WBEZ | Latin America http://www.wbez.org/tags/latin-america Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en UN cuts Syria food aid http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-02/un-cuts-syria-food-aid-111176 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP183970380655.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The United Nations World Food Program has been forced to suspend food aid to Syria. Lina Sergie Attar has just returned from the Syrian border. She joins us to discuss the impact of the cuts.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-un-cuts-syria-food-aid/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-un-cuts-syria-food-aid.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-un-cuts-syria-food-aid" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: UN cuts Syria food aid" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 11:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-02/un-cuts-syria-food-aid-111176 After Chavez: The constitution, the VP, and the elections http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/after-chavez-constitution-vp-and-elections-105965 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7110_AP061017028590-scr.jpg" style="height: 209px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="The late President Hugo Chávez and the now Acting President Nicolás Maduro confer under a portrait of Latin American hero Simón Bolivar. (AP/File)" />The last time Hugo Chávez <a href="http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2012/12/31/actualidad/1356959661_172483.html">appeared</a> on Venezuelan TV was December 8, when he gave explicit instructions.</div><p>&quot;If something should happen that I might be incapacitated in any way, I want Nicolás Maduro to finish my term, as the constitution dictates, but also -- and it&rsquo;s my firm opinion, as clear as a full moon, irrevocable, absolute, total -- that if you&rsquo;re obliged to hold new presidential elections, you should elect Nicolás Maduro as president,&rdquo; he said, holding a copy of the constitution. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m asking this with all my heart.&rdquo;</p><p>Two days later, Chávez boarded a plane to Havana and was never seen or heard from in public again. He was never even sworn in to his new presidential term, thanks to a ruling from the Venezuelan Supreme Court that said the new term was, essentially, a &quot;continuation&rdquo; of the old term. And though power was never officially transferred from Chávez, Maduro became the face of the government, the de facto president.</p><p>It was no surprise then that the news of Chávez&rsquo;s death last Tuesday was delivered by a somber and clearly emotional Maduro, who also said there would be elections in 30 days.</p><p>Since then, it&rsquo;s been almost a given that Maduro will be the standard bearer for Chávez&rsquo;s party. He will very likely face Henrique Capriles, who came within 11 points of Chávez last fall as the opposition candidate (Capriles, though having come closer to unseating Chávez than any previous opponent, will likely enter this election weaker, as much from the wave of sympathy carrying Maduro as from the opposition&rsquo;s internal divisions).</p><p>But here&rsquo;s the thing: there&rsquo;s a real question about whether Maduro should be interim president, and about his candidacy should he choose to run for president.</p><p>The 1999 Venezuelan Constitution&rsquo;s Article 233 (in its original Spanish below) says this: &quot;When there&rsquo;s an absolute absence of the President or President-elect before the inauguration, a new election -- universal, direct, and by secret ballot -- shall take place within 30 days. During the time of the election and up to the inauguration of the new President, the Presidency of the Republic shall be held by the President of the National Assembly.&rdquo;</p><p>The constitution provides for the ascendancy of the VP only after the president has been inaugurated.</p><p>In other words, because Chávez was never technically sworn in, it would not be Maduro the VP (and Foreign Minister) but Diosdado Cabello, the President of the National Assembly, who should be acting president. (Much was made by some of Cabello&rsquo;s absence from the news conference announcing Chávez&rsquo;s passing, but <a href="http://www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve/nacionales/fallecio-madre-diosdado-cabello/">Cabello&rsquo;s own mother</a> had died Sunday, just two days before, and he was with family.)</p><p>Yesterday, Cabello announced a special Friday session of the National Assembly to swear in Maduro as the nation&rsquo;s acting president and to call for elections within 30 days.</p><p>&quot;President Chávez was in full control of the (presidency),&rdquo; Cabello told Venezuelan TV, insisting, as everyone on Chávez&rsquo;s team has for the past few months, that he, as President of the National Assembly, <a href="http://laiguana.tv/noticias/2013/03/07/4257/DIOSDADO-ANUNCIA-QUE-ESTE-VIERNES-SE-JURAMENTARA-NICOLAS-MADURO-COMO-PRESIDENTE-ENCARGADO.