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  • Power, imprisonment and the force of law in Nicaragua

    19/11/21, 15.30h Venue: CEDLA, Roetersstraat 33 | 1018 WB Amsterdam - 2nd Floor Julienne Weegels, CEDLA - ARTES, University of Amsterdam In 2018, massive protests shook Nicaragua and their repression was brutal. Over 300 people were killed in a ‘Clean-Up Operation’ that exposed militarized political policing and the formation of partisan, armed para-state groups. Over the course of the following months and years, more than 1.600 people have been imprisoned for expressing resistance and dissent. Tracing the trajectories of a number of these political prisoners through the Nicaraguan criminal justice system and, in some cases, back out, I explore distinct performances of the ‘law’ and hybrid state power. Provoking a sense of ontological insecurity among its subjects, acting outside of and manipulating the law point to the ‘force of law’ rather than the rule of law as pivotal to the exercise of power. This in turn informs protesters’ and (former) prisoners’ performances of state delegitimation - think of street and prison riots, but also more silent contestations - where conceptions of authority, justice and law are reimagined.

  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the future of development in the Caribbean

    12 October 2021, 15:30-17:00 Venue: CEDLA, Roetersstraat 33 | 1018 WB Amsterdam - 2nd Floor CEDLA Lecture Speaker: Ruben Gonzalez Vicente, Universiteit Leiden This presentation explores the developmental footprint of China’s Belt and Road Initiative through a theoretical lens inspired by critical Caribbean thought. Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente will discuss how Sino-Caribbean relations remain shaped by epistemic dependency, structural imbalances, and a number of unresolved social issues relating to the postcolonial condition in former plantation societies. He argues that expectations deposited in the emerging ‘South-South’ link with China in Latin America and the Caribbean are easily overstated. Instead, the relation is characterized by China’s elitist business-centric approach to development, the eschewing of participatory approaches in Sino-Caribbean ventures, and the passive incorporation of the Caribbean into China’s global vision. The presentation is based on his work with Annita Montoute (University of the West Indies).

  • Demilitarization and Independence in Latin America: Lessons from Costa Rica and Beyond

    Webinar co-organized by CEDLA and the Embassy of Costa Rica in the Netherlands Keynote speaker: Luis Guillermo Solís, former President of Costa Rica and Interim director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, FIU Discussants: Prof. dr. Kees Koonings and Prof. dr. Dirk Kruijt, Utrecht University Chair: Prof. dr. Barbara Hogenboom, CEDLA — University of Amsterdam This lecture took place on 24th of September 2021 as part of the CEDLA Lecture Series. Costa Rica is one of the most stable democracies of the Western Hemisphere. Located in a region prone to political unrest, where military rule has been a historical constant, Costa Rica has been able to avert the maladies of authoritarianism and human rights violations due to a series of decisions made after reaching independence precisely 200 years ago, in 1821. Two are generally considered central to the country’s progress: an early adherence to public education, and the establishment of a universal, solidarity-driven, social security system. There is however a third, unique and unusual decision that laid the foundation of Costa Rica’s internal stability and international peace: the abolition of the armed forces as a permanent institution in 1948, at the end of the country’s last civil war. During this seminar, Luis Guillermo Solís, former president of Costa Rica (2014-2018), will discuss the short and long-term implications of this extraordinary measure. Professors Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt, specialists on the role of the military in a number of Latin American societies, will reflect on experiences and current challenges in other parts of the region. In a roundtable discussion they will discuss the wider effects and possibilities for demilitarization that the Costa Rican example sets for the region at large.

  • Sexual violence on trial: Impunity and transformative gender justice in post-conflict Latin America

    12 September 2021, 15:30-17:00 Venue: CEDLA, Roetersstraat 33 | 1018 WB Amsterdam - 2nd Floor CEDLA Lecture Speaker: Jelke Boesten, King’s College London In 2016, the case known as ‘Sepur Zarco’ saw two military officers convicted for crimes against humanity and sexual and domestic slavery in Guatemala. Following the analysis of Jo-Marie Burt (2019), the case had transformative effects on the victim-survivors as well as on the idea of gender justice more broadly. Considering this remarkable trial and its effects, in this lecture Jelke Boesten asks if criminal justice for conflict related sexual violence can bring about transformative gender justice in Latin America by unpacking ongoing trials in Peru. There, during the counterinsurgency against Shining Path (1980-2000) the military used sexual violence just as systematically as in Guatemala in the 1980s. However, impunity persists. The paper will reflect on the ongoing court case against thirteen ex-military in Peru, known as ‘Manta y Vilca’, to examine whether these difficult processes contribute to what we might call ‘transformative gender justice’ in Latin America.

