Blog

The New War on the Poor/La nueva guerra contra los pobres

My book The New War on the Poor: The Production of Insecurity in Latin America is available in hardback, paperback, and Kindle and ePub ebook formats. It is available directly from its publisher, Zed Books, in the UK and Europe, the University of Chicago Press in the case of the Americas, North and South, or from … Continue reading The New War on the Poor/La nueva guerra contra los pobres

Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Last Tuesday, Minister Edson Fachin, the Supreme Court judge responsible for the Lava Jato (Operation  Car Wash) investigations in Brazil, responded to the request from the Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, to approve investigations by the Supreme Court into serving politicians implicated by the plea bargain testimony of the CEO and other executives of the Odebrecht … Continue reading Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

On Wednesday 5 April, 2017, a large convoy a state police vehicles was dispatched to the indigenous community of Arantepacua, in the municipality of Nahuatzen in the central highlands of Michoacán, Mexico. Nahuatzen is a municipality in which more than 80% of the population live below the official poverty line. This part of the state … Continue reading What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

Pensions: a bridge too far for the Brazilian coup?

Yesterday there were large street demonstrations against the Temer government's proposals for so-called "pension reform" in Brazil. These have received innumerable and authoritative academic critiques. This post is mainly about a popular critique, but let me begin with my fellow academics. The government's arguments about the size and causes of the claimed deficit in the national pension … Continue reading Pensions: a bridge too far for the Brazilian coup?

Trump’s deportations begin

As The Intercept's Ryan Devereaux pointed out last Thursday, Trump's travel ban on people from a group of predominantly Muslim countries, selected on a somewhat questionable basis if the aim is to counter "terrorist threats", together with the high theatre of his border wall project, distracted attention from two January 29 executive orders that hardened … Continue reading Trump’s deportations begin

Relative calm ends on the Michoacán coast

As I explained in another post seven months ago, following the release from prison of Cemeí Verdía the regional self-defence forces led by the indigenous community of Ostula were able to offer greater protection to local people against the depredations of criminal groups. But remnant cells of the Caballeros Templarios cartel, led by people whose … Continue reading Relative calm ends on the Michoacán coast

Crazies and Craziers

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell is reputed, in a book written by the BBC's James Naughtie, to have called the key figures surrounding George W. Bush in the run-up to his invasion of Iraq "f***ing crazies". Mike Pence, Trump's Vice-President, certainly has a track record that places him squarely in the same camp … Continue reading Crazies and Craziers

Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde was one of the original leaders of the autodefensa movement in Michoacán that played a central role in confronting the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel (for the history, see my book The New War on the Poor). He was the leading Mexican protagonist in the award-winning US documentary Cartel Land. Mireles … Continue reading Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Deepening crisis in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil

Brazil’s prison crisis

This first week of January has seen two massacres of inmates in Brazilian prisons. The first took place in Manaus. Fifty-six inmates died, the highest number to be killed since the Carandiru prison complex massacre in São Paulo in 1992. But in that latter case it was the police who did the killing. In Manaus … Continue reading Brazil’s prison crisis

Destroying Britain’s universities

If you believe the present UK government, everything is fine with our public university system, which continues to  achieve remarkable results in international league tables, something habitually described as "punching above our weight" as a relatively small country without much deeper reflection on how our public universities got to be as good as they are. … Continue reading Destroying Britain’s universities