Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Republicans See Hope for Larger Latino Vote

Republicans are getting more and counting on more on Latino votes.

Cool Capoeira Video

This video shows two Capoeiristas from the group Senzala de Santos.
Reminds me of the Capoeira lesson we had in class

Mexican Drug War



This article discusses the positive impact that the DREAM Act would have both on the young illegal immigrants currently living in the United States and on modern American society. The author concentrates on the effect that the passing of this act would have on one youth in particular. However, what I found to be most interesting was the opinion of Benny Martinez, director of the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens District 10: “Undocumented students should go to school. Children who are not educated end up falling into a life of crime, prostitution and drug peddling. It will cost the government lots more to incarcerate than to educate,”.
Martinez makes a wise and valid point that, regardless of whether these youths are legally allowed to live in America, their presence cannot be ignored. They will grow up to become a significant part of American society- it's up to the government to decide if they will be given the chance to become educated contributing citizens or doomed to a struggling, uneducated life and remain a detriment to society.


Same Sex Marriage in Latin America


Last year in December, Alex Freyre and Jose Maria di Bello were wed in Argentina, becoming the first officially wed gay couple in Latin America. The legal consequences for their action have actually proven to be positive for the gay community in Latin America. The marriage was challenged, and a judge in a Buenos Aires court found that a ban on gay marriage is illegal. Though this decision has been contested, it is still a great step ahead for gay rights advocates. I hope this trend continues and that social homophobia becomes an idea of the past, like the idea of the Earth being flat.

Caradiru Prison


This article about a massacre inflicted upon inmates by guards in Brazil's largest prison in 1992. A riot broke out, and 111 prisoners were killed. Though many of the deaths were from inmates, many more were likely from police and prison guards. According to the article, 102 bullets were fired. The guards claimed that many were already killed and that they were acting in self defense. From the article: "In the archival images we collected, we see one inmate partially decapitated and another with a hole in his chest the size of a tennis ball. That doesn't exactly scream self-defense." The prison was notorious for its rough conditions, even violating many international human rights. It was demolished in 2002.

Latin American Radio

I have been listening to more and more music from Latin America and during my search I came across this great online radio with music from all countries and different genres:


Technology Brings Tensions to Costa Rica and Nicaragua

Google Maps is bringing about tensions between Costa Rica and Nicaragua:


The Deportation Case of Bernard Pastor


This article discusses the decision of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Bernard Pastor, an 18 year-old recent high school graduate currently residing in Cincinnati, Ohio will be forcibly returned to his native land of Guatemala. It is now up to his lawyer, Firooz Namei, to prove that Pastor should not be deported.
This case hits home with me for several reasons. First, these events are taking place in my own hometown of Cincinnati. My own high school competed against the school that he attended, Reading High School, in several different sports. Secondly, Bernard Pastor is a normal teenager (exactly my own and most of my classmates' age), just like all of us. He was an honor student, as well as an amazing soccer player. Regardless of whether he is technically a legal American citizen, this place is his home. Pastor has been living and thriving in this country since he was 3 years old, and most likely knows no other home. He has been a contributing part of his community up until this point, and shows promise for the future.
I don't know if Bernard Pastor has the constitutional right to live in this country-my knowledge of such laws and statutes is thoroughly limited-but I do believe he has the right to attempt to prove that he deserves a life in this country as much as any legal American citizen.
The drug wars in Juarez have become so severe that hospitals have had to establish their own security system in order to protect their patients. The security system in the Thomason hospital utilizes metal detectors, guards, and a SWAT team with live amunition to keep assasins from attacking the victims they had intended on killing. Investigations in El Paso have shown a startling number of deaths from the drug war alone. Kevin Kozak states, "Juarez looks a lot like a failed state...". This also indicates that the war against drugs is only increasing the problems citizens face as a result of drug gangs stepping up their own defense in response.

One of the things i find interesting about the Tango genre of music is that it originally reflected a negative, pessimistic mood in the songs until the 1910s when it reached America. Tango music then transgressed into a more positive, yet sensual mood. It is interesting how the influence of America reformed the style of music.


Haiti Votes May Be Valid?

This video caught my eye after hearing from our guest lecturer Mr. Guerrier and learning much more about Haiti. I thought it was interesting to be able to get a peek at what voting was like for the Haitians and what the candidates think about the possibility of irregularities with the votes. I hope that this election can go smoothly and Haiti can prosper, but sadly I have my doubts. Here's the link to the video:


The Tico Times

Something that is very important to me is my experience in Nicaragua. Working with kids and bonding with a host family is something I will never forget. When I found this website, www.theticotimes.net, I was very excited because it can give news directly from Nicaragua AND in english which is always nice. When exploring the news stories one that caught my eye was a story about volunteer work being done in Nicaragua. The article follows both a retiree and a young adult right out of school, and their experiences with volunteering with children in Nicaragua. I connected very much to this article because I was in an almost identical situation. Working with these kids in rural Nicaragua changed my life, and through the article you can tell that their experience is changing their lives also. I'm glad to see that people are learning about Nicaragua through the children and bringing their knowledge to the rural communities. I will continue following this site with information on Nicaragua and the volunteer work happening there. I truly hope to return someday.


