Tuesday, January 31, 2006
From Academy Award winning filmmaker Mel Gibson ("The Passion of the Christ," "Braveheart"), comes APOCALYPTO: a heart stopping mythic action-adventure set against the turbulent end times of the once great Mayan civilization. When his idyllic existance is brutally disrupted by a violent invading force, a man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression where a harrowing end awaits him. Through a twist of fate and spurred by the power of his love for his woman and his family he will make a desperate break to return home and to ultimately save his way of life.
ANYWAY...you can read a great article from the Nation about Evo Morales, Bolivia, and a lot of the issues facing American-Bolivian relations if you follow this link.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Hope you enjoy it!
Oh! and somebody was commenting on the band that performed at the Pachanga...I really liked it! It's definately worth the trip to the club! :)
His embittered battle with California state is first introduced here .
As the Bush administration begins to gain momentum, we see Vicente Fox (about to be up for re-election) go against his longtime ally, claiming that Mexicans enjoy the lack of border control and that to "no country that is proud of itself should build walls." Article can be read here.
Is this interplay between Fox and Bush simply for politics sake? Why does Fox break from Bush now? Wouldn't the Bush administration have discussed it with Mexican officials before pursuing the fight?
Is the construction of a fence a fair move for the U.S.? So many problems to explore...
The article can be found here.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
This article places the blame for the strike on the International Monetary Fund, which recently stated that it would cancel public debt for Nicaragua, while at the same time reactivating an economic program for the country that will require Nicaragua to take another loan package (this one for $100 million, versus the $201 million they cleared). According to the article, because of economic burden placed on the state due to debt repayments, there is little money for public health programs, such as doctors' salaries.
Here is a link to the article, from the news source CommonDreams, which I read but with an entire box of salt, as they are extremely liberal (note the anti-US commentary).
Daughter of Pinochet detained back in Chile
SANTIAGO - The oldest daughter of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet returned to Chile Saturday and was detained on tax evasion charges, after dropping a surprise bid for political asylum in the United States, where she said she lived ``a nightmare.''
Lucía Pinochet, 60, was met in Santiago by a judge who served her notice of tax evasion and false passport charges against her.
The daughter of the former dictator told a reporter for Chile's state television who was on her flight, which flew from Washington to Argentina and on to Chile, that she was ''very badly treated'' in the United States.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
[NOTE: This post is from Louisa Gleichman.]
Friday, January 27, 2006
Morales because he is their first full-blooded indigenous president. This
article discusses his conflict with former military elites in appointing new
military leaders. This shows the conflict between military leaders and those who were democratically elected in Latin America.
[NOTE: This post is from Greg Zissel.]
It was encouraging to see the recent trend of officially elected people coming to office and remaining in office in many of the countries.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Apparently some U.S. troops are suspected for helping marijuana smugglers near the Texas-Mexico border. They say it isn't the first time either; some U.S. troops pled guilty to smuggling cocaine before and are being tried this week. That must send a pretty bad message if we're so anti-Latin American drug smuggling. - Andy
I'm not sure if i made this link right... so sorry if I didn't. If it doesn't work and you're interested in the article, you can find it online under the international section Americas.
Hopefully the new president, Evo Morales, and the Foreign Minister, who are both of indigenous descent will pay more attention to the needs of the Amyara people and be successful in arbitrating between Bolivia's factions.
I am posting a link to the 14th annual Latin American Studies Symposium at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama. The dates of the conference are April 7 & 8 2006. The deadline to register your one page abstract (either online or through mail) is February 6th. It is a great opportunity to gain presentation experience in a conference setting and have a publication under your belt. Besides, everyone has at least one paper from past courses that they might consider presenting. Click on this link to take a look at last year's program and some of the students' research topics. Through the blog or in class, let us know if you plan on attending. Perhaps, we can get some transportation through the University.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
"Chile's interior minister, Francisco Vidal, said he believed her claim would be rejected because "asylum was for cases where there was no state of law". "
"She was taken into custody on Wednesday after being denied entry at Washington Dulles airport because of the warrant for her arrest.
Chilean and US officials said she was being transferred to an immigration service detention centre while her position was assessed. "
The story is quite interesting and worth checking out!
Madres de la Plaza is a group of Argentine women whose loved ones disappeared during Argentina's dirty war. While they'll still hold their weekly vigils, their no longer going to continue their protest marches.
