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Boric Victory and Other News From the Region- LAB Newsletter 22 December 2021

“Para que nunca más un presidente le declare la guerra a su propio pueblo”. Photo: Fernando Ramírez, @fotoencampana.

We’d like to thank you for all of your support this year. With your help we have been able to develop exciting new projects including:

  • Four webinars based on Voices of Latin America (watch back on Patreon)
  • The first two issues of Voz LAB’s Quarterly Dispatch
  • A wonderful podcast, Women Resisting Violence (now available to download and on most streaming platforms – more details below)
  • The first post in our Environmental Defenders blog series
  • Covid-19: Loss, Survival, Recovery, Transformation, a new project being developed by Emily Gregg

Thanks to our contributors and editors, we published 224 articles this year. The most read were What happened to Mexico’s Cholombianos by Rafael Flores Zafra, and Chile: where water is a traded commodity and Ecuador: we’ve decided no more mining here, both by Kinga Harassim.

We’ve published Mexico Inside Out by Nick Caistor and titles we are working on, for publication in 2022:

  • Crossed Off the Map – Travels in Bolivia by Shafik Meghji
  • The Heart of Our Earth – Community Resistance to Mining in Latin America by Tom Gatehouse
  • Women Resisting Violence by Marilyn Thomson, Cathy McIlwaine, Jelke Boesten, Patricia Muñoz Cabrera and Louise Morris
  • Colombia Inside Out by Richard McColl
  • Costa Rica Inside Out by Katie Jones
  • Clamor: The Human Rights Group which Defied the Dictators by Jan Rocha

News from the region


On 19 December, Gabriel Boric, of the new left platform Apruebo Dignidad, defeated extreme right-winger José Antonio Kast, of the Republican Party, becoming the youngest president in the country’s history. LAB’s Emily Gregg was in the southern city of Concepción to report on the jubilant celebrations.

In the first round of Chile’s presidential elections, on 25 November, Kast won a shock 27.9 per cent of the vote, whilst Boric took only 25.8 per cent. Mike Gatehouse reported on the threat of a far right victory.


Trade unionist Rodney Álvarez has been in prison since 2011 for a crime he did not commit. LAB partners Ojos Ilegales call for justice for Rodney and his family. Ojos Ilegales’ moving video short about migrants, La Libertad no Tiene Fronteras, Ningun Ser Humano es Ilegal was entered in the Miradas Diversas – International Human Rights Film Festival.

Antonella Navarro investigates whether Colombia’s policy of registering arriving migrants really works for the huge numbers of Venezuelans arriving at Cúcuta and other border towns.

Dominican nationalism, Kelvin Moquete
Dominican nationalism, Kelvin Moquete
Dominican Republic

In an interview with Jessica Pandian, Dr Eve Hayes de Kalaf explains how digital IDs are used to exclude marginalised migrants in the Dominican Republic.


Camila Gianella Malco, Jasmine Gideon and María José Romero ask how Peru has ended up with the world’s highest rate of Covid-19 deaths per capita.


Suzie Beckley examines how director and screenwriter Alonso Ruizpalacios attempts to rupture and then reverse the negative stereotypes held about Mexico City’s police force.

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Women Resisting Violence

The podcast

Episode 1. Mourning the 56 in Guatemala focuses on Ocho Tijax, a women’s group caring for the survivors and families of 41 girls killed in a fire at a children’s home.

Episode 2. Rio’s Trailblazing Women’s House features the Casa Das Mulheres and NGO Networks of Maré, talking about about the struggles the women of Maré, Rio, in the face of widespread violence against women and government neglect.

Episode 3. Step Up Migrant Women focuses on the work of Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS) advocating for Latin American migrant women in the UK who confront insecure immigration status and domestic abuse, and Migrants in Action (MinA) a community theatre made by and for Brazilian women who’ve experienced gender-based violence. 

All three episodes are free to listen to on the website, or on major streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Women Resisting Violence Episode 3 Step Up Migrant Women
Women Resisting Violence Episode 3 Step Up Migrant Women

The Women Resisting Violence project has also published a series of articles on:

  • Guatemala, where despite the 1996 Peace Accords recognising violence against women, gender-based violence and femicide rates are high. Impunity is widespread. Steph Wallace reports.
  • Brazil, where Eva Alterman Blay, pioneer of women’s rights in Brazil and the founder of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender Rights at the University of São Paulo, writes about the war against gender.
  • Charity- researcher collaborations, migrant women survivors are experts by experience; it is essential that they shape campaign demands and policy prescriptions, argue Cathy McIlwaine and Elizabeth Jiménez-Yáñez, as they reflect on why charity-researcher collaborations are key to ending gender-based violence.
Environmental Defenders

LAB’s new Blog Series, Environmental Defenders, curated by Katie Jones, was inspired by the Global Witness report highlighting the killings of those who seek to defend their rights and their own way of life. In the first article, Rosie Thornton investigates the work of environmental defenders in Guatemala. A second article on Nicaragua, by Dorian Martinez, will be published shortly. The series is available initially to LAB’s Patreon subscribers only. Do sign up to LAB’s Patreon to read.

Indigenous Brazil Violated

Antonio Ioris reports on the ongoing genocide of the Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous people in Brazil.

In case you missed it


‘Saving Lives in Secret: The Medical Mission of Siloé’, the second edition of Voz, features a photo essay by Jahfrann, a freelance photographer, activist and multimedia journalist from Cali, Colombia. 

Sign up to LAB’s Patreon to read.

Enfermera se arregla para empezar su jornada en un improvisado baño Jahfrann
Enfermera se arregla para empezar su jornada en un improvisado baño

We’re still urging all LAB newsletter subscribers to sign up to Patreon. Exciting content includes interviews with Ana Paula, a human rights activist from the group Mães de Manguinhos, and with Brazil’s first openly gay and proud federal deputy, Jean Wyllys. 


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