BP sells stake in Pan American Energy to Bridas

I was immediately drawn to this article when saw BP in the headline. I'm glad to see that BP is doing something to pay debts caused by the oil spill.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Latinos become focus for US army recruitment - 10 Oct 07

The US army persuades Hispanics in California to join the military.

Should Illegal Immigrants Go To College With Less Tuition?

In this CNN article, an issue regarding the education of illegal immigrants from Latin America is addressed. It was mentioned in the article that California is allowing illegal immigrants pay In-State tuitions whereas students from out of state actually have to pay more. To see the complete article,click me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brazilian Favelas Raided by Government

The Brazilian government recently sent heavily armed forces into the "lawless" slums of Rio De Janeiro to drive out powerful drug traffickers. This article connects the drastic action taken by the government to their desire for peace and order during the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

"Night Raid Expected in Lawless Rio Slums"

Plant a Billion Trees


This is a nonprofit organization that aims to conserve the Atlantic Forest. The Atlantic Forest is now only 12 percent of it's original size. Most of the deforestation is due to general human expansion. This includes activities such as farming, urban expansion, and illegal logging. I have found several nonprofits that have a focus on Latin America, but this one is particularly appealing because of its focus on progressive green thinking. The premise of the organization is that an individual can donate a dollar and the organization will plant one tree in the Atlantic Forest. I believe the simplicity of the plan here is key, and because of it anyone can be involved. Thinking about it, one dollar is also a very cheap price for the environmental benefit. With that one dollar, the organization is able to pick the most effective tree choice for the area, buy the seed, and actually plant it. This seems to be a very money-efficient setup. As far as non eco-related benefits go, the reforestation of the area will help bring money to million of people and create thousands of jobs. Overall I am very impressed with this organization and its ease of access to the world's population, which I think will allow it to become one of the most successful green programs.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Mexican-American Paradox

The War on Drugs combined with American foreign policy has created a paradox that undermines the purposes of both. The War on Drugs is fairly simple. One of it's three main components is that the US will do whatever it takes to shut down flow of drugs into the US. This creates tension between the US and Mexico because of the drug cartels that are largely responsible for the amount of drugs floating around in the western hemisphere. The drug cartels are also the root of much of the violence that is hurting Mexico. Violence is one of the main ways the drug cartels are so successful; they are outside the government's control. However, the success of their rule also owes gratitude to the US. The US is by far the #1 exporter of guns and weapons. Arms trade to the Mexican cartels has mostly been underground. However, most of that underground economy is knowingly supplied by US arms dealers. The trade is simply generally done here and shipped to the cartels, rather than directly dealing with the drug lords. The US is only increasing its tension with Mexico by allowing such trade to happen. The black hole of international policy and nation resources, AKA the War on Drugs, only exacerbates the problems these policies pose. By supplying the Mexican gangs with guns, the US only contributes to the problem and prolongs the suffering of Mexican citizens.


Saturday, November 20, 2010


Though Hugo Chavez is a democratically elected leader, his actions are progressively becoming more and more like those of a dictator. Now he is trying to shut down last remaining television channel that opposes his actions as president. Though Chavez did rid his country of the corruption that drove democracy out of Venezuela, he brought a new kind of democracy that has degenerated over time. Now he silences his opposition, falling into the classic model of a dictator. I've read very little on Chavez before today, when I read an online biography. It's really interesting to me that he has been re-elected so many times. The article didn't give much information on the circumstances of the elections, i.e. how equally each party was advertised in society or whether the polls were fair. The article said the elections were overseen by two noninterest groups, one of them being the Carter Center, run by Jimmy Carter himself. If the elections had nothing rigged, it makes me wonder about the people's impressions of him and of the opposition running against him. Either way, he is still around now in 2010, nearing 2011. This will make his twelfth year as president. His actions seem to have become more suppressive as time has gone on, evident by this most recent shut down. A population that can't have a balanced view of the their ruler can't have choice of their ruler, and I am personally disgusted by this most recent development.

This article was a surprising find. It talks about armed forces starting some sort of revolution in Bolivia. They've declared their regime to be socialistic, against imperialism, and anticapitalistic. It's also interesting to note that Evo Morales is defending their stance. Here's the full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2010/11/101118_bolivia_ejercito_polemica_socialista.shtml

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smallest man ever to have lived

, Nelson de la Rosa, finds true passion in dancing:


Possibly the most humiliating event in primordial dwarf history

for more on primordial dwarves:

Mexico's Women on Canvas


"Cuba in Revolution"


Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

After our discussion about Haiti in class, I was inspired to do more research about the state of the country after the earthquake and the growing problem of the Cholera outbreak. Here is an interesting article about the problems officials are facing with the public:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pais Vasco

This was really interesting so I thought I'd share!
In my spanish class, we recently had a discussion about a el Pais (country) Vasco which is a small section on the northern border of Spain where a group of people want Independence from Spain. They have their own language (Euskera or Vasco) and a culture very different from the majority of Spain. In fact, because of the political disagreements over becoming independent, there are even terrorist groups that attack civilians as a way to make a statement. Their differences, as in language, make them pretty distinct as they are probably descendents of people from Georgia. I was surprised that this entire people existed that I had no idea about. It just goes to show how big the world really is.

Pais Vasco

This was really interesting so I thought I'd share!
In my spanish class, we recently had a discussion about a el Pais (country) Vasco which is a small section on the northern border of Spain where a group of people want Independence from Spain. They have their own language (Euskera or Vasco) and a culture very different from the majority of Spain. In fact, because of the political disagreements over becoming independent, there are even terrorist groups that attack civilians as a way to make a statement. Their differences, as in language, make them pretty distinct as they are probably descendents of people from Georgia. I was surprised that this entire people existed that I had no idea about. It just goes to show how big the world really is.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hispanic Literature

What Latin American blog site is complete without mentioning Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Of all the latin american literature that I've read, it's definitely my favorite and a popular classic too. If you've already read it, I would advice you to take that extra step and read the spanish version of the novel. It's definitely a challenging read but it's much funnier than any translations. My AP Spanish class in high school worked on certain chapters but I hope to eventually finish the entire thing. Other authors and poets I would recommend are also Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca. Neruda's poem "Oda a la Alcachofa" was funny to read and pretty creative with his personification of vegetables. If you're looking for a shorter piece of literature such as a play, I would definitely recommend Lorca's "La Casa de Bernarda Alba." A play with a more modern twist would be "La Casa en Mango Street." The play was amazing and I'm sure anyone with an interest in hispanic culture would love it too.

I hope you guys enjoy these recommendations!

Cholera in Haiti

Cholera has been suspected in Haiti since October but officials have just confirmed that the outbreak has reached Haiti's capital, Puerto Principe. There are about 100 suspected cases in the capital. The country overall has had 544 deaths and 8,000 people enter hospitals for treatment. I was surprised to see that there hasn't been more coverage on this outbreak since Haiti has had so much international aid since the earthquake. Cholera is also a very serious disease with a pretty high mortality rate. The entire article can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/ultimas_noticias/2010/11/101109_ultnot_haiti_colera_capital_amab.shtml.

On one hand, it is slightly understandable that a disease of such potency would spread very quickly in a nation that is still recovering. After the earthquake I know that most people lost their previous level of water quality and overall sanitation. Regardless, it is still extremely unfortunate.

Brazilian President's New Economic Measures

Here is an intriguing article about the implementation of new economic measures in Brazil, preparing for a change in government:

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mexico's Desperate Attempt to Stop Drug Trafficking

This is an interesting slideshow from the New York Times, showing the burning of tons and tons of marijuana by Mexican authorities in an attempt to "send a message to the traffickers."


Venezuela's Global Population

In class, we have been discussing how Latin American countries are affected by the ever globalizing world; it's hard to wrap our heads around the fact that immigration is not just taking place on our southern border, but all over Latin America as well. Here is an interesting article about the surge in the global population immigrating to Venezuela:


Monday, November 01, 2010

Salvadorean Cuisine

After eating at La Macarena, I feel Salvadorean food deserves its own blog post. Anytime I go to La Macarena, I order its papusas. The papusa is very much a Salvadorean specialty. It consists of a hand made tortilla that contains cheese and pork meat ground to a paste consistency. Generally there are also beans, salsa, and a mix of vegetables. These can be put on top of the papusas or cooked inside them. At La Macerana they also include banana cream (I think that's what the waiter said?) and fried banana peppers. This dish is absolutely to die for. Their horchata is also excellent. Horchata is a drink made of pulverized rice, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and water. Variations exist from eatery to eatery but, I promise, it will all be good. Another traditional dessert is etol de elote. It is made of water, cinnamon, and sugar, and corn. Through quite a long process, the corn is broke down and blended with the boiling milk and water, with cinnamon being thrown in at the end. It makes for a very thick and creamy drink. Tamales de Elote are also common. They are basically the same tamales as everywhere else except that the corn they are made with has a higher starch content.

More recipes can be found here: