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  • Latin America Still an Unfair World for Women

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    “The time for women’s empowerment has arrived,” writes Susan Segal, president and CEO of Americas Society/Council of the Americas and publisher of Americas Quarterly, in a new op-ed in The Miami Herald. Segal writes that in Latin America, though women and girls have achieved gender parity in access to education and health care, they have not yet achieved political and economic parity. Segal emphasizes economic empowerment in particular as a key to poverty alleviation and the eradication of gender-based violence.

    Latin America Still an Unfair World for Women
    Susan Segal

    One of the most pressing issues facing the hemisphere and the global community today is gender equality and female economic and political empowerment. How will we ever fully unleash the potential of our hemisphere as long as we fail to meaningfully engage half of its population?

    In Latin America, women have achieved parity in access to education and healthcare, but have yet to attain political and economic parity. Women account for only 10.5 percent of board positions globally, approximately 16 percent in the U.S. and 7.2 percent in emerging markets. In Latin America, the percentage is even smaller. According to Catalyst, only 39 Fortune 500 companies boast female chief executives — and in most Latin American countries, the number barely rates a mention.


  • New Americas Quarterly on Gender Equality Now Released

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Gender Equality: Political Backrooms, Corporate Boardrooms and Classrooms

    Gender equality and girls and women’s empowerment have been pushed to the top of domestic and foreign policy agendas in the Americas.  The Summer 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly, released on Thursday, July 26, looks at how women and girls are faring in education, labor markets, politics, and the private sector, and why—politically, economically, and morally—achieving equality and parity is essential.

    In the Summer 2012 AQ, former president of Chile and UN Women executive director Michelle Bachelet discusses why violence against women is a development issue, and the importance of empowering women economically to break those patterns.  U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer writes how and why the State Department has made women and girls’ development a strategic foreign policy objective of the U.S. government. And Joan Caivano and Jane Marcus-Delgado explain how international and local advocacy groups and the courts are changing reproductive rights laws (in both directions) in the hemisphere.  The issue also presents a timeline of milestones in women’s achievements, and AQ’s signature “charticle” graphically portrays and compares women’s representation on corporate boards globally and how it increases profits. 

    Other articles address individual aspects of gender equality.  Magda Hinosoja of Arizona State University writes that while election quotas in favor of women have sparked greater representation of women in national legislatures, local levels and party politics remain male bastions.  Cedric Herring of the University of Chicago at Illinois describes why women’s participation in business improves profitability and what Latin American companies and governments need to do to catch up. 

    As always, this issue of AQ also has articles and departments on a variety of other topics.  Haiti expert and Partners in Health founder Paul Farmer traces the rise of cholera in the hemisphere and the risk of a new pandemic; Lourdes Melgar muses on the future of PEMEX in the next sexenio; and Matias Spektor analyses the shifting views in Brazil on humanitarian intervention in the wake of Libya and Syria.

    Subscribe and get your copy of Americas Quarterly.


  • AQ and Efecto Naím Air Joint Report on Chinese Mining Investment in Latin America

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Watch the second joint report by AQ and Efecto Naím, which explores the consequences of Chinese investment in mining activities in Latin America.

    More than half of all Chinese foreign investment is in natural resources extraction. Though China got its start in the field in Africa, in the past two decades it has drastically increased its investment and presence in Latin America. Today it is involved in 34 projects across the region, from Venuezela to Chile.

    Read More

  • Regional Cooperation Key for Central American Security

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Levels of crime and violence have been rising in Central America over the past decade. Reversing this trend will require regional cooperation, cross-border action and public-private collaboration, writes AQ Senior Editor Jason Marczak in an article published yesterday in World Politics Review.

    Regional Cooperation Key for Central American Security
    Jason Marczak

    High levels of crime and violence have given Central America the inauspicious title of having the world’s highest homicide rate -- about 10 times the world average. Reversing this trend will require collective, crossborder action and regional partnerships that include the private sector. Unfortunately, for this to be possible, the mechanisms needed to do so must be strengthened significantly.