The group of mothers of the disappeared in Argentina is due to hold its final 24-hour protest march after 25 years.
Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed or disappeared during military governments in the 1970s and 80s.
The leader of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo said they would still hold weekly silent vigils to demand information on their children's whereabouts.
She said their "resistance protests" were over because they no longer had an enemy in the presidential palace.
Hebe de Bonafini was referring to the good relations the group enjoys with President Nestor Kirchner who has done much to revoke the immunity from prosecution of former military leaders.
"First we had dictatorship, then those who sold the country, who negotiated," she told Clarin newspaper.
"Now, we are now experiencing a very interesting political moment in the country and also at Latin American level. Those who can't see it are blind."
Wednesday's day-long protest is due to begin at 1800 (2100 GMT), 25 years after the first one began."
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Here is an article about him from Time magazine.
It seems as if Hugo Chavez has an influence in South America greater than we, as Americans, can begin to realize. Bolivians, in their election of Morales, have assisted in the move of South American states to the left, and President Bush is seemingly unaware of the dilemma. Morales had a meeting with President Chavez on Monday, 1/23/06, after Chavez attended his innauguration, and Morales expressed his desire to maintain in close relations with Chavez. Bush was unavailable to join the 11 other head-of-states in the welcoming of Morales to his post; what does this symbolize to the people of South America? The United States, unfortunately, is watching as the powers-that-be surge further and further to the left, affecting not only the economical free market system that Americans have grown accustomed to, but also affecting the political tension between the regions.
Morales takes office under the guise that he will "not submit to any outside powers," maintains that he will work to open relations with Cuba's Castro and Chavez, and has no contact with Bush.
Should be interesting to see how it pans out.
You can check out the story of Morales' election here.
For me, this article is sort of an eye-opener to how little I know about Latin America. I think that K-12 history classes in the US do a fairly good job of covering the history of the US, select European nations, Russia, some Asian countries, the Middle East, and even Africa. But, I realized after reading it that I know almost nothing about the history of Haiti. To better understand some of the key events and people that are referred to in the article, I skimmed Wikipedia, but I couldn’t exactly make out every detail. All I could get was that there was a major split after Aristide. Now the interim government is trying to setup elections, trying to promote democracy, but the elite have raised guerilla troops to delay the elections. UN “peacekeepers” seem to be having little success.
I encourage people who are more familiar with Haiti history to post comments and give a more detailed account of what’s going on right now.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Read the full article here.
For a more detailed explanation go to www.economist.com
For more information, or to read the letter Dorothy's family wrote to Lula, or the letter signed by 24 members of Congress to Lula, go to the Dayton Daily News website.
Click here for the article.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Saturday, January 21, 2006
This link is to a silly map that I stumbled on last semester called "The World According to the United States." I think it's pretty funny, but it is not exactly politically correct, so I hope no one is offended. Despite its silliness, I think there is some value to it-it reminds us that many people in the U.S. really do think of the rest of the world the way this map shows-they just know the simple stereotypes and not much else. This definitely applies to Latin America-many estadounidenses only know about Mexico's tequila and illegal immigrants, Colombia's coffee and drug trade, Cuban communism, and they probably also have lots of misconceptions (for instance, the makers of this map think the Patagonia is a jungle). I think it's important that we LAST majors remember that not everyone understands the region as well as we do, especially when we're thinking about U.S.-Latin American relations.
The article above speaks of issues dealing with Cuba, Neo-liberalism and anti-American resentment in Latin American. With all the recent elections of liberal leaders in Latin America (Morales-Bolivia, Néstor Kirchner-Argentina, Michelle Bachelet-Chile), whom have anti-American feelings, what is to come of the future relations between the US and Latin America- Particularly if we have another Republican President??
Another article in the New York Times, brings up the issue of energy taken from Latin American countries, i did not even realize that the US was so dependent on Latin America for so much of its energy.
"The United States imports nearly 50 percent of its oil from Latin America and Canada, whether it's from Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador, or natural gas from Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Bolivia or Peru."
article available here.
For example, I went to the bank today to make a deposit, and in line in front of me were three Mexican workers by the looks of them, trying to make a deposit or receive cash for a check they had. However, as the situation progressed, it seemed like they could not cash their check because they did not have the proper identification (or perhaps they didn't have the required amount of legal documentation). I am not sure that I understood the situation correctly, but I am assuming I did because they were standing outside of the bank in a sullen, depressed manner. I wonder if anybody has heard anything about this. Did I just misunderstand the situation or are Mexicans being brought up to clean up New Orleans illegally? Does the city have any sort of support system for these workers who have some form of pay but no real way to collect it?
