The Lost Children of FARC Guerrilla Fighters

columbia female farc fighter on the march, photo by reuters courtesy of trustorg

columbia female farc fighter on the march, photo by reuters courtesy of trustorg

BOGOTA, Colombia — On the heels of a grandmother's reunion with her missing grandson after his kidnapping by the Argentinian army 36 years ago, a wider secret is beginning to unravel. Government and guerrilla forces alike in South America have, for decades, stolen infants from their soldier mothers on account of what they consider "insubordination".

Estela Carlotto had been searching tirelessly for her grandson, Guido, who went missing two months after his birth in 1978. Estela's daughter and Guido's mother, Laura, was a guerrilla fighter for the Argentine group known as "Montoneros."

According to CNN, after Laura was already two-and-a-half months pregnant when she was arrested by government forces in 1977. She then gave birth to her son Guido in a military hospital and executed sometime thereafter. Until now, Guido's whereabouts were unknown.

His grandmother, Estela, started the activist group called "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayoor", known as simply the "Abuelas". Estela and the Abuelas carry out searches to find their missing grandchildren that had been kidnapped by the government from their rebel parents in Argentina's Dirty War. This month the Abuelas have reunited Estela and the man proven to be her missing grandson. Guido Montoya Carlotto is Ignacio Hurban, who is now 36-years-old and a music teacher in Olavarria, Argentina.

There is also a search for stolen children in Colombia where the guerilla armies take infants from their mothers as they consider is a crime for a guerilla to become pregnant, according to BBC News. Many of these women that are in the guerilla Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, the FARC, are in it forcedly.

BBC News interviewed Teresa, a woman who demobilized from the FARC five years ago. They killed her mother and forced her to join their army at 16-years-old. She soon became pregnant. She explained to BBC News, "I was 16 years old, they forced me to. How would I confront the FARC all by myself to prevent them from taking my daughter if not even a whole army is able to [defeat them]?"

Teresa pleads to have her daughter back saying, "From the bottom of my heart, I beg you to put yourselves in my place. I did not give up my daughter. They took her from me." She was told by an official, according the BBC News that she cannot get her daughter back "because what kind of example can I be to her with my subversive thinking".

Another girl profiled by BBC News was merely 13-years-old when forced into the FARC. She became pregnant at seventeen. She knew that FARC would make her get an unwanted abortion, so she hid her pregnancy for seven months. BBC News says that Maria was allowed to give birth out of fear that a late-pregnancy abortion would kill her. However, she was forced to give her baby to a local family that she knew to raise as their own. She recalled the moment she handed off her infant with her partner saying, "I waited for him at a distance, I couldn't go there. I cried for four days. It was very difficult. But taking the baby and deserting wasn't an option."

While many of the stolen children were supposedly adopted by local families, there are reports of the children being killed. Still, many of these mothers from Argentina to Colombia are committed to finding their lost children in the hopes of one day reuniting with them.

Contributing Journalist: @allysoncwright

FIFA Fans & Sex Tourism

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Jessamy Nichols, Contributing JournalistLast Modified: 17:40 p.m. DST, 09 June 2014

Brazilian Sexy Fan Girl, Photo by Fotowolf70

Eyes all over the globe are turning to Brazil, where the 2014 World Cup begins on June 12th. Hundreds of thousands of people will travel to the South American country in hopes of watching exhilarating games, tense overtime moments and emotional victories for their team of choice. For many, the tournament serves as a bonding thread that brings people of all races and nationalities together over the love of the sport and its history.

However, off the soccer field, there are illegal and horrifying trends that follow such global tournaments such as these. Sports events like World Cups and Olympics bring in an influx of tourists, construction workers, event staffers, and others, which creates a disorderly balance that host cities are commonly unprepared for.

In recent weeks, there has been international concern over men coming to Brazil to engage in sex with underage children, which is especially alarming because Brazil has long been seen as a prime getaway for men who want to engage in carefree sexual exploits.

In an article published May 24th, The Independent stated that girls as young as 11 are being targeted by human traffickers in advance of the World Cup to work as prostitutes and bring in money for pimps and gangs. To make matters worse, there is currently a "culture of silence" around the issue, where families and even law enforcement keep quiet on the growing issue.

Many human rights groups around the globe have been trying to bring awareness to this compounding issue by speaking out and producing documentaries. However, it seems like this widespread and deeply engrained problem in Brazil requires much more action and vocality before there would even be a possibility of it being resolved.

To keep these innocent children out of harm's way, there will need to be a full-fledged effort from local and international law enforcement, human rights groups, internet monitoring groups to monitor the deep parts of the web where these transactions can take place, and an aware audience. At the end of the day, is a soccer match worth sacrificing any child's innocence and sense of safety?

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Journalist: @JessamyNichols

President Otto Perez Molina Accused of Genocide

genocide-human-skulls-sedlec-ossuary-kutna-hora-czech-republic-photo-courtesy-of-sean-malloy.jpg

Alex Hamasaki, Student InternLast Modified: 14:04 DST, 10 April 2013

Otto Pérez Molina, Presidente de Guatemala, Photo Courtesy of Casa de Americas

GUATEMALA CITY - During the trial of the former U.S.-backed military president Efrain Rios Montt, a former soldier implicated the former army general and current Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina in civil war atrocities.

Hugo Reyes, a soldier who was a mechanic in part of the engineering brigade in the area where atrocities were carried out, told the court that Molina ordered soldiers to burn and pillage during Guatemala’s civil war with leftist guerillas in the 1980s, reports Latino Fox News.

Molina was elected president for the conservative Patriotic party and assumed office on January 14, 2012.

Reyes said that “the people who were to executed arrived at the camp beaten, tortured, their tongues cut out, their fingernails pulled out.”

