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Adoption Inc: How Ethiopia's Industry Dupes Families and Bullies Activists   





In Ethiopia, "searchers" track down an adopted child's history and birth family, often at the behest of adoptive parents in the U.S. or Europe. But as more searchers turn up stories of fraud, corruption, and worse, they are facing threats and violence, sometimes from representatives of adoption agencies that are well-known in the West.

In 2008, a 38-year old Oklahoma nurse whom I'll call Kelly adopted an eight-year old girl, "Mary," from Ethiopia. It was the second adoption for Kelly, following one from Guatemala. She'd sought out a child from Ethiopia in the hopes of avoiding some of the ethical problems of adopting from Guatemala: widespread stories of birthmothers coerced to give up their babies and even payments and abductions at the hands of brokers procuring adoptees for unwitting U.S. parents. Now, even after using a reputable agency in Ethiopia, Kelly has come to believe that Mary never should have been placed for adoption. She came to this determination after hiring what's known as an adoption searcher.

Adoption searchers -- specialized independent researchers working in a unique field that few outside the community of adoptive parents even know exists -- track down the birth families of children adopted from other counties. In Ethiopia, searching has arisen in response to a dramatic boom in international adoptions from the country in recent years. In 2010, Ethiopia accounted for nearly a quarter of all international adoptions to the U.S. The number of Ethiopian children adopted into foreign families in the U.S., Canada, and Europe has risen from just a few hundred several years ago to several thousand last year. The increase has been so rapid -- and, for some, so lucrative -- that some locals have said adoption was "becoming the new export industry for our country."

That increase has also brought stories of corruption, child trafficking, and fraud. Parents began to publicize the stories their adopted children told them when they learned English: that they had parents and families at home, who sometimes thought they were going to the U.S. to receive an education and then return. Media investigations have found evidence that adoption agencies had recruited children from intact families. Ethiopia's government found that some children's paperwork had been doctored to list children who had been relinquished by living parents as orphans instead, which allowed the agencies to avoid lengthy court vetting procedures.

"Her entire paperwork, except for a couple of names, was completely falsified," Kelly said. Mary's paperwork listed her as two years younger than she was; it said she had one older sister when she in fact had two younger sisters; and, most importantly, it said her mother had died years ago. "One day I said to Mary, 'You know how your paperwork says you were five and you're really seven?" Kelly recalled. "It also says that your mom's dead.' And she goes, 'My mom's not dead.' She was adamant that her mother wasn't dead, and in fact she wasn't. Her mom is alive and it took our searcher just two days to find her."

Kelly, through a friend who'd also adopted from Ethiopia, hired a searcher. She sent copies of all her paperwork and waited for him to make the nine-hour drive from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the northern region from which Mary had been adopted.

The searcher determined Mary's real birth date, that her birth family and mother were OK with the adoption, and also collected some photos as well as information about Mary's background. Kelly is planning to take Mary back to visit her family in March.

"I wanted to verify that she hadn't been stolen. I searched with the intention of sending her back to Ethiopia if I found out she'd been stolen," said Kelly.

Kelly doesn't believe her agency knowingly falsified the information. As with many cases of fraud or corruption in Ethiopia's adoption program, it seems that the story was changed at the local level, long before the adoption proceeded to the country's federal courts and oversight agencies. Mary's grandfather, who had often been her main caregiver, relinquished the child while her mother was working elsewhere in Ethiopia; something that was only possible because he and several witnessed claimed that the mother had died.

"I can't imagine the weight that was on her," Kelly said of Mary's recollection of her home in Ethiopia. "After I told her the paperwork said her mom was dead, she thought maybe she was dead and nobody told her. So it was huge for her to know she was right, that her mother was alive. I was lucky she remembered and was strong enough to stick with her story."


This summer, I accompanied a young Ethiopian searcher I'll call Samuel on a birth family interview: a trek deep into the rural countryside of Ethiopia's Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR), the province of origin for many Ethiopian children adopted to the West, to locate the family of a toddler-age girl adopted to Canada.

Starting in the southern town of Sodo, we took a 12-mile drive through rural roads that were so bad it took over an hour: first over deeply-potted dirt throughways, cutting across expanses of grazing land, then off-road until we arrived at a hamlet so small and remote it might have been impossible to find without a guide. But even this village -- a handful of houses and an HIV clinic -- was not our destination. We took a dirt path through the backcountry, but our Land Ranger got stuck in deep trenches of mud. A handful of local children emerged shyly from the bordering fields and led us, on foot, the last half mile up to a solitary mud-walled house surrounded by lush gardens and neatly fenced in with stripped tree branches.

When we arrived, only a toddler boy stood in the front yard, naked below the waist. But the spectacle of several travelers carrying tripod and camera quickly drew nearly 30 neighboring children and adults, who watched solemnly while Samuel framed shots of the exterior of the house. The birthmother Samuel sought to interview, a widow in her early 40s with seven other children still at home, was called from a neighbor's house to host her unexpected guests. She smilingly obliged without question when Samuel and his colleagues explained that they'd come to film for several hours at the request of her daughter's new adoptive parents. Sitting in a chair in the fields behind her house, her fingertips pressed together and her eyes cast down, she answered dozens of questions about her background, her remaining children, and the circumstances of her husband's death, which had prompted the adoption.

For several years, Samuel, a soft-spoken filmmaker from Addis Ababa in his mid-20s, has traveled deep into Ethiopia's countryside to locate the remaining parents, brothers, sisters, and neighbors of Ethiopian children adopted to the U.S. and Europe. For a moderate fee -- around $600, including travel and lodging expenses for a two or three person crew -- he would create a DVD of interviews with family members and a brief glimpse of the country the child came from. He started doing this work for a prominent U.S. adoption agency then later moved on to independent production, working from a script of 60 to 70 questions he'd compile with the adoptive family to ask of whatever closest relative or neighbor could be found.

But, in the past several years, it's become increasingly difficult to find a searcher in Ethiopia. Tasked with determining whether an adopted child is a "manufactured orphan," searchers have faced intense intimidation in Ethiopia as its adoption system boomed and then came under international scrutiny. It took months to find adoptive families willing to share the name or contact information for searchers they had used. The first several times I emailed or called Samuel, he responded with trepidation, confirming with me repeatedly that I was not associated with any adoption agencies working in Ethiopia and that I wouldn't pass on his name or information to any agencies.

He had good reason to be cautious. In August 2010, Samuel was jailed for 41 days in the northern Ethiopian province of Tigray, which shares a hostile border with neighboring Eritrea. He had traveled to the region to film two birth family interviews, one of which Samuel says he did pro bono out of his respect for the family, which had adopted an HIV-positive child. When Samuel met the birth sister of one of the children whose story he was tracking, the local director of a U.S. adoption agency came along, and began accusing Samuel of giving the agency a bad name. (Out of fear of further repercussions, Samuel requested that the agency not be named.) Shortly thereafter, Samuel and his crew were arrested. While in jail, he was told that the arrest was made at the request of the agency, which had accused him of performing illegal adoptions and of filming the "bad side" of Ethiopia to sell to the Eritrean government. An employee of the agency was also arrested -- it's still not clear why -- as well as three of Samuel's friends and a translator.

Although his jailers treated him as a serious criminal, in time, with the help of U.S. adoptive families, Samuel's case reached the attention of the U.S. and federal Ethiopian governments. Families who had adopted through the agency raised thousands of dollars for bail and led a letter-writing campaign that spurred the Ethiopian ambassador to the U.S., at the consulate in Los Angeles, to get involved.

