Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It seems to me that Chavez has a lot to gain internationally by taking the defeat while essentially retaining the same degree of power. Remember how there were student protests against the referendum? Those student protests probably were a result of the inadequacy of the political parties and the whole political process in general. Since the students (and the people who thought like the students) couldnt find adequate representation in the political party system, they just decided to take to the streets.
However, after the referendum, although No won, essentially nothing has changed institutionally. Does anybody imagine a figure rising that can challenge the authority and resonance of a leader like Chavez? Can the opposition really act in a manner that can actually challenge the power of Chavez? I suppose that has yet to play out. However, I would be hesitant to say that Chavez has respected democratic institutions. I would say he has respected them because it is politically convenient for him to do so. I guess we'll see.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
As we were discussing in class Parimaribo is kind of a forgotten capital of a forgotten country. Apparently someone took notice long enough to recommend it to UNESCO though, because now the historical center of the city is a World Heritage Site as showing the mix of Dutch colonial, native, and immigrant worker cultures in the architecture. With a total population of 250,000 and few major exports (as well as a river whose silt buildups do not allow large ocean-going vessels) its hard to imagine this city getting much more attention. Perhaps for the best.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Professor Roett participated in a series of meetings, and I attended a luncheon meeting at which the small group discussed informally the nature of contemporary U.S.-Latin American Relations. One of the points that came up during this discussion which Professor Roett made was that U.S. policy makers these days, as most clearly reflected by the frontrunner candidates of each major party in the upcoming U.S. Presidential contest, have almost no substantive interest to speak of in Latin America as a world region. Of course, the one exception to this could be Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, but even then our interest in Chavez is mostly reactive to his outrageous behavior and is still only sporadically on the radar screen. And when US policymakers are engaged with Latin America, it is almost always in the context of domestic issues: immigration, trade, jobs, etc. As a student of Interamerican relations, I have myself noticed this trend and basically agree with this assessment. What is interesting about this trend is that it is somewhat counterintuitive to the trend of the increasing "Latin Americanization" of the U.S., which generally everyone admits is occurring, for better or for worse, to some degree or another. One would think that as we in the U.S. become more intertwined with Latin America, the greater our interest in the region would be.
This discussion prompted me to explore more fully a hypothesis that has been brewing in my mind as of late which seeks to explain more systematically why this may be. I am now in the process of a more formal investigation of the subject which I will hopefully write up in a paper that I will present to my peers for their reactions at any one of a number of upcoming conferences.
My basic hypothesis is that the disconnect between the growing integration of the U.S. and Latin America and the relative disinterest among our policymakers in the region is nothing more than a reflection of the product of a deep-seated psychological discomfort and anxiety that Anglo-America is experiencing as it feels the waning of its cultural hegemony in the context of this inexorable integration and as it thus relinquishes its position of privilege and dominance, especially in the realm of culture, to what Nestor Garcia-Canclini might call a culture of hybridity.
In essence, what I think is happening is that the people of the United States are sensing that we are at a cultural critical juncture in our history, and that this juncture bodes a change that will radically reorient what it means to be "American" - at least how they have come to understand the meaning of an American identity. Thus, I think what we are witnessing in reaction is a kind of policy and attitudinal schizophrenia. We see policy makers ignoring the region at one level, yet obssessing over the region's impact on the domestic reality of the United States at another level. We witness no coherent foreign policy that seeks to engage the leaders and the people of Latin America all the while we see a kind of psychotic obsession with the dangers of the Latin Americanization of our culture and our society, all of which is manifested in a resurgent isolationism (withdrawal from engaged diplomacy in the region, a resurgent economic protectionism, etc.), a reactionary cultural nativism (English as the official language), and strong traces of an ugly xenophobia in the anti-illegal immigration movement the likes of which I have not witnessed in my lifetime.
In essense, we are disengaging ourselves formally from the region precisely because we are becoming ever more integrated with the region. And the more we realize that we cannot escape this process of cultural hybridization, the more we try to bury our heads in the sand in the face of it.
This is a very preliminary and rough outline of my hypothesis. I think, though, that there is clear evidence in support of it and I'll be developing it more thorougly over the next few months. But I wanted to share it here now, and will welcome your thoughts on the subject.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
For the full story visit this website:
Friday, November 23, 2007
Link also has a seemingly recent picture of Pinochet--maybe one of the last. Looks just like your grandpa, a friendly old guy.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
They've updated the site so that now you can hear the spoken language among other things. The description is interesting and shows how Kallawaya is in some ways representative of many small indigenous languages in South America, and in some ways quite unique (in that it is both mixed and secret).
