Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Since it is very difficult for most Cubans to travel outside their country, the festival provides a means for them to experience an outside perspective and other cultures without leaving La Habana. Part of the mission of the Festival is to enrich and reaffirm Latin American and Caribbean cultural identity.
Wall Street Journal article: "For Most Cubans, Film Is the Only Way to Travel"
The official website
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Silvia Arzate died after soldiers opened fire on the sport utility vehicle she was driving near the capital of Chihuahua, which is experiencing a surge of violence as drug gangs battle each other and authorities, said the state prosecutors' spokesman, Eduardo Esparza.
The circumstances surrounding Thursday's shooting remain unclear.
Esparza said Arzate, who died of several gunshot wounds, had been carrying a cousin in her vehicle who had been wounded in an earlier gunbattle. Her mother was also aboard, but was not injured.
It was unclear if the cousin had been a participant in the earlier gunfight. Initial reports suggested Arzate may have been speeding in a bid to escape from another vehicle that was following her.
The Defense Department had no immediate comment on the shooting.
Army checkpoints in Mexico are sometimes poorly marked.
Many have criticized President Felipe Calderon for deploying more than 20,000 soldiers across Mexico to combat the country's violent drug cartels.
The National Human Rights Commission has documented cases of torture, rape and killings of civilians by solders, and called on the government to stop assigning soldiers to police duties.
The government has promised to do that eventually, but has set no timetable for doing so.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The United States is skeptical of the meeting between the two countries, but is not afraid that their meeting will have any real affect. Some think that it the Russians don't want to engage in anything too deep with Venezuela when they are beginning to renew their relationship with the United States with the new Administration. To read more, click here
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Though initially marketed towards children, Chikys have become so successful and popular that the manufacturing company has expanded its product line to include other treats such as the Yipy (also highly recommended), the Chocolina, and Chiky Blak, similar to the original Chiky, but with a chocolate biscut dipped in chocolate.
Hopefully we'll be able to get our hands on some this weekend!
Chavez also threatened TV stations that show early results of the elections adding futher shadiness to this not-so-democratic process...As it stands now, Chavez's popularity rating is droppping because of currency inflation, almost regular blackouts, coffee shortage, and wide spread crime. Meanwhile death threats to opponents of Chavez have become normal, hopefully it won't scare his opponents, but, we'll see.
To read more, click here.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
El Mundo de Mafalda
Friday, November 14, 2008
Read more here.
Human rights groups from the United States and Spain filed a lawsuit in a Spanish court Thursday, charging El Salvador's former president, Alfredo Cristiani, with covering up crimes against humanity. The case involves the killing of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenaged daughter nearly two decades ago during El Salvador's civil war. Fourteen former Salvadoran military officers are accused of war crimes, murders and state terrorism in connection with the massacre dating back to November 1989. It has become one of the most notorious episodes of El Salvador's 12-year civil war that pitted leftist guerrillas against the U.S.-backed conservative government. Some 75,000 people died. The case filed by two human rights groups in Madrid argues that justice was never done in El Salvador. Two military officers were convicted of murder in 1991 in the deaths of the Jesuits, but were pardoned in 1993 under an amnesty law approved by the national assembly.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Shockingly, events like this is not unheard of in Mexico.
Last week, several circus tigers escaped and made their way into a private home in western Mexico.
In September, an elephant in a Mexico City circus escaped and made its way onto the public highway system, leading to its death of a collision with a bus.
In August, a lion escaped from a zoo and attacked numerous dogs, a pig, and a woman and child riding a donkey in southern Mexico.
Hopefully this situation will be taken under control before another tragedy has the opportunity to occur.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
On the southern coast of Uruguay rests a small village called Jose Ignacio. This town is an up and coming location for wealthy travelers. Once a quiet fishing outpost, Jose Ignacio was a place where only the occasional celebrity would visit. Now, this charming area has become a chic place to be. The atmosphere is almost quaint, with dirt roads, small boutiques, and bed and breakfasts. It has become increasingly popular for celebrities and other travelers who appreciate the European influenced mood of the town, and the miles of gorgeous beaches.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There has virtually always been tension between Dominicans and Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. The Dominicans have horrible racism towards the Haitians wh0 have left their country to seek better lives in the DR. Recently a Haitian village near the border was attacked by Dominicans seeking revenge for a crime that was supposedly committed by a Haitian. Haitians have a typically darker skin tone than Dominicans and the older generations of Haitians speak French and Creole. However for the majority of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, they are third or fourth generation, meaning they look less Haitian and generally speak Spanish and some Creole to their elders. It is harder to live in the DR if you are Haitian because of the racism that is so deeply rooted in the society. For this reason Haitians in the DR generally live in extreme poverty.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thousands of Cubans returned to homes demolished by Hurricane Paloma even as the once-powerful storm dissipated off the coast Monday. The hurricane washed out fishing villages, ripped the roofs off factories, and ravaged roads. However, no one was reported dead. Coastal Santa Cruz del Sur took a direct hit when Paloma struck as a Category 4 hurricane Saturday night. Ten-foot-high waves carried away wooden houses, leaving a tangled mess of smashed furniture and strewn belongings bobbing in the surf. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said that the remains of Paloma were hanging off the north coast of central Cuba on Monday and that the storm was not expected to regain force thankfully. Reports state that in Camaguey province, nearly 200,000 people had been evacuated to shelters or waited out the storm with neighbors or relatives. All but 59,000 had headed home by Monday morning. For some, however, there wasn't much to which to return. Cuba already is struggling to recover from major Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. They caused about $9.4 billion in damage, smashing nearly half a million homes and destroying almost a third of the island's crops. Outside Santa Cruz del Sur, some homes were submerged up to their flimsy metal roofs. Banana crops and other farmland was washed out, though there were no official estimates on the loss to the island's dwindling food stocks.Cuba balked at U.S. offers of aid after Gustav and Ike, and Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura said the country would take the same position if Washington pledged more help after Paloma. "Our problem is the blockade," said Machado Ventura, referring to the U.S. trade embargo, which has been in place since 1962.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Changes are being made. Roads and infrastructure are being developed to improve the life of the populations living there. Trade has increased from $300 million/year to $1.9 billion between the two nations. And further, taking a cue from the European Union, citizens of either country now do not need a passport or a visa to cross the borders. To read the full story, click here.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Barack Obama's presidency will assuredly change, maybe even resolve, longstanding hostile relations between American and Cuban. Obama's presidency could reform the way that the Castro brothers maintain control over the nation of Cuba by loosening restrictions on the island, as communist leaders have long used the embargo to justify the repression of differing opinions.
