Favelas or War Zones?

November 6, 2017

In September 2017, Brazil’s military was deployed to manage the chaos between rival drug gangs in the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro. The violence escalated to the point where the airspace over the favela was shut down. Schools, businesses, and streets were on lockdown with residents hiding in their homes using social media to communicate the events outside. The 950 soldiers deployed to the community suspect the infamous ruling drug lord Antonio Bonfim Lopes aka Nem to be behind the violence from inside prison.

El Drama de Las Villas Miseria en Argentina

October 13, 2016

Nací en Tucumán hace veintiocho años. Mientras cursaba mis estudios universitarios en Buenos Aires, casi diez años atrás, la conocí y me enamoré: la villa 21, en el porteño barrio de Barracas. Llegué de la mano de un cura amigo, quien al comentarle algunas inquietudes me presentó al Padre Pepe Di Paola. Él me abrió las puertas de la Parroquia Virgen de los Milagros de Caacupé de par en par, y desde ese momento, la comunidad se convirtió en mi segunda familia.

Coca: Misrepresented, Underappreciated

October 4, 2016

Every day, millions of people in the Andes use coca like people in North America use coffee; they brew the leaves in hot water to make tea; some chew on the leaves to reenergize at work. For centuries, Andean populations have cherished the health and spiritual benefits of coca. In both uses, coca acts as a mild stimulant––like coffee––that can also suppress hunger, thirst, pain, and fatigue, and even relieve symptoms of altitude sickness. 

Drugs Around the Corner: Domestic Drug Markets and Violence in Colombia and Mexico

June 15, 2016

During the past decade, drug consumption surveys and expert analyses have warned about growing drug use in Latin America. According to the 2013 World Drug Report, cocaine use in Latin America increased significantly during the first decade of the 2000s while the U.S. cocaine market, although still the largest in the world, has been declining. Similar upward trends exist in marijuana, synthetic, and prescription drug use. These trends are seen as unprecedented as they affect primary drug producers, such as Colombia and Mexico, and are seen as generating significant violence.

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