Volume 12, Issue 2 (Fall 2007)

This volume contains three articles and two comments on current international and comparative law issues. Available online at HeinOnline, Westlaw, or LexisNexis.

Reflections on Brazilian Constitutionalism. 12 UCLA J. Int’l L. & For. Aff. 181.

Joaquim Barbosa is a Supreme Court Justice in Brazil. The following speech was presented at the UCLA School of Law on January 16, 2007. It begins by addressing Brazilian Constitutionalism and history. It then focuses on the development of Brazil’s judiciary and its unique role as a political, rather than strictly judicial, part of the Brazilian government. It compares and contrasts the traditional use of the diffuse model of judicial review in Brazil with the increasing use of abstract review. It concludes by providing examples of recent cases that highlight the Brazilian judiciary’s active role as a political participant in Brazilian governance.

Harming Human Rights in the Name of Promoting Them: the Case of the Cuban Embargo. 12 UCLA J. Int’l L. & For. Aff. 199.

This article details the history of the Cuban embargo, tracing its evolution as a tool of retaliation for the seizure of American property, as a weapon in the Cold War against the Soviet Union and its Cuban allies, and finally as an instrument of American policy for the promotion of democracy and hu- man rights. The article then examines the actual impact of the embargo on human rights in Cuba today and highlights the contradiction between the embargo’s avowed political purpose and legal rationale-the promotion of human rights-and its actual consequences, which are harmful to human rights generally. The article suggests that, by harming Cubans’ economic, social, educational, cultural, and family rights, the embargo violates basic norms widely recognized by the civilized world. Furthermore, this article argues that when powerful countries impose economic sanctions in the name of promoting human rights, the sanctioning countries have a special legal and moral obligation to insure that such sanctions are discriminate, do not harm significant humanitarian interests, and do not cause extensive harm to the human rights of innocent people in the target country. Finally, this article details the results of a survey of a sample of Cubans, finding that the vast majority opposes the embargo. The conclusion argues that the U.S. should take the views of Cubans into account in designing its foreign policy toward the island in order to be truly democratic and protective of Cubans’ human rights.

Wal-Mart is Coming, But It’s Not All Bad: Wal- Mart and Labor Rights in its International Subsidiaries. 12 UCLA J. Int’l L. & For. Aff. 275.

This article uses Wal-Mart as a case study to examine the entry of multinational corporations into foreign markets, and the effect it has on foreign and domestic labor laws and organizations. It begins by examining Wal-Mart’s routinely criticized labor practices within the United States, its country of origin. It contrasts this with Wal-Mart’s entry into foreign markets, where Wal-Mart seems to be more respectful and compliant of labor laws and organizations. This seeming paradox is then examined in detail, explaining why Wal-Mart does not export its labor practices within the United States, but instead tends to comply with the local labor regulations of foreign countries in which it operates. It concludes by suggesting that Wal-Mart’s expansion into foreign countries, while controversial, may not be a bad thing for domestic labor unions, suggesting that as Wal-Mart expands and com- plies with labor practices abroad, it might in turn improve Wal-Mart’s labor practices within the United States.

COMMENT: Should the Threat of a Terrorist Attack on a Nuclear Power Plant Be Considered Under NEPA Review? 12 UCLA J. Int’l L. & For. Aff. 333.

This comment evaluates the potential of a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility within the United States. It discusses why this threat should be considered a real one. It begins by discussing the characteristics of nuclear power plants and their vulnerabilities. It then discusses how and why this threat should be considered under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA “), so that we are better prepared to deal with this very real possibility. The comment will conclude by discussing and analyzing the legislative, judicial and administrative decisions relating to this matter.

COMMENT: Welcoming All to a Table of Plenty: The Free Trade Area and the Bolivarian Alternative as Competing Means of Economic Integration in the Americas. 12 UCLA J. Int’l L. & For. Aff. 359.

This comment deals with efforts at economically integrating the Americas. It begins by detailing the historical development of free trade in the Americas, and then places these developments in the context of international law and economic integration norms. After examining and exploring the two most comprehensive proposals for international economic integration in the Americas – the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas – it concludes that both are individually inadequate. It concludes that combining the social welfare goals of the Bolivarian Alternative with the open market and tariff reductions promised by the FTAA would be the best hope for economic integration across the Americas.

Available online at HeinOnline, Westlaw, or LexisNexis.

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