Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dirty War Reprisals

Since the death of August Pinochet, a military Gen. of Cuba, people wishing for justice for the perpetrators of Chile's dirty war are going to have to move fast if they want anything to be done.
Read all about it here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

world cup

As of 2001, Brazil had last won the world cup in 1994. Before that, they won it in 1970. Add 1994 and 1970 and you get 1964.
Germany last one in 1990. Before that they won in 1974. Add the two and again you get 3964.
Argentina last won the world cup in 1986 before that they won it in 1978. Add 1978 and 1986 and you again get 3964.
So going by this logic the winner of the 2002 world cup would have been the same winner as the winner in 1962, Brazil. Crazy enough, this actually happened.

a little trivia

Alanis Morissette shocked fans when she ended her first gig in Peru by shouting: "Thank you Brazil!" Morissette made the mistake in front of a 14,000 crowd at the Monumental Stadium in Lima. She was criticised by a number of Peruvian newspapers but some were more forgiving. Newspaper Ojo said: "We have already forgiven her thanks to her magical performance in which we witnessed a true rock star. "It was the first time something like that happened over here but it must have been the emotion she felt for being in Peru."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Two million alcohol cars running in Brazil

A new form of car that runs on flex-fuel, a mixture of any combination of ethanol and petrol, has just hit the two million car mark in Brazil. These now make up 77% of the Brazilian car market. Link is here.

Brazilian Billboard Ban in Biggest City

The recently imposed ban on billiboards in Sao Paulo has been challenged legally as unconstitutional. The link to the article is here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A leftist leader in Mexico joins Oaxaca protest

Leonel Cota, president of Democratic Revolution Party, joined in protests that are occurring in Oaxaca. These protests are occuring because of a six-month long conflict that has been occurring, and because over 600 people have been arrested since the conflict started. Link here.

Cancer in Haiti's Preval may be back.

Haiti's President Rene Preval, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago, has recently reported that the cancer may have returned. The article is linked here.

Mexico to begin cracking down on drug violence.

The Mexican government is sending out 6500 soldiers to the state of Michoacan to crack down on the violence, including execution-style killings, that have plagued the region. Link is here.

Marine Reserve Created in Mexico

A new Marine Reserve was created in Espiritu Santo Archipelago in the Gulf of California. This water was home to many endangered species. Link here.

Cancun Prison riots prove to be Deadly

After prisoners overpowered guards at a prison in Cancun, Mexico, over 150 prisoners escaped. About half of these have been recaptured. Link here.

Gas Smuggling Problem in Brazil and Venezuela

The huge price disparity between Brazil and Venezuela have caused a new form of crime to rise, gas smuggling. The link to the story is here.

Protecting the Amazon rain forest

Brazil is ramping up protections on the important and ecologically diverse region known as the Amazon rainforest. Some of this area will be used for sustainable development, while some will be open to only researchers. The link is here.

human right's day protest broken up

On Human Right's Day in Cuba a small protest was broken up in the middle of a Cuban park. Apparently government supporters assaulted a dozen or so people as soon as their protest, they were forced to flee. It is sad that this happened on Human Right's Day but it exemplifies the political and social instability the Cubans suffer.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gang Violence in Colombia

After some interesting conversation at the last Intercambio session, I thought it would be appropriate to post a link to this page containing information on Colombian gang violence.

"2 U.S. Pilots Charged in Air Collision Over Brazil"

After a deadly September 29 plane crash that killed 154 people, two US citizens who were piloting the private jet that struck and felled a Brazilian commercial airliner have been charged with unintentionally endangering an aircraft. They face up to 12 years in prison. More details here.

Former Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet Dies at 91

Pinochet, a dictator who violently ruled the country of Chile from 1973 to 1990 died earlier today due to heart complications. Read the full article here.

South American Economic Bloc

Leaders from 12 South American nations on creating an economic bloc much like the one created in Europe. The hope is that this would give these nations more power in international trade. Read more here--
The former dictator of Chile Augusto Pinochet Ugarte died on Sunday. He ruled Chile from 1973 through 1990. Here is the link--

Chavez's post election visit to Uruguay

Here's an article about Venezual's recently reelected president Hugo CHavez. Apparently he is deeply devoted to greater ties between the leftist communities of South America. He also criticized the U.S. on his recent trip to Uruguay. Read the whole article here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hugo Chavez' Reelection

Hugo Chavez was reelected as President of Venezuela and the most significant result of the election is the reappearance of a political opposition. In fact, Mr. Chavez's rule contains the seeds of its own destruction. His wild use of oil revenue -- government spending has grown eightfold during his eight years in office -- has gone mainly for consumption or foolish foreign adventures. Investment in the economy, and even in the oil industry itself, is paltry, and most experts believe Venezuela's petroleum production has declined. Crime and corruption are soaring: Murders are up 67 percent during the Chavez era. If oil prices continue to drop, Mr. Chavez's revolution eventually will be revealed for what it is: a populist fraud. Read the entire editorial here.

VMA's Latin America!

Paulina Rubio, Juanes Performing At VMAs Latin America, along with System of a Down, Shakira, Santana, and Avril Lavigne. Read more about the first MTV Video Music Awards Latin America celebration here.

Latin American Recipes

Check out this awesome website with any Latin American recipe you could possibly want...
Mi Cocina Latina.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Summer in Santiago?

Not exactly anything new, but it's easy to forget that much of South America is south of the equator, thus winter here means summer there. Check out While we freeze our butts off, its sunny and warm from Manaus to Buenos Aires. Check out Asuncion for Monday, December 11: 38 degrees celsius. Guess they've got no hope for a white Christmas/Holiday season.

Dirty War extraditions

Six men accused of abducting and torturing 11 Uruguayans during the period of Argentine history known as the "Dirty War," will soon be extradited to Argentina for trial. Also interesting is the link for related articles, showing the continuing quest for justice from the crimes of the Dirty War. Interesting fact: the sentence of life imprisonment is banned in Uruguay. For more go to:

"American pilots charged in Amazon jetliner crash"

"Brazilian federal police on Friday charged two New York pilots involved in a collision that killed 154 people with exposing an aircraft to danger."

More here:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Columbian paramilitaries

Those of you who went to intercambio on tuesday should appreciate this. It's an article concerning the paramilitary groups in columbia. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NY Times Cuba Travel Guide...WHAT?!?!

This caught my eye on a link because it was so bizarre. NY Times has a Cuba Travel guide with articles titled "The Nicest Place You'll Never Go" and the likes. Check it out! It's pretty funny....

Water Issues in Peru

Wow, this is exactly what we were talking about last class with the lack of infrascructure, such as water. Even, within the cities only 2/3 of the population has access to clean drinking water and flushable toilets. This number drops even further to only 1/3 in rural areas. More information on Perus current water issues is available at
Just an ironic story I thought I'd share with ya'll.....Today my Brazilian econ professor was saying that many Brazilians were infuriated and writing letters to protest new Hollywood movie set in Brazil (sorry, I forgot the name), because it depicts them as a violent, aggressive, money-hungry people. However, the same day that their protests were announced on the news, a group of rich American tourists was robbed leaving the Brazilian airport.

Country profiles

Go to for a "country profile" feature, where information is present on any nation in the world. Included are basic encyclopedic facts, media such as national anthems and historical timelines, related articles, and more.

Pinochet's current health and other related stories

General Augusto Pinochet, Chile's former military leader, has suffered poor health in recent years and just underwent heart surgery in a life-saving procedure. More interesting is the current dispute in Chile over what to do when the General dies. Some argue for a state funeral while others feel the ex-dictator doesn't deserve such honors. He currently faces charges of human rights abuses that alledgedly occured during his time in office. For more go to:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In relation to our class discussion of Latin American literature, here is some information on one of Latin America's greatest authors:

"Believed by many to be one of the world’s greatest writers, Gabriel García Márquez is a Colombian-born author and journalist, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature and a pioneer of the Latin American 'Boom.'"...

Go to

Instituto Cultural Oaxaca

Hey guys, if any of you are looking for a really amazing summer Spanish language immersion program, I would like to recommend the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca in the colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is sooo much fun, relatively inexpensive, and I know they give college credit (although I am not sure how it transfers for Tulane). I have gone for the past three summers for about three weeks and my Spanish speaking skills have definitely improved because of it! You stay with really awesome families, go to grammar class from 9-12, and then also have some form of cultural classes, of which I took Salsa Dancing. There are many really interesting/cool people from all over the world that come to the Institute, and I have met and kept so many good friends from my Oaxaca experiences. Here is the link to the website if you are interested to learn more!

