LA In the News: Mothers Forced to Sleep in the Hallways of the South Hospital Due to a Lack of Space.

In Honduras, large numbers of postpartum mothers have been forced to sleep on the floors in the General South Hospital.  According to the article, “la falta de espacio en el albergue materno que tiene el Hospital General del Sur obliga a puérperas a tener que dormir en el suelo.”(El Heraldo)

The area for postpartum mothers to stay with their babies only has seven beds, however the weekly influx of mothers is around 20. KH Note: Small clarification, not to take away from the difficult conditions these Honduran mothers face: the article says that while there about 20 newborns admitted to the neonatal center at the hospital each week, the hospital only has seven beds available for mothers who want to sleep at the hospital to care for and breast feed their infants.   Now it is obvious that there is an issue.  In the article, two mothers share their experience with the hospital one named “Maria” and the other “Carmen.”  Both mothers got the all clear to leave the hospital, however were shocked to hear that their children had to be moved to a separate location due to complications.  They had to sleep on the floor because they were worried about their babies and needed to be there for them, “Carmen” even had a C-Section and was forced to sleep on the ground.  This event wasn’t only limited to these two women, this kind of thing happens all the time all over Honduras.

Ante el cansancio, las madres encuentran en el suelo un refugio. Foto: EL HERALDO

El Heraldo asked the directors of the hospital what they would do about the lack of space, and the hospital assures the public that they are doing things to increase the space in the maternity ward.

This article is by a Latin American newspaper for a Latin American audience, however, if more people were to see this then the portrayal would not be very good.  It shows a lot of the issues that Honduras has and why it has one of the largest wealth inequalities in the world.

Honduras experienced its own “revolution” in 2009 when there was a coup d’etat against the president Manuel Zelaya.  The after effects of the revolution are still felt today as partly evidenced by this occurrence.  Mel, during his administration, lost large sums of money that were meant for the educational fund.  Teachers went on strike for a large period of time (I actually remember this.)

 

Hcarrasco. “Madres Duermen En Los Pasillos Del Hospital Del Sur Por Falta De Espacio.” Diario El Heraldo. El Heraldo, September 9, 2019. https://www.elheraldo.hn/pais/1317489-466/madres-duermen-en-los-pasillos-del-hospital-del-sur-por-falta-de.

 

LA In The News: Mexico Says It Has Cut the Number of Migrants Heading to the U.S

Trump threatened to place tariffs on all Mexican imports if Mexico did not stop the flow of migrants from coming into the U.S. The threat from the Trump administration enticed the Mexican government to take action on the migrants crossing the U.S-Mexico border, such as employing the National Guard and police officers to help combat migrants crossing. That action, in turn, has significantly dropped the number of migrants captured at the border, “63,989 in August, from 146,266 at the end of May” (Ahmed 2019). Rights groups have begun to quickly criticize President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s decision to one, comply with the Trump administration and two, “allow the United States to send migrants seeking asylum back to Mexico to await their hearings” (Ahmed 2019). Critics have also pointed out the Mexican administration’s failure to invest in programs to keep Mexican and Central Americans to stay in their homeland rather than emigrating. 

This article portrays Latin America, specifically Mexico as economic puppets to the U.S, doing everything as told. Even though Mexico clearly promised to keep migrant rights at the forefront of policies, the Mexican government clearly allows the U.S to hold power over their immigration policies.

Although the issue of immigration is not a revolution, Mexico making policies due to economic threats/pressure from the U.S reminds me of world context from the five critical factors of a revolutionary movement. It is quite clear that Mexico’s advances to stop migrants from crossing the border have to do with the U.S. This article also highlighted the dangers of asylum seekers awaiting their hearings in Mexico, “migrants are sent back to ultraviolet states like Tamaulipas and Chihuahua to fend for themselves while they await their hearing dates” (Ahmed 2019). I could not help but relate this account to our discussion of the differences between northern and southern Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. During our readings and discussions about the revolutionary leaders, their goals varied, much because of where they were from. North and southern Mexico have different traditions, landscapes, demographics, all which made up what each revolutionary leader envisioned Mexico to be. To tie this in, many migrants are coming from the south to the north. I wonder if the treatment of migrants varies when they cross southern and northern Mexico? Or how migrants from Central America get treated in southern versus northern Mexico? Is there even a difference due to the differences between northern and southern Mexico?

Ahmed, Azam. “Mexico Says It Has Cut the Number of Migrants Heading to U.S.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Sept. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/06/world/americas/mexico-migrants-trump.html.

 

 

LA in the News: FARC Announces a Call To Arms Against the Columbian Government

FARC Announces a Call To Arms Against the Columbian Government

In 2016, Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos created an accord that was supposed to see the end of a half century long bloodbath, a plan that earned him a Nobel Peace Award. With the entry of new President, Ivan Duque, elected on June 17th, his ability to hold up the accord, or correctly implement the mechanisms detailed within is contested, aggravated by his platform for the election being the complete overhaul of the deal. On Thursday, August 29th The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, from here on out referred to as FARC, publicly announced their condemnation of the centrist president and vowed to take up arms against the government. Much of the outrage stems from the murders of hundreds of leftist activists and rebels following their demobilization in accordance with the peace deal. The perspective of the FARC is shown in the video posted below which features Luciano Marin and several armed guerrilla warriors declaring their dismay with the current political climate, citing that they signed the “accord in Havana we did so with the conviction that it was possible to change the life of the most humble and dispossessed,” (Marin, 0:00:19-0:00:24).

https://time.com/5664323/farc-rebels-colombia-government/

Later on in the long video, filmed as a call to arms to the Columbian people, he argues that “the state hasn’t fulfilled its most important obligation, which is to guarantee the life of its citizens and especially avoid assassinations for political reasons” (Goodman, Marin) referencing the frustration over politically based killings. While President Duque is a self-proclaimed centrist, Marin describes him as a conservative, displaying the subjectiveness of political leanings, as well as demonstrating just how far left the FARC considers themselves to be. Joining the fray is the ELN, the National Liberation Army, an even more radical organization who began to emerge as the FARC demobilized for a time. “They expressed their support of the declaration by releasing their own video filmed along a river in Colombia’s western jungles” (Goodman). Such proclamations have not gone unnoticed, and the Columbian government has insisted upon the arrest of the rebel leaders, as well as calling for an investigation into the rebel groups in an attempt to delegitimize their claims and burden them with war crime allegations. These actions are to be taken in order to maintain some semblance of peace within the country as Duque continues on his ambitious efforts to reform a peace deal.

