Greg Weeks

Podcast Episode 75: Restrictive Immigration Policies in the Southeast

In Episode 75 of Understanding Latin American Politics: The Podcast, I talk with Maggie Commins, who is Shelton Professor of Political Science at Queens University of Charlotte, about her forthcoming article on restrictive immigration policy tone in the southeast, which is coming out in the next issue of The Latin Americanist. It's some really interesting research based on coding data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

You can find this podcast...

Review of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Back in 2011, I actually started a book review that started with "If you're not familiar with The Hunger Games, it is a trilogy by Suzanne Collins about a totalitarian dictatorship." Perhaps you are familiar with it now. I loved the series, which I binge read over a Christmas break, then the movies as well. Now Suzanne Collins released a prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is about future President Coriolanus Snow as a teenager.
Of course, we know where he ended...

Why Dialogue in Venezuela Isn't Working

David Smilde & Geoff Ramsey, "International Peacemaking in Venezuela’s Intractable Conflict. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies," (109): 157–179.
Abstract (fyi, the article is ungated):
Can international peacemaking efforts succeed in an intractable conflict such as the one in Venezuela? In this paper we put forward a conceptualization of peacemaking processes that underlines their ability to creatively change the terms of a conflict....

Review of Allcock's Thomas Mann

I always like a good questioning of conventional wisdom, and Thomas Tunstall Allcock serves it up in Thomas C. Mann: President Johnson, the Cold War, and the Restructuring of Latin American Foreign Policy (2018). In class and in my textbook, I've never referred favorably to either Mann or LBJ. I actually discovered I have one sentence that sums them up:
He [LBJ] was even more inclined than Kennedy to forge ties with Latin American militaries and to use covert action. His choice...

Cuba in the 2020 Presidential Election

I listened to a Zoom webinar on the implications of the 2020 presidential election on U.S.-Cuban relations, with Bill LeoGrande, Margaret Crahan, and Phil Brenner. Arturo López-Levy (who I talked to last year on my podcast) moderated.
LeoGrande thinks Biden is missing an opportunity, which I agree with. He characterized Biden as     having a strategy of "caution and avoidance." He could focus on remittances and family reunification, and follow Obama's...

Covid-19 Hits Latinos Hardest in Charlotte and NC

Every day, I check the Covid-19 data for North Carolina, and every few days Mecklenburg County (where Charlotte is) releases its own data. Last month local news pointed out that the Latino population was being hit disproportionately hard, and that trend has accelerated.
At the state level, as of June 9, 42% of all cases were Latinos (which currently translates into 10,634 cases) but only 7% of deaths. They are 9.6% of the total state population.

In Mecklenburg County as of June...

Iran Has Failed in Latin America

Stephen Johnson has an article in Foreign Policy arguing that Iran is trying to revive its presence in Latin America, with gas tanker arrivals being a prominent example. Fair enough as a starting point. Then the article goes in an interesting direction, serving as a solid narrative about how much Iran has failed completely in the region. Indeed, there is mostly evidence that Iran is no position to do much at all--it has financial problems and few allies.
I've written a lot...

Latin American Militaries and Covid-19

Today I listened to a panel where a variety of experts (Arturo Sotomayor as moderator, Kristina Mani, Maiah Jaskoski, Harold Trinkunas, Adriana Abdenur, and Rut Diamint) on Latin American civil-military relations talked about the military's response to Covid-19. There were a lot of good points made, but two things in particular struck me. I should also note that these points are not attributed to any particular person.
First, there is almost no public discussion about...

Giammattei Says US Is Not An Ally

The Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted a talk by Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei about Covid-19. He has taken strict measures, which in turn have generated criticism for their authoritarian nature, their impact on the economy, and even the sense that as a retired doctor he somehow feels he alone can save the country.
He started by saying that the strictness was necessary due to the lack of hospital space, sending people who tested...

Review of T.H. White's The Once & Future King

T.H. White's The Once & Future King was one of a number of books I have owned for years and always meant to read but hadn't. In fact, toward the beginning of the novel an old movie ticket fell out that obviously I had used as a bookmark when I started it one time. The ticket was for the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley in April 1992, my senior year in college (the movie was Shadows & Fog, of which I have no memory). 
Then 28 years later, a UNC Charlotte student mentioned the...