Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File, discusses the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought Pinochet to power in Chile. He's joined by Joyce Horman, whose husband was executed bu Pinochet's regime. Ms. Horman has pursued justice for her husband ever since, and there has been recent progress and news in the case even 40 years later.
Friday, July 05, 2013
Today's show is a best-of, so we won't be taking any calls. But the comments page is always open!
Actor Alan Alda talks about his career and his interest in science and medicine – particularly dyslexia. Then, the rock band They Might Be Giants perform in studio and talk about how to navigate the music business in the age of the Internet. Plus, author Isabel Allende on her new novel; an anthropologist makes the case that sanitation workers are the city’s heroes; the Black Fives and Brooklyn’s basketball past; and the local history of the American Revolution.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
The violent anti-American demonstrations occasioned by Vice President Richard M. Nixon's recent trip to Latin America are the subject of this 1958 International Interview with Edward W. Barrett, dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
(Drew Reed -- This Big City) Whether they own a Prius or a Hummer, a Porsche or a Pinto, or anything in between, car owners all over the world can agree on one thing: they don’t want to pay to use the roads they drive on. User fees like toll roads, congestion pricing, or others, are almost always met with scorn. Some of the best know examples of this have been in London and New York, where despite the transit friendly culture the measures have been met with controversy. Not surprisingly, similar proposals made in more car-oriented cities have gone down in flames.
The core rationale for user fees on roadways generally falls into two categories. The first is the idea that, since roads are expensive to build and maintain, the people who directly benefit should help to pay for them. While no form of direct payment for roads is ever going to be immensely popular, this idea is generally well received. People who feel their tolls are being used for something are likely to quietly accept them.
The second rationale for road user fees is that they should be used as a mechanism to promote driving patterns that utilize limited road space and car-related infrastructure in heavily urbanized areas more efficiently. This is often met with outrage. And despite the potential benefits of such measures, some of this outrage is understandable. When people have to pay for something, they like to know what it is they’re paying for. Congestion pricing struggles to convince people it needs to exist. For as much as everyone likes to complain about traffic, they have trouble accepting that they are part of the problem, instead embracing solutions that only apply to everyone else.
This equation changes slightly when applied outside of car-saturated first world countries. A recent congestion pricing project in Santiago, Chile, calls for pay centres placed to cover all vehicle entrances to the business district on the eastern side of the city, and charge a nominal fee to all vehicles entering the district that don’t belong to residents or workers (see this write up [es] for more information).
A similar thought process is being applied on the other side of the Andes, where the government of Buenos Aires, Argentina has proposed higher tolls on the City’s freeway system during rush hour. Although this has been proposed to help raise funds for the freeway system, Buenos Aires’s Chief of Government Mauricio Macri has stated explicitly that the program is also intended to reduce traffic during rush hour [es].
What was the reaction to these proposals? The Chilean proposal has yet to get beyond simply being a nifty set of photoshopped Google maps, and if it goes any further the reaction is likely to be along the lines of what transit specialist Louis de Grange predicts [es]:
Though congestion pricing may well be, in specific cases, a useful tool to manage traffic, to think that it is the solution for Santiago’s congestion problem is probably erroneous. In fact there are various cases in which it simply isn’t convenient to implement such a system, since the social benefits that it generates are less noticeable than the costs of implementing and managing it. Moreover, congestion pricing does not eliminate congestion; it only reduces it, hopefully to a socially optimal level.
In Argentina, plans for the new toll structure quickly turned into something of a political football (or perhaps, fútbol, since this is Argentina). The proposal was attacked by supporters of Marci’s chief political opponent, President Cristina Kirchner, who complained it was an unnecessary burden on middle class users of the freeway system, neglecting to consider how to encourage middle class users to use the transit system. Macri, quick to tout his business background, doubled down on the “government should act like a business” aspect of the plan. Lost in the debate was any attempt to find a solution that was anything more than a plank in either side’s political platform.
What is the main difference between the debate over congestion pricing in countries like England or the US versus countries like Chile or Argentina? Quite simply, congestion pricing in Chile or Argentina is shunned because people feel that they should be driving much more than they currently are. Driving is, of course, a symbol of progress, and anything that gets in the way of this keeps countries from clawing their way upward on the world stage and hurts politicians’ re-election chances. This doesn’t happen as much in England or the US since it would be difficult for people to drive any more than they already do. In these countries, congestion pricing measures are opposed because people see free access to highways as the norm, and any attempt to encourage use of other forms of transit or even a more strategic use of the same mode of transit is seen as a strike against the middle class or worse, an attempt to “make us act poor”.
The unfortunate part of this is that in South American countries, where the 1920s era dream of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” was never acted on with the same immense government spending as in the more industrialized countries, there is a greater opportunity for sustainable urban reform since car-based infrastructure, political blocs, and social patterns aren’t as well established. Unfortunately, trends in these countries seem to be going in the opposite direction.
Time will tell if congestion pricing in some form will take hold in Latin American countries. Until then, they can take heart in the fact that they’ve been able to challenge the first world in an area where until now it’s always had a monopoly: complaining about tolls.
Drew Reed is an online media producer and community activist specializing in sustainable transportation. He lives in Buenos Aires.
This post originally appeared in This Big City.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
President Obama recently called Chile “a model for the region and the world.” Ricardo Lagos, president of Chile from 2000 to 2006 talks about his country's rise on the world stage. In The Southern Tiger: Chile’s Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, Lagos chronicles Chile's journey from terror and repression under General Pinochet to an open society with a thriving economy.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
This time last year, 33 miners who had been trapped underground for 68 days in Chile were finally rescued. People in Chile and around the world watched as their rescue played out on televisions, radio and the internet. The whole event raised many questions, about what it means to be Chilean, what it's like to be trapped in a mine, and where the miners would go from here.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Operation Odyssey Dawn began Saturday with coalition missiles targeting Moammar Gadhafi's tanks and air defenses. Is the United States leading this effort? Meanwhile, relief and rescue efforts continue in Japan and time is of the essence as over 12,000 people are still missing and 8,000 have been confirmed dead so far.
Friday, March 18, 2011
While the world watches the events unfolding in Japan and the Middle East, President Obama heads to Latin America for a five day tour. The president and first lady Michelle Obama begin their first official trip to Brazil tomorrow, a country with a fast-rising GDP rate that some economic experts have taken to calling "The New World Player." The president and first lady will also stop in Chile and El Salvador.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Last night, the last of the 33 trapped miners in Chile was finally brought to the surface, after a record 69 days below ground. Rescue workers worked non-stop, pulling each miner out one-by-one.
Now that Chileans have the attention of the world, what's next for the South American nation?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
It's been 69 days since 700,000 tons of rock collapsed on the San Jose mine in Chile, trapping 33 men inside. Though initial estimates said the miners could not be freed before Christmas, it's likely that all of the men will be hoisted to safety by the end of today.
The tenth miner was just freed, and the rescue capsule is on its way to save the eleventh, 56 year old Jorge Galleguillos.
Valeria Perasso, Southern Cone correspondent for the BBC, joins us again with the latest from Camp Hope. She also discusses the future of the Chilean mining industry.