Greg Weeks

RIP Charles Andrain

I just learned that Charles Andrain has died at 81. He was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at San Diego State University. While I was doing my M.A. there (1992-1994) he was Graduate Coordinator/mentor and I spent a lot of time talking to him. Just a genuinely good guy. An email from SDSU hits the nail on the head:

Throughout his career at SDSU, and even after his retirement in 1998, Andrain dedicated himself to research and writing, seeking out living spaces close to libraries...

Review of Neruda

I saw the movie Neruda last night. I was asked to give some introductory remarks as part of an international film festival on campus. I talked briefly about Chilean politics mid-century and how political Pablo Neruda was.

The film, in fact, is about how he went into hiding and then exile after the Law for Permanent Defense of Democracy outlawed the Communist Party and led to his arrest warrant. Director Pablo Larraín does not bother with a straight biography, but instead has Neruda...

Podcast Episode 50: Implementing Peace in Colombia

In Episode 50 of Understanding Latin American Politics: The Podcast I talk with Adam Isacson, who is Director of the Defense Oversight Program for the Washington Office on Latin America. He has been studying Colombia and its conflicts for many years, and recently traveled there to evaluate a USAID project to bring government services to post-conflict areas of the country. We talked first back in Episode 3 in September 2016 about the then upcoming plebiscite and uncertainty,...

Thoughts on the Petro Sanctions

Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. citizens from making transactions in the Petro (the Venezuelan government's new cryptocurrency). Here's the wording:

Section 1.  (a)  All transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January...

Latin America Responds to US Trade Policy

Interesting article in the NYT about how the Trump Administration's trade policies are pushing Latin American countries to a) pare back their own protectionist policies; and b) forge more trade relationships with each other.

Certain ideas that started among academics and political pundits are also reaching the status of conventional wisdom, where Latin American presidents say them aloud:

“I think that with this attitude the United States is leaving a void, and...

How John Bolton Sees Latin America

I feel obliged to comment on Donald Trump naming John Bolton as National Security Advisor. My main feeling is frustration and resignation to counterproductive policies. His every fiber wants to use force as much as possible in Latin America (and, really, elsewhere as well).

Here is where he as come up on my blog before:

--Heraldo Muñoz criticized him in 2008 for failing to understand Chile's position vis-a-vis the Iraq invasion.

--in 2006 I noted how he must be loving...

China's Interest in Venezuela

China showing another sign that its patience with Venezuela is waning.

China is likely to extend an agreement providing crisis-stricken Venezuela with favorable loans repayment terms but will not lend fresh funds to President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to sources in Caracas and Beijing familiar with the situation.

This should remind us of two key issues with regard to Latin America-China relations.

First, China's interest in Latin America is material,...

Review of King's An Excess Male

Maggie Shen King's novel An Excess Male (2017) is unique and engrossing. It shifts from human interest story to thriller and back, with Chinese authoritarian politics infusing everything. The setting is Beijing in the not-too-distant future, where the one-child policy has led to such an imbalance of men and women that men find it difficult to marry wives. One answer has been to allow for women to be married to more than one man. Wei-guo is single and in his 40s, and a matchmaker...

Podcast Episode 49: Latin America and Autonomy

In Episode 49 of Understanding Latin American Politics: The Podcast I talk about my new book project on Latin American autonomy in the context of U.S.-Latin American relations. I presented a first draft of the first chapter at the SECOLAS meeting a little over a week ago in Nashville. One part of this project is to give the Latin American IR literature more attention, which unfortunately often doesn't happen enough in the U.S.-based literature.

I will definitely be writing and...

Race 3: Shamrock 4 Miler

Race 3 this year was today's Shamrock 4 Miler. I ran a 7:51 pace, which is the fastest I've run in a really long time. It is the first in a Run For Your Life 6 pack my wife and I are doing. One great things about these races is that they all have NoDa Brewing Company beer afterward. Today it was CAVU Blonde Ale.

It is the sort of course I like, with gentle up and downhills, so unlike some parts of Charlotte you're not doing any real climbing. I slowed with each mile but I was trying to go fast so this...
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