When the University of Oklahoma’s former Diplomat in Residence Jean Preston was ten years old, she picked up the book The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer at a garage sale. The book describes the lives of American people living in a fictionalized South East Asian country (based on Vietnam).
“I said, "Gosh wouldn't that be a great job! I'd get to travel around the world, represent the United States, meet all sorts of interesting people, get to learn about their cultures, explain our culture and our government to them,” Preston says.
A little over a week ago, Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, leaving thousands dead and devastating the city of Tacloban. Suzette Grillot also talks with Joshua Landis about a so-called "wild card" in Syria's civil war - private funding by wealthy donors.
Later, Adriana Beltrán from the Washington Office on Latin America joins Suzette Grillot to discuss how clandestine criminal organizations infiltrate Guatemala’s judicial system.
Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with Adriana Beltrán.
Guatemala signed peace accords in 1996 to end a decades-long civil war. But even though the fighting came to an end, institutional democratic reforms never took place.
The government consolidated power through corrupt relationships with organized crime and a lack of accountability over the next two decades.
“A very popular phrase is ‘hidden powers’,” says Adriana Beltrán, a Senior Associate for Citizen Security at the Washington Office on Latin America, and the author of a study of the same name. “Established institutions like the judicial sector, the police… they’ll use them to prevent any kind of conviction when it comes to human rights cases to protect in case of criminal wrongdoing.”
Joshua Landis, Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about the fear in Japan that the amount of contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is getting out of hand, and increasing number of attacks and violence against women in India.
Listen to Suzette Grillot's Conversation with Francisco Calí.
In 1996, Guatemala ended a 36-year civil war that devastated the country’s indigenous community. Seventeen years later, indigenous people in the Central American country are still seeking justice after the decades-long conflict.
“They agreed to sign not only a peace agreement, but also an amnesty law which says that all those people who committed human rights violations will not be prosecuted legally,” says Francisco Calí. He’s the only indigenous member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.