Tamara Pearson

The earthquake that hit on September 19 made my whole apartment move from side to side, like a tiny old ship caught on reckless waves. I live in the old part of central Puebla, just 51 kilometres from the epicentre.

After the quake, I watched as crowds gathered in the middle of the street — normally a busy fish and vegetable market. Children were crying, people were a bit shaken, but they seemed okay. The next morning, I walked around the city, observing the large cracks and broken corners on some of the most historic and beautiful buildings.

At the same time as President Enrique Pena Nieto deports undocumented migrants trying to enter or pass through Mexico, his own party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is under-paying migrants and refugees in its T-shirt factory.

Building the Commune
By George Ciccariello-Maher
Verso Books, 2016

Every commune is different, George Ciccariello-Maher says in Building the Commune, but “the coffee is always too sweet, and the process is always difficult, endlessly messy and unpredictable in its inescapable creativity”.

There is a very sinister, hellish thing behind the tepid concern that rears its head when a country like Haiti suffers a tragedy.

As 800 people died and 90% of parts of southern Haiti were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, leaving whole towns flattened, and people homeless and without basic infrastructure, the trending hashtag was #PrayForFlorida.


Members of the Merida communal council distributing food. Photo by Tamara Pearson.

It's been three years now of food shortages, inflation, and queues in Venezuela, and the millions of people involved in community and movement organizing have been the most affected. But they've also defied right-wing and general expectations, and even perhaps the expectations of the Maduro government, and have become stronger and better organized as a result of the hardships.

Facing possible austerity and a return to neoliberalism at the hands of a right-wing parliament, will the millions involved in Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution that has cut poverty and empowered the poor radicalise further and protect their 15 years of gains? Or will this be the blow that finally dampens their revolutionary joy and collective ambition?

On December 6, Venezuela held its 20th election in 17 years and one of its most difficult yet. With the opposition upping the ante in terms of media attacks and sabotage, 2.5 years of economic difficulties and since the passing of revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, not to mention a recent right-wing victory in Argentina, the left and right around the world turned anxious eyes to Venezuela.

Books are lives compressed, humanity summarised into screaming or striking stories.

One would think the book world would be a safe haven from inequality. But instead the traditional publishing industry — the big corporate publishers — is perpetuating prejudice and limiting ideas by elevating certain authors, characters, and thoughts above all others, with significant social consequences.

Hard-line opposition protests continued over the Easter weekend in Venezuela. However, a recent poll found most Venezuelans support the peace talks occurring between the government and moderate opposition.

Opposition student groups and several hard-line opposition leaders led a march on April 20 to the United Nations office in Caracas, where they demanded that the UN send a delegation to assess the situation in the country.

As they are prone to do, the private media have invented a new thing. In both English and Spanish, they are calling it the colectivos.

They are meant to be irrational, cruel, grotesque armed motorbike riders who “enforce” the revolution in Venezuela and are responsible for most of the violence afflicting the South American nation, which has left more than 30 people dead since February.

The opposition barricaders are presented as the innocent victims of these collectivos, who apparently work with the National Guard and have the support of President Nicolas Maduro's government.

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