Columns

January 28, 2013
The negotiations between the FARC and the Santos government have advanced, and last week they established a benchmark for the first item on their discussion of the agrarian question.
January 25, 2013
José Cárdenas has concealed the financial benefits he’s accrued from lobbying precisely because they make his espoused views both easily predictable and utterly dismissible. Fortunately for him, mainstream news organizations like The Miami Herald, Foreign Policy, and NPR accommodate this charade.
January 24, 2013
On January 8, 2013, Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation—and head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)—blindsided Haiti, the United States, and the United Nations by announcing through the media that he would be freezing any further distributions of development aid.
January 24, 2013
The comprehensive immigration reform bill will soon be introduced in Congress could be great— normalizing the status of millions who are now forced to live in the shadows. However, if history is any guide, it could instead mean a ramping up of enforcement that creates a life and death circumstance for crossing migrants, as well as destroying the fragile eco-system of the borderlands.
January 21, 2013
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has modified its position regarding Colombia's latifundios. This is its first change on the latifundio question since its inception in 1964.
January 18, 2013
While President Evo Morales decrees that Bolivia’s TIPNIS conflict is resolved, conflicting reports issued by the government and religious and human rights groups over the past few weeks have served to extend the controversy over the proposed highway that would bisect this indigenous territory and national park in the Amazon lowlands.
January 17, 2013
This past November I visited Ciudad Juárez, Mexico to witness the urban redevelopment taking place in the city’s historic district. With my digital camera I took about thirty minutes of footage from which I produced this seven and a half minute video, “La Ultima Taza de Café?” (The Last Cup of Coffee?).
January 14, 2013
Peace talks between representatives of the Juan Manuel Santos government and the FARC delegates resume today in Havana, Cuba.
January 10, 2013
In 2012, the Caribbean was the site of many positive developments—but overall the region as a whole is desperately trying to keep its head above water. While last year marked 50 years since the end of formal British colonialism in both Jamaica and Trinidad, it also highlighted that new and perhaps more powerful structures of control have arisen in the region such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the international drug trade.
January 9, 2013
A new report from the Migration Policy Institute documents record levels of spending on immigration and boundary policing. Often justified in the name of protecting children, the "border wars" and the diversion of billions of dollars to fund them, not surpriingly, prove ultimately to be quite harmful to children in myriad ways.
January 4, 2013
The new eco-thriller, “A Dark Truth,” sensationalizes contemporary conflicts over water rights and environmental justice in Latin America, and disrespects the popular movements that are the main protagonists of those struggles.
January 1, 2013
The peace talks in Colombia are in recess and will resume in January 14 when the parties will continue their discussion of the agrarian question.
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.

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