aerial view of the Amazon river

Current Issue

Eyes on COVID-19: A Commemorative Issue
Spring/Summer 2022 | Volume XXI, Number 3

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

April 2020

Approaching COVID-19 in the Upper Amazon

Approaching COVID-19 in the Upper Amazon

English + Español
As Covid-19 works its deadly way into South America, many Amazonian indigenous leaders, anthropologists and concerned others are worried. They are protesting and prohibiting the possible arrival of Evangelical New Tribes Missionaries in Brazil and hoping to halt miners…

Paraguay and its authoritarian warlike discourse against COVID-19

Paraguay and its authoritarian warlike discourse against COVID-19

English + Español
Ever since I began my university studies back in 2008, I’ve realized that Paraguayans greatly exalt war and authoritarianism. That makes me much like every social scientist who is dedicated to describing, analyzing and characterizing Paraguay. No matter what topic occupied our interest, the rhetoric has been the same: “the enemy,” “the need for order”…

When the Virus Arrived in the Tropics

When the Virus Arrived in the Tropics

English + Español
I look out  from my balcony onto the streets of the Casco Viejo, the colonial section of Panama City. I can hear only an occasional fragment of conversation carried by the breeze or infrequent passing of a car. Panama’s second greatest tourist attraction after the Canal is…

Letter from Costa Rica

Letter from Costa Rica

English + Español
In my home office, the engraving “El solitario”—“The Solitary One”— by famed Costa Rican artist Francisco Amighetti has accompanied me for many years. The image is divided into two planes. At the bottom, a quite lively group is festively socializing with glasses of wine and…

Body and Dance in the Era of Coronavirus

Body and Dance in the Era of Coronavirus

English + Español
I am writing this article in the midst of the most absolute perplexity, trying to imagine what will our lives be like in the post pandemia days… for those who will survive. It’s common knowledge that postwar is even more traumatic and painful than war itself. And that’s what we’ve…

Communities and COVID-19 recovery policy implementation

Communities and COVID-19 recovery policy implementation

English + Español
As a current student at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), I attended a virtual session called “The Fog of War: Real Time Lessons for Developing Countries in the Fight Against Covid-19” taught by Professor Ricardo Hausmann. Hausmann strongly recommended that we…

COVID-19 in an Island Surrounded by Land

COVID-19 in an Island Surrounded by Land

English + Español
When I was in prison under the Stroessner dictatorship (1988), I developed the capacity to survive under dramatic conditions, breaking up my memories into fragments to distract myself and to spark my creative energy. I got used to living in isolation…

Ecuador: From Coronavirus to the Future

Ecuador: From Coronavirus to the Future

English + Español
Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. Secretary of State, known as the black monk of global power, in a recent commentary published in the Wall Street Journal, insists on something we have been discussing in recent months: The coronavirus pandemic will change the world order …

Letter from Bolivia

Letter from Bolivia

English + Español
The death of a well-known businessman to the coronavirus has provoked alarm among Bolivians. If a wealthy man with many possibilities of receiving good health care could succumb to this disease, what can the millions of poor who are the majority of the…

With COVID-19, We are All Immigrants

With COVID-19, We are All Immigrants

My daughter, Paula, is a fourth-generation immigrant. She was born here in the United States. I, her mother, was born in Venezuela. Estela, her grandmother, was born in Argentina. Aurelia, her great grandmother, was born in Italy. The war and two dictatorships were the causes…

May 2020

The COVID-19 Virtual Revolution

The COVID-19 Virtual Revolution

English + Español
It is the morning of March 8, and I am standing in a sea of women. The sun reflects off multicolored garments. Flags wave among hundreds of raised fists. Metal and plastic glimmer off the silhouettes of instruments as if the sea is full of sparks. The energy is palpable; I feel it in…

#LadyZote’s Viral Plea

#LadyZote’s Viral Plea

English + Español
“The government just sent us soap for dogs!” a Honduran woman complained in a viral video on social media. Within the week she was an internet sensation among Hondurans’ social media feeds. “Look! The bag won’t last 15 days, there is no detergent, no toilet paper!” the…

Pandemia Far from Home

Pandemia Far from Home

English + Español
Coming to Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) as the Santo Domingo Visiting Scholar has been one of the best experiences of my life. I encountered an absolutely challenging and inspiring environment, where one is always learning and…

COVID Expat

COVID Expat

English + Español
The phone rang at 7 a.m. I wondered why on earth my husband was calling me so early from downstairs on a vacation day. It was February 26 and we were enjoying a week’s holiday in a neighboring country from our expatriate home in the Persian Gulf. I answered in…