    Statistics paint a grim picture of what lies ahead if meaningful cooperation is not taken soon. Honduras, the most violent country, registered 91.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 2011 -- nearly triple the rate observed in 2004, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. In El Salvador, a March 2012 truce between two notorious gangs has reportedly halved the daily death toll, which stood at 69.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2011. But the fragile accord leaves the door open for a return to high homicide rates should gang leaders decide the truce is not serving their interests. Following its southern neighbors, Guatemala -- generally the last stop for illicit drugs before reaching Mexico and then the United States -- registered a rate of 38.5 homicides per 100,000 people last year. Even Costa Rica, a bastion of stability and economic development in the region, saw its murder rate climb to 11.3 per 100,000 people by 2010, a 60 percent jump from 2004. By comparison, the U.S. registers 4.2 homicides per 100,000.

    Read the rest of the article here.


  • Fernando Henrique Cardoso Accepts Kluge Prize in Washington DC

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Last Friday, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington awarded the 2012 John W. Kluge prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a leading scholar and practitioner of political economy for many years, and who also served two terms as the president of Brazil (1995–2003) and is a member of the editorial board of Americas Quarterly.

    In his acceptance speech at a ceremony in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, Cardoso said he felt “honored and humbled” and even “a bit nervous” to receive the award. He called it “a true privilege” to be the first Brazilian—and first Latin American—to receive the award, which is administered by the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress to recognize and celebrate lifetime achievement in areas of study that advance understanding of the human experience.

    Cardoso is the first prize recipient whose work spans the fields of sociology, political science and economics.


  • AQ and Efecto Naím Air Joint Report on LBGT Rights

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    What is happening in the world, and how does it affect you, your family, your job or your country? What is the relationship between events that appear to be isolated, but are actually connected?

    Efecto Naím, a weekly television news program broadcast by NTN24 and hosted by international news commentator Moisés Naím, offers a unique insight into how our world is changing. Watch Sunday's episode, in which Efecto Naím and Americas Quarterly offered a joint report on the status of LGBT rights in Latin America (preview below).

    In some ways, Latin America has been a trailblazer in LGBT rights. Several governments have been leaders in offering gay people equal rights and protections as those enjoyed by heterosexuals. But in other respects, the region is lagging behind. Homophobia is still widespread in many countries, and homosexuals are still struggling for their rights.

    AQ and Efecto Naím looked at the best and worst countries for LGBT rights in the region, and explored what changes the coming years might bring.

    Time of Airing:
    Efecto Naím airs Sunday evenings on channels in the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. The full video of the LGBT rights report in Spanish can be accessed here. An English version will follow later this week.


  • Can Latin America Survive the Chinese Economic Juggernaut?

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    A report released recently by CQ Global Researcher provides a primer for students and academics on China's expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean. Written by longtime international journalist Kenneth J. Stier, China in Latin America: Can Latin America Survive the Chinese Economic Juggernaut? raises the many questions attendant to such expansion—is Latin America benefiting? Does China threaten the Latin American economic model? Does it threaten the U.S.'s hegemony in the region? For additional analysis of these and other issues, see the Winter 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly.

    China in Latin America: Can Latin America Survive the Chinese Economic Juggernaut?

    China's global expansion has reached Latin America and the Caribbean, where the Asian giant has been pursuing an aggressive trade policy for a decade. Besides investing heavily in the region's abundant natural resources and shipping huge quantities of cheap industrial goods into the area, China is also interested in buying Latin America's food commodities—especially soybeans. While trade with China has provided a historic bonanza for Latin producers, a growing trade imbalance—favoring China—has soured the initial euphoria. In exchange for Latin America's raw materials, China exports manufactured goods that are clobbering Latin competitors, threatening to return the region to its 1970s-era over- dependence on commodity exports. China also has emerged as a major investor—and financier—for the region, helping it to weather the 2008-09 global recession. China's sudden emergence as a significant player in the hemisphere also has sparked concern that China might eventually undermine U.S. influence and interest in the vast region—a fear that Beijing carefully tries to assuage.

    Access the full article here.


