November 22, 2011
With the virtual nomination of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as presidential candidate of Mexico’s multiple lefts last week, the 2012 Mexican campaign began to define itself. Two independent polling agencies confirmed what followers of Mexican politics already knew: López Obrador, the left’s 2006 presidential nominee, is one of the most popular and charismatic figures on the left and also one of the most polarizing.
November 21, 2011
In May, the World Bank published its 2011 World Development Report, in which it considered civil wars and organized crime to be obstacles to economic development. However, without properly examining the problem of unequal land distribution, the recommended policies in the report will not be enough to end violence in many countries, including Colombia.
November 19, 2011
The new "framework agreement" restoring diplomatic ties between Bolivia and the United States represents a significant political achievement for Bolivia, as well as a victory for Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca that could help to strengthen Bolivia's "process of change."
November 17, 2011
Books like Murder City, by Charles Bowden, are a double-edged sword, drawing much needed attention to the violence in Ciudad Juárez, but convincing most readers that it would be foolish and reckless to ever go there. However, life does go on in Juárez, and not only that, it is a place where cross-border solidarity is more necessary than ever.
November 14, 2011
As this is written, Mexico’s electoral lefts are anxiously awaiting the results of two public opinion polls that will determine the identity of their presidential candidate in next summer’s national election. The polls are meant to measure the relative strengths of the left’s two declared presidential candidates: 2006 presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Mexico City’s current mayor, Marcelo Ebrard.
November 11, 2011
In October, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed a new law banning construction of the controversial TIPNIS highway. The law is now provoking a new round of conflicts between lowland indigenous groups and the Bolivian government, over what it means for the reserve to be declared an "untouchable" ecological zone.
November 10, 2011
A month ago the Drug Enforcement Administration seemingly managed to reassert its relevance by demonstrating the role it can play in the name of the endless U.S. War on Terror. After last week's bust of international arms dealer Viktor Bout, despite shoving legality and morality to the wayside, the DEA likely thinks it has found its groove.
November 7, 2011
A year and a half ago, the Mexican magazine Proceso reported on the presence of a U.S. Office of Bi-National Intelligence (OBI), occupying several suites of offices in a tall building on Mexico City’s upscale Paseo de la Reforma, just a few blocks from the U.S. Embassy. The OBI continues to house an alphabet soup of U.S. intelligence agencies, the DEA, DIA, CIA, FBI, ATF, and others.
November 7, 2011
On November 4, FARC leader Alfonso Cano was killed by the Colombian army, raising questions about the country’s on-going conflict. The core question is whether President Santos will capitalize on his victory to push for a negotiated peace agreement, or squander the opportunity and prolong this very costly conflict.
November 7, 2011
A new report illustrates the tragic intersection of immigration policing and child welfare. Like the "collateral damage" brought about about by U.S.-war-making abroad, harm to children is an inevitable consequence of the ongoing "war" on immigrants characterized as undesirable.
November 2, 2011
The Day of the Dead in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is a time to remember the countless migrants who have perished trying to overcome the ever-hardening boundary and immigration enforcement apparatus.
November 1, 2011
On these first two days of November, known as All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead, many Mexicans bring offerings to their relatives, friends, and sympathetic public figures who have died within living memory. This year, groups around the country are using the occasion to remember the thousands who died violently over the past year at the hand of combatants in the country’s many-sided war on organized crime.
October 31, 2011
Regional elections were held across Colombia yesterday. However, at least 25% of the newly elected governors are alleged to have ties to right-wing paramilitaries. This reveals a deep-rooted problem in Colombian electoral politics in the midst of the on-going armed conflict
October 28, 2011
A new law signed by President Evo Morales has officially cancelled the controversial TIPNIS highway, bowing to demands of indigenous protesters after their 360-mile cross-country march. But the fractures in Morales’ political base and divisions among Bolivia’s social movements triggered by the TIPNIS conflict will be more difficult to resolve.
October 26, 2011
At an event at the Homeland Security Policy Institute called “The Hybrid Threat: Crime, Terrorism and Insurgency in Mexico,” Daniel Brito, of the Drug Policy Alliance, asked keynote speaker General Barry McCaffrey if there was complicity between the Mexican government and the drug trafficking Sinaloa Cartel. McCaffrey's answer offered a powerful glimpse into the drug war.
October 25, 2011
Just a few days after President Felipe Calderón excoriated the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party for wanting to dialogue with Mexico’s drug traffickers (a charge PRIistas vigorously deny), his position was undermined by a proposal of a prominent member of his own party and by comments made by U.S. officials.
October 24, 2011
In just 48 hours, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia delivered two strong blows against the Colombian military, killing 20 soldiers and wounding many others. The timing of the attacks is significant, occurring less than 10 days before the October 30 Colombian local and legislative elections.
October 20, 2011
This week, two historic events took place in Bolivia: the arrival in La Paz of indigenous marchers protesting the TIPNIS highway, and the country's first-ever popular judicial elections. Both sent a wake-up call to President Evo Morales.
October 19, 2011
The human right to work is increasingly under attack in the United States, especially for unauthorized immigrants. The recent case of The French Gourmet restaurant in San Diego shows how bad things have become. It also highlights the need for human rights and migrant rights activists to directly challenge a system that criminalizes non-citizens for laboring without official sanction.
October 18, 2011
Javier Sicilia, the poet, speaking to cabinet members of the Calderón government on behalf of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity: "Your decisions [to use the military to fight drug trafficking], in addition to generating more violence and terror, are provoking the rise of paramilitary groups who, in this rarified and atrocious atmosphere, feel authorized to practice, killing more Mexicans with impunity."
October 17, 2011
Among the wide spectrum of U.S. international conflicts is the U.S. war in Colombia. This war has been often understated and almost forgotten, but thanks to recently-released WikiLeaks documents the U.S. involvement in Colombia is increasingly coming to light.
October 14, 2011
In the 1980s Ronald Reagan’s administration illegally defied Congress. What came to be called the “Iran-Contra Scandal,” a nexus of drugs, terror, Latin American proxy conflict, and covert operations involving the United States and Iran, seems this week to have been sampled and remixed for the twenty-first century.
October 14, 2011
This week the focus of Bolivia’s TIPNIS conflict shifted to La Paz, with passage of a new law by the Bolivian Congress, massive demonstrations in support of President Evo Morales, and preparations for Sunday’s judicial elections, ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of the indigenous march early next week.
October 13, 2011
Yesterday the U.S. Congress approved the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia. While it is still too early to assess the full magnitude of the FTA, there are already obvious losers and winners.
October 11, 2011
There is some disagreement in Mexico as to whether the state and civil society are engaged in a tough battle against organized crime, or whether organized crime has so permeated these institutions that it is no longer a separate entity. The emergence of a group called the Mata Zetas (Zeta Killers) that has sworn to rid Mexico of its most brutal criminal predators, the Zetas, but which has strong and acknowledged links to rival criminal groups, has brought this argument to a head.