Mikhael G. Iglesias L. – Candidato de Maestría, NYU CLACS
A medida que los casos y muertes diarias aumentan en el mundo, donde Latinoamérica y el Caribe representa un 45% de las muertes, sectores históricamente abandonados por políticas públicas en la región como las comunidades indígenas y afro-descendientes quienes se ven más vulnerables frente a la pandemia. El acceso limitado para estas comunidades a servicios básicos como agua, luz o servicios sanitarios, en el contexto de COVID-19 expone la precariedad y riesgo que enfrentan. Prácticas culturales, o incluso idiomas en algunos casos, están en riesgo de desaparecer. Igualmente significativo es el deterioro de la calidad de vida debido al no poder mantener sus actividades económicas ni poder acceder a un sistema de salud pública adecuado.
Carla García, Coordinadora de Relaciones Internacionales de OFRANEH (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña) y miembro de la comunidad garífuna de Honduras, describe cómo se preparan ante el COVID-19. “Nosotros estamos en constante comunicación con nuestros ancestros”, comentó Carla al explicar sobre un mensaje transmitido que resaltaba la importancia de tener el sistema inmune activo para reducir o prevenir complicaciones debido a COVID-19. Ella junto a sus hijos contrajeron el virus y con los tés adecuados que mencionaron los ancestros, pudieron lidiar con los síntomas y padecimientos que el virus presentó en sus casos.
On July 12, 2017, CLACS hosted a timely event with two of Honduras best known indigenous leaders. The night’s conversation featured Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, daughter of the late Lenca community leader Berta Cáceres and General Coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and Miriam Miranda who is General Coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (ONAFREH) and a well-known Garífuna community leader.
The night’s events began with a presentation of two short clips honoring the memory Berta Cáceres, which also served to contextualize the conversation to come. The first clip, was from the Berta Vive documentary, followed by a part of the acceptance speech by the Lenca leader from her acceptance of the Goldman Prize (2015). With this, the stage was set for the conversation with the featured speakers moderated by Grassroots International‘s Latin America Program Coordinator Jovanna Garcia Soto.
With a capacity room, the conversation featured insights on current affairs in the struggles of the indigenous communities in Honduras. Bertha Zúniga spoke about the legacy of her late mother, the importance of unity in resistance struggles, and denounced current anti-terrorism laws. Miriam Miranda, on her part, highlighted the importance of her people’s cultural traditions and spirituality in resisting the current crisis in favor of of life in Honduras.
Posted by Katie Schlechter – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU
A man from Honduras helps prep nopales for the kitchen at La Casa del Migrante Saltillo. (Photo: Katie Schlechter)
At this point in my research/reporting trip, I’ve visited five different migrant shelters in four different states. I’ve spent time in shelters just a few hours drive from the US-Mexico border and I’ve been in casas 45 minutes from Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. One thing I’ve found at every single shelter is boredom, and the occasional wave of desperation that comes with being stuck in one place for a long period of time.
The boredom hits different people for different reasons. In the Casa del Migrante in Saltillo, for example, migrants are not allowed to leave the shelter during the day except for work. This is for security reasons, as the northern region of the country is full of Zeta operatives and scammers who specialize in tricking migrants into letting them be their “guide.” The rule is supposed to limit the daily traffic of people in and out of the casa.
Posted by Gina Kawas, MA Candidate at CLACS – Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU
Identity cards or travel permits issued to Palestinians by the Ottoman Empire; they were called miirur tezkeresi (or laissez passer). In long boat journeys, before arriving to Honduras, most immigrants passed by Europe and the United States. Photo by: Gina Kawas
My ethnographic research in Honduras had two objectives: to study the evolution and socioeconomic impact of the Palestinian diaspora, and comprehend their assimilation/creolization in Honduras. The assimilation was fast-paced, and provoked a disconnection with their homeland after the first generation of Palestinians arrived.
