On February 6, journalist Carmen Aristegui was abruptly fired from her job as anchor of the morning radio show for MVS Noticias. Aristegui issued an official statement denouncing pressure from the president’s office. Although she was reinstated, the incident revived national debate over political interference with freedom of expression.
The advent of progressive governments in South America in the last decade gave environmentalists the hope that this would be the beginning of a truly sustainable economic development. But post-neoliberal “progresismo” has brought new complications in the environmental front, according to numerous activists and experts.
February’s freezing fury has left a path of crumpled crops, pummeled harvests and dashed dreams in the countryside of northern Mexico. Hardest hit was the northwestern state of Sinaloa, known as the”Bread Basket of Mexico,” where about 750,000 acres of corn crops were reported destroyed after unusually cold temperatures blanketed the north of the country in January and early February.
International cartels use their control over the global food supply to make huge profits. There are six major corporations that control the purchase and sale of agricultural products: Cargill, Kraft, Bunge & Born, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), Nestlé and General Mills. Food prices are set at exchanges in Chicago, New York and London.
In the late 20th Century, a large commercial chile industry boomed in the southern part of the state near the Mexican border, drawing in thousands of immigrant farmworkers who earned a seasonal if precarious living from hand-picking the spicy pods that delighted connoisuers everywhere. Nowadays, the fortunes of New Mexico’s cherished chile crop are on the downside. Just ask Jose Rocha. A veteran farmworker with nearly four decades of experience in the fields of New Mexico and the US, Rocha says he once worked “first class fields” in a wide swath of the borderland chile-growing belt.
Global trade and investment patterns, coupled with mechanization, are at the root of the troubles of Jose Rocha and his fellow workers.
When George W. Bush left the White House, the rest of the world breathed a sigh of relief. The National Security Doctrine of unilateral attacks, the invasion of Iraq under the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction, and the abandonment of multilateral forums had opened up a new phase of U.S. aggression. Despite the focus on the Middle East, the increased threat of U.S. military intervention cast a long shadow over many parts of the world.
Two years later, that sense of relief has given way to deep concern. After hopes of a something closer to FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy of (relative) non-intervention, we find ourselves facing a new wave of militarization in Latin America–supported and promoted by the Obama administration.