As most of you surely already know, COHA’s director of 43 years, Larry Birns, sadly passed away in August 2018.
Larry founded COHA in 1975 in the aftermath of the US-backed coup in Chile against the democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende and subsequent installation of the murderous Pinochet dictatorship. From then onwards, Birns led the organization with dedication and zeal. As a result of his efforts, COHA developed into a reliable source of information and analysis in media, policy and academic circles. Its research continually provided an independent critical current against US intervention in the hemisphere, exposed human rights violations throughout the region (whoever the perpetrators), and strived to “encourage the formulation of rational and constructive U.S. policies toward Latin America.” The COHA intern program, meanwhile, launched the careers of many Latin America-focused scholars, journalists, activists and policy specialists. Undoubtedly, this loss has left a huge void that will never be truly filled.
The legacy of COHA must live on. In the wake of Birns’ death, a group of former COHA fellows and contributors have been working to rebuild the organization. As recent events demonstrate, the need for a progressive voice on hemispheric policy is necessary now more than ever. Whether it be the Trump administration-backed coup attempt in Venezuela, the efforts at bringing about a “fourth transformation” in Mexico, the ongoing human rights nightmare in Colombia, or the illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras, there is a gaping hole in media coverage that COHA can fill by providing an ethical voice for peace, sovereign equality and the development of human life in harmony with the biosphere in the region.
With this in mind, we are asking for your support to get this new venture off the ground. Whether you are a former research associate whose experience at COHA helped launch your career, a former research fellow whose work at COHA helped build your writing portfolio, or a long-time reader who benefited from COHA’s articles and research reports, we are asking you to help the organization to relaunch and transition into a new era.
We are planning a complete restructuring of the organization that will build on the many Birns-era strengths and address some of its challenges. We are also expanding the content in Spanish, and in Portuguese, to properly cover all key issues in the Americas.
Ways you can help:
Any donation, no matter how small, will enable COHA to continue to produce cutting edge journalism and research on hemispheric affairs. If every supporter gave $10, COHA could cover its expenses for roughly one year.
CLICK HERE to make a contribution.
Networking, and opportunities for funding
We are sure that many members of the broad community of COHA supporters could provide ideas about funding for the organization. You may know about grants for which COHA might apply. You may have suggestions for private donors who support progressive causes and organizations. You may have connections with universities and colleges throughout the US that are looking for strategic partnerships with a progressive think tank and advocacy organization. Or you may have an idea for a fundraising event in your city to raise funds for COHA. If you have a good idea, please share it with us. Please contact us with any suggestions. Also, please forward this message to any potential COHA supporters you might know.
Your help will enable us to grow COHA into a formidable research NGO that continues to challenge mainstream discourse, which today, lamentably, supports US intervention in Latin America and encourages right-wing forces throughout the hemisphere.
Let’s keep Larry Birns’ vision alive!
The COHA leadership team:
Frederick Mills, Co-Director / Senior Editor (English)
Patricio Zamorano, Co-Director / Senior Editor (Spanish)