Monday, January 31, 2005
Tuesday, February 1, 12:00am
Tuesday, February 1, 3:00am
Wednesday, February 2, 10:00pm
Also more information can be found at tehir website:
American Experience: Fidel Castro
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Saturday, January 29, 2005
One thing that struck me about our conversation. We somehow started to talk about hip hop and pop culture, and we tried to name all the Latin American names we could thing of: Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Selma Hyak, etc, etc only for him to say: "Yep Enrique Iglesias and Penelope Cruz are from Spain. Selma Hyak is from Mexico. Shakira is from Colombia. Jennifer Lopez is from the Bronx (oops hehe), etc, etc." It definitely goes to show how we just place the phrase "Latin America" over any sort of pop culture icon that makes it big in the US without carefully looking at which country they come from. I think that conversation on some level deals with Latin Americans and their struggling idea of a collective sense of idea imposed from outside and from the different conflicts inside Latin America. He said that as soon as they try to make themselves marketable in United States, such pop music artists lose their touch and style that appeals to the Latin American pop culture in order to cowtow to US tastes. As a result, Latin American artists cease to be representations of Latin American artists. Interesting....
Friday, January 28, 2005
Another aspect of the article serves to provide a good example of the difficulty in discerning idealist from realist policies. The article points out that Brazil has attempted to position themselves as a champion of poor nations, which would suggest, a very idealist perspective in regards to world poverty. This commitment to world poverty involves sacrificing some wealth and power to cooperate with other countries for moral reasons. While some cynics could argue that Brazil’s tendency to partake in free trade and neo-liberalism is not being altruistic in its aid to developing countries, but rather ensuring its power is on the same level as the United States.
Here is an article that deals with this issue and talks about an upcoming conference in Miami on the subject.
As the Mexicans are proclaiming the quantity and quality of their recent arrests, it seems that incarcerated druglords and kingpins have lost little control through a prison system infested with corruption. They’re still able to wage turf wars against the rising drug players who wish to fill their shoes, which has only intensified the violence.
These problems just further illustrate the inadequacies of our drug war policy. While I do believe in the War on Drugs and that it’s not at all throwing good money after bad, new approaches do need to be taken. While I ponder some possibly more effective schemes, read the article at the NY Times website.
The article points out the huge cultural loss due to the lack of full access to that kind of music and shows how damaging consequences some drastic policies can have in terms of cultural diversity and open-minding aspects; it also makes us think about how absurd some policies can become when they are enforced to all areas without being necessarily adjusted to each of them.
World Social Forum
While it is funny to think of Prof. Huck's example of a systems-level analyst having a brain freeze when asked to consider the effects that an internal political constituency within a nation-state has had on international realities, this is something from which a greal deal of us suffer. Our brains may not explode, but we do have a tendency to ignore the non-systemic aspects of international relations.
Observing international relations in terms of levels of analysis may differentiate what may be, in practice, indifferentiable aspects of policy-making. Nevertheless, it forces us to think about non-systemic situations that may obtain international reprecussions. It is useful because it gives equal importance to both the theocratic make-up of a country's government and the insanity of a local warlord in the effectuation of international politics.
P.S. The Miami Cubans may serve less to explain why the U.S. can adopt a hard-line policy against Cuba and more to explain why it does. I believe the distinction to be important. ^_~
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Maybe it's just realism at work. But in 8th grade we all memorized the 13 original "colonies", only why in this case does the word not conjure up the same feeling as when applied to Latin American countries?
How much do we have in common with Latin America? How much do Latin American countries think they have in common with the United States?
Social and economic reforms are clearly needed in Venezuela. However, alienating the private sector merely for the sake of "the revolution" will get the country and - in the long run- Mr. Chavez nowhere.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Here is a link to the article in case you are interested:
"In North American and Northern European cultures, time seems to be a simple matter. It is linear, relentlessly marching forward, never backward, in standardized chunks. To the American who received a watch for his or her third birthday, time is like money. It is spent, saved, or wasted. Americans are taught to show up 10 minutes early for appointments. When working across cultures, however, time becomes a very complex matter. Imagine a New Yorker's chagrin when left in a waiting room for 45 minutes, only to find a Latin American government official dealing with three other people at once. The North American resents the lack of prompt and undivided attention. The Latin American official resents the North American's impatience and apparent self-centeredness. This vicious cycle of resentment can be explained by the distinction between monochronic time and polychronic time:
The former is revealed in the ordered, precise, schedule-driven use of public time that typifies and even caricatures efficient Northern Europeans and North Americans. The latter is seen in the multiple and cyclical activities and concurrent involvement with different people in Mediterranean, Latin American, and especially Arab cultures."
