Text written for “Breaking Borders: New Latin American Architecture,” an exhibition and lecture series curated by Ivan Shumkov and Latin Pratt, School of Architecture, Pratt Institute, Fall 2011.

“In the Amazon, one of the world´s fastest-growing urban frontiers,

80 per cent of city growth has been in shantytowns largely unserved by established utilities

and municipal transport, thus making ‘urbanization´ and ´favelization´ synonymous.”

Mike Davis, Planet of Slums, 2006

 Latin America is undergoing unprecedented processes of integration. The latter reify in multiple institutions that are weaving the diverse patches of a political quilt originally consolidated by the Spanish and Portuguese colonial Empires. In Hispanic America, territories that were diffused and those that had been amalgamated by expansive pre-Hispanic cultures like the Inca and the Aztec, where re-organized under one geo-political structure by the Spanish Conquest and the overarching urbanization effort that ensued during the Colonial period. Cities played a pivotal role in the political, ecclesiastical and military occupation and control of the American territories.[1] Their novel presence extended from California to Florida and the Southern United States, through Central America, and to the farthest reaches of the Patagonia in the Southern-most tip of South America. The “Columbian Territorial Organization” was the first system to regulate the urban occupation of the Indies, and Spanish settlements – although they did incorporate, when existing, some of the traits of their pre-Hispanic counterparts- were primarily conceptualized as factorías or gridded commercial and extraction centers directly linked to the Iberian Peninsula. The dawn of our Historic cities was marked by the need to trade with overseas centers of power; as well as by the exploration and occupation of our remote territories, propelled by the search for a mineral wealth that could be extracted and exported.

This pattern of dependency has been perpetuated throughout the centuries. The geography of Latin America has been sculpted by the cyclical mineral and agricultural needs of exogenous markets, booming and busting with them. As hegemonic powers have shifted, the vectors of our trade routes and infrastructures have realigned in order to meet their ports. The needles of the arrows that originally oriented towards Spain and Portugal, at the kernel of the process we now call Globalization, were recalibrated to point towards France and England; then shifted sharply in order to face the United States; and are currently rotating counterclockwise in a 90 degree angle within an emerging magnetic field in which China, India and Brazil have become key attractors.[2] Several external, global forces are currently reshaping the South American geographies; among them, the following stand out: the explosion of Asian cities and the stemming of so-called instant cities, particularly in China[3]; the exponential growth of Chinese industry and its unquenchable need for raw materials; and the resurgence of a new proletariat with renewed acquisition power. These relatively new forces of construction, production and consumption exert immense pressure on the last reserves of minerals, raw materials and natural resources (including soil and water) world-wide. Probably no one has portrayed the state of current affairs, from extraction to consumption, through production and exchange, along hinterlands and cities, all the way into their landfills (the mines of the future, the new to-be hinterlands) than Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.

 

From top left to bottom: Manufacturing N. 17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, Edward Burtynsky, 2005; “A Great Leap Forward: Can China´s famously thrifty workers become the world´s big spenders?,” Bill Saporito (Photographs by Peng Yangjun and Chen Jiaojiao), TIME Magazine, Oct. 31, 2011; city of Beijing.

The Amazon basin has become a strategic ecology in a world market where (raw) resources are dwindling. The patterns of extraction, once again, are structuring a territory whose prospection imprints become colonized and, eventually, urbanized, in an entropic, unplanned manner that translates into environmental degradation and impoverishment. Photograph: Oil prospection patterns in Western Brazilian Amazon. Image courtesy of Resource Extraction Urbanism Seminar, Felipe Correa and Ana María Durán Calisto with Ángel Rodríguez, GSD, Harvard University, 2011.