Corona, Crisis and Creativity in Cuba

Corona, Crisis and Creativity in Cuba

English + Español
Every night, when I look out of the window of my cozy home, everything seems so very quiet, almost silent. In Cuba, that’s very unusual. Indeed, one of the things I missed the most when I moved from Harvard to Havana was the tranquility. Normally, one hears shouts, music…

El Salvador’s Two Pandemics: Maximum Insecurity

El Salvador’s Two Pandemics: Maximum Insecurity

English + Español
President Nayib Bukele’s much-applauded Territorial Control Plan (PCT), the Salvadoran government gang-control plan, marches forward under the cover of the novel coronavirus. While details still remain unclear, PCT is focused on bolstering security presence in ungovernable…

Waiting in the Time of Covid-19

Waiting in the Time of Covid-19

English + Español
I am not a hypochondriac. Nor a fatalist. No matter what my sister says. Yes, I know already, she is a nurse. An excellent nurse whom I have seen in action: efficient, quick and friendly. But she’s wrong. Her opinion, I suspect, is more related to the numerous board games…

Chile and the Pandemic

Chile and the Pandemic

English + Español
My experience as a Custer Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies was outstanding. It was a joy to attend interesting debates about the future, to have access to one of the best libraries in the world, to breathe once again the intellectual…

The Art of Creation in Confinement

The Art of Creation in Confinement

English + Español
There are dishes that are vehicles. Risotto is vehicle for vegetables, saffron or whatever you have in the fridge, whereas causa can just be a vehicle for huancaina sauce. Causa takes on whatever you want to put in it. For example, I imagined causa with pulpo al olivo for the first…

Meat for the Tigers

Meat for the Tigers

Tens of thousands of Dominicans are spending their nights demanding carne, or meat, on reggaetón singer Miguel Ángel Valerio Lebrón’s controversial Instagram live stream. Lebrón…

June 2020

Jair Bolsonaro’s “Little Cold”

Jair Bolsonaro’s “Little Cold”

English + Português
In December 1849, U.S. ships from California passed by the Brazilian coast and the doctor of the foreigners’ ward at the Santa Casa de Misericórdia in Rio de Janeiro suspected that he was facing yellow fever cases. He visited taverns frequented by sailors and informed the…

The Window, the Balcony, the Door and the Gate

The Window, the Balcony, the Door and the Gate

English + Español
In these times of pandemic, it’s necessary to reflect, to look at the past, to glimpse the future, that of the outside and the one on the inside too. For the Puerto Rican artist, that is not easy. Like artists from other latitudes, we have spent centuries trying to strike the balance of breaking…

From Amazonia Coca to Cacao

From Amazonia Coca to Cacao

English + Español
It was a Saturday in March. After three hours, we were still traveling down the Huallaga River in a small wooden boat. The roar of the motor could be heard all the way along the route, as we watched the blue sky with its white cotton clouds, the deep green of the…

Covid-Closures

Covid-Closures

English + Español
Going to school can be dangerous for some students. Classrooms and campuses, as well as transit to and from them, can be spaces of physical violence including gang violence and harassment. Silences or misrepresentation of minority identities in school curricula act as…

Using Research to Save Lives

Using Research to Save Lives

Every Thursday at 5:30 a.m., I leave my house in a residential section of São Paulo to shop for fruits and vegetables at a nearby outdoor organic farmer’s market. Since the second week in March, it is the only time I venture forth from my home. Since the second week in March…

July 2020

A Letter from Peru

A Letter from Peru

English + Español
It was the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. My wife Gisela and I had planned to combine preparing for the new academic year with trips to the beach, enjoyment of the cultural night life of Lima and just getting together with friends. Unexpectedly…

What a Small Garden Can Teach Us

What a Small Garden Can Teach Us

English + Español
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people started home gardens. A small gesture, but one that could not come at a better time, for it is becoming more and more obvious that industrialized farming is at least part of our problems, if not the root. Also, confinement…

Chocolate in the Time of Covid-19

Chocolate in the Time of Covid-19

We at the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) are a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization dedicated to research and education on the fine cacao and chocolate industry. Usually, we spend our time investigating the cacao and chocolate industries…

A Letter from Buenos Aires

A Letter from Buenos Aires

English + Español
You ask me how we are doing here in Buenos Aires, living through a quarantine of more than a hundred days. The government quickly took the measures to impose it, advised by an excellent group of infectious disease experts, and people supported the…

Learning to Heal in an Amazonian Capital

Learning to Heal in an Amazonian Capital

It’s my 37th birthday, and I’m seventy days into social isolation in my hometown. Being from Belém has gifted me with a taste for the wonders of brega popular music, a knowledge of traditional herbal baths and an ability to cope with extreme heat and humidity…

