November 19, 2018

Abstract, Neoliberal Workfare and the Battle for Grassroots Control in Argentina

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Neoliberal Workfare and the Battle for Grassroots Control in Argentina
by Steven Araujo




While the vast majority of the academic literature on the popular classes and social programs in Argentina revolves around the concept of clientelism, it has largely ignored organizations that administer these programs without participating in clientelist networks and thus giving up their political autonomy. The struggle for grassroots control of an Argentine unemployed workers’ movement known as the Frente de Organizaciones en Lucha depends on the use of neoliberal workfare programs. Its ability to take resources from the state and administer them according to its own principles and priorities challenges the inference that receiving social programs necessarily leads to co-optation.

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November 16, 2018

Abstract, Titles of Contention: Sociocultural Change and Conflict over Legalization of Indigenous Lands in Southeastern Ecuador

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Titles of Contention: Sociocultural Change and Conflict over Legalization of Indigenous Lands in Southeastern Ecuador
by Raúl Márquez Porras, María Beatriz Eguiguren Riofrío, and Ana Vera Vera



Shuar communities in southeastern Ecuador are receiving collective property titles to their ancestral lands. This is being done as a way to guarantee their material and cultural survival, but the titling triggers sociocultural changes and conflict and its outcomes depend largely on the way it is implemented. The consequences of the titling process in communities in Nangaritza and El Pangui in which Shuar, Saraguro, and mestizos coexist include both tensions and informal arrangements to resolve the historically conflictive issue of access to the land.


November 12, 2018

Abstract, Constructing Indigenous Autonomy in Plurinational Bolivia: Possibilities and Ambiguities

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Constructing Indigenous Autonomy in Plurinational Bolivia: Possibilities and Ambiguities 
by Aaron Augsburger and Paul Haber 


The municipality of Charagua recently became the first autonomía indígena originaria campesina (autonomous indigenous peasant community) in Bolivia under the 2009 plurinational constitution. A coalition of indigenous leaders backed by a majority of voters embraced the change as a vehicle for bolstering local control over key decisions, thereby advancing local preferences for indigenous forms of governance, values, and control over the development model with special attention to natural resources. The possibility remains, however, that it may operate to incorporate the indigenous community into the governing apparatus, thus making it more legible to the state and open to new forms of regulation, management, and control. Examining the state as a historically contingent and socially determined relationship helps make sense of this situation.

November 9, 2018

Abstract, Globalization, Governance, and the Emergence of Indigenous Autonomy Movements in Latin America: The Case of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

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Globalization, Governance, and the Emergence of Indigenous Autonomy Movements in Latin America: The Case of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua 
by Luciano Baracco


A revisiting of Salvador Martí i Puig’s approach to globalization and the turn toward governance in explaining the roots and impact of the political mobilization of Latin America’s indigenous peoples since the 1990s recasts governance as a disciplinary regime that in the case of Nicaragua co-opted potentially radical oppositional movements into the neoliberal project that accompanied Latin America’s democratic transition. The discussion takes as its empirical case the autonomy process on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, which in its twenty-fifth year represents the most sustained devolution of power to indigenous peoples in Latin America. 

November 7, 2018

Political Report # 1381 Changing climate forces desperate Guatemalans to migrate

Jocotán, Chiquimula, GuatemalaEduardo Méndez López lifts his gaze to the sky, hoping to see clouds laden with rain.
After months of subsisting almost exclusively on plain corn tortillas and salt, his eyes and cheeks appear sunken in, his skin stretched thin over bone. The majority of his neighbors look the same.
It’s the height of rainy season in Guatemala, but in the village of Conacaste, Chiquimula, the rains came months too late, then stopped altogether. Méndez López’s crops shriveled and died before producing a single ear of corn. Now, with a dwindling supply of food, and no source of income, he’s wondering how he’ll be able to feed his six young children.
“This is the worst drought we’ve ever had,” says Méndez López, toeing the parched earth with the tip of his boot. “We’ve lost absolutely everything. If things don’t improve, we’ll be forced to migrate somewhere else. We can’t go on like this.”
Guatemala is consistently listed among the world’s 10 most vulnerable nations to the effects of climate change. Increasingly erratic climate patterns have produced year after year of failed harvests and dwindling work opportunities across the country, forcing more and more people like Méndez López to consider migration in a last-ditch effort to escape skyrocketing levels of food insecurity and poverty.

