Alma Guillermoprieto


Alma Guillermoprieto is a frequent contributor to The New York Review, often writing on Latin America. (January 2015)

  • Mexico: 'We Are Not Sheep to Be Killed'

    November 5, 2014

    The horrific kidnapping of forty-three boys has created a crisis of a different order for the Mexican state.

  • The Best World Cup Ever!

    June 27, 2014

    Three consecutive games a day of pure, thrilling sport, every game a stunner, the whole sequence a fabulous surprise from beginning to end.

  • The Kingpin at Rest

    February 25, 2014

    The capture of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera was so easy that one wonders if he was tired of the hard life, looking to be caught.

  • Chavismo: The Crack Up?

    June 3, 2013

    Sometime in the three months since Hugo Chávez was pronounced dead, his favorite television mouthpiece, a broadcaster called Mario Silva, delivered himself of his sorrow regarding Venezuela in the course of a highly private conversation. It was a riveting aria: fifty-three minutes in which Silva told of coup plots, death threats, power struggles within the heart of chavismo.

  • Chavismo After Chávez

    May 8, 2013

    What Venezuelans may remember most about last month’s presidential campaign is the moment right at the start, when Nicolás Maduro Moros, the late Hugo Chávez’s chosen successor, told a television audience that the supreme comandante had come back to him in the shape of a little bird and, chirping, urged him on to victory.

  • The Last Caudillo

    March 6, 2013

    In trying to evaluate the astonishing rule of Hugo Chávez the question to ask is this: whether the people he leaves behind regressed into a kind of childhood faith and dependency under his spell and what the price of such regression might be.

  • An End to the War on Drugs?

    April 12, 2012

    As a normally pro-forma gathering of hemispheric leaders gets under way in Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend, Latin America could instead be approaching its declaration of independence from the United States. For the first time, the region might come out against a US policy. Unimpeachable US allies, like Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla and Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, who is the meeting’s host, have expressed their support for legalization of the drug trade. And, as is not infrequently the case in matters concerning Washington’s home hemisphere, the US has been caught unaware.

  • Après Merce

    December 29, 2011

    Those of us who were privileged to study with Merce Cunningham at whatever point in his long career will cherish forever the physical challenges he posed for a dancer. Followers like myself also loved his senseless determination to make every piece new, even if it meant losing audience members unwilling to work that hard for the payoff. We loved Merce’s courage: he showed up for work when he was exhausted, when he was injured, when he was suffering, and he always danced full-out. But in an extraordinary act of artistic self-immolation, the creator of some of the twentieth century’s most moving dance works decided in his final years that the Merce Cunningham Dance Company should have a last world tour after his death--and then shut down. Whether he should have been allowed by his board to torch everything he worked so killingly hard to create will be debated for a long time, along with the question of why he did it.

  • Day of the 40,000 Dead

    November 2, 2011

    In Mexico, the dearly beloved who are no longer in this world receive special dispensation to return to us once a year. To celebrate this miracle, we bring flowers to an elaborate, colorful altar, make a path with marigold petals to show them the way, sing to them, pamper them with offerings of their favorite foods, and generally laugh with them at death and other things. In certain parts of the country, the Day of the Dead, and the altar-building events that lead up to it, are a bigger deal than Christmas.

    This November 2nd has turned out slightly different from the preceding ones, however: as the number of fatalities in the current wave of narcowar violence approaches 40,000, a growing number of people have decided that these dead, too, should be remembered, although their killing is hardly a cause for celebration.

  • A Quiet Shift in Mexico's Drug War

    August 12, 2010

    Without the rest of the world paying much attention, the tortured relations between drug traffickers and the rest of the Mexican population have taken a significant turn.

  • Maradona and Me

    June 28, 2010

    In January 1986, I became the South American bureau chief for a US magazine. It was not a happy marriage, and from the beginning I showed that I was not up to the job.

  • ¡Viva México!

    June 18, 2010
  • What is that Monkey Doing Behind the Rowboat?

    June 9, 2010

    It may be that Latin America is the last great reservoir of innocent art. Or at least, one could happily arrive at that conclusion after watching a video on YouTube, "En tus tierras bailaré" ("In Your Lands Someday I'll Dance") that has gone way over the million-hit mark.

  • Father Maciel, John Paul II, and the Vatican Sex Crisis

    May 17, 2010

    Of all the terrible sexual scandals the hierarchs in the Vatican find themselves tangled in, none is likely to do as much institutional damage as the astounding and still unfolding story of the Mexican priest Marcial Maciel.

  • Remembering Romero: The Murder that Ruptured El Salvador

    April 22, 2010

    I was in Managua, Nicaragua, thirty years ago, recovering from dengue fever, when my editor at The Guardian called from London to say that I should get on the next plane to San Salvador: the Archbishop of El Salvador had been gunned down while saying Mass.

  • Bolivia's Parched Future

    December 18, 2009

    For whatever reason—global warming seems to be one—Bolivia’s Chacaltaya glacier, whose runoff provided water for the contiguous cities of La Paz and El Alto for centuries, is now gone. Glaciers reconstitute themselves, if at all, outside the span of human time: we will not see so much ice shimmer again above the harsh brown altiplano, the highland plateau where two thirds of all Bolivians live. Other glaciers in the Bolivian Andes—like the Illimani, so beautiful to look at—are also melting, and in all likelihood will disappear before 2040.