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Jamie Cooper, a NAFTA expert and California Western School of Law professor, was featured on the Wall Street Journal‘s front page today, examining his role in boosting human rights throughout Latin America.

The Journal zooms in on Cooper’s efforts to enfranchise shoeshine boys in Bolivia. The paper says:

Mr. Cooper recently brought together 30 shoeshiners, between the ages of 8 and 17, for a know-your-rights seminar from a Bolivian Supreme Court justice and a banker who had once been a shoeshine boy himself. Each of the children got a pair of slick-looking pants with superhero emblems. If the boys continue attending Acceso seminars and learn enough to chat up customers on the basics of the law, they’ll get shirts and baseball caps emblazoned with human-rights slogans.

For the lustrabotas, receiving a gift was a big deal. Some of the children had been sent home or harassed by schoolteachers because their hands were stained with polish, or beaten by their parents for not bringing home enough money. Clutching his new pants to his chest after the first seminar, Carlos Mamani, a 15-year-old who has had to contend with bullies on the job, said he had learned something about property rights. “No one has the right to mess with anyone else’s shoeshine box,” he explained.

Cooper’s work happens through the nonprofit he leads, Proyecto Acceso.

ROB DAVIS

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