Before, I heard that Tulane actually employed undocumented workers, although they technically avoided this because they contracted through the cleaning service Unnico. I wonder if this is the same case, just on a larger scale.
Friday, January 20, 2006
A Border Killing Inflames Mexican Anger at U.S. Policy
Tight Immigration Policy Hits Roadblock of Reality
In reading the introduction to our Global Studies book, "Latin America: Myth and Reality" I am reminded of an anecdote from Herodotus’ Histories. If I recall properly, Darius, the Persian King, calls a group of Greeks before his court and asks them what it would take for them to eat the dead bodies of their fathers. They refuse, stating that there is no amount of money in the world which would cause them to do such a blasphemous act. With the Greeks standing aside, Darius then asks a group of Indians (whose custom it was to consume the corpses of their fathers) if they were willing to cremate the remains of their fathers (a practice done by the Greeks). The Indians responded in a horror identical to their Greek peers.
This tale points out the great cultural disparities that can arise between people from different backgrounds and how the customs of one culture can be viewed with disgust by another. The introduction to our book points out that when analyzing a culture different from our own, it is easy to judge it based on what our own culture deems "normal." This is an unfair and ignorant practice which has pervaded human thought throughout history. As scholars it is our responsibility to approach cultures that are different from our own as objectively as possible. I’m not suggesting that you should sacrifice your own beliefs, but instead, try to understand where the other culture is coming from before falling into the stereotype trap.
Approaching a different culture objectively and trying to avoid stereotyping will not only prevent the genocide and imperialism which has stained humankind’s historical record but also bring us a greater understanding of Latin America.
Here's the link:
You can find the article at www.latinamericanews.net. It's the first headline listed.
Sadly, I must admit that in my country ignorance and lack of interest in political affairs prevail. Most people, especially those who live in rural areas, aren't worried about whether the candidate will try to pay the (huge) foreign debt, or whether he (we have yet to have a female candidate for the presidency) plans on building a new petroleum refinery in order to export less raw petroleum and import less petroleum-derived products. Suffrage is mandatory in Ecuador and seen by many as a burden rather than a privilege. Most people only listen to the candidates to see who will give them the best and most numerous gifts during their campaign and to see who makes the most promises. Often these are great promises backed up by nothing more than the candidate’s words. There are no plans, or at least no plausible plans. Candidates take advantage of people’s trust and hope, which never die no matter how many times they get let down. Unfortunately, in Ecuador, and I believe it is the case of many Latin American countries, we have fallen into a routine of constant offerings and disappointments.
Comic strip by Quino.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that Brazil, Argentina and his country would move forward on a proposed natural gas network spanning much of South America, adding that the agreement heralded a new era of regional cooperation with less U.S. influence."
A 5,000 mile pipeline, which cost just a little... Chavez suggests, according to the article, that if countries, particularly Brazil and Venezuela switch from gasoline- to natural gas-powered cars...
"This is the end of the Washington consensus," Chavez said, referring to a set of U.S.-backed free market policies meant to solve South America's economic woes. "It is the beginning of the South American consensus."
Since the Washington Consensus can be considered responsible for calming inflation while worsening income/social inequality, what will the South American consensus (represented by this pipeline) be marked by?
This is an interesting website about the drug smuggling problem that exists between Latin America and the United States.
To get there:
1. go to http://www.nytimes.com/
2. if you scroll down, as of January 19, 2006, there is a thumbnail about a third of the page down which is several guys playing drums and has a caption "Brazil in Astoria, Queens"
I didn't know how to put the direct link on the blog. sorry.
