Environmental activists in Honduras know there may be a bullet for them like there was for Berta. And they keep fighting.

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By J. Malcolm Garcia in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

12 p.m., July 8, 2016. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Interview with Father Cesar Espinoza, a friend of Berta Cáceres. He has received death threats for his anti-mining stance.

“You don’t look like a man under threat.”

“How should such a man look?”

I don’t answer. I have no idea. I only have my imagination and movie images to go by. Jumpy, nervous, I suppose.

“You’re calm,” I say finally. “Very calm.”

“What would you have me be?”

Again, I don’t answer. Espinoza wipes his forehead with a bottle of water. …

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Photos courtesy Claude Salhani

My parents are French and American. I was born in Belgium. My ancestors are Lebanese, Romanian and Polish. Don’t ask me where I’m from.

Essay by Justin Salhani in Milan, Italy

I’m at a language exchange in Milan, Italy. The way it works is I pair up with an Italian native speaker. We talk in Italian for a few minutes and then we switch to English. I’m introduced to a new person every few minutes and the topics of conversation repeat.

The guy in front of me now is from Naples. He’s boisterous and affable. He’s also patient and helpful in correcting my fractured Italian. “You speak well,” he says. “Where are you from?”

I normally avoid answering this question, but he’s kind and engaged in the conversation. Also, I’m here to practice speaking, so fuck it. I tell him my dad’s family is Lebanese but I grew up in the U.S. We run over the allotted time, but my story isn’t finished and he has more questions. No, I wasn’t born in the U.S. …

Dear supporters,

Great news: The final issue of Latterly is back from the printer. Check it out!

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A letter from the Venezuela-Colombia border

Story by Johan González in San Antonio, Venezuela

The first stop the bus made on its way to Táchira state, in western Venezuela, was in a rural settlement called La Pedrera. We parked at a small commercial building to eat. On one of the walls of the place where we ordered our food there was a placard with an advisory: “Man missing.” The person they were looking for was about 50 years old. He looked like a farmer. Kidnappings and forced disappearances are common in this part of the country.

When we arrived at San Cristóbal, I took a taxi to San Antonio del Táchira, in Bolívar Municipality. It was a further 50-minute drive. When I got there, it was just short of 9 p.m. I came to San Antonio to cross the border into Colombia, hoping to speak with some of the people who work smuggling contraband. …

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Photo: Johan Gonzalez

For many Venezuelans, migration is the only way to survive. But their arrival hasn’t always been welcome.

By Paolo Cravero

Paolo Cravero is the Communications Officer of Franciscans International, a human rights NGO based in New York and Geneva. Join their newsletter.

On the morning of Dec. 9, Roberta Alvim was sitting in her office when she received a call from a friend, João Carlos Jarochinski Silva.

She had met him a few months before at a conference on human trafficking at the University of Roraima, in Boa Vista, Brazil. As a federal public defender, Alvim had just been posted to Boa Vista, the capital of the state of Roraima. Jarochinski Silva, a professor of international relations with extensive experience researching migrations in the Amazon, was teaching at the university. Their fields of interest overlapped. …

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France and the Netherlands rejected far-right governments. But a different kind of populism — nativistic and no less bombastic — is gaining steam in Italy.

By Justin Salhani

On July 1, 2014, the Italian comedian Giuseppe ‘Beppe’ Grillo spoke to European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. About a month earlier, 17 disciples of his populist, Euro-skeptic movement, known locally as M5S, had been elected to represent Italy in the E.U., and Grillo took the occasion to introduce himself.

“My presence here already shows a puzzling fact,” he began. “The shocking fact is that I am here. I’m a comedian.”

Grillo is a captivating orator. His hands chopped the air in symphony with his rising and falling voice. Speaking in Italian, he breathlessly complained about the complexity of the European system, about its fealty to banks, its reluctance to aid southern nations with the surge of refugees. “I don’t want to let my children live in this world,” he said, steadying himself on the arm of Nigel Farage, the driving force behind Brexit, seated to his right. “That’s why I’m here and why I changed my job and also changed my mental structure to come here and not make you laugh, not to make jokes. …

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In the U.S., immigrants who arrived as children haven’t been targeted for deportation. But that could change.

By J. Malcolm Garcia

Billie and Fabian sit at a round table in Billie’s kitchen thinking out loud. Considering options. It’s evening. Pitch black, with no stars. It might rain. A dog barks.

“I don’t know what I could do, but I’d do everything I possibly could,” Billie says. “My husband would be so vocal. He’s very to the point.”

She speaks of her husband as if he is still alive. She misses him. She enjoys talking about him, but tears cloud her eyes. He died in 2013. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to Missouri in 1958 when he was 18. Two of his uncles worked in Kansas City at the time. He and Billie married in 1960 after they met at Nazarene Publishing House downtown where they both worked. A lifetime ago. …

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A ‘nothing is true and everything is possible’ media strategy has kept Putin in power. Trump is following his example.

By Cameron Hood

The idea that news could be purposely fake has shocked a lot of Americans. But in Russia, the separation of news from truth has a longer and more recognized history.

A popular Soviet-era political joke centered on two newspapers of record: Pravda (“Truth”), the official newspaper of the Communist Party, and Izvestiya (“News”), the official newspaper of the Soviet government.

“In Pravda there is no news, and in Izvestiya there is no truth.”

We often think of “fake news” as being easily identifiable — suspicious-looking links with odd URLs, gratuitous ads and overly dramatic headlines scattered in our search results or drifting in our social media feeds. But what if the major television news networks and newspapers of record, the sources we implicitly trust to inform us each day, peddled those same untruths and alternative facts? What if they relayed and repeated only the information and angles approved by the White House? That scenario describes contemporary Russian media. …

Malvern Mudiwa is a business owner in eastern Zimbabwe. Nothing spectacular. But in a country where unemployment is said to be 95 percent, owning some small shops makes him a prominent member of his community. He has accepted that leadership role happily.

“I have a passion, a fighting spirit, fighting for my community, fighting for my own rights,” he said. “I think I was inspired most importantly by Nelson Mandela, who gave everything for his community.”

This would come in handy. In 2006, a British mining company found diamonds in Manicaland province. They were alluvial diamonds, meaning they were literally strewn across the topsoil. You could find them with a hand shovel. …

The fall issue will feature a very good essay on tyranny by contributor Deborah Johnstone. In it, she cites a book by Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, which I happened to be reading when she pitched me her piece. Toward the end of Hoffer’s treatise on the nature of mass movements, he writes, “The danger of the fanatic to the development of a movement is that he cannot settle down.”

Hoffer, who published his book in 1951, used Hitler as his main example of a fanatic who could rally the masses to action but lacked practical leadership abilities. His Nazi government was destined to collapse spectacularly: Instead of hardening the movement’s gains “in organs of vigilance and administration,” Hitler invaded Russia. To perpetuate itself, a victorious mass movement requires a practical “man of action [to save] the movement from the suicidal dissensions and the recklessness of the fanatics.” …



Reporting on social justice globally since 2014

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