Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
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Illegal Mining

Propelled by the skyrocketing global price of minerals, illegal mining has recently come into focus as a major environmental and social concern. Images of pristine rainforest scarred by clear-cuts, toxic mercury released into rivers and the air, and accounts of human trafficking, child labor and prostitution in remote mining encampments all point to the need … Read more

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Resource Nationalism: Beyond Ideology

Latin America’s political Left has displayed symptoms of bipolarity for much of the past decade. An early purveyor of this diagnosis was Jorge Castañeda, former Mexican foreign secretary (2001–2003), who in 2004 identified what he called “two Lefts” in a piece for Project Syndicate. One Left had “truly socialist and progressive roots” that was “following … Read more

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The Middle Class Market Boom

*Watch an AQ Q&A interview with María-Eugenia Boza. There’s been an amazing revolution in the global commercial landscape. The developing world has emerged as one of the most promising wholesale and retail markets. Many of these regions in the past were valued primarily as a source of cheap labor—often in maquilas and sweatshops. Today they … Read more


Double Profit: Financing Consumers

Across Latin America, retailers, telecommunications companies and shopping malls are reaping the benefits of a growing middle class that is able to shop more and spend more. According to McKinsey & Company, Latin America is one of the largest emerging markets in the world with a combined GDP of $3.2 trillion, boasting triple the GDP … Read more


Workers of Polar Unite…In Defense of Capitalism!

Over the past decade, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has expropriated some 1,000 firms of all sizes, both foreign-owned and domestically held. Yet one very large and highly visible Venezuelan company remains standing: Empresas Polar. The family-owned Venezuelan food and beverage sector–focused company survived by drawing on the support of workers, consumers and communities, managing to … Read more


Learning the Ropes

In the past decade, China’s expanding engagement with Latin America has captivated the attention of the region and the United States. Most of the focus, however, has been on whether the new trade and investment is good for the region’s long-term development, and whether particular Chinese activities, such as military sales and loans to Venezuela … Read more


The Exaggerated Death of the Middle Class

Mark Twain, upon reading his obituary in the New York Journal, famously quipped that the reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. The same could be said today of reports from the scholarly world, the media and even the White House about the shrinking of the middle class. Here’s why. The most easily obtained income … Read more


Higher Education in Chile

The quality of Chile’s universities is well known across the Americas. Two of these—Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileUniversidad de Chile—rank in the top five of the 2011 U.S. News and World Report list of the 100 best schools in the region. Unfortunately, high-quality education comes at a high cost. Chile has the second most expensive … Read more


Women in Robes

For the first time in United States history, three of the nine justices sitting on the Supreme Court are women. About 33 percent of state and federal court judges in the U.S. are women, slightly higher than the global average of 27 percent. Why does this matter? Scores of empirical studies have attempted to determine … Read more


Peace, Women and Security: A Latin American Perspective

The United Nations Security Council has promoted a gender focus in peacekeeping operations, including the protection of civilians, since the adoption of Resolution 1325 (RES1325) in 2000. The logic is simple: involving women in peace negotiations and reconstruction efforts helps ensure a more equitable and stable society following conflict. Since December 2000, Latin American participation … Read more

The Public Debate Over Private Lives

Every day, women across Latin America are terminating their pregnancies under illegal and unsafe circumstances. The number of unsafe abortions—which represent about 95 percent of the total—grew from 3.9 million in 2003 to 4.2 million in 2008, with the annual abortion rate holding steady during that period, at about 32 abortions per 1,000 women between … Read more


Diversity Equals Dollars

For many people, gender diversity is important because it removes barriers that have historically prevented women from taking their rightful places in the corridors of power. But there’s also a specific business case to be made: including more women in the corporate setting will help meet customers’ needs, enrich understanding of the pulse of the … Read more


The Uphill Battle of Justice Reform

The strength and quality of democracy depend on how well judiciaries perform and function. In Latin America, after more than 20 years of judicial reforms, there have been some notable achievements. But there is a long way to go before judiciaries can adequately carry out their responsibilities to resolve conflicts, define and interpret rights and laws, and provide the … Read more

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