Active Citizens

Mexican Immigrants Help Sustain Two Economies – and Are Discarded

They work for years to bolster the economies of two countries. For one, the United States, they provide labour and taxes; for the other, Mexico, they send remittances that support tens of thousands of families and communities. Then they are deported, and neither government takes into account their special needs.

Hydropower Dams Invade Brazil’s Agricultural Economy

“After being displaced for the third time,” Daniel Schlindewein became an activist struggling for the rights of people affected by dams in Brazil, and is so combative that the legal authorities banned him from going near the installations of the Sinop hydroelectric dam, which is in the final stages of construction.

Joining Forces to Improve Lives in Honduran Shantytowns

On the north side of the Honduran capital, nine poor neighbourhoods are rewriting their future, amidst the violence and insecurity that plague them as “hot spots” ruled by “maras” or gangs.

Rainwater Harvesting Improves Lives in El Salvador

Filling a jug with water to supply her household needs used to be an ordeal for Salvadoran villager Corina Canjura, because it meant walking several kilometers to the river, which took up a great deal of time, or else paying for water.

The Tuxá Indigenous Paradise, Submerged under Water

The Tuxá indigenous people had lived for centuries in the north of the Brazilian state of Bahia, on the banks of the São Francisco River. But in 1988 their territory was flooded by the Itaparica hydropower plant, and since then they have become landless. Their roots are now buried under the waters of the reservoir.

Marginalised Minorities and Homeless Especially Hard-hit by Mexico’s Quake

Maricela Fernández, an indigenous woman from the Ñañhú or Otomí people, shows the damages that the Sept. 19 earthquake inflicted on the old house where 10 families of her people were living as squatters, in a neighbourhood in the center-west of Mexico City.

Indigenous Land Conflicts Finally Garner Attention in Argentina

The territorial claims of hundreds of indigenous communities, which extend throughout most of Argentina's vast geography, burst onto the public agenda of a country built by and for descendants of European colonisers and immigrants, accustomed to looking at native people as outsiders.

Small Farmers in Brazil’s Amazon Region Seek Sustainability

The deforestation caused by the expansion of livestock farming and soy monoculture appears unstoppable in the Amazon rainforest in the west-central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. But small-scale farmers are trying to reverse that trend.

A Hostage to Parliament, Temer Sacrifices Indigenous Rights to Save Himself

Brazilians now have new reasons to yearn for and at the same time fear the parliamentary system of government. It facilitates quick solutions to political crises such as the one that is currently affecting the country, but it also further empowers reactionary forces and has led to backsliding on gains such as indigenous rights.

Latin America Discusses How to Make Environmental Rights a Reality

The final declaration of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 stated that “Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.” However, this rarely happens in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast Pools Efforts Against Climate Change

Jonathan Barrantes walks between the rows of shoots, naming one by one each species in the tree nursery that he manages, in the south of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coastal region. There are fruit trees, ceibas that will take decades to grow to full size. and timber species for forestry plantations.

Not Just Numbers: Migrants Tell Their Stories

Every single day, print and online media and TV broadcasters show images and footage of migrants and refugees adrift, salvage teams rescuing their corpses--alive or dead, from fragile boats that are often deliberately sunk by human traffickers near the coasts of a given country. Their dramas are counted –and told-- quasi exclusively in cold figures.

Governments Support Trump’s Aim to Block Central American Migrants

Trying to make it into the United States as an undocumented migrant is not such an attractive option anymore for Moris Peña, a Salvadoran who was deported from that country in 2014.

Chilean President’s Apology to the Mapuche People Considered “Insufficient”

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s formal apology to the country’s Mapuche Indians, for the “mistakes and atrocities” committed against them by the Chilean state, is seen by indigenous and social activists in the central region of Araucanía – the heartland of the Mapuche people - as falling short.

“Torture Works” — in All the Wrong Ways

“Torture works” might rank among the most sweeping generalisations ever uttered, one brutal in its disregard of the pain and suffering created by this abhorrent practice. Indeed, torture works, but to all the wrong ends.

Men Who Commit Femicide Lose Rights Over Their Children in Argentina

In January 2008, Rosana Galliano was shot to death in Exaltación de la Cruz, a rural municipality 80 km from Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. Her ex-husband, José Arce, who was sentenced to life in prison, had hired hitmen to kill her.

Large Landowners Jeopardise Indigenous Revival in Brazil

The attack with guns and machetes that left at least 10 Gamela indigenous people wounded, in the northeastern state of Maranhão, highlighted the growing threats against the resurgence and survival of native people in Brazil.

Gateway Portals and the Quest for Sustainable Urbanization

On a busy Friday afternoon, the number 1 subway train heading north through Manhattan’s Westside comes out of a dark tunnel --and if one takes a minute to release oneself from communication devices—one can catch sight of the approaching 125th street in the distance, the crosswalk buzzing with yellow cabs.

Survivors of the El Mozote Massacre Have New Hopes for Justice in El Salvador

Except for a house with its walls riddled with holes made by bursts of machine gun fire, nobody would say that the quiet Salvadoran village of El Mozote was the scene of one of the worst massacres in Latin America, just 35 years ago.

Punishment for Human Rights Abusers Is Irrevocable Achievement for Argentine Society

What at first was terrible news that outraged a large proportion of Argentine society, who see the conviction and imprisonment of dictatorship-era human rights violators as an irrevocable achievement for democracy, became a cause for celebration a week later.

Poor Rural Communities in Mexico Receive a Boost to Support Themselves

Jilder Morales, a small farmer in Mexico, looks proudly at the young avocado trees that are already over one metre high on her ejido - or communal - land, which already have small green fruit.

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