The CLALS research project analyzing the "Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America", funded by the Ford Foundation, has launched an ambitious study in conjunction with the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (ICEFI). Focused on the ways in which struggles over fiscal policy can be seen as emblematic of elite efforts to influence the state, CLALS and ICEFI will generate a project-sponsored publication, composed of five country case studies as well as an integrative regional overview. While meeting in July 2012 in San Salvador, key participants agreed on the structure and content of the studies and are planning to have the book published by summer 2013. The Center is pleased to incorporate ICEFI into our ongoing work in this arena.
ICEFI is home to some of Central America’s leading economists and has just released the report, "Central American Fiscal Policy in a Time of Crisis." Together with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, CLALS sponsored a June 5 discussion of the report in Washington. Panelists included ICEFI Executive Director, Hugo Noé Pino and ICEFI Senior Economists Ricardo Barrientos and Maynor Cabrera. The report fills a void of serious regional analysis of fiscal policy, the importance of which is vital not only to economic but social stability.
InSight Crime, a web-based clearing house for information and analysis on organized crime in Latin America is hosted by the Center. Together we are launching a major initiative that will dovetail with the Ford Foundation-funded CLALS research project on the Reconfiguration of Elites and the Exercise of Power in Central America. Supported by a generous grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), InSight will investigate linkages between elites and organized crime in the region. The period of the 1980s, conceived of in the CLALS project as an era of ”rupture,” spawned the emergence of new networks of elites with economic underpinnings outside the traditional sectors of Central American economies. The InSight Crime project highlights the ways in which both new and traditional elites interact with illicit commerce, and the implications of those interactions for fledgling democratic institutions across the isthmus. A globally trusted voice on organized crime in Latin America, with over 100,000 visitors per month, InSight’s new initiative will add an additional critical component to the Center’s ongoing work on Central American elites.
The Programa de Investigaciones sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo (PRISMA), based in El Salvador focuses on the revalorization of rural communities within the country and serves as a platform for dialogue, critical analysis and action. With recent publications on investment and the territorial dynamics within rural regions of the country, PRISMA has agreed to partner with CLALS to prepare a series of essays that will result in an ebook publication on how elites interact with issues of territory.