April 16, 2012
President Evo Morales's surprise announcement that Bolivia will revoke its contract with Brazilian company OAS to build the controversial TIPNIS highway has failed to defuse tensions, but could represent a paradigm shift in the TIPNIS controversy, with an opportunity to return to "ground zero."
April 13, 2012
In February, I visited the American Border Patrol (ABP), the vigilante group that claims to be the first to have used an unmanned aerial vehicle for surveillance on the U.S.-Mexico border. Though labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, ABP has much in common with the U.S. border enforcement policy, especially as the United States renews its call for surveillance technology and a "virtual wall."
April 12, 2012
Nearly 50 years after decolonization, the case brought forth by four Kenyan pensioners against the British government has the real potential to be regarded as a “Colonial WikiLeaks,” quite possibly leading to the rewriting of the established narratives of decolonization and independence not only in Africa, but also throughout the Caribbean and all former Commonwealth colonies.
April 10, 2012
According to a recent report, about 40% of Colombian land "has been licensed to, or is being solicited by, multinational corporations in order to develop mineral and crude oil mining projects." The extractive development is at the expense of food production, a profound shift in land use that puts the future of Colombia’s food security in jeopardy.
April 6, 2012
“The beer’s OK. But this egg here… this could be a problem,” said the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer, pulling a jumbo-sized chocolate Easter egg from our trunk and walking beside the car. "I’ve never seen one this big, but if it’s like the Kinder eggs, we’re going to have to confiscate it.”
April 6, 2012
In the run-up to the May-June consulta that will decide the fate of the proposed highway through the TIPNIS Indigenous Territory and National Park, the Bolivian government is signing agreements with lowland indigenous groups and seeking to cancel its contract with Brazilian company OAS to build the TIPNIS road, causing a shift in political alliances around the TIPNIS conflict.
April 5, 2012
With the release of two separate investigations this week, it is becoming increasingly clear why the reconstruction has failed the Haitian people on such a massive scale—it is lucrative business opportunity first, with the humanitarian element coming in at a distant second.
April 3, 2012
Last week, U.S. Army general Martin Dempsey visited Colombia, which may be on the road to becoming the third theater of U.S. military operations after Afghanistan and Iraq. Dempsey revealed that U.S. colonels with combat experience will be sharing their experiences with the Colombian military in the coming weeks.
April 3, 2012
In what at first appears to be a contradiction, the fulsome praise lavished by U.S. officials on Mexico’s militarized “drug war” has long been accompanied by warnings issued by many of those same officials that President Felipe Calderón’s militarized offensive against trafficking and organized crime was spinning out of control.
March 29, 2012
March 6 marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the former President of Guyana and the hemisphere’s first democratically elected Marxist leader. While that distinction is often mistakenly associated with the election of Chilean President Salvador Allende, Guyana was not only the site of this historic election, but Jagan (not Jacobo Arbenz) was also the first leader in the Americas to fall victim to Cold War military intervention.
March 28, 2012
While the Obama administration is touting its new immigration detention guidelines and showing off the federal government’s new detention facility in Karnes County, Texas, the larger picture of immigrant incarceration remains ugly. It is this fundamental reality of inhumanity, as a just-released report from New York University's Immigrant Rights Clinic makes clear, that we must keep our eyes on.
March 27, 2012
During the last week and yesterday the Colombian government carried out a pair of bombing raids on camps of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), killing over 60 guerrillas. The government offensive is strategically significant. The production of the country’s oil is largely concentrated in the region of the raids, where big interests are at stake.
March 27, 2012
Six years after being denied Mexico’s presidency in a disputed vote count, the presidential candidate of Mexico’s “lefts,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), says he is a “man without resentments.” Well, maybe, but when he formally registered his candidacy last week before the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), the non-partisan authority that organizes and oversees the country’s federal elections, he told the group that he still holds it responsible for his 2006 defeat.
March 23, 2012
A majority of community authorities in the TIPNIS indigenous territory and national park have announced plans for another national march, beginning April 20, to protest the government-proposed highway that would bisect their ancestral homeland. They have pledged to simultaneously resist the government-sponsored consultation process.
March 22, 2012
While a miscarriage of justice over the trial of Jean Claude Duvalier is currently occurring in Haiti, the United States is busy resuscitating its worn and failed case against another former Haitian President, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
March 21, 2012
A recent visit to Nogales, Arizona, and to the U.S. Border Patrol station there—the country's largest—brings home the dramatic transformation of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands over the last couple of decades. It also illustrates how U.S. authorities are envisioning and laying the groundwork for a "war" without end against what they construct as an endless supply of threats emanating from the Mexican side of the international divide.
March 20, 2012
As Mexico’s presidential campaign moves into high gear, the left-of-center candidate for the presidency, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sketched a plan to combat the country’s high levels of violent crime by gradually removing the out-of-place military from the streets and replacing it with a professional force that would be drawn from the citizenry.
March 15, 2012
A tribute to Domitila Barrios de Chungara, long-time Bolivian social activist, feminist, and mine union leader whose 1978 hunger strike is credited with bringing down the dictatorship and changing the course of Bolivian history.
March 15, 2012
Canadian banks operating in the Caribbean are nothing new; the Royal Bank of Canada proudly claims that it had branches in the Caribbean before it had opened any in Western Canada. This pattern of foreign economic domination in the Caribbean has resulted in dangerously high levels of dependency, undermining local attempts to bring forth greater self-sufficiency and control over major industries.
March 15, 2012
On a visit to Mexico last month Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she greatly admired President Felipe Calderón for the offensive he had unleashed against organized crime, and was proud of its results. On the other hand, the consulting firm Strategic Forecast, Inc. (Stratfor) issued an alert last week, warning that spring-breaking U.S. college kids faced risks in virtually all the Mexican hotspots typically visited over their spring vacations.
March 14, 2012
After more than four years of asking the supermarket chain Publix to sit at the table and negotiate a Fair Food Agreement, from March 5-10 Coalition of Immokalee Workers did a five-day fast to put the pressure on Florida's richest corporation. This video captures the fifth day of this fast.
March 8, 2012
The killing of 21 people—including a 13-year-old girl and an elderly man—by the Jamaican police in the past six days has highlighted the systemic problem the country is having with controlling the inappropriate use of deadly force.
March 8, 2012
The FARC is taking the political initiative and increasing the pressure on the government of Juan Manuel Santos to initiate peace talks. It remains unclear, however, if Santos will engage the FARC and seek a peaceful end to hostilities before the 2014 presidential election.
March 7, 2012
On February 26, I was driving with a friend in an isolated region of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico when we saw a military tank positioned to be pointed toward the south. A lot has been said, written, and documented about the degree and ongoing process of border militarization, but I had never seen anything like this. This wasn't any old tank, it was a Stryker—used extensively in both Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. military.
March 6, 2012
It is a sad truth that the structure of the Mexican economy in the early twenty-first century requires that poor citizens who seek work north of the border do so in sectors of the U.S. economy that provide sub-minimum wages, horrendous working conditions and unscrupulous employer practices.