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Latin America

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February 2003
Good-Bye to the Washington Consensus?
by James E. Mahon, Jr.
"Latin Americans might have expected, after following the free-market economic policies of the 'Washington consensus' for a dozen years, that the region would have begun to savor the fruits of openness. But with some exceptions-notably Chile, Costa Rica, and much of Mexico-the fruit has turned out to be bitter, as economic openness appears to have accelerated social disintegration."

February 2003
Argentina: Anatomy of a Crisis Foretold
by Pamela K. Starr
"As 2002 came to an end, the Argentine economy seemed to have touched bottom after contracting more than 10 percent. But a robust recovery during 2003 will be blocked by many of the same forces that helped create Argentina's economic catastrophe: the hard-line stance of the IMF, the muddle that is Argentine politics, and a dispirited and politically disaffected populace."

February 2003
Between Politics and Economics: The IMF and Argentina
by Carol Graham and Paul Masson
"The Argentina crisis will not provide an opportunity to make a break with the past and take the IMF in the new directions that director Horst Kîhler has enunciated. Instead, the fund needs to accept that the humanitarian crisis in Argentina demands quick disbursement with relaxed conditionality."

February 2003
Colombia and the United States: From Counternarcotics to Counterterrorism
by Arlene B. Tickner
"The worldview that has molded Washington's twin wars on drugs and terrorism constitutes an extremely narrow framework through which to address the complex problems Colombia faces. National security, defined exclusively in military terms, has taken precedence over equally significant political, economic, and social considerations."

February 2003
Colombia and the United States: From Counternarcotics to Counterterrorism
by Arlene B. Tickner
"The worldview that has molded Washington's twin wars on drugs and terrorism constitutes an extremely narrow framework through which to address the complex problems Colombia faces. National security, defined exclusively in military terms, has taken precedence over equally significant political, economic, and social considerations."

February 2003
"Cutting the Wire": The Landless Movement in Brazil
by Jan Rocha
"The emergence at the end of the twentieth century of a mass organization of landless peasants demanding land reform can only be understood when viewed against Brazil's archaic land structure, where 1 percent of landowners own 46 percent of the land and government inspectors are still discovering slave labor on Amazon cattle ranches."

February 2002
A Shaken Agenda: Bush and Latin America
by Michael Shifter
"Perennial questions in inter-American relations emerged more sharply than ever after September 11: Would the United States turn its attention away from Latin America and consign the region to irrelevance? Would the United States . . . attempt to impose a broad strategic design, in accord with its global antiterrorist campaign? Or would the United States take advantage of this moment and engage more proactively and constructively with its Latin American partners in pursuit of a shared agenda?"

February 2002
Fox's Mexico: Same as It Ever Was?
by Pamela K. Starr
"Since the arrival of Vicente Fox to the presidency, Mexico has been stuck in neutral. The executive has been characterized by confusion, indecision, and repeated policy mistakes. Mexican political parties have shown a striking inability to adjust their behavior to the new democratic political environment. And Mexicans . . . remain steeped in an authoritarian culture that has prevented them from embracing the political opportunities offered by Mexicoís new democratic setting."

February 2002
Free Society, Repressed Media: The Chilean Paradox
by Judy Polumbaum
For Chilean journalists, when the consequences not so long ago of "offending the wrong people could be lethal, caution was entirely understandable as a matter of physical well-being. Today, deriving from passivity rather than self-defense, it is more a matter of economic, political, and social accommodation."

February 2002
Pegged for Failure? Argentina's Crisis
by James E. Mahon, Jr. and Javier Corrales
"The press is full of diagnoses of the Argentine collapse. Most blame the Argentine political class. There is surely truth in this, and it is an opinion shared by millions of Argentines, including the most vocal protestors in Buenos Aires. But this drama has a larger, less easily personalized setting: tax evasion, the stubborn problem of Argentine exports, and global financial volatility."

February 2002
Fragile Democracies
by Forrest Colburn
"Latin Americaís democracies are not in danger of collapse at this time. But there are many real problems, and not many indications that these problems are being addressed with imagination and determination."

February 2001
United States-Latin American Relations: Preparing for the Handover
by Michael Shifter
George W. Bush has expressed a special interest in invigorating Americaís relationship with Latin America. But his campaign rhetoric also called for a return to America's "traditional" national interests, which could mean an even stronger tendency toward the unilateralism that crept into the relationship during the second Clinton administration and has evoked growing displeasure within Latin America.

February 2001
Mexico’s Long March to Democracy
by Lucy Conger
The story of the election of Mexico's first opposition president in 71 years is also the story of the birth of an increasingly energized civil society and the missteps of an intransigent and sclerotic ruling party.

February 2001
“Reinventing” Democracy in Peru
by Carmen Rosa Balbi and David Scott Palmer
Alberto Fujimori, the president who claimed he had to destroy democracy in order to save it, has ignominiously departed, leaving behind a transitional government that is slowly unveiling the corruption in which Fujimori operated and also laying the groundwork for new presidential elections this April.

February 2001
Ecuador’s Centrifrugal Politics
by Shelley A. McConnell
South America's first coup since the continent's return to democracy was a curious one. What led Ecuador's indigenous people and military to overthrow the government--and then deny that they had done so?

February 2001
Defining the “Bolivarian Revolution”: Hugo Chávez's Venezuela
by Jennifer McCoy and Laura Neuman
Hugo Chávez has taken on the mantle of the people's will. He has also taken on an ever-larger share of political power and shown an increasing interest in spreading his "Bolivarian revolution" to the downtrodden in nearby Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

February 2001
Latin America’s Volatile Financial Markets
by Jonathan Lemco and Scott B. MacDonald
The soundness of Latin America's financial health remains dependent on international capital--primarily from the United States--and commodity exports--also primarily to the United States. This dependence on the international financial environment, along with deep-seated domestic economic inequalities and structural deficiencies, means a guarded economic prognosis for the countries of the region.

February 2000
The United States and Colombia: Partners in Ambiguity
by Michael Shifter
"The Clinton administration and Congress will likely reach an agreement to increase aid to Colombia. Yet whether the agreement reflects a serious commitment with a clear strategic purpose to support Colombia and the Colombian government—or whether it merely seeks to satisfy the myriad domestic political interests and agendas involved in United States policy toward Colombia—is a critical question. It is a question, however, that can probably not abide much ambiguity."

February 2000
The Enigmatic Guerrilla: FARC's Manuel Marulanda
by Andres Cala
"Manuel Marulanda, the head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, may become the unlikely head of the first leftist guerrilla movement to achieve success in the post-cold war era. . . . "

February 2000
Democracy and Its Discontents in Fujimori's Peru
by David Scott Palmer
"The government and its supporters have concluded that Peru's continued success depends on continuity at the presidential helm. Opponents believe that five more years of President Alberto Fujimori is a recipe for disaster."

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