Lack of Oxygen in the Amazon

Lack of Oxygen in the Amazon

English + Español
“The eight relatives died in fourteen days. One after the other, we went burying them all. I didn’t even get a rest. When I was drifting off to sleep, someone would always call: ‘Your uncle died.’ ‘Your grandfather died.’ If another Kokama dies, we will not have any tears left…

Leaving No One Behind in the Time of Covid-19

Leaving No One Behind in the Time of Covid-19

English + Español
When George Floyd was killed, he had Covid-19. An unarmed African American man had a greater chance of dying at the hands of the police than of dying of Covid-19. That’s even taking into consideration that African Americans already die at a greater rate from the disease …

August 2020

The Vaccine Revolt in Brazil

The Vaccine Revolt in Brazil

I have long been fascinated by history. As I sit quarantined in my apartment in Vancouver, Canada, far from my native Brazil, I cannot help but ponder the differences in how epidemics have affected my homeland. Epidemics tend to increase economic inequalities…

The Future of the State in Chile

The Future of the State in Chile

As I sit in my apartment in Santiago de Chile, and look at the sunset in the mountains that surround the city, I realize that the world of history and ideas has always been my home. Since March of this year, and until a few days ago (August 2020), I could only go out twice a week for three hours…

The Pandemic and Informal Settlements

The Pandemic and Informal Settlements

English + Español
Quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic is a new and unexpected experience in our lifes. I am writing to you at the middle of an academic year in which the world in which we operate is fundamentally different. The covid 19 epidemic has caused the loss of lives…

The Daily Struggle of Medical Workers in Brazil

The Daily Struggle of Medical Workers in Brazil

English + Português
In February 2020, I was getting ready to launch the second season of Basic Unit, the fictional TV medical series I started creating 10 years ago. I’m a medical doctor and I’d dreamed up this program that portrays the daily routine of a team of primary health care…

COVID-19 and Inequalities in Havana

COVID-19 and Inequalities in Havana

I’ve been living in Cuba for the past ten years, and in the past few months have had the opportunity to watch how the Covid-19 pandemic has played out here quite differently than in much of the world. And I am particularly fascinated about how my own research…

Migrant Aid Organizations in São Paulo during COVID-19

Migrant Aid Organizations in São Paulo during COVID-19

I arrived in São Paulo in February 2020 on a Fulbright grant to study how Syrian refugees were integrating into society. I was quickly struck by the diversity of the city. In addition to Syrians, São Paulo is home to 75,000 Bolivians concentrated in the Bom Retiro area…

Saying The Mexican Names

Saying The Mexican Names

Today, on the anniversary of the El Paso massacre, in which 23 Hispanic people were murdered at a Walmart, the world is living in the pandemic of Covid-19, we must not forget the other pandemic of racism… When I was seven years old, my father drove me across…

September 2020

Mourning in the Time of Covid

Mourning in the Time of Covid

Dery Dyer, the former owner, publisher and editor of The Tico Times, a newspaper in Costa Rica, known as a champion of free and independent press, died of lung cancer in her home in a suburb of that nation’s capital of San José Friday Sept.25, said her husband…

Horror of Horrors

Horror of Horrors

English + Español
The keychain he gave me was a bit odd with its two decorations: the dried tail of a rabbit or some other creature and a plastic heart that read, “I Love NY.” I took the keys, thanked him for his generosity (especially considering that he thought the imminent threat of the…

Postcards from Confinement

Postcards from Confinement

English + Español
A few months ago, when the state of California issued a mandatory lockdown, many of us began to wonder what would become of our jobs and our projects. As a member of the faculty at the University of San Diego, I was able, and fortunate, to transition to online teaching relatively smoothly…

Resilience in the Time of Covid-19 in Puerto Rico

Resilience in the Time of Covid-19 in Puerto Rico

English + Español
In the past ten years, we Puerto Ricans have experienced many situations that have made us recipients of stress, anxiety and hypervigilance. The theme of Covid-19 goes hand in hand with other social problems. It is because of this that people live in a state of…

Villahermosa in times of Covid-19

Villahermosa in times of Covid-19

English + Español
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Harvard decided that for safety and health reasons, all students would have to take a 100% online curriculum at least for this semester. That meant that…

Pandemic in the Brazilian Prison System

Pandemic in the Brazilian Prison System

English + Português
I’m a prison guard. I witness firsthand the COVID-19 pandemic challenges in the Brazilian prison system. This experience sharpened my interest in studying the effect of Covid-19 in prisons, given the difficulty faced by scientists in accessing it in order to conduct research…

