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St. Thomas Law Review

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This piece reflects upon the significant role of Latin civil society organizations (“CSOs”) not only in that region’s political, social and economic development, but also in the historical trajectory of the U.S. It also questions why there are so few Latino and Latina leaders in transnational CSOs and in the so-called “global civil society” movement (“GCS”), particularly in the movement to resist the predatory effects of globalization. Consider, for example, the citizen-led groups in Latin America such as the cocaleros and campesinos who fought the Bolivian Water and Gas Wars and then elected cocalero Juan Evo Morales Ayma as that the country's first indigenous head of state in 2005 and the broad-based coalition that lead Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to victory in the Brazilian presidential elections in 2002 and 2006. Groups such as these have been instrumental in effecting monumental political and social changes in their home countries. Why then have Latins not gained more prominence within GCS networks? As the author explains, what she discovered might cause a less sanguine person to sink into a pit of despair, so this Essay also could accurately have been called, Why Dreams Die: The Soul-Crushing Disillusionment of a Naïve Optimist. Yet, in a stunning display of the power of positive thinking and of faith in the influence of the academy, the author concludes on a positive note.

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