Central America is not in the mainstream news as much as it was in the 1980s, but U.S. support for repressive regimes and destabilization of populist governments continues. In 2009, after a military coup ousted the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, Hillary Clinton campaigned actively among U.S. allies in Latin America to prevent Zelaya’s return. In the years since the coup, assassinations and arrests of indigenous, environmentalist, feminist and LGBT activists, repression of journalists, and murders in general, have skyrocketed. In the last two weeks, two important Honduran environmental and indigenous leaders, Berta Caceres and Nelson Garcia, have been murdered, in what the government describes as random and unrelated acts. Suyapa Portillo, professor of Chicano/a and Latino/a Transnational Studies at Pitzer College, discusses the life and work of Berta Caceres, who she says never failed to connect the struggle against patriarchy to the fight for land rights.
We also speak with Suyapa Portillo about Zika virus and the Salvadoran government’s recommendation that women avoid getting pregnant for the next two years. While motivated by a concern for the well-being of women and babies, the recommendation will be hard to implement since abortion is completely illegal in El Salvador. Portillo suggests that Zika must be seen in the context of other health and economic issues facing low-income Salvadoran women.
The Nina Serrano sits down with long-time radio producer Kris Welch, who came to KPFA in 1972 to learn to do radio and cover women’s issues. They talk about Kris’s fascinating youth traveling around Europe, Iran and Turkey, getting an abortion in England and how she ended up at KPFA.