Abstract, Marking “Preemptive Suspects”: Migration, Bodies, and Exclusion

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Marking “Preemptive Suspects”: Migration, Bodies, and Exclusion
by Seth M. Holmes 


The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion are central to public perceptions and policy responses to transnational immigrants, including those arriving from Latin America in the United States. Scholars have shown in various contexts that even official inclusion by a nation-state involves important gradations of exclusion on social, economic, political, and symbolic levels (e.g., Blommaert and Verschueren, 1998; Castañeda, 2012). Social scientists have analyzed the metaphors through which different variations of exclusion are promoted and enacted, including the dichotomy of the undeserving voluntary economic migrant versus the (relatively) deserving forced political refugee (e.g., Holmes, 2013; Holmes and Castañeda, 2016; Yarris and Castañeda, 2015). Lynn Stephen analyzes the “preemptive suspect” as a metaphor of exclusion in the treatment of unaccompanied Central American minors arriving in the United States in 2014. She builds on her previous work on indigenous Mexican families (2007), resistance (2002; 2005; 2013), and transborder life (2007), synthesizing and organizing substantial scholarship and placing it in historical context. At the same time, her diverse experiences as ethnographer, activist, expert witness, and comadre add local color and thick description to her rigorous analysis. She develops her analysis explicitly in honor of Michael Kearney, who examined theoretical understandings of immigration and conducted ethnographic work focused on indigenous Mexican migrants in the United States and especially on their health (e.g., Kearney, 1986; Kearney and Nagengast, 1989). His focus on health, health care, and bodies seems especially important here. After all, for many transnational migrants the gradations of exclusion encountered in the process of displacement can easily become a matter of life and death. 

Abstract, Commentary: The U.S.-Mexican Border, Immigration, and Resistance

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Commentary: The U.S.-Mexican Border, Immigration, and Resistance
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Border crossing and its implications for both indigenous communities in Mexico and Mexican communities in the United States were at the heart of my late colleague Michael Kearney’s research, personal commitment, and activism. He sought to understand the movement of people in global and transnational spaces. Contributing to Michael’s legacy, Lynn Stephen’s article raises many important issues that provide us with a broad historical and contemporary perspective on the movement of people across borders. Her discussion begins with the immigration policies of the 1980s under the Reagan administration and ends with those of the Obama administration, both of which have permitted and prohibited the entry of people into the country by creating and implementing a set of legally ambiguous categories for labeling, separating, and stigmatizing people. The underlying laws, regulations, and policies have led to racial profiling or what Stephens calls the “differential perception” of an entire population based on physical appearance, gender, ethnicity, language, or degree of cultural and social assimilation.


November 5, 2018

Abstract, Creating Preemptive Suspects: National Security, Border Defense, and Immigration Policy, 1980–Present

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Creating Preemptive Suspects: National Security, Border Defense, and Immigration Policy, 1980–Present
by Lynn Stephen 


Analysis of U.S. immigration, border defense, and national security policies and their impact on individuals, families, and communities from Mexico and Central America who have migrated or fled to the United States as refugees since the mid-1980s suggests that through immigration programs such as Prevention through Deterrence, the United States has crafted a set of policies that creates “preemptive suspects”—categories of people from Central America and Mexico that may be systematically excluded as dangerous, criminal, undeserving, and less valuable than U.S. citizens.



November 2, 2018

Political Report # 1380 As Bolsonaro Threatens to Criminalize Protests, a New Resistance Movement Is Emerging in Brazil

Brazil is continuing to reel from the election of far-right leader and President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, the former Army captain who won 55 percent of the vote Sunday, easily defeating Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party. As Bolsonaro prepares to take office in January, many fear Brazil’s young democracy is now at risk. Bolsonaro, who has often praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship that ended just 33 years ago, has promised to appoint many military officers to his Cabinet. We speak with Bruno Torturra, founder and editor of Studio Fluxo, an independent media outlet based in São Paulo, and James Green, professor of Brazilian history and culture at Brown University, about how the election will affect social movements, the environment and democracy across Latin America.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to Brazil to look at the implications of the election of Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right former Army captain who won 55 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, easily defeating Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party in a runoff. Many fear Brazil’s young democracy is now at risk. Bolsonaro has often praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship, which ended just 33 years ago. He has also spoken in favor of torture and threatened to destroy, imprison or banish his political opponents.
Bolsonaro has vowed to fill his Cabinet with many military officers once he takes the reins of the presidency on January 1st. His vice president, Antônio Hamilton Mourão, is a four-star general who just retired from active duty in February. Former General Augusto Heleno is expected to become Bolsonaro’s minister of defense.


October 30, 2018

Latest LAP Issue!

Immigrants, Indigenous People, and Workers Pursuing Justice

Issue 223 | Volume 45 | Number 6 | November 2018

This issue of Latin American Perspectives includes several key clusters of current topics that are very much in the forefront of political discussion.  These are: immigration, indigenous rights, labor, and politics.  Within each cluster there are articles that look at a case study or an overall aspect of public policy and even political and economic theory.  This issue features contributions to discussions of displaced peoples, resistance to displacement and the struggles of workers in Argentina. 


English