Columns

August 5, 2011
Latino households in the United States experienced a record decline in wealth in 2005-2009. It looks like U.S. immigration and border enforcement is significantly to blame.
August 5, 2011
Last week, after a wave of popular protests, the Salvadoran legislative assembly voted to repeal controversial Decree 743 which required the country’s highest judicial body to  reach decisions by unanimous consent. The action ended two months of political turmoil, averted a constitutional crisis, and represents a victory for civil society that strengthens the role of democratic institutions in El Salvador.
August 4, 2011
Over the past two weeks, U.S. media airways have been dominated by the sad spectacle of elected representatives’ refusal to govern, their repudiation of even the pretense of trying to seek agreement on issues of grave importance to people living in the country and many more affected by their actions around the world. However, despite unprecedented levels of acrimony, open hostility, and free-flowing expressions of contempt, one issue seems to continue to galvanize widespread support: the drug war.
August 3, 2011
A lot of media attention has been given to the Arizona state government's latest anti-immigration ploy—to build its own border wall, in defiance of the federal government, on the boundary between the state and Mexico. Much less attention has been given to an emerging corporate-state nexus which is both obscured by, and a result of, this type of heated anti-immigrant rhetoric found in Arizona.
August 2, 2011
A week and a half ago, a group of activists and immigrants began a trek from various locations in Guatemala and Mexico’s southern border to Mexico City. Among them were anguished mothers and fathers carrying portraits of their missing sons and daughters. The mothers, in particular, looked, talked, and mourned like any other “mothers of the disappeared”—decades ago in Argentina and Chile; more recently in Guatemala and El Salvador—only this time their sons and daughters were not disappeared for being radical activists, but for being undocumented migrants trying to make their way northward.
August 1, 2011
During the 1980s, Colombian narcotraffickers fought ferociously against being extradited to the United States. But lately in an unprecedented shift, narcotraffickers are changing their attitudes, and courting extradition—the sooner the better.
July 29, 2011
Left-leaning president Ollanta Humala faces the formidable task of resolving a growing number of mining conflicts, especially in the Puno region where widespread protests shut down the economy last spring. While lame duck president Alan García made numerous concessions to the protesters, the conflicts are far from resolved and could become the defining challenge of the new administration.
July 28, 2011
President Reagan’s justification for siphoning money out of the collective effort and into the pockets of the wealthy remains in vogue today. If the government pursues tax cuts and subsidies for the rich, so the pitch goes, everyone will benefit.  The wealth at the top will eventually “trickle-down.” It is unclear how the new government of Peru will respond.  
July 27, 2011
A recent report reveals that large increases in the number of individuals deported for drunk driving, minor traffic violations, and violations of immigration law have played a significant role in fueling the dramatic rise in immigrant deportations from the United States over the last few years. In doing so, it illustrates the dangers of embracing the slippery slope of deportation and the immigration enforcement apparatus more broadly—an error committed by all-too-many advocates of comprehensive immigration reform.
July 26, 2011
One step forward: Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled on July 12 that members of the military could not be covered by military immunity (fuero) in cases involving the violation of civilian rights. The court ruled unanimously that military personnel accused of crimes against civilians must be tried by civilians, not by their fellow soldiers. The military, ruled the Court, must be held accountable to civilian authority.
July 25, 2011
Last week, in perhaps the largest recent strike in Colombia, 10,000 workers walked out of several multinational oil companies in the Department of Meta. The strikes came in response to recent layoffs and the dismal working conditions in Meta, which over the last few years has become the epicenter of the country’s oil production.
July 24, 2011
In the most recent issue of NACLA, anthropologist Howard Campbell examines how Ciudad Juárez became the world’s most violent city after Mexican President Felipe Calderón deployed thousands of soldiers and federal police to fight the cartels. Campbell, a professor at the University of Texas-El Paso spoke with NACLA to further explain the political, social, and economic forces that led to this hyper-violence in Mexico.
July 22, 2011
On July 26, 1953 Fidel Castro led an assault on the Moncada Barracks in Cuba, launching a popular movement that would topple the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. This week, NACLA spoke with Ike Nahem, one of the coordinators of the July 26 Coalition, to discuss the significance of the anniversary, and its relevance to American activists in the United States.  
