Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

What Can We Conclude From the Cartagena Summit?

By Ludovico Feoli

A lot of hand wringing and snickering is going on in the press about the inability to reach any agreements during the hemispheric conference held in Cartagena last week. Aside from questioning the value of these forums beyond their photo opportunities and grandstanding platforms for the most vocal, it may be useful to consider the larger lessons that the summit suggests. Above all, it reflects a very different region in a very different world than existed when the hemispheric meetings were launched in 1994.

A different region. During the 1990s, Latin America was emerging from its “lost decade” and still transitioning to open markets and democracy. Today, the region is recognized for its steady economic growth, having weathered the Great Recession better than most, and, despite exceptions, its consolidated democracies. During the 1990s few, if any, of the countries in the region could aspire to global leadership. Today, the world is looking at and following the examples of innovation in social policies and participatory democracy that have emerged from the region. Brazil, thought by many to have finally come of age, vies openly for a seat in a reconfigured UN Security Council. Most poignantly, the summit host, Colombia, was hostage to drug cartels and counterinsurgency in the 1990s. Today, the country enjoys renewed levels of security, economic growth, and its cities are touted as examples of urban revival. Mexico has become a predominantly middle class society, and poverty and inequality have fallen throughout the region, almost without exception. Tellingly, in the United States these trends have been inverted and the country appears beleaguered by economic and political problems.

A different world. Overextension in international conflicts, growing inequality, political polarization, financial crisis, high unemployment and growing public debt have contributed, among a host of other factors, to cast a pall over the global leadership of the United States. The European Union, beset by regional inequality, towering debt and sluggish growth, is also seen as declining. Meanwhile, the G-8 has become the G-20, recognizing the growing weight of emerging countries in global affairs. Most notably, China has surpassed Japan as the second largest economy in the world and is challenging the US lead as a global trader and investor. Indeed, many Latin American countries now have greater trade with China than with the US, and China has embarked on a quest to spread its soft power regionally, building stadiums and buying up sovereign debt throughout the Americas. While the US is still important to the region, the underlying basis of its relationship is changing. It is no longer the only kid in town.

President Obama has recognized this, at least rhetorically. He describes his approach towards the region as a partnership among equals. With regard to the drug trade, he speaks of shared responsibility, given US demand for narcotics and easy access to guns, and he acknowledges the need to consider alternatives that focus on demand reduction and harm mitigation. With regard to Cuba, he facilitated travel and remittances to the island, and opened some areas of investment. With regard to immigration, he recognizes the contribution of migrants to the US economy and speaks of the importance of comprehensive reform. Yet, in these key areas there is little or no change, even as longstanding policies–the war against drugs, the embargo against Cuba, and the immigration regime–are considered to have failed. Despite some adjustments at the administrative level, the prospects for deeper reform are slight in the current electoral and highly polarized political environment. Obama’s regional policies will remain hostage to domestic politics even if he strikes all the right notes and takes the appropriate stance at regional summits.

Yet, the lack of accord at the summit reveals much more than acrimony against the US and its policies. It suggests that the region is also divided within itself: there is no regional consensus about what the solutions to critical problems should be. Take the drug trade. While much was made about US opposition to legalization, the Central American nations, battered more than most of the region by drug-related violence and corruption, could not agree on a unified stance in a meeting of their regional secretariat (SICA) the day before the Cartagena meeting. While Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica seem amenable to decriminalization, Nicaragua and El Salvador oppose it. Or take Cuba. While its absence from the summits is an easy foil to bash the US, few would escape the charge of cynicism if they somehow had to square that with their support for the Democratic Charter.

The broader lesson to be drawn from the lack of consensus at the Summit is that regional collective action has become more challenging. As the hemispheric hegemon has receded in dominance so has its encompassing interest in providing regional public goods. It is likely to continue doing so to a certain degree, but not in any way that deviates significantly from its narrower national interest. As an example of this, the US focus has shifted from multilateralism to a sharper focus on the most relevant actors. Under the circumstances, as no regional power is likely to become predominant to the point of hegemony, it is unreasonable to expect far-ranging regional accords. Even if the gulf in real power separating them from the US remains significant, emerging powers will tend to be more assertive, balancing against each other and the US, and this will lessen the chances for regional consensus. Regional policy and regional integration will advance in fits and starts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Ludovico Feoli

