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Brett Heinz

Articles by Brett Heinz

Bolivians Reclaim Their Democracy

October 21, 2020

The Nation
See article on original site
The overwhelming MAS election victory is a repudiation of the racist coup regime as well as the Trump administration and the OAS, which helped install it.
On Sunday, October 18, Luis Arce won the presidency of Bolivia, in a pronounced repudiation of last year’s military coup, which had put the current government in power. Arce is the former economy minister for Evo Morales, who was the first Indigenous president of the country with the largest percentage of Indigenous people in the Americas. Morales’s democratically elected government was overthrown in November of last year. 
The November coup was backed by the Trump administration, and the Organization of American States (OAS) leadership played a central role in laying the foundations for it.

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Republican Attempts to Suppress the Vote Must be Stopped

October 5, 2020

See article on original site
Democrats need to keep their eyes on the prize
Trump has governed in some ways that no US president has ever done before. One is that he made almost no attempt to expand his support beyond his hard-core base. Even dictators generally come to a different conclusion about what is best for their political survival. But Trump has had difficulty even distancing himself from violent organized white supremacists.
Another is the unprecedented extent to which he has used distraction as a primary media and political strategy. There is always something potentially damaging about him in the media ― many observers thought he was finished before the 2016 election when the infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy” tapes were released. Trump’s strategy for damage control

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Why a DC Public Relations Firm Pretended to Be Bolivian on Facebook

October 5, 2020

The Americas Blog featured a post last week about the growing wave of election interference and misinformation campaigns sweeping Latin America, especially as a tool of right-wing governments and political movements. As these digital operations have grown in popularity, so has the market for firms to organize them. In particular, new details about the recent Latin American operations of a US public relations firm called CLS Strategies illustrate that Americans are not just on the receiving end of manipulative social media campaigns, but are participants in them as well.
There is a long history of “crisis public relations (PR)” firms taking contracts with foreign governments or opposition movements, lobbying on their behalf or otherwise helping them “improve their image” in Washington. But

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Election Interference in Latin America: A Growing Danger

October 1, 2020

Many people in the US first became aware of the problem of election interference on social media when allegations emerged of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US elections through the dissemination of “fake news” on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. But as we learn more about the phenomenon, it is becoming increasingly clear that dishonest social media campaigns are a global issue, and that many private and government actors are now routinely using disinformation campaigns to influence elections. Indeed, in Latin America, such tactics have already become a go-to strategy for many right-wing movements and governments.
Earlier this month, Buzzfeed reported on a memo written by a Facebook data scientist-turned-whistleblower that provides new details on Facebook’s

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US Foreign Police Training Has Spawned Brutality Both At Home and Abroad

July 10, 2020

CEPR Research Assistant Brett Heinz published the following article at Current Affairs:
The nationwide protests against police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd have reignited debates over US policing. But the state response to the protests has also raised the question of where exactly “domestic” law enforcement stops and starts. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), an organization that describes its mission as “safeguard[ing] America’s borders,” has stated that it is deploying its officers around the country to help contain the protests. They are among officials from a wide variety of agencies serving as police on the streets of Washington, DC right now, many of whom have no identifying insignia at all. Though the CBP’s mandate is to police borders, it has the authority to

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Rio de Janeiro: Police Violence and Solidarity

June 15, 2020

On May 31, hundreds of people in Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, joined protesters around the world in marching against police brutality. While the protest was in solidarity with the wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the US following the killing of George Floyd, Brazilian protesters were marching against their own police brutality problem as well. The state of Rio de Janeiro has one of the highest rates of police violence on Earth, with an average of five killings of civilians each day during the first four months of this year. What is happening in Rio illustrates how a combination of anti-Black racism, militarized law enforcement, and a lack of social services leads to tragic levels of state violence. 
Police killings in the state of Rio de Janeiro — which take

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US Deportations Are Exporting COVID-19 to Nations Unprepared for a Pandemic

April 28, 2020

On April 22nd, President Trump signed an Executive Order putting a 60-day halt on the issuance of new green cards to immigrants admissible for permanent residency in the United States. This measure, coming on the back of other government measures restricting legal immigration, ostensibly seeks to protect the US from imported cases of COVID-19. But while Trump endeavors to block nearly all immigration into the US, his administration has been exporting the virus to countries that have extremely limited capacity and resources to deal with pandemics.
As the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, the Trump administration has continued deportation flights of undocumented migrants to Central America and the Caribbean, all while openly threatening countries that push back. The results are tragic and

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