Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has reiterated his vow to quickly return to his country to re-assume his rightful place as the nation's president. This week will be a determinant moment in the outcome of the crisis caused by the June 28 military coup against Zelaya. The major players in this crisis have all shown signs of growing impatience with the current situation, meaning that everything could come to a head.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID)through Plan Colombia, the multibillion-dollar US aid package aimed at fighting the drug trade, appears to have negligently put drug-war dollars into the hands of notorious paramilitary narco-traffickers. A study of USAID internal documents, corporate filings and press reports raises questions about the agency’s vetting of applicants, in particular its ability to detect their links to narco-paramilitaries, violent crimes and illegal land seizures.
Amid one of the gravest economic crises in global history, Puerto Rico announced that it is laying off 30,000 public sector employees and freezing government salaries for two years. The island’s current economic crisis can be traced partly to "Operation Bootstrap," a set of radical free market policies implemented in the 1950s on the island that were later replicated across Latin America.
The lack of substantive engagement on Latin America is a rare area of bipartisan convergence between the candidates. Candidates Romney and Obama have basically called for more of the same for the region: More free trade agreements and more military aid for fighting the drug trade.
The inauguration of Brazil’s first female president is a stark reminder that the United States lags far behind its Latin American neighbors in electing women to power.
With Republicans regaining control of the House, the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade accord is now more likely to be approved, as is more U.S. military aid to the government there. Both policies deserve an honest reassessment.
Passage on Nov. 2 of California's Proposition 19, which aims to legalize recreational marijuana, could help ease the spiraling violence of Mexico's drug war. An approved Prop 19 gives Mexico the breathing room it needs for a fundamental course correction.
I've been blogging for a while now about politics and geography over at TerritorialMasquerades.net.
I'll reactivate the blog as some other time, or maybe start a new one based on some of the work I expect to do in the coming years.
Someday I'd like to make a map like this for Colombia. This map shows key natural resource extraction sites in Guatemala and allows viewers to manipulate the information included on the map. One pretty interesting conclusion shown by the map is the close correlation between road construction and extractive projects.
A just-published article by my friend and colleague John Lindsay-Poland raises alarming questions about the revamping of U.S. militarization in Colombia. He calls current plans in the works "the worst thing to happen to U.S. policy in the Andes since Plan Colombia began a decade ago."
An in depth interview on how Plan Colombia provided US-taxpayer funds to murderous paramilitary groups and drug traffickers. The funds were to support the cultivation of oil palms, which can be used to make biofuels. All in an effort that's part of the U.S.-backed war on drugs and the Colombian government's drive to become a biofuels powerhouse.
U.S. anti-drug aid to Colombia found its way into the hands of businesses owned by violent narco-paramilitaries, according to an article published by The Nation. Investigative journalist – and FSRN contributor – Teo Ballvé wrote the report. He recently spoke to FSRN about his findings.
I'm a journalist and geographer with years of experience working and living in Latin America. I was born in Argentina and grew up in Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela. I now live in Colombia, where I'm doing research as a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.
My current research project is about how the government has sought to definitively rein in the region of Urabá, a place in northwest Colombia long-seen as beyond its control. Amid narco-driven economies of violence, paramilitaries, peasant struggles, and armed insurgencies, Urabá is an area where powerful political orders intersect in tense and often fluctuating relations of complicity, coercion, and consent. Building on my background as a reporter, my research combines the tools of investigative journalism with theoretically driven empirical research.