Welcome to the blog series on migration and mobilities in Latin America, with contributions from scholars and activists in the region as well from Bristol. We publish posts in Spanish, Portuguese or English (apologies, with limited resources these won’t be translated at this stage). The series began with a weekly blog over the summer of 2020 and now continues with new posts every month or so.

Published blogs

  • The ethics of mapping migrant violence through Mexico
    By Sylvanna Falcón. From October 2021 through to May 2022 undergraduate students from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of California, Berkeley, participated in a human rights investigation with Human Rights First (HRF) and El Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, AC (IMUMI, The Institute for Migration of Women). Under the direct supervision of university staff, we became part of a binational team (US and Mexico) to track incidents of violence […]
  • From Bristol to Brasilia: collaborating on migration and mobilities research
    By Anamaria Fonsêca. In April this year I visited the University of Brasilia (UnB), Brazil, with Professor Foluke Adebisi from the Bristol Law School to take part in a series of lectures organised by the postgraduate programmes in Law and in Human Rights. I have been collaborating with UnB’s Research Group on International Private Law, International Trade and Human Rights since the outbreak of the pandemic to develop research that builds bridges between Brazil and the UK. The invitation […]
  • Roots and routes: debating indigenous rights in twentieth-century Latin America
    New writing in migration and mobilities – an MMB special series By Jo Crow. My recent book Itinerant Ideas (2022) explores the multiple meanings and languages of indigeneity (Merlan, 2009) circulating across borders in early twentieth-century Latin America. It takes readers through an extensive visual and written representational repertoire to show how ideas about indigenous peoples evolved as they moved between nations during this period. These representations include newspaper articles lamenting indigenous people’s supposed culture of backwardness, ignorance […]
  • Working with the Colombian Truth Commission on illegal drug economies
    By Mary Ryder. In June 2022 the Colombian Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition launched its final report, Hay Futuro Si Hay Verdad: Hallazgos y Recomendaciones (There is a Future if There is Truth: Findings and Recommendations). This was the culmination of three and half years of work investigating the causes and consequences of decades of armed conflict in the country, developing a wide-ranging set of recommendations to support the transition to peace. Colombia’s […]
  • Introducing Missão Paz: supporting migrants and refugees in São Paulo
    By Paolo Parise and Clarissa Paiva. Missão Paz (Peace Mission) is a philanthropic institution that has supported and welcomed migrants and refugees arriving in São Paulo, Brazil, since 1940. The institution belongs to the Missionaries of São Carlos (Scalabrinians) and is a member of the Scalabrinian International Migration Network, which operates in 32 different countries. The main objective of the institution is to welcome migrants by understanding their stories, respecting their identities and promoting […]
  • Migrar es superar: la lucha de la Selección Nacional Femenina de Venezuela
    Por Mark Biram. English version here. Según Alejandro Domínguez, presidente de la CONMEBOL, ‘el fútbol femenino no tiene techo’. Hasta un punto tiene razón. El crecimiento vertiginoso del deporte ha visto niveles cada vez más impresionantes de interés en los partidos, en particular una asistencia de 91,553 fanáticos al clásico de semifinales de la Liga de Campeones Femenina entre Barcelona y Real Madrid. Este aumento notorio en la cobertura televisiva, el patrocinio y la […]
  • Migrate to win: the struggles of Venezuelan women footballers
    By Mark Biram. Versión en español aquí. In the words of Alejandro Dominguez, the president of the South American football confederation CONMEBOL, ‘the sky is the limit for women’s football’. In one sense he is right. The breakneck growth of the sport has seen increasingly impressive levels of interest in club games – most notably an attendance of 91,553 fans at the Women’s Champions League semi-final clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Notable increases […]
  • The limits of interculturality: migration and cultural challenges in Chile
    By Simón Palominos. Migration in Chile has a diverse and complex history and has played a key role in the constant reimagining of the country’s national identity. In this post I argue that the discourse of interculturality contributes to the building of a racialised and exoticised representation of migrants that legitimises social hierarchies and reinforces national identities in contemporary Chile. Since colonial times and until the early twentieth century migration was promoted by the […]
  • Argentina’s Supreme Court and the Huang case: a hidden migration policy?