Lisa Veleff Day, a Portland, Maine, mother to two Ethiopian children, participated in the campaign. A number of families in Portland have adopted from Ethiopia, and several had turned to Samuel to help uncover their children's backgrounds -- often after they became suspicious of the stories their agencies had told them. Veleff Day did not hire Samuel -- she was able to find information about her children through a member of their birth family with ties to Portland -- but she had used the same agency that was behind his jailing and had come to doubt their ethics. During one of the last steps of her adoption -- an appointment with the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa to secure a visa -- the agency's country representative coached her to say that her children's birth parents were dead. The representative threatened Veleff Day that the adoption would fall through if she did not.

"Right before we went into the embassy, we were told that there were certain things we needed to say. We were being coached. We were supposed to say that both of these parents were dead. We knew that not to be true. They were telling us to lie," says Veleff Day. "He said if you don't say these things, there will be questions and you won't be able to leave with the kids. We really felt like we were over a barrel, so we did what they said. I'm not proud of that, but they waited this long to coach us, because otherwise we wouldn't have felt as compelled to do what they said."

"Not only had [Samuel] been arrested," recalled Veleff Day, "but the family member, the uncle of a child adopted by friends of ours, was arrested when he started bringing food and water to him. The agency used scare tactics: you talk to this guy, and you might be arrested too."

While Samuel typically finds little more than discrepancies in the children's ages -- younger children are widely considered more attractive to adoptive families -- sometimes he finds that birth families receive no word about their children despite agency promises for updates. One birth family was not even aware their child had been sent to America. Sometimes, Samuel says, birth families are complicit in these falsehoods, making stories they think are more conducive to getting their children adopted.

"People are promoting adoption to foreigners and the birth families were fooled by some adoption advocates," Samuel said. "They got the wrong information about adoption: that if you send this child, you will get some money from the adoptive parents and you'll be someone great."

The contradictions unearthed by searchers in recent years have damaged the reputations of adoption agencies in Ethiopia. Agencies, some adoptive parents claim, have retaliated against searchers, with legal action, jail time, and even death threats.


Karen Smith-Rotabi, an inter-country adoption scholar at the Virginia Commonwealth University, has found that after previous "hotspot" adoption countries such as Guatemala closed down -- widespread ethical problems, from coercion to outright kidnapping led the country's adoption authority to suspend the program pending reforms -- Ethiopia became "a perfect storm for an emerging adoption industry." Its short waiting periods and high availability of very young children made it attractive to international adoption agencies. Some agencies accused of deeply unethical behavior in Guatemala are widely thought by international adoption experts to have moved their operations to Ethiopia.

"As Guatemala's adoption industry ground to a halt at the end of 2007,
many American adoption agencies began setting up new adoption programs
in Ethiopia," says Erin Siegal, author of the book Finding Fernanda, an investigation of corruption in adoption cases from Guatemala. Ethiopia, which is not a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention, a standard for international adoption practices, gave an opportunity to agencies unable to win Hague accreditation. In some cases, Siegal says, it seemed to save the businesses of agencies in financial trouble after Guatemala shut down.

"The fundamental issue in Ethiopia is extreme poverty, and that the birth family's idea of adoption is different than ours," Smith-Rotabi said. "Ethiopians don't have that conception of a clean break from one family to another. Some really think that their child is going to get an education and they'll see them again. You have a very sophisticated, legalistic society communicating with a very poor, traditional one."

When people see birth families benefitting from their choice to relinquish their child, she said, that can have a contagious effect in these communities. "It takes over a whole village very quickly. It's very dangerous stuff, playing with people's poverty, emotions, and needs in a way that's really quite profound."

"Parents, especially from rural areas, still believe that they are sending their children so they can get money," said Mehari Maru, a human rights lawyer in Ethiopia whom the Ethiopian government invited to propose an institutional framework for international adoption. "They are not told what adoption means, that they will have other parents. They think about the money they will get and their children's welfare."

"Much of the potential for abuse through non-regulation is at a local level," said Doug Webb, Chief of Section for Adolescent Development, Protection, and HIV/AIDS at UNICEF Ethiopia, which is working closely with the Ethiopian government to establish a more comprehensive domestic child welfare system in the country. "A lot of the arrangements and paperwork that makes things appear differently than they are happens at the local level, out there in the bush with brokers, agents, officials, and policemen. Once the paperwork reaches the federal level, in some cases, the opportunity for abuse may have already been taken."

Smith-Rotabi warned that Ethiopia must learn from other countries that have seen sharp rises in adoption. In Guatemala, adoption corruption eventually came to have what she called "hidden structures of organized crime," with critics facing so much intimidation that many hired bodyguards. In one case, she says, a scholar researching adoption there disappeared completely and is presumed dead.

Ethiopia's federal government is working to address problems in the country's adoption system. But the adoption industry has become so lucrative and so strong, especially in rural parts of the country, that many people who've raised questions about the process say they've faced intimidation and harassment from the industry.


In 2009, Arun Dohle, a researcher for the non-profit Against Child Trafficking (ACT), traveled to Ethiopia to investigate 25 adoptions handled by the Dutch agency Wereldkinderen Child Welfare Association. The research was commissioned by the agency but, when Dohle's findings led to him being "put out" of the country, ACT published the report independently under the title "Fruits of Ethiopia, Intercountry Adoption: The Rights of the Child, or the 'Harvesting' of Children?"

"We were seriously threatened by the orphanage directors and by the local representative of the agency we were working with as well," Dohle said. "We got a letter from Ethiopian orphanages saying we were involved in illegal adoptions. The social worker [I was working with] was accused of damaging the image of Ethiopia. It proves you can't do independent research." He added, "Of course [the research] was actually legal, but they were dropping high-up names of politicians."

In his research, Dohle found that a majority of the 25 cases included clear ethical concerns. These included living and easily-identified parents listed as dead or unknown, agency or orphanage representatives giving false information on court documents, parents relinquishing children in the stated hopes of receiving support from adoptive families, and orphanages recruiting children directly from intact families. He recorded testimony stating that some child recruiters are salaried employees of orphanages and work to collect children from villages, health centers, and other places families visit. He also found, much as Smith-Rotabi later suggested to me, that Ethiopian families don't have the same understanding of adoption that Western agencies do.

The report explains that research came "to an abrupt end" when a local representative of the agency learned of Dohle's research and "threatened to report the researcher to the Ethiopian immigration or police."

Officials from two orphanages that Dohle had identified as problematic (both of which have since been closed by the Ethiopian government), Bethezatha Children's Home Association and Gelegela Integrated Orphans and Destitute Family Support Association, sent a letter to Wereldkinderen accusing him of engaging in illegal adoptions; of "terrorizing the families of children who have been placed in the Netherlands" by claiming that children are being sold for compensation, for organ harvesting, or for experimental HIV medication testing (his report made none of these claims); and of taking birth families hostage during interviews. "These situations have proven to be rather problematic to our operations," the letter stated. It demanded that all Wereldkinderen adoptions be investigated, claiming that the investigation impugned not only the orphanages in question but the government of Ethiopia as well.


