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Latin America

Coffee bean prices have collapsed, and it’s a humanitarian crisis

November 13, 2019

Small farmers are losing their shirts over the latest coffee-bean bust. Put in hard numbers, that’s about 100 million people — both farmers and their dependents — in 40 countries across the tropics who have seen their incomes cut by two-thirds in this decade. The reduction in coffee-bean prices is due to several factors, including […]

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Poverty makes plastic pollution worse

November 8, 2019

Guatemala City, the impoverished Central American metropolis, has almost no system for managing solid waste. As a result, huge surges of plastic trash wash down the Motagua river to choke the massive Mesoamerican Reef and many Caribbean beaches. Plague of plastic Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans; 90 percent […]

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What’s the problem with Evo Morales?

November 5, 2019

By all accounts, modern Bolivia is an economic and cultural miracle — so what’s all this talk about coups and electoral fraud? The problem is that Evo Morales — a former labor-union leader and Latin America’s first contemporary indigenous president — appears to be behaving like a dictator. Extension denied — and appealed Morales is […]

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The schools of El Salvador are neglected and abandoned, with glimmers of hope

November 4, 2019

In one school, there is only one outhouse for 343 students — and no electricity, so the school must pirate it. Another school finds itself in a “neutral zone” between warring gangs, whose members play ordinary games of soccer against each other on school grounds. Yet educators there risk their lives if they try to […]

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The cabbies of Mexico are not stoked about Uber

October 19, 2019

Taxi drivers brought downtown Mexico City to a standstill, in an anti-Uber protest that was replicated across the country in at least eight states. The National Taxi-driver Movement (Movimiento Nacional Taxista) is taking on ride-hailing platforms that are largely unregulated in Mexico. Licensed, tax-paying drivers are angry that inexperienced drivers for Uber and other services […]

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Industrial soy plantations are devouring this endangered South American habitat

October 17, 2019

The Gran Chaco — a landscape of dry tropical forest and savanna grasslands that straddles Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina — doesn’t have the glamorous image of the neighboring Amazon rainforest to the north. Yet it is home to a wealth of biodiversity, including 3,400 plant species, 500 bird species, 150 mammals, 120 reptiles and […]

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