cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Tag: latin american politics

Katherine Bersch lecture

Quick notes from lecture entitled “When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Argentina and Brazil”

problem-solving approach more effective than “powering” reform (sudden, all-changing, used in Argentina) or laggard reform
incremental changes over time by actors inside
– allows for corrections and learning
– de-emphasizes contentious political issues – not take opposition head-on
– sequentially builds support and extends reforms – evolve along the way
brazil and argentina both federal countries
govt contracting 10-30% of GDP, can be heart of corruption, but also how taxes turn into roads schools and vaccines
– will look at health and transportation

PAMI: argentina’s medicare: health to elderly/pensioners
exemplar by World Bank, but in crisis by 2000s: billions in arrears, endemic corruption,
– NESTOR Kirchner appoints Graciela Ocaña to intervene, to fundamentally restructure
– reduces personnel
– restructures contracting system
– creates internal pari auditing body
– publishes contracting info online
– put PAMI on sound fiscal footing
– 2007, CRISTINA promotes her
– de Cesere appointed to her old post, near reversal of her policies

example of power reform that made changes but left few defenders.
after confrontation with el campo, gives more power to La Cámpora.
same factors that allowed Ocaña to change things were the same things that allowed them to be reversed.

pregão – reverse auctioning. public (online), takes the lowest bidder who can do it
some years later, gains steam, non-corrupt servants can use it to avoid political pressure to do what their superiors want
Dilma signs a measure making it more mandatory, but still without forcing it on the giants that would crush it.
sequential, incremental changes that slowly gains ground. a very small group did this!

problem-solving more effective over the long term. both countries have used both approaches, but argentina TENDS to power.
– exclusionary governing facilitates power in Argentina
– multiparty coalitions work with presidents frustrate large upheavals, but favour small, modest changes

benefits of problem solving
– continual adjustment benefit from learning
– incremental approach makes reform more durable and preserves bureaucratic autonomy
state capacity
implications for policymakers and practitioners


Qué es el populismo?

Politóloga guatemalteca y genia Gloria Álvarez explica qué es el populismo/cuenta la historia reciente de Argentina.


My blood boils when I think about how Guatemalans and Salvadoreans are disrespected in DC when their democratic attempts at progressive society were economically and militarily obliterated by the United States. You don’t like how uneducated and poor they are? You try living in a country where reforms for education and minor land rights land get you CIA-funded and trained coups and massacres.

I don’t think I’ll ever recover from my sojourn in pinko Canada. I think it would best for all parties involved if I just stay here.

Riots in Greece

What’s with all this Mediterranean inequity and violence? Rioting in Greece, Arab-Israeli conflict going strong, Egyptians carrying on with their female genital mutilation… Must be something in the water.

Those Greek Riots,” Robert Kaplan

Several things stand out:

  • If I were Che, I would hitchhike and sail my way over to Greece during the summer and see what’s up. While I were there, I would find fellow Argentines all over the place and sleep with beautiful women.
  • Amazing to see “Latin American-style interference” used to describe the US’s intervention in Greece in protection of it from Balkan communism—intervention so heavy-handed that it elicited strong antipathy towards the US in Greece
  • “…[S]weeping international trends of uneven development, in which the uncontrolled surges and declines of capitalism have left haves and bitter have-nots, who, in Europe, often tend to be young people.” I wonder, is it a good idea for educated, vigorous youth to be have-nots? Isn’t that a recipe for unrest and trouble? Or are people similarly docile and biddable across age groups?
  • Finally, a point for the ICT geeks among us (i.e., Christine and her Station C crowd, et al.): “these young people now have the ability to instantaneously organize themselves through text messages and other new media, without waiting passively to be informed by traditional newspapers and television. Technology has empowered the crowd—or the mob if you will.” So the revolution will not be televised, but we’re to believe it will be mobilized by Blackberries. Why do I find this hard to believe?