    By Ignacio Odriozola. On 7 December 2021, Argentina’s Supreme Court of Justice handed down its decision in the Qiuming Huang vs. National Directorate of Migration case (Huang case). The decision confirmed the deportation of an immigrant from China who had entered the country irregularly. It reached this conclusion by interpreting Argentina´s Migration Law (Law No. 25.871) in a strikingly restrictive manner. In doing so, it opened up the following debate: do court rulings just […]
  • Cultivating capoeira: tensions in an Afro-Brazilian art ‘gone global’
    By Gina Robinson. Capoeira entered my subliminal consciousness as a teenager. I was watching TV when I saw two men performing kicks and acrobatics on a London rooftop. Barefoot, clad in red shirts and white trousers, their movements are in slow motion for maximum visual effect. Capoeira appeared again in a recent BBC Oneness ident, which features capoeiristas training at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since becoming a capoeirista myself, I have realised that […]
  • Discriminatory approach to border closure and mobility restrictions: Brazilian government’s handling of Venezuelan migrants
    By Jáfia Naftali Câmara. In an unprecedented effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, South American countries implemented border restrictions. While most recognised the urgency to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and said that closing borders was a ‘hysterical’ move. Nevertheless, Brazil partially closed its borders with Venezuela on 18 March 2020. By that time, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, […]
  • Mobility and identity in the Patagonian Archipelago
    By Paul Merchant. Cast your eyes over a map of Chile, from top to bottom, and you’ll notice a strange development. South of Temuco, the lakes become more frequent and larger, and eventually, after Puerto Montt, the land fragments into hundreds of islands, some quite large, like Chiloé, and many that are very small. You can travel by road as far south as the town of Villa O’Higgins in the Aysén region, but beyond that, […]
  • Venezuelan migrants are scapegoated by governments facing public protests
    By Manuel Alejandro Núñez Ochoa. Since 2019 a series of public protests and demonstrations have swept across South America. Colombians, Chileans, Ecuadorians, Peruvians and Bolivians have taken to the streets to challenge their governments. Key among their reasons for protesting has been their anger at their states’ neoliberal economic measures. This increased dissatisfaction has put governments under pressure. In response, they have deployed a disproportionate use of violence and repression, using armed forces to […]
  • Chile’s new immigration law: an adaptable solution or further crackdown?
    By Tomás Pascual Ricke and Macarena Rodríguez Atero. After more than two years of debate in Congress and revisions by the Constitutional Court a new immigration law has been adopted in Chile that will soon come into effect. The previous law, established in 1975, is an obsolete piece of legislation based on the logic of national security and the ‘foreign enemy’, developed during the military dictatorship and shaped by the politics of the Cold […]
  • Mobility and materiality: contesting national integration on Chile’s Route 5
    By Isidora Urrutia Steinert. Much is written about mobilities but less about the infrastructures enabling movement. Researchers tend to focus on the political, economic, social and cultural implications of the circulation of people, ideas and things. Roads – as with water pipes or sewage systems – are taken for granted unless they stop working. When we travel, our attention usually centres on our destination, the traffic, service stations or time – not so much […]
  • Military mobilities in protected forests: intensifying state control during Colombia’s 2020 lockdown
    Naomi Millner and Monica Amador. During the COVID-19 lockdown the Colombian national army moved in and out of forested conservation areas. We followed these movements over the past year and have seen that the pandemic formed a moment for the government to strengthen pockets of exceptional rule – in other words, a mode of ‘emergency’ governing that legitimises exceptional interventions and paramilitary involvement. As in recent and colonial history of Colombia, this form of […]
  • Colombia’s exceptional migratory regularization
    By Luisa Feline Freier and Soledad Castillo Jara. On 8th February 2021, the Colombian government announced that it would grant Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for ten years to nearly one million Venezuelan citizens. This measure seeks to provide regular status to Venezuelan migrants and refugees and, at the same time, collect relevant data for the creation of a unified registry of the Venezuelan population residing in Colombia. In this blog post, we examine the […]
