Surveying the Field: Peasant Power in Andean History

Like many global hotspots of the twentieth century, the Andes is marked by its history of structural inequality, racial conflict, and legacies of poverty and violence. Tensions between urban and rural areas as well as between descendants of European and Andean ancestry still exist and remain a source of scholarly interest in the region. In… Read More Surveying the Field: Peasant Power in Andean History

Between Two Worlds: Andean Haciendas in Colonial History

When historian James Lockhart published his renown article “Encomienda and Hacienda” in 1969, the modern historiography on haciendas was already more than forty-years-old.[1] Yet even after decades, historians were only beginning to understand these New World estates in terms of their origins and functions as colonial institutions. Early twentieth century scholars debated the extent of… Read More Between Two Worlds: Andean Haciendas in Colonial History

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

By N. H. Gill In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.” [1]As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements –… Read More Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

Communist Conspiracies and Imperial Plots: Narratives of The Honduran General Strike of 1954

By N. H. Gill The historiography of the Honduras general strike of 1954 shows that the extent of communist influence and external Guatemalan involvement are still subjects of significant historical debate. Kevin Coleman’s A Camera in the Garden of Eden, which focuses on the self-forging of Honduran banana workers and their marginalized communities, is the… Read More Communist Conspiracies and Imperial Plots: Narratives of The Honduran General Strike of 1954

Writing Revolution: Republican Politics in Three Cuban Histories

By N. H. Gill Luis E. Aguilar, Samuel Farber, and Robert Whitney present three complimentary interpretations of Cuba’s 1933 Revolution and the social unrest that led to the 1959 Revolution.[1] The authors explore the role of rising mass society, the influence of political and intellectual elites, and the impact of the United States’ intervention in… Read More Writing Revolution: Republican Politics in Three Cuban Histories

Ecuadorian Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Ecuador’s foreign policy? Ecuador’s diplomatic history has focused strategically on the preservation of sovereign territory and resources; politically on the amplification of its national prestige and influence through multilateral institutions and economically on the promotion of national trade through close relationships with the United States, the Andean Community,… Read More Ecuadorian Foreign Policy: Traditions

Ecuadorian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Ecuador’s national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?  As mentioned, the current foreign policy organization is based on the institutional structure established in the 1998 Constitution. According to Article 2, “The Head of State, as Supreme Representative of the country and its sovereign… Read More Ecuadorian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

South American Regional Integration Institutions: Unasur, ALADI, CAN and Mercosur

There are four regional integration institutions in South America; CAN, MERCOSUR, ALADI, and UNASUR. The first two are subregional blocks representing nine of the 12 South American member countries of Unasur; neither is fully functional. [1] All the nations of South America, except for Guyana and Surinam, are members of ALADI. Its goals are similar… Read More South American Regional Integration Institutions: Unasur, ALADI, CAN and Mercosur

Chilean Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Chile’s current foreign policy? Chile’s current foreign policy strongly resembles the foreign policy of the Portales period, emphasizing political neutrality, non-intervention, sovereign equality, regional stability, and commercial expansion. The types of problems it faces are also similar to that era, but not specific to it, insofar as it has yet to resolve territorial… Read More Chilean Foreign Policy: 2008

Chilean Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Chile’s foreign policy? Since the early 1830s, Chile has developed a reputation for its pragmatic foreign policy, traditionally letting national interests take precedent over ideology. Starting from at least as early as the Prieto administration there was an explicit understanding of the challenges of Chile’s situation, isolated from… Read More Chilean Foreign Policy: Traditions

Chilean Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Chile’s national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within? Chile’s current Constitution was approved in a national plebiscite in 1980 during the military dictatorship. It has since been amended nine times, but retains the strong executive tradition common in Chile since the end of… Read More Chilean Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Brazilian Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the historic conditions of Brazil’s foreign policy? Like Argentina, we will divide the historic conditions of Brazil’s foreign policy into three groups; strategic, political and economic. Strategically, Brazil (and Portugal during colonial times) has sought to expand its influence in South America and the South Atlantic. At times this involved aggressive policies with… Read More Brazilian Foreign Policy: Traditions

Brazilian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

In this next section we will discuss Brazil’s foreign policy. As we mentioned earlier, Brazil is unique among its neighbors, representing roughly half of the continent physically, economically, and in population, it is also the only nation in South America who is a major world player outside the region.[1] This fact is in large part… Read More Brazilian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Argentina’s Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Argentina’s current foreign policy? To understand Argentina’s current foreign policy it is necessary to understand the economic crisis of 2001 and its effect on what we are calling the ‘current’ policies of former President Nestor Kirchner and his wife, the current President, Cristina Fernandez. As we mentioned in the last section, the government… Read More Argentina’s Foreign Policy: 2008

