You may already be aware of the Americas Program at the Interhemispheric
Resource Center (IRC, online at www.irc-online.org). If so, you know that
the IRC's Americas Program brings together area specialists and other
experts from across the hemisphere to produce high-caliber, cutting-edge
analysis on inter-American affairs and U.S. policy in Latin America. And
many of you may already be receiving notices about new Americas materials
related to your particular area of interest, such as environment, trade, or
However, you may not be aware of another component of the Americas Program
that will likely interest you. Every week, we produce our CrossBorder
UPDATER ezine, that includes a column called Americas This Week, examining
latest developments in the region. The UPDATER also includes summaries of
the latest reports, citizen action profiles, and news analysis from our
A sample issue of the CrossBorder UPDATER is included here. We encourage
you to subscribe. Simply reply to this message, putting Subscribe in the
subject line, or follow the subscribe directions at the end of the UPDATER.
There are many more articles in the works, including a critical analysis of
the IMF package in Argentina, a report on Mexico's anti-war movement, a
profile of recent border organizing, a policy brief on the agricultural
agreement of the upcoming WTO meeting in Cancun, and a report on how
small-scale coffee growers are confronting the crisis in international prices.
In a world of increasing inter-connectedness, informed citizen
participation in foreign policy is vital to hemispheric peace and justice.
The Americas Program offers serious analysis from throughout the hemisphere
that goes far beyond what's available in the mainstream media.
We appreciate your interest, and apologize for any duplicate mailings.
Tom Barry Laura Carlsen
IRC's Americas Program IRC's Americas Program
CROSSBORDER UPDATER | sample
c o n t e n t s :
Anti-Yanqui Revival | English-language introduction by Laura Carlsen
Sustainability Assessments: Tools for Effective Trade Policy in the
Hemisphere | English-language policy report by Kevin P. Gallagher & Hernán
Rumors of the PPP's Death--Greatly Exaggerated? | English-language PPP
Spotlight by Wendy Call
Foreign Debt: Fifty Years of Forgetting London | English-language column by
Outcome of Mexican Dirty War Investigations Up In Air | English-language
citizen action feature by Kent Paterson
Distributed by the IRC's Americas Program ~ "A New World of Ideas,
Analysis, and Policy Options." Note that this service includes
announcements of new content in both Spanish and English. For more
information, visit www.americaspolicy.org or read the footer of this
message. To report problems, email americas@...
The Americas This Week
(The Americas This Week is a weekly column written by associates of the
IRCs Americas Program. Please send your responses to this column or
comments about other Americas Programs analysis and activities to
The Anti-Yanqui Revival In Latin America
Ten thousand Argentines burned American flags and threw rocks at the U.S.
Embassy. In El Salvador, antiwar protesters shredded flags and shouted
anti-American slogans at a luxury hotel where Central American free trade
negotiations were being held. In major cities, McDonalds concessions have
been sprayed with Dont finance the war! and in Sao Paulo the Brazilian
Minister of Culture, singer Gilberto Gil, took to the stage to repudiate
the U.S.-led invasion. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico stands permanently
barricaded with twenty feet of steel crossbars, which daily protests have
bedecked with bloodied shirts, paper roses, peace poetry, and angry
epithets. George W. Bush has been called everything from the polite
assassin to the unprintable.
The protests reflect Latin Americas indignation over the U.S. invasion of
Iraq and disregard for international law. But increasingly the anger is
spilling over into a revival of anti-yanqui sentiment throughout the
hemisphere. In nations where generally upwards of 80% of the population is
against the war, as the war has continued and occupation deepened so has
the impetus to denounce U.S. aggression continued. While many organizations
fix the blame squarely on the Bush administration, expressions aimed at the
U.S. as a whole have become more common.
Such an interpretation would be both a factual and a strategic mistake for
the growing antiwar movement in Latin America.
To extend animosity to the American public at large is a factual mistake
because the Bush administration acts radically on an exceedingly narrow
base of representation. The president was elected with a minority of the
popular vote--154 million adults did not vote for him. True, polls show
that over 70% of the U.S. public supports the war. But this rallying
effect at battle time is something that both psychologists and
philosophers have commented on throughout history and often has little to
do with the issues at hand or even the expressed justifications for the
war. Recent polls show that beyond supporting our troops, U.S. public
opinion actually diverges substantially from the neoconservative
unilateralist agenda--over 70% support a strong role for the UN in the
future, only half of supporters of the attack believe war was the best
option, and 52% would like to see the UN participate in governing postwar
Iraq. (See http://www.presentdanger.org/commentary/2003/0304pipa.html.)
The foreign policy making group in the White House today has perhaps never
been as cliquish or as ideologically driven. The neoconservatives hold
impressive sway over the president, but their views do not even extend to
the whole cabinet. Inside voices for a more multilateral approach have been
emboldened by allies concerns and citizens movements. The hawkish view
that treats Iraq as the spoils of war--exclusively administering
reconstruction funds and self-assigning lucrative oil and infrastructure
restoration contracts--confronts a growing call for UN involvement. Designs
on Syria and Iran face strong resistance from many policymakers who wince
at the prospect of becoming mired in the politically and financially costly
business of occupying Middle Eastern states.
At the same time, the movement that emerged to prevent the war is
historically unprecedented in the United States. In less than six months,
this movement surged from nothing to millions. These citizens support
peace, not by paying lip service to the opposition, but by marching in the
streets, signing petitions, writing poetry, calling Congress, performing
Lysistrata, getting arrested, and going to jail. Although the movement
failed at its first proposed task--to prevent the war--the momentum has
continued into efforts to stop the war, contain the warmongers, and restore
international law. United for Peace and Justice, a national umbrella group
against the war, has over seventy member organizations; 161 cities have
signed resolutions against the war; and 2 million people have signed on to
MOVEON.org petitions against the attack on Iraq.
