Tom Long. Latin America Confronts the United States. Asymmetry and Influence.

Long, Tom. Latin America Confronts the United States. Asymmetry and Influence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Latin America Confronts the United States. Asymmetry and Influence.
Tom Long, University of Reading


Book description

Latin America Confronts the United States offers a new perspective on US-Latin America relations. Drawing on research in six countries, the book examines how Latin American leaders are able to overcome power asymmetries to influence US foreign policy. The book provides in-depth explorations of key moments in post-World War II inter-American relations – foreign economic policy before the Alliance for Progress, the negotiation of the Panama Canal Treaties, the expansion of trade through the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the growth of counternarcotics in Plan Colombia. The new evidence challenges earlier, US-centric explanations of these momentous events. Though differences in power were fundamental to each of these cases, relative weakness did not prevent Latin American leaders from aggressively pursuing their interests vis-à-vis the United States. Drawing on studies of foreign policy and international relations, the book examines how Latin American leaders achieved this influence – and why they sometimes failed.


‘With compelling evidence and theoretical clarity, Long offers a much needed reinterpretation of inter-American relations, suggesting that Latin American countries, whether large or small, have agency – when armed with ideas, leadership, and clever strategies – and that they can effectively penetrate the decentralized, fragmented US foreign policy process to influence outcomes and advance their national interests.’

Richard Feinberg – University of California, San Diego

‘Tom Long’s Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence is a fresh and significant contribution. Drawing on careful research about four major cases of US policy toward Latin America over the past five decades, Long shows that much of the impetus for these policies came from Latin America, not from Washington. Previous accounts exaggerate the degree of autonomous policy determination by the United States and underestimate the influence of Latin American drivers, strategies, and pressures. Long’s emphasis on the interaction between multiple Latin American actors and the fragmented processes of US policy making should become a paradigm for future analysis.’

Abraham Lowenthal – University of Southern California

‘… a landmark study that both helps us understand the dynamics of contemporary US-Latin American relations and contributes significantly to the fields of comparative politics and international relations … Dr Long’s detailed, meticulously researched study demonstrates that the conventional wisdom about compliant Latin American states mischaracterized the nature of the asymmetrical relationships since at least the 1950s. [This book] provides a complex, nuanced, and compelling analysis that demonstrates Latin Americans have long been agents of their own history, not mere puppets of the United States … Dr Long’s clear articulation of the way this study departs from prior analyses of US-Latin American relations and from prevailing conceptions about power and asymmetry in the international system enables Latin America Confronts the United States to serve as an instructive model of how an internationalist approach can deepen and change our understanding of global relations in a world characterized by asymmetry … offers important policy implications as well as theoretical insights.’

Philip Brenner – American University, Washington DC

‘Aside from providing detailed and engaging historical accounts of the cases above, Long makes some interesting points vis-à-vis the dynamics shaping asymmetrical relations between great powers and weaker ones, arguing that Latin America has exercised more influence in US-Latin America relations that is normally understood. … The second case, perhaps the book’s most remarkable, explains how Omar Torrijos, dictator of one of the hemisphere’s smallest countries, shrewdly used postcolonial rhetoric and international institutions to convince the United States to hand over control of the Panama Canal, something US foreign policy makers were strongly opposed to at first. … The case sheds particular light on the ways in which weaker-state leaders can use international institutions in pursuit of their objectives, as well as the role weaker states can play in affecting the political agendas of larger ones.’

Oliver Stuenkel – Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil

‘[Long’s] argument is that Latin American foreign policy initiatives have received too little attention, and that they’ve been strikingly successful in setting the political agenda and achieving policy goals. He uses detailed case studies Operation Pan American, the Panama Canal treaties, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and Plan Colombia. … [The book] is based on some excellent fieldwork, with extensive archival research and interviews with key participants. So beyond the analysis itself, it’s an interesting read.’

Greg Weeks – University of North Carolina, Charlotte

‘Long joins a growing list of scholars who have challenged the deeply held assumption that hegemonic U.S. power has left little space for Latin American countries to take the initiative in their relationships with Washington. He demonstrates that in fact, when dealing with the United States, capable Latin American leaders have not only successfully defended their interests but also astutely intervened in U.S. domestic politics to alter the way that Washington defines and pursues its interests in the region.’

Richard Feinberg Source: ‘The Best of Books 2016’, Foreign Affairs

‘Making extensive use of archival sources in and outside the US, as well as in-depth elite interviews with key protagonists across the hemisphere, Long convincingly argues not only that the US did not always get its own way, but also that it is possible for presumably powerless countries in the region to move US policy. … This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of US–Latin American relations and an important read for anyone interested in this area.’

Sean W. Burges Source: International Affairs

‘… the book provides a fresh look at a discussion that is often dominated by Latin American worries about US intervention, with little attention paid to ways for Latin America to exercise influence in the United States. … Long’s book thus provides an important analysis for Latin American scholars, but also for those studying regional dynamics elsewhere, for example in Asia, where China’s growing influence is an ever more important topic.’

