Articles by: Christy Thornton
In a 1998 commencement speech at Texas A&M University, Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, an alumnus of the school and then the vice president of Bolivia under the former dictator General Hugo Banzer, told the graduates, “I can tell you that [George H.W. Bush] was the best U.S. president Bolivia has ever had.” Looking forward to another Bush presidency, he added: “As Bolivian vice president, I cannot make predictions on the U.S. 2000 presidential race. As an Aggie I am truly concerned. I don’t think we can accommodate two George Bush Presidential Libraries on campus, but I sure think we can try.”
With an increasing number of presidential primaries occurring around the country in the very early part of 2008, those of us concerned with Latin America are forced into an earlier-than-ever examination of the candidates’ stances on foreign policy. Though we might have expected that Latin America would be overshadowed entirely by the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or emerge only in the context of immigration, hemispheric relations have come up surprisingly often in early campaigning. So what do the candidates talk about when they discuss Latin America? In a word, Chávez.
Since the mid-1970s this country has seen the spectacular growth of what is increasingly coming to be called the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC)—a sprawling constellation of private foundations, service organizations, charities, and institutionalized movement groups operating under 501(c)(3), a somewhat arcane IRS provision that exempts recognized organizations from paying income tax.
In early January, the Independent Press Association, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, quietly announced via e-mail to its members that it was ceasing operations, effective immediately. The news had already broken on the Internet, thanks to a former IPA staffer, but it would take a week before everyone confirmed the rumor that was circulating in independent publishing and media activism circles: The IPA was dead.