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  • Published: 16 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781612199351
  • Imprint: Melville House
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $44.99
Categories:

Gold, Oil and Avocados

A Recent History of Latin America in Sixteen Commodities



The past decade has seen major political upheaval in Latin America--from Brazil to Chile to Venezuela to Bolivia--but to understand what happened, ask first where your quinoa and lithium batteries came from...

The 21st century began optimistically in Latin America. Left-leaning leaders armed with programs to reduce poverty and reclaim national wealth were seeing results—but as the aughts gave way to the teens, they began to fall like dominos. Where did the dreams of this "pink tide" go? Look no further than the original culprits of Latin American disenfranchisement: resource-rich land and unscrupulous extraction.

Recounting the story commodity by commodity, Andy Robinson reveals what oxen have to do with the rise of Jair Bolsonaro, how quinoa explains the mob that descended on Evo Morales, and why oil is the culprit behind the protracted coup in Venezuela. In addition to the usual suspects like gold and bananas which underscored the original plunder of the Americas, Robinson also shows how a new generation of valuable resources—like coltan for smartphones, lithium for electric cars, and niobium for SpaceX rockets—have become important players in the fate of Latin America. And as the energy transition sets mineral prices soaring, Latin America remains at the mercy of the rollercoaster of commodity prices.

In Gold, Oil, and Avocados, Robinson takes readers from the salt plains of Chile to the depths of the Amazonian jungle to stitch together the story of Latin America's last decade, showing how the imperial plunder of the past carries on today under a new name.

  • Published: 16 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781612199351
  • Imprint: Melville House
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $44.99
Categories:

Praise for Gold, Oil and Avocados

"[Gold, Oil, and Avocados] shows to what extent the struggles for land and raw materials—in which governments, local mafias and multinational corporations are active—explain the recent coups, civil revolts and the environmental crisis in Latin America. [...] Who will pocket the lion's share of the business in these consumer goods? Galeano asked this question fifty years ago. Robinson's new book answers: Corporations based in New York, Zurich or Shenzhen. The veins remain open." Frankfurter Algemeiner Zeitung "A chilling book in which Robinson details the new treasures of Latin America and how they help explain the latest coups d’etat, citizens rebellions and environmental crises" —Irene Hernández Velasco, BBC Mundo "Robinson’s travels reveal the 'new open veins' described by Eduardo Gaelano now in the language of narrative journalism." —Newsweek Mexico  

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