Elections in Paraguay: April 2018

By Alexia Rauen

Paraguay’s political system has long been dominated by the Colorado Party (Asociación Nacional Republicana – Partido Colorado, ANR-PC). The Colorado Party is pro-West, and has historically – and into present day – restricted civil liberties and stifled opposition parties. This party stems from a brutal 35-year long dictatorship under military leader Alfredo Stroessner, and has retained power for 61 years, controlling the parliament even when Stroessner was removed by a coup in 1989. The Colorado Party has consistently held the presidency except for a brief stint from 2008-2012, which ended in impeachment. The party also holds a majority in the larger branch of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, and a near-majority in the Senate.

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A Nation Distraught: Peru’s Kuczynski Pardons Fujimori for Political Gain

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By Alexia Rauen

On December 21, 2017, Reuters reported that ex-president Alberto Fujimori, in power from 1990 to 2000, had requested an official pardon from current President Pedro Kuczynski. The pardon was medical in nature; Kuczynski’s press release found that “prison conditions mean a serious risk to [Fujimori’s] life, health and integrity.” Fujimori requested the pardon “hours before [his] sympathizers in Congress vote on whether to remove Kuczynski from office.” Kuczynski then publicly pardoned Fujimori on December 24, 2017. In order to understand the significance and implications of the pardon, we must first delve into the political situation at this moment in Peru.

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Incertidumbre Plaga las Elecciones Hondureñas 2017

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Por Alexia Rauen, Traducido por Martina Guglielmone

Honduras se ha disuelto al caos producido por la elección que ocurrió el 26 de noviembre. La elección enfrentó al presidente titular, Juan Orlando Hernández del partido derechista Partido Nacional de Honduras, contra Salvador Nasralla de la coalición La Alianza de Oposición Contra la Dictadura. Este no fue el primer encuentro de estos candidatos, ya que Nasralla se había postulado contra Hernández para la presidencia en 2013.

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Uncertainty Plagues 2017 Honduran Elections

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By Alexia Rauen

Honduras has dissolved into chaos in the wake of the election that occurred on the 26th of November. The election pitted the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández of the right-wing National Party of Honduras, against Salvador Nasralla of the coalition party, Alliance Against the Dictatorship. This was not the first encounter between these two candidates, as Nasralla ran against Hernández for the presidency in 2013.

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Interviewing Maria, Immigrant Advocate and DACA Recipient

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“On the morning of Tuesday, September 5, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be rescinded. An Obama administration 2012 executive action, DACA grants temporary legal status and provides 2-year work permits to individuals who were brought to the country as children without immigration documents. According to the Washington Post, an estimated 800,000  immigrants benefit from the program.” – Excerpt from Staff Release: Open Americas Condemns Decision to Rescind DACA Program

The following interview was conducted in November 2017 between Maria, a DACA recipient, and Alexia Rauen. Maria came to the United States from Mexico when she was only seven years old. She has an older brother and an older sister, neither of whom are eligible for DACA.

1. How did your life change on June 15, 2012 when former president Barack Obama implemented DACA?

My life was changed dramatically when President Barack Obama implemented DACA. DACA was not given to us, and on the other hand, it was as a result of immigrant activists, organizations, and allies fighting for it. With DACA, I now could continue to follow my dreams in this country without any fear for myself. Of course, I had fear for my parents, but at least with DACA, we had hope that there would be better things in the future for us.

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Santiago Maldonado’s Tragic Death Underlines the Needs of a Mapuche Community

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By Alexia Rauen

The New York Times headline on October 19 read: “Body Found in Argentine River Shakes Up Election.” Al Jazeera stated on October 22: “Santiago Maldonado’s death overshadows elections.” “A missing-person case looms over Argentina’s midterm elections,” was The Economist headline on September 7. These headlines contextualize the discovery of Santiago Maldonado’s body in terms of national politics and fail to capture the indigenous struggle at the root of his disappearance. Maldonado was present at a mapuche indigenous protest on August 1 in the Patagonian region of Argentina when he disappeared. Cristina Kirchner, the former president of Argentina who has not been shy about her discontent with Mauricio Macri’s government, has used Maldonado’s disappearance as further criticism. Ultimately, the coalition of parties of incumbent Macri proved successful in the elections despite the discovery of Maldonado’s body, securing a significant political victory by dominating “the top five population centers of Buenos Aires City, and Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santa Fe and Mendoza provinces.” While the international community and Argentine politicians have gravitated to Maldonado’s death as a political instrument in these elections, the death has struck a different chord among the Argentine population. Widespread protests demanding his reappearance in Argentine cities occurred, and with his death an investigation must now be held to determine the cause of death and possible involvement of law enforcement.

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Book Review: Michael E. Donoghue’s “Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone”

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By Alexia Rauen

Michael E. Donoghue’s historical study Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone exposes traditionally underrepresented issues in the Panama Canal Zone. The Panama Canal Zone, which encompasses the canal itself, a well-known trade route that splits Panama, also encompasses the surrounding area. This zone was under U.S. control from 1903 to 1979; the canal was returned to Panama in 1999. Donoghue’s book is impressive and particularly strong in its detail concerning themes of race and gender in the Panama Canal Zone.  

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