  • Virtual Latijns-Amerika expert event Corona in Latijns-Amerika:Implicaties voor onze relatie met de

    Organisatie door NIMD, CEDLA, Impunity Watch, CNV internationaal De COVID-19 pandemie laat geen land bespaard en veroorzaakt ook een diepe crisis in Latijns-Amerika. De behaalde vooruitgang op het terrein van armoedebestrijding, rechten van vrouwen, arbeiders en inheemse groepen, milieubescherming en verantwoord ondernemerschap dreigen verloren te gaan. Bovendien maakt de coronacrisis pijnlijk zichtbaar dat zogenaamde ‘oude’ problemen nog heel actueel zijn. De Nederlandse overheid, het bedrijfsleven en maatschappelijke organisaties hebben juist ingezet op ondersteuning van de vooruitgang die Latijns-Amerika doormaakte. Dit roept belangrijke vragen op: hoe bedreigen corona en andere crises de ontwikkeling van Latijns-Amerika? Wat is er nodig om deze neerwaartse trend te keren? En wat betekent de coronacrisis voor de Nederlandse relatie met de regio? #LatijnsAmerikaDebat Sprekers: o.a. Achraf Bouali, tweede kamerlid D66; Barbara Hogenboom, directeur CEDLA; Marit Maij, directeur CNV Internationaal; Joost de Vries, correspondent Volkskrant Latijns-Amerika; Marijke Zewuster, hoofd Emerging Markets & Commodity Research ABN AMRO.

  • Inflections of Anti-Racism in Latin America

    Dr. Mónica Moreno Figueroa, University of Cambridge and Prof. Peter Wade, University of Manchester This lecture took place on 9 April 2021 as part of the CEDLA Lecture Series. There has been an incipient turn to antiracism in Latin America. In our research project ‘Latin American Anti-racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age’ (LAPORA) we are looking at different styles of antiracist activity in four countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. One of our key findings is the variation in how different organisations understand and use the language of racism and antiracism to define or organise their activities. There are different grammars of antiracism, some explicit some alternative. What could the antiracist effects of these ‘alternative grammars’ of struggle be? Explicit naming of racism per se is not necessarily a sign of advancing antiracist work, however strategic language and awareness of structural racism have distinct advantages for antiracist practice.

  • Riverhood and river commons in Latin America and Europe

    Prof. dr. Rutgerd Boelens, Wageningen University & CEDLA - University of Amsterdam This lecture took place on 19 March 2021 as part of the CEDLA Lecture Series. River systems are fundamental for social and natural well-being. Around the world, however, mega-damming, pollution and depletion are putting riverine complexes under great stress. Since ages, engineering of ideal societies by domesticating ‘wild water’ followed utopian imaginaries to control humans and nature at once, while omitting alternative understandings and side-lining local co-governance practices. In Europe, this has a long tradition: “God created the world but the Dutch created the Netherlands”. Spain’s century-old Política Hidráulica envisioned “recreating nature and humans, at once”. Both countries exported their technocratic paradigms to Latin America, but the pendulum may now swing back. Ecuador engrained ‘Rights of Nature’ constitutionally. In Colombia, rivers became subjects, not objects, of moral and legal rights. Increasingly, socio-nature commons fight for revitalizing rivers. European grassroots now seek to creatively translate these notions in their struggles, and partners in South and North join forces, building bottom-up, cross-cultural knowledge. Science and policies, however, lack the tools to engage with these new water justice movements. Through two new international Wageningen / CEDLA-UvA programs, we will study local and transnational “river commoning” languages, values, practices, and strategies. We will examine river complexes from four connected ontologies: River-as-ecosociety; River-as-territory; River-as-subject; and River-as-movement. ​

  • Presidential Term Limits: Comparing Reforms in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