Pandemic Journalism

Pandemic Journalism

English + Español
For more than 30 years I have taught and practiced the art of telling true stories. “Get your shoes dirty, feel the wind and the rain and the sun.” In Latin America and beyond, that was always the way we teachers and editors taught our reporters and students to get out of their…

Living within the Collapsed Myth of Multiculturalism

Living within the Collapsed Myth of Multiculturalism

English + Español
On July 28th, Peruvian independence day, I had just finished listening to the two-hour presidential speech discussing the government response to the country’s multiple crises. I headed out to meet Rosita, as she prefers to be called, at noon while she delivered a lasagna to…

The COVID-19 Response in Mexico

The COVID-19 Response in Mexico

English + Español
For the past summer, I have been working remotely with the Global Health Institute at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City, Mexico, an opportunity that has let me peel back the…

Covid-19 and Prisons in Latin America

Covid-19 and Prisons in Latin America

English + Español
In the process of doing fieldwork research, I’ve visited more than 30 prisons across the region and conducted surveys of more than 15,000 inmates. During the last 15 years, I have talked to hundreds of inmates who sleep on the floor of their prison cells. Some of them have not…

Letter from Mexico: Hopes and Shadows

Letter from Mexico: Hopes and Shadows

English + Español
In the last few years, I’ve immensely enjoyed walking around any city at all, from Shanghai to Cochabamba, without any fixed route. I walk for several hours to stumble on spaces of daily life, places that with a bit of luck one finds two or three blocks from a thoroughfare…

October 2020

Afrodescendants and Covid-19

Afrodescendants and Covid-19

English + Español
As an Afro-descendant Chilean who is also an activist in my community, I am constantly struck by our exclusion from the conversation about the impact of Covid-19. We know for a fact that the pandemic affects the most vulnerable members of the society. Afro-descendants are…

A Look at Mexico City

A Look at Mexico City

English + Español
I live in a city of twenty million people. A city usually filled with cars and people that one day became empty. Sidewalks, parks, and other spaces are now abandoned, without any figures, not even passing shadows. This was once unimaginable. But the city I was born …

Living in The Covid Years

Living in The Covid Years

In August 2020, thousands paraded in classic cars and lowriders in East Los Angeles, as Chicanas and Chicanos celebrated the 50th anniversary of the National Chicano Moratorium to remember when 30,000 marched in peaceful protest to question the overrepresentation…

Pandemic and Crisis

Pandemic and Crisis

English + Español
The Covid-19 pandemic is without a doubt a universal phenomenon, not only because of its geographic extension, but perhaps even more important, because of the way it permeates absolutely every aspect of our societies. It’s not enough to just understand the…

Reflecting on the Work of Rodrigo Abd

Reflecting on the Work of Rodrigo Abd

English + Español
Peru’s capital is a notoriously gray, solemn city. Limeños can go weeks without seeing the sun, catching just a pale glimpse of its radiance behind the clouds. As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc here, Lima’s overcast disposition seems to match the…

Teaching University Students in Chile’s Pandemic

Teaching University Students in Chile’s Pandemic

English + Español
As a law  professor, I’ve seen in the last few months how the capacity for innovation in the university system has not previously been appreciated.  I’ve also observed a positive impact in teaching that has forced us to evaluate practices and to have increasing concern…

My Time

My Time

English + Español
A few days before the mandatory quarantine was declared in Chile, I thought it was best to leave Santiago. We knew the situation was very serious, but we did not know how the pandemic would actually be experienced. I know how to live with an earthquake; as a historian, I…

The Pretension of Total Power in the Age of Covid-19

The Pretension of Total Power in the Age of Covid-19

English + Español
Next year, presidential elections are scheduled to be held in Nicaragua, and a new National Assembly would assume office. The good faith of the regime of Daniel Ortega, if such a thing existed, should already be demonstrating, in a race against the clock in this time of Covid-19…

Guatemala: Slow-Motion Collapse

Guatemala: Slow-Motion Collapse

English + Español
Guatemala is in the middle of the Pacific Ring of Fire; a country the size of Tennessee, it is threatened by four tectonic plates and has almost 300 volcanos. Here, we have all grown up with tremors, and some of us remember the last “great” earthquake: that of 1976, which…

November 2020

Media Solitude

Media Solitude

English + Español
There is a family here. A family like any other, a family like no other, like all families: a blend of love and hate, of mixed, nuanced feelings; rocked by contradictions and conflicts. Family, this peculiar comunitarian structure, particularly problematic, even when emblematic…

Warped Time

Warped Time

Collective isolation is a centrifugal force: as we spin around the axis of public health and growing public fear, we are crushed against our inner walls, which separate us from anyone on the other side. In Santiago, while we quarantined between May and September, we…

