Bolivia’s president isn’t lowering his sights despite a scandal worthy of a telenovela

Bolivia’s president isn’t lowering his sights despite a scandal worthy of a telenovela
LA PAZ, Bolivia — Most democratic leaders would find their political ambitions curtailed by a referendum result spurning their plans for reelection. But Bolivia’s President Evo Morales is different. Despite a narrow loss in a February vote for a constitutional amendment to allow him to run for a fourth consecutive term, the left-wing populist appears intent on hanging on to power when his current mandate ends in 2020. Morales is also targeting the Bolivian media for covering an outlandishly personal corruption scandal — involving $560 million worth of government contracts and a paternity…Read more …

A surprising move on LGBT rights from a ‘macho’ South American president

A surprising move on LGBT rights from a ‘macho’ South American president
LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivia has a new gender identity law that might put it in Latin America’s vanguard on LGBT rights — but the story behind the measure reveals how far the Andean nation still has to go before ending homophobia. That’s according to Carlos Parra, aka Paris Galán, the country’s best known drag queen and a prominent gay rights campaigner. Signed into law in May, the measure allows people to change their gender on official identity documents. It means that Bolivia joins Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia as the only four nations…Read more …

We visited the front lines of Paraguay’s slash-and-burn war on weed

We visited the front lines of Paraguay’s slash-and-burn war on weed
 Photo by Simeon Tegel/VICE News   From the air, the neat rows of cannabis plants in a clearing carved into the tropical dry forest along Paraguay's lawless border with Brazil look like pine saplings. But once our Vietnam-era Huey helicopter carrying members of the country's anti-narcotics special forces lands, it becomes clear why this small, conservative nation is one of the world's biggest producers of marijuana. The heavily-armed troops jump out of the chopper and start hacking down the waste-high sativa bushes with swift swipes of their machetes. They clear the entire area…Read more …