    Executive Director - Center for Inter-American Policy & Research

BLOG AUTHORS & RECENT POSTS

LATEST SITE UPDATES

EVENTS

NEWS

RESOURCES

All Events

Upcoming Events

Newcomb Art Museum Exhibit Features Modern Sculptures Inspired by Mexican Ceramics

View Full Event Description

Come celebrate the opening of Newcomb Art Museum’s latest exhibitions Clay in Transit featuring contemporary Mexican ceramics and Clay in Place featuring Newcomb pottery and guild plus other never-before-exhibited pieces from the permanent collection.The exhibit presents the work of seven Mexican-born sculptors who bridge the past and present by creating contemporary pieces using an ancient medium. The exhibit will feature works by Ana Gómez, Saúl Kaminer, Perla Krauze, María José Lavín, María José de la Macorra, Gustavo Pérez, Paloma Torres.

5:30 PM
Private VIP/members reception featuring catering by Araña, a tequila tasting, specialty cocktails, and music.

6:30 PM
Curatorial talk with Nuria Rodriguez Sadurni, Director of Special Projects at the Cultural Cooperation office of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Free and open to the public.

7:30-9:00 PM
Public reception.

Exhibition curator and artist Paloma Torres explains, “In this contemporary moment, clay is a borderline. It is a material that has played a critical role in the development of civilization: early man used clay not only to represent spiritual concerns but also to hold food and construct homes.” While made of a primeval material, the exhibited works nonetheless reflect the artists’ twenty-first-century aesthetics and concerns as well as their fluency in diverse media—from painting and drawing to video, graphic design, and architecture.

The exhibit will run from January 18, 2018, through March 24, 2018. For more information on the exhibit and the artists, please visit the Newcomb Art Museum’s website.

Clay in Transit is presented in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jennifer Wooster (NC ’91), Lora & Don Peters (A&S ’81), Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, Andrew and Eva Martinez, and the Newcomb Art Museum advisory board



LSU and The Modern History Colloquium and the Ogden Honors College: Lecture Series

View Full Event Description

The Modern History Colloquium and the Ogden Honors College invites you to a series of lectures hosted by LSU

Father Perez’s Revolution: Constitutional Catholicism in 20th Century Mexico
Professor Matthew Butler (UT-Austin)
Thursday, January 18th at 6:00 PM
French House, Grand Salon

Dr. Butler is one of the preeminent scholars of the Catholic Church and politics in 20th century Mexico. He is the author of Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion (Oxford, 2004) and Faith and Impiety in Revolutionary Mexico (Palgrave, 2007). Butler will speak about his forthcoming book, describing religious change and adaptation during and after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1940).

Provincializing 1968 Mexico: A Historiographical Critique
Professor Jaime Pensado (Notre Dame)
Friday, January 19th at 3:30 PM
French House, Feature Classroom

Dr. Pensado is the author of Rebel Mexico: Student Unrest and Authoritarian Political Culture During the Long Sixties (Stanford, 2013). His new book project takes up a set of research questions that have not been addressed in the historiography of modern Mexico, but which he argues, will complicate our understanding of the turbulent, combative, and at a times contradictory character of the Cold War era: how did conservative and progressive sectors of the Catholic Church—particularly those invested in education, student politics and entertainment—respond to the contentious environment that emerged inside Mexico’s most important universities during the postwar era? How did young Catholic students respond to the rise of leftist militancy that came to characterize their schools in the wake of the Cuban Revolution?

All Events Open to the Public
For more information on the event, click here.

Professional Development Opportunity: Latin American Resources for the K-12 Classroom

View Full Event Description

S.S. NOLA, in collaboration with the Latin American Resource Center, will be hosting a professional development opportunity for K-12 educators on Saturday, January 20, 2018, to examine the ways in which educators can utilize and share resources on Latin America in the classroom. This is a free workshop for K-12 educators and refreshments will be served. Visit the official event website for more information and to register.

S.S. NOLA was created to support K-12 social studies teachers in the New Orleans area by showcasing student-centered lesson plans, loaning classroom supplies free of charge, and hosting professional development workshops. To learn more about the mission of S.S. NOLA, visit their official website, and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter and Facebook! S.S. NOLA is run by Brooke Grant, a professor of practice in the Tulane Teacher Preparation and Certification program.