Without Hurrying, but without Pausing

Without Hurrying, but without Pausing

English + Español
A specter has begun to float around the world: a new social pact. This notion-proposal is just about everywhere at global forums, common sense among politicians on both the right and left and constantly present in the international press. And this seems normal…

The Luxury of Social Isolation

The Luxury of Social Isolation

The Covid-19 pandemic swept through Paraisópolis, one of the biggest favelas in São Paulo, Brazil, a place with one of the worst Human Index scores in the country—that includes measures of poverty, health, education, welfare and access to public services…

Reflecting on Covid-19: Seven Sundays

Reflecting on Covid-19: Seven Sundays

English + Español
We always have lived with the constant tic tac of a global rhythm, like if we are in a military training where there is no place for rest and need to be more efficient and productive each day. Everybody should have high performance in all aspects of life, more degrees, courses…

Peri Alto, a Suburban Pandemic

Peri Alto, a Suburban Pandemic

The Peri Alto favela, in the northern suburbs of São Paulo, reflects the structure of the Brazilian society.  At the top of the mountain there are the most solid houses, built in the 70s, when from the northeast of Brazil people emigrated to São Paulo in search of fortune. From the…

Reflecting on the Work of Emi Takahashi

Reflecting on the Work of Emi Takahashi

Emi Takahashi’s work presents at this very troubled moment in our society are not the outcome of chance, but of a journey of great dedication and perseverance. Escaping the clichés of the contemporary world and the immediate and flat images of social media has proved…

El jardín pandémico

El jardín pandémico

English + Español
Imagine the tranquility of a garden. With the aroma of flowers mixed in with the buzzing of bees and the contrast of shady trees against the fierce Paraguayan sun. From the intimacy of a family garden in which daily ritual leads one to water the plants, gather up the dry leaves…

The Days and the Neighbors I Didn’t Know I Had

The Days and the Neighbors I Didn’t Know I Had

English + Español
Now there is time to sit and watch. Life becomes contemplation of the landscape of the windows, the waiting and the observation arereleased, because the time is presented in a strange way. Daily rituals that remained invisible and that are now part of our stories and…

The Pandemic in Venezuela

The Pandemic in Venezuela

Latin America is the world’s epicenter of Covid-19, with more than 10 million cases and 400,000 deaths as of November 1. The region’s countries have nine of the world’s 16 highest mortality rates per 100,000, with Peru claiming the dubious distinction of the highest rate after…

December 2020

The Long Wait

The Long Wait

English + Español
Mario Lorenzana, gravedigger at the “Jardín” cemetery in the municipality of Soyapango, in San Salvador, takes a brief break among the lush vegetation after performing a burial under Covid-19 protocols with her fellow gravediggers, during long and exhausting stints with…

The WhatsApp Experience

The WhatsApp Experience

A relatively young commercial city of around 80,000 inhabitants in the Colombian vast oriental plainlands received about 18,000 internally displaced persons of the country’s longstanding

Beyond Indifference

Beyond Indifference

English + Español
Mexico is intense; intense in living or in dying, in feeling or ignoring. I believe that all Latin America is that way, through a certain intangible but undoubtedly present brotherhood…

The Heart in the Vanguard

The Heart in the Vanguard

English + Español
These photographs were taken in the neighborhood where I was born, Altahabana in the city of Havana, Cuba. I went out to accompany medical students two days in a row, first, close to an hour going up and down five flights of stairs in two buildings with 30 different…

The Covid-19 Crisis and Populism in Brazil

The Covid-19 Crisis and Populism in Brazil

English + Português
As a researcher in the history of the relationship between law and slavery, I’ve observed the impacts that biological events can have on the course of national policies. As historians like Sidney Chalhoub and Tana Hogarth have pointed out, yellow fever epidemics not only helped…

Gaming, Mexico and the Impact of Covid-19

Gaming, Mexico and the Impact of Covid-19

English + Español
Covid-19, as we all know, has affected the world in surprising ways. It sent the gaming industry worldwide skyrocketing in 2020. It forced the hands of corporations to rethink their brick & mortar recruitment strategy, as the pandemic forced gamers worldwide to quarantine…

Order and Disorder in the Contemporary City

Order and Disorder in the Contemporary City

English + Español
As a rule, cities are my favorite place to reflect on identity and territory. But, what is identity in a situation in which architecture, history and even the garden are valued more than the landscape? I don’t have the answer, but I can only affirm that the more cities…

January 2021

The Challenges

The Challenges

Going out every day to capture the best story or photo is challenging. Photographing in this period in which we are living, even knowing the risks we are taking, is being able to inform the population, through images, of the reality we are facing, but in the least painful…

Finally I Had My Happy Ending!

