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The Sierra Madre Sparrow Xenospiza baileyi is an endangered Mexican endemic and a bunchgrassland specialist with a disjunct range: a relatively larger population in the south-eastern Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, and a smaller and poorly studied population in the Sierra Madre Occidental. In the latter, known distribution and abundance consists of four localities with a maximum of 28 individuals recorded in one of them. We surveyed the Sierra Madre Sparrow in 30 sites with suitable habitat, meadows or “bajíos” with bunchgrasses, in the municipalities of Durango, Pueblo Nuevo, San Dimas, and Canatlán in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Durango. We detected a total of 193 individuals in nine (30%) of the sites (392 ha), conducting intensive searches throughout them. Bunchgrasses in confirmed meadows were composed mainly of Muhlenbergia macroura, M. rigida, M. speciosa, M. rigens, and Piptochaetium fimbriatum. Total bunchgrass area within a meadow was a significant positive predictor of the Sierra Madre Sparrow presence, while total meadow area was not a significant predictor of its abundance. Seven of the confirmed localities were previously unknown, and two of them harboured 55% of the observed individuals: Ex Hacienda Coyotes (Pueblo Nuevo) and La Lobera (San Dimas). The estimated population size is at least four times higher than any previous record (28) or suggested (40–50) for the Sierra Madre Occidental and raises an opportunity and a challenge for conserving this genetically distinct population of the Sierra Madre Sparrow in the region.
At the turn of the millennium, Jorge Volpi and Ignacio Padilla received criticism from the Mexican literary establishment for ‘renouncing their Mexicanity’ by not dealing with Mexican themes in En busca de Klingsor and Amphitryon respectively. Chapter 3 examines this phenomenon in the context of Mexican cultural and political history. It argues that, with the fall of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) after 71 years, Volpi and Padilla perceived a unique historic opportunity to re-configure the relationship between intellectuals and the state. Through an analysis of the themes of ‘myth’ and Nazism in these novels, as well as in Cambio de piel by Carlos Fuentes and Morirás lejos by Jose Emilio Pacheco, structuralist and post-structuralist understandings of myth are compared. It is further argued that Volpi and Padilla engage in a narrative rehearsal of Jean-Luc Nancy’s notion that literature’s task is to ‘interrupt the myth’ of (national) identity.
Chapter 11 focuses on the new violence that has erupted in many Latin American countries in the early twenty-first century. It shows that Latin America is the most violent region in the world and that violence is perpetrated by drug cartels, gangs, common criminals, militias, and state agents. The chapter explores the causes of violence through case studies of Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) and draws several conclusions. International factors, such as the global drug trade and US policy toward Latin America, have played a largely negative role. The state has failed to guarantee citizen security, in part because it is absent, and in part because it colludes with criminal groups. Additionally, needed reforms of the state’s security forces are not enacted because the democratically elected politicians who have to propose such reforms are threatened or bought off by actors who benefit from violence. This chapter shows that problems of democracy – the poor quality of democracy – and problems for democracy – the failure of democracies to guarantee civil rights such as the right to life – are tightly interconnected.
Chapter 10 addresses high-level corruption and the judicial response to those who are known to engage, or are widely suspected of engaging, in acts of corruption in contemporary Latin America. It shows that corruption is a persistent problem and that no sustained gains to counter it have been made. It also shows that the judicial response is, at best, mixed. High-level corruption is systemic, involving a network of powerful politicians, top-level public administrators, and high-level members of the judiciary. The chapter explores the causes of this poor record through an analysis of three cases (Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala) and draws several conclusions. The weakness of democracy prevents it from reining in corruption. The public administration has largely been a hindrance in the fight against corruption. The judiciary has been part of the solution to the problem of corruption when it has been independent and competent; however, the judiciary is frequently corrupt or politicized and thus part of the problem. Finally, civil society organizations have played a consistently positive role, putting pressure on politicians and the judiciary to fight against corruption.
