Chris Lewis
02/08/2014 // Virgen de la Candelaria // Puno, Peru http://ift.tt/1nUsF8b

02/08/2014 // Virgen de la Candelaria // Puno, Peru http://ift.tt/1nUsF8b

02/09/2014 // Virgen de la Candelaria Festival // Puno, Peru http://ift.tt/Q1xvBz

02/09/2014 // Virgen de la Candelaria Festival // Puno, Peru http://ift.tt/Q1xvBz

1/30/2014 // Inca Wall // Cuzco, Peru http://ift.tt/1hKUfgC

1/30/2014 // Inca Wall // Cuzco, Peru http://ift.tt/1hKUfgC

Peru Gears Up For Coke Conflict

Peru was the top cocaine producer in the world back in the 1980s, and recently returned to reclaim the title. The Andean nation is trying to push coca crops back out of the country, using many of the same methods it did in the 1980s. It could be violent:

“If the government finally decides to implement eradication in the Valley of Apurimac-Ene, it will be really a challenging issue to tackle,” head of the Center for the Investigation of Drugs and Human Rights in Lima Ricardo Soberon told Generation Progress. “I think that the conflict will increase between producers, peasants, armed forces, Shining Path, you name it.”

There are early signs pointing in that direction. According to a report in Peruvian newspaper La Republica, remnants of the Shining Path, the brutal Maoist guerrilla group that ravaged the country in the 1980s and 1990s, have begun to organize coca growers to confront Peruvian drug police.

The United States provided about $100 million to Peru’s eradication efforts in 2013. A U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) shows Peru’s increased counternarcotics budget, police system reforms, and modest reductions in coca production.

Soberon argues that there’s nothing to celebrate. “Eradication, as a matter of policy, has been a failure,” Soberon said. “The crops always are replaced.”

The movement of production in response to eradication efforts has been called the “balloon effect,” after the way air in a balloon moves when it is squeezed in someone’s hand. A recent article in the New Yorker reported that a plantation half the size of Long Island could meet the entire world’s demand for cocaine.

The rest, including how other American nations are handling drugs differently, at Generation Progress.



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01/17/2014 // Pedestrian // Patacancha, Peru

pedestrian

A story behind this one. Driving through the high Andes in the middle of nowhere, well above 4000m. Out the window is nothing but lush green mountaintops, grazing sheep and llamas, and rolling mists that occasionally block the view of everything else. Like something out of Lord of the Rings.

I tried to take a picture of the mist, in the foolish belief that it would appear as more than just white emptiness on a camera. It was only after I looked at the picture on my computer that I saw I had caught this woman, just chillin’, as we zipped by. This was an hour drive out from Patacancha, a tiny mountain community an hour drive out from Ollantaytambo, a touristy village which is two hours driving from metropolitan Cuzco, itself two miles above sea level in the Andes. The woman standing on the side of the mountain road, just minding her business, just as I would on an big city street corner, struck me as a reminder of how remote Andean lives are. (Depending on your frame of reference for “remote”…)



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01/17/2014 // Pedestrian // Patacancha, Peru http://ift.tt/1e685rs

01/17/2014 // Pedestrian // Patacancha, Peru http://ift.tt/1e685rs

12/24/2013 // Chocolatada // Coya, Peru http://ift.tt/NsTb8i

12/24/2013 // Chocolatada // Coya, Peru http://ift.tt/NsTb8i

12/24/2013 // Chocolatada // Coya, Peru http://ift.tt/1cFb0de

12/24/2013 // Chocolatada // Coya, Peru http://ift.tt/1cFb0de

Latin America Is An LGBT Haven. Does The “Pink Tide” Deserve Credit?

At Alternet, I wrote about the extent to which Latin America’s left-wing governments have made LGBT rights part of their agenda for “21st Century Socialism.” The short version of the scorecard:

Strong on LGBT: Uruguay (Frente Amplio), Argentina (the Kirchners), Brazil (Worker’s Party)

Weak on LGBT: Venezuela (Chavez/Maduro), Bolivia (Morales), Nicaragua (Ortega)

Mixed: Ecuador (Correa), Cuba (Castros)

More:

Perhaps the best lesson from Latin America’s rainbow tide is this: in the countries most advanced on gay rights, activists have been able to successfully integrate LGBT issues with other social movements.

When the Argentine economy collapsed in 2001, gay rights activists took the chance to “nail themselves into this broader social justice movement that is born out of that crisis,” according to Encarnación. A resulting set of reforms in 2002 included a domestic partnership law for same-sex couples.

Uruguay has benefited from strong links between civil society and party politics. Federico Graña is himself an example, as a member of both the Black Sheep activist group and a member of the central committee of the Uruguayan Communist Party.

“It took me a lot of effort to make [LGBT rights] part of my party’s agenda,” Graña said. “We had an intense debate about how these subjects generated inequalities and how they would be related to a vision of socialism in the 21st century.”

Graña says a turning point in LGBT advocacy came around 2004, when activist groups decided they were taking too narrow an approach to their campaigns .

“In reality there exists a lot of discriminations that generate inequities and inequalities, so we believed that analyzing only sexual orientation was an error,” Graña said. “We realized that it would be impossible to analyze Uruguayan society without taking into account social class, without taking into account gender, without taking into account sexual orientation, and also racial issues.”

He credits the strong links between different civil society groups for Uruguay’s string of progressive new laws legalizing abortion in 2012, gay marriage in May 2013 and marijuana in December.

Read the whole thing here.



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12/25/2013 // Red Roofs // Cuzco, Peru http://ift.tt/LJ6NLE

12/25/2013 // Red Roofs // Cuzco, Peru http://ift.tt/LJ6NLE