U.S. Seeks To Boost Competitiveness of Latin America, Caribbean

Wow, this is pretty much the opposite of what we talked about in class today...these big wigs from the US want to go to Latin America and show them how to conduct business in a competitive way so that they can compete on the world stage. Read more about this here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

HIV Stories from 3 Latin Americans---a tribute to AIDS awareness week

Three people living in Latin America who are affected by HIV/Aids spoke to, as part of the BBC's coverage of World Aids Day on December 1. Read their testimonies here.

Civil War in Bolivia?

It seems that Bolivia might be moving towards civil unrest as the president has threatened to disband the senate as they have not approved his program of land reforms. Although the article is short, it mentions that a number of provincial governors are considering breaking away from the current government. Check out the whole story here:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Castro Too Sick to Attend Birthday Party

Cubans fear that Castro might be close to end of his life, causing uncertainty in the nation.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Race for Numero Uno in Latin Wireless

As cell phones are becoming so widely popular and accessible across Latin America and the world, the prices are dropping for the consumers as the two major companies duke it out for the top spot. America Movil (AMX), is controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, and Telefonica (TEF) is a company from Spain. Both have spent billions to snap up competitors and expand their networks for hemisphere-wide coverage. So far, America Movil has the upper hand, with 113.9 million wireless clients to Telefonica's 78.8 million. Read more about this rivalry here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

"Radio Is Blamed For Unrest In Ecuador"

After our discussion in a previous class on the importance of art and the media in political change, I found this article on a small FM radio station in Ecuador very interesting.

Presidential Election in Ecuador

In the ongoing presidential election in Ecuador, a leftist nationalist and friend of Hugo Chavez stands to take the country's highest office. Rafael Correa has threatened to reduce payments on Ecuador's foreign debt and in an unofficial poll has gained 56.9% of the national vote. For more go to:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bolivian Justice System Returns to Old Ways

Recently, Evo Morales has been promoting the community based justice system of the native population in Bolivia, which sanctions whipping for offenses. It is returning to popularity due to past sentiments of unjust use of the adopted European system from the rich, and the ineffectiveness of the current system. Three main traditional rules among the communities are "Amu Sua - Don't Steal; Amu Llulla - Don't Lie, and Ama Quella - Don't Be Lazy." For more

"Anti-Chavez protesters march en masse in Caracas"

"Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans showed their support on Saturday for the opposition's leading presidential challenger, Manuel Rosales, jamming a main highway in the capital and vowing to vote President Hugo Chavez out of office on December 3."

More here:

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Dirty War" in Mexico

I just saw this article about a report that Vicente Fox's governemnt just put out about a dirty war in that took place in Mexico during three president's administartions for more than ten years. The report details how government policy encouraged numerous murders and "disappearances" of suspected rebels and sypathizers as well as student protestors. I never knew that something like this hasppened in recent history in Mexico. Check out the whole story here:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dance and Music of Latin America

After our discussion in class on the important of dance in Latin America as both popular culture and national identity, I thought that this Wikipedia article on the subject seemed relevant.

Monday, November 20, 2006

How Hispanics Celebrate Thanksgiving!

Here is a link to an article describing how Hispanic Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It is interesting because, for the most part, immigrants as a whole do not celebrate Thanksgiving, maybe because they do not quite understand what the holiday is about and partly because they are still holding onto their own individual customs from the homeland.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Abortion Completely Banned in Nicaragua

The current president of Nicaragua has signed a law closing up any remaining exceptions to its existing abortion laws including cases of rape and when the woman's life is in danger. President-elect Ortega also supports this new ban though he supported abortion rights in the past. Check out the whole story:

"Sergio weakens to tropical storm"

"Hurricane Sergio weakened to a tropical storm Friday, soaking areas of Mexico's Pacific coast with rain."

More at

Friday, November 17, 2006

Brazilian & American Plane Crash

WOW! This is really strange....On Sept 29th, an American Corporate plane and Brazilian airliner mysteriously crashed into each other over the rainforest. Radio calls from both planes went unanswered and neither collision alert went off. Neither of these problems has been explained. For more information visit

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Losing Its Young to an American Dream

I found this article on illegal immigrants from Brazil interesting; I always thought of Brazil as a more affluent and independent nation, but according to the article, "U.S. immigration officials believe Brazilians were the fastest-growing group of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border between 2000 and 2005. Last year, only Mexicans and Hondurans are believed to have crossed in greater numbers."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Colombian Refugees in Ecuador

I recomend this article because it discusses life in Ecuador, and problems that exist for Colombian refugees. It is estimated that 400,000 people have left Colombia to escape the violence, and currently live in Ecuador. It also highlights the racism that is developing against Colombians in Ecuador because of the mass immigration that is occurring.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Latin American Network Information Center

Looking for information on Latin America? The Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC) of UT Austin is a great resource for finding any kind of information on Latin America available on the Internet. Anything you need can be found here... however, spanish may come in handy for some of the pages LANIC links to. Go to:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Argentina Issues Warrant for Former Iranian Leader

This article got my attention because I didn't realize that Latin AMerica had problems with terrorists from the Middle East. A judge in Argentina has issued an international arrest warrant for former Iranian leader Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The warrant was issued blaming him for the bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994. it is widely thought that Iran-sponsored Hezbollah was behind the attacks and that Rafsanjani, the Iranian leader of the time, had some role in the attack.
More here:

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Capoeira is a martial art form brought to Brazil by slaves from Angola. The ritual is often performed with a special type of music, and high kicking movements of the leg. To see pictures, listen to the music, or learn more, go to

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo works of art

Here is a link to some artwork by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.
My favorite is the "Lilies" by Diego Rivera.
Sadly, in Oaxaca this past year, there have been many problems and disruption.
As it mentions in this article, the teacher strike that has happened every year for the past 26 years that usually lasts only about 2 weeks and is generally peaceful, has grown into a full-out protest. The first American was killed this past week and it is finally waking the government up to the fact that something needs to be done immediately for this beautiful city before it is completely ruined.
Here is the article from the Washington Post describing the police invasion of Oaxaca's city center...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Latin American Politics Overview

I found this page on the Washington Post website, which documents and gives information on the current state of government and politics in Latin America, very informative.

Carter on Ortega

For an audio clip of former American President Jimmy Carter's views on Daniel Ortega and the recent elections in Nicaragua, go to and scroll down to the box at the bottom.

Sandinista Leader Daniel Ortega Won Nicaraguan Presidential Election Yesterday

Daniel Ortega, the leader of the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional - Sandinista National Liberation Front), won the Nicaraguan Presidential Elections held on Sunday, November 5 with approximately 38% of the vote. The election seems to be clean, and the results are final.

The US is already worried about Ortega's return to power. He was the principle rebel in Nicaragua during the US's military action in the country in the 1980s.
The election has sparked international controversy, but Ortega promises to improve the country and has been working closely with Venezuela leader Chavez.

More at,,-6195745,00.html

Viva Daniel:)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In a national referendum, Panama voted to expand the Panama Canal. For more information and interviews go to ""

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Trouble in Bolivia

Here's an interesting article about the political situation in Bolivia. Their president Evo Morales is having troubles.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Panama to get UN Security Council Seat

After a number of rounds of voting over whether Venezuela or Guatemala will get the seat, they have agreed to give the seat to Panama. Hugo Chavez, was not happy, claiming that the Bush Administration supported Guatemala. More here:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Columbian Anti-Coke Ads Aimed at Europe

This is an interesting new approach. Columbia is now making anti-cocaine ads directed at celebrity users in Europe. The country blames part of its civil unrest on the large demand coming from other countries and has decided to crack down on demand rather than supply. More information may be read at...,0,799448.story

Monday, October 30, 2006

Colada Morada

I found this recipe for COLADA MORADA, a typical Ecuadorian drink that is served during this time of the year. Its full of fruits and spices and is a favorite for all family members. Anyways, here it is, although this is a recipe that can be made in the United States, with slightly different ingredients:

"1 qt. blueberries (or blackberries or raspberries)
1 can crushed pineapple
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cloves
2 c. pineapple juice
1/3 c. cornstarch
Cinnamon sticks (opt.)

Simmer berries in a little (1/4 to 1/2 cup) water. Mash and strain. Put berry liquid in a large 6 quart kettle. Add water (to equal 1/2 water - 1/2 juice). Add pineapple and pineapple juice. Mix well and heat thoroughly. Add sugar and spices (adjust amounts to taste). Stir. When mixture reaches simmer, add cornstarch softened in cold water. Mix well. Serve warm. 6 servings. Optional: Serve with cinnamon sticks."

