Articles Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Cuba Si!

    Latin America and the Caribbean

    For fifty years progressives, socialists and radicals from around the world have looked to Cuba as the place in which socialism might actually both survive and blossom in its magnificent possibilities. For this reason, Cuba also has to meet higher moral standards. We expect more from its revolutionary leaders because they (especially Fidel) have promised more. And they have delivered remarkably in health, education, social welfare and the blossoming of the arts and sciences.

  • The Chávez Code

    Golinger gives a passionate and meticulous presentation of a few recent years, which historians may one day see as the pivotal period of Latin American history – a time when U.S. power throughout the hemisphere began to crack and when Canadians have many concerns about “deep integration” with the U.S.

  • Barrick’s Gold

    The website of Canadian mining multinational Barrick says its vision is “to be the world’s best gold mining company by finding, acquiring, developing and producing quality reserves in a safe, profitable and socially responsible manner.”

    Although no one would deny the profitability of the company’s operations, Barrick’s major new project in South America has activists, ecologists and residents questioning its claims of safety and social responsibility.

  • Digging Up Canadian Dirt in Colombia

    Up a flight of stairs, behind double-enforced bulletproof glass and a large, silent bodyguard sits the office of Francisco Ramirez, a mining-policy researcher and president of a small Colombian trade union.

    Mining policy really isn’t sexy stuff and researching it usually isn’t a dangerous occupation, but some of Mr. Ramirez’s conclusions can mean life or death literally and figuratively. “Once they tried to kill me right here in this office,” said the researcher, who has survived seven assassination attempts.

  • Cuba After Castro

    Latin America and the Caribbean

    Unlike most Latin Americans, Cubans enjoy substantive rights. Despite the constant refrain, “no es facil,” Cubans don’t work as hard as their neighbours, nor do they suffer anxieties that they’ll have no access to health care or go homeless. Cuba’s transition team of experienced Communists can strengthen socialist institutions by opening up discussion on key decisions to its educated population.

  • Leonilda Zurita: Growing Coca in a Fight for Survival in Bolivia

    For centuries, coca has been used as a medicine in the Andes to relieve hunger, fatigue and sickness. Many Bolivians chew the small green leaf or drink it in tea on a daily basis. Much of the coca produced in Bolivia goes to this legal, controlled use. But the leaf is also a key ingredient in cocaine. The U.S. government has focused on coca eradication as a way to stem the flow of cocaine to the U.S. This war on drugs in Bolivia has resulted in violence, death, torture and trauma for the poor farmers who grow coca to survive. The U.S. government has directly funded this war, often facilitating human-rights violations and acting as a roadblock to peace in Bolivia. And the billions of dollars that Washington has pumped into this conflict have not diminished the amount of cocaine on the streets in the U.S.

  • Justice for Immigrant Workers!

    “All other sources of labour having been exhausted, the migrants were the last resource.” So reads the text accompanying the 1940-41 Migration series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. More than 60 years later, the demand for migrant labour remains Canada’s “last resource” in efforts to maintain economic growth, although the overall context has shifted somewhat.

  • Latino Mercenaries for Bush

    n the faculty dining room at the California State University where I teach, a Mexican-American woman places the thin slice of turkey on the bread to make my sandwich. The stress lines that radiate down from her high cheekbones twitch as she tells me politely that she’s fine. One of her sons is in Afghanistan, she reports. The other will leave tomorrow for Iraq. “I pray every day,” she says, smearing the mayonnaise on the other slice of bread.

  • The Politics of Money

    Since the U.S.-backed overthrow of progressive Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the severe level of political repression launched by the new government has left tens of thousands of Lavalas (Aristide’s political party) supporters the victims of rapes, incarcerations, firings and murders. One tragic aspect of this story is the extent to which Canadian federal government money has been able to buy the support of supposedly progressive organizations and individuals. Today they continue to align themselves with Canada’s brutal pro-coup policy.

  • America’s Other War

    Throughout the Cold War, Colombia was one of the largest recipients of U.S. counter-insurgency military aid and training. Counter-insurgency–CI for short–was designed to reorient recipient militaries away from a posture of external defence, toward one of “internal defence” against allegedly Soviet-aligned guerrillas. States that received U.S. CI military aid were told to police their own populations to make sure that “subversion” did not grow. Interestingly, when we examine the manuals used by U.S. military trainers to find out what they mean by subversion, we find some interesting clues as to why so many civilians died at the hands of Latin American “internal security states.”

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