The adoption landscape is changing rapidly in Ethiopia. Amid mounting evidence of fraud and ethical problems, the Ethiopian government announced in March that it was putting the brakes on its international adoption program, slowing by 60 to 90 percent the rate at which it processes paperwork for children being internationally adopted. It also revoked the license of one adoption agency accused of creating fraudulent documents for adoptees. In July, the government began implementing a plan to close one third of the nation's orphanages, shuttering those it found were functioning more as transitional homes for the adoption industry rather than providing care for children in need; to date, 23 in the SNNPR region have been shut down. People with knowledge of the industry told me that agencies were firing staff in response to the slowdown and a number of agencies were expected to face closure without the revenue stream of steady Ethiopian adoptions. A UNICEF analysis of Ethiopian court data, however, indicates that the slowdown didn't last long and that this fall, the number of adoptions being processed has bounced back to normal levels.

Still, UNICEF's Doug Webb said that the environment in which these abuses took place has changed dramatically in the past year. "There are people in government who are very concerned about this, but we've turned a big corner here. The situation is over where alleged abuses were ignored, swept under the carpet; where nobody was listening and there was too much money involved."

"In many ways," Webb said, "that story is done. The climate has changed so much. Now it's discussed more openly. The government at the highest levels is speaking out against abuses in the system."

"I hope the slowdown is helping things," said adoptive mother Lisa Veleff Day, "but I sort of doubt it. They say they're checking things more carefully, but this is big business for Ethiopia. The terrible shame is there are so many kinds who are genuinely in need of adoption, and those are not the ones being adopted."

The role of searchers won't end any time soon, Samuel is certain. The thousands of Ethiopian children adopted by families in the U.S. and Europe over the last decade will grow up one day. They'll learn about the circumstances around adoption from Ethiopia in earlier years and will want to find out the truth of their background.

Kelly paid $900 in 2009 for her searcher and Samuel charges an average rate of $600. But Kelly has since heard that her searcher increased his rates, asking as much as $3000 to $4000 for a search. When rising demand and supply made adoption an important and rapidly growing source of money in a country that had little of it, even these investigators who are often at odds with agencies have found a place in the adoption economy.

This article supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting


La Eduacion en Guatemala   


Guatemala ofrece diferentes opciones educativas de calidad para estudiantes extranjeros que vienen a este país.


1. Guatemala es un país multicultural donde conviven las culturas: hispánica, maya, xinca y garífuna. Lo cual le da a este país una gran riqueza cultural e histórica.

2. Para estudiar el idioma español, Guatemala es un país ideal porque las escuelas de español aquí son mucho más baratas que en otros países hispánicos y de muy buena calidad. También existe la ventaja de que las clases son con el sistema uno a uno, es decir un maestro con un estudiante.

2. Por el sistema económico del país, la estancia en este país es muy barata en relación a otros países del área. El tipo de cambio del quetzal que es la moneda nacional de Guatemala en relación al dólar es: Q7.50 quetzales por $1 dólar.

3. Guatemala es un país pequeño pero con una gran variedad de climas y sub-climas, lo cual hace que en poco tiempo podamos viajar de un clima frío a un clima caliente. Y ver diferentes ecosistemas recorriendo distancias cortas.

4. Las normas migratorias en Guatemala son mucho más flexibles en relación a las vigentes en otros países del área.


La mayoría de extranjeros que visitan este país, lo hacen para estudiar español y aprender sobre la cultura maya e hispánica en Guatemala.

Aquí las escuelas de lenguas ofrecen la oportunidad de aprender español con el sistema uno a uno (un maestro y un estudiante), participar en actividades extracurriculares como: películas y charlas sobre nuestra historia o cultura; viajes a diferentes lugares (volcanes, playas, lagos, fuentes de agua caliente, montañas, comunidades indígenas, etc.), clases de cocina y de salsa, etc. Algunas escuelas ofrecen la oportunidad a sus estudiantes de hacer trabajo voluntario en alguna organización social al mismo tiempo que estudian español. Pero eso es algo opcional.

En el mundo hay 23 países que hablan español como lengua oficial. Sin embargo, Guatemala tiene la reputación de ser uno de los países donde es mejor tomar clases de esta lengua porque el acento de la gente es muy claro.


En la actualidad hay familias de otros países que vienen por razones de trabajo. Y Guatemala tiene escuelas en el nivel primario o secundario que pueden recibir a sus hijos, un 99% de las instituciones educativas ofrecen clases en español, y sólo un 1% ofrece clases en inglés. Por esta razón, para ingresar en el sistema educativo guatemalteco es importante un buen nivel del idioma español.

Sin embargo, la ciudad capital de Guatemala y la ciudad de Quetzaltenango tienen algunas escuelas que dan educación en el nivel secundario con el standard norteamericano y en inglés.

El sistema educativo de Guatemala está estructurado de tal forma que permite estudiar el "high school" y al mismo tiempo una ocupación vocacional (opcional) como: computación, electricidad, dibujo de construcción, mecánica, contabilidad, secretariado, etc. Y después de completar la escuela secundaria en cualquiera de estas especialidades es posible continuar cualquier carreta universitaria.


En Guatemala hay una universidad pública que es la Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala que ha existido por más de 300 años, siendo una de las más antiguas de América Latina. Pero también hay varias universidades privadas, entre las más importantes están: Universidad Rafael Landívar; Universidad Francisco Marroquín; Universidad Mariano Gálvez; Universidad Rural de Guatemala; Universidad Galileo Galilei y Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Y otras pequeñas universidades más de reciente creación.

Para ingresar a una de estas universidades es necesario tener la educación secundaria completa, no importa en qué especialización. Y antes es necesario pasar un examen de admisión que dependiendo la carrera que el estudiante quiera estudiar, puede incluir las siguientes áreas: lenguaje, matemáticas, química, física, etc. Y un buen dominio del idioma español. Los exámenes de admisión empiezan más o menos en junio, julio o agosto porque el calendario académico empieza en enero. El año está divido en dos semestres: 1) de enero a junio; 2) de julio a noviembre.

En general, para un estudiante extranjero es mucho más fácil ingresar a una universidad privada, cuyo costo no es muy alto en comparación a los estándares en otros países. La matrícula por mes en una universidad privada puede variar entre Q300 quetzales ($40 dólares) a Q800 quetzales ($100 dólares por mes) dependiendo de la universidad y la carrera.

Sin embargo, en el caso de la Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (la universidad pública) los estudiantes Extranjeros pagarán al año lo siguiente:

a) Centroamericanos: Q. 1,836.00

b) Latinoamericanos: Q. 12,036.00

c) Resto del Mundo: Q. 24,036.00

Todas las universidades tienen un campus central en la ciudad de Guatemala, y otros campus en diferentes ciudades del país. Sin embargo, los principales centros educativos por su importancia, calidad y variedad de opciones educativas son: La ciudad de Guatemala y Quetzaltenango.

Las universidades guatemaltecas ofrecen los siguientes niveles académicos: técnico (3 años); licenciatura (6 años); maestrías (2.5 años); doctorados (2.5 años). Sin embargo, la mayoría (75% aproximadamente) de profesionales graduados en la universidad tienen el título académico de licenciatura.


La necesidad de educación ha generado una gran migración interna en Guatemala, muchos estudiantes van a los centros urbanos para asistir a las escuelas primarias, secundarias o universidades. La mayoría de ellos se hospedan en familias guatemaltecas o casa de huéspedes. El precio promedio que se debe pagar en esos lugares es de al rededor de Q1,300 quetzales (unos $175 dólares mensuales), lo cual incluye una habitación para dormir y 3 tiempos de comida al día.