If you are interested in learning to Salsa or Merengue, there are free dance classes every friday at 9:00 at Cafe Brazil, and then band to practice to later at night. Its a fun opportunity to try something new, and I recommend checking it out.

"Chilean judge orders Pinochet's arrest"

"A judge on Friday ordered the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in crimes related to a secret detention center used in the years following his 1973 coup."

More here.

"Ecuador Reaps Costs Of Anti-Trade Fervor"

I thought this article was interesting as it is related to prior class discussions we had on the influence of the US on many Latin American economies in the fruit trade in particular.

Friday, October 27, 2006

'La Malinche'

I learned about this interesting lady the other day in Spanish class. One of her many names , "La Malinche," is supposedly the mother of the mexican race. Here is a link to a full article describing her controversial history...
Here's an interesting site I found about the world's most dangerous road, apparently there are between 100-200 hundred deaths on it each year. Ignore the bad grammar and check it out...

Drug Violence in Mexico

This article really grabbed me. There is a wave of drug violence going through Mexico. This does not greatly surprise me but the scale and brutality do. More here:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Nicaraguan lawmakers vote to ban all abortions"

"Nicaragua's Congress voted Thursday to ban all abortions, including those that could save a mother's life. If signed into law by President Enrique Bolanos, the measure would eliminate a century-old exception to Nicaragua's abortion ban that permits the procedure if three doctors certify that the woman's health is at risk"

More at

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I think its highly unreasonable, but Argentina is cracking down on many of its farmers and creating intense pressure for them to cut back on tobacco crops. Due to my obviously American opinion, I feel the government has no right to tell people what crops to farm as long as they are making enough profit on what they are growing. Obviously, if the farmers are refusing to change their crops over to alternatives, they are making enough profit on the tobacco. More infomation at

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Strong quake rattles Peruvian coast"

"A strong earthquake rattled Peru's southern coast shortly after dawn Friday, causing alarm, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.
The quake struck at 5:48 a.m. below the floor of the Pacific Ocean, 56 miles (90 kilometers) northwest of the coastal city of Pisco, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Lima, according to Peru's Geophysics Institute."

More here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yet Another Update on the Mystery Illness

It seems that the medicine that killed 26 people in Panama and sickened many more was made by the government scientists and contaminated with chemicals found in antifreeze. It's not clear whether it was deliberate or not. Check out the full story here:

Latin American Remittances

Here's a neat article about some of what we were talking about class. It's all about how emmigration to the United States for work could be doing perminent damage to the family structure in Latin America. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Brazilian Indians Leave Mining Complex

Some 200 Indians of the Xikrin tribe, armed with war clubs and bows and arrows, occupied the company town of Carajas on Tuesday to demand money and road improvements. Read more about this encounter with the indigenous people of Brazil...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Interesting fact...hitchiking is a common, accepted method of transportation in Cuba. To read a personal account go to the following link:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Venezuelan Newspaper

While doing a research project for my Spanish class, my teacher recommended that I use this site. It is a Venezuelan newspaper, and you can choose to read the articles in Spanish or in English. It is very interesting to read current events from the Venezuelan point of view. <>

Friday, October 13, 2006

Frida Kahlo

See the work of one of Mexico and Latin America's most famous female artists:

"CIA was warned about '76 Cuban airline bombing"

I felt that this article on Cuban bombings in the '70s was relevant to the previous class discussions we had on US-Cuba relations and the impact of the United States on Latin American nations in general.

Top 25 Latin Music Videos

Here is the link to the AOL site with the top 25 Latin Music videos right now. My favorite is "Te Mando Flores" by Fonseca. Enjoy!

Former Chilean dictator tried for murder

WOW. This is pretty intense, especially being that he is now 90 years old and medically diagnosed to have dementia. Chile's former dictator, General Augusto Pinochet is currently being tried for the murder of both a chemist and a secret police agent during his 17-year rule.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Update on Mystery Deaths in Panama

The Panamanian government has pulled a drug from the market that was being used by half of the people who died of an unknown illness. It seems that the drug may have a role in these mysterious deaths.

Check out the whole story here:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Brazil Plane Crash

"Authorities say there were no survivors among the 155 people aboard the Brazilian jetliner that crashed deep in the Amazon jungle."

More here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Update on Brazilian elections

Puerto Rican reporters attacked

Although personal expression through media is not in itself illegal in many countries of Latin American, authorities are often highly pressuring to prevent inethical political acts from reaching the media. This fact is highly visible of the attack on the journalists as they attempted to report a Puerto Rican political scandal.

Latin American Art Exhibit

Hey, this article is a couple of weeks old, but it discusses a new art exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It's all Latin American art from the Colonial Period. The article states that most of the art from that time period was religious in subject matter. It ties in well with our readings this week, i think. Check it out...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"In Rural Cuba, a Slow Road to Progress"

I found this article on the recent progress of rural Cuba and found the mentions of The United States' impact on it relevant to some of our past discussions.

"Supporters of Castro blame the U.S. trade embargo for the transportation woes and especially for the dearth of personal cars. Cuba makes no cars of its own..."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Isolation in the Amazon

Many indigenous tribes in the Amazon region of South America live in isolation from the industrialized world by choice. They are under constant pressure from loggers and developers that threaten to push them off of their traditional lands. Efforts are being made in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador to protect these indigenous peoples. It is believed that there are some groups or people that have not yet been "discovered." For more information, see:

Mystery Epidemic in Panama

Panamanian officials are on alert for an epidemic after an unknown illness has killed 15. Check out the whole story here:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"Significant Aztec ruin unearthed in busy Mexico City"

"Mexican archeologists have found what may be the most significant Aztec ruin in decades, with the unearthing of an altar and a monolith in the busy heart of Mexico City, Mayor Alejandro Encinas said on Wednesday."

More here

"Mexico doubts border fence will happen"

"A spokesman for Mexican President Vincente Fox on Wednesday said the United States will likely never build 700 miles of new fencing along the border dividing the two nations."

More here

New Nicaraguan Canal

Nicaragua announced plans to build a new canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans within the next twelve years. Panama will vote in three weeks on whether to widen the Panama Canal to accommodate modern boats. For more information go to

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Polls show president slipping on eve of Brazil vote"

Brazil's current president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was initially thought to be a shoo-in for reelection, is now facing doubts concerning his victory. When Silva was previously elected, he was the country's first working-class president, a quality very important to the decrease of poverty in the Latin American nation. This article seemed relevant considering our class discussion on how the upper class have been in power for so long in Latin America and the lower class has subsequently had little or no success.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Jetliner disappears over Amazon

Just a little bit of breaking news from the Amazon Rainforest...

full article here:

Friday, September 29, 2006

War of the Pacific Update

Though the War of the Pacific has been over since the 1870's, Bolivia is still sore about the loss of its entire coastline to Chile in that war. Recent efforts by the president of Bolivia to get the land back from Chile through economic incentives is attracting some attention. Check out the whole story:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Brazilian Reforestation Efforts

The UN recently calculated that deforestation in Latin America accounts for more 50% world-wide. Brazil has recently come up with a few reform programs to help reforest. For more information go to

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mexican Drug Violence

The drug trade in South America, much of it geared toward U.S. consumers, is cause for violence and other social problems throughout Latin America, in this case Mexico. This relates to the topic of the Colombian drug trade we discussed in class, as well as the article posted earlier on extradition of Mexican drug lords to the United States.

For full article, click here

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Debunking the Myth of Immigrant Criminality

Hey, I thought this fit in really well with the myths we have been talking about in class for the past couple of weeks. Read the article and let me know what you all think.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Salvadoran lawmakers pass tough anti-terrorism measure

"El Salvador's congress on Friday approved a law that allows penalties of up to 86 years in jail for convicted terrorists, a measure opposition forces said was an attempt to repress dissent."

More here.

"Mexico OKs giving drug suspects to U.S."

I read this article and thought that it was relevant considering our discussion on the dominance of drugs in Colombia. Although this particular article focuses on Mexico (a country much politically closer to the US than Colombia,) it may foreshadow future collaborations with the Colombian and US governments addressing the drug problem.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Life in Prison for Dirty War Prison Leader

Earlier this week, an Argentine court sentenced Miguel Etchecolatz to life in prison for running secret torture centers that killed some of the 11,000-30,000 people murdered by the Argentine government between 1976 and 1983. Check out the story here.

