Companies that fear damage or loss of their reputation have begun to increasingly rely on legal tools such as lawsuits or lobbying to silence their foes and critics. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) cases have proliferated in the United States and beyond as a way for companies to sue individuals or groups in order to censor, intimidate, and silence their critics. In Colombia, this process has been incorporated into the Peace Process, as judges in the Special Tribunal for Peace (JEP) have come to prohibit the discussion of third-party actors as a manner to safeguard their reputation and legal standing.
“Nanette,” a Netflix comedy special, features Hannah Gadsby, a comedian who decides to give up comedy following a lifelong career, as she realizes that genuine connection between people emerged through stories and not jokes. Oftentimes the “punchline” of a joke leaves out much of the story — oftentimes, the more difficult parts that reside in stereotypes, satire, and mockery of the “other.”
The privacy policies of many of the tech giants—especially with regards to collecting and using information, profiling, automated-decision making, and data commercialization—continue to illustrate worrying scenarios for the right to privacy and related freedoms of netizens in every single country around the world. While the European Union has begun to address the challenge with the recently passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Latin American privacy statutes across the board remain rather weak for the digital age. These countries should begin to think of a supranational regulatory harmonization for the region, much like the one that has endowed Europe with greater bargaining power over data-driven companies.
Perhaps it’s time to state firmly, and insistently, that we see everyone who let themselves be swooped up in machines of inhumanity, and not just the masterminds. And perhaps it’s not too late to call out enough of the small bureaucrats and agents so that they, too, squirm, question and upend the pact of purposeful obtuseness that is required to carry on with systems of oppression designed to harm from a safe distance.
Understanding a population’s legal needs is critical in order for states to know how to manage and resolve those needs in a broader access to justice framework. Approaching legal disputes from the perspective of citizen demands allows the state to more adequately grasp the gaps for particular population groups and design and implement public policies that properly address the the legal needs of societies.
Sustainable development and conservation must incorporate from the outset the voices and proposals of the communities that have historically inhabited the territories in question. Through the a concept called “Kawsak Sacha,” or “living jungle,” the Sarayaku indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon demonstrate how this can be done.
Juan Pedro Lares, a 24-year old Colombian-Venezuelan young man, who was abducted by a hundred civilian-dressed members of the Venezuelan Intelligence, the National Guard, the police, and armed civilian groups from his family’s home in July of last year was finally set free. But a feeling of injustice still lingers.