China recently surpassed the United States as the main commercial partner of Chile, Peru and Brazil -the world´s sixth-largest economy. China is, indeed, becoming the main trade partner of most South American nations.[4] Within this state of geopolitical affairs, an Atlantic country like Brazil, which historically never felt a strong need to trade across the Pacific, is suddenly faced with the urge to open up routes towards its ports, and it is well equipped to do so. After all, Brazil has a well-established Modernist history marked by Desarrollismo and the conquest of its own interior. When its Atlantic concentrations of population decided to look behind their shoulders towards the vast and untapped hinterlands of the nation, Brazil awoke to a new consciousness, epitomized in Brasilia and its radiations: a new navel capable of binding half of the South American territory.[5] This ambitious impulse of Brazilian Modernity has been stretched to encompass the whole of the South American territory in its contemporary impetus towards the infrastructural integration of the continent. One of the main inheritors of a tradition that believed in the relationship between infrastructural deployment and progress is the Escola Paulista, established by architect João Batista Vilanova Artigas and his disciple Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The son of a civil engineer who specialized in hydraulic resources and naval design, Mendes da Rocha maintained and reinterpreted his father´s visions of fluvial integration at a continental scale, in projects like his design for the city of Tietê (1981). Geography and landscape are filtered through the lense of infrastructure in Mendes da Rocha´s architecture, which is conceived as geography or territorial calligraphy, in its structural, beam-like and bridge-like diagrams. In his project for Tietê, he “proposes the strategic construction of a ´fluvial-city-port´ on the edge of river Tietê, capable of integrating intercontinental transportation networks as well as stimulating the occupation of the territory, ultimately connecting the Amazon and del Plata basins.”[6] The seed of a continental vision of infrastructural integration took root at the city of Sao Paulo.

From left to right: Brasilia as navel (Image courtesy of Guillerme Wisnick); Brazil as infrastructural integrator (Image courtesy of SAP: pink lines represent current transportation routes linking mainly the coastal areas of South America; white lines represent the transportation axes proposed by IIRSA/COSIPLAN, in its transversal, trans-Oceanic endeavor to restructure South America); proposal developed by civil engineer Paulo Menezes Mendes da Rocha, father of architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, to integrate three of the main river systems in South America: the Orinoco, Amazon and Parana fluvial corridors (Image courtesy of Angelo Bucci and Alexandre Delijaicov).

It is, therefore, not surprising that in the year 2000, the then President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso, launched the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA):[7] an ambitious and pragmatic plan to upgrade, expand and interconnect the transport, energy and telecommunication networks of the continent. The Initiative was developed by a team of experts from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), one of the three main financial partners of IIRSA, the other two being the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the Plata Basin Financial Development Fund (FONPLATA). It evolved under the auspices and conceptual lead of Rio de Janeiro-born, Sao Paulo trained, Henrique Cardoso, a sociologist interested in understanding the relationships between dependency and development (or a lack thereof). He belongs to the Brazilian intelligentsia who conceives territorial integration in large-scale, pragmatic terms, in resonance with the tradition of his country´s positivist planning.

Within a fractured Hispanic South America, whose relatively isolated nations decanted from their inability to remain consolidated as a union in the post-Independence Wars period,[8] planned integration has expressed itself mainly in political, financial and commercial terms, through the consolidation of organizations such as the Andean Community (CAN, 1969),[9] the Andean Development Corporation (CAF, 1970),[10] the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR, 1991),[11] the Integration Zone for South America´s Mid-West (ZICOSUR, 1997)[12], the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO, 1998),[13] and the Bank of the South (2009).[14] Most of these institutions include Brazil among their members or partners, and one of them, ACTO, is Brazilian in origin.

But IIRSA, the initiative to integrate the continent physically, is a different matter, and it is thanks to its pragmatic vision of an interconnected South America,[15] that it has been able to summon support across ideological and cultural differences: the governments of South America´s twelve independent nations,[16] whether from a liberal socialism or a neoliberal ilk, have supported the proposal to deploy, upgrade or complete the continent´s transportation, energy and telecommunication grids. It is interesting to note that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR, 2008-2011)[17], the most grounded and successful attempt to amalgamate South America into an integrated regional market up to date, was also an outcome of the 2008 summit[18] convened by Cardoso in Brasilia, whose main agenda was to reach a consensus regarding infrastructural integration: the need to physically interconnect the continent in order to promote regional and global trade was a prerequisite for its institutional and political integration.[19] It could be argued that IIRSA (now COSIPLAN) made UNASUR (now managing COSIPLAN) possible: after all, beyond ideology and other diverging expressions of our continent´s superstructures, what remains constant is that the economy of our nations is still largely dependent on the extraction and export of raw materials and natural resources such as oil, copper, lumber, iron, gold, tin, lithium, silver, bauxite, and natural gas; or upon the export of mono-culture agro-industrial products such as soy beans and palm oil (and through them, water).[20] Brazilians conceptualize integration in territorial and infrastructural terms, as physical integration, through the deployment of large scale conduits that facilitate flows and exchanges of goods, labor, capital and information. They “think big” and are undoubtedly leading the process that will stitch our continent together. Brazil has consolidated its leadership in the last decade, “through an increase in commerce and the financing of infrastructure, taking advantage of the void left behind by the United States in the region […] The interconnection of South American nations and the integration of commerce and infrastructural investment are the priorities” of Brazil´s regional agenda, according to former Chancellor of Brazil, Luiz Felipe Lampreia. “In less than ten years, the Brazilian Development Bank[21] has increased more than seven times its regional loans devoted to infrastructural developments”.[22] In order to reinforce such relations and regional commerce, a Free Trade Agreement between Brazil and its Hispanic counterparts in the region was proposed during the 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena.