Millennium Development Goals & the WTC

I just found this, so it may have been commented on before:
The UN has released its 2006 report on the Millennium Development Goals. For anyone interested in development (and I'd have to assume that's a great lot of the people reading/writing this blog), it's very interesting to see what these goals are (if you haven't already been following them) and how far they've come to meeting them. These goals are very ambitious but significant headway has been made on them.
More information can be found on the site linked above and also at the Wikipedia site here.

The other thing I would like to mention is that I am currently serving an internship at the World Trade Center downtown. The organization puts on various functions year-round and has special student (and academic) rates. If anyone wants any more information about the organization, I'd be glad to fill you in (though I just started there and might not have the latest scoop). On Monday we host a delegation of Venezuelan businessmen -- it should be very interesting!

Hope all is well in the LAST world there.

High Possibility of Bombings in Colombia

I found this very interesting, especially seeing as I had just researched Colombia for my presentation last week. The US Embassey in Colombia has warned all of its staff to stay away from high-end shopping areas and restaurants within the country, due to the threat of bombings by the left-wing. More information is available here.

Moonshine Kills Nicaraguans

Poisonous moonshine kills twenty-two people in Nicaragua. More at MSN News.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Venezuelan President Chavez Calls President Bush "the Devil"

On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush "the devil" and later criticized the United Nations system, saying that it was "worthless" and outdated. For more information go here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Former President of Paraguay Cleared of Corruption Charges

Excerpt from article at CNN World:
[Former Paraguayan President] Macchi, who led the poor South American country from 1999 to 2003, was convicted in June in relation to the illicit diversion of funds from two bankrupt private banks taken over by the state.

But the appeals court ruled there was insufficient evidence linking the former president to the embezzlement.

"The only thing that the court should have dealt with was whether there was a link between (the plotters) and Gonzalez Macchi. There was no connection, there is absolutely no evidence," appeals court judge Carmelo Castiglioni told reporters after Monday's ruling.
View the rest of the article here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mexican Election

It seems that leftist Lopez Obrador has lost a large portion of his support in his bid to be president as many of his supporters are conceding victory to Calderon. Check out the whole story here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Raul Castro Insults USA

"When there no longer is a Cold War, the United States spends one billion dollars a year in weapons and soldiers and it squanders a similar amount in commercial publicity. To think that a social and economic order that has proven unsustainable could be maintained by force is simply an absurd idea," said Raul Castro, brother of Fidel.

More here.

Feliz día de la independencia!

Happy Mexican Independence day! Due to fears of disturbances caused by demonstrators, President Vincente Fox moved the celebration away from the capital to Dolores Hidalgo. For more information go here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mexico the Beautiful

Here is a link to Slate Magazine's "Pictures of the Day" which today happen to be of Mexico the Beautiful. The pictures are really awesome and depict the diverseness of Mexico.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hispanic Week on Comedy Central

hey ya'll I saw a commercial last nite and I wanted to let you know that its Hispanic week on comedy central. enjoy!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Andres Cabas

Andres Cabas is one of my favorite Latin American artists. The Columbian pop artist recently released his album "Puro Cabas.” He is most famous for his songs La Cadena de Oro and La Guacamaya. In the song La Cadena de Oro, he uses a gold chain as a metaphor for wealth without love and happiness.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Latin American Internationals

I have noticed that there are quite a few Latin American international students here at Tulane. I have met David from Colombia, and 2 other freshmen from Panama. We went salsa dancing the other night at Veracruz and ran into a couple of them and it was alot of fun to appreciate the Spanish music together! Is there a larger quantity of internationals that come from Latin America compared to the rest of the world?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Child Labor Laws in Peru

WOW! I was rather suprised to learn that Peru has just recently established child labor laws. The list of laws contained a list of 26 activities that children under 18 were banned from becoming involved in, including the sale of alcohol and involvement in the production of pornography. A list of restrictions placed on child workdays was also established. More details may be found here.

Costa Rican Surf

The coasts of many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica host a number of world class surfspots. You can see streaming video of current surf conditions as well as a forecast here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mexican Presidential Election

The final result has been announced in the Mexian presidential election. The new official president is Felipe Calderón. His challenger Andres MAnuel Lopez Obrador has threatened to set up an alternate street government. The full article is here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Letchers of Easter Island

While reading some books for leisure, "the letchers of Easter Island" came up in two books. One was The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara and the other was The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Anybody know what this is all about?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Big Les

Why isn't Ronaldinho getting more touches? I hope he tries to play for the U.S. I'll never watch the World Cup again. Brazil loosing was so disappointing!

Mexico's Election Difficulties

It seems that with an election deemed too close to call in Mexico this past week that the country has begun a recount of all votes cast. It is contended that up to 2 million votes were not counted due to inconsistencies such as poor handwriting and extraneous marks. Further, both parties and candidates are claiming their rights to victory. The initial count named Caldron the victor, however, his opponent, Obrador is demanding the recount. Both have said that they will mobilize the support of millions if their grievances are not considered. With such an influential election, one which some say will decide the stability of the country, what will Mexico do?

Monday, July 03, 2006

France Shocks Brazil

France defeated Brazil in the world cup with a final score of one to zero. This was a huge upset considering most everyone was calling Brazil as winning the finals. At this point, there are no longer any more Latin American teams. Portugal, France, Italy and Germany are left, representing the powerhouses of Western Europe.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The new Juan Valdez

Colombia has finally chosen the new Juan Valdez, the most famous face of coffee in the world.

Argentina loses against Germany

Argentina loses 4-2 to Germany on penalties, leaving the field kicking and screaming.

Article here.

Mexican ex-President charged with genocide

Click here for article.

new tourist spot in Argentina

Click here for article.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Probably the most famopus Salvadorean food is "pupusas". They are similar to tortillas but they are filled with all sorts of things and represent the daily lunch for a large part of the population. Here is the recipe on how to make them.

1 pound ground turkey breast
½ large onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
minced1 medium fres green chili
seeded and minced
1 small tomato
finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ pound low-fat white cheese grated
½ teaspoon salt
5 cups flourwater
4 cups
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. In a large, non-stick saucepan, over high heat, cook the turkey, onion, and garlic until cooked through. If necessary, add small amounts of water to the turkey to prevent sticking. When the meat is firm, reduce heat to low and add the chili, tomato, and cumin. Let mixture cook until all liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool. Stir in the cheese and salt.
2. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to make a tortilla-like dough. Divide the dough into 25 pieces and roll each into a ball. Flatten each ball between the palms of your hands to ½-inch. Put a spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle of each disk of dough and enclose it firmly. Flatten the pupusas again until they about ½-inch thick.
3. To cook, heat a flat, heavy-bottom skillet until it is very hot. Brush the skillet with a little oil. Cook the pupusas on each side for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely browned. Serve immediately.


Panama hats ironically come from Ecuador. They are one of the most representative and valuable hand craft of the country. They are hand woven out of a type of straw known as "toquilla", which is why in Spanish their name is "sombreros de paja toquilla". They are mostly woven by the indigenous communities from the high lands, such as the Otavalos. They have been incredibly successful in US and European markets, which also states the reason why they are known as Panama hats. When they realized there was a broad market in the US, they began to export their crafts, however they stoped in Panama. When they got to the US people thought they came from Panama and they began calling them "Panama hats". They have now transcended all boundaries and are easily attainable online or in several stores around the world. You can see pictures of the hats, their history, and even buy one here.

Big Les got mo!

Carnival is Rio's main event. It happens at the peak of summer, when Cariocas are at their best. Festivities attract thousands of people from all corners of the world. Carnaval, as spelled in Portuguese, is a 4-day celebration. It starts on Saturday, and ends on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi-Gras. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday

Big les

Carnival comes from the Latin "carne vale" or farewell to the flesh. It's the period before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. This Carnival is during the same time New Orleans host’s its Mardi gras. Today Trinidad's model for public celebration is the most widely imitated festival art form in the world.

Argentina beating Germany 1-0

Right now, Argentina is trying to topple host country Germany, and leads 1-0 after scoring on a beautiful corner kick by Raquelme.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Argentina Polo

Polo is a team sport played on horseback where the aim is to score goals against your opponents. Riders score by driving a ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. Goals are only valid if the scoring rider is mounted. When played outdoors, each Polo team fields a team of four riders and their mounts. In the indoor variant ("Arena Polo"), each team fields only 3 players. In both versions of the sport, play occurs in seven-minute periods, called chukkers. Six chukkers is considered the norm, but depending on league rules, matches can also have four or eight chukkers. Argentina dominates this sport. To learn more about this check out their national website.