Thursday, November 15, 2007
One of the recurring topics in this class is the difficulties in establishing a stable government in region where revolutions and coups often take the place of political processes. Foreign companies cannot conduct business without adequate security, but only perpetuate the violence by funding terrorist groups with "protection payments."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Personally, I think it is good to see that even in countries where freedom of speech is questionable, students are fighting to uphold the constitution. It is very unfortunate that the outcome was so bad.
This is a story about Brazil which has discovered their largest oil reserves yet. The abundance of oil in Latin America and U.S. dependence on oil produced in the region I feel tend to go overlooked by many in a time when the Middle East dominates all international thought. Chavez is significantly more threatening with one of the largest oil reserves in the world behind him as well.
So, in the span of 4 days Sao Paulo had 4 helicopter crashes, the latest killing 6 (thats what the article above focuses on). The article states that business people often use helicopters sort-of like cars, but without having to deal with traffic. But is the high number of crashes really normal? If anything like this happened in the US everyone would be screaming "terrorist!" and going crazy but it hasn't raised much of a flag in Brazil. Although the guys in charge of the landing flat have resigned.
The article is actually about the recent dismantling of two of these "death squads" by police, but the above sentence was the one that really jumped out at me. I usually consider New Orleans to be an exceptionally violent city--but news blips like this make me feel very sheltered.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
They also took this opportunity to urge for quickening the legal process to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Find the full article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071107/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cuba_un_hunger_expert;_ylt=AuoWt97Is0jTN7lA2nQedhS3IxIF
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Follow this link for the full article: http://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y07/oct07/31e8.htm
Saturday, November 03, 2007
This reflects the changes that have been seen in drug trafficking in these 2 countries- things are improving in Colombia while Mexico's drug trade has expanded enourmously.
Friday, November 02, 2007
This could be one of the most beautiful landscape photo's I've ever seen. Santa Maria is an active volcano in western Guatemala. Its las eruption in 1902 was one of the three largest explotions of the 20th century. One particular vent has, throughout this century, been forming another volcano alongside called Santiaguito.
Volcanos are an integral part of much of Latin America from El Salvador to Bolivia. As much as they represent a geological reality they have integrated themselves into the culture like hurricanes in the Carribean. Interestingly in Bolivia this summer one of the guys told me a story about the tallest mountain in Bolivia, Sajama, which happens to be a volcano. He said that legend has it the mountain fought with another. They threw huge rocks at one another and bled profusely. Sajama won when the other mountain (I forget the name) sent an army of great white rats to dig it out, but Sajama darkened the skies and the rats froze to death. Their bodies rotted into the ground and made it white (which it is, because of salt). Pretty cool that an oral tradition can preserve what was probably a real event this long with no written record.
Apparently, police and soldiers fired plastic bullets, tear gas, etc.
Associated Press article
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Despite blanket bans on abortion with few exceptions, Latin American countries have the highest rate of abortions per captia in the entire world. Could the contradiction between policy and practice reflect a simultaneous drop in public deference to and a sustained political influence from the Catholic Church?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Up for auction until last Thursday, when it was sold to the only guy who bid on it, was a lock of Che's hair and pictures of his dead body. A bookstore owner bought them for $100,000 (the minimum bid) to display in his store.
The, uh, memorabilia was owned by Gustavo Villoldo, a Cuban CIA opperative who aided in Che's capture and cut the hair just before Che was buried. He took the hair out of spite, thinking it was symbolic of cutting off the revolution. Villoldo decided to sell the pictures and hair at the auction house that sold Anna Nicole Smith's diaries.
The son of Gen. Barrientos, the Bolivian president who probably ordered Che's death, commented on the auction saying:
“Why anyone would want to buy this kind of stuff, I don’t know. I would find better uses for my money.”
Friday, October 26, 2007
First of all, Bariloche is absolutely beautiful. I was there in July, perfect time for skiing. The snow and the mountain are ok, especially for those who have been to the western U.S. but combined with the town nightlife, chocolate, natural parks, and lake(s) its really an idyllic place. For those on the younger side and not in need of absolute privacy this hostel is at the top of the tallest building and the staff are awesome.
She is the wife of President Kirchner. Also, she is a senator. Still, she doesn't like being compared to Hillary Clinton.
The election is Sunday the 28th of October, so we'll see what happens!
Associated Press article "Campaigning Closes in Argentina Election"
Thursday, October 25, 2007
"The danger of a massive world famine is aggravated by Mr. Bush's recent initiative to transform foods into fuel," referring to his support for biofuel projects that convert foodstuffs like corn into fuel.
