LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
By the logic of demographics and changing political currents in the hemisphere, we need to know what the next generation thinks, what they want and how they see the future.
I’ve wanted to dedicate an issue to youth and the next generation of leadership in the Americas since we launched Americas Quar- terly three years ago. Some of my colleagues may attribute this to pining for my lost youth.
That’s certainly a possibility, but the reality is also that
just by the logic of demographics and changing political currents in the hemisphere, we need to know what
the next generation thinks, what they want and how
they see the future.
As the essays in this first issue of the new decade reveal, there is a noteworthy—sometimes profound—
difference in how the up-and-coming generation views
politics and the region, compared to earlier generations.
This difference partly guided the creation of
Americas Quarterly, and it continues to guide how we select
themes, work with authors, imagine our web presence,
and design our print editions.
As you’ll read, our essayists are young leaders who
don’t pre-select their opinions from an established menu
of issues. In this, they are typical of many of their generation for whom political and social ideas represent a
mash-up that defies the old mutually exclusive policy
divide between the Left and the Right. It is possible
to be pro-market, pro-democracy and socially liberal.
Take, for example, the venture capitalist (Diego Valenzuela) who has found profit in banking the unbanked;
or Colombia’s Minister of Culture (Paula Moreno) who
is rewriting a more inclusive history of Colombia; or
the young leader of the conservative arena party in El
Salvador (Julio Rank Wright), who is helping his party
reach out to the poor and marginalized.
Sadly, though, many of the old warriors remain. Even
some new leaders imbued with old ideas continue to
cling to the icons and debates of the past. Our non-fea-
ture article on the “Arms Race in the Andes” by Finan-
cial Times reporter Naomi Mapstone is an acute analy-
sis of the hangover of militarism and petty nationalism.
And Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo’s account of life un-
der the geriatric reign of the Castro brothers (and its
old-think counterpart, U.S. policy toward the island)
is further evidence of not only the persistence of re-
gional anachronisms, but their cost.
—Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAFAEL FUCHS
WINTER 2010 Americas Quarterly 5