If you enjoyed reading I, Rigoberta Menchu then you will love Let Me Speak. It is a similar kind of an account about a Bolivian woman named Domitila.

Cost of Living in Latin America

"Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are the most expensive cities in Latin America moving up from 119th and 124th positions to 34th and 40th place respectively. These movements are due to the strong appreciation of the Brazilian Real against the US dollar (more than 20 %), which has occurred as a result of solid economic growth and increased foreign investment over the last two years, together with reduced public debt and high interest rates. In particular, the cost of international-standard accommodation has risen significantly in these cities.

Asuncion in Paraguay remains the least expensive city globally, in 144th position with a score of 43.5. Other cheap cities include Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Caracas in 142nd place (score 54.8.), 138th (56.5) and 136th (57.2) respectively.

Puerto Rico has experienced high inflation during the last year which, together with the strength of the country's currency (US dollar), means San Juan is the costliest city in Central America and the Caribbean in 55th position (score 81.4). San Jose is the least expensive in 134th place (58.1). Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is in 126th position (65.3) and has dropped 27 places due to the depreciation of the Dominican Peso against the US dollar."


Cuban Migrants in Puerto Rico

Cuban migrants are accidently reaching shores in Puerto Rico at an increasing frequency. Cubans who reach U.S. territories are generally allowed to stay if they make it to shore. Thought this was kind of interesting.

Tomate de arbol

Going along with our Como agua para chocolate reading, I found a food recipe in a newspaper callled El Espectador. The recipe focuses on the use of tomatos. I've pasted it here along with this link to the website:

Ingredientes para la carne
4 churrascos de 350 gramos a 500 gramos, abiertos en corte mariposa.
Sal gruesa y pimienta negra partida
Para el chimichurri
4 tomates de árbol maduros pelados, cortados y picados finamente
1/4 de taza de hojas de hierbabuena cortadas en julianas muy finas
1/4 de taza de perejil liso picado finamente
1 taza de aceite de oliva
1/4 de taza de vinagre de vino tinto
Pimentón rojo picado finamente
Ají al gusto
2 dientes de ajo machacados
Jugo de un limón
Sal y pimienta
Mezcle todos los ingredientes del chimichurri y deje reposar durante una o dos horas para que los sabores se integren adecuadamente. Ase la carne, ojalá sobre una parrilla alimentada por tizones, hasta el término deseado y sirva acompañada con el chimichurri.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tourism Award for Jamaica

I found it interesting that there is a annual American Express Tourism Media Award that was given to Jamaica yesterday... Click here for article.

Planned invasion of Coca plantations

This atricle is focusing on Columbians who are fleeing to Ecuador as leftist guerrillas and right-wing parlimentary groups begin to fight over the destruction of coca plantations. Apparently, 30,0000 US-trained troops are planning to invade Putumayo and Caqueta states in Colombia in the next month. The invasion is expected to intensify violence between the FARC, which is the country's largest leftist rebel group, and the rightist United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.

World Cup Update

There is currently eight teams remaining in the World Cup of soccer, and Brazil is the favorite to take it all. The top bracket feaures Germany vs Argentina, and the winner of that game plays the winner of Italy vs Ukraine. On the other side of the bracket, we have England vs Portugal, and the winner of that game plays the winner of Brazil vs France. Ronaldo set record of 15 goals lifetime scored in the World Cup coming out of the round of sixteen.

EU summit

Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales, the presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia who are leading Latin America's radical turn to the left, angrily faced down EU leaders at a trade summit in Vienna this past Tuesday. They stirred things up with their remarks, mostly speaking on the neoliberalism they are experiencing now, and their stance on oil. Full story here.

Camilo Villegas

There is a new face on the PGA tour, and Camilo Villegas is one of the leading youngsters. The 24 year old Columbian native was voted one of the "Hottest Bachelors" in People magazine, and has a unique style on the golf course. He was recently featured in GQ magazine sporting some of his golfwear, and is opening the door to the next generation of golfers.

Pedro Martinez's return

This past Tuesday night, the Red Sox hosted the Mets with ex-Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez playing for New York. He recieved a warm ovation from the Boston fans, very much unlike them, and the Dominican Republic native got a bit choked up. He will be pitching for the Mets Wednesday.

International Basketball

China defeated Venezuela this Wednesday snapping a two game losing streak in the four country tournament. They won 78-73 with China's star player, ex-NBA player Wang Zhizhi.

L.A. & Thailand unite

Thailand and Latin America has cooperated together in developing the quality of alternative energy, aiming to reduce the amount of oil inports. They are looking to exchange ideas and information, not only to find new oil sources but to also strengthen ties between the two regions.

L.A. stock market

Latin American stocks fell Tuesday as buyers stepped to the sidelines, wary of making any bets ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting later this week. Local traders said sentiment in regional markets was soured by a downturn in U.S. stocks Tuesday, which added to anxiety ahead of the Fed's meeting Wednesday and Thursday to discuss interest-rate policy. Full story here.

Garcia pitching

Freddy Garcia is starting for the Chicago White Sox tonight against the Pirates and he is looking to be the first White Sox pitcher this season to reach double digit wins. Currently, he is 9-4 with a 4.66 ERA.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In one of our readings there was an article about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He brought fame to Latin America for being one of their most popular and influential writers. His most famous novel, 100 years of solitude, involved magical realism based on the town he grew up in, Aracataca, Columbia. They tried to have a vote to change the name of the town in honor of Marquez. He declined the honor and it did not have the support of the people. The governor thought it would bring tourism to help the economy of this very poor town. Here is the article:

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Colombia and FARC

FARC is willing to start peace talks with President Uribe if he demilitarizes certain areas. They are willing to exchange hostages (including 3 Americans) for captured guerrilla soldiers. Uribe does not plan to agree to any of the guerrilla's demands. ELN has also mentioned peace talks. Here's the article.

Land Reform in Bolivia

This is a Washington Post article on the newest land reforms in Bolivia by President Evo Morales. About 20 percent of the land is being redistributed among the poor and the 7 percent upper class members that hold 90 percent of Bolivian land are not precisely thrilled. The concept of private property that we discuss in class is mentioned, check it out.

Latin American Oil

Analysts are speculating that the United States will face trouble trying to get oil from countries in Latin America in the future. They have said that this might be even more of a problem than the Middle East. If countries in Latin America do suspend oil trade with the United States, it could lead to very high raises in the price per barrel of oil.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pat Robertson and Chavez

During the country presentation on Venezuela, Pat Robertson's comment that the US should assassinate Chavez came up. This is a clip from the Daily Show with Pat Robertson, as well as reactions in the US to his comment. If you like the Daily Show, it's a good one.

New Diplomat in Havana

This article is about 6 months old but it is about the new diplomat in Havana, Michael Parmly, whom seemingly has gained slight approval even from Fidel Castro, because of his new approach to diplomatic correspondence. His predecessor recieved much backlash due to his "bullying" style. I am mostly curious to see if anyone has heard of how his diplomacy approach has manifested in the last 6 months.

Mexican Absentee Ballots

This article is discussing the low turn-out for Mexicans living in the US who have turned in granted absentee ballots. The article also address the small amount of emigrants who even applied to vote in this year's election. I thought it was interesting that out of the Mexican population in the US, so few were considered eligible, and even less are even interested in voting in the first place.

Internet access in Cuba; Cuban books ban in Florida

This week's Oppenheimer report.

Gangs in Brazil

I was reading an article about the gangs in Brazil and the difficulty that they are giving to Brazilian authorities. It seems that just recently, ten gang members were shot dead in a violent exchange between authorities and members. This was right after authorities revealed a scheme of the gang members to encourage and start attacks against Brazilian Police Officers in outlying towns. These members of the First Capital Command gang were upset over the imprisonement of their leaders. With gangs being such a problem throughout Central America this same scene has happened frequently. I wonder if problems will persist in Brazil and how the government can fight these problems.

Brazil prisons

The first in a new generation of high-security prisons has opened in Brazil, in an attempt to stop gang leaders operating from behind bars.

More here.

Mexico campaign

Mexico's presidential candidates are making a final push for votes ahead of the bitterly contested 2 July election.

More here.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The town of Aracataca in Colombia decided not to rename itself in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who was born there. The new name was going to be Macondo, the fictional town in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitud. Evidentally those who showed up for the voting overwhelmingly approved - 90% were in favor. Unfortunately they did not have the needed voter participation to make their vision come true. You can find the story here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Latinos are Taking over America

According to an article by US Today, latino immigrants are driving the population force at an outrageous pace.

