What would you do if you had “nature’s pharmacy” in your backyard? (Mongabay)

  TAMIA YURA, ECUADOR – Benjamin Mamallacta Alvarado and his wife Dalia Tapuy were both recently sick, but instead of going to a pharmacy to pick up medication, they went into their backyard, which just happens to be in the Amazon rainforest. Born and raised in the Amazon, Alvarado has been using medicinal plants all …

Amnesty: A Win for Colombia’s Peace Process? (The New Internationalist)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Liliany Obiando is finally free – after nine years. For almost a decade, Colombian sociologist, human rights worker and former political prisoner Liliany Obando has been engaged in a long and complex battle with the Colombian state and judicial system. She was charged with ‘rebellion’ in 2008, but this March the state officially …

Ecuadorians say Lenin Moreno’s Victory is a Win for Poor and Working People (The Real News)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Ecuadorians elected a new President Sunday, voting to keep the current left-wing party of President Rafael Correa in power. Correa's former Vice-President Lenin Moreno won the election with 51% of the vote over his opponent, Guillermo Lasso of the right-wing CREO Party, who finished with 49%. Hundreds of supporters gathered at the …

Colombia’s Cane Industry Efficient but Potentially Damaging (Mongabay)

CALI, COLOMBIA - Colombia’s Pacific coast state of Valle del Cauca, home to at least 80 percent of the country’s booming sugar cane industry, continues to rebound after excessive and damaging rains in 2011-2012. In fact, recent USDA Foreign Agricultural Services report found that the country’s cane industry continues to reach “historical averages.” The rebound isn’t …

Indigenous Leaders Denounce Ecuadorian Government Over Mining Conflicts (Mongabay & Truthout)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Indigenous leaders and activists gathered in Quito, Ecuador, last Thursday, March 9, to denounce the Ecuadorian government for its complicity in allowing international mining companies to take over indigenous territory. The biggest topic on everyone’s minds was the current conflict in Ecuador’s southern Amazon region. In recent months the indigenous Shuar community there …

A Closer Look at Brazil’s Economy (The New Internationalist)

QUITO, ECUADOR - The Brazilian economy isn’t looking great these days. The country is facing one of its most severe economic crises since the Great Depression, with unemployment at almost 12 per cent and inflation hovering around 8 per cent. The scene has caused a lot of anger, resentment and suffering across the country. But Brazilians …

Another Blow to Colombia’s Peace Process (The New Internationalist)

QUITO, ECUADOR - The Colombian peace process was dealt another huge blow last week, after the launch of the long anticipated peace talks with the ELN guerrillas was cancelled Thursday. This move left many people feeling even more concerned about the future of the country and its prospects for peace. Last week, the Colombian government and …

The Last Days of War: FARC’s ‘Final Conference’ in Pictures (The New Internationalist)

EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - On 2 October, Colombia has a chance to put an end to a 52-year conflict, as it will hold a referendum on its historic agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). FARC are the largest guerrilla movement involved in the Colombian conflict, having started as a Marxist-Leninist peasant force in …

Los últimos días de las FARC: dentro del campamento (Zoomin TV)

EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - En la víspera de la firma de los acuerdos de paz, las FARC abrieron su campamento de El Diamante, Caquetá. Charlamos con los guerrilleros para conocer sus sueños y sensaciones ahora que se acerca la paz. (Translation: On the eve of the signing of the peace accords, the FARC opened their …