Welcome to my portfolio site. I teach courses in International Political Economy and Latin American Studies and direct the Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) degree program at JKSIS. My interests include the political, social, and environmental impacts of mining and commercial agriculture and their implications for the health and survival of rural communities in Latin America. They also extend to the efforts by these communities to combat hazardous effects and the human rights issues at stake. Most recently, these interests have taken me to the Lower Aguán Valley and Garifuna Coast in Honduras, Cajamarca in Peru, and Chiapas in Mexico.
On this page, you'll find information on the yearly trip to Chiapas for students, faculty and social activists which I have helped coordinate, links to two excellent videos on the impacts of metal mining, and some discussion of the critical situation regarding human rights in Honduras. The second page relates some curious aspects of the drug war in Mexico and Honduras while the third page highlights a few of my teaching adventures. The fourth page features my work with the Denver Justice and Peace Committee (DJPC).
Travel Course in Chiapas
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico
Traveling in Chiapas
Along with three other professors, I piloted a travel course last fall with a great group of graduate students and members of the Denver Justice and Peace Committee (DJPC). This fall, the course will take students from Korbel and the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) to Chiapas to learn firsthand how metal mining affects rural communities, how migration in these areas increases due to displacement, and how militarization has intensified throughout the region. Here we're seated outside the museum honoring Bishop Samuel Ruiz García who served the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas from 1959 to 1999 and negotiated a peace between the Mexican government and the Zapatista rebels.
Mining and Development
Peruvian Andes Near Cajamarca
On the Effects of Open-Pit Mining
The following documentaries are available on You-Tube:
Open Pit: This documentary by Gianni Converso tells the story of the ruinous effects of gold mining in Peru for the land, water, and health of the people.
In Defence of Life: This film produced by the Gaia Foundation follows the struggles of four communities in different areas of the world -- South Africa, the Philippines, Romania, and Colombia -- against the ravages of mining.
Bertha Oliva, Human Rights Defender in Honduras: I've had the good fortune to meet Bertha Oliva (center left), director of The Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), and an internationally recognized defender of human rights in that country. The organization had registered over a thousand human rights violations since the coup took place in 2009. Many of these violations have been carried out against small farmers seeking to retain their land against takeovers by commercial agricultural interests and mining companies.
Below: The sun sets as our delegation prepares to leave COFADEH headquarters near Tegucigalpa.
Defense of Human Rights in Honduras
Recent Related Articles
“'New Extractivism' in Mexico: Hope and Deception,” Journal of Politics in Latin America, 2018
“The Price of Mining Wealth,” World Policy Journal Blog, October 12, 2017
“The Lonely Resistance: Protesting Chinese Resource Exploitation on the Tibetan Plateau,” with Dukthen Kyi, Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, March 14, 2016
“The Dangerous Path Toward Mining Reform in Honduras,” third of a three-part series on mining restrictions in Central America, Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), December 18, 2015
“For the Love of Water: The Ban on Mining in El Salvador,” second of a three-part series on mining restrictions in Central America, Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), September 2, 2015
“The Open Pit and the Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica,” first of a three-part series on mining restrictions in Central America, Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), August 3, 2015
“Sticks and Stones and Names That Can Hurt You: Cracking Down on Dissent in Peru,” Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), June 17, 2015
“In the Highlands of Peru: One Woman Stands up to the Largest Gold Mine in South America,” Center on Rights Development (CORD), Josef Korbel School of International Studies, February 2015
"Humala's Right Hand Turn in Peru," Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), September 2, 2014
“The House on the Mountain: How Mining Corrodes Democracy in Peru,” Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), July 30, 2014
“Why Repression Continues in Honduras,” Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies, June 24, 2014
“The Lower Aguán in Honduras and the Deadly Battle Over Land Rights,” Carnegie Ethics and International Affairs: Carnegie Ethnics Online, May 16, 2014
“The Politics of Deportation and the Restrictionist Movement in the Post-9/11 Era,” Contemporary Justice Review, May 21, 2014
The Nation Report on Open-Pit Mining
Denver was one city among many globally that marked the Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining on July 22. Read more ...