I consider myself pretty pro-environment, but that's a way of looking at it I hadn't thought of before.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
This is the website of a private reserve in Costa Rica across the lake from the Arenal volcano in the vecinity of Monteverde. I stayed there for 4 days doing trail work and stuff. The guest house has a stunning view of the volcano when its not cloudy and you can hear it erupt almost every day. This is just another example of how Costa Ricans are preserving they're land even without the government. The preservation instinct has caught on in the culture as well. Its also a wonderful place to stay (for easy camping, no electricity but cold water).
Despite having drastically different ideologies, Álvaro Uribe of Colombia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela are apparently trying to form a positve relationship between their countries. The two men come from vastly differnt backgrounds, and while Chavez and the US don't generally get along, the article states that Bush has " no closer friend in South America" than Uribe. The two countries haven't been too friendly lately (several Colombians mysteriously dissappeared in Venezuela not too long ago for instance.) And political leaders don't say many nice things abou teach other, but recently the 2 presidents got together to inaugerate a pipeline that is shared by both countries. Politcal instability and war are stereotypes of Latin America, so its good to read that things are changing in that regard.
click here to sign the petition
Thursday, October 18, 2007
It's interesting to see how global commerce affects different countries to different degrees. This is one more illustration of the way the Latin America is at a disadvantage in international commerce. Here's the link: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39080
Monday, October 15, 2007
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 12, 2007
Venezuela’s government has blocked the Spanish pop singer Alejandro Sanz from using Poliedro Stadium in Caracas for a scheduled Nov. 1 concert because he criticized President Hugo Chávez three years ago. Responding to questions about Mr. Chávez before a 2004 recall referendum, Mr. Sanz said: “I don’t like your president. I don’t like those from other places, either.” Higher Education Minister Luis Acuña, who disclosed the stadium ban, did not explain why the government had initially agreed to the concert.
This article was in the NYT Americas section. I found it really sad that even in musical and artistic expression as we have been discussing in class couldn't be a proper outlet because of a singer's outdated comments. Even if the government feared what he stated, his music wasnt directly offensive and they are taking away his personal expression, and because he's a popular artist, odds are other people related to it as well. I guess this is an indicator of the state of Venezuela's political situation currently.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
This article is really interesting- it gives the story of Sandra Ávila Beltrán, arrested last month in Mexico, who is a big player in Mexico's cocaine trafficing world. She's been known as the Queen of the Pacific since she was in charge of shipping cocaine between different Mexican port cities. She has led a very interesting life; sleeping with men to climb higher in the world, and marrying the director of an anti-drug campaign. When she was arrested, she asked to be allowed to freshen her makeup for her mug shot. And she thinks its against her rights not to be allowed to have restaurant food in jail. Crazy.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
I found this article in the NYT americas section
Saturday, October 06, 2007
I'm glad to see that indigenous groups are being given power to make decisions about their homelands--it's just sad that it's such a rare occasion that it makes international news (and that it hasn't happened much in the past 600 years).
Friday, October 05, 2007
In the past, Mexico has not had a huge drug problem- drugs on their way to the US from other Latin American countries would pass through, but Mexico itself didn't have a large number of users. In the past few years however, the situation has changed. The above article, from the New York Times, has stories of towns in Mexico where crack houses are operating alongside small grocery stores and the like and people sell drugs on every corner. There are rehab centers everywhere- and usually they're small houses with one bathroom that about 30 users are locked into for 3 or so months.
I also read that Colombia's drug use has gone down (a country stereotyped by its drug use). Will Mexico take over that stereotype and become "the new Colombia" in the years to come? Hopefully not....
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Here's the Internet Movie Database page on it:
This one is about those very terms, "Hispanic" and "Latino," and how poorly they actually describe the very diverse Spanish-speaking and Latin American demographic.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I found it really interesting that he picked a former US President as someone whose viewpoints he looked up to; he said that when Kennedy said to look to the Southern Hemisphere way back in the 60's he was right on. The interview was kind of biased as Chavez seems to have some very leftist views and was being interviewed by democracy now!. read all about it... http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/09/19/1336214
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Wayna Tambo is a principally an Aymara hip-hop station run out of El Alto, in La Paz. I visited and was a translator for the two linguists as the station interviewed them both live and recorded on why they were in Bolivia and what they thought of the Aymara language movement. Its important to note that the linguists I was with didn't even want to do this interview because they focus almost solely on languages that have fewer than 5,000 speakers (Aymara has I think around 1.5 million). The film crew we were with thought it would be good footage for the storyline.