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Saturday, January 22, 2005
So I am wondering if Catholicism is more of a culturally imposed practice more than any sort of real belief in Latin America, and if this is true, wouldn't this belief limit the flexibility of Latin America as it tries to industrialize, deal with diseases and whatnot?
Friday, January 21, 2005
Sorry about the blank post before, I guess I'm still figuring out how to post.
After our in class discussion today about modern imperialism in reference to world powers shaping smaller and less powerful states in their own image and with their own ideals through development, I decided that I would like to continue that discussion online.
When a more advanced state aids in the development of a lesser state, the question has to be asked, what is in it for them. It is hard to believe, in the political sphere, that a state is helping another out of simple benevolence, especially in a power struggle situation like world sphere politics. In class we also discussed realism in terms of international relations, and I think we are currently realizing a very strong realist Presidential administration. In the specific but still very broad example of Latin America, an region so close to the US is obviously seen as important to the US in regards to trade relations, political relationships and stability. If the US helps in the aid of an underdeveloped Latin American State under our current administration, which as previously stated I believe as being very realist in nature, I can not help but assume that we are keeping our own interests in mind as much as the interests of any state that we would help to develop.
I'm looking forward to this hopefully sparking more discussion.
[EDITOR'S UPDATE: I've deleted the blank post that Jim is referring to above.--Jefe Maximo]
At the midterm elections, PAN lost seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The PRI was once again the majority. The PRI has been very vocal in challenging many of Fox's proposals to change government.
Also, many of Fox's promises, such as a more open immigration policy with the United States, have failed to take off. Fox was quite dependant on President Bush for this initiative; however after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, that policy was quickly taken off the table.
Many Mexicans have become disillusioned with this new "democracy" and are predicted to vote for the PRI candidate in 2006. I believe that, although Fox failed to make many changes, these were in fact becuase of outside factors that could not have been helped. Does anyone else believe that the PRI will take over the presidency in 2006? Was Fox's victory just a blip on the virtual hold the PRI has in Mexico?
[NOTE: This post was submitted by Desiree Dominguez.]
I love Costa Rica so much it hurts to say this – but Tico politics just aren’t what they used (or thought) to be. While Costa Rica still soars above all its Central American neighbors in terms of everything good and remains the envy of the whole isthmus, it no longer enjoys an unblemished and squeaky clean political record.
In the second half of 2004, allegations of bribery rocked the San Jose capital. Minus all the smaller people (of which some are not so little), the degree of the corruption rippled all the way to the office of at least two former Presidents – newly elect Secretary General of the OAS Miguel Angel Rodriguez (1998-2002) and Rafael Angel Calderon (1990-1994). Claims even reach to a daughter of current President Abel Pacheco.
For improprieties dealing with the Taiwanese government and French Alltell, and the Finnish government respectively, the two former Presidents have mired their country’s reputation and now find themselves in incarceration awaiting trial. However, give credit to the Ticos for holding their leaders to a high standard. I find it laughable that our own “model” justice system fails to notice or lacks the integrity to go after Rodriguez’s and Calderon’s American counterparts – Bush and Dick.
No, I am not talking about oil. Yes, I am talking about the Carlyle Group’s profiteering off the blood and sweat of our troops. Yes, I am also aware that Costa Rica is a partner in the so-called Coalition of the Willing but since they have no standing army they also have no one to send and hence no one to die or get maimed. Maybe one day we’ll get an Attorney General as courageous and righteous as that in Costa Rica before Cheney’s bad heart catches up with him. Hope you had a Happy Inauguration Day.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I realize that Mexico's role in the trade of drugs to the United States is important because of its neighboring location. After reading an article in the Americas section of The New York Times online, I also realized that a lot more is going on than I had origianlly thought. President Fox had cracked down on the drug cartels in Mexico in previous years and many leaders had been arrested. I learned from this article that those successes have attributed to more problems now as a result of some cartels joining together to create more power since many of their leaders were jailed. Even more interestingis the fact that jailed leaders have been able to communicate, and in some instances give orders for death, through corrupt gaurds and lawyers. I was amazed that such a triumph (or a supposed one) could crumble so easily within the span of only a few years. The article mentions that some of the cartel leaders have even been able to escape. I wonder what the best steps to take to avoid such merges and violence directed from prison from happening in the future would be. It is a very deadly field for both the drug cartels and the law officials working to get rid of them. Does Mexico and possibly the U.S. need to work on the law enforcement side? Here is the link to the article:
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
"The obvious truth about Mexico...is that one system is falling apart on us, but we have no other system to put in its place" - CARLOS FUENTES
I liked this quote because when discussing developing countries it is so easy to criticize thier political situations without taking all factors into consideration. Especially in the past few years, even in countries not in Latin America like Iraq or Afganistan, it is important to realize how hard it is to change a government and what it takes to make a change that drastic!
