March 20, 2012
As Mexico’s presidential campaign moves into high gear, the left-of-center candidate for the presidency, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sketched a plan to combat the country’s high levels of violent crime by gradually removing the out-of-place military from the streets and replacing it with a professional force that would be drawn from the citizenry.
March 15, 2012
A tribute to Domitila Barrios de Chungara, long-time Bolivian social activist, feminist, and mine union leader whose 1978 hunger strike is credited with bringing down the dictatorship and changing the course of Bolivian history.
March 15, 2012
Canadian banks operating in the Caribbean are nothing new; the Royal Bank of Canada proudly claims that it had branches in the Caribbean before it had opened any in Western Canada. This pattern of foreign economic domination in the Caribbean has resulted in dangerously high levels of dependency, undermining local attempts to bring forth greater self-sufficiency and control over major industries.
March 15, 2012
On a visit to Mexico last month Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she greatly admired President Felipe Calderón for the offensive he had unleashed against organized crime, and was proud of its results. On the other hand, the consulting firm Strategic Forecast, Inc. (Stratfor) issued an alert last week, warning that spring-breaking U.S. college kids faced risks in virtually all the Mexican hotspots typically visited over their spring vacations.
March 14, 2012
After more than four years of asking the supermarket chain Publix to sit at the table and negotiate a Fair Food Agreement, from March 5-10 Coalition of Immokalee Workers did a five-day fast to put the pressure on Florida's richest corporation. This video captures the fifth day of this fast.
March 8, 2012
The killing of 21 people—including a 13-year-old girl and an elderly man—by the Jamaican police in the past six days has highlighted the systemic problem the country is having with controlling the inappropriate use of deadly force.
March 8, 2012
The FARC is taking the political initiative and increasing the pressure on the government of Juan Manuel Santos to initiate peace talks. It remains unclear, however, if Santos will engage the FARC and seek a peaceful end to hostilities before the 2014 presidential election.
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.