Columns

December 21, 2012
Due to the decline of the traditional sugar and banana exporting industries, many cash strapped Caribbean islands have been resorting to an unusual and controversial method to raise revenue—selling citizenship. There is an ongoing debate about the transparency of such programs, and whether the economic benefits outweigh the potential costs.
December 17, 2012
On December 11, the United Nations announced a long overdue initiative to end the cholera epidemic which has devastated Haiti for more than two years—taking over 7,750 lives and infecting 600,000 more. While the announcement by the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is a welcome and much needed step, the ten-year plan is not without controversy.
December 13, 2012
Renowned linguist, political analyst, and activist Noam Chomsky offered his thoughts on the hemisphere and the role of the United States last month. Among his many observations, he considered Honduras as "a kind of a horror story," and Haiti "an NGO dependency."
December 13, 2012
The Bolivian government’s controversial consultation process in the TIPNIS indigenous territory has concluded. Were the results a triumph for participatory democracy, or a foregone conclusion from a government determined to build a highway through the national park?
December 4, 2012
Two recent cases from southern California provide insight into the identity of those who smuggle drugs across the international boundary between Mexico and the United States. More importantly they highlight how the ludicrous “war on drugs” produces casualties of many sorts.
November 30, 2012
The tradition of dual residency—between city and countryside, or across national borders—has long been an important survival strategy, and a source of solidarity, for indigenous communities. But in places like Oaxaca, Mexico and the Bolivian highlands, the practice is now becoming a source of conflict, pitting residents, communities, and social sectors against one another in new forms of economic and political competition.
November 26, 2012
This week a U.S. delegation is to meet with the Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón and the Minister of Foreign Affairs María Ángela Holguín. This is the most important U.S. delegation to visit Colombia since the inception of Plan Colombia in 2000 and demonstrates what is to come for Colombia within the U.S. regional security regime and global strategy.
November 22, 2012
“Make no mistake about it. Our region is in the throes of the greatest crisis since independence. The specter of evolving into failed societies is no longer a subject of imagination. How our societies crawl out of this vicious vortex of persistent low growth, crippling debt, huge fiscal deficits, and high unemployment is the single most important question facing us at this time.”
November 16, 2012
Bolivia's new Mother Earth law, enshrining the legal rights of nature, offers a potentially revolutionary tool for groups engaged in environmental conflicts. But critics say the law may help to legitimize the government's neo-extractivist economic model, under the guise of "integral development."
November 15, 2012
In a near unanimous vote at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the vast majority of the world voted to put an end the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. The last time the United States had normal relations with Cuba, the Andy Griffith Show was the most popular show on TV, African Americans couldn’t vote, McDonalds only had 228 locations, and Barack Obama would not be born for another year.
November 14, 2012
As talk of "comprehensive immigration reform" resurfaces, remembering Ronald Reagan—and the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)—reminds us just how radically the discussion surrounding immigration and boundary enforcement has shifted in a restrictionist direction in a short time. It also serves as a warning as to the potential pitfalls immigrant and border community advocates must avoid in the present day.
November 8, 2012
Early Wednesday morning the Caribbean breathed a sigh of relief with the re-election of Barack Obama. This relief was not due to any significant or meaningful policy implementations by the Obama adminstration during his first term but out of fear that Romney's election would have brought a more aggressive and antagonistic stance toward the region.
November 5, 2012
On November 2, high above Nogales, Sonora at the Colinas del Buen Pastor cemetery, Taide Elena placed two lit candles on the grave of her grandson, 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez. It was the Day of the Dead in Nogales, and a binational procession remembered his life and demanded justice after the Border Patrol shot and killed him on October 10.
November 5, 2012
The paradigm that has emerged during Chávez’s presidency is threatening to the dominant political discourse in the United States. So it’s not surprising to see the U.S. media’s hostile reactions to the politics of Venezuela, where citizens expect their votes to translate into genuine improvements in their daily lives—and politicians must deliver on those expectations.
November 3, 2012
The peace process in Colombia faces several challenges. One of which is a recalcitrant military institution preoccupied about its future—considering its dismal human rights record—if an accord is reached.
November 3, 2012
The two dozen island nations of the Caribbean, and the 40 million people who live there, are in a state of increased vulnerability to climate change. Higher temperatures, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity threaten lives, property, and livelihoods throughout the region.
November 1, 2012
On a particularly dark stretch on the two lane road that traverses the reservation, a group of men appear in the opposite lane in the headlights of our vehicle and are waving at us to stop. They are a group of people without papers from Chiapas—hungry, thirsty, and visibly injured—migrating north through the Tohono O'odham Nation. This Native American reservation is increasingly becoming ground zero for the Border Patrol on the Arizona-Mexico border.
November 1, 2012
Bolivia's successful return to the international credit markets highlights the positive results of President Evo Morales's economic pragmatism, as well as some ironic impacts of the global financial crisis.
October 30, 2012
Guest post by Alexandra Hall: Columbia University's Cabot prizes provided a one-sided view of the state of press freedom and media democracy in Latin America.
October 24, 2012
Guest post by Peter Beattie: Tomorrow's Maria Moors Cabot Prizes are awarded to “journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have furthered inter-American understanding.” Based on the criteria used to select this year's winners, I bestow my own honorary Cabot Prizes.
October 22, 2012
The second half of October is always a time of reflection amongst progressive forces in Caribbean, but especially so in Grenada. This is because October 19 marked the 29th anniversary of the death of Maurice Bishop, the Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada. In addition, October 25 will mark the 29th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
October 22, 2012
Unlike Mitt Romney’s remarks disparaging the 47%, which were made in private to a coterie of wealthy donors, financial consultant Pedro Burelli disparaged 100% of Venezuelans at a free event, open to the public, and hosted by one of the most prominent, bipartisan think tanks in Washington, D.C. 
October 19, 2012
Bolivian President Evo Morales has signed a new construction contract for the first segment of a controversial highway that would bisect the TIPNIS Indigenous Territory and National Park, ramping up the stakes in the conflict as indigenous resistance and community divisions continue.
October 19, 2012
In light of the initiation of the peace process in Colombia, the country faces a stark choice between durable peace or continous war.
October 17, 2012
On October 10, a U.S Border Patrol agent shot through an opening in the boundary wall and killed José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, in Nogales, Sonora. While the circumstances surrounding the incident remain fuzzy, the shooting appears to have been both unnecessary and easily avoidable. Moreover, it highlights the urgent need to de-escalate the multifaceted “war” in the borderlands and to demilitarize the region.

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