The Bolivian hip-hop scene is, as one might expect, pretty small, but I think this station speaks a lot to the nature of the Aymara movement and how it has been picked up in recent years by a younger crowd. Unfortunately this younger crowd has made it more of a militant, anti-establishment movement as opposed to a cultural fight (necessary? i dont know). They tend to blame government policy and the white, spanish-speaking oligarchy instead of teaching the language to their children which is what really keeps a language alive. The decision to speak a language is made by childre ages 5-7 when they first start going to school. If the parents are insistent at that age that they continue to speak the language even if just at home, the child will remain bilingual even when schools are only in spanish (or any other dominant language) Anyways, the site is interesting to look at.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
I don't know enough about Fujimori or the Sindero Luminoso to really comment on the situation, but is it a problem that people suspected of things like this can avoid even having a trial for seven years?
3 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus additional for frying, to depth of about 1 inch
2 white onions, chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, undrained and puréed with 1/3 cup water
1 tsp. pepper
2 cups vegetable broth (for a different flavor, use beef or chicken broth)
8 fresh poblano chiles, roasted, steamed in a plastic bag for 4 minutes, peeled, seeded and slit on 1 side
1 lb. shredded cheddar, Mexican Chihuahua, or Monterey Jack cheese
6 large eggs
2 tbsp. flour, plus 1 cup, divided
Preparation: In saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil at medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until lightly browned. Raise heat to medium-high, add tomatoes and pepper. Stir frequently as it boils, until mixture is reduced by half. Add vegetable broth and stir until blended. Cover and simmer over low heat, 45 minutes. While sauce is reducing, fill chiles with cheese. Close each incision with toothpicks. In large pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in dish wide enough for dipping, combine eggs and 2 tablespoons flour, folding in flour a little at a time, and beat until well blended. Pour remaining cup of flour onto platter. Roll cheese-filled chiles in remaining flour one at a time, shake excess, and dip into egg batter. Fry 4 at a time, gently turning them over, 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Cool slightly. Heat oven to 400° F. Line chiles on baking sheet, remove toothpicks, and bake 15 minutes. Pour sauce onto dishes, add chiles, and drizzle sauce over top. Makes 8 servings.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Vincente Fox is writing a autobiography and talks about his relationship with President Bush- saying Bush never struck him as one who'd become president. Apparently they've been friendly for years. As recent posts have been saying, it'd be interesting to see who world leaders would back in US elections. Obviously Fox wouldn't have voted for GW.
I thought another really interesting part of the article was at the bottom- Vincente Fox has recently come under fire for having, in essence, too extravagent of a house. People think he might have gotten the money for it using slightly underhanded means.
I think that this situation is kind of funny only because of its similarity to everyday situations in New York or other big cities. It shows how much we have in common with other countries
New talented youth will give life to High School Musical ¡En escena en Guayaquil! It’s an adaptation of the Disney Channel movie, which will have its theatre version, under the direction of José Miguel Salem and his school Danzas Jazz. This newspaper conversed with the six protagonists who were chosen by a process of 700 youth auditioning.
They are Nicole Rubira, Cristian Illingworth, Fanny Manner, Israel Maridueña, José Acosta, and Martin Guerrero, who interpret Troy Bolton, Gabriella Montez, Ryan Evans, Sharpay Evans, Chad Danforth y Taylor McKessie. The kids commented that they felt comfortable with their characters; in the case of Cristina Illingworth, who interprets Sharpay Evans, she identifies with her character because she likes to sing and act. On the other hand, Israel Maridueña, who plays Chad, comments that his character “is a tough athlete, like him”.
The musical will debut September 7th in the Centro de Arte with 22 young artists on stage; in addition there will be eight principal dancers and 30 extras who will act in Spanish, with the exception of the songs, which will be interpreted in English.
For a link to the original article in Spanish: http://www.hoy.com.ec/NoticiaNue.asp?row_id=276413
And for photos of the cast members: http://www.danzasjazz.com/seleccion.htm
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Apparently, traditionally Cuban Americans favor Republican candidates so both Obama and Hillary are trying hard to win the Cuban American vote. Hillary so far is the favorite because she supports Bush's 2004 policy to limit travel to Cuba. Of course, this claim of favor is disputed.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
That's one thing I haven't thought about in past elections--how will such and such candidate impact the lives of people outside the U.S.? Might seem strange to vote for a candidate based on the needs of people outside your country--but hey, the world is smaller than ever, right?
1. High level of linguistic diversity
2. High rate of langauage extinction
3. Low level of previous study/recording
Interestingly, one of the most grave areas in the world in terms of all these factors is in Bolivia, which can then be split into three sections. One encompasses the high Andean region northwest of La Paz, one the southern altiplano, and planes extending into northern Argentina and Paraguay, and one the tropical lowlands of the amazon basin. Anyways, this and much more on their website here.