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Just as largely unprecedented mass street protests erupted on the streets in Cuba [“In the streets, Cubans ‘have lost their fear’, ” front page, July 13], the Coast Guard’s interdiction of a boat off the coast of Key West and summary return of Cubans…
A Coast Guard Station Marathon boat crew and 15 migrants aboard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium near Big Pine Key, Florida on July 3, 2021. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Estrada. Source: United States Coast Guard
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The region’s police and security forces need urgent reform. Otherwise, we are likely to continue seeing serious abuses against protesters

Years of frustrated expectations and dissatisfaction with governments’ social policies boiled over in many Latin American countries in 2019, leading to massive protests. This year, the measures taken in response to the pandemic have forced people to…
Police surround a protester in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.
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A Haitian woman was selling charcoal on the empty edges of her small town when a white, uniformed United Nations peacekeeper offered her a lift in his marked vehicle. He raped her shortly after she got in. “I could not fight back,” said Marie Badeau (a…
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This article was published in five newspapers in Latin America. Leaders in the Americas have often been confronted in recent years with hard questions about accountability and prisoners’ rights. Should people imprisoned for…
Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori listens to the judge's verdict about his sentence in prison, in Lima October 29, 2013.
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
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Last month, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile introduced a bill in Congress that appears to be a reaction to the recent release, in Peru, of the former autocratic President Alberto Fujimori. The proposal limits the early release of people convicted of…
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I know my autocrats. After all, I once voted for one. As an 18-year-old college sophomore, I voted for Alberto Fujimori for president of Peru in 1995. By then, Fujimori, a relatively unknown agronomy professor elected in 1990 in a…
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Human rights protect everyone—no matter who—from government abuse and neglect. Yet today a new generation of authoritarian populists is challenging that bedrock principle. They claim to speak for “the people” and treat rights as an impediment to their…
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump argues with CNN's Jim Acosta during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., January 11, 2017.
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Celistine was outraged. She and her eight children had lived in a displacement camp in the middle of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for 10 months after the 2010 earthquake. She told me all of the problems they were facing--ripped tents that let water in, security…
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This Saturday is World Water Day – a day the United Nations and its member countries have devoted to promoting sustainable management of the world's water resources. It seems fitting that it falls in March, women’s history month, because the lives of…
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Former Guatemalan strongman Efraín Ríos Montt went on trial in Guatemala City late last month on charges of genocide relating to the massacres of indigenous Mayan people during his rule. The trial of a former dictator is a remarkable…
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Guaranteeing the Rights of People with Disabilities

Juan Manuel lives in Lima, sharing a house with five friends. They cook, eat, and socialize together. He recently began a new job at a bank. In 2010 and 2011, Juan Manuel voted in municipal and national elections. None of this should be out of the…
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On Jan. 28 in Lima, Peru, 27 people were killed and at least five others critically injured by a fire that swept through Christ is Love, a privately run drug rehabilitation facility. Patients were trapped behind locked doors and barred windows. Witnesses…
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Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan were three of Haiti’s most forceful advocates for women’s rights. They established some of the few groups that helped Haitian women recover from domestic violence and rape, pursue justice and restart…
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It is easy to give up on Haiti reading through the litany of articles about where the country stands after two difficult years since the January 12, 2010 earthquake. In many ways, that was true even before the quake -- in the last five years, there have…
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I met Naomie, a 25-year-old mother, more than a year after the January 2010 earthquake destroyed Haiti's capital. She lost both her parents in the quake. In the months after the earthquake, Naomie made a new home in a tent camp with a man. One day he…
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"What will happen to us?" Guylaine asks me, with quiet resolve in her eyes. The question is not rhetorical. A year after an earthquake rocked Haiti and the world scrambled to respond, Guylaine and her children live in a leaky tent in one of the informal…