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter">didn&rsquo;t need to assume the presidency temporarily </a>because there was no &ldquo;absolute absence,&rdquo; as the constitution calls for. &ldquo;An absolute absence was never decreed. What the constitution calls for is that when there&rsquo;s an incident such as this (death) within the first four years of a presidential term, the vice president of the Republic will assume the responsibility (of the presidency). And that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re going to do. That&rsquo;s what the constitution says. We&rsquo;re going to comply with President Chávez&rsquo;s orders.&rdquo;</p><p>Whether Chávez was actually in control up to the last minute is irrelevant at this point. But let&rsquo;s say that, seeing that Chávez was already in power, not waiting to be sworn in, that a valid argument can be made for Maduro, as VP, to step in.</p><p>That leads us to another problem, Article 229 of the constitution (also in Spanish below): &quot;Whomever is serving as Executive Vice President (Maduro&rsquo;s actual title), Minister, Governor or Mayor on the day of the announcement of his or her candidacy, or at any moment between that date and the election, may not be elected President of the Republic.&rdquo;</p><p>After tomorrow, Maduro will not be VP but acting president. Yet becoming acting president is the privilege of the vice president or the president of the National Assembly. In order words, his new status as acting president -- which would likely legalize his candidacy -- is conditioned on his immediately prior status as VP -- which would make him illegible.</p><p>As the legal drama continued to unfold yesterday, Maduro had one other announcement: Chávez&rsquo;s body will lie in state for seven days and then be embalmed for permanent display.</p><p>&quot;The body of our leader will be embalmed, and it will ... be surrounded by crystal glass forever, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/07/world/americas/venezuela-chavez/index.html">present forever</a>, and always with his people,&quot; he said.<br /><br />***</p><p><br /><em>Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela de 1999</em></p><p><u>Artículo 233</u>. Serán faltas absolutas del Presidente o Presidenta de la República: la muerte, su renuncia, la destitución decretada por sentencia del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, la incapacidad física o mental permanente certificada por una junta médica designada por el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia y con aprobación de la Asamblea Nacional, el abandono del cargo, declarado éste por la Asamblea Nacional, así como la revocatoria popular de su mandato.</p><p>Cuando se produzca la falta absoluta del Presidente electo o Presidenta electa antes de tomar posessión, se procederá a una nueva elección universal, directa y secreto dentro de los treinta días consecutivos siguientes. Mientras se elige y toma posesión el nuevo Presidente o Presidenta, se encargará de la Presidencia de la República el Presidente o Presidenta de la Asamblea Nacional.</p><p>Cuando se produzca la falta absoluta del Presidente o Presidenta de la República durante los primeros cuatro años del período constitucional, se procederá a una nueva elección universal y directa dentro de los treinta días consecutivos siguientes. Mientras se elige y toma posesión el nuevo Presidente o Presidenta, se encargará de la Presidencia de la República el Vicepresidente Ejecutivo o Vicepresidenta Ejecutiva.<br /><br /><u>Artículo 229</u>. No podrá ser elegido Presidente o elegida Presidenta de la República quien esté de ejercicio del cargo de Vicepresidente Ejecutivo o Vicepresidenta Ejecutiva, Ministro o Ministra, Gobernador o Gobernadora y Alcalde o Alcaldesa, en el día de su postulación o en cualquier momento entre esta fecha y la de la elección.</p><p><u><strong><em>UPDATE:&nbsp;&nbsp; </em></strong></u><br />&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.tsj.gov.ve/decisiones/scon/Marzo/141-8313-2013-13-0196.html">Venezuelan Supreme Court</a> delivered an opinion Friday, March 8, before Maduro&#39;s swearing in as president later that night, that confirmed his promotion to Acting President and specifically exempted him from having to resign the office while a candidate for president. This means that Maduro will have all of the advantages of incumbency, including government-owned and government-controlled media (which has so far broadcast very little about the opposition) leading up to the Aprl 14 elections.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Mar 2013 05:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/after-chavez-constitution-vp-and-elections-105965 Chávez dies, VP accuses US of poisoning http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/ch%C3%A1vez-dies-vp-accuses-us-poisoning-105932 <p><p>Amidst the news of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/world/americas/hugo-chavez-venezuelas-polarizing-leader-dies-at-58.html?pagewanted=1&amp;_r=1&amp;smid=tw-share&amp;">Hugo Chávez&rsquo;s death</a> yesterday, his vice president Nicolás Maduro also announced that he&rsquo;d <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2013/03/05/venezuela-expels-us-diplomat-vice-president-claims-hugo-chavez-was-poisoned/#ixzz2Mhrzxb00">expelled two American diplomats</a> from Venezuela for plotting against the government. Maduro also said that Chávez had been poisoned.</p><p>&quot;We have no doubt that Commandant Chávez was attacked with this illness, we have no doubt whatsoever,&rdquo; Maduro said. &ldquo;The established enemies of our land specifically tried to damage our leader&rsquo;s health. We already have leads, which will be further explored with a scientific investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Where did Maduro get this idea? Well, from Chávez himself. Back in December 2011, he gave a speech shortly after he&rsquo;d been diagnosed with cancer and heard that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the president of Argentina, also had cancer, in which he proposed the possibility that the U.S. had targeted progressive Latin American leaders through some kind of cancer-inducing chemical warfare.<br /><br />The video above has the speech. Below, my translation.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s very difficult to explain at this point ... based on the law of probabilities ... what&rsquo;s been happening to some of us in Latin America. At the very least, it&rsquo;s strange. Very, very strange. I don&rsquo;t want to make reckless accusations, no. But, just recently, I was watching TeleSur and saw our friend, the Guatelaman President Alvaro Colón handing the presidency over to General Otto Pérez. He was elected president just recently, in January. A general in the Guatemalan army whom I met back in the 80s, when I was in Guatemala for a few months for a course on civic matters and political warfare. Alvaro Colón was at this event asking for forgiveness for the Guatemalan government, and asking the United States to accept responsibility now that it had been proven, fifty, forty years after the fact, it was proven -- it&rsquo;s been proven -- that the government of the United States, the CIA and I don&rsquo;t know how many other entities, had launched a biological, chemical and radiological operation in Guatemala and contaminated countless Guatemalans with countless diseases. Among these, venereal diseases. All so they could perform some tests. That&rsquo;s the United States right there. Would it be strange if they had developed a technology to induce cancer that nobody knows about now but which will be discovered in fifty or however many years? I don&rsquo;t know. I&rsquo;m just sharing my thoughts. But this is very, very, very strange that we should all get cancer: (Paraguayan president Fernando) Lugo, Dilma (Rousseff, president of Brazil), back when she was a candidate. Thank god, Lugo recovered from cancer and just look at him, leading battles in Paraguay and, yes, all over Latin America. And Dilma, well, thank god she too survived it. But that cancer put her presidential candidacy at risk. (Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio) Lula (da Silva) couldn&rsquo;t be re-elected. Then there&rsquo;s me, bam, coming into an election year. And then a few days later, Lula. And now, Cristina. Well, it is a little hard to explain, isn&rsquo;t it, to try to reason through it, even if you apply the law of probabilities. Fidel (Castro, former president of Cuba) always told me: &lsquo;Chávez, be careful. Chávez, be careful, because you&rsquo;re always all over everybody. Look, be careful. These people have developed all sorts of technology. You&rsquo;re too careless. Watch what you eat, be careful with what you&rsquo;re given to eat. Be careful with what have you -- a small needle can inject you with whatever.&rsquo; But, you&rsquo;re out there and you&rsquo;re in God&rsquo;s hands. In any case, I&rsquo;m not accusing anyone. I&rsquo;m merely using my right to reflect and to comment on these very strange events that are very difficult to explain. Be strong, Cristina. You&rsquo;ll live. We&rsquo;ll live. We will triumph for Latin America, for Latin America, for our people.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 11:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/ch%C3%A1vez-dies-vp-accuses-us-poisoning-105932 Mexico City a progressive outlier in nation’s patchwork of abortion laws http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-09/here-there-catholic-church-big-player-patchwork-abortion-laws-mexico-and <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6022_AP080813047679-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="To show their support of safe abortions, activists displayed 8,000 self portraits in downtown Mexico City. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)" /></div><p><em>This episode of the Worldview was orginally broadcast on August 9, 2011. </em></p><p>Tuesday we continue our week-long look at abortion laws in other parts of the world. It&rsquo;s part of our occasional series <em><a href="http://wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank">Here, There</a></em>, where we look at how other cultures approach challenges we face at home.</p><p>Now we turn our eyes to Mexico, which, much like the U.S., has laws that vary from state to state. In 2008, Mexico City became the first &ndash; and so far only &ndash; place in the country to legalize voluntary abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Like Washington, D.C., Mexico City does not belong to any state.&nbsp;</p><p>Not surprisingly, decriminalizing abortion was a controversial move in the strongly Catholic country. Fifty-three percent of Mexico&#39;s states are still advocating to impose stricter bans on abortion or criminalize it entirely.