July 22, 2011
San Salvador polls show a sharp drop in President Mauricio Funes’s approval ratings over the past several months. But on a recent visit to San José Las Flores in Chalatenango, members of the Cambridge, MA Sister City delegation were impressed by the strong support Funes continues to receive in the countryside, and the visible accomplishments of the government’s new initiatives in health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure development.
July 21, 2011
On July 20, a caravan of over 100 people crossed the U.S.-Mexican border, carrying 100 tons of humanitarian aid on its way to Cuba. This is the 22nd aid caravan to Cuba organized by the interreligious organization Pastors for Peace, which brings humanitarian aid to Cuba each year in defiance of the U.S. economic embargo and travel ban.
July 20, 2011
This NACLA audio interview with the Center for Biological Diversity looks at the myriad environmental and Native American heritage laws that the Department of Homeland Security waived in 2008 to construct 470 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. While environmental groups and Native Americans say that waiving these laws has done tremendous damage to ecological and human communities along the border, this law-waiving-fervor has gone in vogue in some sectors in Washington, all in the name of "securing our borders."
July 19, 2011
Mexico’s Secretary of the Treasury, Ernesto Cordero, recently provoked some outrage when he announced that Mexico “was no longer a poor country.” Mexico, he tweeted to the press, echoing the line of the ruling National Action Party (PAN), “is now a middle income country.”
July 18, 2011
Colombia cultivated a special relationship with the Israeli military during the 2000s, increasing the intervention of foreign forces in its internal conflict. Now, the Israeli government is attempting to cash in by enlisting Colombia’s UN vote against Palestinian statehood in September.
July 15, 2011
A musical tribute to Facundo Cabral, Argentinian political protest singer, songwriter, and novelist assassinated in Guatemala last week, composed and sung by Chilean-American folksinger Sergio Reyes.
July 14, 2011
The struggle over the reach of international drug control continues. Having failed in an earlier attempt to amend the primary international drug control treaty to protect traditional uses of the coca leaf by indigenous communities in the Andes, Bolivia has declared it will withdraw from the treaty so that it can rejoin to it with reservations. This attempt to expand the circle of people who can legitimately make use of coca leaves—and the hostile reaction to it—provides insight into the economic and political interests that dictate the terms of drug control.
July 13, 2011
Recent reports indicate that the number of Mexican migrants entering the United States outside of authorized channels has declined markedly over the last several years. The question is, why? Among other matters, the answers point to the necessity of achieving livelihoods of dignity and socio-economic security in migrant-sending areas so as to allow the people who live there the option--indeed the right--to stay home.
July 12, 2011
“The roots of the War on Drugs go deep in Mexico. In fact, in some ways, they are deeper there than in the United States,” explains historian Isaac Campos in the most recent issue of NACLA. In order to better understand the forces behind drug prohibition in Mexico, NACLA spoke with Campos, who discussed his NACLA article, his forthcoming book, and his experience covering marijuana, prohibition, and drug culture in Mexico and the United States.
July 12, 2011
“For some,” writes Javier Sicilia, responding to critics within his own fledgling movement, “to dialogue is to capitulate.” If you haven’t humiliated your adversary, you have failed. But to change the dynamic of the violence that has beset the country over, especially, the past five years, he argues, it is necessary to change the discourse of violence. “Since March 28,” he writes, “when the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity began its work, there began a change in the language of war and pain.”
July 11, 2011
In Colombia the hyper security state is committed to continuing its war in spite of several recent good will gestures by the insurgency. Instead, the Santos government is still following the U.S.-Israeli designed military strategy of “high value targets” (HVTs). In other words, to assassinate the insurgency’s leadership and mid-level commanders in order to disrupt their command and control the structure of the organization.
July 8, 2011
President Mauricio Funes reaffirmed last week that no mining projects will be permitted in El Salvador during his presidency, and condemned the recent murders of anti-mining activists.  But anti-mining organizations want a permanent legal ban on mining activity, and are critical of the government’s ongoing study to evaluate the costs and benefits of mining. At a recent meeting with international solidarity activists, Environmental Minister Herman Rosa Chávez offered insight into the government’s position.

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