Below are samples of our print and online stories:
Can a California town move back from the sea? | High Country News | October 2018
The oceans are now rising at a faster rate than any time since the last Ice Age, about half an inch or more per decade. While much of this is understood by researchers and informed readers, very little has been done by coastal cities to confront this slow-moving catastrophe. That is what makes Imperial Beach so interesting. Here, at the southernmost beach town in California, in an obscure corner of the United States, one small city is asking: What if we just got out of nature’s way?
Read Ruxandra’s full feature here.
Amid California’s toxic dumps, local activists go it alone | High Country News | August 2017
"Eastern Coachella Valley migrants power a highly profitable agricultural region, but they live at the center of environmental ruin. Workers deal with an unrelenting list of health threats, from substandard housing to pesticide pollution, hazardous waste and water contamination. Promotoras have become increasingly involved in dealing with urgent local issues on this side of the border — the unending problems that endanger migrant communities. But in the Coachella Valley, the promotoras and their allies are starting to see their efforts bear fruit."
Read Ruxandra Guidi's full feature here.
ICE Raids Confirm Worst Fears of Young Immigrants | High Country News | February 2017
Ruxandra will be writing regularly for High Country News about California's resistance to the Trump presidency and what shape it takes over time. The first installment takes a look at the Dreamers' movement. Read the story here.
Rocket Frog: A Lost Species, Rediscovered | Virginia Quarterly Review | Summer 2016
Biologists from Quito's Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador race to save a tiny frog threatened with extinction that's only found in the shadow of the Cotopaxi Volcano. Photo essay and print story here.
Bolivia Stands Up to the U.S. with Coca Control Policy | Al Jazeera | September 2015
Evo Morales dubbed his initiative "Coca Si, Cocaina No" and established a system legalising small plots of coca in some areas such as the Chapare, where it had been targeted, while encouraging farmers to find ways to prevent the leaf from entering the drug market. It was a landmark statement: A poor Latin American country dared to stand up to the US and its "war on drugs" strategy, forgoing millions of aid dollars in the process. Now, nine years since "Coca Si, Cocaina No", Bolivia is claiming victory.
The Indigenous People Behind Panama's Tourist Paradise | Mashable | May 2015
A lot more has changed here since Marcos grew up in Guna Yala. The indigenous territory is now a top ecotourism destination, drawing an estimated 100,000 tourists a year from all over the world. Its beautiful beaches, laid-back accommodations, and local traditions and crafts are only an hour's flight from Panama City. Ten-seater commuter planes take off every morning from the gray concrete of the capital, past land cleared for grazing and agriculture, until all you can see from your small window are seas of green — the tall canopies of one of the best preserved tropical forests in Central America.
How a Small Town in Peru Reminded Us to Enjoy the Journey | Mashable | March 2015
So far, work trips with her in tow to Oklahoma, Washington D.C., Thailand, Panama, and Ecuador have gone as smoothly as we could have hoped, despite the occasional jet lag, flight delays, missed naps, mosquitoes and humidity we’ve encountered along the way. Until our two weeks in Peru.
Can President Correa's Popularity Keep Him in Office Indefinitely? | The Christian Science Monitor | November 2014
Correa's 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.
A Boon for the Women of Ecuador | The New York Times' Opinion Pages | November 2014
After less than a year of doing cleaning jobs in New York, Ms. Pichasaca could afford to send money home for her children’s food and clothing. “But they suffered too much,” she said. “So I told my husband: ‘You’re a big boy, but my kids are not; they need me."’ She came back to Cañar in 2006. Ms. Pichasaca’s choice would spell the end of her marriage. But it would also mark the beginning of her freedom and personal success.
A Model for Communal Forest Management | Ensia Magazine | September 2014
Guna Yala, an autonomous indigenous territory inside Panama, is one of the most unique places on the planet, where the Guna people have preserved their way of life and the forest around them thanks in large part to their exceptional land rights and sovereignty. But the Guna are now facing formidable challenges to their survival: the impacts of climate change, encroaching outside influences and a younger generation that’s drifting away from its roots.
Ecuador's Diario HOY Moves Online: A Sign of More to Come in Latin America? | The Christian Science Monitor | July 2014
The relationship between media and the government in Ecuador has been referred to as a 'war.' But all sides agree the media landscape there and across Latin America is moving toward online as the population of internet users rapidly grows.
