Volume X

Letter from the Editor

By: Gabriela Hubner 

Dear Readers,

This year, I am proud to present you the tenth volume of Américas: The Johns Hopkins Journal of Latin American Studies, the first Américas edition completed entirely virtually. Despite the many challenges this year posed, our editorial team has remained committed to amplifying young voices and publishing the incredible work produced by students on issues pertaining to Latin America.


Determining Freedom: Afro-Peruvians and the Meanings of Emancipation in Peru, 1850s

By: Emily Sanchez

Introduction: On a Sunday of January 1855, five formerly enslaved Afro-Peruvians, Muaricio, Torivio, Gervasio, Gabriel Asin, and Francisco Chavarria gathered as a family to spend their day of rest together and celebrate the emancipation decree announced by President Ramón Castilla just two months prior.1 During their reunion, the Asin and Chavarria families heard a knock on their door. It was corporal Manuel Piol. They were confused by his visit because they offended no one during their family gathering and it was still early in the day.


Weak Judicial Systems and Migration in the Northern Triangle

By: Jordi Amaral

Smoke and flames billowed out of the windows of the Guatemalan Congressional building on November 21, 2020, as Guatemalans protested against the government. The protests were over a hastily and sneakily passed budget that cut funding for education, health care, anti-hunger initiatives, and the judiciary, but also spoke to larger, structural issues such as corruption, weak rule of law and institutions, and poor governance. Among the issues provoking demonstration: the country’s weak judicial system, whose budget had just been slashed.


Trash, Tools or Belongings?: Views of Material along the Mexico-U.S. Border

By: Ian Rice

ABSTRACT: Since the mid-1990s, U.S. immigration policy has weaponized the harsh landscape of the Mexico-U.S. border to deter unauthorized migration. This strategy has not only increased the risks of migration, but has also resulted in tons of material discarded by migrants throughout the border region. These objects are frequently characterized as ‘trash’, justifying their removal and laying groundwork for a political alliance between ecological and anti-migratory movements.


No Más Bebés: Puerto Rican Women as “Misfits” in the Experimentation and Exploitation of Population, Fertility and Birth Control

By: Paige Skaff

ABSTRACT: This analysis examines the history of forced sterilization and birth control testing of Latina women by using Puerto Rico as a case study. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the reasoning that perpetuates the exploitation of the Latina female body. Specifically, I argue that the United States is a neocolonialist nation that has practiced eugenics on the Puerto Rican female population through fertility control and birth control testing as a continued form of exploitation and desired eradication of Puerto Rican people and their culture.


Democracy or Dictatorship? Juan Manuel de Rosas and English-speaking Perspectives of the River Plate, 1816 – 1852

By: Kevin Ramsey

In 1853, an English merchant and traveler named William MacCann published his findings from an eleven-year journey during which he crossed over two thousand miles on horseback through the Argentine provinces. What would become the Argentine Republic in 1860 was, at the time of MacCann’s journey, a very loose Confederation of autonomous provinces.


Lenin Moreno’s Path to the Middle: An Institutional Development Model for Ecuador

By: Felipe Deidan

ABSTRACT: In the aftermath of Ecuador’s 2017 presidential election, the country stood at a crossroads as to whether Lenin Moreno would continue Rafael Correa’s populist agenda or reverse his predecessor’s legacy. The Correa administration had strengthened the role and capacity of state planning and the central government.


Access to Healthcare and Health Services in Puerto Rico Following Landfall of Hurricane Maria

By: Andrea Newman-Rivera

Wind howling like a lost and lonely spirit in the distance, rivers flooding, bamboo creakin— and suddenly snapping — along with the constant hum of rain pounding cement buildings and zinc-roofed homes embedded among tropical terrain are all characteristic of the Atlantic hurricane season. The season can be observed every year, starting in June through the end of October, as rainstorms and high winds gather in the Atlantic Ocean to travel west towards the Caribbean Islands, Central America and up to the southeastern coastal United States.


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