Monday, April 16, 2012

  • Latin America v. Obama: U.S. Policy on Cuba, Drug War, Economy Under Fire at Colombian Summit


    Historian Greg Grandin analyzes the U.S.-Colombia "free trade" deal and the deepening split between much of Latin America and Washington following the Summit of the Americas in Colombia. The summit, which was marred by a U.S. prostitution scandal, concluded Sunday without agreement on the key questions of whether Cuba should be allowed to attend the regional meetings and on the issue of the legalization of drugs. Latin American leaders said Cuba should be invited to the next summit in Panama in 2015, but the United States and Canada dissented. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa boycotted this year’s meeting because of Cuba’s exclusion. On Sunday the United States announced that a free trade agreement with host country Colombia will come into effect in May, far earlier than expected. The agreement had earlier been deferred because of Colombia’s weak record on workers’ rights, including murders and attacks on union activists. [includes rush transcript]

  • Obama Refuses to Back Growing Call for Drug Legalization to Stem Spreading Violence in Latin America


    While the presidents of Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica and El Salvador have voiced support for an end to the drug war, President Obama rejected their calls for drug legalization during high-level talks at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia. Obama warned that legalization could lead to greater problems, but he expressed willingness to hold a discussion on drug policy. He also announced more than $130 million in aid for increasing security and pursuing narco-traffickers and drug cartels in Latin America. We speak with Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. He joins us from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he is attending the World Economic Forum’s regional Latin America meeting. We are also joined by Greg Grandin, author of "Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism." [includes rush transcript]

  • Housework as Work: Selma James on Unwaged Labor and Decades-Long Struggle to Pay Housewives


    A debate over housework shook the presidential race last week after a Democratic strategist accused Mitt Romney’s wife Ann of never having worked a day in her life. Ann responded: "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." Today we bring a historic voice into this discussion: the longtime activist, writer and political thinker Selma James, known for her pioneering work on women’s rights and against racism. She is credited with coining the phrase “unwaged” labor to describe the work of housewives — and she has argued women should be paid for housework. Selma James’ new book is "Sex, Race, and Class — The Perspective of Winning: A Selection of Writings, 1952-2011." In a series of arguments that have remained remarkably consistent across six decades, Selma James urges unity across the lines of race, class and gender. I interviewed Selma James recently, and she spoke about the great West Indian scholar C.L.R. James, who was her husband, and the writing of her seminal 1952 essay, "A Woman’s Place." [includes rush transcript]