Who we are

Latin America Bureau is a UK Registered Charity (No: 1113039) and, as Latin America (Research and Action) Limited, a Company limited by guarantee (No: 01488712)

Council of Management

Julia Buxton*,George Gelber*, David Lehmann* (Company Secretary), Grace Livingstone, Marcela López Levy*, Shafik Meghji*, Linda Newson*, David Treece*, Fiona Watson, Patrick Wilcken*, Cathy McIlwaine, Nick Caistor* (Chair), Louise Morris*, Alistair Clark*, Ainhoa Montoya, Marilyn Thomson, Andrei Gómez-Suarez, Teresa Guanique, ULises Moreno-Tabarez, Henrique Tavares-Furtado*, Clare Tawney, Ivette Hernández, Elva Narcia

(* is also a Trustee and Director)

Nick Caistor

Nick Caistor (chair) lived in Argentina in the 1970s, and on his return to Britain became involved with human rights work and with LAB. He edited the English version of Nunca Mas, the report on the disappeared in Argentina, and with LAB has published Special Briefs on Argentina and Chile, Picking up the Pieces, which examines the country’s return to democracy after Fujimori, and Mexico Inside Out.

He has been a member of the board of the Argentinian Human Rights Committee, the Chile Human Rights Committee, and the Peru Support Group. He worked as a BBC Latin American analyst for 14 years, and has published biographies of Octavio Paz (Reaktion Books); Che Guevara (Macmillan), and Fidel Castro(Reaktion Books), as well as boooks on Mexico City and Buenos Aires for Signal Books.

David Treece is Camoens Professor of Portuguese in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King’s College London, where he directed the Centre for the Study of Brazilian Culture and Society from 1996 to 2010. He is the author of Exiles, Allies, Rebels: Brazil’s Indianist Movement, Indigenist Politics, and the Imperial Nation-State (Greenwood, 2000), the co-author of The Gathering of Voices: the twentieth-century poetry of Latin America (Verso, 1992), and has been co-editor of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies and Portuguese Studies journal.

Between 1984 and 1987 David worked on indigenous land rights issues for the NGO Survival International, and his first academic research addressed how Brazil’s Amerindian peoples have been represented in the country’s literature, social policies and nationalist thought. From the early 1990s he worked on modern Brazilian poetry and fiction and their translation, publishing several volumes in the “Brazilian Contemporaries Series” with Boulevard, including João Guimarães Rosa’s The Jaguar and other stories (2001). Since 2000 his work has concentrated on Brazilian popular music, and the culture and politics of race and Afro-Brazilian identity. His book Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap (Reaktion, 2013) brings together these most recent research interests. David Treece sings with the Brazilian vocal group Nossa Voz.

David Lehmann (Company Secretary)

David Lehmann (Company Secretary) is a social scientist who has worked all his life on and in Latin America. Among the subjects he has written about are agricultural development, religion and multiculturalism. He has worked in Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil and has accumulated a wide-ranging knowledge of peoples, histories and ideas over several decades. He travels to the region at least once every year and maintains a wide range of active contacts.

David has also taught for several decades at the University of Cambridge and has held visiting positions at universities in Ecuador, Brazil, France, Spain and Israel.

David has been active in movements for the defence of human rights, especially in Chile where he did his first research.

David’s main works on Latin America are Democracy and Development in Latin America: Economics, politics and religion in the post war period, and Struggle for the Spirit: popular culture and religious transformation in Brazil and Latin America. In 2007 he began to work on multiculturalism and affirmative action policies in Brazil, Mexico and Peru. His latest project is about the building of a new Temple of Solomon in São Paulo by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

He posts information about his work at: www.davidlehmann.org/adlehman

Julia Buxton

Julia Buxton is Professor of Comparative Politics in the School of Public Policy, Central European University Budapest and Senior Research Officer at the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) at the University of Swansea. A specialist on democratisation, post conflict reconstruction, illicit economies and conflict sensitive policy and programming, she is a Latin Americanist by background, with expertise on Venezuela. Julia received her PhD on the Venezuelan political system from the London School of Economics in 1998 (published as The Failure of Political Reform in Venezuela, Ashgate, 2000) and subsequently published numerous scholarly and media articles on developments in the country. She served as Venezuela Studies Program director in the Centre for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, and as an election observer and ‘accompanier’ (EU / FCO, Carter Centre, CNE) in Venezuela for elections in 1995, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2013. A political risk consultant, she contributes to Oxford Analytica reports on Venezuela, previously at the Economist Intelligence Unit, and she provides commentary for the Inter-American Dialogue publication Latin America Advisor.