For more info follow this link.

Ruben Dario the greatest poet of Nicaragua

Ruben Dario is the greatest poet of Nicaragua, he was the voice of the people during Nicaraguans most conflicting years. Here is a link to one of his best poems “Lo Fatal.”

Infrastructure Problems in Latin America

This article in the Economist highlights the problems with infrastructure in many Latin American countries. Millions of people do not have access to potable water, and millions more do not have access to sewerage. Government investment in infrastructure can be very beneficial to the poorest citizens. However, the national governments often do not have enough revenue to provide many needed services to their people. This explains why Chile has been so successful with privatizing roads, water, and electricity. Many governments are cautious to turn to privatization, because it often causes resentment among citizens. In countries like Bolivia, where oil, gas, and water have been nationalized, citizens may be paying less, but the government falls more and more into debt.

Ecuador ousted by England

Ecuador did the best they've ever done this year in the World Cup, advancing to the second round against England. Unfortunately, their offense, led by Tenorio, was unable to put the ball in the net. A free kick by Beckham ended their streak. Of course, teams like Brazil and Argentina are still in the running, but it's always nice to see another Latin American team doing well in the world of soccer. Article.

How to Fix Mexico City

In this BBC article, it is suggested that immigration will improve safety and that building should be done upward instead of the historical trend (outward). This article has some interesting views, such as caveats against gated communities and their place in Mexico City. No real solutions are proposed to solve the major problems, such as overcrowding and pollution.

Brazilian Music

Do you want to hear what a samba sounds like? or just read up/find other links about Brazilian music? Check out this website.

Red Stripe's A Hit

Jamaica's leading exported beer, Red Stripe, has achieved overwhelming success both domestically and abroad. At the company's recent annual meeting, the company announced the benefits from their improved growth in new markets due to improved distribution and investments in advertising and promotional activities. As for continued growth, the company's strategy is to identify new markets and to target them directly through promotion and advertising. With their goal to bring Red Stripe to locations around the world, next time you're in Bombay, London, or Chicago, be sure to check and see if Red Stripe is available. To read more about Jamaica's Red Stripe and their growth, check this Jamaica Observer article out.

More on Pinochet

I found all the new discoveries about Pinochet and his actions during his rule really interesting. I just wrote a paper on Chile and thought it was interesting to see all the recent developments in relations to Pinochet's rule that ended in 1990. Unbelievable that a world leader could get away with so many of the things he did. Check it out here!

[NOTE: Edited to correct for spelling of Pinochet's name.]


When I visited L.A., California a couple of weekends, Robert took me to a concert that was financed by the AVP. The band's name is Ozomatli; like most of Latin America, the band members and music are cultural mixtures. They have a predominately Afro-Latin sound, and the songs they played at the AVP concert were amazing! I found their Home page for you guys.

Leadership Change in Cuba

Fidel Castro's brother said the Communist Party will remain in control of Cuba if there is a leadership change. See article here.

Lula's Reelection

Brazil's president seeks re-election.

See full story here.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Schwarzenegger Denies Bush Troop Request

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 24) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week rejected a request from the Bush administration to send an additional 1,500 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, the governor's office confirmed Friday. He believes this is the wrong way to go about controlling illegal immigration. The picture shown here is a man who was caught illegaly entering the U.S. is processed by the border patrol on Wednesday in Nogales, Arizona.

Costa Rica and Iraq

Former supporter of the Iraqi War, Costa Rica has recently protested their appearance on the list of countries that support the war. As a member of the "coalition of the Willing" in 2004, the country has appealed its position due to government's fear of citizen's opposition of the war. As an archived document on the US Government's webpage, removal from the list was not possible, according to the US. To read more about this current situation in Latin America, please read this yahoo article.

Brazil's Varig In Trouble

If you are planning to visit Brazil anytime soon, beware! Varig, the largest international Brazilian airline, is in the middle of serious financial situation. Lacking the funding to buy fuel and unable to make lease payments on their planes, the airline has been forced to ground much of its fleet. With flights to South America, Europe, North America, and Latin America, the airline, which has cancelled 189 of its 276 daily scheduled flights, passengers are stranded around the world. Due to the enormous amount of Brazilian in Germany for the World Cup, other international airlines are attempting to find room on their over-sold flights from Europe to Brazil. The Brazilian government, fearing over 30,000 Brazilian being stranded abroad, has agreed to allow the Air Force to fly five military planes to take stranded passengers back home. The irony of this situation is that the airline already owes the government nearly $3.5 billion dollars. With critical flights from NYC and Atlanta cancelled to Brazil, business and leisure travel has been significantly decreased. Using the courts to resolve the situation, many of the flight rights that Varig has for these highly-desired routes will be awarded to other international airlines. So...If you're lucky enough to be going to Brazil anytime soon, be sure to check your tickets to see if your airline is still in business!

Lula's Re-Election

In the midst of Brazil's World Cup domination, the current President Lula recently announced his bid for re-election. Attempting to continue economic development and fight poverty, Lula hopes to use the success of the World Cup and the progress of his past presidency to win over the people of Brazil. Lula is already heavily favored over his opponent, Geraldo Alckmin, the former governor of Sao Paulo state. Stay tuned for the election in October!

Miami loses competitive edge as "gateway" to Latin America

According to this article, Miami, once the top city as the gateway and welcoming city in Latin America has fallen to fourth behind Sao Paulo, Santiago and Monterrey, mostly because of tougher immigration and banking laws and the rocketing life expenses. Check it out.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is a new U.S. marketed video game coming out next year. The controversial aspect of this game is its plot in which one must invade Venezuela and overthrow its dictator and then secure its vast oil supplies. Chavez and his supporters are outraged at the game's blatant attack on him and worry that the marketing of such a game is aimed at setting up a psychological readiness of American's for an invasion of Venezuela in the name of stabilizing democracy and in actuality to secure oil reserves. To learn more visit here.


In Brazil they're building a new highway through the Amazon rainforest. This time, though, the Brazilian government has decided to try to be friendly to the surrounding forest. They are taking measures to conserve and sustainably use the rainforest. Sustainable forestry is good because it produces jobs and money while having the least amount of impact possible on the rainforest overall. For more, see this.

Also, more on sustainable development of the rainforests is here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Latin American Film Festival

I love movies, so I decided to investigate the Latin American cinema. I found the Latin American Film Festival website, and I checked out the films that were featured at last year's festival. The plot summaries sound interesting, and with internet movie rental services, you should not have a problem renting some of them if you desire to do so. Check it out.


Chile experienced years of oppression, torture, murders, and exiles under Pinchot, a military dictator. During this time, many human rights violations occured and Chile is now making a move to punish those responsible for the oppressions. This is one of the stories.

Immigration Bill in Congress

Click here.

NY Times world cup article

Click here.

Mexico's Border Crisis

While we north of the border are freaking out over illegal immigration, Mexico is having its own problems with its Southern border. In question is immigration from Guatemala. You can read about it here.

Venezuela wants Security Council Membership

With the U.S. vehemently opposed, Venezuela is trying to get a spot on the U.N. Security council. You can read about it here.


This article is interesting. It is about ethanol, an alternative fuel and its raise in popularity in Latin Americal. It seems as thought the rise in the price of oil per barrel is really motivating people there to look at alternative fuel sources.


I did a little research on telenovelas after we read that article the other day and I found out that they are bringing Latin American telenovelas to America and translating them. They're going to be on CBS, NBC and ABC, major networks! Looks like Latin American culture is really starting to penetrate into the U.S. Here's the link to the article if anyone is interested.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jamaica's Violence Against Women

I thought this was interesting since we just had a country profile report on Jamaica. Amnesty International urged Jamaica's government on Thursday to confront "widespread" discrimination and sexual violence against women and girls, including better protection for witnesses in rape cases.

US Congress Continues Funding Intervention in Latin America

The title is all you need to know. While Latin America is slowly becoming more and more leftist and pulling away from US influence, Congress continues to cling to the Monroe Doctrine. Link.

Mexico pays its external debt

In order to improve its situation in the global market Mexico has decided to pay part of its debt ahead of schedule. The Mexican government will pay $7 billion dollars of its external debt to the World Bank and the Inter-American Bank of Development. This is one of the steps it is taking to boost its economy that right now is going through times of prosperity. You can see the entire report by going to the following link.

