July 1 2014
Dear LAB Supporter and Friend,
CHILE, CUBA & BRAZIL
LAB is hoping in the coming period to publish more ‘quickie’ newsletters, highlighting a single new article or a handful of our latest articles and blog-posts. We hope you will find this useful.
A new LAB correspondent, Buenos Aires-based Nick MacWilliam, has an important first article examining the ongoing conflicts over land and recognition affecting the Mapuche communities in the south of Chile. The first Bachelet administration made serious errors, not least in continuing the use of anti-terror legislation against Mapuche activists, for which Chile has been severely criticised at the United Nations. Elected for a second (non-consecutive) term which commenced in March 2014, Bachelet set out to make significant changes in her approach to the problem. But the legacy of mistrust will be hard to overcome and localised conflict and repression is likely to continue until the government tackles the entrenched power of large and corporate land-owners (Read more) .
Regular LAB volunteer Russell White takes a look at Cuba’s new Foreign Investment Law, promulgated in March. This is an important component of Raul Castro’s efforts to ‘update’ the Cuban economy. The government has been at pains, Rusell writes, to assure the public that they are not ‘selling’ the country and that ‘the socialist character of the Revolution will be maintained’. It may be harder to persuade foreign investers that the change is significant (Read more).
The World Cup has spawned a vast amount of coverage in the UK media for the world’s long-neglected, fifth largest country. But, as Sue Branford writes in a new blog post, one of the most important stories remains untold: the astronomic sums reaped in construction contracts by a handful of enormous Brazilian companies, whose operations increasingly resemble those of a cartel (Read more). Meanwhile, borrowing the common fans’ chant, “we was robbed”, new LAB blogger Katerina Elias-Trostmann writes “whilst this event could have spurred growth, completed much-needed infrastructure projects and provided basic services to a growing middle class, Brazilians feel that they have been let down once again.” (Read more) Another, darker side of Brazil’s World Cup experience is the danger of a substantial increase in the trafficking of young girls into major cities to become sex workers, with the armies of foreign, mostly male football fans, providing a tempting market. LAB’s São Paulo partner A Pública published a brilliant comic strip highlighting the dangers (Read more).
LAB has published a string of World Cup related blog posts, including accounts from some of the England fans, whose visits LAB helped to coordinate (Read more).
If you want to know a bit more about LAB, check out the About pages on our website (Read more) –we have substantially revamped them and added a raft of material about our aims, our history, who we are and current news about our activities.
The office space offered us in central London by ILAS is proving to be a huge help in enabling LAB to grow and use volunteers more effectively. Find out more about the members of our regular volunteer team (Read more). But it’s not just in London: we have an increasing number of regular correspondents in the Region who write articles or send in posts to our Latin America Inside Out blog (Read more). If you would like to become a LAB volunteer or correspondent, wherever you may be, write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, don’t forget to check out the growing list of LAB partners. Click on any of the entries and you will see the partner’s own profile page, often with live RSS feed links to their website, and live feeds from their Facebook and Twitter accounts (Read more).
The LAB Team