Julia lives in West Yorkshire, has a daughter and a tortoise, and supports Manchester United.

George Gelber works as an independent consultant, most recently focusing on food security and mining. After acquiring an MA in Latin American Government from Essex University, he taught and worked in Chile until 1973, leaving two months after the coup.  In the UK he was programme officer for Latin America for Christian Aid until 1982.  He then worked on human rights in Central America at CIIR (now Progressio) at a time when the region was convulsed by civil wars and covert and not so covert US intervention.  After joining CAFOD in 1989, he set up the Public Policy Unit which in the 1990s worked mainly on debt, structural adjustment and trade.  Campaigns on the electronics industry in Guadalajara and mining in Honduras maintained the Latin America connection.

Shafik Meghji is a travel writer, journalist and editor based in south London.

After graduating from the University of Warwick with a degree in politics and international studies, he won the Scott Trust Bursary to study a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism at City University, London. Shafik subsequently worked as a news and sports reporter for the Evening Standard and wrote for newspapers such as the Guardian and the Independent.

A former resident of Buenos Aires, he has co-authored more than 20 guidebooks, including the Rough Guides to Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Ecuador, as well as the Buenos Aires Essential Guide app. His travel writing has been published in several anthologies, and he writes regularly for newspapers, magazines and websites around the world, including the South China Morning Post.

Shafik is an editorial consultant for Amnesty International UK, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. He blogs at www.unmappedroutes.com and tweets @ShafikMeghji.

grace_livingstone_photoDr Grace Livingstone is a journalist and academic specializing in Latin American affairs.  She was a correspondent for The Guardian in Venezuela and has also reported for the BBC World Service, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer and New Statesman.   She is a visiting research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, and teaches at the Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge.   Her publications include:  Inside Colombia: Drugs, Democracy and War (LAB, 2003) and America’s Backyard: Latin America and the United States from the Monroe Doctrine to the War on Drugs, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Corporations, Social Movements and Foreign Policy: British Policy towards the Dictatorships of Argentina and Chile, 1973-82 (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan). See more about Grace at: https://grace-livingstone.com/

Marcela López Levy is an Argentinian researcher and writer who has worked with social justice organisations in the UK and Latin America for the past two decades. She has analysed politics in Latin America and carried out research into the history and politics of welfare in Argentina. She is currently integrating her training in psychology with social theory, looking at the importance of the imagination in social movements and struggles. Her most recent book is Argentina under the Kirchners: The legacy of left populism (2017).

Marcela was Editor at the Latin America Bureau between 1997 and 2004, shaping the research and publishing programme; she also established LAB’s web presence in 1998. She has a Masters in Social Anthropology (Goldsmiths College) and holds a doctorate in political sociology from the University of London (Institute for the Americas). Her doctoral research was on the politics of social policy creation in Argentina and the expansion of social protection after 2003. She is the author of We are Millions: neo-liberalism and new forms of political action in Argentina (2004) and Bolivia Profile (2002).

Cathy McIlwaine

Cathy McIlwaine is Professor of Development Geography in the Department of Geography, King’s College London. Her research focuses on gender and development issues in the global South, and on transnational migration in London with a specific focus on the Latin American community from the perspective of livelihoods, citizenship and gender-based violence. She is also increasingly working on the role of the arts in research on marginality. She is currently working on a project on Violence Against Women and Girls among Brazilian migrants in London and Rio de Janeiro (funded by ESRC) and another on the experiences of migrant women and VAWG in London, both with the Latin American Women’s Rights Service. She has published eleven books including Dores que Libertam: Falas de Mulheres das Favelas sa Mare, no Rio de Janeiro sobre Violencias (with Miriam Krenzinger, Eliana Sousa Silva, and Paul Heritage [eds] [2018] Appris Editora, Rio de Janeiro) and Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South (with Sylvia Chant [2016], Routledge), and over 40 journal papers. She is a trustee at the charity, Latin Elephant and an advisor for the Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

Websites: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/cathy-mcilwaine

Louise Morris

Louise Morris is a journalist, audio and TV producer. She specializes in women’s rights and the intersection between art and politics. Louise works primarily in radio, producing and presenting documentaries for BBC R4 and producing for NPR. She previously worked producing a daily TV magazine programme. She has written for The Wire, Delayed, Gratification, and BBC News Online, among others. For LAB’s Voices of Latin America book, she wrote the chapters, Fighting Machismo: Women on the Front Line;  and Cultural Resistance.

