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In an interview with Bernie Dwyer, Noam Chomsky, political activist and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, contends that for the first time since the Conquest of the Americas, Latin America is becoming more integrated economically, socially, and politically. Carlos Malamud, senior analyst on Latin America at the Elcano Royal Institute and professor of Latin American history, maintains that efforts toward Latin American integration are doomed to failure and that they have not yet produced any tangible results.
Carlos Alberto Montaner, author, political analyst, and university professor, maintains that social unrest and the rise of Latin America’s left with such figures as Hugo Chávez and Tabaré Vázquez are a threat to democracy. Montaner argues that a process of "uncivilization" in the region accompanies these developments. Benjamin Dangl, political analyst and editor of Upside Down World, argues that the region’s shift to the left offers hope for democracy and that it represents an opening up of economic policy and new focus on the needs of the people in Latin America.
Luis Suárez Salazar, professor of history at the University of Havana, believes that Cuban diplomacy and new partnerships have helped create solid relations with its Latin American neighbors. Daniel Erikson, director of Caribbean programs in Washington, D.C., attests that although Cuba is attempting to employ a "good neighbor policy" with many Latin American countries, the majority of these countries are skeptical of Fidel Castro’s actions and will continue to ally with the United States.
Robert B. Charles, assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs for the U.S. Department of State, argues that Plan Colombia is succeeding through limiting the flow of drugs to America, defeating terrorists, and protecting democratic rule throughout the Andean regions of Latin America. Linda Panetta, a photojournalist whose work focuses on cultural, environmental, and human rights by focusing on conflict zones around the world—including Latin America—asserts that Plan Colombia has made little progress in the "War on Drugs" and creates more harm than good for both Colombia and the United States.
Previous resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, explains how "enhanced" commonwealth would change the compact established in 1950 between the United States and Puerto Rico and create expanded sovereignty for Puerto Rico, and thereby "eliminate all vestiges of colonialism from the current US-Puerto Rico relation." Dr. Pedro Rosselló, former governor of Puerto Rico, points out the contradictions and ambiguities the status of Puerto Rico has led to in its relationship with the United States and that the only way to resolve this quandary is by rejecting the status quo (commonwealth), and validating "the option under the U.S. sovereignty, namely statehood."
Mexico’s Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights claims that due to recent state and federal governmental intervention, significant gains have been made in the fight against the crimes surrounding Ciudad Juárez and the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of women. Kent Paterson, a freelance photojournalist and author who frequently writes for the International Relations Center, a policy studies institute that promotes grassroots dialogue and civic action, writes that the Mexican government is not doing enough to stop the "femicide" surrounding Ciudad Juárez and may be part of the problem.
Greg Campbell, an award-winning investigative journalist and current editor of Fort Collins Weekly, asserts that granting sanctuary to reformed, yet illegal, Latino gang members who assist law enforcement officials by testifying against gangs is the proper course of action, rather than deporting them back to their dangerous old neighborhoods. Heather Mac Donald, a lawyer and contributing editor to City Journal, claims that sanctuary policies inhibit members of law enforcement from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities, therefore, allowing dangerous illegal aliens to remain at-large and free to commit serious crimes with impunity.
Venezuelan journalist Alejandro Bermúdez discusses the issue of abortion in Colombia and interviews Monsignor Jaime Restrepo, who explains how pro-abortion groups have helped in changing the laws to permit abortions. Peruvian attorney Roxana Vásquez Sotelo argues that Latin American women do not have the freedom or autonomy to terminate unwanted pregnancies, resulting in many illegal abortions. Vásquez Sotelo also indicates that foreign interference helps maintain laws that restrict women’s rights.
Political science professor Mala Htun says that Brazil, which for years upheld itself as an example of a "racial democracy," has come to a realization that racism has and does exist. To counter this finding, affirmative action programs have been created, though not fully implemented. Peruvian anthropology professor Marisol de la Cadena provides an overview of culturalist definitions of race as expressed by Latin American scholars and politicians. de la Cadena explains that common notions of race are challenged by this culturalist definition because race, accordingly, is not defined by phenotype, and instead people are identified in terms of class, decency, morality and education.
Congressman Charlie Norwood argues that the presence of the Minutemen has reduced the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva contends that volunteer patrol groups on the Mexico-U.S. border are anti-immigrant, racist vigilantes. Instead of further militarizing the border, Grijalva advocates that more attention be paid to the economics, history, culture, and migration patterns of the border region.
Marcela A. Chaván de Matviuk from the Center for Latin American and Latino Leadership in the School of Leadership Studies at Regent University argues that the "relational character" of Latin American culture is a perfect fit for Pentecostal worship and that it directly contributes to the rise in Protestantism in the region. Edward L. Cleary, of the Dominican order, professor of political science and director of the Latin American studies program at Providence College, contends that the growth of Protestantism is not as profound as it might appear and that statistics on religion need to also consider the retention and dropout rates of Pentecostals.
Mr. Driessen, senior fellow with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, believes that the ban prohibiting the usage of the pesticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) has created more problems than solutions since a greater number people have died related to the spread of malaria than would have died from exposure to DDT. Greenpeace researchers Michelle Allsopp and Bea Erry contend that the group of chemicals known as POPs (persistent organic pollutants), which include the pesticide DDT, represent a significant global contamination problem because they are resistant to natural breakdown processes and are highly toxic. They maintain that DDT and other POPs should be phased out of use in Latin American countries.
CINN (Canal Interoceanico de Nicaragua), a multinational corporation that is the leading candidate to construct a canal across Nicaragua, argues that the construction of a canal through Nicaragua will provide major long-term economic benefits to Nicaragua by distinguishing it as the nexus of global commerce. Nicaragua Network’s Environmental Committee, who seek to strengthen environmental protection in Nicaragua by working with Nicaraguan non-governmental organizations and attracting international support, believe that the construction of a canal through Nicaragua will only benefit a few elites and cause major environmental destruction.
Juan Izquierdo, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Gustavo A. de la Riva, from the Centre of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Havana, Cuba, maintain that plant biotechnology, if properly implemented, offers a responsible means to increase agricultural productivity and the possibility to feed future generations in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Silvia Ribeiro, a researcher with the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration, argues that genetically modified maize has contaminated native crops and is a potential threat to agrobiodiversity, small-scale farming, and cultural identity.
Professors Petras and Veltmeyer maintain that peasant-based social movements are dynamic agents for social change in Latin America. The LulaWatch group points out that although land reform is not new to Brazil, it has always been an economic and social failure. LulaWatch believes that the Brazilian government should halt its "draconian" land reform program.
Raúl Zibechi, professor, journalist, and researcher at the Universidad Fransicana de América Latina, details the history behind neoliberal economic policy in Latin America and contends that one of its cornerstones, the privatization of state-owned enterprises, imposes financial and human hardship in the region and is a new form of plundering and conquest. Naomi Adelson, a Mexico City–based freelance reporter, explains that the Mexican government is financially unable to manage its colossal water-related concerns including sanitation, variable population distribution, and high levels of leakage. Privatization ventures, she contends, offer efficiency and the financial resources necessary to improve water services and infrastructure.
Tehsin Faruk and her colleagues at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth attest that the FTAA will break down existing trade barriers and promote free trade to the benefit of the 34 participating countries in the Western hemisphere. Oxfam Canada, a non-profit international development organization that supports community programs in food security, health, nutrition, and democratic development, argues that the FTAA is driven by the narrow commercial self-interest of business elites.
Adolfo A. Franco, assistant administrator of the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), testifies before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere that international aid in Latin America is helping to foment democracy and support development. J. Michael Waller, Annenberg Professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics, argues before the same committee that international aid to Latin America has not been beneficial due to corruption, inabilities in effectively managing development efforts, and lack of law enforcement, among other issues.