 

Left: The ten nodes of IIRSA: five of them are clearly transversal; Right: continental infrastructures and key ecologies (Image courtesy of SAP – The South America Project)

IIRSA´s pan-continental planning strategy outlines the infrastructures that facilitate exchange by subdividing the continent into 10 nodes or axes of development, five of which are clearly transversal. The goal is clear: to reach the Pacific through a series of transversal transport developments. This aim becomes evident in the portfolio of priority projects of IIRSA/COSIPLAN (the consensus to build them was reached in a 2003 UNASUR meeting). The selection emphasizes the urgency to develop transoceanic corridors that cut across the continent at different points along its length. This transversal impetus has multiplied to include IIRSA and non-IIRSA projects such as the proposal to build a railway or canal between the Colombian Caribbean and its Pacific coast, the Manta-Manaos fluvial corridor, the Transcontinental Brazil-Peru railway (Fetab), the bi-oceanic Aconcagua railway, the polemic South Interoceanic Highway, the Central Transandean Railway, and so forth. Many of these projects had been stagnant for decades; others, like the Trans-Amazonian highway (BR-230), had failed and are being reactivated; and still others, like the Manta-Manaos corridor, have been revived from the Modern era ambitions in which they were initially conceived. The Panama Canal remains the key historic precedent as the first mega-infrastructural transportation link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The natural naval route in the South has been the Strait of Magellan. Both of these historical bi-oceanic waterways have become burdensome in the face of increasing energy prices and within the logic of a global market on whose table only competitive and cost effective players survive. For the agro and industrial enterprises located along or close to the Atlantic coast of South America (in particular powerful production nodes such as Sao Paulo), the transportation and fiscal costs of using the Panama Canal have become cumbersome. Opening alternative transversal transects has become a premise for the region´s future economic growth. It is important to keep in mind that of the twelve independent nations in the continent, only four (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile) have access to the Pacific, and only one (Colombia), to both the Pacific and the Atlantic. This is a territorial condition that differs sharply in North and Central America, where most countries have access to both.[23] South America must integrate at many levels and negotiate the terms of a new territoriality in order to become “bi-oceanic.” In tandem with its infrastructural deployment, it must, for example, design a fluid customs system, for the increase in speed achieved through infrastructural upgrades could be (and indeed, is being) off-set by delays caused by institutional bottle-necks encountered at the national borders. The trafficking of illegal substances within the region poses another major challenge to the effective integration of physical infrastructures.

 

The Presidents of Ecuador and Brazil meet in 1963, and agree to create a bi-oceanic fluvial corridor. Photograph: Courtesy of Santiago del Hierro

