If you’ve been following this blog, you know about our outrage at the murder of self-taught Mexican lawyer Marco Antonio Armendáriz Vega, who was shot to death in his home at the age of 56 last October. Marcos represented the poor and powerless against the corrupt and powerful in Mexico’s northern Sonora state. Our hats are off to NPR, who broadcast Peter O’Dowd’s remembrance on All Things Considered on March 8. The story provides some fascinating details about Marcos, who worked mainly for free, and who relished his role as an outsider. We hope the publicity will put pressure on Mexican investigators to identify those responsible for his murder.

O’Dowd is a reporter for public radio station KJZZ in Phoenix. Marcos was featured in a profile of e-waste recycler Vicki Ponce produced by our friend Ingrid Lobet as part of Homelands’ WORKING series on Marketplace.


Happy holidays, everyone! ‘Tis the season for “best-of” shows. We just learned that Ingrid Lobet’s profile of Vicki Ponce, an electronic waste recycler in Mexico, is included in the Best of Public Radio 2009 special that is airing on noncommercial stations around the country this month. The three-hour show, intended as a fundraiser for public radio stations, is hosted by NPR’s Robert Siegel and Ari Shapiro and features segments from shows on NPR, American Public Media and Public Radio International. Ingrid’s profile, which first aired on Marketplace as part of Homelands’ WORKING series, is in the second hour. (For a tragic postscript, please see our December 11 post about the murder of Marco Antonio Armendáriz, who helped Vicki and her co-workers stand up to local officials.)

On December 30, WBEZ Chicago’s Worldview program will rebroadcast an interview with Homelands co-founder Alan Weisman. Alan talks about his New York Times bestseller The World Without Us, which asks what would happen to our embattled planet if human beings were suddenly to disappear. The World Without Us was named TIME magazine’s nonfiction book of the year in 2007 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It has been translated into more that 30 languages.

Congratulations Ingrid and Alan!


P.S. We’ve had some trouble with our PayPal donation button in the last couple of weeks, but it’s now fixed. Apologies for the inconvenience. There’s still a week to make your tax-deductible donation in 2009!

We are saddened and angered by news of the murder of Marco Antonio Armendáriz Vega, a self-taught lawyer who devoted his life to defending the poor and powerless against the corrupt and powerful in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. Marco Antonio, known to friends as Marcos, featured in a profile of Vicki Ponce, an electronics recycler, produced by Ingrid Lobet as part of the WORKING series. He was shot in his home in Agua Prieta at point blank range. Marcos was, by all accounts, an extraordinary man. May he rest in peace. His good works will not be forgotten.

You can read more about Marcos on the blog of a close family friend.