Chapter 7 studies the case of Mexico, whose security situation has deteriorated dramatically over the last decade. It shows that, although a crisis-driven explanation would predict elites’ investment in strengthening the state, the federal government has not adopted – or even entertained – security taxes. Instead, this chapter shows how Mexican elites have been relatively less affected than their counterparts elsewhere in the region because of the geographic concentration of crime outside of Mexico City. This has translated into much less pressure on the federal government to address the public-safety situation. Consequently, elites’ impetus to invest in the fiscal strengthening of the state has been subdued at the national level and has taken place instead at the state level.
Chapter 2 presents an overview of Latin America’s recent experience with elite-financed security taxes. It describes in detail the cases where security taxes on economic elites have been adopted, including in Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico, as well as cases where these taxes were first defeated in the legislature but subsequently approved, as in El Salvador, and where these taxes have not been adopted, as in Guatemala. In discussing the different experiences, Chapter 2 documents the types of security taxes adopted in each country, their purpose, and impact for public-safety expenses and the government’s coffers more generally. By identifying the different types of security taxes and their destination, this chapter contributes to our understanding of the extent to which economic elites have participated in the strengthening of the state in the contemporary period.
Chapter 14 focuses on the role of social policy and, more specifically, of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, in contemporary Latin America. It first shows that CCTs, a Latin American invention, have been a striking success story and have overcome some historical obstacles to inclusive social policies. In particular, it argues that CCTs have become somewhat of a basic income support that has reduced poverty and helped historically disadvantaged groups, such as single mothers and indigenous peoples. The chapter then explores the causes of CCTs through case studies of Mexico and Brazil and briefer discussions of other countries. It analyzes a confluence of factors that explain the emergence of CCT programs. Increased electoral competition helped to channel popular demands for social inclusion. Political ideology facilitated the international diffusion of CCTs and determined the degree of universalism of social policies. Additionally, CCTs were effective because they were designed and implemented in a way that circumvented public administrators traditionally prone to patrimonial and clientelistic practices.
This essay examines the discourse around Mexican masculinity in the 1920s by looking at the figures of the repatriated migrant and the urban dandy of the period, the fifí. Using evidence from print culture, popular literature, and other sources, it explains how these masculine figures provoked anxieties about sexuality, work, and public space, as well as concerns about how to integrate American mass culture into revolutionary Mexican society. Though many observers saw repatriated migrants and fifís as potentially destructive to Mexico’s body politic, others crafted cultural narratives that described how to integrate men’s encounters with American culture into modern Mexican masculinity.
La mayor parte de las mujeres traficadas para el comercio sexual por la frontera suroeste de Estados Unidos proceden de México y Centroamérica. Esta investigación, fundamentada en una metodología cualitativa, que incluye entrevistas en profundidad con cincuenta y dos traficantes de mujeres y ochenta y seis dueños de negocios de prostitución en México, analiza los vínculos entre los diferentes actores involucrados en el tráfico de mujeres de México y Centroamérica para el comercio sexual en Estados Unidos. Concluimos que estos actores ocupan lugares estratégicos dentro de una cadena de mando que tiene el propósito de proporcionar a los patrones estadounidenses una remesa ininterrumpida de mujeres. Los traficantes reclutan y transportan mujeres, mientras que los dueños de centros nocturnos de Estados Unidos se benefician de la explotación de la prostitución. Asimismo, esta actividad depende de la participación de madrotas y padrotes mexicanos, que reclutan y dan cobijo a mujeres en tránsito al norte.
This article studies the evolution of business in Mexico from the Revolution (1910–1920) to the early 1980s, a period when the state played a major role in the economy and undertook nationalistic policies. It explores the development of distinctive features that characterize business in Latin America: the importance of family-owned diversified business groups and immigrants, the prominence of illegal business, the central role of the entrepreneur, and the greater need to forge ties with government agents for company success. We argue that while some of these features had existed earlier, during this era they took the form that has prevailed until the present day.