Principales Cultivos de Guatemala   


El café en Guatemala

El café del páis está reconocido como uno de los más prestigiosos del mundo, y todas las diversidades de él tienen un aroma que lo hace inconfundible. El clima tropical y el suelo volcánico son unos factores ideales para su producción. El café se cultiva a grandes altitudes, muchas veces protegido por otros tipos de árboles que le dan sombra, para mantener su integridad.

Después de 2001 y la entrada de Vietnam al mercado, hubo una tremenda caída de precios que, hoy en día, se ha solventado con el aumento de la calidad. Se han establecido certificaciones especiales para los mejores granos, así como subastas y la llamada “Taza de excelencia”, por el que se premia al mejor café del país. Desde hace algún tiempo, los cafeteros de Guatemala también están integrados en el comercio justo, siempre que se cumplan una serie de requisitos, y cuya particularidad más llamativa es la eliminación de intermediarios y, por tanto, el aumento de las ganancias para los cultivadores.

Las nueces de macadamia en Guatemala

Guatemala es uno de los principales productores de nueces de macadamia en el mundo, conocidas tradicionalmente como “las reinas de las nueces”. Este rico fruto, del que podemos encontrar plantaciones en todo el país, ayuda también a la supervivencia de muchos pobladores que poseen escasos recursos. Éste es el caso de la finca Valhalla, situada a 10 minutos de la ciudad de Antigua, en dirección a San Miguel Dueñas. Fue el Sr. Lorenzo Gottschamer, en 1989, el que introdujo en este centro experimental el cultivo de la macadamia para diversificar la producción, y desde entonces se han realizado diversas actividades para colaborar con el desarrollo de la zona. Según el objetivo del centro, “la idea es ayudar a las comunidades indígenas de Guatemala a salir de la pobreza, dándoles un cultivo lucrativo y, al mismo tiempo, reforestar con el árbol de macadamia, el cual fija grandes cantidades de dióxido de carbono, previene la erosión de los suelos, contribuye al ciclo de la lluvia y, en general, es muy beneficioso para el medioambiente”. Para ello los campesinos tienen la oportunidad de acercarse a la finca, recoger semillas o árboles jóvenes de macadamia y plantarlos en su propiedad de forma gratuita. A cambio de su cuidado, reciben una compensación económica cuando el fruto se vende, tras su correspondiente tratamiento en Valhalla.

Actualmente el centro tiene un servicio de visitas guiadas, donde el visitante comprueba in situ el proceso de elaboración de los productos que se elaboran con la macadamia, como aceites o cremas cosméticas, que también puede comprar, y además tiene la posibilidad de degustar en el restaurante un menú basado en esta nuez.




Much of what we would have known about Mayan culture was lost, as the conquerors from Spain killed all Mayan religious leaders and burned all the books they found. During the Pre-Classic time period, there were only sparse Mayan settlements in the area that is known today as Cancun. This area of Mexico was first discovered in the early 1500s by accident, when a group of sailors washed ashore after a shipwreck. It wasn't until the Post-Classic period that the Mayans migrated more to the northern Yucatan Peninsula, after a collapse of Mayan power in the 8th century. Along the borders of Guatemala and Belize, and covering the southern Mexico Yucatan Peninsula (where Cancun is located), you'll find an area once occupied by the Mayans. Some of the most famous Mayan locations on the Yucatan Peninsula are the following places: Uxmal Tikal (in Guatemala) Chichen Itza Tulum Altun Ha (in Belize) The closest site to Cancun is Chichen Itza, which also hosts the best-restored Mayan temple. Despite their trials and tribulations, the Mayan civilization in what is now known as Cancun, along with the rest of the peninsula, is rich in spectacular culture and art, architecture, writing, astronomy, religion, and urban design. This site also has historical significance to the Toltec people, a group of ancient people who moved into the area after a 9th century invasion.
In the end, however, those from Europe were eventually victorious. In fact, those of Mayan descent run many of the tour companies and hotels in the area. The Mayans attempted to overthrow the European settlers, and a number of their battles were a success. There is no shortage of Mayan cultural influences in Cancun, and on your next vacation, you should consider exploration of some of the beautiful Mayan sites still around today. The earliest evidence of civilization in Mexico appears to be from 5000-1500 BC. Those living in Cancun were most susceptible, and today, most descendants come from Mayan cities located more deeply in the jungle. The reason for this turn of the civilization is still not highly understood by scholars, although some scholars believe that over-hunting, disease, nutrient exhaustion in the soil, and climate changes led to its demise.One of the Caribbean's premier vacation destinations - Cancun, Mexico - is a city full of pristine beaches, waterfront resorts, and vivid nightlife. When you're in Cancun, you may want to visit some of the ancient temples that are still standing. Mayan history can loosely be characterized into three time periods: Pre-Classic, Classic, and PVC anti-fatigue mat Post-Classic.
The same is true of the Classic time period. War and disease ravaged the Mayans, and by the mid 1800s, their numbers had dwindled to less than 10,000. Therefore, the temple at Chichen Itza has been influenced by both groups of people. By the time the Spanish arrived, the Mayans were just a shadow of the civilization they had once been. Certainly, a big part of it is about catching some waves and enjoying the dance clubs, but you can also enjoy the rich history of this area and learn about the Mayan civilizations that existed there long ago. Mexico was once home to two great Native American empires. These deteriorating national treasures were once surrounded by Mayan cities built with elaborate palaces, observatories for understanding astronomy, ball courts that acted as small sports stadiums and ceremonial platforms that were places of sacrifices.
It is also a city rich with history. With its roots in ancient Mayan civilization, your vacation to Cancun is much more than just "fun in the sun". During the Post-Classic time period, there was no central government and a number of wars were waged between different Mayan groups. Today, there are still many Mayan descendants living in and around Cancun. These locations just south of the city house amazing works of art, and tours through the temples can be a highlight of your Mexican vacation. Most scholars believe that both groups stemmed from the same people that once crossed the Bering Strait thousands of years ago. Some of these people still speak the ancient language of Maya, and many still make traditional Mayan crafts and food. The Mayans then re-settled in the area around the year 1000, after it was abandoned in the 10th century. People the world over are still studying Mayan civilization in fascination. In Central Mexico, you'll find remnants of an extensive Aztec civilization.


Comentario en Entrevista a Susana Prieto, guionista de «El Secreto de Puente Viejo» por Susana Prieto, el arte de crear y destruir sus personajes en 2,190 capítulos - Actualidad UVG    


[…] una audiencia conformada por estudiantes y visitantes de la Universidad del Valle de Guatemala UVG, Susana Prieto comenzó diciendo: “Esta no es una conferencia sino una charla para […]


Fathers and Perceptions of God Play an Important Role in Psychological Adjustment Among Emerging Adults in Guatemala and the United States.   


Journal of Genetic Psychology; 09/01/2018
(AN 133508155); ISSN: 00221325
Biomedical Reference Collection: Basic


Diálogo de saberes desde los pueblos originarios   


Este diálogo es promovido por el Tejido Nacional de Organizaciones Civiles de Guatemala.


¿Qué significa el asesinato de nuestro hermano Ajq’ij Domingo Choc Che para los pueblos indígenas y para Guatemala?   


¿Qué significa el asesinato de nuestro hermano Ajq'ij Domingo Choc Che para los pueblos indígenas y para Guatemala?


