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*, Tim Cahill*, Julian Filochowski, George Gelber*, David Lehmann* (Company Secretary), Marcela López Levy*, Shafik Meghji*, Linda Newson*, Graciela Romero Vasquez, David Treece* (Chair), Fiona Watson, Patrick Wilcken*
(* is also a Trustee and Director)
David Treece (Chair) 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) 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 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.
Tim Cahill is a human rights program officer at the Sigrid Rausing trust, where he works to support the efforts of human rights organisations around the globe. Prior to that he spent fourteen years at Amnesty International, mostly as head of the research team working on Brazil. During this time he spearheaded the organisation’s work on public security and social exclusion finding new ways to study the impact of Brazil’s urban violence on its most deprived communities. Working closely with residents and grass roots organisations he documented the policy of abandoning favelas to the control of armed gangs and repressive police forces. Extensive work on torture and prisons took him to countless violent and overcrowded detention centres across the country. He led the first international delegation to enter Urso Branco prison, in Porto Velho (RO), shortly after the 2002 massacre. This was the second largest prison massacre in Brazil after Carandiru.
Tim has also built up extensive experience of fieldwork. He spent time with indigenous peoples forced off their lands often into indentured labour or into situations of extreme poverty, such as the Guarani-Kaiowa in Mato Grosso do Sul. He also worked with numerous landless communities threatened with violence and deprivation. Alongside his research, Tim oversaw high level meetings with the Brazilian government, presented at several UN human rights sessions and has written widely on diverse human rights issues. He has also researched and campaigned on human rights in several other countries, ranging from Mexico to Kenya. Prior to this he worked at the BBC World Service Portuguese section, visiting Mozambique in the run-up to its first democratic elections after the end of its long civil war. He obtained a degree from the King’s Collage London, the University of Coimbra and a masters from the Institute of Latin American studies at the University of London.
Julian Filochowski studied Economics at Churchill College, Cambridge. On graduation in 1969 he became Coordinator of the British Volunteer Programme in Central America based in Guatemala City. In 1973 he joined the Catholic Institute for International Relations in London. For nine years he campaigned on human rights and development issues linked to Latin America. He was co-founder of the Latin America Bureau. Inter alia, he worked with Archbishop Oscar Romero, organised his Nobel Prize nomination, supported and advised him at the Puebla CELAM Conference and attended his funeral on behalf of Cardinal Hume and the episcopal conference of England and Wales.
In 1982 Julian joined the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD). During his 21 years as CEO, CAFOD became a major international relief and development agency with recognised competence, not only in disaster relief and long-term development programmes, but also in advocacy and lobbying and grass roots development education. For 16 years he chaired the Caritas International Commission on HIV/AIDS. He served for five years a member of the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’ – the Vatican dicastery with responsibility for international relief and development. He was honoured in Britain with the OBE and CMG awards for services to international development.
During a sabbatical year studying the papers and archives of Archbishop Romero, in November 2004, he received an honorary doctorate in human rights from the UCA, the Jesuit University in El Salvador. In 2006 he received an honorary doctorate in law from Roehampton University.
Julian is a founder trustee and Chair of the UK-based Archbishop Romero Trust, a Director of the Tablet magazine, and a trustee of the Denis Hurley Association and of the Carmelite Friars, Aylesford; he currently works as advocacy and strategic development advisor at Jesuit Missions in London.
Publications: Joint editor & contributor of Opening Up – Speaking Out in the Church (2005); Chapters in Unfinished Business (2003) and The New Politics (1998); Archbishop Romero, Ten Years On (1991); and Reflections on Puebla (1980).
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.
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 is currently a social entrepreneur, setting up a digital collaborative project to support the work of individuals and organisations working for social change. Over the past ten years Marcela has worked as Communications and Strategy director for two internet companies; she has a passion for the social learning potential of online communication and specialises in approaches that put people before technology in digital innovation. Her current research is looking at how forms of storytelling amplify how we learn from others online.
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 from 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).
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 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 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 Review, Index on Censorship , the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.
How we work
LAB has an editorial team of five journalists 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, 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.
