An old song says, "sometimes they rob you with a six-gun, sometimes with a fountain pen." That's a good description of the legislative coup that is going on right now against the elected government of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, where I visited last month to participate in a trade union seminar on racial equality.
President Peña Nieto could still put his country on track to end the self-perpetuating cycles of violence, corruption and impunity that have turned certain regions into virtual war zones. But to do so, the president must address the "incredulity and distrust," which, as he himself has stated, are undermining the law and order essential to assure that his economic reforms generate the promised prosperity.
The Dominican state is 10 years into a process of constructing a system of legal apartheid for Dominicans born to Haitian parents. This group of second- and third-generation Dominicans has always faced opposition to being fully recognized as Dominican citizens, but their government appears intent on legally cementing this discrimination -- and is increasingly close to this goal.
I was playing as a musician in a merengue band at the time and one of the parents joked that I should take a trip if I liked Dominican culture so much. For now, this visit is no longer in my plans because the Dominican Government has decided to treat a group of its people in a manner that I can't ignore.