On March 22, the global day of water, thousands participated in the Plurinational March for Water, Life, and Dignity to protest the Ecuadorian government’s promotion of large-scale mining—Correa’s government is the first to open up the country to large-scale mining.
Communities that suffered through the civil wars of the 1980s and 1990s are once again faced with violence as they defend their land against international interests. This article was published in the Spring 2012 issue of the NACLA Report on the Americas, "Central America: Legacies of War."
William Brownfield, U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), toured Central America last week to quell the growing opposition to U.S. drug war policies that have failed to reduce demand for drugs in the United States or disrupt supply routes from producer countries.
Even to many who paid attention to the rest of Latin America, Central America was terra incognita into the 1970s. I distinctly remember one night in the late 1970s when I pulled out the atlas and located the Central American countries in the very small area that they occupied on the continental map. This was the beginning of my intense engagement with Central America, and there was much more to learn.
Thirty years ago, today, on March 23, 1982, Guatemalan general Efraín Ríos Montt overthrew President Romeo Lucas García. The new military junta suspended the Constitution, closed the legislature, and installed one of the bloodiest military regimes in Guatemalan history. Three decades later, for the first issue of our 45th anniversary volume, we look to the legacies of war in Central America.
Over the weekend of February 18 and 19, in Tocoa, Honduras, more than 1,400 campesinos, indigenous people and their allies met to continue their fight against repression. Activists organized the international gathering in solidarity with Honduras to expose the rampant violations of human rights and the systematic killing of campesinos.
The complexities of the armed conflict in Colombia's drug-producing region of Catatumbo are set to garner greater attention from both the Colombian military and the media. This is underscored by the fact that in addition to the presence of the EPL, FARC, and ELN guerrilla forces, the region is also host to the neo-paramilitary organizations Los Rastrojos and Los Urabeños.
On December 9, Santos decreed Law 4635, ostensibly creating the means for the Colombian government to compensate and assist Afro-Colombian victims that have been kicked off their land. However Santos failed to consult Afro-Colombians prior to the decree—a right protected in the constitution. Without such consultation this is just another piece of legislation that has made a mockery of the rights of Afro-descendants.
Protestors in Cajamarca, Peru, are anxiously awaiting a ruling by the Peruvian constitutional court. The court is expected to decide this week if the Cajamarca regional council overstepped its constitutional authority when it unanimously approved a law on December 28 banning the construction of the new multibillion-dollar Minas Conga gold and copper mine.
On Monday morning, crowds gathered in the community of El Mozote to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accords that ended El Salvador´s 12-year-long civil war. At the solemn event, El Salvador’s first leftist president, Mauricio Funes, apologized for the state role in the 1981 El Mozote massacre and announced reparations for the victims and their families.