Captain Pantoja and the Special Service by Mario Vargas Llosa

By Mario Vargas Llosa

This pleasant farce opens because the prim and correct Captain Pantoja learns he's to be despatched to Peru’s Amazon frontier on a mystery undertaking for the army—to offer women for the amorous recruits. Side-splitting problems come up as international of Captain Pantoja's amazing achievements begin to unfold.

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Similarly, Chile had a near monopoly on the mineral production of nitrates, which allowed the state to tax exports without losing its market share. In contrast, R´ıo de la Plata was simply another entrant in the competitive world cattle market, and exporters were price-takers. Most tropical products faced competitive international markets, like cotton (Brazil and Mexico) and tobacco (Cuba). However, sugar cane offers a special tropical product case: not only did it compete with other tropical regions, but it also had to compete with the European beet root production, a situation that provoked a secular decline in the terms of trade facing northeast Brazil and Cuba.

Thus, the tropical regions eased labor scarcity by importing African slaves from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. After suppression of the slave trade in the 1840s and eventual abolition of slavery, some countries turned to low-wage Asian workers under labor contracts, often working under conditions of limited personal freedom. Tropical products were produced by low-wage tropical regions throughout the world. 3 shows that 47 percent came from lowwage tropical Latin America and 70 percent from the low-wage tropical world more generally.

The independence wars (in which Argentine armies invaded Bolivia and Chile), international conflicts, and blockades that followed all served to push tariff rates upward. Colombia offers another good example, where internal military conflicts occurred one fifth of the time between 1820 and 1879. Colombia initially adopted a moderate tariff regime with duties set at their colonial levels of approximately 20 percent. Tariff rates oscillated higher thereafter, rising sharply when trade revenues fell off in 1830–3 and again in 1847, each time followed by modest declines.

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