December 20, 2011
Criminality and corrupt authoritarian politics have a tendency to blend, especially when large sums of money are available to grant impunity to certain citizens. Over the past three weeks, for example, Mexicans have witnessed a number of deliberate attacks—whose obvious foretelling was conspicuously ignored by state authorities—on political activists.
December 14, 2011
A recent report on Border Patrol transportation raids in northern New York State demonstrates how "security" penetrates society in a virus-like fashion: it goes wherever it can. This has been reality in the post-9/11 era, where the Border Patrol has increasingly focused on interior enforcement, with harmful implications for human and civil rights.
December 13, 2011
This past December 2 and 3, in Caracas, the heads of 33 Latin American and Caribbean states signed on to a project that has long been dear to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez's heart. Conservative Mexican president Felipe Calderón opened the founding “presidential summit” of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) with phrases Chávez has long championed.
December 12, 2011
Yesterday morning Colombia and Latin America lost one of its most influential intellectuals and social scientists: Álvaro Camacho Guizado, a colleague, mentor, and, above all, a very dear friend. Camacho dedicated his life and energy to the study of narco-trafficking. He was also an early critical voice against U.S. anti-drug policy in Colombia.
December 9, 2011
This week, Bolivian government officials and lowland indigenous leaders agreed on a new regulation defining the “untouchable” character of the TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory. But six weeks after pressure from indigenous protesters forced President Evo Morales to cancel the TIPNIS highway, the conflict shows no signs of abating.
December 7, 2011
Shortly after Border Patrol agent Bryan Gonzalez questioned U.S. drug enforcement policy to a colleague, he received a letter of termination that said that he held “personal views that were contrary to core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication and spirit de corps.”
December 5, 2011
Over the weekend, it was reported that U.S. government agencies are laundering money on behalf of narco-traffickers, and helping them to smuggle weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border. With these policies, the U.S. government is increasingly participating in a war that that is killing hundreds of thousands and eroding the prerequisites for good governance.
November 30, 2011
Last Friday, 18-year-old Joaquin Luna shot and killed himself in south Texas. Luna, an unauthorized immigrant who had lived in the United States since the age of six months, had become increasingly depressed about his life prospects given his immigration status and the defeat of the DREAM Act. His untimely passing highlights the complicated ways in which the systems of immigration enforcement and state exclusion produce deadly forms of violence.
November 28, 2011
The Mexican president in the Dock? Well, not yet, but charges of “crimes against humanity” were filed last Friday in the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands against President Felipe Calderón, the Secretaries of Mexico’s Army, Navy and Public Safety, and notorious drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
November 28, 2011
Last Saturday, Colombian government troops attacked a FARC encampment, leading to the death of four FARC prisoners. The deaths are at least partially due to the government's willingness to take riskier missions, which threaten more lives. In the absence of a peace negotiation, a more cautious policy is badly needed.
November 23, 2011
There is a disconnect in Washington of the correlation between free trade agreements and increased migration. Instead of an effort to renegotiate agreements that are impacting countries in Latin America, U.S. officials continue to put more and more resources into border enforcement, including a proposed possibility of using war-zone equipment from Iraq, and new surveillance technologies to create a "virtual" wall.
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.