- Letter from the Editor
Welcome to the mid-year issue of JLAG! This issue is another milestone for the editorial team as we are including some new features and continuing with JLAG's traditional mix of incisive geographic scholarship throughout the Americas.
This has been an exceptionally active year for CLAGistas as we were able to meet twice within four months. The January 2017 CLAG conference in New Orleans was a tremendous success, affording the editorial team another opportunity to meet with contributors and reviewers and to solicit manuscripts from the membership. We are happy to be able to include some of the work presented at the CLAG conference in this issue, demonstrating the quick turn around time for articles to come to press and the importance of JLAG as an outlet for fresh scholarship.
The AAG meetings in Boston were also important for JLAG as Johnny Finn and Anne-Marie Hanson hosted a special session based upon their Critical Geographies special issue. The debates were excellent and nearly all of the 16(1) contributors were able to participate in the panel discussion. We hope that future meetings will feature similar sessions as they increase the visibility of JLAG and bring more contributors into the fold. In Boston we also sponsored a special session on the role of geographers in the age of Trump - more on that later.
As is habitual for JLAG, this issue takes us on a rollicking ride through the Americas. We begin with a very clear and sobering account of the role that drug traffickers are playing in transforming rural areas in Central America. McSweeny et al. show us the ways in which the political economy of the drug trade is enmeshed with a rural political ecology in ways that few of us could have imagined.
The second article is a fine-grained examination of one of the consequences of the drug trade: an increasing prison population in Guatemala. O'Neill and Fontes characterize Guatemala's improvisational nature of criminal detention as Making Do. They situate these practices in a historical context in which the Guatemalan state, in a constant condition of emergence, has had to deal with the unexpected consequences of increased and diversified forms criminal activity. Their fascinating analysis drills down into the specifics of carcereal practices while opening new avenues for comparative study.
From Guatemala, we jump to México, where Alma Villaseñor and her colleagues expose the ways in which state-led practices of road building impact the resilience of rural communities to severe weather events. Their analysis of the impacts of hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel on isolated communities in Guerrero calls our attention to the continued relevance of theoretical approaches that focus on socio-spatial justice and the role of infrastructure in producing and maintaining uneven geographies.
Leaping to the Atacama Desert, Manuel Prieto brings us an account of how the neo-liberalization of the Chilean economy has impacted the water market in this notoriously arid region. This insightful and data-rich exegesis uses a political economy framework to unveil the ways in which the water market has changed over time, to the detriment of private households. Echoing Swyngedouw's study of Guayaquil's water system, Prieto situates the hydric landscape of the Atacama as a site that reconfigures and reproduces power relations.
For the next two articles, we continue south to Patagonia Argentina, where we are presented with case studies that examine the role of foreigners in the transformation [End Page 1] of the region's unique landscape. Mendoza et al. take us on a roller coaster ride through the workings of the global economy and its impacts on conservation, hydropower, and forestry since the late 1990s. They situate this work within a larger discussion about the political implications of "green development" and the ways in which the oozing tentacles of capital work through master symbols and territorial imaginaries.
As a compliment to the above piece, Vazquez and Sili investigate the spatial dynamics of land acquisition in Patagonia by foreign actors over the past twenty years. Their findings suggest that the instability of the Argentine economy has opened space for highly mobile capital interests to enter into...