Una mirada del COVID-19 en Guatemala desde la economía   


Con la crisis sanitaria del COVID-19 se agudiza la problemática económica. Este es un análisis crítico sobre las medidas económicas implementadas por el gobierno y los grandes desafíos que se afrontan para evitar una catástrofe humanitaria especialmente en la población más marginada y excluida en Guatemala.


Entrevista: “Toma de decisiones en el campo de batalla, y en la vida” (2019)   


Hola, A continuación les comparto la entrevista que me hicieron en el programa “Con Criterio” de Radio Infinita 100.1 FM aquí en Guatemala el día 4 de diciembre del año 2019. La entrevista se centra en mis investigaciones sobre la historia militar y lo que considero más relevante sobre las mismas: la toma de decisiones […]


E. Asia, S. America under tsunami warning after Japan quake   



Biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years triggers 10-meter tsunami, kills at least 6 people; 4 million homes without power; hotel collapses in city of Sendai, people feared buried in rubble; UN rescue teams on standby.

A tsunami warning has been issued for areas across East Asia and the western coast of South America following a huge earthquake that hit Japan on Friday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Among the countries for which a tsunami warning is in effect are: Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.

The biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-meter tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses and cars.

At least six people were killed, five in Fukushima prefecture north of the capital, Tokyo, where four million homes were without power, and one in eastern Tochigi prefecture, media said. A hotel collapsed in the city of Sendai and people were feared buried in the rubble.

hirty international search and rescue teams stand ready to go to Japan to provide assistance following a major earthquake, the United Nations said on Friday.

"We stand ready to assist as usual in such cases," Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) told Reuters in Geneva. "Thirty international search and rescue teams are on alert and monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist if necessary."




Blog Action Day - A Real Estate Throwdown on Ambergris Caye!!!   


After thinking long and hard about poverty, the subject of Blog Action Day 2008, I find myself with more questions than answers. First and foremost is "What IS poverty?" and secondly "Who makes that determination?” Can we categorize poverty solely in economic terms? It certainly seems that our American politicians, on both sides of the fence, liberally pander to our populace living in so-called poverty in their efforts to curry favor and win votes. It would seem that they would certainly have a vested interest in where and how that poverty threshold is set. Currently, in the United States, anyone under the age of 65 with an income under $10,787.00 is said to be living below the poverty line. A family of four must have a combined income of under $21,027.00 to claim the title. These numbers are adjusted annually for inflation and in short determined by finding the total cost for the essentials a human needs to live a "tolerable life". As every country in the world has their own unique standard of living. Each has their own poverty line, their own pandering politicians and their own methods to determine where that line is drawn. But is this really how the rest of us should look at poverty? Is economics the only factor to be considered? Does total household income tell the whole story? Surely, there are other factors to be considered if we, the people, are to play a part in combating the causes and effects of poverty.

As a member if the real estate and development industry I often feel conflicted about our connection with poverty. In that, I mean that I clearly see that although growth and development brings jobs and money spending consumers to a region, these geographic areas of  are rarely those where help is most needed. Beach towns that become hot-spots for tourism can rarely support the explosive growth that comes with the interest of foreign investment. People flock to these coastal areas from all over Mexico to fill the hundreds of thousands of jobs created by the mega resorts and condominium developers. So far, along the Riviera Maya, it seems that our "demand" for laborers is keeping pace with the "supply" of migrant workers. There is little or no unemployment here. The working class may appear poor by our American standards but they are keeping roofs over their heads, clean clothes on their backs and food on the table. They enjoy the conveniences of a stable source of water, proper sewage and garbage removal, safe public schools to educate their children and police protection; the essentials one needs to live a "tolerable life".

However, this is not the case everywhere. Sometimes, the outside perception of a region's growth is askew. Sometimes, due to economic shifts and even normal market fluctuation, investment in seemingly popular areas tapers off. What happens when the "supply" of workers far exceeds the "demand"? Such is the case on Ambergris Caye, a small island off the coast of Belize. With its currency tied 2 to 1 to the American dollar, Belize feels every bit of the economic crisis in the United States. With much of the island's investment money coming from the US, it doesn't take an analyst to figure out what the market conditions have done to the rates of development and building on Ambergris. Ambergris is still growing, just not fast enough to keep up with the migration of hopeful souls who travel from the interior of Belize, Guatemala and even Mexico in search of a better life. They arrive, often having spent their last penny, only to find that the “Promised Land” is not exactly what they expected. Jobs are hard to come by, housing costs are astronomical and there is insufficient infrastructure in place to support all these families. In a half hearted effort to accommodate the working and non-working poor on Ambergris, an area on the island, just north of the tourist “Mecca” San Pedro, was "given" to these families on which to build their homes. In all fairness, they were told in no uncertain terms that no services would be provided to this "neighborhood". No water, no sewer, no garbage collection...nothing. They simply were being provided with a place to build shelter and live. Nothing more.

And so it is. Years later San Mateo is exactly as you would expect: a filthy, unsanitary blot on an island that demands and collects top dollars from tourists from all over the globe. Sandwiched between the desirable town of San Pedro and upscale villas and condominium complexes to the north, one can only wonder how long the residents will be "allowed" to inhabit this area. Already it seems, the powers that be are conspiring against the residents of San Mateo. Efforts to bring in clean fill to combat the almost constant flooding in the area have been blocked. Rumor has it that certain developers have lined the pockets of local politicians and service providers, thwarting the attempts of caring, local citizens to clean up San Mateo and create safe and sanitary living conditions for these families. The recent death of a young child, presumably due to the festering, disease infested water around her home sounded an alarm and elicited a public out-cry for governmental help and funds to ameliorate the deplorable conditions in this neighborhood. Months later, nothing has been done and everyone seems to have slipped back into complacency. Still, there is no source of clean water, so sewer system, no garbage removal service; nothing to sustain a "tolerable life". The wheels of change move slowly on this island.

Ambergris Caye

The following pictures can tell the story better than my words. I took these photographs a few months ago while visiting the Holy Cross Anglican School. My friend Laurie chastened me a bit as I was framing up my shots, reminding me that the families of San Pedro were poor but not without pride. She asked me to consider that they might be embarrassed to have their living conditions plastered on the world wide web for all to see and, presumably, judge. So, until now, I have refrained from doing so. I do think, however, that this is an appropriate format and so I post them, not to exploit but with repect, to hopefully raise awareness. I have a strong suspicion that a vast majority of the visitors to Ambergris never venture outside of San Pedro and have never met their northern neighbors in San Mateo. I'm going to change that today. THIS IS MY BLOG ACTION.

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye Belize

Ambergris Caye Belize

Ambergris Caye Belize

Ambergris Caye Belize

Ambergris Caye Belize

I admittedly, do not know the whole story. I know that there are behind the scenes details and history that I am not privy too. I may not "have all my facts straight". Here is what I CAN say without a shadow of a doubt. PEOPLE LIKE TO FEEL WARM AND FUZZY ABOUT THIER INVESTMENT CHOICES. What do I mean by this you might ask? I'll make it simple. John and Jane America visit San Pedro and fall in love with the island lifestyle. They dream of owning their own little piece of paradise and begin the process of investigating real estate options on the island. While doing their homework on the internet, as almost everyone does in this day and age, they find many websites, articles and BLOGS about life and real estate on Ambergris Caye. Some of these articles will belabor the evils that seem to plague to our industry: disregard for the environment, suspect business practices etc... Others will talk about certain concerned citizens who have given back to the island they love; investors, builders, developers who have made a difference in the lives of the residents of Ambergris Caye. Who do you think John and Jane America are going to buy from? The philanthropic developer who donates his time and money to make life better for his less fortunate neighbors or the guy who gives gold watches to the owners of the island's service providers in order to buy their loyalty and restrict their operations.

