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Articles in Latin America

Regional Stereotypes in Brazil

By Martin W. Lewis | November 1, 2014 | 12 Comments

As noted in the previous post, the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have distinctive voting patterns. In the 2014 presidential election, São Paulo voted strongly for the center-right challenger Aécio Neves, whereas Rio de Janeiro was the only state in southeastern Brazil to support the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff. The two states are similar in some respects, …

Preliminary Observations on Brazil’s 2014 Presidential Election

By Martin W. Lewis | October 29, 2014 | 10 Comments

(Note to Readers: GeoCurrents is interrupting its short series on the cartography of Michael Izady to examine the recent presidential election in Brazil. Note that on the maps posted below, the international norm of using red to indicate the left and blue to indicate the right is followed.)
It has been widely noted that Brazil 2014 presidential election revels a deep north/south …

Tiny …. Bolivia?

By Martin W. Lewis | February 21, 2014 | 7 Comments

One of my pet peeves is the journalistic use of the term “tiny” to refer to sizable but generally ignored countries. In my book, to be considered “tiny” a country must be small indeed, something on the order of Malta (316 sq. km or 122 square miles) or perhaps Luxembourg (2,586.4 sq. km or 999 square miles). (For countries smaller still, such …

Mapping the Farmlands of Coastal Peru

By Martin W. Lewis | July 19, 2013 |

In writing about the fruit and vegetable exports of coastal Peru, I could not locate any on-line maps of the farming districts of the region. It is easy, however, to distinguish these areas in Google Earth, as the color contrasts between the lush, irrigated lands and their desert environs stand out, as do the rectilinear patterns of the cultivated fields. …

Asparagus Land: Coastal Peru’s Fruit and Vegetable Export Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2013 |

The global market for temperate fruit was transformed several decades ago when Chile began to take advantage of its Southern Hemisphere location by massively exporting off-season produce to North America and Europe. When I was young, table grapes were only available in the United States during the summer and fall; now they are found in almost every grocery store year-round. …

Brazil’s Changing Geography of Murder

By Martin W. Lewis | May 23, 2013 | 6 Comments

Brazil is noted for its high murder rate. In the Wikipedia map posted here, Brazil falls in the highest homicide category, with more than 20 slayings a year per 100,000 people. This figure significantly exceeds that of the United States (4.8) and vastly exceeds those of such countries as Japan (0.4) and Iceland (0.3).  Yet Brazil is hardly the most …

Politics and Ethnicity in Ecuador and Bolivia: Twins or Opposites?

By Martin W. Lewis | March 26, 2013 | 2 Comments

On the surface, Ecuador and Bolivia exhibit close political similarities. Both countries are led by popular presidents who pursue leftist agendas, taking on multinational corporations, enacting land redistribution, and opposing U.S. interests. In Ecuador, incumbent president Rafael Correa just won an overwhelming victory, besting second-place finisher Guillermo Lasso by a 34 percent margin. In the most recent Bolivian general election …

Honduras Moving Ahead with Private Cities

By Nicholas Baldo | September 26, 2012 |

To most development economists, the key to economic success lies in the creation of good institutions, be they schools, corruption-free agencies, or the like. In 2010, the New York University Business School economist Paul Romer made quite a splash in the field by arguing that in countries where good institutions are lacking, new “charter cities” should be built and run by outside entities under their own laws as semi-sovereign entities.

Argentina’s Mounting Economic Troubles

By Martin W. Lewis | | One Comment

Economic pressures and uncertainties are again mounting in Argentina. Moody’s recently downgraded the country’s credit rating, and on September 24 the International Monetary Fund threatened it with sanctions if it does not produce “acceptable” economic data by December. The Argentine government has been accused for the past year of manipulating its economic reports to hide its true rate of inflation.

The Advantages of Darkness in Northern Chile

By Martin W. Lewis | September 18, 2012 |

In early October, the Noche Zero conference in the Atacama region of northern Chile will bring together lighting designers, urban planners, government officials, and astronomers concerned about the effects of “light pollution” and the resulting disappearance of stars from the night sky.

Exploring Mesoamerican Ruins with Google Street View

By Nicholas Baldo | September 13, 2012 |

Google Maps’ Street View has long been a wonderful tool for exploring urban environments from afar. Now Google, in a partnership with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, has taken Street View to the ruins of thirty ancient Mesoamerican cities, and hopefully up to sixty more within the next year. Viewers can explore a number of Classical Mayan sites, …

The U.S. Drought and the South American Farming Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | August 24, 2012 |

The drought in the U.S. farm-belt is having major repercussions in South America, as farmers in the region seek to take advantage of high commodity prices. As reported in BloombergBusinessweek, Argentine farmers hope to harvest as much as 31 million tons of corn (maize) in early 2013, which would smash their previous record of 22 million tons.

Roads, Gas, and the Uncontacted People of the Peruvian Amazon

By Nicholas Baldo | July 26, 2012 |

New roads and natural gas exploration in the Peruvian Amazon are making contact between hitherto isolated tribes and the outside world almost unavoidable.

The Nasa (Páez) People Take on the Colombian Military and the Leftist Rebels

By Martin W. Lewis | July 20, 2012 |

A recent article in the Chinese news site CRI notes that the indigenous Nasa people of southwestern Colombia have “lashed out at a Colombian Army outpost in southwestern Cauca province, as the military refused to leave their land as requested.” The report goes on to note that some 1,000 people surrounded a military outpost and literally tried to drag the soldiers away. As reported elsewhere, Colombian riot police soon evicted the Nasa demonstrators, and later shot and killed a member of the movement who allegedly refused to stop at an armed checkpoint

A New Panama Canal? Or Two?

By Nicholas Baldo | July 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

As traffic through the Panama Canal rises, Nicaragua and Costa Rica examine alternatives in a charged political atmosphere.

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