Monday, April 25, 2005

Keeping a lid on things

I hadn’t mentioned it after my quip last week regarding tensions in Latin America. But Julia sent an interesting article from the Folha de São Paulo (though I can't find the direct link to it), so it only seems fair to comment on it.

Essentially the article analyses the challenge posed to Brazilian foreign policy by relative political weakness and instability in some of the Andean countries along its western and northern borders. Ecuador’s president has finally been removed – the third in a decade, while Bolivia’s president has threatened to resign and Peru’s is only maintained by an understanding between himself and the opposition. And then there’s the agitation between Colombia and Venezuela, following a border incident earlier this year. The commentary suggests this may make it difficult for Brazil’s Lula to project himself globally, if Brazil can’t manage its own backyard.

It’s an interesting angle, especially since for next week’s International Politics exam we spent time earlier in the year assessing the pressures and actors towards greater democratisation in the region during the 1980s. It would seem that we’ve overlooked the limited institutionalisation of those processes since then and what directions they present for contemporary international relations.

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