And so, investors and developers on Ambergris Caye I throw out down the gauntlet. This is a Real Estate Throwdown! Use your influence; use your contacts, your resources and your money to fix San Mateo. I'm in the business. I KNOW how much money you're making. Answer my challenge I will do everything in my power to make sure that I use every weapon in my online arsenal to make sure your efforts are recognized and publicized. Use your powers for good and I will do the same. We bloggers have the World Wide Web in our pocket.  Laurie, Collette, Cindy, Sharon...they've all got my back on this issue and we are a powerful pack of women with a remarkable web presence!!  What do you want our web to say about you?



12 Days/12 Ways 2012 - Society of Akumal´s Vital Ecology A.C. (SAVE)   


"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for our Holiday Giving blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill we started last year to draw attention to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in Playa del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya. So many people from around the world travel to the Riviera Maya during the holiday season. Many reach out to us via regional message boards and Facebook looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate residents in our local communities. 12 Days/12 Ways was started to help these generous, kind-hearted visitors find legitimate and worthy charitable organizations to support, addressing their particular needs for this holiday season.

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach", will spotlight a charitable organization or giving opportunity. Some may already be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has not yet been completed for 2012. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for inclusion.


SAVE Akumal ACThe Society of Akumal´s Vital Ecology (SAVE) is a grass roots not-for-profit organization created in 1998 to protect the fragile and most valuable natural resources in central Quintana Roo, Mexico. Akumal, in particular, offers to the world a delicate and unique interconnected ecosystem, containing a fresh water filled cave systems gently flowing to the sea, a thriving coastal mangrove, the sandy beach bluff, and most important of all, the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest reef system in the world.

Mangrove damage, reduction, and degradation due to rapid tourism growth have occurred in the Riviera Maya. SAVE's mission is to keep this unique and fragile ecology safe from the dangers of unsustainable development, for our children’s futures, and their children´s children. Today, SAVE is proving that with determination, changes can be made.

SAVE is currently involved in the following programs and activities:

Aguas Con Los Cenotes:
The Yucatan Peninsula, particularly the Caribbean coast has witnessed rapid tourism development over the past forty years. Unfortunately this development has not been met with sufficient policy or planning to ensure it has a minimal impact on the Peninsula’s fragile environment. Like the Maya thousands of years earlier, developments rely on the underground aquifer for their potable water resources. Yet because these rivers lie underground little is witnessed of the damage that poorly planned developments have caused to the aquifer. Large developments destroy the caves systems beneath disrupting necessary hydrological flows, while sewerage waste is frequently flows underground, joining the water that is drawn for drinking. Protection of these tremendous underground water ways needs to be established to ensure that cenotes and the connecting fresh water systems are protected, so that they can be visited and enjoyed by future generations. The livelihoods of all people on the Peninsula, both tourists and locals, require a healthy and safe aquifer.

SAVE Riviera Maya ACMangrove Protection:
In the past 20 years, the State of Quintana Roo, has lost over 100,000 hectares of mangroves (1 hectare = 2.5 acres) to hotel rooms. This is 1/3 of all mangroves in the entire country of Mexico. The mangroves also filter out what is needed and not needed for the corals, which comprises the paralleling Mesoamerican Reef. The mangrove traps and cycles various organic materials, chemical elements, and important nutrients. Mangrove roots act not only as physical traps but provide attachment surfaces for various marine organisms. Many of these attached organisms filter water through their bodies and, in turn, trap and cycle nutrients also. The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster, shrimp and lobsters. Mexico’s important recreational and commercial fisheries will drastically decline without healthy mangrove forests acting as filters and nurseries. Mangroves also help to prevent erosion and sand loss by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. Mangroves filter water and maintain water quality and clarity. These mangroves take out of our atmosphere and store 50% of our carbon dioxide, the oceans 30% and the trees and forests 20%.  Thus, mangroves are the lungs of our earth. The laws that protect the environment MUST be followed and enforced.

SAVE Akumal ACMarine Turtle Protection:
The State of Quintana Roo, has 14 areas legally protected by state or federal legislation. Two areas belong to the continental zone and the other 12 to the coastal zone, in which are found important sea turtles nesting sites. Yum-balam, Isla Contoy and Sian Kaán Biosphere reserve are hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) nesting sites. Green (Chelonia Mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) nest at these sites as well as on the eastern part of Isla Cozumel and Tulum National Park. Studies have been conducted that determined that the beaches with the greatest density of turtle nests in the area are: Chemuyil, X’cacel and Aventuras DIF; in addition they recommended legal actions to be taken for their protection due to their biological characteristics, their bio-geographic importance, their state of conservation, and the threat that prevails within the tourist corridor Cancún – Tulum, the Riviera Maya. Both Green and Loggerhead sea turtles are considered under protection by the Mexican laws and by international conventions. But both species are in danger of extinction, due to damage of their beach nesting grounds. SAVE recommends an overhaul of the environmental impact studies, laws that are followed, and a permanent monitoring of development in these areas. SAVE is pursuing Federal Sanctuary Status for Playa Xcacel/Xcacelito. This area is vital to sea turtle reproduction and needs to be protected in a meaningful way.

How Can YOU help?

Become a SAVE Akumal Member!

Depending on your annual contribution you will be given a SAVE Membership status as follows:

$25 Jungle: Membership Card, Aguas Con Los Cenote Sticker.
$50 Mangrove: Membership Card, Aguas Con Los Cenote Sticker, T-shirt.
$100 Reef: Membership Card, Aguas Con Los Cenote Sticker, Aguas Con Los Cenote Poster.
$250 Ocean: Membership Card, Aguas Con Los Cenote Sticker, T-shirt & Poster.
$500 Sea Turtle: Membership Card, Aguas Con Los Cenote Sticker, Website Listing, T-shirt & Poster.
$1,000 Cenote: Membership Card, Aguas Con Los Cenote Sticker, Website Listing, “Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula” by Steve Gerrard.

You may make a donation of any size or make an annual membership contribution through Paypal with your credit card or Paypal account.

Spread the Word!

Follow SAVE Akumal on Facebook and share their efforts with your friends!

Be Alert and Ready!

SAVE Riviera MayaBe a SAVE activist! If you ever see anyone damaging the ecosystem or causing harm to its inhabitants, help us by taking photographs and/or videos. Just send in all the pertinent information you can (i.e. what happened, how it happened, where it happened, and with who it happened) and SAVE will do the rest. Please email your information and photo/video content to and SAVE will make the proper letter of accusation, known as a "denuncia", to the relevant Mexican governmental office. Activities to be aware of may include:

  • Destruction or poisoning of the mangrove
  • Taking of fish, birds, reptiles or other wildlife
  • Destruction of turtle nests or the taking of eggs by unauthorized groups
  • Snorkel groups touching marine turtles or other marine life
  • Illegal shark fishing
  • Dumping of trash and debris on the beach or in the jungle


For more information:

+52 (984) 87 59204 land line
+52 (984) 87 59021 land line
+52 (998) 845-4528 mobile
Skype ID: savemaya
Website :


Michele Kinnon

I moved to Mexico with my family in 2004 with the hope of offering our children a more global education and world view. Since then, we have traveled through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, gathering friends and life experiences and learning a lot about ourselves along the way. When we are not out and about exploring, Rob and I own and operate BuyPlaya, a Playa del Carmen real estate company and FurnitureMex. "Life's a Beach" is a catch-all blog where you may find anything from restaurant reviews, to recipes, gardening tips, commentary about expat daily life, local events, information about moving to Mexico and educating children in Playa del Carmen. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and .