Along with any ethnic identity questions racism is bound to come up as an issue. My Aunt is a native New Orleanian - she has lived here her entire life. During our conversations it has come up many times about the issues of racism here in the city. She discussed that as children racist comments were rarely directed at African Americans. The issue was so heated that racial slurs were nonexistent in schools. However, this did not extend to Latin Americans. Since my Aunt spoke Spanish she told me that she was often ridiculed and taunted in school. After my Aunt's divorce a few years ago she also told me that it was important for her to change her name back to her maiden name of Benitez. Interestingly enough I'm not sure my Aunt considers herself Hispanic, although lineage wise she is half Mexican half Panamanian. During discussions with her last week about the hurricane she talked to me about the "hispanics" that she encountered. She even used slurs about Mexicans when I told her about this and other Latin American classes I was in this semester. What I think we often forget in the United States is that racism is prevalant in the majority of societies around the world. Latin America is no exception. Many Latin Americans continue to be prejudiced against blacks and even in many cases other cultures in the Spanish-speaking world.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I graduated from Tulane last year, but I am back with news of how you can help with the rebuilding effort in New Orleans. As a student (okay, and also now as a poor college graduate) I was always frustrated when people ask me to help the community by simply donating money; as students we often have time, not money to contribute. Right now I'm working with the Phoenix of New Orleans (PNOLA). While PNOLA is attracting funding from around the country, there is volunteer work to be done on the ground in New Orleans, and your volunteer time would be invaluable to us. Full time, part-time, once, group or alone, you can volunteer with us and make a difference. Read more to find out what you can do to help us....Oh, and I added a little bit about monetary donations at the end...don't be afraid to send that info along to your parents.
The Phoenix of New Orleans, or PNOLA, is a block-by-block rebuilding project with the mission of rebuilding a hurricane damaged neighborhood in Mid-City. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, this neighborhood was a slightly run down mixed income, mixed race New Orleans neighborhood; today we plan to rebuild this neighborhood as a symbol of national unity. With the support of national donors and local volunteers we can together help the residents of this damaged New Orleans neighborhood be reborn as “America’s Quarter,” a neighborhood unified by the direct support of Americans nationwide.
PNOLA has a strict “no red tape” policy with regard to its rebuilding strategies. With this mentality, PNOLA believes that a small but strong and diligent executive staff, a Council to manage local cooperative organizations and contractors, volunteers, neighbors, and an interactive progress tracking center for our donors to see the changes being made will together successfully rebuild this neighborhood.
The neighborhood to be rebuilt as “America’s Quarter” covers the expanse of blocks within the bounds of the Broad Ave.-Canal St.- Claiborne Ave-Tulane Ave, a total of 36 blocks. This Mid-City area is close to the downtown medical centers, the Superdome, and residents would have close access to the Canal Street Streetcar. Within this space there are 260 homes and 100 local businesses and several empty lots. The neighborhood received 3 to 5 feet of flood water after Hurricane Katrina, and FEMA reported a 30% to 40% damage assessment for the entire neighborhood. The streets have always been underfinanced, but after the hurricane, every car was destroyed, electrical lines were strewn across streets, and a layer of toxic residue covered the flooded surfaces. This neighborhood will not be bulldozed, but it also will not receive much FEMA money. Without your help, this neighborhood will be an expanse of uninhabitatable brownfields. This neighborhood was seriously damaged, but has the unique potential to be rebuilt now.
PNOLA has formed a Coalition of Property Owners and is creating a Neighborhood Registry to determine who is returning to New Orleans, who the local landlords and renters are, and who is planning to sell or purchase property in the neighborhood. With this information, PNOLA intends to arrange sustainable rebuilding project block-by-block.
PNOLA has set a tentative date of February 11 (Saturday) through February 13 (Monday) at 9:00am to put our first group of volunteers, neighbors and contractors on the ground in mid-city New Orleans to construct 36 block management stations, as well of the primary staging area at 1927 Tulane Ave. The primary staging area will consist of a main supply depot, a rebuilding coalition headquarters, a service city for contract laborers, a communication station, and a volunteer support counter.
Infrastructure to be constructed on Feb 11- Feb 13
I. Block management stations (36); 1 per block
a. Ideally these will be trailers, but they may be 10x10 footprint canopies or tents
b. When building begins, each of these stations will be equipped with digital camera, generator + fuel, CB radio, food and water, (hopefully) wireless internet
II. Primary staging area (Block B8, 1927 Tulane Ave.)
a. Main supply depot: storage warehouse for tools, housing fixtures, wood, drywall, etc.
b. Rebuilding coalition headquarters: Provide a physical location for interaction between homeowners, engineers and architects that would aid neighborhood in being rebuilt in such a way that it is historically preserved, flood proof, and reflects American unity
c. Service city: provide services for hurricane victims in the neighborhood, to help them transition back to New Orleans
d. Communication station: radio communication between primary staging area for supply requests, internet access for posting data online, compiling spending reports, activity reports and donor reports
e. Volunteer support center: place where neighborhood members and volunteers can be assigned daily jobs, sign in/sign out
We are also looking for organizations that would be interested in forming a long-term partnership with PNOLA.
