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Articles in Latin America

Heightened Unrest in Venezuela’s Zulia State

By Martin W. Lewis | June 30, 2012 |

In recent weeks, Zulia has experienced mounting troubles. Several leaders of the indigenous Yukpa and Wayuu communities were murdered, reportedly by wealthy ranchers infuriated at indigenous peoples moving into their prime grazing lands (Zulia is a major beef and dairy—and oil—producer)

El Salvador to Recognize Indigenous Peoples

By Martin W. Lewis | May 16, 2012 | 5 Comments

The government of El Salvador has moved to constitutionally recognize the existence of the country’s indigenous peoples, although the measure must first be ratified by the legislature. Ratification looks likely, despite opposition from the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). The measure would not provide any direct benefits to indigenous peoples, but it could be used to help protect them against discrimination.

Spanish-Argentinean Fishing Disputes

By Martin W. Lewis | May 10, 2012 |

Tensions between Spain and Argentina have recently mounted. Last fall, Spain began to complain that its fishing fleets operating around the Falkland/Malvinas islands were being harassed by the Argentine Navy, despite having licenses from the Falkland Islands government—a government that Argentina does not recognize. More recently, Argentina nationalized the oil company YPF, a subsidiary of the Spanish company Repsol, angering both Spanish investors and European Union officials and provoking reprisals.

The Cherry Export Boom In Chilean Patagonia

By Martin W. Lewis | April 24, 2012 |

FreshPlaza—the global fresh produce news service—recently reported on the surge of cherry exports from Chilean Patagonia to Asia and Europe. The small town of Chile Chico (population 4,400) alone exported 270 tons of cherries this year.

Pre-Columbian Raised Fields in French Guiana

By Martin W. Lewis | April 18, 2012 |

A number of news reports from French Guiana have focused on a recently published scientific article on pre-Columbian agriculture in the region, which offers potential lessons for current-day land-use. Several of the reports express surprise at the researchers’ findings, which indicate that the indigenous peoples of the region were able to successfully grow crops without using fire to clear the vegetation, as has more recently been the norm.

Massive New Solar Project in Northern Mexico

By Martin W. Lewis | April 10, 2012 |

The small city (population 65,000) of Tecate in Mexico’s state of Baja California, just south of the U.S. border, is best know for its popular beer of the same name. But current plans come to fruition, Tecate will soon be home to the world’s largest concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) power farm, producing 450 megawatts of electricity.

The Colombian-Venezuelan Energy-Led Diplomatic Thaw

By Martin W. Lewis | March 29, 2012 |

Relations between Colombia and Venezuela have been so tense over the past decade that it sometimes seemed that the two countries were at the verge of war. Such tensions, however, have recently diminished to the point where the neighboring states are now discussing building a pipeline to transport Venezuelan crude oil to Colombian ports, a project enthusiastically backed by China.

New Investments in Electronics Factories in Tierra del Fuego

By Martin W. Lewis | March 24, 2012 |

A recent article in Advanced Television notes that DirectTV is planning to invest U.S. $32 million in Argentina, much of which will be devoted to manufacturing set-top boxes. The devises will be made Tierra del Fuego, in the extreme south of the country. Many of the boxes will be exported to other Latin American countries; Venezuela alone is expected to purchase up to one million annually.

Anti-Mining Protests in Ecuador and Peru

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2012 |

In Ecuador, hundreds of indigenous protestors have been marching for two weeks from the Amazonian lowlands to the capital city of Quito, which they are scheduled to reach today. Road blockades have led to clashes with the police as well as numerous arrests.

Foxconn Expands in Minas Gerais

By Martin W. Lewis | March 11, 2012 |

The Taiwanese company Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd) has appeared often in the global news in recent months, owing largely the labor practices of its Chinese plants that make iPhones and other popular electronic devises. According to the Wikipedia, Foxconn factories “assemble around 40 percent of consumer electronics products in the world.”

Indigenous Protests in Panama

By Martin W. Lewis | March 7, 2012 |

Massive protests by indigenous people, occasionally accompanied by violence, have been occurring in Panama since late January. On March 1, leaders of Ngöbe-Buglé people walked out on talks with the Panamanian government after several of their young supporters were shot with rubber bullets.

Bio-Tech Farming in Brazil and the Global Potash Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | February 19, 2012 | 3 Comments

A recent article in claims that Brazil will soon surpass the United States to become the word’s leading producer of genetically modified crops.

Chile’s Assault on Sea Lions

By Martin W. Lewis | February 14, 2012 | 3 Comments

Chilean mackerel stocks have dropped by some 90 percent in recent years, resulting in a crisis in the county’s fishing industry. Chile has been blaming the Peruvian fishing fleet for depleting the stock, but local officials are now pointing their fingers at sea lions as well

ALBAs Support for Syria

By Martin W. Lewis | February 10, 2012 | 2 Comments

Iran’s PressTV is trumpeting the fact that the Venezuelan-led, anti-US block known as ALBA has thrown its support behind the Syrian government condemning what it calls foreign efforts to destabilize the country.

Spain, Bolivia, Iraq, and the Fallacy of the Nation-State

By Martin W. Lewis | September 10, 2010 | 2 Comments

This final posting on regionalism in Spain steps back to reexamine the concept of the nation-state. Spain constitutionally defines itself as a nation-state, insisting that all its citizens belong to the Spanish nation. But as we have seen, many are adamant that Spain is a country of multiple nations. Some sub-Spanish nationalists retain the

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