We drove to Guatemala to see the mother of all ruins, Tikal. Driving across the border was an interesting experience to say the least.


By: Ani   


Just catching up with you guys... Can't believe Sabrina is 4!!!! I remember your referral day and time in Guatemala like it was yesterday :-) Love, love, love the CG lipstick... they recently discontinued the one color I like though... Must go shopping soon. Happy Friday.


Informativo Pacifica Online - Wednesday, August 5, 2020   


Declaran tres días de duelo nacional en el Líbano ante la fuerte explosión que ha dejado más de 135 muertos, 5 mil heridos y un cuarto de millón de personas sin casa.

Trump continua insistiendo en la reapertura de las escuelas públicas de EE. UU a pesar de que el pais registra 4.9 millones de casos de coronavirus y 160,000 muertes por la pandemia.

En Guatemala, la epidemia de coronavirus pone en jaque al sistema de salud.


Panama: The perfect place for your high-tech/software company (4)   


Why Panama – No natural hazards As Panama is located between oceans and continents, it is luckily located outside any areas of natural hazards. Hurricanes happen in the Caribbean, but don’t reach Panama. Earthquakes happening in Colombia, Chile, Guatemala are … Continue reading


Weekend roundup   


What an incredible smorgasbord of matches over the weekend, eh? Did you catch any of them? I’ll break it down for ya. The U.S. men’s team struggled but defeated Antigua & Barbuda 3-1 in the rain in a 2014 World Cup qualifier held in Tampa, Fla. Highlights here. At Guatemala next. Messi scored a hat


La OEA, el nuevo enemigo interno y los militares en Guatemala   


La OEA, el nuevo enemigo interno y los militares en Guatemala Silvina M. Romano LA OEA se reunió esta semana en la ciudad de La Antigua Guatemala, para debatir sobre[...]


The Hotwire #43: Interviews with Anarchist Jews on Tree of Life massacre—Bolsonaro wins in Brazil   


No news is good news. 60% of wildlife has been wiped off the planet since 1970. Mexican police kill a man in the migrant caravan on the border with Guatemala. Ever since Trump openly declared himself a nationalist last week, there has been an escalation of far-right violence. We interview an anarchist who works at the Tree of Life synagogue where an anti-Semite massacred 11 people on Saturday, as well as two people in the Outlive Them network about the upcoming International Days of Action against Fascism and Anti-Semitism. We also draw connections between the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil and anarchist resistance to Trump and democracy itself in the United States. Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at {October 31, 2018}


-------SHOW NOTES------


  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:00}
    • Headlines {1:12}
    • Tree of Life massacre {5:10}
    • Bolsonaro, democracy, elections {24:00}
    • Resistance roundup {33:50}
    • Repression roundup {37:50}
    • Next Week’s News {43:15}
  • Download 29:30 minutes long version.
  • The latest episode of Sub.Media’s webseries Trouble deals with the J20 protests and ensuing legal battle. If anyone out there can help translate the subtitles to Brazilian Portuguese, we know that comrades there would appreciate it! E-mail us at podcast[at]crimethinc[dot]com.
  • Upcoming events/demos/etc:
    • November 2: A call for counter protests against Steve Bannon and David Frum in Toronto. Meet at 5pm outside Ray Thomson Hall located at 60 Simcoe St.
    • November 6: an anti-ICE march in Portland, Oregon at 6pm. Meet at City Hall and check out @OccupyICEPDX on twitter for more information.
    • November 8–11: International Days of Action against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, including this action in New York City on November 10.
    • November 10: A call for counter demos against PEGIDA’s anti-Muslim and anti-refugee demonstration, also in Toronto. Meet at 12pm in Mel Lastman Square.
    • November 16–18: School of the Americas Watch is hosting a border encuentro directly on the US/Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona and Sonora.
    • November 17: A Stand Against Proud Boys action in Philadelpha, to counter Proud Boys who are planning to attend a rally called We the People. Meet at Washington Square Park at 6th and Walnut Streets.
  • Upcoming anarchist book fairs and gatherings:
  • More about the unpermitted crowd that forced Trump’s motorcade to turn around in Pittsburgh.
  • The Claws of Empire, the Rise of Fascism: Brazilian Anarchist Statement on Bolsonaro
  • Another anarchist perspective on the upcoming midterm elections.
  • Mutual Aid Disaster Relief are still looking for accomplices in their autonomous relief work in North Carolina, as well as supplies. They need:
    • people with any background relevant to repairing homes.
    • food, water, cleaning & building supplies, baby supplies, etc.
    • funds, to go toward these projects, keeping the lights on, keeping it all moving
    • Gift cards and supplies can be mailed to:
      102 N Cedar St.
      Lumberton, NC 28358
    • If you can come help, please get in touch by emailing or
  • Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is on tour until late November! This week’s dates:
    • October 31: Olympia, WA. 3:00 pm PDT @ Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, WA 98505
    • November 1: Seattle, WA. 7:00 pm PDT @ Pipsqueak Gallery, 173 16th Ave Seattle, WA 98122
    • November 6: Fort Collins, CO. 7:00 pm MST @ Poudre Valley Public Library, 201 Peterson St, Fort Collins, CO 80524
    • November 7: Fort Collins, CO. 4:00 pm MST @ Cafe Foco, 201 Peterson St, Fort Collins, CO 80524
    • A complete list of tour dates and locations can be found here.
  • Duluth, Minnesota: Anti-fascist and anti-white supremacy People’s General Assemblies will be taking place weekly, Tuesdays at 6 PM in People’s Power Plaza
  • Political Prisoner Malik Washington has announced a hunger strike, not only against his conditions, but also against police brutality on streets and inside prison walls, against prison slavery, and against patriarchy and imperialism. If you’d like to send him written messages of support, you can write him at:

    Keith H. Washington #1487958
    McConnell Unit
    3100 South Emily Drive
    Beeville, TX 78103

  • Write a letter to anarchist prisoner Eric King at:

    Eric King
    # 27090045
    P.O. BOX 1000

  • Rashid Johnson, a revolutionary prisoner who is a founding member, and Minister of Defense, of the Prison Chapter of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, is asking for your help! As de facto retribution for his relentless activism and exposure of the prison system, Rashid is being held in awful repressive conditions. Especially importantly, he takes medication for his blood pressure and the prison is withholding his medicine. Supporters can call Warden Beth Cabell, any day other than Friday, at  (804) 834–2678. The focus should be on his medical emergency, as Rashid needs to have his blood pressure checked in order for any adjustments to be made to his medications.
  • A trans woman of color and water protector was arrested on bogus charges in Louisiana on last week. She has since been released, but you can still donate to the ongoing fight at
  • In the Philippines, Food Not Bombs volunteer Marco is still in prison awaiting trial on drug charges. His supporters vehemently maintain that he had drugs planted on him and that he is being framed. You can donate to his legal fund here.
  • Friends of Tim Brown Jr are raising legal funds on his behalf for charges he incurred while in jail after being arrested in Charlottesville. The new charges are for allegedly beating up James Fields, the neo-Nazi who murdered Heather Heyer. If you have a few bucks, here’s the link to his gofundme.
  • Use this straightforward guide to writing prisoners from New York City Anarchist Black Cross to write a birthday message for Ed Poindexter, who celebrates a birthday next week:

    Ed Poindexter
    Nebraska State Penitentiary
    Post Office Box 2500
    Lincoln, Nebraska 68542
    {Birthday: November 1}

  • Sales are OPEN for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar! The theme of next year’s calendar is Health/Care, and it features art and writing from current and former political prisoners like David Gilbert, Mike and Chuck Africa, and Laura Whitehorn. If you buy 10 or more, be sure to use the discount code “BULK” to get 10 or more calendars for $10 each—you can then sell the calendars to fundraise for your own organizing.




