<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español September 1, 2014 | Issue #55


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Publisher:
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To Keep Reporting to You in 2009, Narco News Needs Your Support Today

It’s a Crucial Moment for Latin America and US Policy, and “Change” Will Depend on More and Better Information from Below


By Al Giordano
Publisher, Narco News

December 10, 2008

Dear Friend and Colleague: Whether the changes in the US government on January 20, 2009 will bring real changes in its policies toward Latin America will likely depend on the accuracy of the information available to the public about what goes on across the borders. Reporting sets the context by which men and women govern. What the public doesn’t know can hurt you.

Now, I’m going to write many of the very important reasons why we need your donation today to keep a good thing going, but if you don’t have time to read the whole pitch, then here’s the short version: Please send your contribution today to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA

And if you can, make your donation right now, online, at this link:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org

Five days after a new president is inaugurated in Washington DC, voters of Bolivia – a country that expelled the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month for engaging in political surveillance – will go to the polls to vote on a new Constitution. The proposed new charter would guarantee equal rights, regional autonomy, community ownership of property and resources alongside both private and public sectors, agrarian reform, recall referenda, judicial elections, free education and health care and would prohibit foreign military bases among its provisions.

We’d like to put a reporter on the ground to cover the January 25 Bolivian vote. You can be certain that rest of the English-language media won’t give you the facts as straight or professionally as we do, and without a Narco News reporter there to watch them, they, too, will usually attempt much more mischief and distortion. How accurately the Bolivian referendum will be reported in English could play a deciding role in whether healthy and respectful diplomatic relations are reestablished between the government of President Evo Morales and that of President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the new administration in Washington has a list of campaign promises regarding US-Latin America policy made by candidate Obama to comply with, yet no other news organization except for Narco News has catalogued them and vowed to keep the check-list front and center. During his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama pledged:

  • To renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, beginning that process within “six months.”
  • To stop the US-Colombia trade deal.
  • To ease the US embargo of Cuba, allowing Cuban-Americans to visit and send money to relatives on the island.
  • To push immigration reform in the US Congress in his first term.
  • To meet face to face, in his first year of office, with the leaders of Venezuela and Cuba to seek diplomatic solutions to tensions between them and the US.
  • To visit Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia as a first year diplomatic mission.
  • To appoint a special envoy for Latin America.

If you haven’t heard much about these pledges since the US election, it’s because the commercial media hasn’t been reporting it.

In the coming months, new US ambassadors and envoys will be appointed in every country in the hemisphere. What media organization is going to tell you who these people are and what their backgrounds indicate about policy toward those nations other than Narco News? The same goes for a new assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, US Trade Representative and other key posts for the region.

And there’s the $800 million gorilla in the room: The US-imposed “Plan Mexico,” bringing weapons and resources to Mexican military and police forces, purportedly to fight the “war on drugs,” but with a history of being used against popular movements. It was Narco News reporter Kristin Bricker that broke the story in 2008 of the US company giving training sessions in torture to Mexican police forces. In the coming months, we’ll learn – and if you make it possible we’ll report – which “human rights” organizations will have entered into a conflict of interest by accepting Plan Mexico money for an alleged monitoring role with no teeth or authority at all.

In the United States there are whispers of possible changes in drug policy: Continued reporting by Bill Conroy and other Narco News reporters along the US-Mexico border – and the whistleblower sources in law enforcement agencies that trust only Narco News to protect them – is going to become more vital than ever to demonstrate the failures of current policies and the urgent need to change them.

The role of monitoring human rights in this hemisphere has sadly been shirked even by some organizations that claim to keep watch over them. Over the past almost nine years since Narco News began publishing from South of the Border, the job has increasingly fallen upon a free press to pick up the slack. We need your continued help to keep doing that.

And as we report to you, day in, day out, on the news that others don’t tell you, we continue training young authentic journalists of talent and conscience, which has kept our journalism fresh, hopeful, aggressive and accurate.

Finally, as you know, Narco News expanded its reporting area in June to important news inside the United States – its politics and its grassroots community organizing efforts – through my blog, The Field. If you contribute today, we will keep that going, too.

All of this is up to you. We need to raise $10,000 by December 31. Today we’re putting a bar graph up on our front pages to track the progress of this final fund drive of 2008, the one that will get us off the fast start that will be needed in January 2009.

We’ve counted on you before and you’ve come through. We’re counting on you again and we thank you so much for your continued support.

Please make your tax-deductible contribution today online at:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org

Or send a check to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA

This is a wonderful moment to be reporting and to be reading these reports. Change is in the air. Let’s put a big spotlight on these stories to make sure that change comes to the ground, too.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano
Publisher, Narco News

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America