Columns

March 7, 2012
On February 26, I was driving with a friend in an isolated region of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico when we saw a military tank positioned to be pointed toward the south. A lot has been said, written, and documented about the  degree and ongoing process of border militarization, but I had never seen anything like this. This wasn't any old tank, it was a Stryker—used extensively in both Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. military.
March 6, 2012
It is a sad truth that the structure of the Mexican economy in the early twenty-first century requires that poor citizens who seek work north of the border do so in sectors of the U.S. economy that provide sub-minimum wages, horrendous working conditions and unscrupulous employer practices. 
March 2, 2012
The general assembly of the Bolivian Workers Central (COB) has declared its support for the upcoming march to defend the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS), contradicting the executive committee's position announced just last week. The dispute highlights how growing internal divisions within the COB have been intensified by the TIPNIS conflict.
March 1, 2012
The prosecutors in the trial of Christopher "Dudus" Coke have asked for a 23-year sentence, to stop the Jamaican criminal kingpin from resuming his criminal activities upon his release from prison. What this saga has shown is that in many ways Coke was indeed more powerful than Jamaican prime minister Bruce Golding.
March 1, 2012
A week after the scandal broke around Arizona sheriff Paul Babeu's threat to deport his ex-lover, Mexican Jose Orozco, I traveled to Pinal county to a community meeting where the sheriff was recruiting a volunteer armed posse for law-enforcement duties. It was here I caught whiff of the real scandal, the one that is pervading Arizona and, in many ways, the entire United States.
February 27, 2012
President Felipe Calderón wishes Hugo Chávez a full and speedy recovery from cancer surgery, pays homage to Chávez’s hero Simón Bolívar, flirts with Chávez’s Bolivarian movement, and welcomes the CIA, DEA and other U.S. intelligence agencies into Mexico. Is the president guilty of a fraudulent double discourse, or is he maintaining a skillful balancing act? 
February 27, 2012
The United States is changing its "high value target" military strategy against the FARC in Colombia to focus on mid-level commanders and units that are critical to the organization's financial support. 
February 24, 2012
Lowland indigenous leaders say that the vast majority of their communities reject the Bolivian government’s proposed highway through the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). So why do these communities oppose the "prior, free, and informed" consultation process to be carried out by the government, which should allow their views to prevail?
February 23, 2012
Two years after Haiti's devastating earthquake, the failed reconstruction has shown that a great deal of the international community’s optimism, which emerged after the earthquake, was simply talk. Outside of a determined group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, the majority of international efforts in Haiti are shameful.
February 21, 2012
As we have written here before, it is not likely that the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity (MPJD), the small but persistent pacifist movement organized by the Mexican poet, essayist and nonviolent activist, Javier Sicilia, will bring a genuine internal peace to Mexico any time soon, but its growing visibility and its persistence in the face of threats and smug dismissals from all sides is encouraging. 
February 20, 2012
President Juan Manuel Santos is on a collision course with a growing faction of powerful economic groups that oppose the land restitution Law 1448. The outcome of this dispute will show whether Colombia's democracy could stand up to the influence of the richest classes.   
February 19, 2012
A recent tragedy in the waters separating the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico led to dozens of migrant fatalities. In comparison to the intense reporting on the sinking of the luxury cruise ship, Costa Concordia, off of Italy's coast in January, media coverage of the deaths of Dominican migrants was poor at best. The disparity exemplifies who counts and who doesn't in a world of great inequality.
February 17, 2012
The new law requiring the Bolivian government to consult with indigenous groups in the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS) about the proposed highway that would bisect the reserve has revived a nagging question: why are alternative routes for the road not being considered?
February 15, 2012
The weekend of February 4th and 5th saw the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) convene their 11th summit in Caracas, Venezuela. The summit contained the standard denunciations of American imperialism and the need for deeper economic integration – but surprisingly ended with St. Lucia and Suriname expressing their desire for full membership in the organization, with Haiti also joining ranks as a permanent observer.
February 15, 2012
Customs and Border Protection can transport the intense U.S.-Mexico border surveillance and security apparatus to anywhere in the country, including the Super Bowl. As with the border, this comes accompanied with an ever-tightening and strict enforcement web, that reverberates well past the actual boundary into the surrounding area.
February 13, 2012
"In Mexico we have the case of Monterrey, a wealthy, dynamic northern city that is supposed to be an example for the rest of the country to follow..... But when we arrived in Monterrey we found a destroyed city. We found a city with no social fabric; a city built on an economic paradigm of competition, on the legal form of criminality, because competition is another form of violence."
February 12, 2012
Last Saturday Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos celebrated a media blitz in Necocli, Antioquia, when he launched his plan to return some of the lands that were forcefully taken from millions of peasants over the course of the last twenty years. The question is: Can this government withstand the resistance of the formidable forces that benefited from this land grab?
February 10, 2012
On February 9, Bolivia’s Plurinational Assembly passed a controversial new law mandating a consultation process for indigenous communities in the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), to redetermine the fate of a government-proposed highway that would bisect the reserve. The next chapter of the TIPNIS conflict is likely to be more contentious than ever.
February 8, 2012
The recent announcement that former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier will stand trial for corruption charges related to his embezzling of millions of dollars, but not for his role in the murder, disappearance and torture of thousands during his presidency has sparked outrage throughout Haiti and from human rights advocates across the world.
February 8, 2012
In the United States, at least 5000 children are abandoned and left in state foster care, or in the care of extended family, when birth parents are arrested and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Many parents are deported with their children having little hope of ever reuniting with them again. On this day, we’ve been cleared to visit with a couple of mothers from Mexico.
February 7, 2012
Reactionary forces in Colombia are challenging President Juan Manuel Santos's plans to implement Law 1448, which calls for land restitution to the victims of Colombia's conflict. The Colombian Banana Growers Association (AUGURA) warns against possible violence that could be unleashed by Santos's demonstration in Necocli, Antioquia, this upcoming Saturday.
February 3, 2012
Bolivia’s controversy over the recently-cancelled TIPNIS highway intensified this week, as the CONISUR counter-march arrived to La Paz. The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government renewed its campaign for a formal consulta process to redetermine the fate of the road, fanning the flames of popular discontent and conflict between indigenous sectors.
February 1, 2012
Canadian Forces have participated in numerous counter-narcotics missions in the Caribbean basin as part of the wider U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South. The missions, in combination with the opening of a Canadian military base in Jamaica, raise serious questions about the wider militarization of Canadian relations with the Caribbean.
February 1, 2012
The Obama administration is allowing Department of Homeland Security prosecutors to drop low-priority deportation cases, thus allowing some would-be deportees to remain in the United States for now. At the same time, the Border Patrol is implementing a new national strategy, one involving ever-more punitive measures aimed at making the lives of unauthorized migrants more miserable.
January 30, 2012
A few days ago, I had a wide-ranging talk with Javier Sicilia, the founder of the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity. Since its inception last March, following the murder of Sicilia’s son, the group has campaigned against the spreading violence in Mexico, and more specifically against the militarization of Mexico’s Drug War and what Sicilia sees as the concurrent militarization of Mexican society. 

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