Montt is also being held on trial for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, with connection of the deaths of 1,771 Mayan Indians during his military dictatorship that lasted from March 1982 to August 1983, backed by the U.S. in his counterinsurgency against guerillas.

Victims of the Guatemalan massacres also gave testimonies. Julio Velasco Raymundo told the court that he witnessed the Guatemalan army shelling villages full of civilians.

The Guatemalan civil war lasted between 1960 and 1996, with heightened violence and terror during the reign of Montt in the 1980s. Several guerilla groups were rebelled against the government in a response to state repression and lack of representation.

Two guerrilla groups emerged in the early 1980s: the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) and the Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA). The geographical areas of activity of both guerilla groups corresponded with zones of high indigenous presence. The EGP and ORPA drew large numbers of members from the indigenous population, and they had bases of support among the poor and ladino middle classes of the capital city.

The government viewed the indigenous population as a threat and began the systematic killing of indigenous Mayan Indians assumed to be associated with the guerilla groups. The “kill list” of indigenous Mayans continued to grow, including non-violent leaders. From the start, the Guatemalan government was not fond of the indigenous Mayans, and were especially brutal toward them.

The Guatemalan Truth Commission estimated during the 36-year conflict, 200,000 people were murdered, 85 percent of whom were indigenous.

The Guatemalan government could not have performed these atrocities without outside assistance from their allies, Israel and the United States. From the U.S. assistance in a coup d’etat in 1954 to the Carter Administration, the U.S. provided the Guatemalan government military aid and troop training to assist with the combat of guerilla groups. When the U.S. decreased their aid to Guatemala, Israel stepped up in the 1970s and created an intelligence network within Guatemala, providing Guatemala with military intelligence, weapons, and military training.

Throughout the trials, Latino Fox News reports that Montt has remained silent, his lawyers saying that there was a lack of clear evidence that proved Montt is responsible for the crimes committed by Guatemalan troops.

Follow Alex Hamasaki on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Student Intern: @aghamasaki

Chilean Miners | Freedom, Fresh Air & God

Chilean Miners | Freedom, Fresh Air & God

Fifteen of the Chilean miners trapped in the San Jose mine have now been rescued, 18 still to make it to the surface. The 33 miners have been trapped since 5 August 2010. When the miners were determined to be alive in late August, it was said that it could take up to four months to get them all out alive. The ninth man to arrive on the surface in the specially-made capsule was Mr. Mario Gomez. At 63 years old, he is the oldest of the group and has been a miner for over 50 years. He kneeled and offered thanks to God for his survival.

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Juárez, Mexico | Hell on Earth?

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 01:35 AM EDT, 23 February 2010

Update: 10.05.11  CNN 'Two headless bodies found in Juarez, third body found at Church

Santiago Meza

JUAREZ, Mexico - The atrocities imagined in the 14th Century epic poem the "Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri seem to prognosticate the horror that encompasses the daily lives of the inhabitants of Juárez, Mexico. The town "stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), across from El Paso, Texas.

El Paso and Ciudad Juárez comprise one of the largest binational metropolitan areas in the world with a combined population of 2.4 million people. In fact, Ciudad Juárez is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, in spite of the fact that it is "the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones."[1] With an average daily death toll at 12 a day and the most recent massacre of 16 innocent teenagers, Juárez is synonymous with senseless, brutal deaths and is the epitome of avarice and the inhumanity and depravity which are its natural by products.

The violent deaths and murders of both the innocent and guilty have shocked the world and anesthetized the inhabitants. Only in this cauldron of mayhem and destruction could Santiago Meza, known as "The Stew Maker," find purchase and purpose.

Meza, a scruffy, non-descriptive man was known as "El Pozolero" because he dissolved the bodies of the enemies of a local drug baron in industrial drums of acid turning them into a gelatinous soup which he later poured his property.

Over several years he claims to have “disappeared” 300 enemies of Teodoro García Semental, a former henchman for one of the largest cartels in Mexico. Meza stated that he was paid $600 a week by García and during one interview he said, "they brought me the bodies and I just got rid of them. I didn't feel anything."

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aci_wE6csQ]

If Inferno or Purgatorio exists, the innocent citizens of Juárez must ask and wonder what they have done to deserve such a fate, while we ponder if there is justice in this world or the next for those who would blithely take human life over pieces of paper called the dollar.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wREQUO8WG4U]

[1] Wikipedia

Gabriel Wickbold | Brazilian Photographer

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefUpdated: 12:36 PM EDT, 22 November 2012

Gabriel Wickbold PhotosSAO PAULO, Brazil - By now readers are familiar with tone and focus of this blog, and how art, music and photography are used to augment the posts.

As a writer and painter, it is my belief that we are charged not only with translating the ethereal, insubstantial, and unconscious into a form that individuals who are not similarly wired can receive; but we must also help them to re-engage with that energy source from which all creativity flows.

The ability to render through imagery and language, products that evoke visceral reactions that inspire viewers to engage, if only momentarily, with the unconscious world from which all reality flows, is the primary responsibility of our griots and shaman. An an example of this, is Surrealism, which holds an attraction for most individuals, even those who are not art connoisseurs.

Gabriel Wickbold is a young Brazilian Photographer whose images are intriguing and captivating. There are many links to photographers and other artists on this blog, and when possible their works are featured with a direct link to their websites.

It is the responsibility of all artists and writers to promote the work of other talented individuals. Please feel free to submit up and coming artists and their work. Of particular interests are the works of Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora, South Americans, Europeans and other cultures. If the proposed artist's work is deemed appropriate, it will be featured on this blog.

If you are an artist or photographer who would like to submit your work, please provide at least three photos and a link to your website for consideration.

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Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

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