Being born in Honduras and having Palestinian descent myself [on my father’s side], I can relate to this disruption. My father never spoke to me about our Palestinian roots; it was my grandmother who used to tell me stories about what forced our family to migrate. The reasons, which I preliminary share with the subjects of my ethnographic research, were mainly poverty and the repression caused by the Ottoman Empire. Hence, the bulk of Palestinian immigration that arrived to Honduras did so in the latter half of the nineteenth century, which means that they did not have to face the post 1948 dispossession and dispersal caused by the creation of an Israeli state [the Al-Nakba, or catastrophe].
Posted by Gina Kawas, MA Candidate at CLACS – Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU
In June I carried out an ethnographic investigation in Honduras aimed at studying the social and economic effects Palestinian migration has had in the country. Landing in Tegucigalpa is always an interesting experience: having one of the most dangerous airports in the world, the passengers’ excitement after safely landing is manifested through clapping and wooing. But this arrival was different to others I have experienced. The environment was charged with disenchantment and anger towards the corrupt political and business elite that currently rules the country.
Situated in the midst of corruption scandals that have recently erupted across the region, discussions of a Central American Spring have flooded both local and international media. But for the first time in Honduras after the 2009 coup d’état, all sectors of society have united towards fighting against this never-ending problem. Corruption has been one of the main causes for the high levels of inequality, poverty and slow growth that Latin American nations have experienced since independence.
Dusty Christensen examines “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty,” which appears on AlterNet. Christensen’s article addresses the many ways in which defendants are pushed to agree to plea bargains in pre-trial negotiations.
Nicki Fleischner and Dusty Christensen are currently enrolled in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Journalism joint-degree program. Danielle Mackey is a 2014 graduate of the LACS/Journalism joint-degree program.
Although my CLACS thesis project is to document the history of the LGBT movement in El Salvador, I write today from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on the fifth anniversary of the coup in this country. I am a CLACS/Journalism M.A. student, and my Honduras trip is in the name of the journalism half of the equation. I’ve spent the past week in Tegucigalpa and Choluteca, chasing a story about a development program the government is about to begin: “charter cities,” or ZEDEs for their name in Spanish, financed by millions of dollars from international investors. This is an extremely controversial program. It will allow investors nearly total control of the territory that the government concedes to them to create their “special development region.” According to the text of the ZEDE law, investors will be able to set everything from the laws within the territory, to the local language, to the tax and educational systems. Some civil society organizations fear that local and national government will virtually disappear in those regions.
Eva Sanchis graduated from the CLACS joint journalism M.A. program in 2003. At CLACS, she focused her research on media portrayals of Latino communities, and overall media coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean. Since then, she continues to focus on these issues, and has published her work extensively, She recently relocated to London, where she works for the international NGO REDRESS. Here’s more about Eva, her time at CLACS, and her current work.
Q. What did you focus your research on at CLACS?
A. While completing my joint master’s program in Journalism and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU, I had the opportunity to intern with two CNN primetime shows: American Morning with Paula Zahn and Greenfield at Large. I also began working as a full-time reporter for El Diario-La Prensa, the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, where I covered the Hispanic and Latin American and Spanish Caribbean communities in New York. My thesis at CLACS was partly based on these experiences. It examined mainstream media portrayals of those communities in the United States as well as U.S. media coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Q. Is there any connection between your current work and your research at CLACS?
A. Yes, since I completed my M.A. in 2003, my journalistic career has been devoted to writing about Hispanic and Latin American and Spanish Caribbean communities. An ongoing concern within my work has been to combat distorted perceptions of these communities in the U.S. mainstream media. After NYU, I became the Metro and National News editor at the New York-based El Diario-La Prensa, the U.S.’s second largest Hispanic newspaper. As editor, I supervised coverage of local and national news, and major international stories such as the 2008 US presidential election, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the earthquake in Chile. Prior to being an editor, I was the New York City Hall Bureau chief for El Diario, and I also reported special coverage from Latin America as an IRP Johns Hopkins’ fellow. I have written for El Diario and other publications such as the World Policy Journal, the Progressive magazine, and the Financial Times magazine. I was also an adjunct professor at CLACS, where I taught the course “Covering Latino Stories in the United States.” Since I relocated to London in 2010, I have continued writing as a freelancer about these communities from Europe.