Book Review: Michael E. Donoghue’s “Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone”

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By Alexia Rauen

Michael E. Donoghue’s historical study Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone exposes traditionally underrepresented issues in the Panama Canal Zone. The Panama Canal Zone, which encompasses the canal itself, a well-known trade route that splits Panama, also encompasses the surrounding area. This zone was under U.S. control from 1903 to 1979; the canal was returned to Panama in 1999. Donoghue’s book is impressive and particularly strong in its detail concerning themes of race and gender in the Panama Canal Zone.  

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People Power and Politics: Social Change in the Americas

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By Laura Schroeder

From the Zapatista movement in Mexico to the Shining Path’s activities in Peru, the Americas have experienced a great deal of political violence. Government structures have constantly changed and dictatorships have been toppled through force and the taking up of arms across the hemisphere. However, one of the most pervasive and dangerous myths is that systemic change requires violence. Nonviolent struggles to address corruption, environmental degradation, economic and social injustice, and political oppression have been– and continue to be– successful across the Americas. Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil have all ousted military regimes through the use of nonviolent resistance.

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Trump y Latinoamérica: los primeros 9 meses

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Por Blake Burdge, Traducido por William Giller

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Las relaciones entre los Estados Unidos y Argentina se han mantenido estables bajo el mandato de Trump. Es probable que Trump favorezca al país debido a las estrechas relaciones que tenía con el presidente argentino Mauricio Macri cuando los dos eran empresarios. Trump y Macri se reunieron en la Casa Blanca a finales de abril para dialogar sobre la ciberseguridad bilateral y demostrar un apoyo unido para la restauración de democracia y respeto a derechos humanos en Venezuela.

Los Estados Unidos y Argentina han reforzado relaciones económicas desde la inauguración de Trump. Ambos países han levantado las restricciones sobre varios bienes provenientes del otro país. Los agricultores estadounidenses podrán exportar carne de cerdo a Argentina por primera vez desde 1992, con un mercado potencial de hasta 10 millones de dólares. Lo que es más, el presidente Trump acabó la propuesta que había empezado la administración de Obama para levantar las restricciones sobre limones de Argentina, el cuarto productor de limones más grande del mundo.

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U.S. Governance Exacerbates Natural Disaster in Puerto Rico

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By Alexia Rauen

The widespread lack of electricity across Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane María has been widely publicized and carries with it deep concern for the lack of vital resources available to the island. As Puerto Rico is a United States territory, the federal government is responsible for ensuring the reconstruction of the island. But is it doing enough now, and will it be doing enough in the future, when the world has turned its attention to the next headline-worthy natural disaster?

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Nine Months In, How Has Trump Fared with Latin America?

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By Blake Burdge

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The relationship between the United States and Argentina has remained strong under President Trump. It is likely that Trump views the country favorably due to the close relationship that he shared with Argentine President Mauricio Macri when the two were businessmen. Trump and Macri met at the White House in late April to discuss bilateral cybersecurity and to show joint support for the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Venezuela.

The United States and Argentina have strengthened economic ties since Trump entered office, as both countries have lifted bans on the other for certain goods. For the first time since 1992, U.S. farmers will be able to export pork to Argentina, with a potential market of up to USD $10 million. Additionally, President Trump followed through on the Obama administration’s proposal to relinquish a ban on lemons from Argentina, which is the fourth-largest producer of the fruit in the world.

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Staff Release: Open Americas Condemns Decision to Rescind DACA Program

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On the morning of Tuesday, September 5, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be rescinded. An Obama administration 2012 executive action, DACA grants temporary legal status and provides 2-year work permits to individuals who were brought to the country as children without immigration documents. According to the Washington Post, an estimated 800,000  immigrants benefit from the program.

Sessions maintained that to best serve the national interest, Congress must determine and enforce a legislative limit on immigration. Claiming that DACA violates the Constitution, he stated, “…it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the Constitutional order is upheld. No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law. Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed.”

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Armed Peace: Pacifying and Integrating the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

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By Veronica Hildenbrand and Madeline Asta

The creation of order through military suppression—what critical theorist Mark Neocleous calls, “war as peace [and] peace as pacification”—is designed to provide security for bourgeois social order. Pacification in Rio de Janeiro can thus be viewed as a militaristic, politically-crafted response to social insecurity felt by Rio’s upper classes, magnified by forthcoming mega event preparations that occurred from 2008 to 2016. Nonetheless, social inequality and public insecurity have long inhibited the effective governance of Rio de Janeiro. Following Brazil’s belated abolition of slavery in 1888, informal housing settlements—known as favelas—began to form. These communities, which now accommodate about a quarter of Rio’s population, have endured a history of state abandonment and marginalization of the poor. This, coupled with the consequences of being the territorial domain of armed criminal groups, has led to nearly complete disenfranchisement of more than 1.5 million favela residents. In 2008, to curb notoriously high levels of violence and to rebrand the city for its bid to host upcoming mega events, Rio de Janeiro launched the “Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora” (UPP) program. This program aimed to increase security in the favelas by reinstating state control, and to finally integrate their residents into the formal city. Although the UPP program initially decreased homicide rates, its success has been dismantled by increasing frequency of police perpetrated violence, the persistence of drug trafficking and unmet promises of social benefits, thus facilitating the UPP’s post-Olympic fall.

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