Clemens Returns to face Dominican star Liriano

Roger Clemens will make his triumphant return to the good guys (the Houston Astros), but he'll be faced by Francisco Liriano, one of the best young pitchers in the World and maybe the best Dominican pitcher not named Pedro Martinez. The Dominican Republic is known mostly for its hitting prowess (Pujols, David Ortiz, Tejada, Manny Ramirez to name a few), so Liriano is sort of a rarity in Dominican baseball. Should be an interesting game - here's some video and stats on Liriano


Oswaldo Guayasamin is one of the most representative painters of the indigenismo movement in Ecuador. His paintings trespassed national forntiers and he was able to exhibit them in the world's most important museums such as L'Hermitage. He also became very well known for his murals. His most famous murals include that of the Madrid Barajas Airport, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the Government and Legislative Palace in Quito. He was able to transmit the pain and suffering the indigenous communities in Ecuador are going through which is depicted through his hand paintings and also the happiness and family values through his paintings of mother and son. Here are some pictures of his work.

Guillen Apologizes

Ozzie Guillen made a public apology saying his slang term for a homosexual directed at Jay Mariotti at the Chicago Sun-Times has a different meaning in Venezuela. He says it means a man without courage. Ozzie is well known for being outspoken, and I think he should continue to speak his mind, but maybe use cleaner language with the press.


This is a good recipe for tequenos, which are little cheese filled fried pastries made in Venezuela. Great poolside.


2 lb all-purpose flour
4 x egg yolks
1/2 lb butter room temperature
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 lb farmer's cheese
12 servings
2 hours 30 minutes 30 mins prep

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. Mix all ingredients except the cheese together. Knead to form a dough. Let rest. Meanwhile, cut cheese into sticks about 2" x 1/2" x 1/2". Stretch the dough with a rolling pin, as thin as possible. Cut in strips about 1" x 6" . Wrap each strip around a cheese stick, going around the stick in a spiral, overlapping each turn so that the cheese is completely covered. Pinch the ends so that the cheese is fully covered and can't run out when fried. Roll each tequeno in flour, to keep them from sticking. Deep fry the tequenos in very hot oil, until golden in color. After you have wrapped the cheese in dough, dust the uncooked"tequeños" with flour and fry them in oil. These should fry on med heat. Once they begin to lightly golden one one side turn to the other. I usually do not always deep fry these but rather use a large frying pan and enough oil to fill the bottom of the pan and enough to see that they are half way covered while frying. That's why you have to turn them over to fry. Less oil is better. Also when they are done place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Cooking time depends more on how many can you fit in a large pan. ;) These are (obviously) fattening, but they are delicious! Serve right away. Should be eaten piping hot, so that the cheese runs out when bitten.

recipe by Daniel Aguilar source: Click here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Three recent suicides at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba have prompted outcries against the United States. Around 460 prisoners have been held at the prison for years, without being charged with crimes, and with little hope for a trial. Their names were not even released until this past March. The US has been having trouble with the prison because of torture scandals, and the suicides have only increased criticism of the prison. Both the UN and EU have urged the United States to close the prison. At a summit with the EU earlier today, President Bush replied to attacks on Gitmo by saying he would like to close it, "But we're going to solve it." I guess we'll see what that means.

Castro Fights Corruption

Several prominent officials in Cuba have been removed from office for charges of corruption. Castro has appealed to young Cubans, especially social wokers in the university, to join his cause and carry on his legacy. I find it interesting that Castro is often portrayed as a ruthless dictator, while his main goal is to uphold the Communist ideal rather than simply remain in power, which has characterized many past leaders of Latin American nations. Many leaders have been in power for power's sake, not caring about the fate of their country once they step down from office. However, you've got to give Castro credit; he really believes in what he's doing. He wants to ensure that Communist Cuba works, even after his death. Unfortunately, this system has also been prone to various political and social oppression. If Cuba continues its Communist system, hopefully such abuses will be rooted out along with the corruption.

Rivera frescos at the DIA

Since we're on the topic of Latin American artists, I thought it would be neat to bring up that a very famous fresco sequence was painted in the Detroit Institute of Arts by Diego Rivera. The work was commissioned by Edsel Ford (son of auto tycoon Henry Ford) in 1932. The themes of the mural are the four races that comprise Detroit's working population, and Detroit's main industries; the automotive plants as well as medical, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Rivera's work does anything but glorify North American industry; the images reveal broken down, hunched-backed, sooty workers exiting the soulless metal plant, as well as ominous visions of workers cloaked in gas masks manufacturing deadly chlorine gas. This stands in contrast to the angry raised fists on the desert hills above the plant scenes and the fertile Latin American fruit and vegetable growth. Rivera portrayed the white race as surrounded by broken ruins, symbolizing the decline of Western society. Various subversive details can be found- such as the presence of a sickle and a red star on the gloves of one worker. (Rivera's cunning becomes evident when one learns that there was actually a glove-making factory in Michigan at the time whose logo was a red star.) Upon viewing the mural, Henry Ford wanted to have it painted over; but Edsel (who was a great lover of art) had the final word and emerged victorious in his fight to preserve it. Rivera also considered it the most successful work of his career. Pretty cool. Check it out at the DIA website:

Venezuela Criticizes the U.S.

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela condemned what it called U.S. diplomatic pressure against its bid for a U.N. Security Council seat, saying Washington is trying to lobby Latin American nations to keep Venezuela off the council because it would stand up to the Bush administration. Maripili Hernandez, Venezuela's deputy foreign minister for North America, said in a statement Tuesday that the United States "is worried that a small country like Venezuela can stand up to the empire with dignity and strength."Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government, which has close ties with Iran and Cuba and has opposed the war in Iraq, is competing with U.S. ally Guatemala for a regional seat. The dueling bids are expected to be a test of support for the leftist Chavez in Latin America.

World Refugee Day 2006

Yesterday, 6/20/06, was World Refugee Day. Watching a report last night, it was pointed out that one of the worst (if not the worst) refugee cases in the Western Hemisphere is that of Colombians displaced to Ecuador throughout the over 40-year old war. Here are a couple of websites I found on the topic:
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
BBC News
Amnesty International

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chavez's dying influence?

This article is about the defeat of Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala, who was openly supported by Venezuela's controversial president. Many attribute Humala's loss to the fact that Chavez approved of him in the first place. Furthermore, Chavez plans to endorse a Sandanista candidate in Nicaragua's upcoming presidential election. I wonder if this plan will backfire as well - if Nicaraguans are as fed up with him as many other Latin Americans. However, despite this animosity, it looks like major countries in Latin America, including Brazil and Chile, are planning on voting for Venezuela as a representative for the UN security council, despite pressures from the US to vote for Guatemala for the position. With the US and Chile currently cooperating under a free-trade agreement, what will happen when Chile's policy goes against Washington's wishes?

Sinking Mexico City

Every year, Mexico City sinks about 10 inches.


Dr. Joel Poinsett, the 1st US ambassador to Mexico, brought the poinsettia to US in 1828. The plant, called "flower of the blessed night" in Mexico was renamed in Poinsett's honor.


Dominica, Mexico, Zambia, Kiribati, Fiji and Egypt all have birds on their flags.

Greater Antilles

Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico are all a part of the Greater Antilles.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Spain emerges with 3-1 Win against Tunsia

STUTTGART, Germany -- The substitutes saved the day for Spain, carrying it into the next round of the World Cup.
Trailing Tunisia by a goal at halftime, coach Luis Aragones brought in Spain's all-time leading scorer, Raul Gonzalez, and Cesc Fabregas. And it paid off bigtime in a 3-1 win Monday night.

More on Mexico's border

Here's another article on illegal immigration across the border. A car driving from Tijuana was found with 8 people pushed in the trunk. There have been increased attempts at getting across along the California border. For more info click here.

Mexico's Southern Border

I came across this article in Sunday's New York Times which addressed Mexico's own problem with immigration. Along its southern border, hundreds of Central Americans travel through every year in hopes of finding work in Mexico, and in many cases, the United States. One landowner in Chiapas said that nearly all of his workers were from Central America, but eventually they will migrate north. In cooperation with US pressures, the Mexican government has attempted to regulate this flow, although the terrain between Mexico and Guatemala has made this task very difficult. One man interviewed had the plan to come work in New Orleans once he made it across the border. I wonder if this immigration into Mexico is really a concern for the Mexican government, of if it's all just a product of US influence. From here in New Orleans, I find it hard to argue that we don't need more workers when there is still so much work to be done.