PNOLA is in need of volunteers who can assist with:
1. Construction, yard work, debris removal, etc. (any skill level)
2. Food supply/distribution to neighbors, contractors or volunteers
3. Volunteer check-in/assignments
4. Block manager assistance
Volunteers are always useful…whether you can commit to providing people for a month or a day, feel free to contact PNOLA.
The council will be made up of those organizations, businesses, officials and community leaders that have been or want to be highly involved in the process of rebuilding this neighborhood. Each member institution will be represented on the council by one individual who will act as the spokesperson for that institution, and vote on behalf of the institution during council meetings. Member organizations originating outside New Orleans should either have, or plan to have an on-location field office in the affected area.
Each member institution must select a spokesperson that is able to commit to this representative position for at least one month. The spokesperson must reside in New Orleans for his/her term of service. If the spokesperson is from a local displaced institution and cannot have a physical field presence:
1. The local institution must have an established work history within the city of New Orleans, or be represented by an established spokesperson
2. The institution must make a commitment to serve on the Council for more than one year; if this is the case, council contributions can be made online until a physical council member arrives in New Orleans.
Block managers (10)
Block managers will oversee a four (4) neighborhood blocks and will keep the project manager abreast of rebuilding progress. They will also be reporting this progress directly to the PNOLA website for donors, neighbors and council members to view.
Block managers will be responsible for taking pictures and videos of construction and other improvements taking place on their assigned blocks. They will also submit spending reports, activity reports, neighbor issue reports, and contractor sign-in/sign-out sheets.
Block managers will help with quality control of construction and ensure that contractors are performing their duties in a timely and complete manner.
Block managers must also be available to help neighbors with any issues: problem reports, service needs. Block managers will trouble-shoot these issues themselves, or bring them to the attention of those who can trouble-shoot them.
There are many jobs to be done as PNOLA and I encourage all of you to explore the PNOLA website, accessed online at www.pnola.org. I especially enjoy the virtual walking tour of the neighborhood. As the blocks become repaired, photos of the improvements will be posted.
TO NAVEGATE WEBSITE TO VIRTUAL WALKING TOUR:
Go to www.pnola.org.
Click on “sponsor a block.”
Click on any block in the interactive map picture. (Ex: Block C2)
A block profile will pop-up, which describes the street boundaries, donation goals, number of homes and business, status of the neighborhood, flood damage, etc.
At the bottom of the page take a virtual walking tour of the neighborhood by clicking on photos.
COMMEMERATIVE SIDEWALKS PROGRAM
All donors or donor groups will have their name inscribed in the Phoenix of New Orleans Donor Book which will be on permanent display in the neighborhood upon completion. Donations greater then $1000 will entitle the donor to receive a special commemoration plate embedded into the neighborhood design.
Within the new sidewalks of each block, commemoration plates will be embedded around the edges to show visitors who supported the development of the block. Different plates will be associated with different levels of sponsorship and major donors will have an option of a commemoration plate embedded in landmarks throughout the neighborhood including lampposts, street signs, park benches, etc.
All commemoration plates will be subtly integrated into the neighborhood landscape and donor names may be combined on plates to keep an aesthetic, natural look throughout the neighborhood. Too many plates may make the neighborhood look overly "purchased".
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY DONATED MONEY ELSEWHERE, PETITION THAT ORGANIZATION TO SPONSOR A BLOCK
The rebuilding phase needs as much money or more money than the emergency/urgent phase, but many of donors have spent their charity funds on other organizations immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
To insure that these funds are used for the rebuilding phase as well as the emergency phase, we need you to send a message to the recipient organization(s)to let them know that PNOLA is an important part of rebuilding New Orleans and that you, a donor, would approve of their decision to sponsor a block using a part of your donation.
Call (877) 895-1841 for questions regarding the petition process. A web petition can be submitted from the PNOLA website, just click on “Already donated elsewhere.”
Thank you for your time. If you have any questions for me about the UPC housing program, feel free to contact me. If you have any questions about PNOLA you can contact me or Paul Ikemire.
PHOENIX OF NEW ORLEANS
Director: Paul Ikemire
I hope to hear back from you soon.
Meghan H. Greeley