Country

Guinea-Bissau

The Cocaine Coast

A frantic voice came over the radio: a blast had just destroyed Guinea-Bissau's military headquarters. I drove toward the compound and, when I arrived, everyone was still shouting and running through the smoking ruins of the building. Bissau's only ambulance was shuttling back and forth from the hospital, ferrying the bodies of victims. All that four heavily armed soldiers would tell me was that General Batista Tagme Na Wai, head of the army, had just been assassinated.

Full Frame: Africa's new narcostate

West Africa, a region that has barely begun to heal from a decade of civil wars, is once again under attack. The new threat grows silently, like a cancer, and the international community appears powerless to respond.

Narco State

Since 2007, Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony and one of the poorest nations in the world, has become the new hub for cocaine trafficking in Africa. Drug cartels from South America and the voracious appetite for cocaine in Europe have transformed this tiny country into a living hell.

From Birth, Death

Standing in the only operating room in the only medical hospital in all of Guinea-Bissau, Marco Vernaschi watched a nurse take an unsterile needle out of her pocket and, without anesthetic, suture a woman's vagina after a difficult childbirth. The woman screamed. Mr. Vernaschi took a photograph. Moments later, she was required to walk out of the filthy room and go home.

She was actually fortunate. So few women have any medical care in the west African country of Guinea-Bissau that the United Nations regards it as one of the world's most dangerous places to be pregnant.

Dying for Treatment

Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region on Earth, is a place where more than 600,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth every year due to lack of proper care and only 30 percent of the population has access to health care at all. Photojournalist Marco Vernaschi is documenting the human costs, beginning with this work from Guinea Bissau.

The Fall of Africa's First Narco-State

Cocaine trafficking has turned Guinea Bissau into Africa's first narco-state, and a lucrative source of cash for Hezbollah and al Qaida as well as South American drug cartels. The double assassinations last March of the country's president and army chief of staff may have been the point of no return as this tiny country sinks into a new era of conflict.

Disclaimer: The following contains graphic imagery and content, and may not be suitable for all ages.

Photographed by: Marco Vernaschi / Pulitzer Center

Guinea Bissau's drugs corruption

The West African country of Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest nations in the world, is a base for narcotics heading to Europe and has a big crack cocaine problem.

It has suffered a series of coups and a civil war. Earlier this year the head of the armed forces was killed and, a few hours later, the president was murdered in retaliation.

But are things turning around for Guinea-Bissau? The killings led to elections being held last weekend.

In the heart of the narco-state

Drug traffickers use Guinea Bissau as a base to smuggle drugs to Europe. A journalist from El Pais visited the country: one of the poorest nations in the world, where militaries -- involved in bloody clashes -- hinder drug trafficking investigations and Latin American drug dealers cross Bissau's dark nights in luxury cars.

Guinea-Bissau: Dying for Treatment

Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region on Earth, is a place where more than 600,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth every year due to lack of proper care and only 30 percent of the population has access to health care at all. The situation in Guinea-Bissau is among the...

Guinea-Bissau: West Africa's New Achilles' Heel

An international network led by Latin American drug cartels and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah has chosen West Africa, among the poorest and more corrupted corners of the world, as the nexus for illegal trade in cocaine, oil, counterfeit medicines, pirated music and human trafficking. International law enforcement officials...

Marco Vernaschi Wins Top Prize in PGB Award Contest

Marco Vernaschi has won "Picture of the Year" and 1st prize in "Picture Story of the Year" in the Photographers Giving Back (PGB) Photo Award contest. Vernaschi's winning picture shows the chair on which the President of Guinea-Bissau, João Bernardo, was executed just a few hours previously.

Marco Vernaschi Wins World Press Photo Contest

The winners of the 2010 World Press Photo Contest were announced February 12 in Amsterdam. Pulitzer Center journalist Marco Vernaschi won first prize for General News in the Stories category for his work on narco trafficking in Guinea Bissau. Vernaschi's photographs will be featured in a traveling exhibition visited by over two million people in 45 countries. The contest is recognized as the world's most prestigious annual press photography competition.

Marco Vernaschi Nominated for ICP Infinity Award

Marco Vernaschi has been named a finalist for the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award in Photojournalism for his 2009 work on cocaine trafficking in West Africa. He was nominated by Karen Irvine of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

The ICP's Infinity Awards were inaugurated in 1984 to bring public attention to outstanding achievements in photography by honoring individuals with distinguished careers in the field and by identifying future luminaries. The program is well known as the most prestigious photographic awards ceremony in the world!

Marco Vernaschi named finalist in international photo competition

Pulitzer-supported photojournalist Marco Vernaschi was among 10 finalists selected at the Ojo de Pez Award for Human Values, a major international photography competition, for his in-depth examination of the illegal activity within Guinea Bissau, "West Africa's New Achilles' Heel." He and his fellow finalists were chosen from 620 entries.

Museum of Current Crises

This lesson plan outlines a project that allows students the opportunity to connect with a contemporary crisis somewhere in the world.