Between the Atlantic coast of South America and China, stands the interior of the South American continent, whose territory is rippling under the pressures exerted by the reorganization of commercial relationships at a global scale now that the Pacific rim has become the main commercial, coastal ring. These ripples are expressed in the shape of extraction striations upon the territory, but also of stressed societies that are meeting the processes of infrastructural integration with discomfort, particularly in the Andean Amazon, where the desire to open the interior to global trade has been met by fierce resistance and opposition from large factions within indigenous communities. Since the vectors of IIRSA/COSIPLAN infrastructures started piercing their way through the Andean Amazon towards the Pacific, and as the region´s economy resuscitates under a new wave of extraction, newspapers in South America have been ceaselessly dotted with chronicles on the renewed frictions between diverse constituencies whose visions revolving around extraction in fragile ecologies collide. IIRSA has not been ubiquitously embraced as the visionary platform for “open regionalism” that it is purported to be. Many believe it simply serves the purpose of opening the untapped resources of the South American interior to corporations for extraction, export and commercialization within the global market, with the support of national governments, which are perceived as being affiliated with and subservient to corporate (whether private or public) interests. Such suspicion has translated into discomfort among diverse social groups, particularly those that will be directly affected by extraction-based contamination and ecological degradation: indigenous communities, environmental agencies and tourism operators (the forces of purported preservation or conservation versus the forces of purported change).

At the core of social frictions and debates lie some key questions: how do we define “development” and “progress,” for whom, and for how long? After all, the ten nodes of IIRSA/COSIPLAN overlap key ecologies in the region, such as the Amazon rain forest (four nodes cross it),[24] the Pantanal, the Patagonia, the Orinoco and the Parana valleys. In this regard, it is interesting to stop and observe the overlap between biodiversity hotspots and oil prospection blocks in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon regions. The sectional ecologies of the slopes along which the jungle clashes with the cordillera, count among the most bio-diverse in the globe. Their survival is being threatened by extraction industries (oil, lumber, gold, mono-culture…) and the entropic settlement patterns they unintentionally tend to trigger. The impact roads have in the rain forest has been extensively documented: the “formal” (planned, legal) imprint of their striation is followed by an “informal” (unplanned, illegal) interference pattern of transversal scratches which contribute to advance the agricultural frontier and eventually lodge entropic colonization. Furthermore, “formal” extraction industries are always followed by “informal” extraction economies. Ultimately, as the agricultural development patterns in Pará (Brazilian Eastern Amazon) demonstrate; these processes result in the desiccation of what once was a bountiful, thin layer of life and rain forest. As the extraction, agricultural and urban frontiers advance in the Amazon, one is left to wonder: will Pará´s past become the future of the whole basin? If not, will corporations and governments begin to compute environmental and ecological restoration costs in their investment estimates? Who will be responsible for degradation? Considering that in the long term, water and biodiversity resources will be more valuable in the international market than oil, should South America put an ecology like the Amazon, which harnesses one fifth of the planet´s fresh water, at risk?

 

Left: Biodiversity hotspots (Image courtesy of Resource Extraction Urbanism Seminar, Felipe Correa and Ana María Durán Calisto with Víctor Muñoz Sanz, GSD, Harvard University, 2011. Source: Conservation International). Right: Oil Republics, by Santiago del Hierro.

The magnitude of infrastructural intervention planned for the Amazon basin can also be assessed by analyzing Brazil´s plans to build mega hydro-electric dams in the river and its tributaries. The Brazilian government´s Ten-year Energy Plan, run by the Energy Research Corporation of the Mines and Energy Ministry, recommends the construction of 11 power plants in the Brazilian Amazon region, which would be active by 2019. Brazil expects to extract 30% of its energy from the basin. One wonders which percentage of the energy produced will be harnessed by extraction industries. One also wonders where the construction workers of these mega infrastructures will eventually settle. Are there concomitant plans to accommodate the predictable urban growth that their deployment and the displacement of affected communities will inevitably trigger? In Porto Velho alone, “employment and a bustling energy economy have already boosted the population from 296.000 to 464.000 people since 2006. The number of cars has increased from 60.000 to 186.000. Five arteries are being planned in highway BR-364 in order to avoid traffic jams.”[25] Was this urban explosion planned in tandem with the infrastructure, along with the basic services and the cultural, educational and health venues needed to service the population? This goes without mentioning the plans underway to build high impact, large hydro-electric power plants in the Andean Amazon, where the slopes of the cordillera provide an ideal site for potential energy. Harnessing water in its mountainous sources will undoubtedly affect the ecology of the basin below.