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. From 2012 to the end of 2013, we published more than 500 articles on our website. 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 monthly newsletter, sent out free to over a thousand subscribers, acts as an annotated reader’s guide to the most recent material on our website. Each newsletter tackles a particular theme, country or area of importance, and provides an overview and context to read the articles and posts published. Since 2012, we have published more than 50 newsletters.
Sue Branford, Nick Caistor, Nayana Fernandez, Mike Gatehouse, Russell White
Sue 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.
Nick 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 Peru: Picking 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.
Nayana Fernandez is a video-maker and photographer from São Paulo. She has lived in Cuba and Spain and is now based in London, where she has lived for around 14 years. She carries out research and writes on issues related to indigenous peoples and social movements, mainly in Brazil but also in other areas of Latin America as part of the Latin America Bureau (LAB) team.
In 2011 she concluded a masters degree at Goldsmiths College in Anthropology and Cultural Politics and has recently visited the Tapajós river region, in Pará, Brazil, to work on video projects.
Mike Gatehouse lived in Chile during the Popular Unity government in 1972-3. Later, he worked for 6 years as a campaigner and organiser for Chile Solidarity Campaign and later for El Salvador Committee for Human Rights and Nicaragua Health Fund. He is co-author of LAB books: Coca-Cola: Soft drink, hard labour and In the Mountains of Morazan. He has undertaken research for Oxfam UK, CAFOD, War on Want and CIIR (now Progressio) and was a Director and Chair of LAB during the 1980s.
Russell White teaches media studies at Southampton Solent University, having previously taught American Studies at the University of Winchester. Russell’s interests span the Americas. Having started out focusing on the United States, Russell has in the last few years moved towards looking at Latin America and the Caribbean. In that context, Russell holds two Master’s degrees – the first, an MA in Comparative American Studies was undertaken at the former undertaken Institute for the Study of the Americas (University of London), while the second, an MA Brazil in Global Perspective, was undertaken at the Brazil Institute of King’s College London. For LAB, Russell writes particularly on Caribbean current affairs (particularly Haiti and Cuba) though he has also written on Mexico, Colombia and Nicaragua.
Fund-raising & Strategy
Maria Prado, Ralph Smith
Julia Buxton, Edgardo Civallero, Javier Farje, Tom Gatehouse, Gordon Hutchison, Dario Kenner, David Lehmann, Marcela Lopez Levy, Grace Livingstone, Pablo Navarrete, Claudia Pompa, Jan Rocha, Tian Spain, Marta Zabaleta
Javier Farje has over 30 years of experience as a journalist and media trainer, working in the media in his native Peru, Denmark and the United Kingdom. He has worked for the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (Denmark) and was a lecturer at Ruskin College, Oxford, on development education; He has been employed as a senior journalist and training project manager at the BBC and was a Press Officer with Amnesty International.
He is currently a political analyst and presenter of programmes for Hispan TV and Press TV and a trainer with One World Media. He has a degree in journalism (Peru) and a Masters degree in History (Birkbeck College, University of London).
Romina de Oliveira, Duncan Macintosh, Borja García de Sola Fernández
Borja García de Sola Fernández is a Spanish multimedia journalist and communicator. He took his first degree at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and developed his interest in foreign affairs with an MA in International Journalism at Brunel University London. As a journalist, he has worked for several Spanish media, including the news agency EFE, where he spent a year in its bureau in Chile. His areas of interest include human rights, politics, and foreign relations, especially in Latin America.
Romina de Oliveira works currently as a freelance interpreter in French, Portuguese and Spanish and teaches English to economic migrants and refugees in North West London. She is also taking a GCSE in Arabic. She completed a BA in Modern Languages and an MA in Global Journalism and, in September 2014, will commence an MA in Technical Translation. Her passion for Latin America and the Caribbean grew after spending time both studying and working there. She enjoys reading about the River Plate region, feminist issues in Latin America and the role of patois in the construction of Caribbean identities. She also loves knitting and merengue music!
Marianne Arake, Andréa Castellano, Daniel Frechoso, Tom Gatehouse, Sara Harcourt, Kate Hartley, Romina de Oliveira, Maria Pacheco-Fernandes, Russell White