CLAS Summer Institute for Teachers

"From Crude to Cane:
Energy Policy in Latin America

July 26-27, 2007

Thursday, July 26
8:30 -
8:50 am
— coffee, pastries
8:50 -
9:15 am

Institute Overview
Jean Spencer, CLAS

9:15 -
10:30 am

Black Rain: Veracruz 1900-1938
Myrna Santiago, Associate Professor of History, Director of the Women’s Studies Program, St. Mary’s College

Veracruz, Mexico’s first oil-producing state, set the pattern for oil exploitation in the rest of the country. Professor Santiago will discuss the social and environmental effects of oil production in northern Veracruz during the early 20th century when the industry was owned by American and European companies.

Santiago, Myrna. 2007. “Black Rain: Veracruz 1900–1938.” Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, Spring.

10:30 -
10:45 am
10:45 -
12:00 pm

The Bilateral Perils of Oil: Mexico, the U.S. and Energy
Alex Saragoza, Associate Professor of History, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

With the future of its major oil field, Cantarell, in doubt, Mexico is under increasing pressure to privatize its oil industry, a move that would have enormous consequences both domestically and internationally. For the U.S., the stakes are high, given Mexico’s importance to American oil supplies. This talk will examine the historic role of oil in Mexico–U.S. relations and its effect on Mexico’s economy, politics and environment.

Collier, Robert. 2006. “Mexico’s oil bonanza starts to dry up.” SFGate, 30 June.
Malkin, Elizabeth. 2007. “Output falling i
n oil-rich Mexico, and politics gets the blame.” International Herald Tribune, 9 March.
Martínez Laguna, Norma. 2004. “Oil policies and privatization strategies in Mexico.” Energy Policy, 32: 2035–47.

12:00 -
12:45 pm
Lunch provided by CLAS
12:45 -
1:45 pm

Blessing or Curse? Oil and Policy in Modern Venezuela
Julian Foley, reporter, Courthouse News Service

Called alternately “black gold” and “the devil’s excrement,” oil has proved both boon and bane for countries lucky (or unlucky) enough to have it. In this session, we will focus on Venezuela, examining Hugo Chavez’s government and the current boom mentality against the backdrop of previous oil windfalls and their lasting effects on the country’s institutions, society and economy.

Rodriguez, Olga R. 2003. “Venezuela: The Paradox of Plenty.” Center for Latin American Studies.

1:45 -
2:00 pm
2:00 -
3:30 pm

Film: "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash"
- Web site for the film

Hirsch, Robert L. 2005. “The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production.” Atlantic Council Bulletin 16, no. 3.
Howden, Daniel. 2007. “World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected, warn scientists.” The Independent, 14 June.

Friday, July 27
9:00 -
10:15 am

Empire on Trial: Shaping Legal Process Through Transnational Activism
Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UC Davis

In 1993, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Texaco Inc. in the New York federal court on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorian citizens. The plaintiffs sought reparations for alleged health problems and environmental degradation resulting from over 25 years of Texaco’s petroleum activity in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Nearly ten years later, the lawsuit was transferred to Ecuador, where the trial began. Prof. Sawyer will discuss the events that have sustained the case over a 13-year period and how the legal process in the U.S. and Ecuador has been shaped by transnational activism.

Langewiesche, William. 2007. Jungle Law: Politics and Power. Vanity Fair, May.

10:15 -


10:30 -
11:30 am

Brazil: The Saudi Arabia of Biofuels?
Richard Plevin, doctoral student, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley

Download a pdf of Mr. Plevin's presentation

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva says he wants Brazil to become the Saudi Arabia of biofuels, but what will that mean for the environment and the landless poor? In this session we will explore Brazil’s place in the global petroleum and biofuels markets as well as the effect of climate regulations and import tariffs on Brazil’s access to U.S. markets.

Rohter, Larry. 2006. “With Big Boost From Sugar Cane, Brazil Is Satisfying Its Fuel Needs.” New York Times, April 10.

11:30 -
11:45 am


11:45 -
12:45 pm

Film: "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil"
- Web site for the film

12:45 -
1:45 pm
Lunch (provided by CLAS)
1:45 -
3:00 pm

President Arias Aims for Carbon Neutrality
Bob Epstein, entrepreneur, engineer and co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)

Download a pdf of Mr. Epstein's presentation

On June 7, Óscar Arias, President of Costa Rica, announced his goal to make the country carbon neutral by 2021. An NRDC/E2 delegation arrived in Costa Rica on June 19 for a series of meetings with the president, high-ranking government officials and industry representatives to discuss how Costa Rica could achieve these reductions and become a model for the rest of the world. Mr. Epstein will discuss the situation in Costa Rica and analyze how it compares to the U.S. and how the two countries can help one another.

Environmental Entrepreneurs. 2007. “President Aims for Carbon Neutrality.”

3:00 -
3:30 pm

Back to "From Crude to Cane" homepage

Other Outreach Events

2004 Summer Institute for Teachers

"The Making of Modern Cuba"

2003 Summer Institute for Teachers

"Ten Years After NAFTA: How Has Globalization Affected Mexico?"

2002 Summer Institute for Teachers

"Mexico in the 20th Century:
Themes of the History Curriculum








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