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Featured Articles

Ayahuasca, an Amazonian trip

December 31, 2011
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MADRE DE DIOS, Peru — Without a word, the shaman hands me a plastic cup of ayahuasca, one of the Amazon rainforest’s most powerful hallucinogens. I down the pungent black liquid in one gulp, barely managing to repress the gagging reflex that its bitter, foul taste instantly triggers. And the wait begins. Around us, in a moonless blanket of darkness, the…Read more

Cerro Rico: The mountain that eats men

March 21, 2013
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CERRO RICO DE POTOSI, Bolivia — “There isn’t a man on this mountain who wants his children to work here,” Pablo Choque says as he prepares for his shift as a driller. Above us towers 15,800-foot Cerro Rico — literally the “Rich Mountain” — the greatest silver deposit ever known. Locals have another name for it: The Mountain that Eats…Read more

The world’s biggest drug dealer: Uruguay’s move towards legalising marijuana hailed as ground-breaking – but will other South American nations follow suit?

August 1, 2013
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Uruguay has taken a momentous step towards becoming the first country in the world to create a legal, national market for cannabis after the lower chamber of its Congress voted in favour of the groundbreaking plan. The Bill would allow consumers to either grow up to six plants at home or buy up to 40g per month of the soft…Read more

Why Uruguay’s David and Goliath fight with big tobacco really matters

July 15, 2014
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LIMA, Peru — A protracted legal battle in an obscure World Bank tribunal over the principles of market competition in a South American backwater. Even by trade dispute standards, this one sounds arcane — the perfect cure for insomnia perhaps. But before you nod off, here’s a triple shot of espresso: Uruguay’s fight with Philip Morris, the world’s largest cigarette…Read more

In Ecuador, a quiet war on whistleblowers

August 20, 2012
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QUITO, Ecuador — As Julian Assange spoke from a balcony in Ecuador’s London embassy Sunday, journalists here wondered whether to laugh or cry. The WikiLeaks founder claimed that “freedom of expression and the health of all our societies” was under threat and warned of a “dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution.” Yet,…Read more

Sterilisation: Peru’s darkest secret

December 8, 2011
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Victoria Vigo shows no flicker of emotion as she recounts how she discovered – by chance – that she had been surgically sterilised against her will. Heavily pregnant, she was admitted to a public hospital in the city of Piura, on Peru's northern coast, in April 1996 to undergo a Caesarian section. Within hours of the procedure, her ailing new-born…Read more

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