Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Weekly News Update at 25: An Announcement

The first Update was a single sheet dated Feb. 14, 1990. Produced and photocopied by volunteers, it was a compilation of news about the elections that were being held in Nicaragua later that month. On Feb. 15, 2015, the Update will complete its 25th year and will cease publication.

We started the Update in response to a serious shortage of news from Latin America that was reliable, timely and written in English from a progressive point of view. The situation now is dramatically different. There are a large number of good sources for information on the region, most of them regularly updated and easily accessible on the internet. Each week the Update lists links to at least 12 other websites (see below), and the list is by no means exhaustive. Now that so much coverage is available, we feel we can spend our time more usefully writing articles for other publications and completing the long-overdue second edition of our book, The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers.

We’re happy to have worked on the Update over the past quarter century. We made our share of errors, and we never managed to cover half the stories we wanted to cover, but we feel the Update brought its readers news about grassroots struggles and the resistance to neoliberalism that they rarely got from other sources—news about Ecuador’s indigenous uprisings in the early 1990s, for example; about possible guerrilla activity in Chiapas seven months before the official emergence of the Zapatistas on Jan. 1, 1994; about the growing struggles of the coca growers in Bolivia in the middle 1990s; about labor and indigenous resistance in Honduras in the years before Manuel Zelaya became president; and about the ongoing labor organizing in maquiladoras throughout the region.

In addition to the weekly news summaries, the Update ran occasional supplements that included on-the-ground reporting about elections in Brazil, Mexico and Central America, and about the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. For many years we sponsored Immigration News Briefs, Toby MailmanCentr-Am News and a weekly New York calendar, and we provided subscribers with a hardcopy version of the national Nicaragua Network’s Nicaragua News Bulletin. During more than a decade we were the only regular publishers of John Ross’s weekly reports, México Bárbaro and Blindman’s Buff.

We’ll go on using the Update's Twitter account (@WeeklyNewsUpdat) for now, and we'll post occasional items to the Update blog. We are also looking at the possibility of creating an online archive for the hundreds of Updates that we issued before we started the blog in 2008, and archives for México Bárbaro and Blindman’s Buff. We would welcome any help or suggestions you could offer for these projects. Please write us at

In solidarity,
The Update Editors
January 1, 2015

Links to alternative sources:

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