SAP – South America Project

In the face of such vast territorial transformations, what role are architects, urban designers, urban planners and landscape architects called to play? Considering that infrastructural deployment goes hand in hand with urbanization (extraction frontiers are, indeed, urban), should designers not actively participate in contributing to envision the future of the continent? Even though the territorial scale surpasses the limits of what is currently acknowledged as the field of architecture, should we not expand it in order to recuperate an engagement with the design of what is now only engineered? Could we develop an “architecture of the environment” within our discipline? Political and economic models, as well as their planning methods, have vast territorial implications and act as forces capable of completely transforming local geographies. Should designers not engage their physical dimension without neglecting a poetic and aesthetic approach that must complement a technological and rational impulse? Unless we incorporate a design dimension into the engineering of infrastructures which are conceived as mono-functional, generic global conduits, without taking into account the local grain they traverse, we will continue to do violence to vital ecosystems like the Amazon. If the future of South America´s interior is to become something more than the by-product of what generic global infrastructures eject; more than the mere entropy of a global market that disposes havoc as it organizes extraction, production, and consumption; strong visions and intentions must emerge in the horizon of a territory that is bound to become the recipient of large waves of migration in the future; a territory that deserves to be treated as much more than a deposit of raw materials; a land that, beyond extraction, must be conceived with respect and designed with a poetic sensibility that refuses to reduce its ecosystems and the populations they support to a mere utilitarian equation.

Extreme ecologies and cultures force us to question all assumptions, including those we take for granted: should a road be the way it is, or could it be otherwise? In the Amazon, for example, would it not make more sense to build a suspension, cable transport system (of diverse scales), that follows the tensile nature of the canopy, while keeping its imprint upon the ground minimal, through a poli-functional structural system that could also serve as the support for potential urban radiations? Is there a place for small or mid scale, low-impact, micro-infrastructures in a continental undertaking? Could cities be designed in unison with the resources needed to build them (if large volumes of wood are needed, for example, the implementation of a forest would go hand in hand with the construction of the building, elsewhere)? Could a new communications system be beautiful (or invisible) and multi-functional? Could local communities participate in the deployment of new energy, water, transportation and information systems? Why is South America not taking the opportunity to design decentralized, off-the-grid, alternative infrastructures and insists in the use of centralized matrices? Now that we can envision the post-oil era, why are we obsessed with building highways and conceptualizing transportation in terms of trucks and vehicles, as we witness a cultural reversal away from the car, towards cleaner modes of transport? We should learn from the United States, a country that dismantled much of its public electric rail infrastructures at the dawn of car supremacy. Currently, many of its municipalities are trying to reintroduce public transport systems that were in place in the XIX Century. Could dismantling a highway be, in some cases, more progressive that constructing it? Furthermore, has South America not learnt the lessons of the Mississippi river as it proposes to harness the Amazon? It may not be too late to think our future in terms of micro and medium sized decentralized infrastructures; nor to design our territory from its palimpsest up, and from much needed collective infrastructural systems, down. Both directions are needed, and in this oscillation from top to bottom and from bottom to top, it is vital to integrate, particularly in cases such as the Amazonian, the knowledge of the ancestral communities of South America, from which we have much to learn (pharmaceutical companies know this much too well). Biotechonologies may also hold the key in terms of how science can contribute to deflect some of the “development” pathways we take for granted, and which offer only momentary economic relief. Science still holds the key to a better future. Past and present knowledge must be convened as we rethink the continent.

These are the types of issues we pose at The South America Project (SAP), a platform for collective applied research and design, created in the year 2011 by Felipe Correa and the author of this article in the belief that designers should engage undertakings such as IIRSA/COSIPLAN, whether their participation is solicited or not. Territorial projections of the scale of IIRSA demand creative planning, visions, imagination… The tools and skills of the architect, landscape architect, and urban designer can be put to work at diverse scales, including the territorial (with the aid of geography and other fields of knowledge), and could provide alternative paradigms to develop themes such as infrastructural integration. The design disciplines could also serve as an arena for negotiation between diverse, conflicting, parties who push for incompatible models of development with radically different spatial implications. Optimistically, the unsolicited projections and visions of SAP, if shared with local, national, federal and regional governments, may have a positive impact in the future development of the South American geographies. At least, we hope they will serve to better inform political, technical and economic decision making; and, through its documentation and cartographic effort, create a stronger awareness among the general public, of what is at stake in an interior that remains relatively invisible within metropolitan areas, even though their very sustenance depends on it. It has become fashionable today to speak of the “urban globe”. If we include into urban analysis the large shadows of cities, cast upon the planet as ever-growing ecological imprints, it is fair to describe every inch of the terrestrial surface as urban. But it is precisely that blurring which concerns us, for remote areas –biologically and culturally rich- cannot survive if reduced to become, in Louis Kahn´s terms, the “serving spaces” of the urban served at a global scale. It is not an anti-urban sentiment that moves us, nor a nostalgic romanticism; it is simply the awareness of the ever-growing value that the wilderness has as we approach the tipping point that will realign notions of worth and value systems in a completely different direction. It is for that future that we must design today.

