Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), the largest protected area in Central America, is characterized by rampant violence, social and ethnic inequality, and rapid deforestation. Faced with these threats, local residents, conservationists, scientists, and NGOs in the region work within what Micha Rahder calls “an ecology of knowledges,” in which interventions on the MBR landscape are tied to differing and sometimes competing forms of knowing. In this book, Rahder examines how technoscience, endemic violence, and an embodied love of wild species and places shape conservation practices in Guatemala. Rahder highlights how different forms of environmental knowledge emerge from encounters and relations between humans and nonhumans, institutions and local actors, and how situated ways of knowing impact conservation practices and natural places, often in unexpected and unintended ways. In so doing, she opens up new ways of thinking about the complexities of environmental knowledge and conservation in the context of instability, inequality, and violence around the world.
Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano was an activist, visionary, and storyteller who began his hugely influential career with the publication of Open Veins of Latin America in 1971, which set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. After this success, Galeano’s writing became increasingly lyrical and inspired by the storytelling of South America’s Indigenous peoples, while remaining politically engaged and prophetic.
This book picks up where Daniel Fischlin and Martha Nandorfy’s previous book on Galeano left off, focusing on timely and urgent themes in the last four books he wrote in the twenty-first century. Through his distinctive narrative style of short vignettes—tightly packed explosive stories—Galeano explores what it means to live as mortal beings with a finite amount of time on the earth, waxing and waning between despair and hope. As a hunter of stories, Galeano’s yarns place us, as his listeners and agents of history, in a web where past and future come together to create a present full of possibility.
In 1981, more than a thousand civilians around El Mozote, El Salvador, were slaughtered by the country’s U.S.-trained army. The story was covered—and soon forgotten—by the international news media. In the first edition of The El Mozote Massacre, anthropologist Leigh Binford successfully restores a social identity to the massacre victims through his dissection of Third World human rights reporting and a rich ethnographic and personal account of El Mozote–area residents prior to the massacre.
Almost two decades later, the consequences of the massacre continue to reverberate through the country’s legal and socioeconomic systems. The El Mozote Massacre, 2nd Edition brings together new evidence to address reconstruction, historical memory, and human rights issues resulting from what may be the largest massacre in modern Latin American history.
With a multitude of additions, including three new chapters, an extended chronology, discussion of the hearing and ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2012, and evidence gathered throughout half a dozen field trips made by the author, Binford presents a current perspective on the effects of this tragic moment in history. Thanks to geographically expanded fieldwork, Binford offers critical discussion of postwar social, economic, religious, and social justice in El Mozote, and adds important new regional, national, and global contexts.
The El Mozote Massacre, 2nd Edition maintains the crucial presence of the massacre in human rights discussions for El Salvador, Latin America, and the world.
Michel Gobat traces the untold story of the rise and fall of the first U.S. overseas empire to William Walker, a believer in the nation’s manifest destiny to spread its blessings not only westward but abroad as well.
In the 1850s Walker and a small group of U.S. expansionists migrated to Nicaragua determined to forge a tropical “empire of liberty.” His quest to free Central American masses from allegedly despotic elites initially enjoyed strong local support from liberal Nicaraguans who hoped U.S.-style democracy and progress would spread across the land. As Walker’s group of “filibusters” proceeded to help Nicaraguans battle the ruling conservatives, their seizure of power electrified the U.S. public and attracted some 12,000 colonists, including moral reformers. But what began with promises of liberation devolved into a reign of terror. After two years, Walker was driven out.
Nicaraguans’ initial embrace of Walker complicates assumptions about U.S. imperialism. Empire by Invitation refuses to place Walker among American slaveholders who sought to extend human bondage southward. Instead, Walker and his followers, most of whom were Northerners, must be understood as liberals and democracy promoters. Their ambition was to establish a democratic state by force. Much like their successors in liberal-internationalist and neoconservative foreign policy circles a century later in Washington, D.C., Walker and his fellow imperialists inspired a global anti-U.S. backlash. Fear of a “northern colossus” precipitated a hemispheric alliance against the United States and gave birth to the idea of Latin America.
Cutting a path from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Panama Canal set a new course for the development of Central America—but at considerable cost to Panamanians. Sleuth and scholar Marixa Lasso recounts how the canal’s American builders displaced 40,000 residents and erased entire towns in the guise of bringing modernity to the tropics.