    Mariana Llanos, GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies, Hamburg This lecture took place on 26 February 2021 as part of the CEDLA Lecture Series In this lecture Dr. Mariana Llanos takes a longitudinal view on presidential-term-limit reforms in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa since the third wave of democratization. Many countries in the two regions (re-)introduced term limits as a democratic safeguard against personal rule and power abuses. Since then, term limits have been contested by a plethora of reform attempts. Such reforms are commonly seen as a risk to democracy. Her theoretical and empirical research (together with Charlotte Heyl ) shows that the stability of term-limit rules is more prevalent than expected, but that this stability sometimes masks institutional ineffectiveness in authoritarian regimes. Rule instability induced by frequent reforms can be part of a piecemeal path towards autocratization, but it can also reflect an open-ended tug of war between authoritarian tendencies and democratic resistance. ​

  • Fifty public standpipes: Politicians, local elections, and struggles for water in Barranquilla

    Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education ​ Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the Barranquilla World Bank Project aimed to expand water supply to the southwestern sector of the city, populated mainly by low-income communities. Anticipating the duration of the works, the project included a short-term solution: it would install fifty public standpipes during the first months of implementation. This talk tells the story of the WB project and the fifty public standpipes - which were never built. Its purpose is to analyse how water/power distributions have been reworked and consolidated, highlighting tensions triggered by the project at the national and local level. It evidences the messiness of electoral politics and the complexity of political parties (their competing interests, and the fact that these changed over time). This is of interest as it focuses on electoral politics, a subject rarely touched by the political ecology literature, where water policies’ implementation is frequently portrayed as a process of imposition of a set of measures by an essentially uniform group of political/economic elites. Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero argues that, throughout the project, different and heterogenous governments, regulatory agencies, political parties, electoral movements, unions, and business groups, engaged in confrontations and negotiations about different imaginations of the city.

  • BRAZIL Favelas: Financialization 2.0 - in(fra)vestments

    "Three challenges facing Brazil in the global economic transition: Financialization 2.0, in(fra)vestments, favelas" Professor Gary Dymski - Leeds University Business School Discussant: Dr Barbara Hogenboom (CEDLA) 22 March 2011 Activity: Globe Lecture Series Developing nations face huge challenges in the post-2008 global economy, as they attempt to not only sustain growth but to cope with the strategic adjustments being made by the US and the EU and their corporate leaderships. Brazil’s situation is especially precarious because of its population’s heightened expectations (“O Novo Brazil”), because of its growing export ties to the US, EU, and to China, and because its successes in reducing extreme poverty have now led to the challenge of invigorating its informal, lower-income communities. After tracing out the main lines and implications of the still-unfolding crisis in the US and the EU, we focus on three specific challenges for Brazil. The first involves contending with the post-crisis developments in financialization, both domestically and abroad; the second is how to manage investment so as to permit continued growth and also address the nation’s infrastructure deficit; and the third is to work out sustainable futures for Brazilian cities’ favelas and the people who live there. Of course, these three challenges are all the harder because they tied up in an interconnected series of knots. Gary Dymski is professor of economics at the University of California, Riverside. He received his B.A. in urban studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975, and an MPA from Syracuse University in 1977. After a year at the Brookings Institution in 1985-86, he taught economics at the University of Southern California before joining the UCR faculty in 1991. He served as associate dean in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences in 2001-02 and was founding director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development in 2002-03. From 2003 to 2009, Gary was the founding Executive Director of the University of California Center, Sacramento, a UC-wide center that introduced UC students to public service and connected UC researchers with California’s policy-making community. Gary has been a visiting scholar in universities and research centers in Brazil, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Great Britain, Greece, and India. His most recent books are Capture and Exclude: Developing Nations and the Poor in Global Finance (Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2007), co-edited with Amiya Bagchi, and Reimagining Growth: Toward a Renewal of the Idea of Development, co-edited with Silvana DePaula (Zed, London, 2005). Gary has published articles, chapters, and studies on banking, financial fragility, urban development, credit-market discrimination, the Latin American and Asian subprime financial crises, exploitation, housing finance, the subprime lending crisis, financial regulation, and economic policy. He is a member of the editorial boards of the International Review of Applied Economics, Geoforum, and Econômica (Brazil).

  • Afro-Colombian Culture under the Threat of Armed Conflict

    Dr. Jaime Arocha - Departamento de Antropología / Grupo de Estudios Afrocolombianos, Universidad Nacional de Colombia 11 February 2011 Activity: CEDLA Lecture In the Pacific coast of Colombia, African captive men and women developed adaptations to the ecosystems in which they were forced to live during colonial times. In the course of time, these innovations have been a necessary and crucial element of environmental and social sustainability. Today this eco-social system is threatened by armed conflict and modernization, but public policy makers have not responded to safeguard them.

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