Articles by: Paola Reyes
In December the DREAM Act failed to get the “super majority” of 60 votes required for closure in the U.S. Senate. It would have provided more than two million undocumented youth a legal pathway to obtain U.S. citizenship upon meeting eligibility requirements. Despite this, DREAMers (a term used to refer to those who would fall under the legislation) appear unrelenting in their determination to continue their struggle to push for the rights of immigrant youth.
The “rural city” of Nuevo Juan de Grijalva is part of a government project which claims that it will reduce poverty in the Mexican state of Chiapas by relocating impoverished rural communities into centralized cities built by the state government. However following an orthodox free market economic model promoted by the Mexican state under the Plan Puebla Panama, the Sustainable Rural Cities Project imposes a monoculture, agro-export model that undercuts the subsistence farming practiced by most of its residents. As farmers can no longer cultivate their land, unemployment has risen, and the costs of basic services have quadrupled since its 2008 inception, there has been a significant and building local resistance to the project.
There is a direct correlation between the more than $5 billion in military assistance the United States has given Colombia since 1999 and a dramatic spike of extrajudicial killings in the country, according to a report released on July 29 by the Fellowship on Reconciliation and the U.S. Office on Colombia. This not only flies in the face of U.S. officials who claim that Plan Colombia has been a complete success, but also the Leahy Law, a U.S. law that forbids providing funding to military units that are treated with impunity after committing abuses. The report states: “Our analysis strongly suggests that implementation of Leahy Law in Colombia requires suspension of assistance to nearly all Army fixed brigades and many mobile brigades."
Aggression against journalists in Mexico often gets lost in the murky impunity of the country’s violent drug war. However, a report by Mexican freedom-of-the-press organizations asserts that 65% of attacks on journalists have been not at the hands of drug cartels, but rather at the hands of the state. This interview is with independent journalist and writer Laura Castellanos. On May 10 still-unknown assailants ransacked her apartment, stealing only her laptop and reporter's pad, while leaving other items of value behind. Castellanos's experience is only one more incident in the recent surge of violence against journalists in Mexico, the most dangerous place for the profession in Latin America, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Monday, May 24 marked the sixth week of a student strike at the University of Puerto Rico after protests began on April 21. Students are protesting $100 million budget cuts, increases in tuition, and changes to the university program. The student strike was intended to be only a 48 hour stoppage, but university officials were unwilling to negotiate with students. Now, after six weeks, the strike continues amidst reports of police brutality. International support is increasing for the students, including from New Yorkers who held a rally on May 18.