Columns

June 4, 2012
Activists protested outside a May 7 event held by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute to celebrate illegitimate Honduran leader Porfirio Lobo. As a result, EFE, a major Spanish news agency, filed a story on the gala with the headline (translated from Spanish): “Lobo seeks greater backing in the U.S., while activists organize protest.”
May 31, 2012
This week, more than 50 women and men will trek through 75 miles of ocotillo and saguaro cactus along the dry, desolate plains of the Sonoran Desert. But, as this video by Jake Ratner and Elena Stein shows, what they walk to witness is far from natural.
May 31, 2012
Price wars between supermarkets seeking to gain the lowest possible cost of bananas has led to a race to the bottom which has no winners other than the large retailers and multinational corporations. The fundamental need for competitiveness overrides any moral incentive on the parts of the corporations.
May 29, 2012
On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, the U.S. government condemned a litany of countries for the dangerous conditions in which journalists work. But Honduras was noticeably excluded from any official scrutiny. It seems safe to conclude that World Press Freedom Day is little more than a parade of double standards set by the United States, with media outlets serving as willing abettors.
May 29, 2012
Narco violence gets most of the headlines in Mexico, but state violence continues to be just as deadly, and the high degree of criminal infiltration into the institutions of the Mexican state sometimes makes it difficult to tell the difference. The recent murders of a courageous investigative reporter and an outspoken sociology professor drive home this difficulty.
May 29, 2012
Considering that the human toll now tops 50,000 fatalities, Mexico's War on Drugs could more accurately be described as a civil war. Nor is it an accident that Colombia’s new Patriotic March in Colombia echoes the voice of the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity in Mexico, identifying peace and social justice as the only rational approach to settling its own civil war.
May 24, 2012
This collection of photographs, taken on the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Texas, depicts the story of an often silent and often deadly war. The photo essay is in memory of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez who lost his life to this war in the Arizona desert in early May, trying to reunite with his family in California after his deportation in March.
May 24, 2012
It's obvious that the U.S. government has set the agenda for The New York Times’ coverage of Honduras. As a likely result of the State Department’s relative silence on the ongoing human rights crisis in that country, The Times has deprived its readers of crucial news that could have provided some context for a recent U.S.-Honduras drug raid that likely killed innocent civilians.
May 24, 2012
The banana industry has long been famous for the power and influence multinational corporations yield upon governments. Despite bananas being grown in nearly all tropical regions, 70% of the global banana market is controlled by only three corporations—Del Monte, Dole, and Chiquita. This two-part article looks at the corporate influences behind the demise of the Caribbean banana trade.
May 23, 2012
The second indigenous march in defense of Bolivia’s Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS) is taking place in a changed political climate, featuring a more aggressive government strategy as well as a multitude of urban conflicts. Whether the success of the first march can be replicated under these conditions remains an open question.
May 21, 2012
Alejandro Solalinde is a Catholic priest who runs the Hermanos en el Camino shelter in southern Mexico for migrants who are crossing the country on their way to the United States. For his efforts he has received both plaudits and death threats. Last week, at the suggestion of Mexican Bishops, international human rights organizations, and many of his political supporters, he decided to leave the country for at least six weeks. 
May 15, 2012
In this first-hand account of a back-and-forth between a federal judge and a young shackled migrant is a vivid look into the Border Patrolization processes happening in the country that will be a significant part of the new 2012-16 strategy, revealed to the public on May 8 with great fanfare.      
May 14, 2012
Noriega’s buffoonish commentary in CNN would be more amusing if not for his hands-on experience in crafting devastating U.S. policies toward Latin America. Given his disturbing record, it is astonishing that CNN would produce a news piece on Venezuela through the lens of Noriega—a lobbyist with obvious conflicts of interest in Latin America.
May 11, 2012
As part of her election campaign, Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller announced her intention of breaking ties with the British monarchy and becoming an independent republic. While this is no doubt a long overdue and symbolic act, breaking ties with the real neocolonial power in Jamaica—the International Monetary Fund—should be a much higher priority.
May 10, 2012
On May 1, President Evo Morales seized control of Bolivia's electric grid from one Spanish company and inaugurated a $600 million gas processing plant with another. Two weeks earlier, he boosted incentives for crude oil production in Bolivia's "nationalized" oil and gas sector by 300%, demonstrating an increasingly pragmatic, investor-friendly approach to nationalization.
May 8, 2012
Mexico’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies unanimous approval of a law to alleviate the damage and suffering experienced by victims of state and criminal violence may turn out to be of enormous importance. It officially recognizes victims who have heretofore been seen simply as collateral damage in the war against illicit drugs, and official and organized crime. 
May 6, 2012
The birth of the Patriotic March movement in Colombia may usher in a new phase in the country's quest for peace and social justice. But can it harness the potential and push the country to a tipping point for peace?
May 4, 2012
The recent news out of Haiti is that Port au Prince is currently undergoing a building boom—but it’s not the much needed homes for the estimated half million internally displaced people, it’s due to upscale hotels being built to house foreign investors and aid workers.
May 3, 2012
As the presence of drone in the U.S. borderlands becomes more pronounced, important lessons are to be drawn—from abroad and within the United States—regarding potential dangers ahead. They highlight the need to vigorously contest the the Department of Homeland Security's use of remotely-piloted aircraft for purposes of policing the border region.
May 2, 2012
On April 19, The Washington Post’s editorial board published a cartoonishly hysterical rant titled “Argentina’s president rejects stepping into the future,” in reaction to the government’s re-nationalization of the Spanish-owned oil company, Repsol YPF.
May 1, 2012
In Mexico, it is not only Mexican institutions that play the impunity game. While it has become commonplace to argue that the most important U.S. export is “the rule of law,” U.S. institutions have played an important role in reinforcing a transnational culture of impunity. And Mexicans have been paying attention.
April 27, 2012
After a week fraught with tension, the second march to protest the Bolivian government’s proposed highway through the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS) is set to depart April 27 from the Amazonian department of Beni, headed towards the highland capital of La Paz. The march seeks to build an indigenous-urban alliance in broad defense of indigenous, environmental, and human rights.
April 25, 2012
April 18th marked the public release of the first batch of the secret colonial documents from the British government known as the "migrated archives."Interestingly, UCLA's Professor Robert Hill’s work with the migrated archives is not the first time that he has come across secret or forgotten documents related to his work in the Caribbean.
April 25, 2012
Video footage and eyewitness accounts demonstrating how U.S. federal agents brutally beat Anastasio Hernández Rojas, tased him five times, and ultimately killed him in May 2010—all while he lay on the ground with his arms handcuffed—are calling for accountability. 
April 24, 2012
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Colombia on Monday as part of a regional tour that includes Brazil and Chile. Panetta's visit came on the heels of Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak's trip to Colombia and may be planned to bless the growing Colombian-Israeli collaboration, which Colombia believes can help it position itself as a major exporter of security in the region.

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