Articles by: Simón Farabundo Ríos

March 9, 2009

A huge dam complex on the Amazon's Madeira River pits the imperatives of economic growth and integration in South America against the conservation of an environmentally sensitive area. Environmental conflicts such as the one underway on the Madeira will become increasingly common in South America as the initiative for the Integration of South American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA) – of which the Madeira Complex is a part – reaches ever-widening implementation.

December 2, 2008

The Brazilian capital's booming real estate industry and its allies in the local government are scheming to takeover the Bananal, a ranch-turned-sanctuary for indigenous groups living in the city's periphery. Real estate speculators want to pave over the Bananal and build a luxurious development complex to accommodate Brasília's richest residents. With police raids and court rulings against them, the indigenous groups have been left with few options.

September 15, 2008

In the northwestern sierra of Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, a cowboys and Indians saga of the twenty-first century is coming to a head. The conflict pits wealthy cattle ranchers (hacendados) and coal barons against the Yukpa, Barí, and Wayuú indigenous nations in the renegade state of Zulia. Although Chávez has expressed support for the indigenous, other members of his administration have sent mixed signals. Meanwhile, violence continues to escalate as armed vigilantes terrorize the indigenous activists.