Habitat fragmentation threatens biodiversity worldwide, particularly affecting large-bodied species that require vast territories and move across long distances, including most large felids. The jaguar Panthera onca has lost more than half of its habitat throughout its range and its subpopulations are becoming isolated, making them susceptible to local extinction. Knowledge about the status of its subpopulations in highly fragmented environments is lacking but urgently needed. Using camera traps during 2019–2020, we estimated number of individuals, age classes and sex ratio, occupancy, relative abundance and density of jaguars in Nayarit, western Mexico. We also determined the relative abundance of potential prey and estimated the land-cover change rate during 1999–2019, using GIS. We found that a resident subpopulation of five adult females, two adult males and one cub, at a high density (5.3 individuals/100 km2), is supported by at least 14 wild prey species. Natural habitat in the area is rapidly decreasing because of expanding agriculture and shrimp farming: agricultural areas increased from 39 to 50% and mangroves decreased from 35 to 26% of the study area over 20 years. The high jaguar population density and the diversity and relative abundance of remaining wild prey are remarkable, considering that natural habitat in the area is highly fragmented, shrinking rapidly and embedded in a matrix of human-dominated land-cover types. Effective conservation actions are needed urgently, including the protection of patches with native vegetation, reforestation to maintain connectivity between these patches, and the involvement of local communities.
The study examined the association between depressive symptoms and iron status, anaemia, body weight, and pubertal status among Mexican adolescent girls.
In this cross-sectional study, depressive symptoms were assessed by the 6-item Kutcher Adolescent Depressive Scale (6-KADS), and latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify and characterize groups of girls based on depressive symptoms. Iron status and inflammation were assessed using ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor, C-reactive protein and alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, respectively. Multiple logistic and linear regression were applied to model class membership as a function of iron status, anaemia, body weight, and pubertal status.
We collected data from 408 girls aged 12-20 years.
public schools in northern Mexico.
LCA yielded three classes of depressive symptoms; 44.4% of the adolescents were “unlikely to be depressed”, 41.5% were “likely to be depressed”, and 14.1% were “highly likely to be depressed”. Our analyses demonstrated that iron deficient girls had greater odds of being “likely depressed” (odds ratio, OR=2.01, 95% CI 1.01-3.00) or “highly likely depressed (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.76-3.84). Linear regression analyses revealed that lower haemoglobin concentrations and higher body weight increased the probability of being “likely depressed”. There was no evidence that depressive symptoms were associated to age at menarche and years since menstruation.
This study shows that iron deficient adolescent girls are more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms, and that lower concentrations of haemoglobin and higher body weight increased the probability of experiencing depressive symptoms.
The objective of this paper, based on interviews with 95 human smugglers (coyotes) involved in agriculture and 51 in prostitution, is to provide a comparative analysis of the networks transporting (mostly) male migrants intending to work in US agriculture and those recruiting women/girls for the US sex industry. Networks carrying females for sex work are bigger and use more fraudulent recruitment strategies. However, migrant smuggling for agriculture is not totally different from sex trafficking; similarities between the types of networks analysed dwarf their differences. Smugglers frequently use some form of deception to convince their would-be clients/victims to undertake risky journeys. I conclude that both networks are demand-driven. Smugglers serve the interests of US agribusinesses and sex business owners rather than those of the males and females they recruit.
In many Latin American countries, social policy preferences among economically vulnerable citizens seem largely unpolarized. However, current studies rarely confront citizens with realistic policy options and often lack the required detail to capture the heterogeneity of economic vulnerability. Drawing on the dualization debate, we expect individuals facing different degrees of vulnerability to show distinct social policy preferences. Using original survey data from Mexico and a conjoint experiment, our findings reveal a complex divide, where the most economically vulnerable are least supportive of public solutions. Sharing the home with a formal labor market participant does not seem to mitigate social policy skepticism among the vulnerable. In contrast, magnified vulnerability via household composition reduces support for welfare policy expansion. Social policy preferences become much less distinct when policy design alternatives are introduced, suggesting reduced expectations about the state’s role and a lack of clarity about the tangible benefits of social policy reform.
