Americas Articles

The field of transitional justice is rapidly emerging within international human rights law. Organizations such as the New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), deploy dozens of transitional justice consultants to post-conflict states, and academic Ruti Teitel notes that the international system has lately seen a pervasive normalization of transitional justice in human rights law.

By Gloria Park  |  February 1, 2010

Is President Obama’s withdrawal plan for Afghanistan still appropriate in light of the reelection of Hamid Karzai? 

By Andrew Bacevich  |  February 1, 2010

OOne of the poorest nations in Latin America, Bolivia saw a record-high 6 percent economic growth in 2008. Despite this improvement, the citizens of the landlocked country have yet to reap the benefits. The nation continues to lack basics like adequate health care and extensive infrastructure. And the outlook for 2009 is grim, as the IMF predicts only 2.2 percent growth. However, Bolivia’s large lithium reserves have the potential to revitalize the country’s economy.

By Anna Hopper  |  October 26, 2009

Chile has often been regarded as a model for the rest of Latin America. With the highest human development index in Latin America according to the United Nations Development Program, Chile has emerged from the Pinochet years as a modern and stable middle-income country. The success of Chile has often been touted as a result of the “Miracle of Chile,” the deregulation and neoliberal economic policies of the military dictatorship.

By John Ji, Thomas Tsai  |  October 26, 2009

Corn grain is one of the major foods of the world. Grains in general provide about 80 percent of the world food calories. Today there is a per capita shortage of grains and other foods, exacerbating the serious global malnourishment problem. The World Health Organization reports that 3.7 billion people are malnourished today—nearly 60 percent of the world population. This is the largest number of malnourished ever in history. In addition to food shortages, there are shortages of cropland and freshwater as well as fossil fuel—particularly oil—shortages. The oil shortage in the United States has prompted politicians and others to propose the use of corn and other food crops as sources of fuel, especially for ethanol production.

By David Pimentel  |  October 26, 2009

A fairly recent innovation in environmental policy—and one that is favored by a number of economists—payments for environmental services (PES) are beginning to be implemented in order to protect water sources in Latin America. In a typical scheme, compensation is given to people in the upper reaches of watersheds, who in return refrain from land uses that exacerbate flooding, seasonal water shortages, and other problems at lower elevations.The receptivity of rural households to PES varies considerably, depending much on individual circumstances and livelihood strategies.

By Douglas Southgate, Fabian Rodriguez, Timothy Haab  |  October 26, 2009

My struggle with weeds over the years has made me aware of the damage they can inflict in gardens, farms, and native ecosystems. I have learned to be vigilant and untrusting of even the smallest, innocent-looking weed seedling and yank it out upon first sight. I have grown curious as to why many weeds spread invasively whereas most crops and native species do not. Both crops and weeds have pollen that can spread widely, right? So why the difference in invasiveness? To answer this question, we need to consider where weeds originate, why they persist and reproduce, and how domesticated crop plants differ from weeds. These issues have become important in the debate about the potential impact of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

By Pamela Ronald  |  October 26, 2009

In 1951, a post-World War II United Nations bent on protecting human rights adopted a landmark document known as the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The Convention first defined the refugee as an individual who, ‘owing to a well-founded fear of persecution…is outside of his or her country of nationality.” The world has changed since 1951, to such an extent that the original framework--even the original definitions--applicaple to refugee protection demand reevaluation.

By Natasa Kovacevic, Owen Barron  |  October 26, 2009

July 5th marked a milestone in Mexican politics. The nation replaced the entire lower house of Congress, governors in six states, and scores of other positions at the state and local levels. The indisputable winner was the Institutional Party of the Revolution (PRI), which, by earning 37 percent of the votes, vaulted from third-tier status in the Chamber of Deputies to a near-majority of the 500 representatives. (Mexico uses a combined direct and proportional system that can skew the relationship between voter support and subsequent representation.) Additionally, the PRI took five of the six governorships and a handful of important local races.

By Patrick Corcoran  |  August 9, 2009

The complication surrounding the issue of gang violence already starts with a heated debate on how to define a gang. There is no universally adopted definition that specifies the gang’s exact size or function. As a result, gangs are often mistaken with armed groups or organized criminal networks. In order to incorporate all different types of gangs in the Caribbean and at the same time attempt to distinguish gangs from other units, for the purposes of this article, I will use Dr.

By Bilyana Tsvetkova  |  July 30, 2009