"They'd have to throw out the whole script about American imperialism", with Obama's campaign promise to ease restrictions on Cuba. A new Democrat-dominated Congress could further exacerbate the Castro brothers' power.
The government's policy towards Cuba, which has been unchanged since 1962 when the embargo was first imposed, is likely to decrease, allowing the Castros to perhaps open up. This in turn would allow Cuban-Americans to visit Cuba more frequently and send money to family and friends residing still in Cuba.
In addition, journalist Miriam Leiva believes that allowing more Americans to visit Cuba on occasion will help to spread and promote democratic ideals, in a time when "urgent change is required".
For more information, refer to this article:
Friday, November 07, 2008
Javier Morena, the boy, was the eldest son of a poor family who sold fruit at a market in the neighborhood of Iztapalapa. This is seen as a confirmation that kidnappings for ransom beset the working class as well as the upper, rich class.
Read more here...
Read the BBC article outlining the issue: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/us_elections_2008/7710855.stm
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Latin American leaders are urging the United States to repeal its 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega embraces Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at a summit this week in El Salvador. The leaders say that the unilateral embargo is unacceptable and harms the Cuban people. The move came after the UN General Assembly asked the U.S. for the 17th year in a row to lift the embargo. The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Cuba and lists the country as a state sponsor of terror. The embargo, imposed in 1962, has been tightened the past eight years.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Day of the Dead in downtown New Orleans. Right outside the famed Cabildo, next to St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans, a brave Tulane student dances with the Mariachi as part of the day's Dia de los Muertos festivities. In addition to Mariachi music, there is a fabulous Day of the Dead altar on display on the 2nd floor of the Cabildo. You can see the display tomorrow from 2-4pm -- and then get some Cafe du Monde beignets and cafe-au-lait afterwards. Here's a shot of the altar at the Cabildo:
The weather is absolutely glorious in the Big Easy these days. Get out to the "Quarters" and check it out!
Friday, October 31, 2008
For more on this, read here.
See the CNN headline here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/10/28/ecuador.court.ap/index.html
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Chile: Achievements in AIDS Fight Marred by Irregularities
Soledad Barria, the health minister to Chile, has resigned on account of the AIDS scandal that has surfaced in regard to the government’s failure to notify people who tested positive for AIDS. Twenty-five people who tested positive for AIDS in 2004 were not notified, and two of them died. This occurred in the northern Tarapacá region of Chile. This carelessness has threatened Chile’s “exemplary image in the field of AIDS prevention and treatment”.
Four of the twenty-five people have still not been notified, as two of them left the country, one is homeless, and another is a mentally ill man. The scandal occurred when 34-year-old Dearnny Aguilar died from an pneumonia. She did not take the antiretroviral treatment that very well may have saved her life. Her husband also died due to AIDS.
The scandal revealed that many people do not return for their results and often provide false personal information. Therefore, this issue is much more complex than governmental ineffectiveness. The Health Committee in the lower house of Congress is considering improving the 2001 AIDS Law, or making it so that HIV tests are not “voluntary” and “confidential”.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Leftist rebels have agreed to exchange letters with a self-appointed group of Colombians to discuss the possible release of hostages the rebels are holding.
The FARC posted the statement on one of its Web sites. The statement was electronically signed by the group's seven-man leadership council. They were responding to a 9/11 letter by a disparate group of Colombians, where they asked the FARC to write letters to "allow us to identify the terms to set an agenda to clarify the route toward an understanding regarding a hostage exchange." The government estimates the FARC is holding some 700 civilians and military personnel hostage. The FARC says it wants to exchange about 30 hostages for as many as 500 jailed guerrillas held in Colombian and U.S. prisons.
unaware of other humans and society?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Read more here...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana have experienced almost daily murders as Mexico is overwhelmed by a flood of drug-related carnage. Officials attribute the violence to cartels warring over profitable trafficking routes.
