David Biller has written about energy and environmental issues across Latin America, and also done some travel writing. In Brazil, he's covered the economy and government in the run-up to the World Cup, elections and Olympics. Stories below are divided into Reportage and Travel.

 

Reportage:

Brazilians Want Their Own Donald Trump
The former clown ran on the slogan, “It can’t get any worse!” But it did, and the national mood has opened the door for a presidential circus colorful even by Brazilian standards. Published by Businessweek in January 2017.

 

A Graveyard of Unfinished Work Left in Development Bank's Wake
Brazil's BNDES approved billions in loans for infrastructure projects across Latin America and Africa. When it cut off funding amid corruption allegations, nations were left in the lurch. Published by Businessweek in December 2016.

 

Was This Woman Killed for Trying to Clean Up Rio's Filthy Guanabara Bay?
Priscila Pereira worked tirelessly to help Rio de Janeiro keep its Olympic promise to clean its bay, and keep the program honest. Until she was murdered. Published by Businessweek in July 2016.

 


Brazil's Latest Quagmire

A mining accident that obliterated a town, contaminated a river and took tens of lives was nothing short of tragic, and the last thing Brazil needed. Published by Businessweek in Nov. 2015. 

 

  


 

The Favelas Sour on Dilma Rousseff 

With inflation spiking, President Dilma Rousseff's support continues to crumble among the poor that have long represented her base -- even in a favela named for her. Published by Businessweek in July 2015.
 




After Record Drought, Dengue Fever Is Now Sweeping Across Sao Paulo


Brazil struggles to contain a dengue outbreak that was the unanticipated result of water rationing. Published by Businessweek in April 2015.





Will Voters Shrug Off Brazil's World Cup Loss?

Soccer-mad Brazil was humiliated at home in the World Cup. In the gloomy aftermath, the question was if voters regretted hosting the costly tourney, and whether that hurt President Dilma Rousseff's chances of re-election. Published by Businessweek in July 2014.




Muggings Rattle Rio as Brazil's World Cup Nears 

On the eve of the World Cup, Rio experiences a backslide in its hard-fought battle for public safety. Published by Businessweek in May 2014.

 




In Brazil's Favelas, a Middle Class Arises   

Large retailers are moving into Rio's slums to capitalize on the untapped market of the new middle class. Published by Businessweek in Dec. 2012.


 

Okupa México

Squatters, gentrification and forceful eviction in Mexico City's historic Colonia Roma. Published by Guernica in Feb. 2012. Photos by Myles Estey and Carlos Casas

 

 

A Kingdom for a Barrel 

ITT is a pristine area of Ecuador's Amazon within the Yasuní park that is rich with biodiveristy, and also rich with oil.  Ecuador's government asked the global community to come up with half the value of the oil - 3.6 billion dollars - or else the country would bring in the drilling rigs. The article profiles the area as well as the initiative, which is both innovative and controversial, and feature photos by Spanish photographer Valentí Zapater. Published by Wend in Dec. 2011.

 

 

"Catemaco Místico" (Mystic Catemaco)


This feature delved into the evolving nature of witchcraft in Catemaco, Veracruz and how that connects to deforestation of the northernmost jungle in the Americas.  Published in print edition of National Geographic en Español in Jan. 2011.
(PDF of originalEnglish translation

 

The hidden headquarters of Mexico's power grid

Mexico's "nerve center", Cenace, controls the entire country's grid from an undisclosed location in Mexico City. This article provides a rare glimpse inside a building that is hidden in plain sight.  Published by National Geographic en Español in Aug. 2010.
(PDF: Pg 1  Pg 2)   (English)

 

Alacranes: A Claim to the Sea

 Some believed rising sea levels swallowed Isla Bermeja. Others said the island never existed to begin with, and that its depiction on old maps is as much representative of land as an adjacent stain of dark rum on the same parchment...  Published by Unmapped magazine in 2013

 

 

"Energía del Futuro" (Energy of the Future)     

A special energy edition published by National Geographic en Español, July 2009. In addition to serving as editor-at-large for the edition, David Biller contributed one article and three Q&A's with leading authorities:

Renovables y Eficiencia en Baja California (Renewables and Efficiency in Baja California). This article takes a look at Mexico's Baja California state, which is leading the country's movement toward power supply aligned with a more sustainable future. (PDF)  (English)

Q&A with Georgina Kessel, Mexico's energy minister, about the government's goals and expectations for the evolution of the country's energy sector. (PDF)

Q&A with Eduardo Zenteno, president of Mexico's wind energy association (AMDEE) and CEO of a local wind company, about the prospects and challenges facing massive wind development. (PDF)

Q&A with Marcelo Tokman, Chile's energy minister, about steps taken by the government to diversify the energy matrix and power projects that have drawn fire from environmentalists. (PDF

 

Travel:

Disposable Income 

A dispatch from Mexico City, depicting an initiative that allows residents to swap recyclables for food. Published by Hemispheres magazine.



Mexico City's Brick Hotel 

A brief review published by Hemispheres magazine.







The Blues of Bacalar 

Text and photos published by The Boston Globe. The Bacalar lagoon is 26 miles long and has the turquoise tones one only to find surrounding tropical islands, but this water is fresh. It's a spectactular place to come and unwind, whether that means going to a yoga class overlooking the water, snorkeling in the cenotes, taking a kayak out along the mangroves, or riding a catamaran across the lagoon's seven shades of blue as the day slips by. (PDF

 

"Con los Cubanos hasta la cocina"

Text and photo published by National Geographic Traveler en Español in January/February 2011. This article presents staying in Bed & Breakfasts while visiting Cuba as a means to attaining a deeper cultural understanding of both the country and its people.  (English)

 


From the Other Side of the Cortez Sea

Published by National Geographic en Español in September. Though near the massive tourism development of Cabo San Lucas, the largely-unknown stretch of coast from Baja California Sur's capital La Paz south to the Cabo Pulmo national marine park remains a world apart. People here are attuned to the rhythm of the day. They rise with the dawn to snorkel, fish, paddle surf and kiteboard until the clock strikes midnight - Baja time - at 9pm. (Abstract, in Spanish)




Editing:

Mexico Oil & Gas Review 2012

This book provided a comprehensive overview of the latest developments, industry trends, business strategies, technological breakthroughs, and operational challenges in the Mexican oil and gas industry. Particularly relevant considering Mexican deepwater exploration in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon accident. Also available in print.

 

Was This Woman Killed for Trying to Clean Up Rio’s Filthy Guanabara Bay?