Finally I Had My Happy Ending!

English + Español
It is highly unusual to see the word “happy” in an article about Covid-19. However, what I’m referring to here is the way in which Finsocial—our fintech company dedicated to consumer credit and…

Changemaking in Argentina with DRCLAS

Changemaking in Argentina with DRCLAS

English + Español
I was incredibly excited at the prospect of spending last summer in Buenos Aires. Streetside tango, huge murals and barbeques overflowing with fresh steak seemed to provide the perfect

Education and Post-pandemic Reconstruction

Education and Post-pandemic Reconstruction

English + Español
As someone who has followed international education for decades, I’ve seen that few issues generate more consensus than the belief that education is crucial for development. No country has achieved significant economic, social and political progress without expanding and…

Conducting Virtual Research for Argentina

Conducting Virtual Research for Argentina

English + Español
It might not be the way most college sophomores spend their Friday nights. Whether it was a high-stakes game of Jenga or just listening to how someone’s day had gone, I found that my experience

Saying Goodbye in the Midst of a Pandemic

Saying Goodbye in the Midst of a Pandemic

English + Español
The Covid-19 pandemic has posed an  enormous challenge, independently of one’s social group, playing havoc with many aspects of our lives, revealing the precariousness in which a great part of the world population lives, making visible the weaknesses in each country…

Vaccine Revolts

Vaccine Revolts

In the past eight months, conservative Brazilian politicians have invoked rights against public health mandates at least twice. In June, Congresswoman Carla Zambelli falsely claimed that a federal bill allowed “unconstitutional home invasions” to enforce mask usage inside…

Auto-Confinement

Auto-Confinement

During a month of self-confinement I managed to understand how fragile we can be and what my true priorities are: protecting my family and continuing photographic work more personal and introspective, hoping that what I have experienced now is a lesson for…

Journeys

Journeys

English + Español
The lockdown provoked by Covid-19 in Peru has left many people without an income, obliging tens of thousands of migrants in Lima to return home to their families in the Andes and the Amazon…

Forbidden Embrace

Forbidden Embrace

In 2020, the pandemic crisis has hit the Brazilian Amazon hard. Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and its severe consequences, due to historical and socio-economic factors  aggravated by the persistence of colonial practices in their native…

February 2021

A Year in Lima

A Year in Lima

English + Español
A cacophony of whispers and rumors circulated that Peruvians should prepare to quarantine at home for two weeks. A line stretched outside of the grocery store for nearly half a block. My

Letter from Puerto Rico

Letter from Puerto Rico

I have been working with the Latinx and Latin American LGBT community for more than 20 years, and teaching yoga and mindfulness to LGBT and Gender Queer Older Adults in Puerto Rico since 2018…

Manaus: Death in the Amazon

Manaus: Death in the Amazon

Manaus, a metropolis of more than two million inhabitants in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, suffered the lethal impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic like no other Brazilian city. Hospitals without…

March/April 2021

Women Farmworkers and Gardening

Women Farmworkers and Gardening

English + Español
It’s 6 a.m. in Immokalee, Florida, and the roosters all over town are singing in cacophony, echoing from all directions in the dark. Farmworkers gather in small groups in the large parking

My Domestic Harvard Enclave

My Domestic Harvard Enclave

English + Español
I’m a first-year student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), yet I’ve never set foot in Cambridge as a student. I’ve been studying remotely from Argentina, and hope my experience

Our Family During Covid

Our Family During Covid

Families in Brazil—and all over the Americas—face challenges during the pandemic. Those challenges for young people are even more apparent when your mother is a political scientist who studies and consults on the effects of the pandemic…

Exhausted Women

Exhausted Women

English + Español
We women are tired. Physically and psychologically. It is not just the fatigue due to the pandemic, or that of a particular context. It is historical fatigue, transmitted and accumulated,

May 2021

The Endurance of Age

The Endurance of Age

English + Español
Growing old in the hills of Nueva Esperanza, southeast of Lima, Peru,  has never been easy, even before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. This settlement in the district of Villa María del Triunfo was established in a sandy area in the 1950s as a solution to the housing…

The Venezuelan Gold Rush

The Venezuelan Gold Rush

English + Español
Control by armed criminal groups, sexual abuse of women and children, slavery, child labor, mercury poisoning, malaria outbreaks, malnutrition, torture, forced disappearances, forced

June 2021

Learning and Hope in Sinaloa

Learning and Hope in Sinaloa

English + Español
Adapting to the challenges of grad school while also working a full-time job and raising children in a pandemic has not been easy. But with great effort comes reward. And by far, the…

We Can’t Stop

We Can’t Stop

Latin America has become a hotspot for Covid-19 as the number of cases rises and persists. It’s a region that brings together ideal conditions for a pandemic: lack of investment in health care systems and a dependence on informal…

The Rock Salt of the Earth

The Rock Salt of the Earth

In Maceió, my hometown in Brazil, adding to the Covid-19 crisis, my community has been concerned about how to handle the crisis generated by the rock salt extractive business that so far

July 2021

How to Boost Economic Development in Latin America?

