This is the second in a two-part series on Peruvian politics. Part I examined the evolution of Peruvian politics since the Fujimori era and the challenging conditions for governance. Part II examines President Ollanta Humala’s government and discusses policy solutions to Peru’s political volatility and social upheaval. Two years into a five-year term, the government of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala is already facing plummeting public approval. Despite Humala’s rhetorical commitment to social inclusion and justice, his government’s reaction to escalating protests against extractive industries has sparked concerns not only about his willingness to forge a consensus between local communities and […]

Protests spread across Colombia this week, with poor rural workers blockading highways and clashing with police and numerous labor unions declaring a national strike to express a wide range of grievances. The protests, which now involve farmers, miners, teachers and health care workers all putting forth different demands, are linked by a sense that the economic growth Colombia has experienced over the past decade has not been distributed fairly. The protests are occurring while the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos seeks to conclude a peace deal with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest […]

British Prime Minister David Cameron has asked European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to gather evidence on whether the additional checks Spain has imposed on its border with Gibraltar are politically motivated. Cameron’s request is part of an escalating dispute between the United Kingdom and Spain over Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory surrounded by Spanish territory. Spain, which claims sovereignty over Gibraltar, a small peninsula off Spain’s southern coast, cited concerns over smuggling as the reason it was imposing additional checks at the border. In separate email interviews, Pawel Swidlicki, research analyst at Open Europe, and Alejandro Baron, a researcher […]

For mineral-rich countries, large-scale extractive industry projects are a double-edged sword. On one hand, mining royalties and taxes provide funds that can be invested in infrastructure and social services. Mining projects can also create local jobs and spur demand for locally produced goods and services, supporting livelihoods and spurring economic growth. On the other hand, mining revenues can be—and there is plenty of evidence that they routinely are—spirited or frittered away, leaving little to show by way of long-term productive investment or better living standards. Moreover, mining booms undermine growth in other industries by skewing labor demand and swelling the […]

High-value natural resources have historically been associated with dozens of armed conflicts, millions of deaths and the collapse of several peace processes, and both case studies and statistical evidence confirm that such resources play a role in sparking and fueling armed civil conflict. According to recent research, between 1970 and 2008 the portion of armed civil conflicts that were in some way related to high-value natural resources ranged from 30-60 percent each year. Why is peace so difficult to achieve and sustain in the presence of these resources? High-value natural resources can directly increase the risk of conflict in a […]

The small island-state of Timor-Leste exemplifies the challenge of resource-based development for a poor country well-endowed with a valuable natural resource. Timor-Leste, which gained its independence in 2002, has accumulated $13 billion in its petroleum fund in less than a decade. Some of the largest multinational oil companies are operating in the country, and the revenues continue to flow. And yet, while Timor-Leste has seen very notable improvements in its development indicators in the past few years, it continues to face a massive challenge of converting financial wealth into economic development. There are also heated debates about how to spend […]