Stone Center for Latin American Studies to Host 10th Annual Workshop on Field Research Methods

View Full Event Description

Join us at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies for the 10th Annual Weekend Workshop on Field Research Methods on January 27, 2018. The application deadline is January 20, 2018.

How will you get the data you need for your thesis or dissertation? Do you envision immersing yourself for months in the local culture, or tromping the hills and farms seeking respondents? Sorting through dusty archives? Observing musicians at work in the plaza? Downloading and crunching numbers on a computer? For any of these approaches: How might you get there, from here?

This workshop aims to help you approach your data collection and analysis for your thesis or dissertation topic, and to adapt and refine your topic to be more feasible. You will take your research project ideas to the next stop—whatever that may be, include raising travel grants. Learn to:

  • Plan more efficiently, feasible, and rewarding fieldwork
  • Prepare more compelling and persuasive grant proposals
  • Navigate choices of research methods and course offerings on campus
  • Become a better research and fieldwork team-member

Format
This is an engaged, hands-on, informal workshop. Everyone shares ideas and participates. We will explore and compare research approaches, share experiences and brainstorm alternatives. You will be encouraged to think differently about your topic, questions, and study sites as well as language preparation, budgets, and logistics. The participatory format is intended to spark constructive new thinking, strategies, and student networks to continue learning about (and conducting) field research.

Who is leading this?
Laura Murphy, PhD, faculty in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, and affiliate faculty to the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Who is this for?
This workshop is targeted to Stone Center graduate students as well as graduate students from other programs (GOHB, CCC, humanities, sciences, and others) if space is available. The workshop will be particularly helpful for those who envision research with human subjects.

Sign up
Sign up as soon as you can! Apply by January 20, 2018, at the latest to confirm your stop. Send an email with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Department and Degree program
  • Year at Tulane
  • Prior experience in research, especially field research
  • Academic training in research design and methods
  • Include a 1-paragraphy statement of your current research interests and immediate plans/needs (i.e. organize summer field research)

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Not for credit.

For more information and/or to apply: Contact Laura Murphy at lmurphy2@tulane.edu or Jimmy Huck at jhuck@tulane.edu.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Foreign Language Pedagogy and Research

View Full Event Description

Call for Papers: Foreign Language Pedagogy and Research: New Approaches to Old Challenges
The goal of this symposium is to bring the Tulane University foreign language instructor community together by sharing foreign language teaching ideas, methods and practices. The symposium is open to all foreign language instructors and graduate students are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal.

Submissions:

  • Deadline for abstract submission: January 31st, 2018
  • Proposal should include a one-page description of the presentation and the name(s) and contact information of the (co)-presenter(s).
  • Presentations will be organized with a general format of 15 minutes for topic presentation/hands-on demonstration and 5 minutes for questions/discussion.
  • Interactive presentations are strongly encouraged. Presentations should be in English, however examples/exercises can be in the target language.
  • All submissions should be sent to rjudd@tulane.edu.
  • Notifications of acceptance will be sent by February, 20th 2018.

For more information about the symposium, guidelines, or requirements, please email:
Ryan Judd at rjudd@tulane.edu:mailto:rjudd@tulane.edu,
Roxanne Davilá at rdavila@tulane.edu:mailto:rdavila@tulane.edu, or
Charles Mignot at cmignot@tulane.edu:mailto:cmignot@tulane.edu.

Global Read Webinar Series: Diverse Social Justice Books for the High School Classroom

View Full Event Description

Once a month, the World Area Book Awards (Américas Award, Africana Book Award, Middle East Outreach Book Award, South Asia Book Award) sponsor a free 60 minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards and facilitate a discussion with the author on how to incorporate the book into the classroom. The 2018 Spring Webinar Series focuses on social justice. We encourage educators to read the books with your colleagues, students, and community, and then join us to hear more from the author.

On Thursday, February 8, 2018, join us for a 60 minute webinar/chat focused on Margarita Engle’s recent book Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words. In this haunting yet hopeful novel in verse, award-winning author Margarita Engle tells the story of Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent who became a champion of civil rights. The webinar will be available through Blackboard Collaborate. The book is appropriate for students in grades 8-12.