I am delighted to offer yet another seven innovative articles to our readership reflecting the variety of research being undertaken by geographers in and on Latin America. The first study examines the patterns and consequences of the major immigration of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica during the 1990s, the majority searching for economic benefits in the stable political climate of that country. The database of the study was derived from a survey of illegal Nicaraguan immigrants who were applying for amnesty, and the author carefully uses their characteristics as a means of discussing the significance of gender differences within the migrant community. The origins, as well as the destinations, of these migrants differentiate them from the political refugees who flooded into Costa Rica in an earlier period.
Next we move to appreciate the role of the humble, but very popular, concrete block in Mexico’s vernacular landscape. As in many other Latin American countries the use of such blocks not only facilitates rapid construction, but as the author demonstrates, it also represents a modernizing aspect in both urban and rural landscapes; culture advances block by block. The concrete block has also become the symbol of self-built structures that are the primary component in the informal settlements of most Latin American cities. While architects spend most of their time discussing the minority housing of the rich, it is good to see a geographer examine one of the common man’s landscape elements.
Staying in Mexico, but now moving to Campeche in the Southern Yucatan region, we are offered a detailed view of transnational migration and its effects on land-use. Such migration, especially since the turn of the present century, has become a livelihood strategy, and we are presented with very elaborate qualitative evidence of the impacts of such migration in both source and destination contexts. The story of the sample population in Nueva Esperanza reveals the complexities of migration patterns, the linkages between southern Mexico and the USA, and the challenges of chili cultivation in a fluctuating market.
The fourth article deals with something that at first sight might appear obvious: the pattern of the road network in Brazilian Amazonia. However, when the authors begin to explain the distinctive patterns, revealed via remote sensing and GIS, the explanation of their complex origins and, most important, their relationships to the pattern of forest fragmentation of the tropical forest, one can appreciate the complexity of such patterns. The study of two microregional variants further illustrate the challenges such analysis poses.
Returning to Mexico, via the next study we may understand that the maquiladoras not only provide very cheap female labor, but also escape environmental legislation in their locations. By means of a complex qualitative analysis, enriched by many interviews with officials and agencies, the author is able to substantiate the environmental record of a garment maquiladora in the northern Yucatan. The evidence is clear: economic gains outweigh environmental controls,
The penultimate essay examines the state of research on Latin American transportation, demonstrating that during the last forty years geographers and most other social scientists have neglected this key topic, in spite of its direct relevance for economic development. Since mobility of all types is fundamental to globalization and regional integration, we would do well to learn from the suggestions of this expert analysis.
The final study offers a reflective commentary on the first meeting of CLAG in 1970, a period of inter-generational change, when young scholars began to challenge the “old guard”; a historiographic moment fortunately captured for the history of our discipline. [End Page i]
Es un placer presentar a nuestros lectores, otros siete innovadores artículos. Los mismos reflejan la variedad de investigaciones hechas por los geógrafos en y sobre América Latina. El primero examina los patrones y consecuencias del proceso de inmigración de nicaragüenses en Costa Rica durante la década de los noventa, la mayoría en busca de beneficios económicos dentro de la estabilidad política de este país. El autor consigue sus datos en las múltiples entrevistas a migrantes ilegales, registrados para la petición de amnistía al gobierno de Costa...