</p><p><strong>Tuesday on <em>Worldview</em>:&nbsp;</strong></p><p>To learn more, we talk to <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty/ana-langer/" target="_blank">Ana Langer</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/women-and-health-initiative/" target="_blank">Women and Health Initiative</a> at Harvard University&rsquo;s School of Public Health. She talks about the situation in Mexico and describes four Latin American countries that ban abortion under all circumstances, including rape and health of the mother: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile and Uruguay.</p><p><strong>On how the law became possible:</strong></p><p>&quot;A number of factors came together to make reform possible: A leftist government, which has been ruling the city since the late &lsquo;90s, almost 14 years now; a very, very active civil society with feminist groups playing an important role; and good information about the toll that unsafe abortion took on women in the capitol city and on women in the country in general in terms of morbidity and mortality.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the Supreme Court ratifying the law:</strong></p><p>&quot;The judges came to the conclusion that the law was constitutional. . . which came as a surprise to all of us. . . The Supreme Court is quite conservative.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the anti-abortion backlash prompted by the law: </strong></p><p>&quot;Usually what happens in the capitol city has a strong impact on the rest of the country. But in this case, that didn&rsquo;t happen.&nbsp; In fact, what happened was completely opposite to that. Since the law was approved, 17 out of 32 states &ndash; 53 percent &ndash; have now passed initiatives or reforms to ban abortion entirely.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the impact on access:</strong></p><p>&quot;A large number of women . . . travel to Mexico City to get abortions. The procedure is free for residents of Mexico City, but for those who travel they have to pay a fee, but the fee is very modest. . . In the states where abortion is banned, obviously, women with financial resources access abortion, which has always been the case. The poorer women have more difficulty in getting the procedure done at all.&quot;</p><p><strong>Has this changed the number of abortions?</strong></p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s difficult to know the number of abortions performed before the law. . . there weren&rsquo;t any reliable statistics. But if we count legal abortions, the change was amazing &ndash; from a few dozen every year to. . . 52,000 by January [of 2011].&quot;</p><p><strong>On the political dimensions compared to the U.S.:</strong></p><p>&quot;In Mexico you don&rsquo;t see those people demonstrating outside of clinics. Never, ever has a provider been killed so far. . . People may pass judgment on women who seek abortions but it&rsquo;s not aggressive. . .The situation is not as polarized as in the U.S.&quot;&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-09/here-there-catholic-church-big-player-patchwork-abortion-laws-mexico-and With Hugo Chavez ailing, his opposition gains traction in Venezuela http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-05/hugo-chavez-ailing-his-opposition-gains-traction-venezuela-96974 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-March/2012-03-05/chavez seg.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hugo Chavez reported on his latest cancer surgery today. The Venezuelan leader said the two-centimeter tumor was cancerous; however he was optimistic saying vital signs, including blood pressure, were "favorable." Chavez also clamis to have "no fever, hemorrhages or infections"and that scarring is occurring at "a normal pace, and digestion is normal." Chavez sums up his recovery as "real, sustained, progressive and fast...I am flying like the condor."</p><p>But Chavez never said what kind of cancer he has. His health, and a unified opposition ready to contest the October elections, creates many questions about the Venezuela's future.</p><p><em>Worldview</em> talks with <a href="https://www.amherst.edu/users/C/jcorrales/aboutme">Javier Corrales</a>. He’s Professor of Political Science at Amherst College and co-author of the 2011 book, <em>Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the political economy of revolution in Venezuela</em>.</p></p> Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-05/hugo-chavez-ailing-his-opposition-gains-traction-venezuela-96974 How the U.S. lost South America http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-13/how-us-lost-south-america-96342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-13/AP03093003866.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>While the U.S. economy has struggled in the last decade, South America's has thrived. And as the U.S. deals with near record poverty, South American countries are ramping up social spending and broadening their safety nets. For the first time, it looks like the U.S. may need a dose of South America’s economic advice instead of the other way around.