How to Boost Economic Development in Latin America?

English + Español
As someone who has worked in economic development in Latin America for more than 20 years, I’ve witnessed more failures than success stories. Frustrated on the plane back from another failed attempt to contribute to development, I decided to reflect on “what” to reform and “how,” to better understand the path to economic development for the entire region within the Covid-19 context…

An Educational Calamity

An Educational Calamity

English + Español
Not long after the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in the news in early 2020, I was preparing to attend Teach For All’s Potential Partner Immersion Training in Nepal. As one of the co-founders…

Finding out “We”

Finding out “We”

English + Español
It all started in 2020. I work at Enseña Peru, seeking to build a movement of leadership for a transcendent education for everyone in Peru. We offer three leadership programs…

Resiliency in Uncertainty

Resiliency in Uncertainty

As the Covid-19 pandemic raged across the globe, educators and policy makers were put in the position of making difficult decisions based on little information. As a student in Fernando…

Culture in Quarantine

Culture in Quarantine

English + Español
During the Covid-19 pandemic, cultural institutions suffered long closures. In South American countries, these institutions will not only require greater economic solvency, but also the…

August 2021

MASI, the Peruvian Ventilator

MASI, the Peruvian Ventilator

English + Español
I don’t know what was more distressing: the sound of the ambulance sirens announcing more Covid infections and more deaths or the desperate telephone calls. The jingle of…

Compassion in the Storm

Compassion in the Storm

English + Español
Stimulated by a recent invitation by my dear friend and mentor Fernando Reimers to share some personal insights into the challenges for educational leadership in these times, I was immediately…

Above the “Marombas”

Above the “Marombas”

English + Portuguese
In June of the second year of the new biological or biocultural plague ravaging humanity, I crossed the wooden bridges of the small Amazonian community of Cacau Pirêra, in the district…

September 2021

Mourning in the Time of Covid

Mourning in the Time of Covid

Dery Dyer, the former owner, publisher and editor of The Tico Times, a newspaper in Costa Rica, known as a champion of free and independent press, died of lung cancer in her home in a suburb of that nation’s capital of San José Friday Sept.25, said her husband…

Horror of Horrors

Horror of Horrors

English + Español
The keychain he gave me was a bit odd with its two decorations: the dried tail of a rabbit or some other creature and a plastic heart that read, “I Love NY.” I took the keys, thanked him for his generosity (especially considering that he thought the imminent threat of the…

Postcards from Confinement

Postcards from Confinement

English + Español
A few months ago, when the state of California issued a mandatory lockdown, many of us began to wonder what would become of our jobs and our projects. As a member of the faculty at the University of San Diego, I was able, and fortunate, to transition to online teaching relatively smoothly…

Resilience in the Time of Covid-19 in Puerto Rico

Resilience in the Time of Covid-19 in Puerto Rico

English + Español
In the past ten years, we Puerto Ricans have experienced many situations that have made us recipients of stress, anxiety and hypervigilance. The theme of Covid-19 goes hand in hand with other social problems. It is because of this that people live in a state of…

Villahermosa in times of Covid-19

Villahermosa in times of Covid-19

English + Español
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Harvard decided that for safety and health reasons, all students would have to take a 100% online curriculum at least for this semester. That meant that…

Pandemic in the Brazilian Prison System

Pandemic in the Brazilian Prison System

English + Português
I’m a prison guard. I witness firsthand the COVID-19 pandemic challenges in the Brazilian prison system. This experience sharpened my interest in studying the effect of Covid-19 in prisons, given the difficulty faced by scientists in accessing it in order to conduct research…

Pandemic Journalism

Pandemic Journalism

English + Español
For more than 30 years I have taught and practiced the art of telling true stories. “Get your shoes dirty, feel the wind and the rain and the sun.” In Latin America and beyond, that was always the way we teachers and editors taught our reporters and students to get out of their…

Living within the Collapsed Myth of Multiculturalism

Living within the Collapsed Myth of Multiculturalism

English + Español
On July 28th, Peruvian independence day, I had just finished listening to the two-hour presidential speech discussing the government response to the country’s multiple crises. I headed out to meet Rosita, as she prefers to be called, at noon while she delivered a lasagna to…

