Like many fellow U.S. Americans, January 6, 2021 found me glued to a flurry of disturbing news reports. While a mass of pro-Trump extremists lay siege to the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers worked to certify election results, I couldn’t tear myself away from reports of the insurrection and chaos that President Trump incited. Tweets aggressively vied for viewers’ attention at the top of the screen, and my heart thumped in my ears in reaction to the inexcusably slow police response to the attack.
When I saw the term “banana republic” trending, I quickly eliminated any inkling that the fancy clothing store* had announced a poorly timed loungewear sale and continued scrolling.
For the U.S., the Latin American agenda is not a priority. Still, Biden’s arrival at the White House signifies a respite for foreign ministries, who are exhausted by the region’s tension created by Trump. What changes can we expect now?
While Donald Trump is disappointed with the results of November 8th, the world remains incredulous about the difficulties of the great American democracy in recognizing as president-elect the one who won the popular vote with 50.9% and more that 5.5 million more votes than his opponent, who obtained 47.3%.
Although Trump has raised an amendment to the entire election result, alleging massive fraud, he has been unable so far to present any evidence. Biden will be the 46th president of the United States after four years of Trumpism, which has generated turbulence worldwide. Latin America and the Caribbean wonder what the arrival of a Democrat like Joe Biden might mean for them.
Quarantine has shown me all the ways a story can be told. A good story can live in the pages of a book, in the words of a social media post, or among the lines of a drawing. At the start of quarantine, I promised myself that I would produce a work of art every day. Though this started as a way to cope with the long stretches of working from home and worrying, it has become a self care ritual that brings me closer to others. I draw the everyday habits that make up my life. Things like painting my nails or doing laundry become the main highlights of my days. By placing them on social media, I like to think these images speak to my friends and family, telling them that the minutia of their lives deserves recognition and celebration. Nowadays I wash the dishes, clean my bathroom, and fold laundry just to have a sense of normalcy. When I draw these daily tasks, I try to show the ways in which they can be beautiful and the way they have always been interesting.
Bolivia will hold presidential elections on October 18, 2020, after numerous delays and an interim unelected presidency after the October 2019 elections. The nation’s former president, Evo Morales, who ruled land-locked Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, will not be running after a dramatic resignation. Instead, the election pits Luis Arce, the candidate of Morales’s party, against the ex-president Carlos Mesa.
Bolivia had previously limited presidents to two consecutive terms. However, in 2013, Morales was able to run for a third term after it was found that the introduction of a new constitution in 2009 made his first term moot for counting purposes. In 2016, a referendum on whether or not to change the constitution to allow Morales to run again failed to yield results in his favor. This was reversed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal, who ruled that term limits no longer existed for any elected official. Morales announced his candidacy for the 2019 Bolivian presidential elections in May of 2019. Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States (OAS), stated that given the tribunal’s ruling, Morales should be allowed to run. The election was held in October of 2019, and Morales needed a 10-point lead in order to prevent a runoff election. When Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal released results with 83% of the vote counted, Morales was in the lead – but not enough to prevent a runoff. Then, the website went dark, and when it returned, Morales had won by just over 10 points. The OAS released a report on November 10, 2019 that found the election’s “process was contrary to best practices and failed to abide by security standards … Given the irregularities observed, it is impossible to guarantee the integrity of the data and certify the accuracy of the results.” The post-election public outrage led to weeks of protests and Morales’s resignation.
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with Obie Anthony, Executive Director of Exonerated Nation, an organization that meets the immediate needs of exonerees by helping to heal the debilitating spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical effects of being wrongfully incarcerated and affects policy change for restoration and the righting of wrongs.
At only 19 years old, Obie was convicted of a murder he did not commit and spent 17 years in prison before being exonerated and released in 2011. When he left prison in 2011, he didn’t have a social security card or birth certificate and had to learn how to use a cell phone and write a resume. Since then, he’s helped other exonerees navigate the often difficult transition out of prison. He has been instrumental in the passage of California Assembly Bill No 672 (Obie’s Law) along with other key pieces of legislation.
We talked about identity and personal growth, what gets him up in the morning, his important work with Exonerated Nation, and which Seinfeld character he relates to the most.
That’s what Martha from Colón, Honduras, said to a reporter in November 2018. If you turned on any U.S. news channel in the Fall of 2018, you likely saw a lot of people like Martha—people who left their homes in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in search of a better life in the United States.
When large numbers of people arrive en masse to seek asylum at the U.S. border, it’s a newsworthy story. But what kind of story is it? Who decides how to tell it?
In fact, they realised, women had been speaking up about this from the very start – it was just that no one was listening. ‘In the Juntas Trial in 1985 in which nine commanders were tried, there was a victim who said I was raped, and the prosecutor just ignored this. He literally said, “Don’t lose the wood for the trees. We need to focus on the torture and murder.”’ 1
In her work Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women, Christina Lambexplores the phenomenon of sexual violence in armed conflict. Her travels take her from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (nothing democratic about it) to Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. She also goes to Argentina, where she explores the violence against women that occurred during the military regime from 1976 to 1983.