</p><p>Hal Weitzman is author of the book, <a href="http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470481919.html"><em>Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering</em></a>. Hal covered the changes in South America for the <a href="http://www.ft.com/"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. He’s now the FT’s Chicago and Midwest Correspondent.</p><p><em>Hal Weitzman will speak tomorrow morning (Feb. 14) at a Chicago Council on Global Affairs <a href="http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Event/FY_12_Events/02_February_2012/Latin_Lessons.aspx" target="_blank">event</a> at the Chicago Club.&nbsp; He will also make some bookstore appearances on Feb. 16 at Afterwords bookstore (23 E. Illinois, 6.30pm) and Feb. 23 at Unabridged bookstore (3521 N. Broadway, 6.30pm).</em></p></p> Mon, 13 Feb 2012 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-13/how-us-lost-south-america-96342 Ground Shifters: Women and girls in Bolivia and Mexico struggle for justice and rights http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-27/ground-shifters-women-and-girls-bolivia-and-mexico-struggle-justice-and- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-19/jean.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today, <em>Worldview</em> presents part of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/jean-friedman-rudovsky-chronicles-%E2%80%98women-warriors%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-and-bol">Jean Friedman-Rudovsky’s</a> series on women and girls in Bolivia and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ground-shifters-stories-women-changing-unseen-worlds" target="_blank"><em>Ground Shifters: Stories of Women Changing Unseen Worlds</em></a>. It was part of an ongoing collaboration between WBEZ and the <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Institute_for_the_Study_of_Women_and_Gender_in_the_Arts_and_Media/">Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women &amp; Gender in the Arts &amp; Media</a> as part of the project "Gender, Human Rights, Leadership, and Media".</p><p>First, in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez, close to 1,500 women were disappeared over a decade.<span style="font-style: italic;"> </span>We'll hear <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-13/ground-shifters-%E2%80%98justice-buried%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-91917" target="_blank">a profile of Marisela Ortiz</a>, an activist who’s spent years fighting for justice for families of what's known as "femicide". Then, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-14/ground-shifters-%E2%80%98locked-organized%E2%80%99-la-paz-bolivia-91979" target="_blank">we travel</a> to a women’s prison in La Paz, Bolivia. This prison is a miniature city—with shops, businesses, a school and even a union. We find out how its inmates exercise their rights to improve their communal home. Finally, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/%E2%80%98ground-shifters%E2%80%99-%E2%80%98girls-gauntlets%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-children-unionizing-bolivia-92051" target="_blank">we meet Ana, Brigida and Noemí</a>, young girls in La Paz, Bolivia who are proud to work. In fact, they've unionized, along with more than one hundred thousand child workers across Latin America.</p></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-27/ground-shifters-women-and-girls-bolivia-and-mexico-struggle-justice-and- Worldview 12.27.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-122711 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-december/2011-12-27/girls-front-page.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today, <em>Worldview</em> presents installments from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ground-shifters-stories-women-changing-unseen-worlds" target="_blank"><em>Ground Shifters: Stories of Women Changing Unseen Worlds</em></a>, a series about women and girls in Bolivia and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/jean-friedman-rudovsky-chronicles-%E2%80%98women-warriors%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-and-bol">Jean Friedman-Rudovsky</a>. It is part of an ongoing collaboration between WBEZ and the <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Institute_for_the_Study_of_Women_and_Gender_in_the_Arts_and_Media/">Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women &amp; Gender in the Arts &amp; Media</a>. Close to 1,500 women in Ciudad Juárez have been disappeared in the last decade. Friedman-Rudovsky <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-13/ground-shifters-%E2%80%98justice-buried%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-91917" target="_blank">profiles Marisela Ortiz</a>, an activist who’s spent years fighting for families of what's known as "femicide." And, <em>Ground Shifters </em>examines a women’s prison in La Paz, Bolivia that functions almost like a miniature city. It has shops, businesses, a school and even a union. Finally, Friedman-Rudovsky<a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/jean-friedman-rudovsky-chronicles-%E2%80%98women-warriors%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-and-bol"> meets </a><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/%E2%80%98ground-shifters%E2%80%99-%E2%80%98girls-gauntlets%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-children-unionizing-bolivia-92051" target="_blank">Ana, Brigida and Noemí</a>, young girls in La Paz, Bolivia who are among the 100,000 unionized child workers in Latin America.