Linda Newson is Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Until 2011 she was Professor of Geography at King’s College London of which she is a Fellow.

Linda is author of six monographs and two edited books. Her first four monographs examined the demographic and cultural impact of Spanish colonial rule in Trinidad, Honduras, Nicaragua and Ecuador: Aboriginal and Spanish Colonial Trinidad (Academic, 1976); The Cost of Conquest: Indian Decline in Honduras Under Spanish Rule (Westview, 1986); Indian Survival in Colonial Nicaragua (Oklahoma, 1987); and Life and Death in Early Colonial Ecuador (Oklahoma, 1995).  More recently she has examined the African slave to Peru in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century in a book entitled From Capture to Sale (Brill, 2007) published with Susie Minchin. She is currently researching the history of medicine in Peru in the early colonial period. She has received awards for distinguished scholarship from the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, USA, and the Royal Geographical Society. Two of her books have also been selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Linda is a Fellow of the British Academy and chairs its Latin American and Caribbean Panel. It has recently produced a Report on the State of UK-Based Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (ILAS, 2014), which she edited with Professor Antoni Kapcia (University of Nottingham). She also serves as the Latin American and Caribbean specialist on the international panel for Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library.

Fiona Watson

Fiona Watson is field and research director at Survival International, an international NGO which works with tribal peoples to defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures. She has been with Survival since 1990 and worked on many campaigns for indigenous peoples’ rights in Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana.

In the 1980s she participated in a joint Brazilian-UK scientific project run by the Institute of Amazon Research (INPA) in Manaus and the Royal Geographical Society in London, researching into the social and environmental impacts of deforestation in the northern Amazon state of Roraima in Brazil.

She has an MA in Hispanic Languages and Literature from St Andrews University, Scotland, for which she did one year’s field work, living in an Quechua indigenous community in the Peruvian Andes.

Patrick WilckenPatrick Wilcken is a Brazil specialist, human rights activist and writer, who is currently working as a senior researcher at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London. His research interests include policy developments in the criminal justice system, indigenous rights, housing policy and Brazil’s Truth Commission. He has over a decade of field experience, conducting research in indigenous reservations, the prison system, gang-dominated favelas, urban squats, cane plantations and areas of rural conflict across Brazil.

He is the author of two acclaimed non-fiction books: Empire Adrift: the Portuguese Court in Rio de Janeiro 1908-21 in Rio de Janeiro and Claude Lévi-Strauss the poet in the laboratory, published by Bloomsbury and Penguin. Lévi-Strauss was shortlisted for a number of national awards and was a finalist (proxime accessit) for the Columbia University Mark Lynton History prize. Patrick has also authored a substantial body of academic and non-academic articles for a range of different publications including the New Left ReviewIndex on Censorship , the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.

How we work

LAB has an editorial team and a number of regular correspondents, in the Region and elsewhere, who are committed to LAB’s mission. Our main activity is the publication of articles and blog posts on our website; posts on our Facebook page (and on Twitter), alerting readers to new articles on our own site and elsewhere and interesting lectures, films and other events; newsletters e-mailed to subscribers; and reports and books in printed or e-book format. At present all staff and contributors are volunteers and are not paid for their work, except when project funding allows us to pay for research trips and some editorial work.

The Home, News and Blog pages of our website collect articles and posts written by our in-house journalists and regular correspondents, as well as those contributed by our partners and other news sources. Every original story we publish is carefully edited to ensure accuracy and fairness. Stories not written in English are translated by our team of volunteer translators, or prefaced by an overview in English. Our Latin America Inside Out Blog (accessed through the website) contains posts on a huge variety of themes: news, reviews, details of conferences and events, opinion pieces and the travel diaries of our editors and correspondents. The website contains our Partners page, listing over 30 organisations with whom LAB has a partnership agreement. Partners are encouraged to contribute articles and blog-posts. Each Partner has their own page with details of their news and activities.

Our Voices of Latin America project, as well as the book, published in January 2019, now has its own section of the LAB website, with full details of the chapters, further reading,videos and new material.

We hope to create new podcasts and add them to a separate page on our website.

Our monthly newsletter, sent out free to over 1,200 subscribers, acts as an annotated reader’s guide to the most recent material on our website.

Editorial Team

Sue Branford, Gwen Burnyeat, Nick Caistor, Mike Gatehouse, Tom Gatehouse, Louise Morris, Ali Rocha

Sue BranfordSue Branford began her career as a journalist by working in Brazil in the 1970s as correspondent for the Financial Times, the Economist and the Observer. On returning to the UK, she worked for the BBC World Service. She has published five books, including The Last Frontier – Fighting over Land in the Amazon and Cutting the Wire – the Story of the Landless Movement in Brazil, which was awarded the Vladimir Herzog human rights prize.

