New Statesman

Media screw a social democrat

Americans wear their allegiances on their bumpers, and along New Hampshire’s Interstate 93 – the main route through this wintry slither of pine forests and frozen rivers – one bumper sticker rivalled those for the Super Bowl-bound Patriots. “Dated Dean, married Kerry” is the slogan that sums up Howard Dean’s plunge from Democrat front runner to electoral also-ran. In Tuesday’s primary, he came a distant second with 26 per cent to John Kerry’s 39 per cent.

The positive, progressive message of Dean’s campaign was buried by the “electability” issue. More than anything he said in New Hampshire, what dominated the final week of campaigning was the infamous howl after his defeat in Iowa. “This thing has permeated pop culture,” the¬†Washington Post¬†commentator Howard Kurtz told a CNN panel that asked whether TV had over-exposed Dean’s scream. Yet CNN itself replayed the clip 673 times, as Dean observed in an interview with the station.

Continue reading

Standard
New Statesman

Long search for the disappeared

Calama is a quiet, provincial town 1,000 miles north of Santiago, the capital of Chile. It was here in the town theatre on 17 October that grieving widows, mothers, sisters and daughters gathered to bear witness to the men they lost 30 years ago.

DSC00404

The women’s story starts where the men’s story ends, on 19 October 1973. General Arellano Stark, under orders from General Pinochet, arrived in Calama by helicopter to consolidate the military’s grip on northern Chile. Stark’s mission, which became known as the “Caravan of Death”, left 72 dead across four cities. Calama was the final stop on his schedule. Men were executed and their bodies dumped in the unrelenting dust of the Atacama Desert surrounding Calama.

Continue reading

Standard
New Statesman

Bravado in Bolivia

La Paz is under siege. Three weeks into a national strike and Bolivia’s principal city finds itself cut off from the rest of the country by roadblocks and starved of food and fuel.

BOL020

Meanwhile, in the streets of El Alto, the huge, poverty-stricken sprawl that looks down on La Paz, the police and the military have fought running battles with protesters, leaving at least 20 people dead and countless more injured.

Continue reading

Standard