 


[1] Spain founded and built 911 cities during the Conquest and Colonization of the Americas according to  “La ciudad hispanoamericana: el sueño de un orden”, edited by the Centro de Publicaciones of the Ministerio de Fomento de España, 1997

[2] Among others, like Russia, South Africa and the Middle East.

[3] According to appraisals published by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and the United Nations Human Settlements´ Programme, cities are responsible for approximately 75% of all the energy consumed, 60% of all water consumption, and 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

[4] China is the second main commercial partner of Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela. According to Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB, China could become the main commercial partner of Latin America in the next five years.

[5] Brazil comprises an approximate half of the South American territory, population and GIP, according to IIRSA. See www.iirsa.org

[6] See Enciclopedia Itaú Cultural – Artes Visuales (http://www.itaucultural.org.br)

[7] Now IIRSA-COSIPLAN, the infrastructural integration institutional muscle of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

[8] For an insightful discussion on the causes of the fragmentation of Hispanic South America, refer to El laberinto de la soledad, by Octavio Paz (1950). In contrast, according to Brazilian architect and landscape designer Fávio Mariz Gonçalves, Portuguese colonies condensed into a national entity thanks to a particularity of Brazilian history: the transfer of the seat of the Portuguese colonial Empire to the Americas in 1808, under the rule of King Dom João VI, who had to flee Napoleon I´s invasion of Portugal. His eldest son and heir, Pedro, became the regent of Brazil and led its independence, becoming the first Emperor of Brazil. His son, Pedro II, ruled the Empire for almost six decades, consolidating its territorial identity, which eventually prevented what is now Brazil, from fracturing.

[9] Comunidad Andina (formerly known as Pacto Andino, Grupo Andino or Acuerdo de Cartagena)

[10] Corporación Andina de Fomento

[11] Mercado Común del Sur

[12] Zona de Integración del Centro Oeste Sudamericano (translation into English by the author).

[13] Organización del Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica

[14] Banco del Sur: it proposes, as part of its lending agenda, the creation of a regional currency.

[15] Parallel plans to integrate Meso and Central America are underway, such as the Mesoamerican Integration Corridor (Corredor Mesoamericano de Integración) or the Pacific Corridor (Corredor Pacífico). It is expected that, ultimately, the north of Latin America will integrate its infrastructure with its Southern counterpart. See proyectomesoamerica.org

[16] The countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The Union precludes the French Guiana, an overseas region of France.

[17] Unión de Naciones Suramericanas

[18] The Summit was meant to commemorate the 500 years of the discovery of Brazil.

[19] According to Uruguayan architect Gonzalo Baranda, an important precedent for IIRSA can be traced back to the Asunción Treaty (1991), Mercosur´s founding document, where the first bilateral cooperation agreements between Brazil and Argentina were made explicit.

[20] One of the main methods for packaging water exports is through the demand of fruits and vegetables whose production consumes high quantities of water.

[21] Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico y Social (BNDES)

[22] El Comercio newspaper, Quito, April 8, 2012. It should be noted that an internal process of infrastructural integration is also underway in Brazil, made viable by the Planes de Aceleración del Crecimiento (PAC-1 and PAC-2).

[23] With the exception of Belize and El Salvador in Central America

[24] See www.iirsa.org

[25] “Hidrelétricas: quando a discórdia vira tragédia,” in Carta Maior, 23/08/2012, http://www.cartamaior.com.br/templates/materiaMostrar.cfm?materia_id=20769 (last accessed on October 6, 2012)