"An Equal Partnership" at the Summit; Obama in Mexico; Special Earth Day Report; Immigrant Crackdown and the Drug War; April Biodiversity Report; G-20: Round Two; Citizen Groups Organize to End "Soft Censorship"

This Week in the Americas

"An Equal Partnership" at the Summit: Matching Words with Deeds
By Laura Carlsen

The stage was set for a showdown. Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama exchanged another round of insults before getting on their planes to head to Trinidad and Tobago. Many countries came prepared for an all-court press to admit Cuba to the Organization of American States (OAS) and demand lifting the U.S. embargo against the island. Five nations that form part of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, vowed not to sign the official declaration of a Cuba-less OAS.

See full article at:


New from the Americas Program

Mr. President: Calderon is not Mexico
By Laura Carlsen

President Obama’s visit to Mexico produced vague and contradictory statements, centered on worn-out strategies. He reaffirmed a U.S. commitment to the failed drug war in Mexico and the Merida Initiative, and reiterated a commitment to the free trade model, with modifications on the back burner. Many people who had hoped for a new approach that would seek to redress the inequities of the binational relationship will find little in these declarations to pin their hopes on.

See full article at:


Earth Day 2009 Special Report: Fighting to Save Mexico’s Mangroves
By Kent Paterson

Mexico’s mangrove ecosystems are under growing pressure. Statistics compiled by Greenpeace Mexico and the federal Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources report that mangrove habitat in the country’s coastal zones fell from 1,041,267 hectares in 1976 to 683,881 in 2007. If present trends continue, Greenpeace Mexico warns, the country will lose an additional 40-50% of its existing mangrove cover by 2025. Environmentalists and communities are fighting to save these vital ecosystems.

See full article at:


Immigrant Crackdown Joins Failed Crime and Drug Wars
By Tom Barry

This timely policy report from the Center for International Policy and its Americas Program examines the deepening connections between immigration enforcement, the criminal justice system, and the drug war. CIP Policy Analyst Tom Barry writes: "The United States has reacted to the immigration issue chiefly with the ‘get tough’ strategies employed in the crime and drug wars for so long, for so much money, with so little result, and with so much tragedy." The report urges the Obama administration to reconsider the punitive response to the immigration crisis, just as it would do well to declare an end to the crime and drug wars that are now so closely linked.

See full article at:

New from the Border Lines Blog:

The Failed Secure Border Initiative
The Southwest Border—"The Way Ahead?"


April Biodiversity Report
By Carmelo Ruíz Marrero

This month’s Latin America Biodiversity Report:
1. Uruguay: Contaminated Honey; 2. Peru: No to the Andean Free Trade Agreement with the European Union; 3. New Book on Genetically Modified Organisms in Latin America Released; 4. Mexico: The Struggle Against Mining in Michoacán; 5: Mexico: More Denunciations of "Geopiracy"; 6. Mexico: Maiz Defense Network: No to GMO corn!

See full article at:


G-20: Round Two
By Tony Phillips

In early April, the executives of 19 countries and the European Union traveled to London to confront a common challenge: rescue the global financial system.

Mortgage lending "exuberance," repackaged as "toxic" securities, had been pumped into the veins of global finance by the twin hearts of global capitalism, Wall Street, and the City of London. The contagion had spread out of control.

See full article at:


Citizen Groups Organize to End "Soft Censorship," Guarantee Freedom of Expression
By Martha Farmelo

Today Latin American governments rarely exercise direct censorship of the press by banning newspapers or other media outlets, reviewing material, or outright prohibiting publication. But governments across the region are using taxpayer funds and public power to exercise forms of "soft censorship" of the media. Common forms of soft censorship include: withdrawing government advertising funds as punishment for critical content, showering advertising contracts on friendly media, paying journalists directly for favorable coverage, denying broadcast licenses, or blocking access to sources and information for certain media.

Although these practices are not new, for the first time greater numbers of citizens are beginning to denounce the pernicious effects of these much more subtle methods of interfering with press freedom. Cases have been brought to light across the globe—in Latin American, Hong Kong, the Ukraine, and the United States.

See full article at: