Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Most of us probably can identify Simón Bolívar as the Libertador of South America and the founder of the Gran Colombia. But we may not know about his mistress and great revolutionary in her own right, Manuela Saénz. This Quito-born woman was an advocate of women’s rights, as well as the cause of the revolution, and she saved Bolivar’s life on one occasion, which is why she is known as the “Libertadora del libertador”. She is considered by some to be the most historically influential women in Latin America, even overshadowing Evita Perón.
She has inspired a novel, Manuela, by Gregory Kauffman.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Argentina is often considered to have one of the strongest Latin American economies alongside Mexico's and Brazil's. However, it seems they are having problems of their own considering the recent resignation of their minister of economy. Although the government did not give a reason as to this change in President Kirchner's cabinet, it is suspected that a recent farmer's strike might be to blame. Farmers were complaining about a recent government tax on certain agricultural export taxes. The strike, however, was far from minor since many roads were blocked and food was in short supply in some areas.
You can read an article on the matter here.
The US-based, Libertarian think-tank Cato Institute is awarding $500,000 to 23 year old Venezuelan student Yon Goicoechea who become famous for leading student protest against Chavez proposed constitutional changes.
Goicoechea, who says he regularly receives threats because of his political activism, said he isn't particularly concerned about the administration's response concerning the award from a U.S.-based organization.
"The government already says we're financed by the CIA. It already says we're paid by the empire. So if they say it one more time, it really isn't that important," he said.
Here is the article from MSNBC.
An eruption of Columbia’s highest active volcano caused authorities to order an evacuation of 15,000 individuals. The Nevado del Huila lies 122 miles southwest of Bogota, and has a summit of 17,598 feet. The eruption occurred at 11:08 P.M. Monday. The recordings were provided by the Columbian Institute of Geology and Mining. The eruption of the volcano caused the institute to announce a “level red” alert, which is the most severe designation for volcanoes. Do to the darkness when the eruption occurred authorities were unable to know whether the eruption was a column of smoke or spilled lava, but monitoring equipment of the institution confirmed an eruption. The last documented eruption occurred in the 16th century. The volcano stayed inactive for 400 years, with the exception of released steam, until an eruption occurred last year causing damaging mud flows. There have been no reports of damage or injuries at this point.
As Adriana posted earlier, a priest decided to strap himself to a thousand balloons and fly. Unfortunately, while the balloons were recovered in the sea, the priest was no longer attached to them, and officials were skeptical about the chances of his survival. Today, after the Brazilian Air Force covered 1900 miles of land and sea in search of the priest, they called off the search, more or less giving up the hunt. The Navy still has a helicopter and a pair of boats on the lookout, so the government has not completely abandoned him. Also, his family has chartered a private plane to conduct flyover searches; the treasurer of the parish says that "we remain as confident as ever that he is still alive," and that "our faith is unshakable."
This post is to follow up on what I mentioned in class about the oil field discovered a couple hundred miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro Peter Zeihan, vice president of analysis at Strategic Forecasting in Austin, Texas says, "The finds they've got so far are just the tip of the iceberg,'' Zeihan said. "
The whole article can be found at:
Thursday, April 24, 2008
A priest has gone missing in Brazil after being carried away by party balloons. Apparently he was attempting to break a flight record of 19 hours; however after only eight hours, he became missing. He set off for his attempt at breaking the record tied to hundreds of helium balloons and wearing a helmet and an aluminum thermal suit. The balloons have been found floating in the ocean, but as of yet no sign of the priest has been seen. Apparently this is not the first balloon flight for the sky-diving experienced priest. In January he embarked on a similar adventure for a four hour flight. Hopefully this brave and adventurous priest will be found soon, but as of now the outlook is dim. Here's the link to the New York Times article:
Full Article from the Calgary Herald
Full Article from the Calgary Herald
Monday, April 21, 2008
Have you ever felt seen a movie clip, scene from a cartoon of TV show that you just had to let everyone know about and wish they would have seen it, well I have. It was the scream-a-pillar episode on the Simpsons and now that the show is back on air in Venezuela I know that, that many more people will have a chance to see what I believe is a classic scene of any movie or program. The Venezuelan station Televen yanked the show off of air because of its time slot by the National Telecommunications Commission. The commission said that 11 A.M. is designated as family viewing time and the show violated regulations to protect children. The show is now shown at 7 P.M. Due to the failure to comply with the commission’s rules Televen might be fined, taken off the air for three days or be forced to show programs chosen by the agency as punishment for keeping “The Simpsons” in the morning after earlier warnings. The irony is that the show was removed and replaced by Baywatch Hawaii, which features much more than Marge’s large blue hair! In all respect that’s be glad Simpson fans that once again the Simpson family are putting smiles on faces around the world
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The camello, which mean camel, has been the main form of public transportation in Havana since the early 1990s. But tonight the Havana fleet will be replace by 3,000 modern "Yutong" brand buses. The currently used camello is an enormous vehicle composed of two regular buses welded together on a flatbed, holding as many as 400 people packed together. They are pretty hot, smelly, and dirty, though charging very cheap fare (20 centavos < 1 US cent). This change to new buses is just one of several new initiatives of Raul Castro; sort of superficial, but a nice change.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
In Paraguay, where the conservative Colorado Party has ruled for the last 60 years, an ex-bishop by the name of Fernando Lugo is looking to rise to the presidency bearing the mantle of the liberal opposition: the Patriotic Front for Change. A former sheep farmer and the former "bishop of the poor," Lugo is going to be running against Blanca Ovelar, who is looking to make history of her own by becoming the first ever female president in Paraguyan history. In her campaign, she often accuses Lugo of being overly friendly with Venezuela, and supporting the interests of other oil-producing nations such as Bolivia and Ecuador too heavily.
According to the Agence France-Presse, Uruguay has become the first country in Latin America to make gay marriage legal, with the first marriage performed yesterday. This huge law was preceded by a 'cohabitation union law' which was enacted in Uruguay in January. According to this law, hetero- and homosexual couples could live together for 5 years and receive the same benefits that married heterosexual couples receive. The new gay marriages law is a big stop forward for gay rights in Latin America, and is an advancement in civil rights that our country has yet to implement. Here's the link to the article:
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Latin Americans have had an exponential impact in U.S. sports, such as baseball, soccer, tennis, and golf. But what about other major sports such as basketball, football, and hockey, where despite the presence of Latin Americans at the collegiate level, though still very few, the presence of Latino’s at the professional level is lacking. The following figures show Latin American impact as of 2001 in U.S. sports at the collegiate and professional, as both players, coaches, and other head positions.
· There was one Latino manager in the MLB reported in 2001
· Major League Soccer had three Latino head coaches (25 percent), down 8 percent from 1998
· NHL has no Latin American coaches
· MLB has 3 percent assistant coaches
· MLS had the only Latino GM in the men’s leagues. There were no women as GM’s in the men’s leagues.
Reports as of 2001 for Latin American players in professional sports:
· Players at the men’s professional level: Only nearly one percent of players are Latino in the NBA
· The percentage of Latinos and all others players of color remained slightly more than 1 percent in NFL
· At 26 percent, Latino’s participation in major league baseball is at its highest level ever
· In the MLS 20 percent were Latino
· Reports of Latino’s at the collegiate and women’s level:
· Three percent were Latina for the WNBA
· At the men’s collegiate basketball level, Latinos made up 1.4 percent
· Division I football, Latinos were 1.9 percent
· Division I baseball teams Latinos 4.7 percent
· The numbers of male student-athletes in all sports in Division I, Latinos were 3.1
One can see from these percentages that Latino’s are well unrepresented in U.S. sports at both the collegiate and professional level, given the exception of baseball. Though many organizations, such as the NBA, are trying to increase the level of Latino’s, as players, coaches and staff, and owners, there is much room for improvement. Due to the success of players such as Joe Aguirre, picked by the Washington Redskins in the ninth round of the 1941 who was the first Hispanic American drafted into the NFL, Manu Ginobli, Argentinean guard for the San Antonio Spurs, and Scott Gomez of the NHL, more doors and opportunities are opening for Latin American’s in U.S. professional sports. I believe that the best way to get more Latino’s involved in U.S. sports is to first increase to number of Latino owners, coaches, and staff.
These and other facts can be seen at: http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2001/RGRC7.22.01.pdf
Monday, April 14, 2008
This last week I went to Washington, D.C. with my Model Organization of American States class. All semester we have been researching about Panama, the country we were assigned to represent. Finally, this last week, we were able to utilize all our research and hard work. 31 of the 32 countries in the OAS were represented by 19 universities from the US and the remaining from Latin America and the Caribbean. This included schools from Columbia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, and the Bahamas. For those who don't really know how the model works, each country has a voice and a vote in the debate of resolutions. One resolution that my delegation worked on was concerning microfinance. We had to research our topic in order to be able to field topics from all the other delegations and at the same time we had to know Panama's position on topics as well as who their allies in the region in order to maintain diplomatic ties. Here is the link to the model website.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
A while back, there was a post on this blog about Hatians eating dirt cookies as a result of the incredibly poor state the majority of the country was in. Currently, violent protests and demonstrations have been going on against rising food prices in the country. The protests are responsible for at least five deaths and The president, Preval, just announced new rice subsidies that would lower its cost by 15 percent. The money for these new reductions in price would come from international aid money and the reduction of profit margins from private rice producers. Preval's prime minister, Jacques-Eduoard Alexis (picture), is largely blamed for the economic state of the country and just received a 16-1 vote of no-confidence from the Hatian senate. Here's the link to the New York Time's article:
Friday, April 11, 2008
Pratibha Patil, India's President, is about to tour several countries of Latin America, with the goal of promoting cooperation and unity between India and these countries: Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. She will meet with the various presidents and other leaders. She plans to sign accords and significantly increase trade in this April 12th-25th visit. Patil is not the Prime Minister, but nonetheless she's an important political figure in India.
Hilary's chief strategist, Mark Penn, has been caught working on established a free trade agreement with Colombia. Penn was employed by Colombia to get such a bill passed. The problem is that Hilary has publicly expressed her opposition to such an agreement.
With the race for the Democratic nomination approaching its climax this could prove devastating to her campaign. Aside from having her chief strategist disagree with her policies, the fiasco also reveals that Penn may foresee that Hilary will not win which could be conveyed to potential voters in that he preferred to work for his own policy than Hilary's campaign.
From an economic standpoint, according to Nikolas Kozloff of the CounterPunch.org, "It's odd to think that the Penn-Colombia story could exert an impact on domestic U.S. politics" because, "most Americans...associate the country with drug cartels and little else."
It will be interesting to see how Hilary tackles this obstacle and how the media presents it.
If you want to find out more about the murdered Marine and her family's response click on:
Thursday, April 10, 2008
A former child soldier who was arrested in 2002 at the age of 15 for war crimes (namely, being responsible for the death of a US soldier) had his Lord of the Rings screenplay removed from his possession. His lawyer, who was also banned from playing chess and dominoes during their official visits, provided him with the screenplay in order to build a rapport with the prisoner in order to better work his case.
Do to the global rise in prices of basic foods, Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has decided to take the matter into their own hands with sparked riots in response to the food crises. The violence began last week when Haitian citizens burned cars and attacked a U.N. police base in the city of Les Cayes, in which five people were killed. Protests have now spread to areas such as capital, Port-au-Prince. Emergency aid and food donations have been requested so basic food necessities can be sent to the citizens of the nation. Haitians live off of $2 a day which is insurmountable compared to the increase of prices in the past year. The cost of staples such as rice, beans, fruit and condensed milk has gone up 50 percent in the past year, while the cost of pasta has doubled. One major concern of the nation is that the situation is watched very closely so that the protests are not exploited by those with political motivations.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
It seems that the situation in Haiti has not improved much since the popular election of U.S. backed President Rene Preval. Haiti has been in chaos for about a week, with violent protests against the rising prices of food. Mobs of angry protestors have been burning, looting, and breaking. Citizens have been advised to stay indoors while U.N. peacekeepers and police have attempted to take control of the situation. In a public address, delivered today, President Rene Preval beseeched congress to lower the import tax on food and has encouraged the protestors to go home. Haiti is remains in a fragile state, with government officials fearing the worst. Possibly another coup d'etat.
The rising costs of food is creating a crisis situation in Central America, which has 7.5 million undernourished people, informed the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
According to FAO representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jose Graziano, the rising costs of cereals, milk and grains could last five years as a result of demands by China and India as well as financial speculation.
He warned that countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador will observe an increase of hunger due to insufficient food production after the effects of hurricanes and droughts.
This situation allows Brazil, Argentina and Chile, main agricultural product exporters in Latin America, to raise production strategically estimated at 122 billion dollars a year.
For Graziano, the unbalanced distribution of benefits, mostly controlled by intermediaries, constitutes another factor that affects an increase of hunger in the region where 30 percent of the rural population is impoverished.
The official added that raising the production of food products presupposes an enormous challenge for Central America that will require investments in research and production, reconversion and active governmental policies.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
The State Department is talking about raising the travel alert for American tourist to Mexico. This is due to the recent increase in organized crime and drug related violence that has killed over 2,500 in the last year. Most of this insecurity centers in the border state of Chihuahua where about 200 people have been killed since Jan. 1. There are also developing cases about military corruption, accusing soldiers of killing civilians and other soldiers.
here is the link!
Friday, April 04, 2008
Along the lines of Hugo Chavez's popularity with other world leaders, he may have ingratiated himself with the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy is dealing with a hostage situation; a French-Colombian woman who was running for the Colombian presidency was kidnapped by FARC. He has expressed a willingness to personally travel to Colombia to help alleviate the situation, and Hugo Chavez, despite having lost "all contact with FARC" is willing to accompany him on the trip to try and free the hostage.
This helps to demonstrate Chavez's knack for publicity and friendliness with other world leaders. Regardless of his merits as a leader of a country, he is skilled in politics and knows how to market himself well.
For more information go to:
As mentioned previously, there were tense relations between Columbia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The tension was caused by Columbian troops going into Ecuador and killed 22 members of FARC, the Revolutionaries Armed Forces of Columbia and its leader Raul Reyes. This undeclared invasion caused both Ecuador and Venezuela, Columbia’s other neighboring country, to place troops a the border of the nations. After these occurrences, relations between Columbia and its neighbors were poor and talk of war had surfaced. The U.S. claimed that they would not support the war though their allies were involved.
Recently proposals have been declared, such that there would be decrease in tension between the countries and piece. Columbia promised to not ever again assault a brother country. Chavez declared that trade with Columbia would resume and continue to grow. The countries also have stated that they will partner together and fight threads to national stability from irregular or criminal groups. Since the altercation a second member of the FARC had been killed, he was one of the six remaining members.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The FDA just issued a cantaloupe recall for Honduran-grown cantaloupes. The recall was issued after 50 cases of salmonella connected with cantaloupe consumption were reported in 16 different states. The fruit comes from the grower Agropecuaria Montelibano. Cantaloupes from brands such as Chiquita and Dole are also involved in the recall. Honduras is fighting the recall, with the president Manuel Zelaya publically expressing his confidence in the safety of the Honduran export. According to CNN he said to reporters: "Here I have the box of melons. Permit me to make a demonstration." He then cut a piece a piece of fruit and ate some,saying: “I eat this fruit without any fear. It’s a delicious fruit. Nothing happens to me!” Personally, I'd stay away from the cantaloupe in Bruff for the next couple of weeks...
Here's some more info:
CELEBRATE LATIN AMERICA AT THE LIBRARY!!Show your solidarity with the local Latino Community and plan to come out. I'll be there all day, and the family will be there for a good chunk of the time, too. Great music, food, drinks, and family fun. Please come out!
Celebración Latina will feature food, music, and other entertainment, all with a Latin American flavor.
Join us for Latin and Caribbean musical performances from Juan-Carlos Formell, Hector Navarro, Calliope Puppets, Rumba Buena, AsheSon and Casa Samba.
Celebración Latina will also have a children’s area hosted by the Pebbles Center and the New Orleans Public Library featuring art, music and dance.
FOOD & COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Local food vendors will be selling their favorite Latin dishes. Our "Community Partner" tent will promote non-profit and community organizations, many working in partnership with Tulane University, to make a difference in New Orleans.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, please call 504-865-5164
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Here is the article: