The Latin America Policy Journal (LAPJ) team is pleased to present our latest edition, Innovation, Development, and Politics: Latin America a Vibrant Region. More than 15 authors from all across the continent collaborated in this edition and covered topics ranging from local politics to innovation as a public policy tool. A copy of the 5th edition can be purchase here.
Below you can find the Editor´s Remarks featuring the exciting articles of the 2016 print edition. Soon we will be releasing the Call for Submissions for the 6th edition that will be available in Spring 2017.
Thanks for the support!
Latin America is one of the most vibrant regions in the world. Political changes across the area, innovative ways to address social problems, and improvements in social development indicators are some of the characteristics of the region today. During the convulsive “lost decade” of the 1980s, the area began its transition towards prosperity. Most of the remaining dictators left power, and the Peace Agreements of Esquipulas allowed the end of formal internal conflicts and the beginning of a national reconciliation process within Central America. In the next decade, regional economies started a formal integration process with the world. However, events like the Mexican crisis of 1994 (known as “Tequila Crisis”) and the Argentinian crisis at the end of the decade reduced regional growth prospects.
After 2000, Latin America saw a political shift towards socialism. Left-wing governments canalized growing demands for higher standards of living. The commodities price boom observed during most of the decade helped them reduce inequality and poverty. However, after commodity prices dropped, it seems that there was an uprising shift towards right-wing Governments.
Nowadays, there are several interesting processes happening in Latin America. Colombia peace talks between the government and guerrillas, regional integration in Central America, gang violence in El Salvador, Argentinian new government, Brazilian corruption scandal and independent justice system, political changes in Venezuela, and United States–Cuba relations are some of those topics. The preceding list, far from being exhaustive, is just a modest effort to present some changes that Latin American countries have faced since 1980.
In the fifth volume of the Latin America Policy Journal (LAPJ), we are pleased to set the table for a broad discussion about some of these topics. Ernesto Samper, former president of Colombia and current general secretary of the Unión de Naciones Sudamericanas), gives us his views on the ongoing peace negotiations in Colombia and the benefits of achieving a peace agreement. Laura Chinchilla, former president of Costa Rica and political science professor at Georgetown University, analyzes the current situation, challenges, and opportunities of Central American nations. Professor Eduardo Levy Yeyati at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a prestigious Argentinian economist, discusses the main challenges that President Mauricio Macri and the new Argentinian government are facing.
On the innovation front, Zara Snapp, a drug policy expert, makes a review of the newest drug policies that LatAm governments, especially Uruguay, are currently designing and implementing. In Colombia, Corporation Ruta N describes how the city of Medellin became a regional benchmark for innovation. And for Queretaro, Mexico, a five-researcher team discusses the benefits of the public policies that could be implemented to develop an aerospace cluster in this Mexican state. Moreover, regarding development, Diego Arias analyzes public policies and programs that can help to improve agriculture in the region, and Luiz Pinto discusses the importance of development banking and its policy implications in Brazil.
Finally, the LAPJ team would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Kennedy School Student Government, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, and the Malcolm Weiner Center for Social Policy for their generous financial support to make this edition possible.
RICHARD MEDINA GÓMEZ
Editor-in-Chief (5th edition)