Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ex-Prez of Costa Rica guilty of corruption

Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, who was president of Costa Rica from 1998 until 2002, was convicted of corruption charges. This is too bad for Costa Rica which claims to be more stable and honest than its neighbors. I guess if they are able to convict and sentence him then their justice system is effective.


Duvalier returned to Haiti for money

Baby Doc, the former dictator of Haiti, was exiled in 80s. He returned to Haiti about a month ago causing much concern. News has come out that he is just trying to get $6 million in frozen bank accounts in Switzerland.


Maquiladoras are suffering

Maquiladoras are suffering in Ciudad de Juarez, Mexico. The global recession has pummeled this place. From 2008 to the middle of last year the city’s maquiladoras cut 30 percent of their work force which is about 72,000 jobs.

Drug Wars increasing in Latin America

Drug lords are not backing down despite American response. Drug Wars continue to rage in Latin America.


Many are skeptical of Cuba's "reforms"

Raul Castro says he plans to reform Cuba, although many don't really believe him. They still think it will be a single-party state.


Brazil is struggling

The Brazilian stock market fell to its lowest level since February, hurt by fears that inflation could worsen and spur a tougher policy.


Fishermen killing many dolphins in the Amazon

Because they compete for fish, fishermen in the Amazon have been killing many dolphins. They are becoming more endangered.


Haitians are being forced out of tents

After the 2010 earthquake, many Haitians had to live in displacement camps. Landowners are now evicting many of them even though their houses have not been rebuilt yet leaving many Haitians homeless.


model cities in honduras

Honduras is thinking about creating autonomous model cities to help spur economic development. These cities would be free of government interference and possibly could improve Honduras's and other Latin American countries' economies.


suriname leader returns

The former dictator of Suriname returned to Suriname. Now he's the dictator again.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Brazil Star Moving to Europe?

Up and coming Brazilian soccer star Ganso has been linked in a move to one of Europe's largest clubs, Italian powerhouse AC Milan. http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ap-ganso-acmilan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mexican Wedding Cookies

On a much lighter note, these are AMAZING. "Pastelitos de Boda" are a traditional dessert at Mexican weddings. You can buy them from the grocery store but they're soooo much better homemade: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/mexican-wedding-cookies/Detail.aspx

Drug Cartel Kidnappings

In Mexico, mass graves are being discovered of those who were kidnapped and murdered by drug cartels, primarily the "Zetas." They corrupt the government and police force and citizens pay them for protection more than the pay taxes, according to this article. Anybody who doesn't comply is assassinated. After watching City Of God this week, it's unbelievable that that kind of world actually exists, and it's making our news today. Here's the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/world/americas/16mexico.html?_r=1&ref=americas

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cost of Living: NOLA v Torreon, Mexico

Many of my Latin American friends live in the same town—Torreon, Mexico. Due to this, I’ve become quite interested in living there at some point. So, I took the time to go on expatistan.comto compare what the price of living in Torreon is compared to New Orleans. As you can see from the screenshot below, according to expatistan’s data it would be almost 50% cheaper for me to live in Torreon. Even though this seems to me to be a sad testament to the value of the peso, it does give me a little bit more incentive to look into giving Torreon a visit in the next few years.
One thing about the data really confused me, though. Apparently, clothing in Torreon is 89% more expensive than in New Orleans. Upon further inspection, I realized that the rather high price estimation of a summer dress was skewing the data. However, clothing still seems more expensive there. I’m really stumped—why do you think this is?

Latin America seems a healthy place to live

A short while ago, I stumbled upon this article from International Living magazine about the healthiest places to live. I was a little bit surprised to find that three of the five mentioned in the article are places in Latin America. In class, we discussed a lot of aspects of life in Latin America, such as political instability and extremely high rates of poverty, which would almost lead me to believe otherwise.

However, when I looked at the reasons why International Living featured locations in Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador, it all made sense. “Optimism and purpose, a low stress level, a natural diet and an active lifestyle…”, they say, are they most important factors that lead to a long and healthy life. Latin America’s prominence in the article seems to be a wonderful testament to the lifestyle and natural beauty that is often found in Latin America.

In fact, this article made me remember why I took an interest in Latin America in the first place – the wonderful, entertaining Mexicans, Ticos, Argentines and Colombians that I met during three years of being involved Spanish language immersion camp.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trouble In Brazil

With Brazil getting ready to host the world cup, arguably the most prestigious sporting event in the world, all does not seem to be smooth sailing. According to a new report, it seems doubtful that Brazil will be able to get their airport ready for the increased traffic expected if they continue with their current levels of expenditure. http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6355188/study-says-brazil-airports-not-ready-2014-world-cup

Friday, April 15, 2011

New form of transparency in Chile

After years of negotiations Chile has approved a website that will grant public access to government information. more here http://www.santiagotimes.cl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21242:groundbreaking-website-to-showcase-transparency-in-chile&catid=19:other&Itemid=142

Last Two Speakers of a Dying Language Won't Speak to Each Other

I found this article really interesting after talking about the indigenous culture in South America. Ayapaneco has been spoken in Mexico for centuries and is in danger of dying out because the last two speakers refuse to speak to each other. It is fascinating to see how traditional cultures are dying out due to the influence of more mainstream languages and society.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mt Roraima

Check out the beauty of Mt Roraima. This mountain includes the triple border of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana! It's definitely a sight to see.

Drug traffickers trying to save their souls

This is an interesting article on a topic I'd never heard about before. It was recently brought to attention in Mexico that many Roman Catholic chapels and churches are being funded by drug lords. It's been an ongoing controversy in Mexico over the church's long-time link with drug cartels. Some churches are trying to purge themselves of the money from drug traffickers while others are saying it doesn't matter where the money comes from; it's a place to worship. Here's the article that talks about it more in depth: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/world/americas/07church.html?_r=1&ref=americas

Dancing in Latin America

We've talked about a lot of different dance styles that have originated in many latin american countries over the last few months, but I still wasn't exactly sure what many of them actually were. This website does a good job of giving the gist of the inspiration behind each dance and how to do them: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/latin-dance-salsa-jive-and-cha-cha-cha.html

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


A delicious thing to snack on are some tostones. If you ever find yourself near a good cuban restaurant make sure to try this tasty dish.


World Futbol Rankings

New world soccer ratings have come out with Latin American power houses Brazil (3) and Argentina (5) both looking strong in the top 10.