Consecuencia, Compromiso, Solidaridad

The following remarks were given during the NACLA Report on the Americas relaunch party, held in New York City on May 27, 2016.

June 13, 2016

NACLA's Relaunch Party at New York University, May 27, 2016. Photo: Steve Hellman

It is my great pleasure to present you with this relaunch issue, “Solidaridad pa’ Siempre: Rethinking Solidarity in the Americas.” It feels like such a small thing when you hold it in your hands. But the fact is that this issue of the Report represents the labor of thousands of people spread out over nearly five decades.

As many of you know, just over a year ago NACLA decided to stop publishing the Report in print. It was especially difficult because long before Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat—or even the Internet!—buying a copy of the Report at a local independent bookstore, or getting it in your mailbox through a subscription, or coming across one as it made the rounds at a rally or protest were the only ways to find out about struggles for social justice raging in the Americas. For decades, the NACLA Report was it, breaking through silence and borders, linking activists down and up the hemisphere in shared fights against U.S. intervention and local impunity and for different, better futures.

In the pages of the Report, multiple generations of activists and scholars and engaged artists found a community of people committed to social justice and critical rigor. The NACLA community provided context, analysis, and scrutiny. We informed and motivated, inspired and conspired. In the 1970s, we shut down the notorious U.S. Office of Public Safety—read all about the story in a fascinating piece by Stuart Schrader in our next issue, out in August. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan called us out by name as dangerous radicals (and really, is there another kind?). At the height of neoliberal hegemony in the 1990s, we helped to imagine alternative paths, providing a forum for voices entirely shut out of other media. And we never budged.

These are, of course, points of great pride in our history. But they are also reminders that even as we celebrate the return of the Report, NACLA’s mission to stand in common cause with progressive voices and movements in the Americas is the product of struggles that are often life-and-death, with echoes that continue to resonate. The outrage over states disappearing students is as great in Ayotzinapa as it was in the Southern Cone. The pain of murdered activists hits as deep with Victor Jara as it did with Berta Cáceres. U.S. intervention remains as nefarious today as it was 1973. Even as the Left made great strides since 2000—making errors that we have assessed and will continue to examine in our pages—throughout the Americas we are poised to confront some similar challenges, others less so: parliamentary coups, neo-extractivism, “free” trade, state and non-state violence, etc.

All these challenges highlight that at the heart of the independent coverage and analysis we provide, what NACLA stood for, stands for, and will continue to uphold remains vital:




Solidaridad—the focus of our relaunch issue, which if you haven’t yet read, you should, online or by buying a subscription to this and later issues. This issue is in many ways a letter of gratitude. To Fred Rosen, NACLA’s spectacular former editor, who embodies the best of NACLA. To Linda Farthing, TM Scruggs, Susanne Jonas, Robert Armstrong, Judy Hellman, Steven Volk, and Stuart Rockefeller, whose support in the form of time, funding, and writing has remained steady for decades. And to so many more long-time and loyal Naclistas whom I haven’t yet had a chance to meet, but who have written me—sometimes by email and sometimes in longhand—renowned Latin Americanists whose first publications decades ago were in the Report and who are again eager to contribute. Retirees grateful that NACLA set them on paths of political action that went on to shape their lives. Up and coming scholars eager to share their thoughts on the latest developments in Brazil and Argentina.

Which is also to say, that even as the issue is an expression of thanks, it is also a promise to you. A promise that we will continue to bring you sophisticated, accessible, timely, and progressive coverage and analysis, both from familiar voices and from new and critical ones from the academic and activist worlds. You’ll see that’s how we approached the relaunch issue, as well as our next issue, which is now in production and which explores the links between capitalism and the drug wars. And we’re already at work on future issues, addressing the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the return of the political Right, and the larger resonance of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the hemisphere.

This all means a lot of work! Most of that being done by an incredible staff—Josh Frens-String, our strikingly talented and committed managing editor; Laura Weiss, our web editor who is turning our website into a reference for immediate analysis through stories on Haiti’s elections, the Colombian peace process, on-the-ground analysis of Obama’s trips to Cuba and Argentina, and so much more; Helen Isaac, our editorial assistant and director of our soon-to be launched podcast; and Sean Doyle, our layout and production manager responsible for giving the Report its engaging look.

I also want to acknowledge Greg Grandin, who brought NACLA to its current home at NYU four years ago, and Jill Lane and the NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, which hosts NACLA and have been extremely solicitous and gracious in their support. We also owe huge thanks to Ron Chilcote, longtime editor of Latin American Perspectives, who was instrumental in helping us move to Routledge and relaunch in print. And, of course, to Routledge, for the confidence they expressed in NACLA—in its past and its future. Finally, we owe Christy Thornton an enormous debt of gratitude. It’s difficult to convey how central Christy has been, not just to shepherding the relaunch of the Report, but to NACLA as an organization—as an intern, an editorial assistant, a director, a board member. If we’ve had a position, Christy has held it. Massive commitments of time and energy that continue, and we couldn’t have done without it.

And so, to all of you, to all of us:

¡Que viva NACLA!

Alejandro Velasco is Executive Editor of NACLA

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