Changing Cultural Landscapes Of Latin America

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Changing cultural landscapes of Latin America

Changing cultural landscapes of Latin America

Table of Contents



Natural Resources in Mexico and Neoliberal Reform2

Rural Social Movements and interventions3

Hybridization of the PES Programs by Rural Social Movements5

Neo liberalism Reforms6

Impacts of Neoliberal Reforms7

State Intervention in Rural Mexico8

Institutions and Collective Action11



Changing cultural landscapes of Latin America


The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a period of neoliberal reforms in Mexico that led to the elimination of trade barriers, price supports and subsidies, the decentralization of state power and the privatization of land and natural resources. These reforms have had significant impacts on both rural development and the ownership of and access to environmental goods and services. In 1986 Mexico joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and in 1992 signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), both of which signified the end to a long run of import substitution policy in Mexico and the removal of trade barriers for agricultural and forestry products, among many others. During this period, under a strict structural readjustment policy, subsidies for agricultural and forestry production were also severely cut.

In 1992, during the Salinas presidency, multiple reforms were made to Article 27 of the Mexican constitution as well as to federal agrarian, forestry and water use laws. These reforms opened the door to privatization of commonly held nucleon agrario7 land as well as the natural resource base which had previously been legally defined as the property of the federal state. The impact to the institutions and governance of these reforms on individual resources is discussed more thoroughly in each section below.

From the 1930s to the 1980s, forests were under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture and, in an import substitution model that required internal production timber, forestry was the province of private industry who rented government or nucleon agrarian lands, often with coerced consent of the owners. Water in Mexico was and is “owned” by the federal government, and though some aspects of allocation, management and fee collection has been decentralized or even privatized, what funds are collected must be funneled back to the federal level and redistributed. In 1994, the Secretariat of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) was formed and took forest and water resources under its wing along with protected areas and conservation initiatives more generally. In 2001, forest resources were allocated to a subsidiary agency, the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR). Biodiversity, whose value as a “resource” is never clear, and biomass sequestered carbon, whose resource value until recently was non-existent, are also under the control of the Ministry of the Environment.


Natural Resources in Mexico and Neoliberal Reform

Beginning in the 1940s, when concern over degradation of natural resources came the fore and parties and state joined to create large, technocratic agencies, the tendency in Mexico was for greater centralized control, which, in turn required an ever-expanding, labyrinthine bureaucracy. Even after the structural adjustment period of the 1980s and 1990s, when federal agencies were downsized and, nominally, decentralized, true control over access, and in some cases ownership, of ...
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