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Solidarity, podcasting, books & news from the region – LAB Newsletter 24 January 2022

Tawy Zo’é, 24, carrying his 67-year-old father, Wahu Zó’é, on his back. Photo: Erik Jennings

This month, we published the second article in our Environmental Defenders series, curated and edited by Katie Jones and inspired by the Global Witness report highlighting the toll of killings of those defending their rights to land, water and customs. More below.

We’ve been planning a roundtable discussion titled ‘Listening to Women Resisting Violence’, where members of the women’s organisations we collaborated with on the Women Resisting Violence podcast, alongside audio producers, service users and women’s rights workers, will reflect on communicating grassroots expertise through podcasting. Thanks to our friends at Janno Media, this will be available to listen to as a bonus podcast episode next month.

Shafik Meghji’s upcoming Crossed Off the Map – Travels in Bolivia has been featured in the Deskbound Traveller’s round-up of new travel books for 2022. The cover art has been revealed ahead of publication this spring.

LAB will be collaborating with the University of Liverpool on the conference Solidarity with Latin America, to be held online April 4 & 5, 2022. If you are interested in presenting as a researcher or practitioner of solidarity, respond to the call for papers by February 28.

News from the region


The election of self-styled socialist Xiomara Castro in November 2021 has given fresh hope to the republic’s workers whose rights have been continuously eroded over decades. According to the ITUC 2020 global rights index, Honduras is one of the ten worst countries in the world for working people. Bert Schouwenburg looks at the Honduran melon industry workers’ conditions and asks whether Xiomara Castro will make good on her promises to guarantee respect for workers’ rights across the country.


Looking to guarantee respect for and protection of their autonomous territories against invasion by colonos – or settlers – Indigenous people along Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast face constant danger. Dorian Martínez reports for LAB’s Environmental Defenders series. To read the article, sign up to LAB’s Patreon and become a regular subscriber.


Neurosurgeon Erik Jennings Simões photographed the young Indigenous Tawy Zo’é, 24, carrying his 67-year-old father, Wahu Zó’é, on his back to be immunised against Covid-19. Despite the State’s negligence throughout the pandemic, Tawy and his father were vaccinated, together with 67.86 per cent of the Brazilian population. In fact, the percentage of Brazilians vaccinated against Covid exceeds the world and regional average.

In Coroa Vermelha, Porto Seguro, South-East Bahia, Dan Baron accompanied Braga, a Pataxó indigenous chief, at the monument to the 500 Years of Resistance by the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.

Single mothers raising their families alone continue to resist against the gulf of inequality which has worsened throughout the Covid pandemic. Many have been hit face on by the loss of jobs and income, making it increasingly difficult for them to feed their children. Matty Rose translated the story from Agência Pública into English for LAB.


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On 19 December Chile celebrated the election of its youngest ever president, Gabriel Boric, comfortably defeating his ultra-right wing opponent José Antonio Kast in the second round. LAB’s Natasha Tinsley spoke to young Boric and Kast supporters to find out what spurred his comeback and to gauge their expectations of the new government and their hopes for the future.


Violence persists in Mexico, with two journalists killed already this year: Margarito Martínez, a freelance photojournalist, was shot dead in front of his house in Tijuana on January 17; José Luis Gamboa, director of the digital media outlet Inforegio, was murdered in Veracruz on Jan 10.

Amy Hancock reviewed Prayers for the Stolen (Noche de fuego, 2021), a Mexican drama about female friendship and resilience in the face of violence and human trafficking in Guerrero. She writes: “The film’s aftertaste is one of helplessness for those stuck in a never-ending war on drugs. Huezo’s style of filmmaking lends itself well to shining a light on this overlooked community and their perilous way of life in the Mexican hinterlands.”


In the third article about the CAMeNA history archive in Mexico, Cornelia Gräbner focuses on the life of Idalina Tatter, a Paraguayan whose husband, Federico Jorge Tatter, was detained in Argentina and ‘rendered’ back to Paraguay by agents of Operación Condor.

New books from LAB authors.

Books from LAB authors

From the release of Brazil’s 2014 truth commission report denouncing the crimes of the military regime (1964-1985), to the election of the former-paratrooper and far-Right leader Jair Bolsonaro in 2018, LAB Council member, Henrique Tavares Furtado’s new book ‘Politics of Impunity’ investigates the failure of the anti-impunity agenda in Brazil.

‘Politics of Impunity: Torture, The Armed Forces and the Failure of Transitional Justice in Brazil’ is available to purchase here.

Linda Etchart’s ‘Global Governance of the Environment, Indigenous Peoples and the Rights of Nature: Extractive Industries in the Ecuadorian Amazon’ explores some of the obstacles facing indigenous communities, NGOs, governments, and international institutions, in their attempts to protect the cultures of indigenous peoples and the world’s remaining rainforests. It’s now available on Amazon.

Jan Rocha’s ‘Nossa Correspondente Informa: Notícias da ditadura brasileira na BBC de Londres (1973-1985)‘ is also available (in Portuguese) from Alameda Editorial.


We’re still urging all LAB newsletter subscribers to sign up to Patreon. Exclusive content includes a first-look at each Environmental Defenders article; 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; and Voz, LAB’s quarterly dispatch.

You can sign up to our Patreon here. To receive LAB’s newsletter, sign up at this link.


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