Author: Antonio Castillo

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Brazil's long night of the soul

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 30 October 2018
    8 Comments

    Bolsonaro's election is the product of Brazil's disenchantment with democracy and hatred against a political system corrupted to its core. It is corruption — a malaise that infiltrates just about every slice of Brazilian society — that has pushed the country to what Vladimir Safatle, a Brazilian philosopher, has described as 'night without end'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mexico 'narco-graves' mark a national crisis

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 31 May 2018
    7 Comments

    In Mexico, every two hours a person vanishes. Most likely they are executed and thrown into narco-fosas, the term given to the thousands of clandestine graves used by narco-organised crime to bury their victims. Most of the victims are young. More than 46,000 young people were killed between 2007 and 2016.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mothers of the missing still marching in Argentina

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 12 May 2017

    It began 40 years ago on an autumn day, when 14 mothers gathered in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo, in the city's central square. They were seeking an audience with the military authorities. They wanted to ask the whereabouts of their abducted children. 'Where are our children?' was a question that metamorphosed into a brave act of political resistance and defiance against the brutal 1976-1983 Argentinean military dictatorship. They have been performing this act of defiance ever since.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    There's life in Ecuador's 21st century socialism

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 02 March 2017
    5 Comments

    Ecuadoreans will head back to the polls on 2 April after this month's presidential election didn't come up with an outright winner. Against all projections Socialist Lenin Moreno, who served as Rafael Correa's vice president from 2007 to 2013, did very well. While he fell short of winning, there is a sense that the Ecuadorean 21st century socialism, an economic and political model instigated by Correa, is still popular; and in this Andean country of 15 million the majority are poor.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    US-Mexico relations are officially off-the-wall

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 28 January 2017
    6 Comments

    Writing in the New York Times, renowned Mexican historian Enrique Krauze splendidly summed up the US conduct toward his country. 'For Mexico, the United States has been a difficult neighbour, sometimes violent, almost always arrogant, almost never respectful, rarely cooperative,' Krauze wrote. Donald Trump is the embodiment of all these. Trump has taken the US disrespect towards its Spanish-speaking neighbour to a level even Mexicans - a resigned bunch - won't put up with any longer.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Peru's indigenous language revival

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 24 January 2017
    4 Comments

    One indigenous language vanishes every two weeks, and Quechua, once the tongue of Peru's mighty Inca Empire, was one of those heading to extinction. That is, until last December, when the first ever Quechua language television news service went to air on the platforms of TV Peru and National Radio, the public broadcaster. According to one presenter it is a 'space that breaks all the paradigms of discrimination and inequality toward those who are speakers of indigenous languages'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Peace in Colombia heads into extra time

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 10 October 2016
    2 Comments

    Colombia has been on a massive political and emotional roller coaster. A peace accord to end the 52 years civil war was signed on 26 September, only to be rejected in a referendum on 2 October. A few days later President Juan Manuel Santos, whose referendum was rejected, received the 2016 Nobel Peace. All of this happened not in a hundred years, but in the space of a few weeks. Yet for those who know a bit about Latin American politics the defeat of Santos in the referendum was not unexpected.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Corruption and calamity in Rio's Games of exclusion

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 08 August 2016
    4 Comments

    The Rio 2016 Olympics has earned a well-deserved label: the jogos da excludad, the games of exclusion. It is a label that shames a ruling class that got its priorities wrong. In the name of the Games, 77,000 residents of Rio's favelas have been evicted and hundreds of these settlements have been bulldozed. Those favelas that avoided the bulldozers have been hidden behind concrete walls that epitomise what theologian Leonardo Boff has called the 'lack of shame' living deep in the Brazilian soul.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Closing the gates of violence in Colombia

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 26 July 2016
    1 Comment

    It has been little more a month since Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Timochenko, the nom de guerre of the leader of the FARC, the oldest guerrilla group in the world, proclaimed a cease-fire. In La Habana on 23 June, the two concluded four years of negotiations to end the 50 year old Colombian civil war, the longest armed conflict in the western hemisphere. The development is hopeful, but Colombian peace attempts are nothing new, and the conditions won't be easy to meet.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Raul Castro's diplomatic love match with Pope Francis

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 13 May 2015
    2 Comments

    They spoke in Spanish and there was genuine Latin American warmness between them during Sunday's historic 55 minute meeting at the Vatican. They will meet again when Francis visits Cuba in September. Castro promised Francis that he would be attending every one of his masses, reminding him that he is a Jesuit alumnus: 'I'm as Jesuit as the Pope'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Pope's Romero move could heal Latin American divisions

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 10 February 2015
    19 Comments

    Forces inside the Vatican stalled and blocked it for 20 years. But earlier this month, Pope Francis issued the declaration that Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered 'in hatred of the faith' and not for political reasons. He is no longer officially suspected of being a Marxist sympathiser. In fact liberation theology itself has been undergoing a quiet rehabilitation during Francis' pontificate.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Hong Kong not in the mood for love

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 03 October 2014
    3 Comments

    Over the last 20 years, every time the people of Hong Kong have heard some 'menacing' messages from Beijing, they have responded and become politically active. The menacing message this time is the one I heard two years ago in the office of Leung Kwok-hung – better known as 'Long hair' – in the Legislative Council offices far from the epicentre of the protests: 'Beijing won’t honour its pledge’.

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