In Attempt to Brand Itself, Spain Gets Burned

I recently did a video documentary on how the city of Madrid is selling the names of its plazas to corporate brands. But the country as a whole is moving in the opposite direction. Spain itself is the brand.

Interlude: Music of Migrants

Interlude: Music of Migrants

Spain’s “Banksy”: mystery artist comes into his own

Edible Insects

Battle Bug: The Future in a Frying Pan


Bitcoin Gains a Toehold in Berlin


Spain’s Answer to Sleepiness: Be Like the Brits

It’s an odd thing to say. Spaniards don’t begrudge the Brits much of anything. Not their rainy weather, not their soggy food. But suddenly it seems the UK has one thing Iberians need: an extra hour, each day, for resting.

In Berlin, “Hipster Alarm” as Expats Invade


A German Combat Vet on Coming Home, The Syrian Conflict

A Casket Ride to Ward off Death


We All just Took One in the Kisser

In an article on reporter Bruce Schneier suggests that the detention of Guardian reporter Glen Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow Airport earlier this month may have been nothing more -or less – than an attempt to intimidate: two of the most powerful countries in the world saying, basically, Mess with us and we’ll go after your family.

A Spanish town, and its Mine, Rise from the Dead


Coffins for the Living and the Dead

Waitress at a restaurant in As Neves, Galicia, Spain: “What brings you to town.”
Me: “I’m a journalist. I’m doing something on the people riding around in coffins, up in Santa Marta. The procession.”
“Yeah,” she says, “this year is pretty intense. With the train accident.”


Galicia’s Train Wreck Ripples through Distant Villages

My trip to Galicia was planned weeks ago. Before the train derailed. Before the grief. I came to cover other stuff. But even though I’m now in a village about as far from Santiago de Compostela as you can get, the grief is here. It’s hit the entire region hard. At precisely 190 kilometers per hour.


Two Wrecks, Two Reactions

Last night a high-speed Spanish train derailed near Santiago de Compostela, killing and injuring dozens of passengers.  Days earlier, outside Paris, a train skipped its tracks, leaving six dead.  There are a lot of differences between the two accidents, including what caused them, but what stands out is how distinctly bystanders reacted.

Eat the Beetles: An Insect Farm Outpost in Spain

Monsoon time in Bangladesh

Slum Baby Two: The Presentations

Exhausted new mother Mita Banarje set an informal tone this morning when she emerged from beneath her husband Akash’s rickshaw, sporting a ragged cotton sari and clumps of mud. 


Slum Baby Born to Huge Indifference Across Globe

In what may be the least awaited birth of the year, Mita Banarje, shoelace peddler, gave birth last night to a baby girl beneath a rickshaw in the rain outside Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Her husband, Akash, slept. 

In Spain, Horses the Latest Victim of Crisis


Spain’s Ill Wind


Dinner With the Folks Who Made Chavez Possible

“We created Chavez,” my host said, passing the foie gras. “We spent the last half a century building bigger walls around our properties rather than trying to improve our country. He is entirely of our making.”  Ironically, Chavez used to say the exact same thing…

Read on at PRI’s The World.


Fidel Castro: Immortal Until Proven Otherwise

This is an old joke among Cuban exiles in Miami. And it rings true, once again, now that rumors of Castro’s imminent death have been disproven by the retired revolutionary’s appearance on television this week. Some would say Castro’s got nine lives. I’d say he’s got many more…

Read on at PRI’s The World.


What a Corpse is Worth and Why

Many people were surprised this week by some news out of Mexico. Not only did authorities shoot dead one of the country’s most notorious drug bosses, Heriberto Lazcano, capo of the Zetas cartel. Afterwards, Lazcano managed to escape. That’s right. He escaped, dead

Read on at PRI’s The World.


The Vanished Violins of Louis XIV


A Crime Against Mexico

Last week the Mexican government publicly apologized for not preventing the 2001 murders of three women in Ciudad Juárez, and for botching the subsequent investigations…

Read on at the International Herald Tribune


In Mexico and Spain, Going Native

Last week a Mexican congressman from the southern state of Guerrero was found murdered, his body dumped in a river.  The story has been front-page news across Mexico, and made many headlines elsewhere.  It’s a tragedy and, still, a mystery…

Read on at


The (Lost) Century of the Americas

(CNN) – I was far away from my native New York when the planes struck on September 11,10 years ago. But I had front-row seats to how those attacks derailed relations between the United States and Latin America….

Read on at


The Ache of Book Abandonment

When I was just out of college, I worked for three years in book publishing, in New York City….

Read on, at Huffington Post


Coke’s “Real” Real Thing, Made in Spain


Julian Assange and Iceland’s Safe Haven

Paris, Banlieues