New from the Americas Policy Program

Haiti’s Compounding Food and Health Crises
By Rupa Chinai

Haiti today is a tragic case study of how developing nations can lose the sovereign right to ensure access to healthcare when they lose their right to local food self-sufficiency under globalization.

Both crises have the same roots: the loss of food sovereignty and the basic ability of a nation to feed its own people. This has led to a situation that demands international attention.

Rupa Chinai (rupachinai68(at) is an independent journalist based in Mumbai. Her trip to Haiti was supported by Media 21, a global network of journalists, and Infosud, a Swiss news agency. Her analysis is published by the Americas Policy Program (

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U.S. Recession, Drug War Violence Cause Crisis in Mexico Tourism
By Kent Paterson

In 2008, Zihuatanejo and other Mexican tourist destinations are suffering a downturn in international tourism. The reasons are multiple: U.S. recession, high fuel costs, air route cancellations, new U.S. passport requirements, narco-violence, and environmental contamination. In Mexico tourism rakes in about $83 billion annually and helps support 2.4 million jobs, according to the federal Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur, as it’s referred to in Mexico).

Foreign travelers account for nearly $13 billion of the tourist revenue, so fewer foreign travelers translates into economic pain. Tourism generates more money than the maquiladora export industry or remittances sent home by U.S.-based migrants.

Kent Paterson is a freelance journalist who covers the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Latin America, and an analyst for the Americas Policy Program at

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A Primer on Plan Mexico
By Laura Carlsen

In the end, even the weak conditions that had been placed on the bill were largely removed. Both administrations proclaimed themselves satisfied with the deal, and Congress hailed a new era in binational cooperation. But with human rights relegated to the sidelines, Mexican society and U.S.-Mexico relations face a militarized future, in which the unchecked power of abusive security forces adds to, rather than resolves, the alarming violence of organized crime.

Laura Carlsen (lcarlsen(@) is director of the Americas Policy Program in Mexico City.

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Asunción’s Bañados Neighborhood: The Power of Community
By Raúl Zibechi

It has been nearly half a century since the Bañados area (Spanish for marshy wetlands) was a swamp upon where the Paraguay River dumped its waters during rainy seasons. It was also Asunción’s garbage dump. Today, it is one of the most populous neighborhoods, where extreme poverty has become tolerable thanks to incredible solidarity.

Raúl Zibechi is international analyst for Brecha of Montevideo, Uruguay, lecturer and investigator on social movements at the Multiversidad, and adviser to several social groups. He is a monthly collaborator with the Americas Policy Program (

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