NACLA: In Mexico, Cheap Gas Wins

Promises of consultation are not enough for Indigenous communities in the path of pipeline construction in Mexico, an important market for the Texas shale fields. I wrote for NACLA about the El Encino-Topolobampo natural gas pipeline, which TransCanada (TC Energy) built through the territory of Rarámuri communities in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua. While communities demanded a consultation process, it was too little too late, and the pipeline was inaugurated in late 2018. This pipeline is one of several that connects Texas fracking industry to…Continue Reading “NACLA: In Mexico, Cheap Gas Wins”

How is an infectious disease born? That is the question that set Joel Henrique Ellwanger on the path of studying emerging diseases in his home country of Brazil. As Ellwanger was studying the risk of disease spillover in Brazil, COVID-19 showed the world just how dangerous emerging viral diseases can be. As of May 19, nearly 17,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. In the Western Hemisphere, only the United States has more confirmed cases and…Continue Reading “Latin America News Dispatch: The Next Deadly Virus Could Start in the Amazon, Brazilian Scientists Warn”

Foreign mining and energy companies that invest in the region have a responsibility to help safeguard local activists. In 2008, Mexican activist Mariano Abarca was assaulted by employees of a Canadian mining company, Blackfire Exploration, at his home in Chicomuselo, a municipality in the state of Chiapas near Mexico’s border with Guatemala. The attack was presumably retribution for Abarca’s vocal opposition to the planned expansion of Blackfire’s nearby barite mine. In July 2009, after he had received multiple death threats, Abarca joined a delegation to…Continue Reading “Undark: For Latin American Environmentalists, Looming Threats of Violence”

OneZero: Uber Delivery Workers in Mexico Are Tracking Thieves Through Google Maps and WhatsApp Networks

I wrote for OneZero, a tech publication at Medium, about how Uber Eats delivery workers are keeping each other safe in Mexico City. “On a recent Tuesday night, Luisa Amezquita, a Rappi company delivery worker, was headed home after her last drop-off of the evening when her motorcycle broke down. She was miles from home, and nervous. So she reached out for the only help she could think of. ‘Is anyone awake? I’ve been trying to get home since 10 p.m. and still I haven’t…Continue Reading “OneZero: Uber Delivery Workers in Mexico Are Tracking Thieves Through Google Maps and WhatsApp Networks”

ArchPaper: Mexico’s Housing Laboratory shows off 32 low-cost prototypes

At the heart of social housing in Mexico is a contradiction: Flimsy houses built far from city centers sit empty, while millions of Mexicans are still waiting to use publicly financed housing credits. Developers continue to replicate the much-maligned cutter-cut model to keep costs down. But how can new construction not just meet the bottom line but satisfy the needs of low- and middle-income families? Read the full article at the Architect’s Newspaper.  

The Nation: How Indigenous Mexicans Took on Big Energy and Won

A natural gas pipeline was scheduled to go online in 2017, but TransCanada wasn’t counting on indigenous resistance. I wrote for The Nation about the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline in Central Mexico and the local movement lead by Indigenous communities to stop it. “If finished, the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline would connect to an underwater pipeline from Brownsville, Texas, known as Sur de Texas-Tuxpan, also owned by TransCanada. The fate of the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline, now almost two years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget, will have consequences…Continue Reading “The Nation: How Indigenous Mexicans Took on Big Energy and Won”

Yale E360: Indigenous Maize- Who Owns the Rights to Mexico’s ‘Wonder’ Plant?

Last week Yale E360, an environmental outlet based at Yale University, published my feature story on the miraculous maize of Totontepec, Oaxaca. The story was also supported by the Food and Environment Reporting Network. This story developed over the past five months, from a personal curiosity into a full-fledged investigation that took me to small-town Oaxaca, Mexico City bureaucrat offices, and a rural research institute. At the heart of the story is a question– “A nitrogen-fixing maize grown in an indigenous region of Mexico has…Continue Reading “Yale E360: Indigenous Maize- Who Owns the Rights to Mexico’s ‘Wonder’ Plant?”

ArchPaper: SO – IL is building a social housing prototype in the heart of Mexico

I wrote for The Architect’s Newspaper about a new social housing prototype in León, Guanajuato. “For many in Mexico, the phrase “social housing” conjures images of vast housing tracts falling into disrepair, abandoned by workers tired of two-hour commutes. While architects and planners look back to understand what went wrong in the country’s early-2000s push to build affordable housing on city outskirts, authorities and designers are also looking ahead to explore alternative strategies.” Read the full story here. Photo courtesy of SO – IL

The Verge: Deaths and injuries don’t slow Uber Eats’ rapid expansion in Mexico

I reported for The Verge on the risks facing Uber Eats delivery workers in Mexico. Just since November, five Uber Eats couriers have been killed in crashes, and countless more injured. Uber’s insurance policy falls short. “A pattern emerged in riders’ stories: those who called for help from Uber’s insurance were told their injuries would not be covered, or the insurance company never arrived to the scene of the crash. In Querétaro, Alex Loyola called for help when he was hit by a car, but…Continue Reading “The Verge: Deaths and injuries don’t slow Uber Eats’ rapid expansion in Mexico”