The Hotwire #42: Migrant Caravan—Antifascist Assembly in Carbondale—NOLA Proud Boy Alert Hotline   


We have a flurry of headlines from around the globe, with the migrant caravan from Honduras breaking through the Mexico-Guatemala border, indigenous comrades and their allies building prayer lodges in the path of the line 3 pipeline, London antifascists successfully blocking an anti-Muslim march, anarchists rioting in Barcelona after being evicted from their squat, and accounts of Chilean police attacking student protestors. Water protectors have been hard at work opposing the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and Panama City landlords have begun evicting devastated residents from their homes. You’ll hear from Carbondale anarchists mobilizing against Trump and right-wing reaction, and a hotline created by New Orleans antifascists to document Proud Boy activity—plus much more! 
Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at {October 24, 2018}


-------SHOW NOTES------




No Wall They Can Build, Episode 2: Defining Terms, The Aftermath, and The Travelers   


Welcome to Episode 2 of No Wall They Can Build, the Ex-Worker Podcast’s serialized audiobook exploring borders and migration across North America. This installment continues last week’s introduction by Defining Terms—just what do we mean by the border, migrants, refugees, solidarity workers, and other key phrases? To begin the long section describing movement From South to North, The Aftermath lays out an unflinching view of the 500-year history of colonization, slavery, and genocide on which today’s capitalist economy and border regimes are based, followed by a harrowing tale of survival by a desert migrant. The Travelers lays out the forces pushing migrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras) north towards the United States, illustrating the economics of the situation through a moving story in which migrants and solidarity workers work out the mathematics of international exploitation together. This chapter demystifies the basic dynamics at play in North American migration and evocatively illustrates their human cost. {April 10, 2019}


-------SHOW NOTES------






No Wall They Can Build, Episode 3: Mexico, Part I – The South   


Welcome to Episode 3 of No Wall They Can Build, the Ex-Worker Podcast’s serialized audiobook exploring borders and migration across North America. This installment begins exploring the conditions south of the border that drive migration north by exploring the recent history and economy of Mexico. As NAFTA’s “free trade” policies impoverished and displaced millions, border militarization altered previous patterns of seasonal migration and established a permanent undocumented underclass of millions in the United States. The author cuts through myths around the “drug war,” helping to explain the complex web of players from the Sinaloa and Zetas cartels to the Mexican state and the social movements that contest them both—and how the situation might be transformed, if US drug and immigration policies changed. The episode concludes with an inspiring story of the determined and colorful resistance to state violence by the community of San Salvador Atenco. This episode provides a brief introduction to the fierce, many-sided conflicts across Mexico resulting from the actions of the US government and exacerbated by the Mexican state and cartels, but always contested by popular forces. {April 17, 2019}


-------SHOW NOTES------


  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:01}
    • The South {0:25}
    • Mexico: Labor, “Free Trade,” and the Roots of Migration {1:25}
    • Mexico: Cartels, the State, and the “Drug War” {9:24}
    • Story #1: San Salvador Atenco {23:21}
    • Conclusion {26:34}
  • Note: For this audiobook, we will not provide full transcripts of the text of each episode as we do for The Ex-Worker or The Hotwire. If you want to read along, you can find the book in PDF.
  • You can check out our poster diagramming the North American border regime and immigrant solidarity stickers.
  • Stay tuned next week for Episode 4: The South, Part 2 – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.



No Wall They Can Build, Episode 4: The South, Part II – Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras   


Welcome to Episode 4 of No Wall They Can Build, the Ex-Worker Podcast’s serialized audiobook exploring borders and migration across North America. This week’s installment continues the previous episode’s exploration of the conditions south of the border that drive migration north by surveying the situation in the three countries of the “Northern Triangle.” Guatemala’s malnourished, heavily indigenous population languishes in poverty under oligarchic rule, the legacy of centuries of colonialism and a devastating civil war. Our narrator analyzes the numerous problems plaguing the country and examines the unfinished struggle for freedom and dignity that prompted the war, including its impact on global revolutionary imagination through its influence on the Zapatistas. The horrifying levels of violence in El Salvador trace their roots both to economic pressures and to US support for the former reactionary military regime during a bloody civil war. The section concludes with a hair-raising anecdote about the guerrilla movement’s creative revenge against a genocidal army officer. A brief note on the profound dysfunction of Honduras, stemming from the structure of North American economy, is followed by a discussion of the tensions between these four Central American nations and their inhabitants. This episode rounds out our picture of the recent history of the region and the dynamics that push people from their homelands on the perilous trip towards the US/Mexico border. {April 24, 2019}


-------SHOW NOTES------


  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:01}
    • Guatemala {0:35}
    • Story #1: The Influence of the Guerrilla Movement {16:30}
    • El Salvador {17:40}
    • Story #2: Revenge at El Mozote {25:05}
    • Honduras {28:07}
    • Story #3: A Souvenir {30:52}
    • Tensions {31:22}
    • Conclusion {34:51}
  • Note: For this audiobook, we will not provide full transcripts of the text of each episode as we do for The Ex-Worker or The Hotwire. If you want to read along, you can find the book in PDF.
  • You can check out our poster diagramming the North American border regime and immigrant solidarity stickers.
  • Stay tuned next week for Episode 5: The Trip and The Product.




El principio del 'interés superior' de la niñez tras dos décadas de prácticas :: perspectivas comparativas   


En 2010 se celebraron veinte años de la Convención de los Derechos de la Niñez (CDN) de 1989, cuyos principios fueron progresivamente incorporados a la legislación sobre niños, niñas y adolescentes de los países que la ratificaron a partir de 1990. Entre esos principios, el del "interés superior del niño/a" es, probablemente, el más citado, referenciado y recurrido a nivel legislativo, normativo y regulador pero, también, de las prácticas sociales y culturales. Se trata de una constatación que da cuenta de la necesidad de análisis comparativos que muestren las especificidades culturales, políticas y sociales locales. Este número monográfico concentra discusiones teóricas y datos empíricos sobre la circulación de niños y niñas en diversos contextos locales (Argentina, Brasil, Canadá, Catalunya, Ecuador, España, Estados Unidos, Francia, Guatemala, Perú, Oceanía y Suecia) desde una perspectiva comparativa. ; In 2010, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) celebrated its 20th anniversary. The CRD principles have been gradually incorporated into the legislation on children and adolescents of those countries that have ratified it since it began on 1990. Among them, the "best interests of the child" is probably the most quoted and referred not only at a legislative and policy level but also in social and cultural practices. This accounts for the need for comparative analysis that show cultural, social and political specifities. This special issue focuses theoretical discussions and empirical data on the circulation of children in different local contexts (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Catalonia, Ecuador, Spain, United States, France, Guatemala, Peru, Oceania and Sweden) in a comparative perspective.

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