CityLab: Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy

I wrote for CityLab about Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador’s ambitious plan to build a passenger train around the Yucatan Peninsula. Boondoggle or tourism boon? I’ll let you read and make your own verdict. “On December 16, two weeks after his inauguration, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stood alongside politicians, businesspeople, and representatives of Mayan indigenous communities outside Palenque, Chiapas, in southern Mexico. Smoke rose from traditional copal incense chalices as the president-elect oversaw a Mayan ritual asking Mother Earth for permission to build his…Continue Reading “CityLab: Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy”

Mongabay: Deforestation and mining threaten a monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico

I wrote for Mongabay about the threats facing the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán and the State of Mexico. The story is available in both English and Spanish. “ZITÁCUARO, Mexico – ‘As long as the butterflies keep coming, we’ll still have work here,’ says Javier Ambrocio, looking out over the Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. A cold breeze blows across the steep hillside, over 8,000 feet above sea level. Ambrocio works as a tour guide in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which straddles the…Continue Reading “Mongabay: Deforestation and mining threaten a monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico”

The Guardian: Zombie clunkers- has your local bus been resurrected in Guatemala?

“In a sparsely furnished office overlooking dozens of buses at the Zone 21 depot in Guatemala City, Jorge Castro flips through photographs on his mobile phone. He settles on one. ‘There’s the bus when I bought it in Maryland,’ he says proudly. It is a blue and white bus emblazoned with the words “Ride On”, the name of Montgomery County’s public transit system.’” I wrote about how one bus from Rockville, Maryland ended up all the way in Guatemala City. While vehicle emissions have tightened…Continue Reading “The Guardian: Zombie clunkers- has your local bus been resurrected in Guatemala?”

Thinking City: Preserving public art in a city of earthquakes

“Mexico City is a bastion of public art in the Americas, with murals, mosaics and monuments lining its most important streets. Yet the city is also highly vulnerable to earthquakes. Currently Mexican historians, artists and architects are contending with a unique predicament: What do you do with historic public art, when an earthquake can bring it tumbling down in a matter of seconds? When a massive earthquake hit Mexico City in September 1985, roughly 10,000 people died. Alongside this devastating tragedy, hundreds of buildings were…Continue Reading “Thinking City: Preserving public art in a city of earthquakes”

Sierra Magazine: As Palm Plantations Grab Land, Mayan Women Organize

I reported in Sayaxché, Petén with support from the International Women in Media Foundation to produce this story. It focuses on how African palm oil plantations have impacted the Q’eqchí Mayan community’s food security. I profile a group of women that is working with a non-profit called Sagrada Tierra to maintain food production in the region, as the cost of staple goods goes up. “’Before we didn’t have land, we lived on a hacienda,’ says Celia, an Indigenous Guatemalan woman with deep creases folded into her expressive…Continue Reading “Sierra Magazine: As Palm Plantations Grab Land, Mayan Women Organize”

Viewpoint Magazine: The Rebel Project of the Caravan

I wrote for Viewpoint Magazine about the precedents of migrant organizing in Mexico and the nascent cross-border solidarity movement. I include some of my own experience volunteering in a migrant shelter in 2013 and 2014, and how the caravans of past years laid the groundwork for what’s happening now. “While presidential tweeting and international media coverage has brought newfound attention to the plight of Central American migrants, the movement in Mexico and beyond to support undocumented people in transit has been growing for years, through…Continue Reading “Viewpoint Magazine: The Rebel Project of the Caravan”

CityLab: Migrant Caravan Rolls Into Mexico City

I wrote for CityLab about the Mexican towns and cities giving the migrant caravan a dignified welcome. “In a broad-brimmed straw hat and an airy linen shirt, Oscar Cruz Lopez, the municipal secretary of Juchitan, Oaxaca, surveyed the crowds at the city’s new bus station. Before him sprawled about 6,000 people who had spent the night on the grounds. As church members served chicken stew on paper plates, taxi drivers circled the bus station, offering rides into the center of town for 15 pesos (about…Continue Reading “CityLab: Migrant Caravan Rolls Into Mexico City”

The National: Maligned by Trump, earthquake-hit Mexican town receives migrant caravan with open arms

I wrote for The National about the caravan of Central American migrants and asylum seekers. I traveled to Juchitan, Oaxaca last week as the caravan passed through. This report discusses how local towns rolled out the welcome mat, and the challenges that the caravan will face in coming days and weeks. “As night falls on Mexico’s southern Juchitan and city lights begin to flicker, thousands of Central American migrants spread out across a brand new bus station, transforming the grounds into an impromptu refugee camp….Continue Reading “The National: Maligned by Trump, earthquake-hit Mexican town receives migrant caravan with open arms”

HWGTN: How Outdated Cars Live on in a Smoggy Afterlife

During my reporting trip this fall in Guatemala with the International Women in Media Foundation (IWMF) I reported on the country’s pervasive pollution problems. Looking into air pollution, I followed many a dirty tailpipe to understand why authorities have failed to regulate vehicle emissions. Here’s the result, published in How We Get To Next this week. “El Trébol, ‘The Clover,’ is a tangle of highways and roundabouts in Guatemala City, where traffic grinds to a halt during the morning and evening rush hours. Colorfully-painted buses…Continue Reading “HWGTN: How Outdated Cars Live on in a Smoggy Afterlife”