Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
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Did Chávez Help the Poor?

In a recent opinion piece, Venezuelan-American author Eva Golinger proclaimed the late Hugo Chávez was “a maker of dreams.” Chávez, she says, dreamt of eradicating poverty, and made those dreams come true. Much of what has been written—including by people critical of his legacy—repeats the same conclusion: Chávez improved the lives of the poor. Sadly, … Read more


Peña Nieto Launches Life Insurance Program

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto followed through on a campaign promise yesterday by launching an innovative life insurance  program designed for single, female-headed households. The program, titled Seguro de Vida para Madres Jefas de Familia (Life Insurance for Female Heads of Family), will be overseen by the Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol) and the Family … Read more


La nueva presidencia y los derechos humanos en México

El nuevo periodo presidencial en México abre con un pesado legado de amenazas a los derechos humanos. Ante esta situación, el presidente entrante, Enrique Peña Nieto, ha sido cuidadoso de tomar una retórica distanciada de aquella del combate al crimen organizado enarbolada por su predecesor Felipe Calderón y ha proclamado una nueva era de “Estado … Read more


Mexico’s Supreme Court Ruling a Step Toward Greater Tolerance

If there is one thing Mexico’s men are famous for, it is the celebration of being macho. We see this everywhere: In telenovelas, the butch and handsome male protagonist becomes the hero only after he conquers the lovely señorita by wooing her with his macho chivalry. It is common to hear traditional male fathers telling … Read more


Gender Equality in Cuba

This week is an important moment to focus on the economic, political and social achievements of women as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. While countries have a long way to go in promoting gender equality, a report by the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA)  looks at where Cuba stands among … Read more


Peña Nieto’s Reforms Take on Teachers’ Union

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed major education reforms into law on Monday, limiting the power of the teachers’ union. By modifying two articles of the constitution, the overhaul allows the government to hire and fire teachers, and aims to gather reliable data on schools, teachers and students in Mexico’s education system, which serves an … Read more


Searching for Justice Beyond Immigration Reform

Some version of immigration reform is almost certain to pass within the next year. President Obama, Republicans and Democrats alike are all strongly supportive of the idea and have each offered formidable, bipartisan proposals. If successful, this will be the first major change in U.S. immigration law since President Reagan’s signing of the Immigration Reform … Read more


Roe vs. Wade’s 40th Anniversary and Reproductive Rights in the Americas

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court passed Roe vs. Wade, a landmark decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to legal abortion services. In the 40 years since its passage, the ruling has allowed thousands in this country to avoid the dire consequences of unsafe and illegal procedures, and has also catalyzed four decades … Read more


Mapuche Leaders Meet in Southern Chile to Discuss Ongoing Conflict

More than 600 Mapuche representatives gathered in Chile’s conflict-torn La Araucanía region on Wednesday to discuss proposals for self-government and address the violent clashes between Indigenous activists and state authorities in southern Chile over land ownership and restitution. Mapuche leaders organized a special summit at the cerro Ñielol (Ñielol  hill) in the city of Temuco in … Read more

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Dispatches: Ciudad Juárez

Civic and economic life is coming back to a city once synonymous with gangland murders and violence against women. The lunch shift is in full swing at Viva Juárez restaurant. After a morning of shopping, pedestrians trickle into the popular eatery on Avenida Benito Juárez, where cooks chop onions and peppers at a formica counter … Read more


Women and Conflict Prevention in Latin America

Over a decade after a landmark global effort to increase the participation of women in peace and security efforts much of the Americas is still behind the curve. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSC 1325), passed in 2000, reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in all efforts aimed … Read more


Afro-LGBT Advocates Lead the Struggle for Equality in Brazil

In a historic gathering in Salvador, Bahia, nearly 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Afro-Brazilian activists participated last month in the country’s first-ever National Black LGBT Conference (Primeiro Seminário Nacional de Negras e Negros LGBT). Given the rare opportunity to be recognized as a unique group that suffers from discrimination based on race, sexual … Read more


Monday Memo: Mercosur Considers Ecuador and Bolivia – Peña Nieto in the Presidency – Colombia, FARC Continue Talks – Peru, Chile at The Hague – and more

Top stories this week are likely to include: Mercosur convenes; first week of Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency; FARC peace negotiations resume; Peru, Chile dispute their border at The Hague; and Rousseff’s oil royalties veto makes waves in Brazil. Mercosur Considers Ecuador and Bolivia: When Mercosur’s member nations convene on Friday in Brasilia, they will consider … Read more


Middle Class Growing in BRICs and Latin America

Economists, social scientists and policy makers highlight the rapid expansion of the middle class in Latin America, but Jamele Rigolini, a senior economist at the World Bank, emphasizes that this growth is not exclusive to the region. In an article published today in Americas Quarterly’s Fall 2012 issue on the middle class, Rigolini writes, “while … Read more


Latin America’s Real Middle Class

Articles: Not Poor, But Not Middle Class Yet by Luis Felipe López-Calva Defining the middle class reveals a new vulnerable segment, and a new policy challenge. Full text available. Latin America’s Middle Class in Global Perspective by Jamele Rigolini Different patterns of economic growth in BRIC countries have brought different social changes. Full text available. … Read more

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