Oliver Stuenkel Source: International Journal

Chantal Martineau, How the Gringos Stole Tequila. The Modern Age of Mexico’s Most Traditional Spirit

Martineau, Chantal. How the Gringos Stole Tequila. The Modern Age of Mexico’s Most Traditional Spirit. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 2015.


Tequila is one of the fastest-growing spirits categories in America, the margarita the country’s most popular cocktail. But no longer is it only cheap party fuel—it has become America’s luxury sipping spirit. How the Gringos Stole Tequila eloquently traces this extraordinary evolution. As Chantal Martineau makes clear, there’s far more to the story than an upmarket trend shift. Martineau spent several years immersing herself in the world of tequila—traveling to visit distillers and farmers in Mexico, meeting and tasting with leading experts and mixologists around the United States, and interviewing academics on either side of the border who have studied the spirit and its raw material: agave. How the Gringos Stole Tequila addresses issues surrounding the sustainability of the limited resource that is agave, the preservation of traditional production methods, and the legal constructs designed to protect tequila from counterfeiting. It examines the agave advocacy movement—made up of agave growers, distillers, bartenders, importers, and scholars—that has grown up alongside the spirit’s swelling popularity. But besides detailing the culture and politics of Mexico’s most iconic liquid export, this book also takes readers on a colorful tour of the country’s Tequila Trail, as well as introducing them to the mother of tequila: mezcal. Including an unprecedented drinking guide to Mexico’s agave-based spirits and a stunning collection of full-color photographs of the production process, How the Gringos Stole Tequila will long remain the definitive look at the evolution of North America’s only truly native spirit.


“Martineau makes her nonfiction debut with this thoroughly researched study of what appears to be a growing trend in the spirit world: the rise of tequila from a low-end frat-party tipple to a high-end connoisseur’s sipping drink.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The perfect read to accompany your tequila, mezcal, or pulque—all drinks made from the mature agave, the spiky Mexican succulent with a heart that can become distilled gold. Chantal Martineau has written a compelling travelogue, tasting guide, business analysis, and ecological primer that firmly places tequila and its cousins as worthy spirits beyond cheap college margarita drunks.”—Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World

“Chantal Martineau ties our fate as Americans with the ecosystem of the agave, which is threatened, like our foodways, by shortsighted industrialization and corporate greed. The struggle is complicated as it relates to the tequila-loving gringo, and as one, I am deeply grateful for the way Martineau has portrayed it.” —Jim Meehan, author of The PDT Cocktail Book

“This wonderfully written book illuminates a part of the spirits industry that even the most diehard aficionado might not know about.”—Tom Acitelli, author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution

“Martineau is an adept guide, charming and deeply knowledgeable, to the intricate and fascinating world of agave-based spirits. With passion and authority, How the Gringos Stole Tequila argues that tequila and mezcal are not cheap firewater, but rather richly cultural and potentially threatened products worthy of connoisseurship.”—Bryce T. Bauer, author of Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition, and a Small Town in Cahoots

“For anyone curious but largely uneducated about agave spirits, Ms. Martineau makes a fine instructor.” —Wall Street Journal

“Martineau’s book is an excellent introduction to tequila’s long history and complicated evolution over the last 15 years…” —Distiller

Author Biography

Chantal Martineau has written articles about food, drink, culture, and travel for numerous publications, including Afar, Allure, the Atlantic, Decanter, Edible, the Guardian, Islands, Redbook, Saveur, Time Out, the Village Voice, and Wine Enthusiast. She lives in New York City.

Frank Guridy, “Sports and Spectatorship in Greater Mexico” (New York, April 21st, 2017)

The New York City Latin American History Workshop (NYCLAHW) is pleased to announce the presentation “Sports and Spectatorship in Greater Mexico” by scholar Frank Guridy (Columbia University). The event will take place at The New School on Friday, April 21st at 11:00 a.m.

New York City Latin American History Workshop

Frank Guridy (Columbia University), “Sports and Spectatorship in Greater Mexico”

Time: Friday, April 21st at 11:00 a.m.

The New School Conference Room D 1618
The New School
79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003

This event is free and open to the public.

For inquiries and comments, please contact Emmanuel A. Pardo, emmanuel.pardo @

Seminario: David Pretel, “El Caribe en las redes de economía política del mundo Atlántico, 1650-1914”, (México, 21 de abril 2017)

Estimados colegas,
Los invitamos a la próxima sesión del Seminario Permanente de la Asociación Mexicana de Estudios del Caribe, A. C.-AMEC.

David Pretel presentará el trabajo “El Caribe en las redes de economía política del mundo Atlántico, 1650-1914” (El Colegio de México).

Los comentarios están a cargo de Johanna Von Grafenstein (Instituto Mora).

La cita es el viernes 21 de abril de 2017, 13:00 horas, en la sala Leopoldo Zea del Centro de Investigaciones sobre América Latina y el Caribe-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. (Torre II de Humanidades-Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad de México).


Comité Ejecutivo AMEC, 2016-2018.

amec @

Facebook: Amec Estudios Caribeños

Paxman, Andrew. Jenkins of Mexico. How a Southern Farm Boy Became a Mexican Magnate.