  • Achieving COVID-19 vaccination for all migrants in Latin America
    By Ivonne Garza. As COVID-19 outbreaks emerged all around the globe in 2020, the roads to understanding the virus, testing, diagnosis, prevention and vaccination became well travelled. A year later, new ones are emerging: addressing new variants of the virus, vaccination plans and understanding the effects of vaccines. In the midst of these urgent pathways to ensuring the highest standard of health for all, the integration of migrants in vaccination plans becomes urgent. Consequently, […]
  • ‘Moving difference’ (Diferença em movimento): Brasileiros em Londres
    Este post faz parte da série ‘Raça, Nação e Migração’, do blog do MMB, a qual visa reformular o pensamento sobre movimento e racismo. Por Angelo Martins Junior. Versão em inglês aqui. A liberdade de se mover de um lugar para outro é um privilégio no mundo contemporâneo e, portanto, ideias sobre mobilidade humana e diferenças estão necessariamente entrelaçadas. Quando pessoas do norte global (especialmente aquelas racializadas como brancas) se movem ao redor do […]
  • Viaje al corazón de la investigación académica
    Por María Paula Escobar-Tello. Versión en ingles aquí. Hay quienes piensan que mantener los sentimientos, las emociones, las individualidades y las identidades por fuera del trabajo de campo, el laboratorio y los experimentos es una regla de oro que garantiza la validez del trabajo científico.  Desde este punto de vista, la buena ciencia debe ser neutral y objetiva. Yo no estoy tan segura y hoy quiero hablar sobre los sentimientos y emociones que he vivido […]
  • Journey to the heart of academic research
    By María Paula Escobar-Tello. Spanish version here. Many believe that keeping feelings, emotions, individualities and identities out of the field, the lab and the experiment is the golden rule that guarantees the validity of scientific work. From this perspective, good science requires neutrality and objectivity. I’m not so sure, and today I want to share stories about the feelings and emotions I have lived with BioSmart, a project where British, Colombian, Chilean, Irish and […]
  • Migraciones poéticas en la obra de Jesús Arrellano
    Por Rebecca Kosick y Nohelia Meza. Versión en ingles aquí. El título del libro de poesía experimental de Jesús Arellano (1923-1979), El canto del gallo: Poelectrones (Metáfora, 1972), podría sugerir que esta colección es un precursor de la literatura electrónica, sin embargo estos poemas en sí mismos tienen una prehistoria ligada a movimientos de poesía visual y concreta que prosperaron en América Latina durante el siglo XX. Por tanto, con el objeto de subrayar el […]
  • Poetic migrations in the work of Jesús Arellano
    By Rebecca Kosick and Nohelia Meza. Spanish version here. The title of Mexican poet Jesús Arellano’s (1923-1979) experimental typewriter poetry collection, El canto del gallo. Poelectrones (Metáfora, 1972), might suggest it is a precursor to electronic literature, but these poems themselves have a prehistory tied to movements in visual and concrete poetry that thrived throughout 20th century Latin America. To take up the theme of the MMB blog, we might consider how Arellano’s poetry, […]
  • (Im)Mobility in the Americas and COVID-19: a transnational collective project
    By Soledad Álvarez Velasco. In mid-March 2020, the countries of the Americas declared a health emergency, closed their borders and entered into quarantine as the first containment measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. It was in this context that 45 researchers from 19 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, all interested in migration and mobilities, came together online to ask ourselves about the situation of thousands of migrants and refugees on […]
  • The dangers of staying home: lockdown deepens inequalities in Brazil
    By Fernanda Mallak, Isabela Vianna Pinho and Thalles Vichiato Breda. The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent social isolation policies have placed the home at the heart of the social debate about immobility and survival. Having to stay home affects the most vulnerable in society far more than others – both socially and materially. In our research we focus on the bodies and residences of those living in Brazil’s urban outskirts, particularly low-income black women. […]
  • Desafíos para seguir adelante: experiencias de una ONG en la frontera México-Guatemala
    Por Ailsa Winton y Rosember López Samayoa.* Versión en ingles aquí. Si bien muchas ONGs prácticamente han cesado sus actividades desde el inicio de la pandemia en Tapachula, una ciudad a poca distancia de la frontera de México con Guatemala, algunas decidieron continuar. Aquí el equipo de la organización Una Mano Amiga en la Lucha contra el SIDA (UMALCS) comparte algunas de sus reflexiones y experiencias sobre cómo la pandemia ha afectado su trabajo […]
