In past NACLA Reports, our coverage of gender has focused on women's long struggle for equality and, more recently, on the liberation movements of sexual minorities in Latin America. With feminism and the movements for the rights of sexual minorities has come a questioning of traditional gender roles and identities, and it is this questioning that motivates this Report. "The Body Politic" focuses on the category of gender itself, on the changing meanings of "feminine" and "masculine," and on the common ground of all these conflicts—the body.
In June 1999, reports appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Washington Post, and then several other U.S. dailies about a lengthy document produced by the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), implicating one of Mexico's wealthiest and most powerful families—billionaire Carlos Hank González, his two sons, Carlos and Jorge Hank Rhon, and their political and financial associates—in drug trafficking and money laundering.
In past NACLA Reports, our coverage of gender has focused on women's long struggle for equality and, more recently, on the liberation movements of sexual minorities in Latin America. With feminism and the movements for the rights of sexual minorities has come a questioning of traditional gender roles and identities, and it is this questioning that motivates this Report.
Working as a reporter in this country and trying to defend and fight for the truth has become a kind of hara kiri over the past years. Very few of us are lucky enough to be alive and able to talk about it. In the midst of endless, agonizing war, we have to deal with threats from all sides just to cover the news.
Linda Farthing & Ben Kohl
"For the first time in 15 years, this struggle has given people confidence in themselves," says Oscar Olivera, leader of the Coordinadora for the Defense of Water and Life, the movement that regained local control over the water supply in Cochabamba, Bolivia last year.
In January 2000, two Chilean architects received a grant from the government's funding organization for culture, Fondart, to construct a glass house in the center of Santiago. The project was named "Nautilus" and the house was designed so that viewers could watch the everyday activities of the inhabitant, the young and attractive actress, Daniela Tobar, as she did her household chores, showered, bathed and went about her daily business.
G. Derrick Hodge
"Because my addiction is money, and my professionalism as well." He was 21 years old, an Afro-Cuban sex worker in Havana. He started the work when he was 13 and the Cuban economy was at its worst, two years into the "Special Period During Peacetime" but one year before the state reluctantly legalized the dollar for internal exchange in 1993.
Prostitution was a profitable profession for some women prior to the Cuban Revolution. So lucrative was this vocation that those who engaged in sex for money knew no other trade and it was not uncommon to see a young child in her preteens soliciting men in one of the red-light districts.
Peruvian women appear to have made genuine strides during Alberto Fujimori's ten years in power. A Ministry of Women and a Public Defender for Women (an adjunct to the Public Defender for the People) were created.
Last year, at 24, Sebastián Tol was a "champion" cane cutter on the agro-export plantations of Guatemala's Pacific coast, averaging over ten tons a day.* At the end of the harvest season, however, he returned home to the highlands with shoulder pain that made it difficult to do even routine chores.
In the early 1990s, I went to Mexico's northern border to study the role of gender in global production. In Mexico, the bulk of such production takes place in maquiladoras (or maquilas)—export-processing factories owned by foreign (usually U.S.) capital.
In Mexico's presidential election last year, many progressives were seduced into voting for Vicente Fox, candidate of the right-wing National Action Party (PAN). When the votes were counted, it was clear that Fox's margin of victory was provided by votes that ordinarily would have gone to the left.
In November 1999, feminists from throughout the region convened in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic, for the Eighth Latin American and Feminist Encuentro. Since 1981, feminists have attended these meetings to share experiences and debate the most pressing issues facing the regional movement.
Book Review Essay: Women and Alcohol in a Highland Town: Water of Hope, Water of Sorrow. <br>by Christine Eber
Revolutions and rebellions are usually considered to be prime opportunities for evaluating potential changes in gender roles. The two books considered here offer almost polar opposite contexts for understanding the gendered implications of revolutionary change and for looking at key issues in the lives of Latin American women.
GUATEMALA CITY—On Feb. 8, residents of Sayaxché, 373 miles north of Guatemala City on the Rio Pasión, not trusting local authorities to catch armed robbers operating in their jungle community, took justice into their own hands. Miguel Sub Icó, 38, and his sons Mario and Carlos Sub Caal, 17 and 16, were killed by neighbors armed with guns and machetes who discovered the men assaulting motorists, reported a UN official present at the crime scene.
Violence in Nicaragua Tim Rogers' Update, "Silent War in Nicaragua: The New Politics of Violence," (January/February 2001) was nothing new, mostly a rehash of events of the early 1990s. For example, although it discussed the indigenous group Yatama, and used a photo of Yatama combatants, it failed to analyze how that group's uprising late last year, on the eve of nationwide municipal elections, grew out of frustration with the infamous "Pact" between President Arnoldo Aleman and former President Daniel Ortega.