New from the Americas Policy Program

The Militarization of the World’s Urban Peripheries
By Raúl Zibechi

Urban peripheries in Third World countries have become war zones where states attempt to maintain order based on the establishment of a sort of “sanitary cordon” to keep the poor isolated from “normal” society.

Pentagon strategists are lending great importance to urban planning theory and architecture, since the peripheries are “one of the most challenging terrains for future wars and other imperialist projects.” A study by the United Nations estimates that one billion people live in peripheral neighborhoods outside Third World cities and that the poor in the largest cities in the world number some two billion, that is, a third of all human beings. These statistics will double within the next 15 or 20 years, and “all future growth of the world’s population will occur in cities, 95% of it in cities of the Global South and the majority in slums.”

What can come of the isolation and militarization of the places where a third of the world’s population live?

Raúl Zibechi is an international analyst for Brecha, a weekly journal in Montevideo, Uruguay, professor and researcher on social movements at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina, and adviser to social groups. He is a monthly contributor to the Americas Policy Program (

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Mexicans Say: Integrate This!
By Katie Kohlstedt

As part of a broadened alliance of Mexican civil society groups demanding the renegotiation of the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexicans from all parts of the country occupied Mexico City’s
Zocalo and surroundings on Jan. 31.

The hot subjects of immigration, subsidies, and corporate manipulation with disregard for
the public are making people angry in all parts of North America. As divergent as the march was, at least
Mexicans were motivated to hit the streets. If only the injustices of NAFTA made enough people angry
enough to push their governments to do something.

Katie Kohlstedt (kkohlstedt(a) is Program Associate at the Americas Policy Program ( in Mexico City.


Candidates on Immigration

Want to know where the remaining potential presidential candidates stand on immigration? Compare and
contrast what they have said about the issue with the help of our policy profiles.

Democratic Candidates on Immigration:

Republicans Candidates on Immigration:


Cosmetic Changes: The Argentine Economy after the 2007 Elections
By Alan B. Cibils

Néstor Kirchner handed over the presidential baton to his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in what was the first husband-wife handover in Argentine history. Cristina was appointed presidential candidate by her husband, with no internal party elections or debate, highlighting the crisis of the Argentine political party system. By passing presidential power between spouses, the Kirchners appear to have found a formula to perpetuate themselves in power indefinitely without the need for a constitutional reform.

So far the new president has not addressed Argentina’s still high unemployment, hoping, like her husband before her, that economic growth will take care of it in due time. While it is too soon to know what changes CFK will introduce, if any, her actions so far indicate that, despite having a new president, not much will really change for the better in the country.

Alan Cibils is an Argentine economist who is currently co-academic director for the School for International Training’s Southern Cone program, based in Buenos Aires, and research associate at the Centro Interdisciplinario para el Estudio de Políticas Públicas. He is an economic analyst with the Americas Policy Program,

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Understanding Lula’s Strength
By Ladislau Dowbor

In the results of Brazil’s National Survey of Sample Households (PNAD) there is an explanation for the President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s popularity that intrigues the center, the right, and part of the left. Brazil became less unequal in many senses. To call the advances which have been achieved "welfare" doesn’t help to understand the current reality, nor to work toward more profound changes.

His re-election showed strong approval for Lula from the poorest segments of the country, but getting the real numbers on the evolution of Brazilian living conditions is subject to the natural delay in the process of developing surveys. The IBGE published the results of PNAD for 2006 and also the Social Indicators of the last 10 years. It’s worth looking at the image that emerges: this explains not only the votes, but also the road ahead.

Ladislau Dowbor is a professor in the post graduate department of the Pontifical Catholic University
of São Paulo. This article was originally published by
Le Monde Diplomatique.

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Mining the Latino Vote in Nevada
By Laura Carlsen

As workers from the Las Vegas casino strip filed into the Concorde Ballroom of the Paris Hotel, it was pretty clear what the split was. African-American workers in union t-shirts sat on one side of the aisle and mostly Latino workers filled the seats on the other side. After the shouting matches, the competing chants of “Hillary” and “Obama,” the body count, and the mathematical calculations, Hillary Clinton took the Paris at-large democratic caucus by 211 votes to 98, winning 42 of its delegates to Obama’s 19.

Designed to be a harbinger to predict later tendencies, Nevada offered a glimpse into what could be in store as the campaigns move on to other, more delegate-laden, states. What we saw gave cause for concern.

Laura Carlsen (lcarlsen(a) is Director of the Americas Policy Program ( in Mexico City, where she has been a writer and political analyst for more than two decades.

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