On Observing Elections and Magistrates' Faces

By Todd A. Eisenstadt

Where votes were traded just last year for brand new bicycles and sewing machines, the 2001 offering price in Yucatán State's May gubernatorial election was rumored to be a pitcher of beer or a half-kilo of meat. Given Mexicans realization in July 2000 that they could vote for and elect an opposition president, the offerings were paltry indeed. The commercial hub of Mexico's Mayan empire was going modern.

The Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), which monopolized Mexican national politics from...

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Environmental Education

A Working Perspective

By Leslie Domi­nguez

Majestic mountains tower over a small community of pink, lime green and pale blue houses. Children play baseball with a rolled-up sock for a ball; women are sweeping their patios and cleaning the rice, and the men are laboring in the fields, plowing, hoeing, planting food to sustain their families. This is Los Martínez, a rural, agricultural village nestled in the mountains of San Jose de Ocoa in the Dominican Republic. It could be considered a small slice of tropical...

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Environment, Indians, and Oil

By Theodore Macdonald

An Indian leader from the Upper Amazon recently commented to me that the whole issue of the environment, Indians, and oil companies had taken on global mythical proportions. He was partly proud, partly surprised, and partly bemused. For many people, the mythic image evoked by an oilrig hacked into the Amazon Rain Forest, particularly if it looms over Indian communities, is that of Paradise Lost. However, for others who currently view the wide array of communities, institutions, organizations, companies, adventurers, journalists...

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A Review by Jorge I. Dominguez   

"Are you an American," asked the U.S. immigration officer at the check-point crossing to enter El Paso from Ciudad Juárez. "Yes," I affirmed without hesitation. He inspected me, and instantly welcomed me "home." Next day, same question, same crossing, but not the same me. Instead of a jacket and necktie, I wore jeans and a sports shirt; instead of driving in a car, I was walking into El Paso. The immigration officer this time inspected my passport with suspicion, and let me in only after a detailed inquisition. I...

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Between Vengeance and Forgiveness

Martha Minow Review

By Marguerite Feitlowitz

At the close of this century of death camps, killings fields and desaparecidos, there is perhaps no more urgent question than the one raised in Martha Minow's useful new book: Can societies recover from mass atrocity without falling prey to the legacies of a violent past? "There are no tidy endings," Minow sensibly observes, no safe way to respond to the unspeakable. The impulse to forgive--to "turn the page"--can be as dangerous as the bloodthirst for vengeance. Even the best intentioned...

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The Community Perspective

Learning to Listen in Northeast Brazil

By June Carolyn Erlick 

The driver was yelling out in Portuguese with the rough-hewn rural accents of Northeastern Brazil: "This is the woman who is looking for the dead children. I have told her she should come in and see some of the children who are still alive, but she is interested only in the dead children."

Ana Cristina Terra de Souza, a doctoral student at Harvard's School of Public Health, was indeed only looking for the "dead children," actually, the mothers of children who had died...

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Poverty Blocks Economic Growth

By John H. Coatsworth

Latin America is not the poorest region in the world. On average, most of Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia are poorer. But Latin America is the world's most unequal region. Income and wealth are concentrated at the top; much less trickles down to the bottom than elsewhere.

These inequalities, however they are measured, represent an historic failure of truly epic proportions. Most of the Latin American countries now produce enough goods and services to lift most of their poor citizens out of extreme poverty and malnutrition. At...

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Partners In Health

Partners In Health is a Harvard-linked program committed to improving health in poor communities. Its goal is to make a "preferential option for the poor in health care" by working with community-based organizations in "pragmatic solidarity." Towards this aim, PIH offers technical and financial assistance, obtains funding and medical supplies, and helps administer its partner projects.

Most of the work has been done in close association with sister organizations in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, and the United States, particularly in Roxbury.

Although founded in 1987, the...

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On Social Justice

By Robert Coles

This issue of DRCLAS NEWS focuses on the theme of social justice, a theme inextricably linked with our children and the future of Latin America. So often we who study the lives of children or work with them as, say, teachers or nurses or doctors, speak and write of their needs and problems, but fail to acknowledge their own capacity for, or interest in, doing the very same thing - taking stock of their situation, describing their troubles or worries, not to mention their hopes or aspirations. In 1985, for instance, when I was working in a Rio...

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