Saturday, November 25, 2017

Separatism in Latin America

The Bello column in The Economist has an article on the lack of separatism in Latin America. It notes various potential reasons we're not seeing Catalonia in Latin America, and kudos for referring to a Latin American political scientist for evidence:

For regional grievances to become separatist movements requires some specific conditions, as Alberto Vergara, a political scientist at the University of the Pacific in Lima, has noted in a comparative study of Peru and Bolivia. These include a powerful regional political elite, access to economic resources and foreign trade, and a paramount city that rivals the national capital. These applied to the Bolivian movement centred on Santa Cruz. And they apply in Catalonia.

Vergara published his book in Spanish, and it struck me that I couldn't think of one in English, even though it's a great topic. I suppose in general people like studying something more than the absence of something, perhaps not unlike the ongoing debate about publishing null results. Yet it's notable that although Latin America has dealt with devastating civil war, it has largely avoided the problem of separatism despite the many linguistic, nationalist, and geographical divides within it.


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