Read more here...
"Kidnapped Voices" is a program that the FARC is almost forced to allow it's prisoners listen to by a request made by Hoyos. Hoyos finds the families of the kidnapped and allows them to talk to their kidnapped family members over the radio. He transmits a new message once a week and has so far transmitted 328,000 messages. he promises to be there at the release of all of thoses kidnapped to deliver the freedom hug and has so far given 11,017 hugs.
People consider him part of the family for all of the help and hope he has given these families. He selflessly claims that he has no social life and works 20 hours a day, dedicating his life to the people who have been kidnapped so that they can stay in touch, somewhat with their families outside. Hoyos claims that his program won't go off the air until the last prisoner has been released.
To read more about this wonderful story, click here
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Bolivian Congress has agreed to hold a referendum on indigenous president Evo Morales’s new constitution that places more rights into the oppressed majority. Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, stated that he now feels he has fulfilled his obligation to the Bolivian people.
Morales’s administration has often been met with opposition from the middle and upper classes of mixed race. Despite this opposition, the constitution is expected to pass, as voters claim to want an end to the long-standing riots appealing for the constitution, and the issues and failed negotiations that usually ensue.
Morales had promised to only run for one more five-year term if the opposition lawmakers grant their support of the constitution. Both sides had to make compromises after their long debate, and this sacrifice was worthwhile in Morales’s eyes. His campaign in total has been dedicated to bestowing power to the oppressed population, so this constitution is his greatest accomplishment
"Now we have made history," Morales said. "This process of change cannot be turned back...neo-liberalism will never return to Bolivia."
For more information, refer to this link.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
If you've ever been to Argentina and bought one of these on the street, you've probably been craving for another one ever since.
Alfajores are a a delicious sweet found in cafes and kiosks all over Argentina, as well as in parts of Peru and Uruguay. They usually consist of two soft or hard cookies sandwiched with any variety of jam, chocolate, or dulce de leche and covered in chocolate or merengue (apart from the equally delicious maicena variety, made with corn flour and dulce de leche and caked in coconut). If given the chance, give them a try!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
View the article "Cuba claims massive oil reserves" here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7675234.stm
Thursday, October 16, 2008
After President Felipe Calderon announced a plan to attack and eliminate major drug lords in an effort to curb the drug trade, more and more violence has resulted. The innocent have been killed in the cross-fires and taxpayers must cover the cost of this violence in hospital bills and security. To read more about this sad story, click here
This particular article is entitled, New U.S. Citizen Was Determined to "Keep on Going." The other articles in this letter are worth checking out as well.
Hurricane Omar weakened Thursday after hitting the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean with powerful winds and rain. Shortly before approaching the islands as a Category 3 hurricane, Omar's maximum sustained winds had increased to 125 mph, but slowed a bit to 115 mph after moving rapidly away from the islands. The fast-moving storm was picking up speed, heading northeast at about 29 mph. All warnings and watches were discontinued for the Leeward Islands. Earlier, the 500,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery Hovensa, on St. Croix, was shutting down all equipment, which was to ensure the safety of employees and the operation of the refinery. The U.S. Coast Guard closed the Christiansted Harbor, where the refinery is located, on Tuesday. It will remain closed until the hurricane passes and all facilities are checked to be in good order. Puerto Rico and some portions of the northern Leeward Islands, which includes the Virgin Islands, could get up to 20 inches of rain. The storm is forecast to head into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean after crossing over the Virgin Islands and sweeping past Puerto Rico, but hurricane tracks are subject to variation, and such long-range predictions can change.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
However, the decision to pass this new constitution was far from unanimous and there is some staunch political rivalry occurring. One of the biggest opponents is Jaime Nebot, mayor of Guayaquil, who, with the support of the catholic church, managed to have his city reject the charter. However, this did not effect the overall outcome. The charter is controversial and ambitious, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future. To read the full story, click here.
Monday October 13, 2008 the US Coast Guard returned 146 illegal immigrants to the Dominican Republic who were apparently traveling illegal into Puerto Rico. Some of these 146 people have previously attempted to access US borders through the seas, and territories such as Puerto Rico. 11 people are being tried in Puerto Rico by the US Courts for their multiple attempts to get into US territory.
Monday, October 13, 2008
In Mexico, activists are lobbying for the “right to nutrition” to be added to the list of constitutional rights. The motto for the campaign is “Sin Maís, No Hay País”, translating to, “Without Corn, There is no Country”, meaning that Mexico must make nutrition a priority for all its citizens. Currently, there is an estimated 18 million Mexican’s without an ensured food supply, but this campaign is hoping to reconstruct the current systems in place for ensuring nutrition of all Mexicans. One of the most important things they have to do, according to Adelita San Vincente, coordinator of the organization, is lessen their dependency on the United States, in case we ever fail or do not follow through. If that were to happen, 50% of their food supply would disappear. To read the full article, click here.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Click here to read the BBC article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/americas/7664107.stm