Columns

June 28, 2012
It’s one thing to be proud of an accomplishment, such as reducing the amount of homelessness by constructing homes—but it is irresponsible and criminal to attack, forcefully evict, and destroy thousands of shelters consisting of battered tents and tarps, then brag internationally about seeing a reduction in the levels of visible homelessness. Yet this is exactly what is happening right now in Haiti.
June 27, 2012
The Colombian congress recently passed a bill that will lead to impunity if President Juan Manuel Santos approves.
June 26, 2012
Supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), are angry and dismayed as polls show the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto maintaining a lead over second-place AMLO of six to 18 points. None of this is to say that Peña Nieto deserves to be the front-runner, much less that Mexico would be better off with the authoritarian, corrupt, corporatist PRI back in power, but when I reported the polling consensus in last week’s blog, I received several negative comments from AMLOistas accusing me of betraying the cause of the left—as though recognizing that you are behind is the equivalent of admitting you are wrong. 
June 25, 2012
A June 20 blog post by Harvey Morris, featured on the website of The New York Times, pointedly asks in its headline, “Asylum for Assange: What’s in It for Ecuador?” Writing for the paper of record, Morris understandably looks at Ecuador's policy considerations through the lens of that government’s own self-interest. But the Times selectively applies this kind of examination.
June 22, 2012
The widespread approval of the Obama administration's recently announced immigration policy initiative—and the profound joy felt by large numbers of unauthorized migrants and their allies and advocates in the United States—is understandable in many ways. But the happiness should not cloud our collective ability to see the serious limits to Obama’s policy change nor, more importantly, dilute energies pushing for more far-ranging transformation of a fundamentally unjust system.
June 21, 2012
Talking about the structural ineffectiveness of charities and NGO’s is difficult because criticism of charity creates the problematic misconception that an individual is against easing the suffering of others, or the good intention to make the world a better place. This is not true. The problem is the wider framework within which charity occurs.
June 19, 2012
There are many problems with public-opinion polls—like their failure to illuminate the real forces and phenomena behind popular beliefs. They have generally been pretty good, however, at predicting how (as opposed to why) citizens are going to vote in an election a few days away. With Mexico’s presidential election just a week and a half away, a variety of voter surveys continue to show the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto as the frontrunner.
June 18, 2012
In response to Venezuela opposition candidate Henrique Capriles’s campaign rally on June 10, news outlets contrasted Capriles’s vigor with Hugo Chávez’s frailty, while conveying Venezuelans’ disgruntlement. So it came as no surprise that just one day later, the U.S. press reported that Chávez’s own rally to officially inaugurate his presidential campaign attracted a crowd an entire order of magnitude smaller than that of Capriles.
June 18, 2012
With billions of dollars promised to “build Haiti back better,” why hasn’t it happened? The sad reality is that while the earthquake may have destroyed a significant part of Haiti, it did not destroy the predatory and exploitative imperialist system which has historically impoverished Haiti—it unfortunately intensified it.
June 16, 2012
After years of inaction and mounting pressure, President Barack Obama has finally issued an order to end deportation proceedings against undocumented youth who might have qualified for relief under the presently-defunct DREAM Act. Yet while many are celebrating this move, there is reason to remain skeptical about the administration’s commitment to follow through on this promise.
June 13, 2012
While the Obama administration made promises last year to focus its “removal” efforts on those who pose dangers to national security and public safety, the overall number of deportations remains very high. The outcome is illustrative of how the deportation machine functions: if it can’t find “bad” migrants to send into exile, it simply produces them.
June 13, 2012
It is not so much that the television networks, and the people who control them, have chosen Enrique Peña Nieto to do their bidding as the next president of Mexico. It is that Peña Nieto, and the people who control him, have purchased his way into power by buying favorable coverage.
June 11, 2012
Land restitution in Colombia is moving toward failure because the Santos government is committed to the neo liberal orthodoxy of agrarian development based on large scale agriculture. A law passed last year granting compensation to victims who lost their land in the conflict has given rise to opposition between activists and paramilitary groups.  
June 11, 2012
Guest post by Peter Beattie: In her recent attack against Chilean student protest leader Camila Vallejo, Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady proved herself once again completely unmoored to reality, yet arrogantly self-assured. The combination is just precious.
June 8, 2012
A World Bank tribunal ruled last week that the Pacific Rim Mining Corporation can't sue the government of El Salvador under DR-CAFTA for denying its mining permit—but can proceed under El Salvador's own investment law using the same international tribunal. The case could undermine the growing campaign in El Salvador to legally ban metallic mining. 
June 7, 2012
As the Border Security Expo 2012 shows, the Arizona-Mexico border region is Ground Zero for the development of an immigration enforcement apparatus which soon enough may travel from the U.S. southern border to a neighborhood near you.
June 7, 2012
This August will mark the 50th anniversary of independence of Jamaica and Trinidad, but will also signal the 50th anniversary of the demise of the West Indian Federation. To mark the occasion, on June 2nd, 2012, The Economist published an unforgiving appraisal of the failure of the West Indian Federation and the region in general, but as to be expected, it lacks any serious context as to why the Caribbean finds itself in its current situation.
June 6, 2012
Small towns and cities in Washington State may seem like unlikely places for abuses by the Border Patrol, but that is what has emerged there as the agency's presence in the U.S.-Canada borderlands has grown dramatically over the last several years. The situation presents significant challenges for the wellbeing of families and communities in the area, and for civil and human rights more broadly.
June 4, 2012
Activists protested outside a May 7 event held by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute to celebrate illegitimate Honduran leader Porfirio Lobo. As a result, EFE, a major Spanish news agency, filed a story on the gala with the headline (translated from Spanish): “Lobo seeks greater backing in the U.S., while activists organize protest.”
May 31, 2012
This week, more than 50 women and men will trek through 75 miles of ocotillo and saguaro cactus along the dry, desolate plains of the Sonoran Desert. But, as this video by Jake Ratner and Elena Stein shows, what they walk to witness is far from natural.
May 31, 2012
Price wars between supermarkets seeking to gain the lowest possible cost of bananas has led to a race to the bottom which has no winners other than the large retailers and multinational corporations. The fundamental need for competitiveness overrides any moral incentive on the parts of the corporations.
May 29, 2012
On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, the U.S. government condemned a litany of countries for the dangerous conditions in which journalists work. But Honduras was noticeably excluded from any official scrutiny. It seems safe to conclude that World Press Freedom Day is little more than a parade of double standards set by the United States, with media outlets serving as willing abettors.
May 29, 2012
Narco violence gets most of the headlines in Mexico, but state violence continues to be just as deadly, and the high degree of criminal infiltration into the institutions of the Mexican state sometimes makes it difficult to tell the difference. The recent murders of a courageous investigative reporter and an outspoken sociology professor drive home this difficulty.
May 29, 2012
Considering that the human toll now tops 50,000 fatalities, Mexico's War on Drugs could more accurately be described as a civil war. Nor is it an accident that Colombia’s new Patriotic March in Colombia echoes the voice of the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity in Mexico, identifying peace and social justice as the only rational approach to settling its own civil war.
May 24, 2012
This collection of photographs, taken on the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Texas, depicts the story of an often silent and often deadly war. The photo essay is in memory of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez who lost his life to this war in the Arizona desert in early May, trying to reunite with his family in California after his deportation in March.

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