  • Americas Society Participates in Make Music New York

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Americas Society's Music of the Americas concert series will again participate this year in Make Music New York, a festival of more than 1,000 free concerts in public spaces across the five boroughs of New York City. On Thursday, June 21, Americas Society will present performances by two arts-education groups—the Mariachi Academy of New York and the Corona Youth Music Project—and the international tango ensemble Los Chantas. Performances begin at 5:30 p.m. and will take place on 69th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue.

    The Mariachi Academy of New York is the first East Coast institution dedicated to educating young boys and girls in this traditional Mexican musical  of Mexico. The Corona Youth Music Project in Queens, New York, offers tuition-free music programs for youth in Corona—Louis Armstrong’s neighborhood, today home to large Dominican, Ecuadorian and other Hispanic immigrant populations. Los Chantas are a multinational, New York-based group whose repertoire draws from the Argentine tango tradition of Carlos Gardel to the present.

    Now in its sixth year, Make Music New York is part of an international event that takes place every year on June 21st, the first day of summer. The festival began with France’s Fete de la Musique, inaugurated in 1982, and is now celebrated by more than 460 cities in 110 countries. Music of the Americas is an ongoing concert series presented by Americas Society and made possible through support from MetLife Foundation.


  • Inequality Still Haunts Latin America

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Latin America remains a socio-economically divided place, both within and among countries, writes Christopher Sabatini, AQ Editor-in-Chief and AS/COA Senior Director of Policy, in a Miami Herald op-ed published today.

    Inequality Still Haunts Latin America
    Christopher Sabatini

    To talk of Latin America as if it were a meaningful unit has always been forced, if not artificial. But now, as a recently released social inclusion index reveals, the region is becoming even more divided between countries — while remaining so within many.

    Measuring the performance of 11 countries in the hemisphere by race/ethnicity and gender in access to public and private goods as well by political and civil rights, Americas Quarterly’s social inclusion index reveals huge differences between countries in the region. At the top, with a score of 71.9, stands Chile, with Uruguay just behind at 71.2. Contrast that with the lowest performers, Guatemala at 7.5 and Nicaragua at 10.3. Brazil is third, but a distant third.

    Looking closely you realize that contrasts are stark, not just in the tremendous gaps between the countries, but within them, explaining their wildly divergent scores. For all the genuine gains of a rising middle class in the region, some countries and populations are clearly being left behind. To give a few examples, in Guatemala while 58 percent of school-aged children of European descent are enrolled in school, only 35 percent of those of indigenous or African descent are. In Bolivia those same numbers are 86 percent and 72 percent.

    Continue reading here.


  • Independence of OAS Human Rights Body Threatened

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    The future of the Western Hemisphere's independent human rights body, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), has been called into question in recent days at the 42nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which concluded yesterday in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

    Several different reform proposals were considered at the summit, the push for which was initiated by Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua—all members of the ALBA bloc. Even more moderate nations such as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico had also called for the IACHR to be "modernized." These reforms would give OAS member states the power to delay IACHR reports for up to one year, severely blunting their impact.

    Opponents of the IACHR insist that the human rights body is a foreign policy tool of the United States and does not respect national sovereign decisions related to politics and economic decision-making. Leading that charge has been Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who was the only head of state to be present in Cochabamba other than Bolivian President Evo Morales. Correa was roundly criticized by the IACHR in 2011 for successfully prosecuting officials of the El Universo paper on the charge of libel when they gave him unfavorable coverage. He pardoned them in February of this year.

    Correa said yesterday to TeleSUR, "If it's necessary to abandon the OAS and create our own system, then we have to do it."

    Although some believed that the reform proposals would be put to a vote this week, assembly attendees managed to table the debate to next year's permanent council meetings—challenging OAS member states to prepare concrete proposals before next year's convention in Guatemala.

    AQ Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini commented, "This is a very dangerous precedent—vesting a body of executives with the authority to recommend reforms to an independent judicial institution and the crown jewel of the inter-American system, the IACHR."

    Below is a brief Americas Quarterly resource guide on the IACHR:


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