The term “lynching”, which emerged in the United States and refers to vigilantism or a mob taking justice into its own hands, has now entered the vocabulary in a number of Latin American countries.
Just being young, dark-skinned, poor, and wearing a hood or cap exposes you to arrest as a suspected offender in the Argentine province of Córdoba. Arbitrary police detentions are based on the misdemeanour of “loitering”, meant to prevent crime but in fact a violation of constitutional rights.
While the magnificent samba schools of Brazil were getting ready for the grand carnival in Rio de Janeiro, a modest carnival troupe toured a small Argentine town to draw attention to an urban problem that has brought the central province of Córdoba to the brink of environmental disaster: garbage.
Argentine consumers have responded to calls on social networks to mobilise against price hikes that threaten the country’s major advances towards poverty reduction and greater social equality.
They poured into shopping malls en masse to have some fun. But the reaction, a mixture of fear, admiration and heavy-handed repression, brought a new youth movement into being in Brazil: the “rolezinhos.”
Residents of a town in Argentina have won the first victory in their fight against biotech giant Monsanto, but they are still at battle stations, aware that winning the war is still a long way off.
Record temperatures at the start of the southern hemisphere summer in Argentina have been accompanied by highs on the thermometer of social discontent, as consumption peaks left thousands without electricity and threw into sharp focus the failings of the privatisation of the power industry in the 1990s.
The ratification as Argentina’s army chief of an officer accused of involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1976-1983 dictatorship has revived the debate about the thin line between the moral and judicial responsibility of those let off the hook by an amnesty law for merely “following orders”.
Tired of the drought driving away their men and killing their livestock, the women of Guanaco Sombriana, a town in northern Argentina, have found a new source of income by using the seedpods of native trees that up to now merely provided shade in this arid landscape.
Towns traditionally celebrate their most characteristic aspect. So the town of Bouwer in central Argentina decided to “celebrate” garbage.
This small town in the semi-arid central Argentine province of Córdoba now has a 24-hour hotline for people to report their neighbours for sprinkling their lawns or using water to clean off the sidewalks.
The people of this working-class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina’s central farming belt stoically put up with the spraying of the weed-killer glyphosate on the fields surrounding their neighbourhood. But the last straw was when U.S. biotech giant Monsanto showed up to build a seed plant.
Thousands of small farming families in Pará, in the Amazon jungle in northeast Brazil, have turned to the African oil palm as a new source of income, through contracts with biofuel companies. Strange bedfellows, which poses cultural and economic challenges.
The green of the oil palm plantations is unbroken along kilometre after kilometre of red soil, devastated in the past by loggers and ranchers. The oil palm, a sign of alarm for some and of hope for others, is here to stay in the Amazon rainforest state of Pará in the extreme north of this country.
South America has gone from the world’s granary to the site of innumerable international infrastructure, energy and mining megaprojects. It is now facing a new dilemma: bolstering the economy with the promise of reducing inequality, in exchange for social and environmental costs that are taking their toll.