Latin America

Personal Essay: Home Is Wherever There Is Peace by Bear Guerra

The demonstrations lasted for a little over a week, but El Caracazo did not end. Political instability radiated beyond Caracas over the next year. Coup d’état atttempts followed, led by an idealistic military officer from working-class roots named Hugo Chávez. The country’s foreign debt mushroomed. Corruption charges plagued President Pérez and eventually forced him from office.

El Caracazo would go on to trigger a new world order. It would go on living inside all of us. And, it would push many to leave—including my mother and me.

Read the rest of this essay here.

Indigenous Residents of Lima's Cantagallo Shantytown Confront an Uncertain Future by Bear Guerra

The pueblo joven, or shantytown, of Cantagallo sits atop a former landfill in Lima, wedged between a freeway and the Rímac River. Founded in 2000 by roughly 15 indigenous Shipibo families who were part of a mass exodus of Amazonian immigrants pushed out of their communities by logging, illegal mining and infrastructure development in the Amazon Basin, Cantagallo grew into an important center of indigenous identity and culture in Peru’s capital — an example of how an indigenous community could navigate urban life without losing its roots.

This piece was done with the support of The International Reporting Project. Read the rest of it here

Freelancer’s Journal: The Cost of Digging Deep by Bear Guerra

"I’d be lying if I said that working on my own, on and off for years, both in the U.S. and abroad, hasn’t been challenging. Having minimal or no health insurance and worrying about drumming up enough work for the next few months' rent have always been an underlying source of stress for me. But for those of us who came of age as young storytellers when media revenues started dwindling in the nineties, freelancing hasn’t just been a choice, but our refuge. It’s what’s kept us in journalism—at least in the kind of journalism we value and are eager to preserve against all odds. A journalism that questions, digs deeper, and is compassionate and human.

Read the full essay in Scratch Magazine (behind a paywall).

Al Jazeera's The Stream Takes On Latin America by Bear Guerra

We're always trying to make the case for more thoughtful, human, and nuanced coverage of Latin America in the international media -- preferably, by Latin Americans. So we were thrilled when Al Jazeera's The Stream announced that they would increase their coverage of the region, and were seeking input from reporters like us. Our discussion led to the need to tell more personal stories about return migration in Ecuador, about race in Brazil, the pro-life movement in Costa Rica, and others. 

You may watch the discussion and keep contributing ideas here.

Can President Correa's popularity keep him in office indefinitely? by Bear Guerra

The latest piece for The Christian Science Monitor looks into President Rafael Correa, whose approval ratings float between 70 and 80 percent, making him Latin America’s most popular leader. But when it comes to keeping him in office beyond 2016, most believe it should come down to a vote - not a constitutional change.

Read the story here.