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?
Across Latin America, the centuries-old issue of land conflict is gaining new dimensions as nations are increasingly bound into globalised supply chains of resources, food and energy (Peluso & Lund, 2011). The growing influence of corporate actors has transformed struggles over who has the right to inhabit and work the land, as states respond to competing claims from powerful enterprises and rural residents, who are often poor and indigenous. This essay will examine how the authorities in Chile and Honduras have repressed the protests of communities against the appropriation or contamination of their lands by these commercial interests. Despite the many differences between these countries – Chile being one of the most peaceful and prosperous nations in the Americas, Honduras one of the poorest and most violent – they share many similarities in this respect. Via a process that Bessant (2016) calls the ‘criminalisation of dissent’, their governments have prohibited rural activism through authoritarian legislation and violence in order to serve the interests of powerful national and multinational corporations.
Nada me hace bailar tanto como el bajo palpitante y el seductor ritmo del popular reggaetón, y no hay nada como una canción clásica de Daddy Yankee o de Don Omar para llenar la pista de baile de caderas danzantes y pies que se mueven. A lo mejor tiene que ver con los gratos recuerdos de mis viajes a República Dominicana y Perú, y mi año como becaria Fulbright en Colombia, lo que alimentó mi afinidad con el dembow de este género musical y sus letras dichas con frenetismo. A lo mejor, simplemente, el reggaetón es propicio para el baile.
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.”
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.
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.
The United States continues to be a global superpower. The US for the time being will continue to influence countries all across Latin America. However, recent events have suggested signs of decline. And as the decline grows more evident, how will the region’s political power rebalance? The election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico, as well as the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil marks a radical departure from the current status quo. What does this mean for Colombia and Latin America at large?