Some Latin American groups have recognized the U.S. antiwar movement as a
fundamental ally. In signing on to the Z magazine petition I stand for
peace and justice Sub-Comandante Marcos notes: The declaration fails to
make a clear distinction between the North American government and the
people of the United States of America. Since many people in the U.S. have
mobilized and promoted acts of civil disobedience against the war, we think
this distinction is necessary. The public statements of academics,
intellectuals, artists, religious leaders, alternative media, students, and
U.S. citizens against the war--in spite of the bellicose handling of
information by the large communications corporations--show us clearly that
this is a war of the Bush government and not the U.S. public.
The Zapatistas are not alone in making this distinction. But the links
between the U.S. movement and movements in Latin America should go deeper
and broader and feed on common interests that extend beyond the war itself.
So far in Latin America there have been no reports of signs in restaurants
saying Americans not welcome like in Russia. But the region has a thick
vein of anti-imperialist, anti-gringo sentiment dating from the sixties and
seventies. Central America and Mexico solidarity work, as well as
grassroots globalization efforts, served to dissipate hostility over the
past couple of decades, but it may still be latent.
The message of the Not in our Name movement launched by U.S. citizens and
later translated into the No en nuestro nombre campaigns in
Spanish-speaking countries carries an implicit subtext to antiwar movements
across the globe: They are not us.
- Laura Carlsen <laura@...
New from the IRC's Americas Program:
Sustainability Assessments: Tools for Effective Trade Policy in the Hemisphere
Kevin P. Gallagher & Hernán Blanco | April 2003
Sustainability assessments are defined as analyses of the potential social
and environmental benefits and costs of proposed trade agreements. In this
new Policy Brief from the Americas Program, the authors argue for an
official effort to incorporate sustainability assessments into the Free
Trade Area of the Americas negotiations to increase transparency and reveal
possible negative impacts.
(Kevin P. Gallagher is with the Global Development and Environment
Institute, Tufts University (USA) and writes regularly for the Americas
Program; Hernan Blanco is with Research and Resources for Sustainable
Development in Santiago, Chile.)
Available online at http://www.americaspolicy.org/briefs/2003/0304sa.html
PPP Spotlight #2:
Rumors of the PPP's Death--Greatly Exaggerated?
Wendy Call, Americas Program PPP Specialist | April 10, 2003
2003 is expected to be a key year in the development and implementation of
the Plan Puebla-Panama. Although some experts have declared the Plan dead
in the water, one of its major components--road construction--continues
unabated. The highways under construction have caused local conflicts along
their routes as communities struggle to get information about the work and
protect the local resources and environment from negative impacts. Some
groups have even carried their cases to the International Labor
Organization, claiming violation of indigenous rights. For these
communities at least, the PPP continues to be a very real threat.
(Wendy Call is a freelance writer who divides her time between
Massachusetts and Oaxaca. She is working on a book entitled No Word for
Welcome: Mexican Villages Face the Future, about indigenous communities in
Oaxaca and globalization. She can be reached at <wendycall@...
Available online at
Foreign Debt: Fifty Years of Forgetting London
Eduardo Gudynas | April 10, 2003
The foreign debt of southern countries has grown and is becoming a major
problem again. The debt for 2002 in Latin America was over 725 billion
dollars and Latin American countries registered a net transference of
resources abroad, largely due to debt payments and servicing.
In 1953 the United States, Great Britain, and other nations signed the
London Agreement on the German foreign debt. The agreement set forth the
conditions for reviving the German economy, assuring internal stability,
and promoting economic development. It allowed for a 50% reduction in the
debt, suspension of payments, low interest rates, and a ceiling of 5% of
export earnings dedicated to debt payment. The author argues that today,
when many citizens' organizations are demanding similar terms, we should
remember the precedents established in the London Agreement.
(Eduardo Gudynas is senior analyst at D3E (Development, Economy, Ecology
and Equity Latin America), a research and advocacy center based in
Available online at
Outcome of Mexican Dirty War Investigations Up In Air
Kent Paterson | April 9, 2003
Then-candidate Vicente Fox promised a truth commission to clear the
historical record of past human rights abuses ranging from the 1968
massacre of students in Mexico City's Tlatelolco Square to the 1995 Aguas
Blancas slaughter of peasants in Guerrero state. Once in office, what Fox
delivered was very different: a special prosecutor to investigate the
culprits of those and other crimes, plus a military tribunal to try two
Mexican generals on homicide charges.
Human rights advocates, who have been pushing for decades to get to the
bottom of the truth in these and other cases, voice a mixture of hope and
doubt on the possibilities of attaining justice with the Fox
administration's approach. Many groups still demand that the government
establish a truth commission like the one in South Africa. But without
sustained pressure from a united front, it's unlikely that the Fox
administration will shift its human rights policy from a special prosecutor
to a truth commission.
(Kent Paterson is a freelance journalist based in Albuquerque and a
frequent contributor to the Americas Program.)
Available online at
The crossborder UPDATER is a weekly bulletin announcing new reports,
commentaries and analysis from the Americas Program of the Interhemispheric
Resource Center (IRC). For a free subscription send a blank email to
Because our audience is largely international and bilingual, we often
include announcements of new Spanish-only content or Spanish translations
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"A New World of Ideas, Analysis and Policy Options"
For more information about the Americas Program and the Interhemispheric
Resource Center (IRC), visit http://www.americaspolicy.org/.