She is currently involved in a research project in the Amazon and is a volunteer editor at LAB.

Gwen Burnyeat is a Wolfson Scholar and PhD candidate in the Anthropology department at University College London. She is author of ‘Chocolate, Politics and Peace-Building: An Ethnography of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombia‘ (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) and director of award-winning documentary ‘Chocolate of Peace‘ (2016). She has worked in Colombia for over eight years, including as lecturer in political anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where she also did an MPhil in Social Anthropology, and as a practitioner in Peace Brigades International and the International Centre for Transitional Justice. She writes on Colombia for Latin America Bureau, the London Review of Books, The Conversation, The Globe Post and elsewhere, and she is a member of civil society organisation Rodeemos el Diálogo which supports the peace process in Colombia.

Nick CaistorNick Caistor lived in Argentina in the 1970s, and on his return to Britain became involved with human rights work and with LAB. He edited the English version of Nunca Mas, the report on the disappeared in Argentina, and with LAB has published Special Briefs on Argentina and Chile, and PeruPicking up the Pieces, which examines the country’s return to democracy after Fujimori.

He has been a member of the board of the Argentinian Human Rights Committee, the Chile Human Rights Committee, and the Peru Support Group. He worked as a BBC Latin American analyst for 14 years, and has published biographies of Octavio Paz (Reaktion Books); Che Guevara (Macmillan), and Fidel Castro(Reaktion Books), as well as boooks on Mexico City and Buenos Aires for Signal Books.

Mike Gatehouse lived in Chile during the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende. After the military coup in 1973 he returned to the UK and worked for Chile Solidarity Campaign and later El Salvador Committee for Human Rights and Nicaragua Health Fund. He is co-author of LAB books Soft Drink, Hard Labour – Guatemalan Workers Take On Coca-Cola and In the Mountains of Morazán – Portrait of a Returned Refugee Community in El Salvador. Since 2010 he has been a member of the LAB Editorial Team and publishes articles on LAB’s website. He was a member of the team that published Voices of Latin America – Social Movements and the New Activism in January 2019, and helps commission new books for LAB.

Tom Gatehouse is a writer and translator who has lived in Argentina, Spain and Brazil. He holds an MPhil in Latin American Studies from the University of Cambridge. He has written a blog and articles for LAB and Red Pepper and his translations have appeared in Folha de São Paulo, Agência Pública and Tales and Trails, Lisbon, a recent collection of short stories and other writings. He was the Editor of LAB’s book Voices of Latin America – Social Movements and the New Activism, published in January 2019, for which he wrote the introduction and the Chapter on Mining and Communities. He lives in London.


Dan Baron Cohen, Francesco DiBernardo, Antonia Burchard-Levine, Marilene Cardoso Ribeiro, Marcos Colón, Gordon Hutchison, David Lehmann, Grace Livingstone, Marcela López Levy, Pablo Navarrete, Jan Rocha, and many others…

Antonia Burchard-Levine specializes in urban transportation and mobility, urban land development, housing and livelihoods, and infrastructure financing. She is particularly interested in urban social movements, issues of access to the city and its resources, and the range of processes that shape cities and their inhabitants. Artonia is currently based in Berlin and consults on international development projects as an urban development specialist.

Marilene Cardoso Ribeiro is an award-winning photographer and ecologist whose works investigate the relationship between human beings and nature concerning contemporary issues. She holds aMSc in Ecology, and Wildlife Conservation and Management awarded by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), and a PhD in photography awarded by the University of Brighton (UK). Ribeiro’s works focus on Brazil as a window to discuss worldwide phenomena. www.marileneribeiro.com


LAB has a large pool of volunteers who help us write, commission and edit material on countries in the region and undertake specific roles such as helping to promote and sell our books. A number of these were closely involved with our ongoing project Voices of Latin America which led to the publication of the book of the same name, in January 2019, and will maintain and add to the Voices website


LAB sources material in Spanish, Portuguese and French, as well as English. We have a panel of translators who transcribed and translated the more than 70 interviews used in the Voices of Latin America book, as well as articles for LAB’s website.

Book publishing

LAB has a publishing partnership with Practical Action Publishing, with whom All LAB books since 2015 have been co-publications. All new titles and much of LAB’s back catalogue are available from Practical Action’s Development Bookshop.