I am working on an in depth post on how the issue of immigration was flowing through the Netroots Nation conference, pero it’s important to recognize that the way the United States chooses to “deal”/interact with Latin American countries is related to how the U.S. chooses to “deal”/interact with those who come from Latin America and their descendents.
This past weekend, the Colombian government announced that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. that allows the US military to move inside the country to tackle drug-trafficking and terrorism. Seven Colombian military bases will now become de facto U.S. military bases. Understandably, other countries in Latin America are none too pleased to have the grand gringo army within close shooting distance, and I’m not just talking about countries who are painted as far-left like Venezuela. I’m talking Argentina and Brazil as well.
We have already seen in Colombia and closer in Mexico, that U.S. intervention and support and presence in countries whose armed forces are already abusing their populations, creates (surprise!) more abuse. Then when gente trying to survive, attempt to escape that abuse, they are denied asylum/protection. For those that do make it through outside the “accepted” model, they have to live in fear either as shadows in first world countries like the U.S. and Canada, or inside detention centers.
The U.S. government, as usual, wants to have it both ways. They want to name something a war and bring war’s violence on populations, pero they are unwilling to deal with the casualties of war. The U.S. is pumping billions of dollars into Mexico on down through Central and South America. Perhaps a better way to look at this war in drugs is as an extension of the Bush war on (of) terror. You know, that whole fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here, except it seems that the targets, are potential brown migrants.
Here at VL we have covered lots ofstories about violence against transgender people, and unfortunately many of these cases of violence end in death. What I didn’t know was that the rate at which transgender murders occur worldwide was so high; a recent report by non-profit organization Transgender Europe (TGEU) shows that a transgender person is killed every 3 days. And another disturbing fact is that the majority of these murders are happening in Latin America:
The cases have been reported from all six World regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The majority of cases have been reported from Latin America and North America. On these continents the majority of cases have been reported from Brazil (59) and the U.S.A. (16) for 2008 and from Brazil (23), Venezuela (20), and Guatemala (10) for the first six months of 2009. Moreover, the preliminary results show a total of 11 murdered trans people reported for Colombia followed by 5 for Honduras and 4 for Mexico and Venezuela for 2008, and 6 for Mexico and 3 for Argentina, and the Dominican Republic for the first six months of 2009.
In total 91 murders of trans people were reported in 11 Latin American countries in 2008, and 73 murders of trans people in 11 Latin American countries in the first six months of 2009. The reported murders of trans people in Latin America account for 75% and 88% of the world wide reported murders of trans people in 2008 and the first six months of
The map associated with the study (image above) for 2009 to date shows the highest concentration of murders in South America, particularly in Brazil.
My daughters grow up with the word “coup” as part of their vocabulary because it is part of their history. It’s not just something witnessed online the way many , including myself, have witnessed the ongoing struggle in Honduras. Coups are a familial story, something one of their parents survived, like genocide. It is not an abstract concept. So it is for most of Latin America.
A poll released last month shows that last year almost half of people polled in Honduras felt their country’s political situation was unstable.
When asked whether they agreed or disagreed that their country was headed toward a military coup d’etat, 29% of respondents agreed, which is a high percentage by Latin American standards, where the regional median was 15% in 2008. Also, when asked whether they agreed or disagreed that their country was headed toward a better democracy, nearly one in two respondents disagreed, and only 29% agreed.
Contrary to what the writers of South Park would have you think, Costa Rica is a paradise on earth. At least that’s that’s what a new poll by a UK environmental institute has shown: Costa Rica ranks as not only one of the most environmentally friendly countries, but also as the world’s happiest:
The New Economics Foundation looked at 143 countries that are home to 99 percent of the world’s population and devised an equation that weighed life expectancy and people’s happiness against their environmental impact.
By that formula, Costa Rica is the happiest, greenest country in the world, just ahead of the Dominican Republic.
85% of Costa Ricans say they are happy with their lives.