This history of Cold War-era migration policy compares two emblematic guestworker programs that recruited several million Mexican and Spanish migrants to labor in the United States and Germany. Proponents of the bilateral accords defended them as diplomatic achievements that secured contractual labor rights, improved foreign relations, and sent migrants home with savings and skills to achieve the diverse development goals of the sending states. The study traces the programs’ historical and ideological roots, juxtaposes the guestworkers’ experiences, and uses the cases of Mexican braceros and Spanish gastarbeiter to explore the contested nexus between migration and development.
This chapter engages with the complexities of Anthropocene politics and ecologies in Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Home to the densest concentration of wind turbines anywhere on earth, the Isthmus is a key site for climate change mitigation, but not without controversy. Working from the viewpoint of cultural anthropology, we show how local Indigenous and mestizo communities are contending with the massive transformation of their lands and livelihoods. We ask a central question for Anthropocenic times: what are the political forces that shape the possibilities for low carbon futures? Who sets the agenda for transitions and who—human and otherwise—is affected by enormous infrastructural shifts in energy systems? In this chapter, we show how various forces—political, economic and cultural—operate along with the wind itself to shape local futures in both positive and negative ways. We pay special attention to Indigenous philosophies and experiences because they help us see better possibilities at the nexus of energy, environment and human thriving.
Often studied as a transitory step towards the late consolidation of Italian opera in Mexico, the activities of the Spanish tenor and composer Manuel García in Mexico City from 1827 to 1829 call for a more nuanced analysis. The spatial reconceptualisation pursued by transnational and global histories as well as the redefinition of cultural borders triggered by postcolonial studies give us the tools to address García’s Mexican career as a key moment in terms of understanding the effects and issues raised by the spread of Italian opera in Latin America at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The chapter rethinks García's activities in Mexico City as comprising one of the first (while at the same time highly problematic) cultural encounters between Europe and the young Latin American nation after its emancipation from Spain (1821). Until then, mutual perceptions between Europe and Mexico were distorted by the intrusive cultural politics of imperial Spain. After independence, such misperceptions became more marked. Perceived as a familiar expressions of Europeanness, Italian opera became the arena where issues of identity and otherness were discussed. A close reading of the operas García composed for Mexican audiences will reveal how Italian opera changed by absorbing and reflecting the multiple postcolonial tensions of Mexico City.
Democracy in America focuses mainly on the history of the United State and the prospects for Anglo-American democracy. However, it is important to remember that Tocqueville’s celebrated thoughts on the unique qualities of American democracy did not go unnoticed by Spanish American thinkers in the nineteenth century. Like Tocqueville’s France, Latin American nations struggled with similar questions of how to secure the institutional and cultural prerequisites for self-government. As José Antonio Aguilar Rivera reveals in this chapter, there is an important tradition of reading and applying the lessons of Democracy in America in the “other America.” Latin American countries sought to emulate the United States’ success with constitutionalism and representative government, and leading political thinkers turned to Tocqueville for guidance. Despite widespread interest in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile, however, these applications of Democracy in America diverged widely from one national context to another. Aguilar Rivera shows how interpreters drew on different arguments, often selectively ignoring others, depending on the unique circumstances and political debates of each country.
This paper examines the public relations battles in the US media over Mexico's Unión Nacional Sinarquista (UNS), an explicitly Catholic social movement founded in 1937 that aimed to restore the Church to its traditional role in Mexican society and to reject the reforms of the revolutionary government. The sinarquistas shared many of the features of fascism and Nazism, the major global antidemocratic movements of the time, including a strident nationalism, authoritarian leanings, an emphasis on martial discipline and strict organizational structure, and a militant aesthetic. Both its ideological leanings and rapid growth (as many as 500,000 members by the early 1940s) led many US writers to suggest that the UNS represented a dangerous fifth-column threat to both Mexico and the United States. Others, particularly in the Catholic press, saw the UNS as an anticommunist organization that could actually help foster democracy in Mexico. For their part, UNS leaders defended themselves vociferously and sought to build relationships with influential US Catholics who could advocate for them in the press. By analyzing this debate, this paper both underscores the transnational characteristics of the UNS and highlights the crucial role of US public opinion in Mexican politics during the 1940s.