This Week in the Americas

Protesters Turn the Tide on Immigration Debate
By Laura Carlsen

The immigration demonstrations held across the country not only marked an historic mobilization of one of the nation’s most silenced sectors. They also turned the tide on a national debate that threatened the basic values and cohesion of U.S. communities.

Millions of people poured into the streets last week and their cries of protest went beyond whether or not to enact a certain piece of legislation. The fundamental demand of the marchers was for recognition within the country they call home.

Laura Carlsen directs the Americas Program of the International Relations Center, online at

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InterAmerican Development Bank Refusal to Grant Debt Relief a Blow to Bolivia
By Alfred Gugler

Earlier this week, the directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had an opportunity to help end the cycle of poverty in extremely poor countries. But instead of following the lead of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in canceling the debt of highly-indebted poor countries like Bolivia, the IDB postponed making a decision until the end of the year. This delay has dire consequences.

In Bolivia, the most economically poor country in South America, four of every ten inhabitants are extremely impoverished, meaning they live on less than $1 a day. In terms of numbers, almost 3.5 million people live in conditions of absolute poverty in this Andean nation. 

Alfred Gugler is a researcher for the Jubilee Foundation in La Paz, Bolivia. The Jubilee Foundation ( works on the themes of public debt and poverty and is a member of the Platform of Action against Poverty which includes more than sixty civil society organizations that advocate for the total cancellation of Bolivia’s external debt.

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The Resurrection of Lula
By Raúl Zibechi

According to polls, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has emerged unscathed from the political crisis of corruption his government suffered in 2005. With his popularity on the rise, it is likely he will be reelected for another four years in October. Nevertheless, there are indications that important changes have taken place that will limit his possibilities.

Lula has recovered a good portion of the popularity he lost in 2005 and is in good condition for a victory in the upcoming election in October. According to all projections, Lula will defeat Geraldo Alckmin, governor of the state of Sao Paulo, who is running on the opposing Social Democratic Party (PSDB for its Portuguese initials) ticket.

Raúl Zibechi, a member of the editorial board of the weekly Brecha de Montevideo, is a professor and researcher on social movements at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina and adviser to several grassroots organizations. He is a monthly contributor to the IRC Americas Program (

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Caracas: Sixth World Social Forum
By Luis Hern