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Voices in New York – LAB Newsletter April 2019

26 April 2019

Dear LAB Supporter and Friend,

Patricia Gualinga, a Sarayaku Kichwa activist from Ecuador, in New York for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is holding a copy of Voices at an Amazonwatch event

The shocking suicide of former President Alan García, as police arrived to arrest, may have been planned in advance to create a martyrdom and obscure the taint of corruption from the Odebrecht scandal, argues Javier Farje (Read more…). LAB editor Nick Caistor wrote the Guardian obituary (Read more…)


Medellín emerged from the era of drug cartel violence only to be afflicted by a grisly form of narco-voyeur tourism. Stairway Storytellers is a project to replace this with something real and sustainable. Billie Melluish-Turner takes a ‘free graffiti walking tour’ of Comuna 13. (Read more…)

Elsewhere, in Chocó, two sisters, describe to ABColombia how their lives were shaped by the FARC, their efforts to become reintegrated in civil society and their hopes for peace and social justice (Read more…)


While the Bolsonaro administration ignores the increase in rural violence, the Amazon has seen 3 probable massacres in 12 days as violence has exploded in areas of heavy deforestation affected by the building of large dams and an influx of capital, land grabbers, loggers and ranchers. Targeted killings include a Brazilian landless movement peasant leader and a leading dam activist (Read more …).

Brazil’s Pastoral Land Commission has launched a new website: Massacres in the Countryside. This is an interactive map of massacres in the countryside since 1985 and will be updated regularly (Read more…)

Meanwhile, President Bolsonaro offended almost everyone by ordering all military establishments to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the 1964 coup, which ushered in the brutal 21-year dictatorship. His creative rewriting of history triggered protests across the country with the media published testimonies of numerous former torture victims in a regime in which even advertisements were censored. Read more

Despite the President’s trump-like bombast, however, the business of his government is deadly serious: indigenous and quilombo communities are under direct threat as Bolsonaro calls for ‘assimilation’, and moves to halt or reverse recognition of indigenous territories (Read more …) This article, by Thais Borges and LAB editor Sue Branford, is the first of a series based on their recent trip to visit Sateré-Mawé communities. Watch out for further instalments.

Other news

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A savage Marx: In a region where left and progressive ideologies seem increasingly threatened or eclipsed, Brazilian political theorist Jean Tible argues that a living Marxism must be open to contamination in order to break the spell of bewitched capitalism. We must introduce Marx into spaces, times, outlooks and practices that are different from its habitual, white, rationalist ones: ‘A Marx undomesticated, fuel for struggles. A black, feminist, indigenous, worker, peasant, transgender Marx. A savage Marx.’ (Read more…)

Water for Life: LAB partner Christian Aid is supporting ‘Water for Life’, a course for faith communities conceived during the Alternative World Water Forum 2018. Lack of clean water is one of the most extreme forms of inequality, especially in Brazil (Read more…)

Voices of Latin America

The website to accompany the LAB book is now almost complete: in addition to references, videos and further reading, each chapter-page includes links to articles on the theme published since the book went to press (November 2018). This means that we now have a living archive of Voices material which will be continuously updated with new material. Take a look at the website here.

Further launch events for Voices are being booked:

  • New York: Thursday, May 16, 6:30-9pm, Verso Books, 20 Jay Street, Suite 1010, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Panelists include Voices of Latin America editor, Tom Gatehouse; Brooklyn Museum Director of Education, Adjoa Jones de Almeida; Land is Life Executive Director, Casey Box; political sociologist Gabriel Hetland; and feminist and NYC Latin American activist, Camila Valle. Details here.
  • London: 30 May. UCL (time and room to be notified) — a panel discussion with Voices chapter authors
  • Brecon: May/June at The Hours Bookshop
  • London: 30 May. UCL (time and room to be notified) — a panel discussion with Voices chapter authors
  • Machynlleth: 16-18 August, El Sueño Existe Festival, Machynlleth, Wales. There will be a number of the Voices team present and several sessions across the weekend which highlight the book
  • Crickhowell: 29 Sept – 7 Oct. A session at the Crickhowell Literary Festival.

If you know of possibilities in your area: a festival, event or bookshop where Voices and other LAB books could be presented and discussed, please let us know. Write to

Forthcoming LAB publications

* Colombia Inside Out is the working title for Huw Hennessy’s forthcoming LAB country guide on Colombia, the second in the new series after Brazil Inside Out by Jan Rocha and Francis McDonagh. The likely publication date is mid-2020.

* Crossed off the Map: Bolivia and the World will be a new title by LAB council member Shafik Meghji is writing due to be published in April 2020, based on a journey across Bolivia, from the Andes to the Amazon.

* Community Resistance to Mining in Latin America, LAB’s next major in-house book, to be published in autumn 2020, is part of a wider project with War on Want, Christian Aid, Mining Watch Canada, OCMAL and London Mining Network. Matt Kennard has researched Argentina, Chile and El Salvador. Tom Gatehouse will travel to Peru, Colombia and Mexico and we have other material from Brazil.

Best wishes,

The LAB Team


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