  • The challenges of carrying on: pandemic experiences of an NGO on the Mexico-Guatemala border
    By Ailsa Winton and Rosember López Samayoa.* Spanish version here. Many NGOs have all but ceased activities since the COVID-19 pandemic made itself felt in Tapachula – a town a short distance from Mexico´s border with Guatemala – but a few decided to carry on. Here the team of Una Mano Amiga en la Lucha contra el SIDA (UMALCS) (A Friendly Hand in the Fight Against AIDS) share some of their thoughts and experiences […]
  • Northwards across social geographies of race
    By Luis Escobedo ‘I’m in distress. Los Zetas kidnapped some of my friends,’ said the first message I ever received from El Sirio on 2nd October, 2015.* Fear and uncertainty had haunted him across Mexico from his natal town of La Paz in Honduras, where death threats in connection to gang violence had finally triggered his journey northwards. Almost five years later, when I asked him whether these feelings persisted after he settled in […]
  • Desde las trochas colombo venezolanas
    Por Hugo Ramírez Arcos. Abel esconde una carretilla y un par de zapatos al otro lado de la frontera para que la Guardia Nacional Bolivariana no vea sus pies embarrados por el rio. Tiene un tapabocas sucio en el cuello e insiste en trabajar como ‘maletero’ en la trocha, acaba de ser padre de una niña en medio de la pandemia. Escribe un mensaje desesperado pidiendo ayuda: ‘hago lo que puedo por que los […]
  • Sin salida: los migrantes venezolanos en Ecuador durante el COVID-19
    Por Adriana Montenegro. A finales de marzo del 2020 el saldo migratorio de ciudadanos venezolanos en Ecuador era de aproximadamente 363 mil.  No obstante, cabe indicar que a partir del Decreto No. 826, de julio de 2019, el Gobierno ecuatoriano dio paso a un proceso de registro y regularización migratoria de esta población, estableciendo además como requisitos para su ingreso al Ecuador la presentación de una visa de excepción por razones humanitarias. Para mediados […]
  • Domestic workers and COVID-19: Brazil’s legacy of slavery lives on
    By Rachel Randall. On 19 March it was confirmed that Rio de Janeiro’s first coronavirus-related death was that of Cleonice Gonçalves, a 63-year-old domestic worker who suffered from co-morbidities. When Gonçalves fell ill on 16 March, she was working at her boss’ apartment in the affluent neighbourhood of Leblon, in the city of Rio. Her boss had just returned from a trip to Italy where COVID-19 had been rapidly spreading. She had not advised […]
  • Inclusive language for exclusive migration policy outcomes
    By Victoria Finn and Sebastián Umpierrez de Reguero. An attempt to change a migration law reigning from a military dictatorship 40 years ago must be a step in the right direction, right? Not necessarily. In 2018, the newly elected Chilean government proposed a migration law, implemented a regularisation process, and introduced visas for Haitians and Venezuelans. In a recently published open access article in Latin American Policy, we evaluate Chile’s migration decisions, aligning with […]
  • The desperate journey back to Venezuela
    By Alexandra Castro In most countries around the world, the vulnerability of migrants has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for this are several: loss of jobs the difficulty of maintaining quarantine measures due to their participation in the informal labour market, limited access to healthcare and increasing discrimination. These migrants’ family members, who remain in their country of origin, have also been badly affected since they no longer receive remittances. This is […]
  • To stay home or go out to work? Brazil’s unequal modes of COVID-19 survival
    By Aline Pires, Felipe Rangel and Jacob Lima. The COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Brazil in a context of severe economic and political crisis. Since the 2016 parliamentary coup, we have seen the dismantling of social policies and rights, which, while never fully implemented in the country, were enshrined in the 1988 Constitution known as the ‘Citizen’s Constitution’. The current government of Jair Bolsonaro has taken this dismantling further with labour reforms that have made […]
  • Migration, racism and the pandemic in Chile’s mass media
    By Carolina Ramírez. During the global COVID-19 public health crisis, mass media in diverse contexts has fuelled stigmatisation and moral judgement towards particular segments of society by holding them accountable for spreading the virus. In Chile, as in other countries, the media has focused particularly on people who apparently refuse to comply with new public norms of civility, such as maintaining a safe physical distance when outdoors, staying at home and paying attention to […]