Before There Were Roses: Guachalá and the Experimental Environment of the Ecuadorian Andes

Pueblo de Cayambe en el Corregimiento de Otavalo (1748), by Don Jorge Juan.

My current project, “Before There Were Roses: Guachalá and the Experimental Environment of the Ecuadorian Andes,” examines relationships between environmental change and evolving systems of free and forced labor at one of the oldest plantation complexes in the Americas, an Ecuadorian hacienda known as Guachalá. Combining four centuries of archival research, ethnohistory, and land-change mapping, this research explores how Andean estates became laboratories where European elites, indigenous communities, and enslaved Africans experimented with changing patterns of environmental control, economic production, and political order at key moments in the transition to agrarian capitalism in Latin America.

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History in a Time of Revolution: Bolivarian Socialism and the Founding Myths of Progress

This ongoing project looks at the use of historical fiction in South America’s 21st-Century Socialist Revolutions, exploring the rise of the cults of Simon Bolívar and Eloy Alfaro in state propaganda in Venezuela and Ecuador.


Eight Defaults and 180 Years Later, Ecuador to Repay Bondholders.” Bloomberg News

This project sent me to the Ecuadorian Central Bank archives, where I researched 180 years of Ecuadorian bond deals ahead of the country’s first-ever repayment of sovereign debt since independence in the nineteenth century.

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Inside South America’s Oil-Fueled Currency Battle, Bloomberg News

For this assignment, I traveled to Colombia’s southern border with Ecuador, survived a car crash, and interviewed black-market money changers in one of the most dangerous cities in South America to help report on the triangle trade of dollars, pesos, and bolívares between Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. Written with reporters Andrea Jaramillo and Andrew Rosati.

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Organ Gangs Force Poor to Sell Kidneys.” Bloomberg Markets Magazine

For this project, published by Bloomberg Markets Magazine, I worked with reporters Michael Smith, Daryna Krasnolutska and David Glovin to help expose an international organ-trafficking ring. The Society of American Business Editors and Writers awarded the article the Best in Business, International Investigative Award, and Explanatory Award in 2011. The Society of the Silurians gave it the Investigative/Reporting Award.

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Unasur: Integración Regional de América del Sur en el Siglo XXI

Edificio Nestor Kirchner, by Monserrat Boix

This project, a thesis written for my master’s degree at the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile, looked at the roots of South American political and economic integration in the 21st Century. It was one of the first works to analyze the continent’s efforts to form a common union based on primary documents generated by regional governments over an almost eight-year period.

It sought to answer questions including: why South America was seeking greater integration after nearly two centuries of internal division and conflict; what historical hurdles the nations faced on the road to a more united continent; can we explain discrepancies between primary (government) sources and secondary critique.

The research took me to Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, where I interviewed Ecuadorian President Rodrigo Borja, the first head of the institution, as well as multiple Latin American ministers of state, officials, and scholars involved in the architecture of the new union.


Dr. Death Appearance in Chile Has Nazi Hunters Dangling Reward, Bloomberg News

For my first feature article for Bloomberg News, I joined the hunt for Aribert Heim, a Nazi SS officer accused of performing experiments on inmates at the Mauthausen concentration camp. Heim had been sighted in southern Chile, where his daughter lived at the time. I interviewed Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, residents of the Chilean town of Puerto Montt, and the Chilean police as they tried to crack this unsolved mystery.

In 2012, a German court found Heim died in Egypt in 1992 under an assumed name.