We recently sat down with Nestor “the Boss” Gomez, host of the storytelling podcast 80 Minutes Around the World and 40-time winner of the Moth Grand Slam.
Nestor, who used to stutter, hails from Guatemala and found his voice after migrating to Chicago, enrolling in high school, and learning to navigate a new culture. Currently, he uses his platform to encourage others to tell their stories.
“Every place, person and thing inspires a different story or poem,” he says.
This Q&A has been lightly edited for clarity.
The Journey North
My childhood was a very hard childhood. I was the second of four siblings. Actually, I’m the second of six. Two of my siblings died when they were very young. We were poor and my family made Guatemalan worry dolls [small cloth figures dressed in traditional Mayan clothing] that we sold at the airport and tourist shops.
In the headlines: Deforestation in the Amazon increases under Bolsonaro, Ecuador fights illegal mining, Haitians demand President step down over corruption, Italian court sentences 24 to life sentences in Operation Condor trial, and more.
Subscribe here to receive more newsletters and OA updates directly to your inbox.
Brazil’s Amazon saw an 88% increase in deforestation in June compared to the same month last year. Since Jair Bolsonaro became president in January, he has supported development in the Amazon and criticized the environmental ministry’s harsh fines for deforestation. June was the second month in a row of high deforestation numbers, and in the last 11 months, deforestation is up 15% from the same period the previous year. While the Bolsonaro government seems to be supporting deforestation, international pressure to implement anti-climate change measures has increased. In the new European Union-Mercosur free trade agreement, members are required to implement the Paris Agreement provisions.
Beginning May 4th and ending July 1st, OA is calling for submissions under the theme of migration in the Americas. Share your analysis on Central American, Venezuelan, or other regions of migration within the Western Hemisphere.
Submissions may be in the form of research, editorials, literature, photography, audio, or videography. Multimedia submissions are also encouraged. Visit our submissions page for more information on submission requirements. Email your submission to email@example.com using the subject line: “SUBMISSION: Migration.”
*Please note that Open Americas is unable to provide compensation for accepted submissions, but published content will be widely viewed and shared across our media platforms.
By Orestes Rafael Betancourt
Evo Morales, tenant of the Palacio de Quemado for 13 long years now, rejected the fact that 51.3% of Bolivians voted “No” in the 2016 referendum for his fourth presidential candidacy in October 2019. To do so, the Constitutional Court ruled that the same Constitution Morales passed in 2009, which limited presidential reelections, violated his political right to run for office. The ruling stated that term limits were essentially a human rights violation, and, therefore, overruled the Constitution to allow Morales to run for reelection. Now, with all the resources of the state in his favor, Morales will be the candidate of the governing party once again. His reelection in 2014 and the 2006 Constituent Assembly have been questioned as well. However, some disregard these criticisms based on the economic and social achievements of Morales’ administration.
By Christian M. Bills
The information in this article has no affiliation or association with the United States Government, the United States Military, or the Department of Defense. It is not to be misconstrued as the opinion or belief of the aforementioned parties.
For the last four decades, the War on Drugs has remained a constant in both the United States and Mexico. Since its official beginning in 1971, under the Nixon Administration, the meaning of the phrase “the War on Drugs” has varied depending on who is asked. In the United States, it is presented as an assault against drug abuse and addiction, while those who oppose the struggle claim it to be an attempt to diminish minority communities. In Mexico, the War on Drugs symbolizes the beginning of a long and bloody period full of corruption, violence, and pain. Regardless of which side of the border you live on, one component of the drug war remains a constant: the cartels who are responsible for initiating widespread violence and distributing millions of pounds of narcotics. However, despite the violence and pain felt in Mexico due to these criminal organizations, in 2018 the promises of reform and a new strategy were presented by recently elected Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. This new breath of life was explained by presidential aid Olga Sanchez: “We will propose decriminalization, create truth commissions, we will attack the causes of poverty, we will give scholarships to the youth and we will work in the field to get them out of the drug situation.”
Por Pilar Espitia
Como bien habrá notado, hay días en la vida que pueden pasar sin contratiempos; poco memorables que quedarán enterrados en su almohada, una vez llegue la noche y le entre el sueño. Pero habrá otros días mucho menos agraciados; días funestos que cambiarán su vida. Es con días como estos en los que reflexionamos sobre el acto de comenzar de nuevo.
By Christa Giesecke
In spite of Central America’s rich history, culture and traditions, international news from the region frequently tells of violence. Organized crime in the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala is frequently linked to maras, organized gangs with transnational origins. With a total of 431 reported homicides in September 2017 alone, El Salvador, in particular, is considered to be among the most violent countries in the region (Instituto de Medicina Legal, 2017). For women and girls, this violence poses an additional threat in the form of gender-based and sexual violence. Femicide, the intentional killing of women and girls on the basis of their sex, is prominent in El Salvador, with 468 reported cases, the equivalent of one woman’s death every 18 hours, reported in 2017 (Instituto de Medicina Legal, 2017). These alarming statistics raise questions about the nature and roots of violence in El Salvador.