The COVID-19 Response in Mexico

The COVID-19 Response in Mexico

English + Español
For the past summer, I have been working remotely with the Global Health Institute at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City, Mexico, an opportunity that has let me peel back the…

Covid-19 and Prisons in Latin America

Covid-19 and Prisons in Latin America

English + Español
In the process of doing fieldwork research, I’ve visited more than 30 prisons across the region and conducted surveys of more than 15,000 inmates. During the last 15 years, I have talked to hundreds of inmates who sleep on the floor of their prison cells. Some of them have not…

Letter from Mexico: Hopes and Shadows

Letter from Mexico: Hopes and Shadows

English + Español
In the last few years, I’ve immensely enjoyed walking around any city at all, from Shanghai to Cochabamba, without any fixed route. I walk for several hours to stumble on spaces of daily life, places that with a bit of luck one finds two or three blocks from a thoroughfare…

October 2021

Overcoming Gender Bias

Overcoming Gender Bias

All around the world, students find their education severely disrupted by Covid-19—including at Harvard and for this Chilean at Harvard in particular. In Chile, all educational institutions in the…

November 2021

That Lovely Violence of Ours

That Lovely Violence of Ours

English + Español
It used to be there were products that hid violent messages to attract consumers. Now, there is nothing subliminal in finding human heads inside coolers with a grocery store brand, heads rolling in a bar in the middle of the track, heads slaughtered on video, heads shattered…

Reinventing Research in Times of Pandemic

Reinventing Research in Times of Pandemic

The pandemic, a global health emergency, descended upon us in March 2020. In this unexpected crisis with unknown disastrous implications, to write about the process of research in urban studies, social sciences or other fields of the humanities might seem irrelevant…

Mastering Unity

Mastering Unity

So implores native son Manuel, who returns to Fonds Rouge, Haiti, after toiling on Cuba’s sugar plantations in Gouverneurs de la Rose´e´ (“Masters of the Dew”), the…

Planting Dreams

Planting Dreams

English + Español
Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “Many little people, in small places, doing little things, can change the world.” A few days ago, I called my friend and retired teacher Elena…

December 2021

Global Memorial to the Pandemic

Global Memorial to the Pandemic

English + Español
On the afternoon of Friday, March 13, 2020, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Uruguay was announced. At that time, I made the decision to ask the 100 employees of Gómez Platero Arquitectura & Urbanismo…

January 2022

Friends Who Disappear

Friends Who Disappear

I first met Marvyn Perez in 1988 when I was teaching English in Mexico. I was having dinner at the home of Guatemalan exiles, fellow instructors at the university in Puebla. Marvyn…

February 2022

March 2022

Let’s Talk about Resilience

Let’s Talk about Resilience

English + Español
When I joined the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) family in October 2019, I never imagined that a few months later I would experience both the pain and…

A Few Shocks Away from Poverty

A Few Shocks Away from Poverty

English + Español
Growing up in Lima Peru, I can remember people saying, “There is no middle class.” This was an exaggeration. Not all the non-poor were rich—far from it—but the differences in the living …

The Future is Female in Honduras

The Future is Female in Honduras

English + Español
In March 2020, I was notified of my acceptance to the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) to complete a Master of Arts in Public Administration as part of the Mason Program and Mid-Career cohort…

April 2022

The Gift of Art

The Gift of Art

My dear friend, Colombian pioneer performance artist, Maria Evelia Marmolejo, (Cali, Colombia, 1958) whom I met during the research for the exhibition Radical Women: Latin…

Masks: A Luxury Item in Haiti

Masks: A Luxury Item in Haiti

English + Português
“Nurse Marie” tells her patients over and over again to keep their masks safe, clean, and sanitized. Masks are a luxury item in Haiti. “I always make it a priority here at the hospital…

A Nation at a Crossroads

A Nation at a Crossroads

Winds of change, fueled as much by politics as by the pandemic, framed the rise, campaign and inauguration of Gabriel Boric, 36, who took office March 11 as the youngest president in Chile’s…

Notes on Filmmaking

Notes on Filmmaking

English + Português
When the pandemic was declared March 11, 2020, I was in the midst of releasing a film. I am a Brazilian filmmaker, and the film in question…

May 2022

Brazil’s Vaccinated Democracy

Brazil’s Vaccinated Democracy

In March 2021, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a current presidential candidate, posed a pointed question in a speech lambasting President Jair Bolsonaro’s Covid-19 response. “Where is our beloved Zé Gotinha?” Zé Gotinha is not a respected public health expert or crisis manager

Book Talk

Editor’s Endnote →

by June Carolyn Erlick