Publications

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

There Is No "Land of the Free"

Eric Gibson is one of many Liberian refugees living at Park Hill Apartments in Staten Island, New York. And like numerous others in the community, he's struggling to find jobs and make a living.

Maoist Group Feeds Off Poverty to Wage War

SOUTH BASTAR, India — Two years ago, Comrade Sunil spent half his day at school and the remainder working the red fields of his ancestral village.

But his life changed one night when he found his home torched and older brother dead outside, allegedly shot by a state-sponsored civilian militia cracking down on Maoist sympathizers.

Refugees Flee Iraq but Find Long Wait

Salam and Hanan's 6-month-old son, Hamoudi, will probably not grow up in Baghdad. He will have lots of company.

Salam, Hanan and Hamoudi are among about 2 million Iraqi war refugees living in Syria and Jordan. They left Baghdad in June after their house was raided by militiamen because Salam worked as an accountant for the Iraqi government. He took a leave from his job, but it seems unlikely he will return. He was also threatened by members of a political party after filing a report that implicated party members who work in Iraqi government of embezzlement and corruption.

Oil Fuels Chávez's Economic Shift

Alberto Robles stood beneath a street lamp whose yellow glow hung over a corner of the barrio where he has lived his whole life.

Robles, 36, pointed to a steep hillside dotted with lights nearby where a block of crumbling shacks was recently replaced by sturdy houses. It's a shining example of grass-roots government at work, he said.

Chavez is Potent Force

Women faint when they meet him. Men create stampedes to keep up with caravans he leads through impoverished cities where prior generations of leaders have not dared tread.

"When you see him in person, it's something that cannot be explained," said Susana Fonseca, craning her neck for a better view of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as he worked his way through a mob of admirers here earlier this month.

"We've never had men like him in our history," said Fonseca, 43, a public accountant.

Venezuela Volunteer Force Raises Concerns

A central feature of changes being brought about by President Hugo Chávez is the new, civilian branch of the Venezuelan military called the "territorial guard."

About 100,000 citizens, mainly from poor communities where support for Chávez burns hottest, have joined the guard during the past three years, according to members who participate in weekly training sessions at more than a dozen camps set up around the country.

Please Hold, the President Will Take Your Call

Critics say there's no better example of Hugo Chávez's suave egomania than his weekly television talk show, in which he takes calls from viewers across the country.

But they can't argue with the show's popularity.

"Alo Presidente" — "Hello President" — appears on state television every Sunday and typically runs for as long as six hours.

The show is taped from a different location each week, usually at the site of one of the government's social welfare programs, where Chávez appears with a telephone to take calls from viewers.

Millions Have Died for Our Cell Phones

The Mushangi area is nested high in eastern Congo's mountains, far from the capital, Kinshasa, on the border with Rwanda. The hills are barren, stripped of their lush vegetation both by erosion and by a seemingly never-ending conflict. While the rest of Congo prepares for the second round of presidential elections scheduled for Oct. 29, the people of Mushangi worry about one thing: survival.

What Peace?

They have made a difference in Darfur, Sudan. But understaffed and underfunded—rarely able to halt aggressive attacks, the African Union peacekeeping force is becoming a target of violence themselves.