Commentary on Latin America. Mostly about Mexico - but not always. Designed to encourage readers to learn about the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people spread across two continents - but not always. You can always count on a little snark.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Notes From LASA: Part 1
Brilliant. No other way to describe the presentations of panel 494: US-Latin American Relations in the Obama Era. Julia Sweig from the Council on Foreign Relations commented on presentations by Greg Grandin, Dan Hellinger (on Bolivarianism), Forrest Hylton (on Plan Colombia), Jennifer McCoy (Georgia State / Carter Center), and Julia Buxton (why the US CAN'T change). While Sweig - who has the ear of not only Hillary Clinton but also Fidel Castro - was fascinating with her insider discussion of the gap of what advisors on Latin America WANT to accomplish and what they CAN, the bombshell of the meeting was Julia Buxton with her explosive presentation on internal structural reasons for why the US simply cannot change its Latin America policy. Though Grandin, Sweig, Hellinger, and McCoy all tried to portray a rosy picture (as liberals from the US), Buxton, an activist from the UK, was fairly clear and specific in her analysis of the alliance between corporations, NGOs, and politicians that breeds stagnation in policy. I think that while the others want desperately to believe that there is indeed a relevant, effective left in the US of which they are a part, Buxton's indication that the absence of any major social innovation in the United States in over 50 years points to the similar stagnation in foreign policy.
Another great reason why LASA should be attended by more than the college professors.
Jason Dormady is currently an associate professor of history at Central Washington University where he teaches courses on Mexico, general Latin American topics, world history, and religion in Latin America. He is also a member of the CWU Latin@ and Latin American Studies program faculty. You can read about my research interests at Academia.
The statements on this page do not reflect the views of Central Washington University or the Latin@ and Latin American Studies program.