Too big to jail: the Colombian drug lord who snitched his way to freedom

The Economist

Illustration Corey Brickley for The Economist

A senior member of the Medellín cartel conned American and Swiss authorities, framed the Mexican president’s brother, destroyed a private Swiss bank, and brought down the Attorney General of Switzerland.

And they let him walk free.

In fact, they paid him for it. Governments across the globe spend millions of dollars a year on criminal informants, creating a system where–for big fish like José Manuel Ramos–crime truly does pay.

Read the feature investigation with Swiss journalist Daniel Amman in The Economist’s 1843 Magazine. [A Vespucci Story.]


The Pernicious Power of American Promises

The New York Times

Jacob Kushner

Donors claimed they would fix Fabienne Jean’s body. They broke her heart instead.

The first time I saw the famous Fabienne Jean, she was limping toward me, slowly, but with the unmistakable elegance of the dancer that she was.

The last time I saw the famous Fabienne Jean, she was sitting idle in her basement apartment, unable to work, unable to dance, still nostalgic about her brief encounter with American generosity.

Eleven months later, Fabienne was dead. For all the promises Americans made to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake, it seems we somehow failed to rebuild even a single life.

Read: English Español

Haiti farmers eager to receive compensation after ‘groundbreaking’ land deal

Reuters PLACE

Allison Shelley

A decade after an earthquake killed more than 200,000 people, farmers in Haiti are waiting to receive compensation for their land used to build an industrial park. Located in Haiti’s northern region, the $300 million Caracol Industrial Park opened in 2012 and now employs approximately 15,000 people, most of whom work in clothing factories there.

In 2018, farmers who had been evicted from their land in 2011 struck a rare deal with the IDB to provide Caracol’s 100 most vulnerable families with new, titled land.

Read the full story at the Thompson Reuters Foundation (PLACE). Reporting supported by The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

THIS IS HOW THE HEART BEATS

Books

THIS IS HOW THE HEART BEATS: LGBTQ EAST AFRICA 

BY JAKE NAUGHTON AND JACOB KUSHNER 

ORDER NOW: IndieBound / Amazon / Barnes&Noble

This book is a celebration of diversity, of resilience, of love, of standing up to one’s oppressors, and overcoming. This is the LGBTQ community of Uganda. This is my community. This is our reality.” — activist Ruth Muganzi.

Same-sex relations are illegal in thirty-two African countries. Most, including Kenya and Uganda, were former British colonies, and the legacy of the colonialists’ anti-gay legislation can be felt to this day.

This Is How the Heart Beats (The New PressFebruary 2020) by acclaimed photographer Jake Naughton and noted writer Jacob Kushner is a powerful and intimate series of portraits of LGBTQ Ugandans, Kenyans, and other East Africans. Some have decided to stay in their homeland despite the discrimination and abuse they face there. Others have fled as refugees, applying for resettlement to a part of the world where they will not be persecuted for who they love.

In a world with more refugees than ever before, and at a time when prejudice toward refugees runs high across the globe, this work illuminates the stakes for one group at the center of it all.

The book includes supporting texts by Jacob Kushner, a foreword by Ugandan queer activist Ruth Muganzi, and an essay by Cynthia Ndikumana, a transgender activist from Burundi. 

Book Details: The New Press, Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-62097-488-98 x 10, 152 pages. List Price: $21.99 (US). Media Contact: Andrea Smith / Andrea Smith Public Relations: +1 646-220-5950 Email: andreasmith202@gmail.com

ORDER NOW: IndieBound / Amazon / Barnes&Noble

Scientists hope a new vaccine will reduce malaria in Africa. But is it worth the cost?

National Geographic

Lena Mucha

The first-ever malaria vaccine is 35 years and billions of dollars in the making. It’s less than 40% effective.

Hundreds of thousands of children across malaria-stricken regions of Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana are receiving the world’s first ever malaria vaccine, which Western health experts laud as an exciting new tool in the global fight against the disease. But after 35 years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in development, some African health professionals are wondering: Is the vaccine worth the cost?

One study estimated that on average, the vaccine will be nearly three times as expensive as distributing bed nets to achieve the same improvements in health. With limited funding available, some in Kenya worry that the money is being misspent. “The nets—that’s our need, for now.”

Read: National Geographic / Español