Preview: Vol. 35 No. 10

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Puerto Rico’s Shortsighted Police Reform

On August 11, 2007, 43-year-old father of three,  Miguel Cáceres Cruz and his fellow scooter club members accompanied a 15-year-old girl on her quinceñera. The young girl and her company were partly blocking the street when three police officers passed. Heated words were exchanged, and the officers got out of their car. One of the three, Officer Pagan Cruz, lunged at Cáceres and in the ensuing struggle, Pagan shot Cáceres three times, coldly finishing him off with a shot in the back of the head. Officer Pagan did not come out unscathed; he shot himself in the foot and left for the hospital, leaving Cáceres lying dead on the ground

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Chandler Foust

Destruction or Revitalization? In Defense of Indigenous Ecotourism

Ecuador’s lowland Quichua, located in Western Napo Province, have traditionally lived as isolated, subsistence agriculturalists who thrive off the rich soil and biodiverse environment of the Napo River of the Amazon rainforest. Today, however, even the most remote settlements are accessible to foreigners on foot or by motorized dugout canoes. Due to hundreds of years of contact from Catholic missionaries, the military presence after the Peruvian war in 1941, oil development by Texaco in 1968, and the rise of ecotourism in the 1970s, this region and the indigenous people who occupy it are becoming increasingly active in state and global socio-economic systems. The environment of the region has been subject to oil development and production, which unfortunately has polluted waterways and has exposed the region to family farmer colonists who have introduced unstable farming and hunting practices. Meanwhile, the development of ecotourism has spread throughout the region as a more sustainable alternative to resource extraction.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Rachel Quartararo

Belize at a Standstill in Anti-Sodomy Case

In 2013, Belize was confronted by the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), the country’s sole advocacy group for members of the LGBTQ community. Serving as UNIBAM’s executive director, Caleb Orozco, an openly gay man in Belize, has battled hate crimes, death threats, and a multitude of legal disputes. He is now fighting Belize’s anti-sodomy laws and is calling for the repeal of these discriminatory bans. Based on Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, the law states that “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” will result in a prison sentence of upside of 10 years. For the LGBTQ community, this legislation serves as an aggressive attack on its lifestyle, which is heavily  condemned in the religiously conservative country.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Raeisa Ali


Further Divided: Panama’s Poor Lose Out on Canal Expansion

The international mega-project, known as the Panama Canal Expansion, which has been financed by super powers and mired by scandal, serves as an emblem of the escalating struggle between the international private sector and the public sector in Panama. The Panama Canal, which snakes through the small Central American country, has connected the Pacific Ocean with the Caribbean for over a century. It has also, predictably, deepened the divide between rich and poor within Panama. The Canal’s much-anticipated expansion, due for completion in April of next year, will make room for larger vessels, providing a faster, lower cost shipping route for today’s modern freighters, capable of securing  up greater revenue for the country. The project’s economic benefits, however, have yet to reliably trickle down to the nation’s 1.3 million Panamanians living in poverty.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Day Robins

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