Jamaica's teams win championship

In Basketball, Jamaica's men and female teams cruised to regional supremacy following extensive victories over the United States Virgin Islands and Bahamas on the final day of the Caribbean Basketball Champion-ships on Saturday night at the National Indoor Sports Centre.The Bahamas proved no match for the Jamaican women, who justified their status as favourites, when they easily dispatched them 90-46 to win the female championship for the very first time. In truth, the team never faced any serious challenge.They had a comfortable lead by half-time at 38-26 and with 5:52 left to go in the final quarter they had totally drowned any far-fetched chance of a Bahamas comeback, leading 72-39.

Work in Latin America!

Having those post-graduation blues because you see yourself following the traditional lifestyle of working for 30 years starting in a base position of a US company post Tulane? Want to try a different future, or at least postpone reality? Go work in Latin America. Here is a site that can help. Its ENLACE, the Electronic Network for Latin AmericanCareers and Employment. It is the self-proclaimed "premier job and internship site dedicated exclusively to Latin Americanists." Check it out here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Venezuealan Militaristic Expansion.

It seems that Venezuelan leader Chavez is determined and announced that he is going to buy brand new Russian Fighter Jets. Ironically this fleet is being bought to replace the US made F-16's that the US now refuses to sell parts to Venezuela to fix. This is amidst other defense contracts supported by Venezuela's oil reserves that total over 2.1 billion dollars and include buying new attack helicopters and 100,000 AK 103 assault rifles. Chavez has always been worried of the possibility of US invasion and take over and is not actively encouraging Venezuelans abroad to support this militarization. I find this to be a risky move, yet a humorous one, considering the aforementioned fact about the F-16 parts. It will be interesting to see how Washington reacts to this deal due to the proximity of Venezuela.

Mexican War of Indep. BIG LES

The Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821) was Mexico's struggle for independence from Spanish colonial rule. It started as an idealistic peasants' rebellion against their colonial masters but finally ended as an unlikely alliance between liberales (liberals) and conservadores (conservatives).

World Cup Big Les

Brazil looks to be primed for it's second consecutive world cup with a 2-0 win over Australia. For the second straight game, Brazil's Ronaldinho did not score but they were able to get two goals from Adriano Leite and Fred Chaves.

[Editor's Note: Original post edited to correct name word order and spelling.]

The New paradise of drug trafficking

Interesting article declares that " The businness is so sucessful that it is already compared with the power that it had in the 80s on the Andean zone"
For more info go here.

The End of Mercasur

The end of Mercasur may be a bad idea. According to an article in "Tiempos del Mundo" it is better to reframe objectives from its foundation.

Can you even imagine?

I cannot even begin to think about what it would be like to grow up in a country where the history of your country is taught in a censored fashion. Even though various countries have bad parts of their past, I found it interesting that Uruguay censored this past to make the children believe certain things. Rather interesting....

Migrant Money Sent Home

After discussing in class briefly, I found this article on MSNBC about the flow of money from migrant workers in the US back home to their families in Mexico. With the flow of money, which exceeded $20 billion dollars last year, increasing each year, more people are being impacted by this trend. To read personal accounts of Mexican families or to find out more, please click here.

Tulane Involvement

Hey guys. There's a tulane Graduate/medical student named Catherin Jones who started a project to provide healthcare for Latin American immagrants in New Orleans. She and other graduates who speak Spanish are working as a mobile group throughout New Orleans. I thought it was pretty cool.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Enrique Krauze Profiles Mexico's Lopez Obrador

Mexican historian Enrique Krauze has an intriguing profile of Mexico's left-of-center Presidential aspirant, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Krauze's piece is more of a cautionary tale than a laudatory tribute. Krauze seems to be worried that Lopez Obrador has a bit of the messianic authoritarian in him that bodes an ill-wind for Mexican democracy. Personally, I think that a bit of populist demagoguery in a political campaign (and even in post-election governing) is a rather normal characteristic of Latin American politics and society, even in the "most" democratic among them. I'm not so worried about the possibility of a Lopez Obrador victory as Krauze seems to be for two reasons: First, Lopez Obrador, for all his populist authoritarian inclinations, is a pragmatist. He would not be the Mayor of Mexico City if he weren't inclined to some patterns of pragmatic accommodation. Secondly, and more importantly in my eyes, he represents a breakaway, "democracy-oriented" movement from the entrenched authoritarianism of the PRI. By running as the PRD candidate, he cannot escape from the movement's appeal to liberal democracy. Krauze notes that even some PRDistas (prominent among them is Cuauhtehmoc Cardenas) are nervous about Lopez Obrador, but I think that if Lopez Obrador really breaks the trust of the PRD's platform of democratic reform with any effort to seek to perpetuate himself in power, he'll become as much of a lame duck as Fox is now. And, frankly, should he be elected, Lopez Obrador, in my estimation, is not likely to break that trust.

NY Times article about Mexico's presidential race

Click here.

World Cup news

Yesterday Kaka clinched Brazil's advance to the next round in the World Cup. Their win extends their win streak in the tournament to 7 games (continuing from last time when they won the entire tournament). Their chances are likely again this year that they could go all the way.
I'll be watching and rooting

Friday, June 16, 2006

Latin American Seat on Security Council

The expiration of Argentina's term on the UN security council has led to debate over which Latin American country should occupy the non-permanent seat for the next two years. Venezuela and Guatemala are the current contenders for this position and President Chavez's wishes to see Venezuela win the seat are being deterred by American efforts as well as debates by Jamaican Opposition Leader Bruce Golding. To read more about the ongoing debate, visit here.

Ford in Mexico

This was an interesting article. It is interesting that American car companies are further developing their car plants in Mexico. At the same time, it brings up the point of whether these large scale American businesses are helping out Mexico by being there or just lowering the cost of manufacturing.

Venezuela to Get Russian Aircraft

Chavez turned to Russia for aircrafts after the U.S. banned the sale of arms to Venezuela. Chavez is building up his military in case of a U.S. invasion. This article is really interesting.

Urban Living

This article is very interesting - tying in with what we've been talking about in class about the urban lifestyle in Latin America and how it's growing at a substantial rate. The UN is saying that at a point in the year 2007 over half of the world will be living in urban areas, and one third of those people will be in slums.

World Cup

Two of the games on the 15th featured Latin American nations...
Sweden beat Paraguay 1-0 with a goal in the 89th minute while Ecuador beat Costa Rica 3-0 ending Costa Rica's chance to move on to the second round.

Interesting Interview with Jorge Castaneda

The Washington Post has a very cool interview with former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda. In the interview he discusses the Mexican presidential race and notes the fact that the PRI, who dominated Mexico for over 50 years, are not in the race anymore. The two big horses left in it are Lopez Obrador of the PRD and Calderon (who leads) of the PAN.

Nacho Libre

A movie about a Mexican monk turned wrestler or "luchador" premiers tomorrow. It's called Nacho Libre and stars Jack Black (pictured left). Does the movie seem funny? Sure it does. But it also seems like it portrays hispanics in a goofy way. I haven't seen the film, but with the recent immigration debate taking on a racist tone, I'm wondering if a comedy of this nature will have a negative impact on Americans' views of Mexicans and hispanics in general. Please let me know what you think in the comments section.

Cuba Book Banned

It seems the Miami exile community is at it again with the usual anti-Castro obsession. Under pressure from the Cuban community, the school board in Miami-Dade county has banned a book on Cuban geography because it supposedly portrays an "idealized" view of life in Cuba. Does the book really portray an unrealistic view of Cuba, and if so should it be banned just because of one group's political agenda?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Communism in Cuba

Fidel Castro's brother, Raul Castro, assures Cuba that Communism will remain even if there is a leadership change. Raul is designated to take Fidel's place if he were to die or fall ill. Rumors that politics would change greatly in Cuba if Fidel Castro died are said to be false. Here is the CNN report.

Wikipedia is God

For those of you who did not know, Wikipedia is the most amazing website online right now. After studying The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa, I decided to see what Wikipedia had to say about the author. I found a great article on Vargas Llosa that discusses his political involvement in Peru. The man ran for president! Check it out.

In Mexico, Migration Issue Gets No Traction

Check out this article in the Washington Post regarding the upcoming Mexican presidential elections. The controversial US-Mexico immigration disputes seem to be of lessened attention as the election comes close. It seems that domestic issues are much more pressing than foreign policy affairs, not allowing the candidates to add much weight depending on their immigration views.

Mas Venezuela...

Here's just more on our last Venezuela discussion in class. In this week's report Andres Oppenheimer speaks of December's presidential elections in Venezuela. Though still early to make any calls, this article shows the "openness" (or lack, thereof) of the government towards opposition.