Marisela Escobedo’s life changed forever in August 2008 when her 16-year-old daughter Rubi failed to come home. What was left of Rubi’s body was found months later in a dump — 39 pieces of charred bone.
Rubi became one more macabre statistic in Ciudad Juarez’s nearly two-decade history of femicide. The murder of young women, often raped and tortured, brought international infamy to the city long before it became the epicenter of the Calderon drug war and took on the added title of murder capital of the world.
I was recently in my bed in rural Colombia when an explosion rocked my house. I decided to get out of bed.
Heavy combat immediately ensued on the hill immediately adjacent to the village I live in, including shots from rifles, AK-47s, M-60s and occasional grenades. The combat on the “Hill of the Cross” between guerrilla and military forces continued for the next twenty minutes as I and my teammate scurried around making contact with community leaders, our team in Bogotá and Colombian military officials. While most of the gunfire and combat came from the far side of the hill, enough shots were fired from the side facing our house to induce wincing.
long Avenue John Brown in Port-au-Prince, freshly painted graffiti reads aba seleksyon! — down with the undemocratic selection process.
It is a key message in a visual protest against the failure of democracy in Haiti. It has been added alongside older messages that read aba MINUSTAH, aba okipasyon, calling for an end to the commonly perceived foreign occupation by the United Nations stabilization mission, known by its intitials as MINUSTAH.
Those of us who understand that “the enemy is elsewhere”, as José Padilha puts it in his most recent film, cannot believe the farce that the media and the dominant power structure of Rio de Janeiro want to put over on us.
To think that the several crime-fighting operations that have taken place in greater Rio de Janeiro in the past few days should be seen as a war between good, represented by the public security forces, and evil, personified by the drug traffickers, is to ignore the fact that not even the fictional version presented in the film Tropa de Elite 2 manages to sustain that version of events.
The Costa Rican legislature on December 20 approved another deployment of dozens of U.S. ships to its territory for the next six months, but denied permission for warships to deploy to the country until a full debate occurs after the New Year.
The decision came at a moment when the country’s relationship with neighboring Nicaragua remains tense. Congress granted permission for the deployment of 46 U.S. Coast Guard ships, 42 armed helicopters, and up to 4,000 sailors to combat drug trafficking.
In many ways, the first decade of the 21st Century was the flip side of the last decade of the twentieth century in South America. There have been numerous and significant changes. We still don’t know if it’s a glitch in time or a new beginning. In any case, the region will never be the same.
Heaven and hell are reversed, traveling to the edge of the abyss, they transform into their opposite: an atrocious war with a community of peace; desperation with hope; life and death dance in an impossible trance. This is Colombia. Where peasants tired of war take refuge in peace in order to continue living. This is the story of a visit to the community from the perspective of a supportive photographer.