</p></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-122711 Education Is Latest Casualty In Mexico's Drug War http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-27/education-latest-casualty-mexicos-drug-war-92560 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-28/AcapulcoStrike_1_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the coastal Mexican city of Acapulco, teachers are out on strike — not over wages, working conditions or pensions, but because of crime.</p><p>Teachers say they're being extorted, kidnapped and intimidated by local gangs and they're refusing to return to their classrooms until the government does something to protect them. Over the last two years, drug cartels fighting for control of Acapulco have terrorized the once-popular tourist resort.</p><p>Public schools across most of Mexico resumed in late August. But in Acapulco, more than a hundred schools have been shut for more than a month. Last week about 7,000 teachers marched up the city's main tourist strip, past the stores selling Senor Frog T-shirts and quart-sized margaritas. Their banners demanded security and peace.</p><p>As Mexico's drug war drags on, and the government cracks down on narcotics trafficking, there's been a spike across the country in kidnapping, car theft and extortion. Teachers refused to reopen schools in Acapulco after there were several anonymous demands for educators to hand over half their salaries to criminal gangs by Oct. 1 — or be killed.</p><p>In the middle of what should be a school day, hundreds of teachers have gathered at a school near the center of Acapulco, awaiting instructions from their union leaders.</p><p>A primary school teacher — who for security reasons only wants to give her first name, Bety — says the teachers are being attacked, extorted and kidnapped with impunity.</p><p><strong>Teaching Confronting A Widespread Problem</strong></p><p>Manuel Lozano Hernandez, a veteran educator in the Acapulco public schools, says the teachers are publicly fighting a problem that's plaguing taxi drivers, shopkeepers, restaurant owners and even street vendors in Acapulco.</p><p>"I believe that this fight that the teachers are making is a defining moment, because having been a teacher for 32 years, I'm convinced that teachers have their finger on the pulse of what's happening in every house, every neighborhood, every street, every family. Thus, this issue is very important," he says.</p><p>Longtime residents of Acapulco say crime in what used to be one of Mexico's leading tourist resorts is out of control. There have been shootouts by heavily armed gunmen in front of beach hotels. Several women were decapitated this year at the start of the Semana Santa holiday, Mexico's big spring break.</p><p>As in many other drug-plagued Mexican cities, federal police and soldiers in ski masks patrol the streets in armored convoys.</p><p>One local college student says the recent crime wave is like a psychosis that's gripped Acapulco. A waiter says violent crime is crushing the economy. And now it's delayed the start of classes at many schools across the city by more than a month.</p><p>Mercedes Martinez Calvo, the city's director of education, says the teacher walkout clearly has had a huge negative effect on students.</p><p>She says schools — and particularly teachers — are going to have to come up with a plan of how to make up all of the instruction time that's been lost.</p><p>Martinez says this might mean longer school days or classes on weekends.<br /> Parents recognize the severity of the current crime problem and sympathize with the teachers, Martinez says. But she adds that there's growing public frustration with the strike. She says each day more and more schools are opening across Acapulco. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317226165?&gn=Education+Is+Latest+Casualty+In+Mexico%27s+Drug+War&ev=event2&ch=1127&h1=Latin+America,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140854544&c7=1127&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1127&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110928&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 03:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-27/education-latest-casualty-mexicos-drug-war-92560 Mexican Drug Cartels Now Menace Social Media http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-23/mexican-drug-cartels-now-menace-social-media-92401 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-23/mexico_cartels_journalists_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Mexican drug cartels silenced the mainstream media by threatening and killing journalists. Now they seem to be extending the practice to social media.</p><p>Many Mexicans have had to rely on social media to find out what's going on in their cities after newspapers, TV and radio stations stopped reporting on drug-related violence.</p><p>But last week, the mangled bodies of a young man and woman were hung from a highway bridge in Nuevo Laredo along with a sign that read: "This is what happens to people who post funny things on the internet. Pay attention."</p><p>People are paying attention.</p><p>"It suggests that the blogosphere has been included in the media landscape that the cartels are looking at. Because up until now it has only been traditional media —print, TV and radio," Javier Garza is the editor of <em>El Siglo de Torreon</em>, a newspaper in the neighboring Coahuila state, which is also aflame with cartel violence.</p><p><strong>A New Battleground</strong></p><p>The message seems to indicate that a drug cartel is upset that its activities are being posted on websites — two in particular.</p><p>Frontera Al Rojo Vivo – loosely translated as The Raw Border – is a blog run by a newspaper in Monterrey for use by border residents.</p><p>The other is Blog del Narco, a notorious website run by an anonymous webmaster and open to anyone. Blog del Narco accepts posts from ordinary citizens, police agencies, and, increasingly, the narcos themselves. The site features grisly photos and videos of cartel mayhem around the country.</p><p>And the narcos want it both ways. They want to censor the negative things that people say about them on this and other blogs. And yet they want a forum to post their own propaganda, or have sympathizers do it on their behalf.</p><p>Blog del Narco has become just that, according to Rosental Alves, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin who follows new media in Latin America.</p><p>"In Blog del Narco (they) are amplifying the public relations efforts the cartels had already started," he said.</p><p>In the routine barbarity that defines the Mexican mafia, they use images of murder, torture and even beheadings to intimidate foes and brag of their exploits.</p><p>Blog del Narco, like the popular Mexican tabloids, has learned that savagery sells. You can log on, and see photos of severed heads and disfigured bodies next to ads for GM Truck Month, Geico Auto Insurance, and Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner.</p><p><strong>Web Activities Provide Intelligence</strong></p><p>On another level, Blog del Narco and copycat websites have become required watching for intelligence gatherers who want to know what the cartels are up to.</p><p>"Some traffickers have been tortured on film and they recite a lot of useful information, information about command and control, information about sponsorship of killings, the list is endless," said a spokesperson for Grupo Savant, a private security firm in the Washington, D.C. area with knowledge of organized crime activities in Mexico. The spokesperson requested anonymity.</p><p>This is not to say that all social media in Mexico has been co-opted by drug traffickers.</p><p>Some networks do provide timely information for nervous citizens. Twitter followers of #nuevolaredo will ask: Does anybody know what the boom heard downtown was — a harmless firecracker or a hand grenade?</p><p>But, increasingly, experience tells Mexicans to be cautious about the information they get on social networks.</p><p>"We've seen infiltration by criminal groups who use social media to spread rumors that can create mass psychosis," says a veteran journalist in Matamoros, who asked not to be named. "Far from calming people, it just makes them more panicked."</p><p><strong>False Information Causes Chaos</strong></p><p>There have been instances, for example, in which cartel members tweet about a shootout in a certain neighborhood for the purpose of diverting the police and miltary to that area. Then the cartel unleashes an operation in another part of the city.</p><p>And some of the misinformation comes from well-meaning citizens.</p><p>Veracruz is a port city on the Gulf of Mexico that's being contested by warring mafias. Weeks of running gunbattles have put the city on edge.</p><p>This week, gunmen in two trucks dumped 35 bodies of suspected rival gang members onto a busy avenue. Horrified motorists frantically tweeted for others to avoid the area.</p><p>That was real.</p><p>But a month ago, two residents independently tweeted that narcos were kidnapping children from schools. Bedlam broke out. Parents raced through the streets to the schools to rescue their children. Police logged 26 vehicle accidents.</p><p>It was a false alarm.</p><p>"If you tweet false information about violent episodes, I think first we have to discern your intent — is it malicious intent or did you just retweet information you saw elsewhere?" said Javier Garza, the newspaper editor.</p><p>Initially, angry state prosecutors arrested the two Veracruz residents who tweeted and charged them with terrorism and sabotage. But human rights and internet freedom activists screamed foul.</p><p>This Wednesday, authorities dropped the charges against the two and they walked out of jail to jubilant supporters. The Veracruz state legislature is now expected to create a new offense for bloggers who "disturb the peace." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316809046?&gn=Mexican+Drug+Cartels+Now+Menace+Social+Media&ev=event2&ch=1127&h1=Latin+America,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140745739&c7=1127&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1127&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110923&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 23 Sep 2011 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-23/mexican-drug-cartels-now-menace-social-media-92401