Argentina’s Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Argentina’s foreign policy? The historic conditions of Argentina’s foreign policy can be divided into three groups; strategic, economic, and political. Strategically, Argentina has been preoccupied with containing Brazil and Chiles’ influence in the southern cone, Perú in the Northwest, settling border conflicts with Chile, and regaining sovereignty of… Read More Argentina’s Foreign Policy: Traditions

Argentina’s Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within? The executive branch controls foreign policy in Argentina. It is composed of six secretaries, 10 ministers, a ministerial chief, and one military liaison; all appointed by the President.[1] While citizens have the right to propose legislation… Read More Argentina’s Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

South American Foreign Policy: Six Case Studies

Our next several sections will focus on the national foreign policy goals of six South American nations; Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Our criteria for selecting these countries are as follows, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile were chosen because of their historical importance in regional balance of power politics. Venezuela was chosen because of… Read More South American Foreign Policy: Six Case Studies

Historiography: Brazilian Hegemony in South America

(Mar. 31, 2008) The last explanation we will analyze here is what we are referring to as the “Brazilian hegemonic” explanation. This position holds that Brazil, given the much larger size of its population, economy, and territory relative to the rest of the region, is the natural hegemon in South American regional affairs.[1] This position… Read More Historiography: Brazilian Hegemony in South America

Historiography: Historical-Cultural Explanations

(Mar. 30, 2008) Other explanations for why the region has decided to pursue a strategy of South American unification focus on the cultural similarities between these nations. This interpretation emphasizes the post colonial Pan-American unification movement, begun by the early Liberators like Bolívar, Sucre, San Martin, or O’Higgins who said, “la patria de los americanos… Read More Historiography: Historical-Cultural Explanations

Historiography: Economic Explanations of South American Integration

(Mar. 29, 2008) There are several ways of approaching the question of South American integration; depending on which facet of society you choose to analyze you get a different answer. The most popular explanations are economic, historical/cultural, and Brazilian. The emphasis on economic explanations is succinctly explained by Vanden and Prevost who note, “In Latin… Read More Historiography: Economic Explanations of South American Integration

Regularity of Interaction Among South American Nations

(Mar. 28, 2008) The final factor we will look at in this section is the degree to which South American nations interact with each other. The formal political institutions that link the entire region are the United Nations and the Organization of American States. If Guyana and Surinam are removed the list increases to include… Read More Regularity of Interaction Among South American Nations

Definitions and Limitations I: Initial Assumptions on UNASUR

(Mar. 26, 2008)The decision to analyze the countries of South America as a regional subsystem of Latin America is based on the membership criteria of UNASUR itself. While it may be debatable that all of the territory southeast of Panama actually forms a single analytical subsystem, given that the region has opted for a union… Read More Definitions and Limitations I: Initial Assumptions on UNASUR

Definitions and Limitations II: Physical Borders

Geographically, South America refers to the territory located roughly between 12.5 degrees north and 56 degrees south latitude, and 34.5 east and 81.5 degrees west longitude, corresponding to the nations located southeast of Panama: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. Physically it is bordered by the Caribbean Sea… Read More Definitions and Limitations II: Physical Borders

Definitions and Limitations III: Regional and Extra-Regional Powers

The broad geographic zones outlined in the last entry also correspond to the general separation of historic interests in South America. According to Atkins, the economic and political interests of the Caribbean states of Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname have been predominantly influenced by the hegemonic influence of the United States and their respective European… Read More Definitions and Limitations III: Regional and Extra-Regional Powers

Definitions and Limitations IV: Perceptions of Shared Identity in South America

The interplay of different cultures in South America is another important factor in analyzing regional politics. The interaction between European immigrants, Africans, and later on immigrants from all over the world with the indigenous communities already living there has created a unique social atmosphere of syncretism and conflict. A crude division can be made along… Read More Definitions and Limitations IV: Perceptions of Shared Identity in South America

Problematizing Regional Integration in South America: UNASUR in the 21st Century

(Mar. 26, 2008) In South American integration literature there is a puzzling divide between primary government sources and secondary analysis. On the one hand you have a series of regional declarations signed by the 12 presidents of South American nations stating their intent to form a new continental block. On the other hand you have… Read More Problematizing Regional Integration in South America: UNASUR in the 21st Century

Interviews

I’ve spent the last two months traveling in Ecuador and Peru conducting interviews for my graduate thesis. I will be publishing these interviews in the following order: Francisco Carrión, Foreign Minister of Ecuador (2003-2006); Benjamin Ortiz, Foreign Minister of Ecuador (1998-2000); Osvaldo Hurtado, President of Ecuador (1981-1984); Rodrigo Borja, President of Ecuador (1988-1992); Carlos Espinosa,… Read More Interviews

Some Initial Questions: Unasur And Integration In South America

In South American integration literature there exists a puzzling divide between primary government sources and secondary analysis. On the one hand you have a series of regional declarations signed by the 12 presidents of South American nations stating their intent to form a new continental block. On the other hand you have a public that… Read More Some Initial Questions: Unasur And Integration In South America