Paxman, Andrew. Jenkins of Mexico. How a Southern Farm Boy Became a Mexican Magnate. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Jenkins of Mexico. How a Southern Farm Boy Became a Mexican Magnate.
Andrew Paxman


  • First biography in English of an American who became the richest man in Mexico.
  • Sheds light on American entrepreneurs who built up multiple industries in Mexico, including textile mills, real estate, banking, and film.
  • Highly readable story of a man who was larger than life.


In the city of Puebla there lived an American who made himself into the richest man in Mexico. Driven by a steely desire to prove himself–first to his wife’s family, then to Mexican elites–William O. Jenkins rose from humble origins in Tennessee to build a business empire in a country energized by industrialization and revolutionary change. In Jenkins of Mexico, Andrew Paxman presents the first biography of this larger-than-life personality.

When the decade-long Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910, Jenkins preyed on patrician property owners and bought up substantial real estate. He suffered a scare with a firing squad and then a kidnapping by rebels, an episode that almost triggered a US invasion. After the war he owned textile mills and the country’s second-largest bank, developed Mexico’s most productive sugar plantation, and helped finance the rise of a major political family, the Ávila Camachos. During the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s-50s, he lorded over the film industry with his movie theater monopoly and key role in production. Reputed as an exploiter of workers, a puppet-master of politicians, and Mexico’s wealthiest industrialist, Jenkins was the gringo that Mexicans loved to loathe. After his wife’s death, he embraced philanthropy and willed his entire fortune to a foundation named for her, which co-founded two prestigious universities and funded projects to improve the lives of the poor in his adopted country.

Using interviews with Jenkins’ descendants, family papers, and archives in Puebla, Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Washington, Jenkins of Mexico tells a contradictory tale of entrepreneurship and monopoly, fearless individualism and cozy deals with power-brokers, embrace of US-style capitalism and political anti-Americanism, and Mexico’s transformation from semi-feudal society to emerging economic power.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Black Legend of William O. Jenkins

Chapter 1: Coming of Age in Tennessee
Chapter 2: Fortune-Seeking in Mexico
Chapter 3: How to Get Rich in a Revolution
Chapter 4: Kidnapped, Jailed, Vilified
Chapter 5: Empire at Atencingo
Chapter 6: Resistance at Atencingo
Chapter 7: With Maximino
Chapter 8: Mining the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema
Chapter 9: Enterprise, Profiteering, and the Death of the Golden Age
Chapter 10: The Jenkins Foundation and the Battle for the Soul of the PRI
Chapter 11: Jenkins’ Earthly Afterlife

Epilogue: The Mixed Legacy of William O. Jenkins


Author Information

Andrew Paxman teaches history and journalism at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City and Aguascalientes. He is the co-author of El Tigre, a biography of the Mexican media mogul Emilio Azcárraga Milmo.

Reviews and Awards

“Historian Paxman’s exhaustive biography of the enigmatic William O. Jenkins reveals that his life had romance, high adventure, mystery, and (movie) magic… [Jenkins of Mexico] is an impressive accomplishment, and readers interested in the evolution of the modern Mexican state will find a fascinating treasure trove here.”–Booklist


Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato, Industria y revolución. Cambio económico y social en el Valle de Orizaba, México

Gómez-Galvarriato, Aurora. Industria y revolución. Cambio económico y social en el Valle de Orizaba, México. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2017.


Industria y revolución. Cambio económico y social en el Valle de Orizaba, MéxicoGómez-Galvarriato, Aurora9786071637727FONDO DE CULTURA ECONÓMICA (FCE)Hubo una época en la que el valle de Orizaba se encontraba en un estado de esplendor industrial y, por consiguiente, en un estado de crecimiento económico. Sin embargo, a partir de dos sucesos importantes en la historia de dicho lugar, la ciudad veracruzana sufrió una dramática transformación económica y social, marcada por bajos salarios, malas condiciones de vida y desempleo. En Orizaba, el crecimiento industrial en el valle -derivado de la revolución industrial- y el desarrollo de la Revolución mexicana, fueron los principales factores que transformaron la estructura política, social y económica de la región. Por ello, la autora analiza en esta obra las causas y consecuencias de tales acontecimientos, explorando la vida de una de las compañías industriales más importantes de la época, así como el papel que desempeñaron los trabajadores textiles y los empresarios dentro de estas revoluciones, considerando los momentos previos y posteriores a ésta.

Gómez-Galvarriato, Aurora
Industria y revolución. Cambio económico y social en el Valle de Orizaba, México/Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato ; trad. de Enrique G. de la G.—México : FCE, COLMEX, UV, 2016
427 pp. : ilus. , 21 x 14 cm.—(Colec. HISTORIA)
1. Industria textil – México – Orizaba (Veracrz-Llave) – Historia – Siglo XX 2. Industria textil – México – Orizaba (Veracruz-Llave) – Historia – Siglo XX 3. Economía – Industria textil – Aspectos sociales – México
LC HD8039.T42Dewey338.47677 G643i

Sitio web del libro:
Conferencia “El desarrollo económico y globalización durante el Porfiriato” de Aurora Gómez Galvarriato en el Centro de Estudios de Historia de México CARSO (abril 29, 2015):