I want to go farther than Atkins to say that the system as a whole involves such a breadth of cultures and persons that no overarching theory can function to explain the whole of it. One must select from the theories as applicable in order to understand the world as a whole. There is no reason for a person to, say, cling to realism when it is obvious that, for the benefit of the community, states can be fully willing to abandon their struggle for power and give some of it away (i.e. the European Union as of Nice). At the same time, post-modern idealism may be a poor choice when attempting to explain China's economic policies vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
In order to obtain a fuller, more hollistic view of the world system—and this must, I'm certain, apply also to subsystems such as Latin America and the Caribbean—, a pluralist mind-set should be adopted.
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5932 Magazine St
4938 Prytania St
7537 Maple St
Juan's Flying Burrito
2018 Magazine St
Feel free to add to list or comment on these restaurants!
Monday, January 17, 2005
I just clicked on the countries link to find info - hope this helps someone else too!
Sunday, January 16, 2005
While it's great for cultural diversity and understanding that we keep moving towards a more integrated, global community, at the same time, too many traditional individual communities are being watered-down and distorted for mass consumption. Even worse, opportunistic outsiders are infiltrating these communities so they can cash in on the latest cultural fad. I know I get pissed by all the money those hokey "traditional Hawaiian" luaus make selling "traditional Hawaiian culture." Anyway, it seems in Mexico City, they have the same problem with an influx of fake and wannabe mariachis:
Saturday, January 15, 2005
What confuses me: Do Latin Americans view marrying family members as incest? Is there any particular reason for inbreeding like the aristocratic class of Europe? In 100 Years of Solitude, inbreeding had a particular danger for the Buendia family, resulting in the destruction of Macondo (it has been awhile since I have read the book, so please correct me if I am wrong). The first Buendia's (Jose Arcadio Buendia I believe) wife (Ursula?) vainly attempted to prevent the inbreeding of the Buendia family and thus the deformed child with the extended spinal cord. However, in the account of Vargas Llosa, these facts of marriage to his aunt and his cousin were presented almost as normal profile data. What is the view of inbreeding in Latin America?
Friday, January 14, 2005
Thursday, January 13, 2005
If you get any new information, or anything that seems more correct, let me know!
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Thompson and Fathi start out their piece accordingly:
The people of San Miguel Arcangel know all too well what it is like to be struck by disaster, and they have watched the world rush to Asia's rescue with sober eyes.What drives the international system to engage in a "rapid response" to global crises, but then ends up leaving folks high-and-dry once the dust settles and the conditions and lives of the devastated are no longer front page news?
Elder Nahum Caceres said his entire community was swept off a hillside six years ago by Hurricane Mitch. In his wallet he keeps a handwritten list of the dozen international aid organizations that have come and gone since then.
'I don't know how much they sent, but they tell me this is a million-dollarvproject,' Mr. Caceres said, looking down over an unsightly patch of flat gray houses in different stages of completion. 'I would like them to see what has happened with all their money.'
Eric Moscoso, a neighbor of Mr. Caceres, was more succinct: 'We are abandoned.'
Monday, January 10, 2005
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
The goal of this blog, which is also an experiment in educational pedagogy, is threefold: (1) to develop an intellectual community of student scholars on the region of Latin America; (2) to foster communication and conversation among students who are studying the same region and whose intellectual paths may never otherwise cross; (3) and to serve as a provocative and public clearinghouse of information and opinion on all things Latin American.
It is my hope, as the moderator of this blog and as the instructor of the relevant, participating courses, that this experiment will result in a lasting and continued conversation about Latin America -- a conversation that will involve not only current and future students at Tulane interested in Latin American Studies, but anyone who has a passion for and an interest in Latin America. It is also my hope that students will continue to contribute to this blog long after their obligations to it as students in my courses end.
I invite anyone interested in Latin American Studies to also join in the discussion by adding your comments in the comments section at the end of each individual posting. I hope you will visit the site often.