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Articles in Latin America

The Brazilian Crisis: Lecture Slides

By Martin W. Lewis | April 7, 2016 |
The Brazilian Crisis: Lecture Slides

This week’s lecture on the history and geography of current global events examined the on-going political and economic crisis in Brazil.  The lecture slides, converted to PDF format, can be found at the links below. (As the file was large, it was divided into two parts.)
I ended the lecture with some images and comments pertaining to my frustrations with the idea …

Customizable Maps of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador

By Martin W. Lewis | March 15, 2016 |

Dear Readers,
As it is taking longer than expected to distribute all of the GeoCurrents customizable maps, I have decided to expedite the process. As a result, I have not done anything with the maps that I am making available in today’s post other than color in the provinces, regions, states, etc. of the countries in questions, which are Mexico, Argentina, …

Customizable Maps of Brazil and Colombia, and Brazilian Social Development

By Martin W. Lewis | March 9, 2016 | One Comment

But regardless of what one thinks of either Lula or of Brazil’s current situation, the progress that it made in the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st is difficult to deny.

Argentina’s Controversial Energy Policies

By Martin W. Lewis | September 6, 2015 | One Comment

As noted in the previous post, the most economically productive areas of Argentina depend heavily on the extraction of oil and natural gas. Argentina, however, is not a major fossil-fuel producer, and its reserves of conventional oil and natural gas are modest. Although it still exports some crude oil and until recently sold large quantities of natural gas to Chile, …

Argentina’s Striking North/South Economic Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | September 4, 2015 | 9 Comments

As previously noted, Argentina is characterized by a north/south socio-economic divide, with the south being much more prosperous than the north. This regional disparity is visible on the HDI map included in the most recent post, but it is more clearly marked on other maps of economic development.
Consider, for example, GDP per capita by Argentine province (2008 data). As more …

Argentina’s HDI: The Wikipedia’s Worst Map?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 1, 2015 |

Although the Wikipedia includes a multitude of fine maps, its cartographic archive is by no means uniformly excellent. Perhaps the worst Wikipedia map that I have encountered, posted to the left, depicts Argentinian provinces in accordance with their HDI (Human Development Index*) rankings. As can be seen, all provinces are placed in the same category, that of “very high HDI,” …

Oil, Coal, and Economic Development in Colombia

By Martin W. Lewis | August 26, 2015 | 3 Comments

Although Colombia is not usually classified as a major oil-producer, it ranks 19th in the world according to the Wikipedia, turning out more than a million barrels a day in late 2014. Although this figure was well below that of Venezuela (2.5 million barrels a day), it surpassed those of such well-known oil exporters as Oman and Azerbaijan. It is …

Mapping Chile’s Indigenous Population

By Martin W. Lewis | July 28, 2015 | 2 Comments

(Note: This post concludes the recent GeoCurrents series on regional differences in Chile)
One of the most interesting tables found in the Wikipedia article on “Ranked Lists of Chilean Regions” is that of the indigenous population. According to the 2013 Casen Survey, nearly 10 percent of Chileans identify themselves as belonging to an indigenous group, a significant increase over earlier assessments. …

Aysén Chile in Comparative Context

By Martin W. Lewis | July 24, 2015 | 3 Comments

To understand the physical geography and scale of Chile, it is useful to compare it to its North American counterpart, a region that extends in the north-south direction from southeastern Alaska to Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, and which is bounded to the east by highland crests. As I was not able to find any maps that made this comparison explicitly, …

Chile: Inequality, Education, and Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 22, 2015 | 5 Comments

As noted in the previous post, Chile has a strikingly high level of income inequality despite its considerable success in social and economic development. Many observers blame Chile’s educational system for such inequity, contending that the country has many poor schools and does not spend enough money on education. As argued in a recent Council on Hemispheric Affairs article, “National …

Chile: Inequality, Incarceration, and Drug Smuggling

By Martin W. Lewis | July 20, 2015 | One Comment

Chile is rightfully celebrated for the socio-economic progress that it has achieved over the past several decades. But although it has seen a substantial reduction in poverty, Chile still has a high degree of economic inequality, like most other Latin American countries. According to the Wikipedia,* in 2011 Chile ranked in the 155th position out of 176 countries in terms …

Chile’s Unusual Core/Periphery Pattern, Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2015 | 2 Comments

The Wikipedia includes a number of articles on “ranked lists” of the first-order divisions (regions, provinces, etc.) of various countries. The one on Chile is particularly comprehensive. It includes only one map, however, that of the human development index. As a result, I could not resist mapping some of the other data found there. I have focused on those tables …

Joaquín Guzmán and the Geography of Homicide in Mexico

By Martin W. Lewis | July 13, 2015 |

Considering the astounding escape of Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán (also know as “El Chapo”) from a supposedly secure prison, this seems like an appropriate time to examine the geography of violent crime in Mexico. Comparing crime rates from place to place is a notoriously difficult exercise, as official statistics tend to be unreliable and are often gathered on a …

Attempts to Map Latin America’s Political Spectrum

By Martin W. Lewis | April 16, 2015 | One Comment

This’s week’s lecture for my class on the history and geography of current global events focused on the crisis in Venezuela, the slides from which are available at the link posted below. I framed this situation in terms of Latin America’s “democratic revolution” of the late 20th century followed by its electoral turn to the left (the so-called pink tide) …

Brazil’s Soy Empire: Mato Grosso in the 2014 Election

By Martin W. Lewis | November 5, 2014 | 5 Comments

(Note: This post completes a brief series on Brazil’s 2014 Election. This series has benefitted tremendously from the informed and insightful comments by Frederico Freitas, Ygor Coelho Soares, and Steve. Many thanks!)
In the electoral map of Brazil’s 2014 election, the vast but relatively lightly populated state of Mato Grosso in the center-west stands out for the strong support that most …

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