In Thailand, US Evangelicals Work to End Prostitution | Washington Post | January 2014
Everyone in Bangkok knows how it works. Many of the countless massage parlors, go-go bars, and karaoke joints peppered throughout the city are frequently thinly veiled fronts for prostitution. Heavily made-up girls hang around in the periphery of joints catering to Western tourists. Most of the Asian customers, including Thai men, head to brothels and bars elsewhere, away from the sex tourism districts. Meanwhile, Thailand is struggling to curb trafficking amid international pressure and dozens of American groups, many of them evangelical, have entered the country in recent years to fight the issue, with the blessing of U.S. foreign policy.
Peasant Bounty | Orion Magazine | Summer 2011
It starts lightly, barely audible under the tin roof of the communal dining room. In minutes, the downpour picks up momentum and is accompanied by lightning and thunder. These summer months are what locals living in the peasant enclave of Papaye, in Haiti’s Central Plateau, call the flooding season—a time for early corn and sugar cane harvests amid the mud and lush green hills that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Climate Change Threatens a Caribbean Tribe's Home and Future | The Atlantic | January 2011
One of the traditional songs performed by the sahilas, or wise elders of Kuna Yala, compares their tribe's 365 tiny Caribbean islands, which are legally part of Panama but afforded a degree of autonomy, to "coconuts resting firmly on the sand" that will never disappear, regardless of the strong winds or high tides. In late 2008, after a series of giant waves flooded most of the islands, the sahilas began singing a new song. "Why are our mothers crying? It is because of the hurricanes and earthquakes," the lyrics go. "Times are getting dark. Who is causing this?" Text by Ruxandra Guidi / Photos by Bear Guerra.
Will a U.N. Climate Change Solution Help Kuna Yala? | National Geographic News Watch | December 2010
In northeast Panama’s lush tropical forests, a sovereign indigenous is raising the same question that delegates at the Cancún climate conference are raising about a plan for avoided deforestation: how is REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) supposed to work? Will it work in practice? And what would work better? Their answers may sway the fate of the plan in Panama and beyond.
Dispatch from Haiti: Wondering About Wyclef | Colorlines | August 2010
Hip hop star Wyclef Jean now says he’s got what it takes. Jean has been positioning himself as a leader who can relate to the masses for years, but especially since the earthquake. He’s young, outspoken and seemingly proud of his humble upbringing. He’s also savvy and well-connected.
The Help That Haiti Needs | The New York Times Opinion Pages | January 2010
As Haiti faces what is seemingly its worst catastrophe, it is important for us outsiders to question what we consider to be help, and focus instead on helping Haitians rebuild what there was of that community effort.
The Young Mothers of Port-au-Prince | Virginia Quarterly Review | Summer 2009
After the last of three back-to-back hurricanes pummeled Haiti in August and September 2008, mountains of garbage, mud, raw sewage, and debris were left behind, clogging the streets of Port-au-Prince. Here's the story of how Marie, a young working-class mother, made it through. Text by Ruxandra Guidi / Photos by Bear Guerra.
Haiti: How Do You Aid a Failed State? | FRONTLINE/World | October 2008
"When people talk about my country, they refer to it as a failed state," said Pierre Joaquim, an unemployed 26-year-old who stood outside the Haitian National Police headquarters in Port-au-Prince. "But I say Haiti isn't really a failed state; it's more of a controlled state. Everyone has a plan for my country, except us Haitians." Text by Ruxandra Guidi.
Growing Controversy | Guernica | September 2008
Coca farmers in the crop’s heartland, Sabina and Roberto Ramirez are a new breed of growers striving to change the image of a plant that has long been used for a very synthetic—and deadly—end product: cocaine. But the Ramirezes grow organic coca. And they’re hoping this can make all the difference. Text by Ruxandra Guidi / Photos by Bear Guerra.
Death Over Dams | Orion Magazine | Summer 2007
On a typically hot day last September, Felipe Flores Hernández sat in the front of a wooden boat, a weathered machete strapped across his back. One of his compadres skillfully guided the boat across the Papagayo River, letting it get pulled the wrong way for a few seconds before pushing his long stick down a few meters to the river bottom so he could change directions.
all photos (unless noted) © Roberto (Bear) Guerra