Taking a look at ten of our of most popular blogs from 2018, it’s clear that it has been a year of major upheaval in the region. Key issues have been the diverging populisms of AMLO’s Mexico and Bolsonaro’s Brazil, the crumbling of two-party politics in El Salvador, and the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
But wider trends have also persisted, as reflected in China’s growing engagement with Latin America, grimly stubborn levels of gender violence in northern Mexico, and the continuing marginalisation of Latin American research. Technology offers hope for a resolution to other longstanding problems, however, not least energy sovereignty in the Caribbean and transportation in Peru.
Ciudad Juárez operates as a necropolis where femicide legislation coexists with reductionist and patriarchal approaches to gender violence. The victims of killings and disappearances are presented as prostitutes, and those who investigate are seen to be staining the city’s good name. Mexico’s lax justice system and the free-trade zones of the maquiladora industry provide the enabling context, writes María Encarnación López (London Metropolitan University).
Geothermal energy is a more involved and expensive undertaking than other renewables, but its significant benefits make it an ideal way gain greater energy independence, reduce energy costs, and achieve sustainable development, writes Judith Ephraim (OSCE).
Differences in ethnic makeup, religious affiliation, institutional openness to outsiders, experiences of crime, and economic performance have driven Mexican and Brazilian voters in opposite ideological directions: left towards AMLO in Mexico and right towards Bolsonaro in Brazil. But this doesn’t mean Mexico will remain immune to right populism in future, writes Rodrigo Aguilera.
El Salvador’s legislative and municipal elections kick off an election cycle that will stretch through to the presidential ballot in February 2019. An increasingly desperate security situation, threats to Salvadoran migrants in the US, and a growing generation gap in traditional parties could mean a bumpy ride for the country’s politics, writes Adrian Bergmann (Central American University).
Muchos sistemas de evaluación adoptan un enfoque limitado de excelencia, al juzgar el valor de un trabajo por la revista en que se publica. Una investigación reciente de Diego Chavarro, Ismael Ràfols y otros colegas muestra cómo tales sistemas subestiman y son perjudiciales en la producción de importantes temas sociales, económicos y ambientales. Estos sistemas también reflejan los sesgos de las bases de datos de citación, que se enfocan principalmente en investigaciones escritas en inglés publicadas en revistas de los Estados Unidos y el occidente y el norte de Europa. Además, los temas cubiertos por estas bases de datos responden con mucha frecuencia más a los intereses de sectores industriales que a los de las comunidades locales. Se requiere entonces una evaluación de la investigación más amplia e incluyente para superar la marginalización continua de pueblos, idiomas y disciplinas y para promover la inclusión y no el elitismo.
Though ’21st-century socialism’ is implicated in Venezuela’s collapse, so too are many characteristics of the country’s context, capitalism, and culture, writes Asa Cusack (LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre).
Shifts in the social and institutional conditions of the urban peripheries of Brazil’s major cities have altered political subjectivities and weakened affinities with the once-dominant Workers’ Party of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. With a “revolt of the peripheries” brewing, Bolsonaro was able exploit his comparative rhetorical advantage and win the presidency despite making few real commitments to address the economic plight of these areas, writes Matthew Aaron Richmond (Centro de Estudos da Metrópole, São Paulo, and LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre).
When anyone can be a taxi driver at any time and in any vehicle, apps like Uber, Taxi Beat, and Cabify provide a sense of transparency and accountability, as well as a degree of efficiency and formality for drivers. Any legislation should identify real problems and propose solutions for the wider industry, as well as for Peruvian public transport more broadly, writes Alonso Morán de Romaña.
Since Panama established diplomatic relations with China in June 2017, the two countries have developed an incredibly strong relationship. Only geostrategic sensitivities relating to the trade war between China and the US have prevented the two countries from announcing the conclusion (in record time) of a bilateral free trade agreement. But it is now a matter of when not if, and China’s efforts to draw Latin America and the Caribbean into its Belt and Road Initiative continue apace, writes Álvaro Méndez (LSE Global South Unit).
Though Venezuelan emigration has passed through phases like those of the European migration crisis, issues of foreign policy have seen Latin America respond quite differently to large-scale migration, write Nicolas Parent and Luisa Feline Freier (Universidad del Pacífico, Peru).