While extremists were planning how to kill legal abortion providers here in the U.S, In Chile, where abortion is illegal in all cases, a network of feminist organizations launched a hotline that will give women information about Misoprostol, a drug available in Chile by prescription to treat gastric ulcers, to safely and effectively induce abortion.
Supporters at the hotline’s launching, chanted “Contraception – so we don’t need abortions. Safe abortions – so we don’t die,” reported the Valparaiso Times. Spokesperson Gloria Maira of the Women’s Health Network of Chile said “We consider the right to a safe abortion a health issue.”
Abortion has been illegal in Chile since 1989. There are no exceptions in the law to account for rape, incest, or the life and health of the woman. Despite this, Chile has one of the highest abortion rates in Latin America, with about a third of pregnancies ending in abortion. Hundreds of women die each year from botched abortions in the country.
When I lived in Chile, I learned of the vast underground abortion networks that exist, from documentaries and my college roommates at the pension where I lived. It’s scary to me that young women in any circumstances must resort to these unregulated networks in order to take care of themselves.
It’s breakfast time on the West Coast, but way down south in Bolivia, nobody’s eating. President Evo Morales has called a hunger strike to “defend the vote of the people”. What’s he talking about? Morales and supporters want to put pressure on the Bolivian congress to approve a bill which would set a date for general elections — elections in which Morales is poised to win re-election. AP reports:
Bolivia’s opposition-led Senate has failed to approve a law to handle the elections, which are mandated by a Morales-backed constitutional reform approved by voters in January.
The socialist president, who took office in 2006, has suggested opposition leaders are trying to block the planned December elections with delaying tactics.
While they won’t be eating, AP reports that the President and his supporters will be drinking water and chewing coca leaves.
For all of you who might have been looking to the Obama administration for an end to the mini cold war that is still being waged, some 40 years later, between the United States and Cuba, you’re out of luck. Vice President Joe Biden was in Viña del Mar, Chile last week for the “Summit of Progressive Leaders“ and announced that this is not likely to happen anytime soon. Oh, but wait, we want Cubans to be free and, uh, this IS the Summit of Progressive Leaders! That must mean we are progressive!
The U.S. has no plans to lift its trade embargo on Cuba, Vice President Joe Biden told reporters today after a heads-of-government meeting in Chile.
“We think the Cuban people should determine their own fate and that they should be able to live in freedom and with some prospect of economic prosperity,” Biden said. “But Cuba is not the biggest challenge facing the hemisphere, the biggest challenge facing the hemisphere is the economy.”
But hold up, wait a minute: didn’t candidate Obama call for an end to the embargo when he was campaigning? An end to it because of its “damaging effects on the Cuban people”? Candidate Obama, where art thou?
I know that there’s still a big population of Latin@s that don’t care for Obama. I am growing to like the man–he seems to be actually following through on a lot of his promises, and for that I give the man props even if politically I am much more to the left than he is.
But there’s still a lot of Latin@s that don’t like him–which is ironic because there’s a growing number of white folks that are going the KKK way–because of him and us. From CNN comes this report:
The center’s report, “The Year in Hate,” found the number of hate groups grew by 54 percent since 2000. The study identified 926 hate groups — defined as groups with beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people — active in 2008. That’s a 4 percent jump, adding 38 more than the year before.
What makes this year’s report different is that hate groups have found two more things to be angry about — the nation’s first African-American president and an economy that is hemorrhaging jobs. For the past decade, Latino immigration has fueled the growth of hate groups.
Reading the whole report is pretty terrifying. And I am in no way meaning to imply a sense of “solidarity” (or that Latin@s should “like” Obama) between Obama and Latin@s just because we’re both being targeted by hate groups.
Rather instead, I guess I’m wondering is there any way to connect the politics of Obama (whatever that may mean to individuals or communities of Latin@s) to the politics of “Latin@” or “Immigration” or “Illegal immigrant” (which inevitably means Latin@)? Not sure if I’m being clear here–it’s sort of an abstract idea I’m working with.
I guess to put it at it’s very basic kernal of thought–I wonder if there’s any links between Latin@s and Obama that we need to think through on an individual or community level?