President-elect Duque photographed in Bogotá on July 11. Stefan Ruiz for TIME

Written primarily on the proclamation of the rebel groups, the article by Time lacks details on political policy, while missing key concepts necessary for context. The governmental perspective is thrown in at the end as if it were an afterthought and makes for a very biased and skewed description of the recent occurrences in Columbia. The revolutionary voices are very strong in this article, and their message is well articulated, but again lacks context beyond the unfortunate assassins of rebel leaders. There is nothing describing the nature of these assassinations, or the actions of the FARC preceding their release of the message. By eliminating key contextualizing facts, the groups are reduced to two-dimensional organizations that seem to exist solely in this instance and for that reason alone. This gives the impression that the complex conflict in Columbia is simply another case of government versus unhappy heavily armed rebels.

Link to article discussed: https://time.com/5664323/farc-rebels-colombia-government/

References:

Goodman, Joshua. “FARC Rebels Say They Are Taking Up Arms Against Colombia Government Again.” Time, Time, 29 Aug. 2019, time.com/5664323/farc-rebels-colombia-government/.

Tomaselli, Wes. “Ivan Duque’s Plan to Fix Colombia’s Divide.” Time, Time, 19 July 2018, time.com/5342766/ivan-duque-colombia/.

LA in the News: Brazilian Military Intervention in Amazon Fires

The Brazilian government has deployed military planes equipped with firefighting equipment and 44,000 troops in an effort to put out the fires currently destroying large portions of the Amazon rainforest. These fires had been allowed to burn unhindered until international backlash forced President Jair Bolsonaro to make a genuine effort at mitigating the damage to both the rainforest and to his reputation. Despite claiming to have “zero tolerance” for those accused of environmental crimes, Bolsonaro has himself been fined for fishing in a protected area (Londoño 2019). In addition, Bolsonaro has actually called for the abolition of environmental protections, and has expressed the desire to allow industries to more freely access protected areas. Under his regime, those in the mining, logging, and farming industries have felt free to destroy portions of the Amazon to further their own interests.

Pictured: One small portion of the expansive rainforest fire (Londoño 2019)

President Bolsonaro’s lack of regard for the preservation of the rainforest is only tempered by his concern for the economic status of Brazil. He had initially dismissed concerns about the forest fires, but announced the military intervention plan when threatened with cancelled European trade deals and boycotts of Brazilian products. Many Brazilians are still unimpressed with his evidently self-serving efforts to put out the fires; they can see that his motivations are not sincere, and they want a more concrete plan for rainforest preservation. Despite constant backlash and concrete evidence to the contrary, President Bolsonaro claims that the rainforest is not burning, but that the areas on fire are those that have already been deforested (Londoño 2019).

Sky filled with smoke in São Paulo

Pictured: São Paulo engulfed in smoke from the Amazon fire (Adams 2019)

Every part of this article is based on facts, from the accurate if somewhat cartoonish depiction of Bolsonaro as a semi-despotic leader intent on destroying the rainforest to the discussion of European impact on Brazil’s fate. But it is also important to examine what facts are not included in the article; the author is an American who has written a news article meant to be read by Americans, which means that everything is shown from a Western point of view. The impact of the Amazon fires on the tribes that depend on the rainforest for their survival is glossed over in favor of a statement from a Greenpeace representative (“Amazon rainforest fires: Ten readers’ questions answered” 2019). Nor is there any direct exploration of the accusation that the fires were started by smaller businesses emboldened by Bolsonaro’s lax enforcement of environmental protection laws (“Amazon rainforest fires: Ten readers’ questions answered” 2019). Western intervention’s effect on Bolsonaro’s actions is the focus of the article, not the actions or struggles of Brazilian citizens.

The intentionally set fires in the Amazon are a perfect example of Western ideals negatively impacting a formerly colonized country. Smaller farming and mining corporations, doubtlessly run by those of European descent given their lack of regard for Amazonian tribes, feel the need to destroy swathes of rainforest in order to compete with larger businesses. Ruthless, environmentally blind capitalism is an inherently Western idea, as is evidenced by continued conflict over and use of fossil fuels, and increased use of cheap, single-use plastics in manufacturing in Western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Brazil follows the unfortunate path of many decolonized countries by imitating the often harmful policies of Western countries in order to make a profit and attempt to establish itself as a major world power.

Link to Article Discussed

References

Adams, Char. “Amazon Rainforest, Known as ‘The Planet’s Lungs,’ Has Been Burning at a Record Rate for Weeks.” People, August 21, 2019. https://people.com/human-interest/amazon-rainforest-fire-burning-record-rate-brazil/.

“Amazon Rainforest Fires: Ten Readers’ Questions Answered.” BBC News, August 23, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49450925.

Londoño, Ernesto. “Brazil Marshals Forces to Fight Amazon Fires (and Restore ‘Positive Perception’).” The New York Times, August 24, 2019.   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/world/americas/amazon-rainforest-fires-military.html.