from young Brazilians' increased exposure to our country, new contacts with emerging international leaders in science in technology, increased diversity in U.S. science and education programs, and stronger bonds with Brazil's science and technology sector.
by Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
Intercâmbios educacionais em ciências são uma grande ideia, talvez uma das iniciativas diplomáticas mais importantes das políticas do continente. Mas passar por todos os obstáculos para concretizar uma meta tão simples e poderosa não é tão fácil quanto parece.
Durante encontro no Brasil em março do ano passado, o presidente americano, Barack Obama, e a presidente brasileira, Dilma Rousseff, conversaram sobre um plano para enviar 101 mil estudantes brasileiros para o exterior estudar ciências, engenharia, matemática e tecnologia. Anunciada logo depois, a iniciativa Ciência sem Fronteiras indicou o interesse da presidente Dilma Rousseff em marcar seu mandato com a construção de uma porta em seu país para o século 21. Um pouco antes do tête-à-tête, Obama havia anunciado seus planos de enviar 100 mil estudantes americanos para a Ásia e prometeu divulgar uma iniciativa similar para a América Latina em Santiago, no Chile — a parada seguinte da sua visita à América Latina em 2011. Durante o encontro em Brasília, os dois líderes conversaram sobre a importância de usar a educação para melhorar a capacidade dos países em ciência e engenharia e assim impulsionar o desenvolvimento econômico, promover a mobilidade social e intensificar a inovação.
A presidente Dilma Rousseff já vinha trabalhando em um plano destinado a usar programas de estudo no exterior para internacionalizar o ensino superior brasileiro e acelerar o desenvolvimento científico e tecnológico do Brasil. Impressionada com a abrangência e a ambição da iniciativa americana, ela se comprometeu a igualá-la.
Quatro meses depois, em julho de 2011, a presidente Dilma Rousseff lançou o Ciência sem Fronteiras no Palácio do Planalto, comprometendo seu governo a financiar integralmente 75 mil bolsas para o estudo no exterior e anunciando compromissos do setor privado brasileiro com o financiamento de outras 26 mil bolsas.
Inicialmente, o foco foi em um grupo principal de países com universidades capazes de receber um grande fluxo de estudantes brasileiros: Estados Unidos, Canadá, Grã-Bretanha, França, Alemanha e Itália. Logo depois, outros países como China, Rússia, Índia, Suécia, Irlanda e Bélgica se apresentaram para oferecer vagas em suas universidades aos ávidos estudantes brasileiros.
Read the rest of the article in Portuguese here.
Meet Latin America's Real Middle Class: What they Believe, What they Purchase, What they Want
Jason Marczak, Senior Editor of Americas Quarterly and Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, examines the role of Latino voters in the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama in an article for El Universal published on November 9.
by Jason Marczak
El presidente Barack Obama fue relecto el martes con un amplio margen en el Colegio Electoral y con victorias en la mayoría de los estados clave.
Su triunfo fue el resultado de una campaña eficiente y estructurada, pero también de la gran afluencia electoral de la población latina y su tendencia a votar por el Partido Demócrata.
En este sentido, a menos que el partido republicano modifique su mensaje hacia los latinos, su contienda será cuesta arriba en futuras elecciones presidenciales.
Uno de cada diez votantes que participaron es de origen latino, y 71% de estos electores apoyaron al presidente—una gran ventaja en relación al 27% de latinos que apoyaron al candidato Mitt Romney. Históricamente, la población latina ha votado a favor del Partido Demócrata, pero este nuevo margen de diferencia de 44%—el más grande desde que Bill Clinton ganó el 51% del voto latino, en 1996—es significativo debido a que el número de votantes de origen latino ha crecido en 13 millones desde 1996 hasta hoy.
El voto latino llegó para quedarse, y resulta imposible ignorar su relevancia.