Los Angeles Review of Books: On the Front Lines of Climate Change

I reviewed Todd Miller’s new book Storming the Wall for the Los Angeles Review of Books. “In 2015, as European nations repelled African and Middle Eastern migrants arriving on their shores, the United States was engaged in its own naval operations to ward off mass migration from the Caribbean. With current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly then at the helm of US Southern Command, more than 500 members of the joint military and homeland security task force ran a simulation designed to “prevent…Continue Reading “Los Angeles Review of Books: On the Front Lines of Climate Change”

Mongabay: Hundreds of unexpected species found in Mexican UNESCO site slated for gold mine

I have a new piece out today on Mongabay.com about a gold mine concession in Baja California Sur inside a biosphere reserve. A recent ecological survey found over 900 species in the concession area and the scientists hope this could provoke a new environmental review. However, some of Mexico’s most influential business interests are behind the mine. This builds on my earlier reporting for Mongabay on the spate of mines in Mexico’s natural protected areas. Read the full article here. San Lucas Cassin’s Vireo, Vireo…Continue Reading “Mongabay: Hundreds of unexpected species found in Mexican UNESCO site slated for gold mine”

The Establishment: Mexican Women Take To Twitter And The Streets To Protest Gender Violence

“My body, my rules.” I have my first piece in The Establishment, about the movement in Mexico to end gender violence. I interviewed women who shared their stories of sexual harrassment and abuse through the Twitter hashtag #miprimeracoso and report on the April 24th march in Mexico City to end gender violence. “On the afternoon of Saturday, April 23, a Colombian columnist and her Mexican colleague put out the call on Twitter for women to post about their first time being sexually harassed. The hashtag,…Continue Reading “The Establishment: Mexican Women Take To Twitter And The Streets To Protest Gender Violence”

Protesters Red-Line Climate Change at Close of Paris Talks

My final report for CIP America’s Program on COP21 in Paris was publsihed Sunday. Please follow this link to see photos and coverage of the final march in Paris on Saturday. “On December 12, the final day of the Paris climate talks, an international group of protesters filled the streets of the French capital to mark their ‘red lines’ for climate justice. The Red Lines Coalition, which includes Attac France, 350.org, Climate Games, Avaaz and Confédération Paysenne, described the action as a way to, ‘honor…Continue Reading “Protesters Red-Line Climate Change at Close of Paris Talks”

In Paris, Activists Challenge COP Inaction and Propose Solutions

My second dispatch from Paris at COP21 has been published on The Americas Program. “The Juarés Plaza in Montreuil, a small city to the east of Paris, is thronged with people, dancing, chanting and carrying bulky chairs above their heads. The procession winds out of the square to the applause of the audience. If I’d had time to count, it would have been 196 chair—all ‘requisitioned’ from area banks—to represent the 196 countries at the COP21 negotiations.” Read on to learn what requisitioned chairs, colonial…Continue Reading “In Paris, Activists Challenge COP Inaction and Propose Solutions”

Social Movements at Paris Climate Talks Refuse to be Collateral Damage to Security Measures

My first report for the America’s Program from the Paris Climate Talks, COP21, is up. “Critics have pointed out that marches during the climate talks were banned under security pretexts, yet other large public gatherings such as soccer matches and concerts have continued. The timing indicates the protest ban is a convenient pretext to quell social protest during the summit.” Check out my commentary and photos here.

The Carrot, the Stick, and the Seeds: U.S. development policy faces resistance in El Salvador

When I visited the Bajo Lempa region of eastern El Salvador this year, my new acquaintances taught me a joke. “Why aren’t there coupes de états in the United States?” they asked me. “I don’t know, why?” To find out why, read my recent article for the Americas Program. When the U.S. Ambassador in El Salvador required the country to re-evaluate a program distributing local seeds to farmers in order to receive development aid, people took note. Yet this is just the latest problem facing the…Continue Reading “The Carrot, the Stick, and the Seeds: U.S. development policy faces resistance in El Salvador”

Seven Years in Impunity

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Today is the seventh anniversary of Brad Will’s murder in Oaxaca. October 27, 2006, paramilitary police officers killed the independent reporter and activist as he filmed them barrel down on the barricade he held down alongside members of APPO- the city-wide assembly which formed out of a teacher’s strike and soon consumed the city. This is also the week to honor the dead. Día de los Muertos is November 2nd and altars are starting to go up for those passed on. It feels fitting to honor one of the dead of the strange tribe that I find myself a part of- American radicals in Mexico.

Llegó el momento de las mujeres con el pesar en los ojos. Tres mujeres, tres viudas. Florina Jiménez Colmenares, Angélica Martinez Avella, Carmen Marín García. Hablaron con el corazón en la mano, lamentando el dolor de los familiares de Brad, alabando a Brad por ser un periodista inocente que quiso contar las verdades de los pueblos de Oaxaca, y pidieron a la familia que luchara para que se hiciera justicia porque ya sabían que no habría justicia en ninguno de los otros asesinatos si el de Brad, el extranjero, quebada en la impunidad.

The moment for the women, with heaviness in their eyes, arrived. Three women, three widows. Florina Jiménez Colmenares, Angélica Martinez Avella, Carmen Marín García. They spoke with their hearts in their hands, lamenting Brad’s relatives’ pain, praising Brad for being an innocent journalist who wanted to recount the truth of Oaxaca’s communities, and imploring the family to fight for justice to be served, because they already knew that there wouldn’t be justice for any of the other murders if Brad’s, the foreigner, remained in impunity.

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El levantamiento en Oaxaca: afan de impunidad de Brad Will. John Gibler, 2012.

My translation to English from Spanish text.

You’re not supposed to cry in cafes. Sip your coffee, surf WiFi, chat with a friend. Mexico might permit more emotional expression than back in New England, but crying is a bit much.

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Resisting Energy Reform in Mexico: the Next Grito

Manifestacion-MexicoI have been writing away here in San Cristobal, but this is my first published piece in several months. It is also on the Black Sheep Journal.  Stay tuned for more in coming weeks.

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Today is Independence Day in Mexico, marking the day in 1810 when Hidalgo’s “grito” (shout) called for rebellion, and the Independence War began. Leading up to the festivities here in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, brass bands practiced late into the night, red, white and green lights illuminate the central plaza, and vendors are out in force, selling Mexican flags, sombreros, streamers, and… model PEMEX trucks. This oddity is a window into the fierce national pride surrounding Petróleos Mexicanos, or PEMEX, Mexico’s national oil company and the heated debate over President Enrique Peña Nieto’s “energy reform” plan.

The energy reform, which would further open PEMEX to foreign investors and ownership, goes far beyond the question of economic competitiveness which Peña Nieto makes it out to be. It strikes at the core of Mexico’s anti-imperial history and values. A strong resistance movement has emerged in recent months to counter the wave of privatization is bearing down on PEMEX.

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