Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ex-Prez of Costa Rica guilty of corruption

Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, who was president of Costa Rica from 1998 until 2002, was convicted of corruption charges. This is too bad for Costa Rica which claims to be more stable and honest than its neighbors. I guess if they are able to convict and sentence him then their justice system is effective.


Duvalier returned to Haiti for money

Baby Doc, the former dictator of Haiti, was exiled in 80s. He returned to Haiti about a month ago causing much concern. News has come out that he is just trying to get $6 million in frozen bank accounts in Switzerland.


Maquiladoras are suffering

Maquiladoras are suffering in Ciudad de Juarez, Mexico. The global recession has pummeled this place. From 2008 to the middle of last year the city’s maquiladoras cut 30 percent of their work force which is about 72,000 jobs.

Drug Wars increasing in Latin America

Drug lords are not backing down despite American response. Drug Wars continue to rage in Latin America.


Many are skeptical of Cuba's "reforms"

Raul Castro says he plans to reform Cuba, although many don't really believe him. They still think it will be a single-party state.


Brazil is struggling

The Brazilian stock market fell to its lowest level since February, hurt by fears that inflation could worsen and spur a tougher policy.


Fishermen killing many dolphins in the Amazon

Because they compete for fish, fishermen in the Amazon have been killing many dolphins. They are becoming more endangered.


Haitians are being forced out of tents

After the 2010 earthquake, many Haitians had to live in displacement camps. Landowners are now evicting many of them even though their houses have not been rebuilt yet leaving many Haitians homeless.


model cities in honduras

Honduras is thinking about creating autonomous model cities to help spur economic development. These cities would be free of government interference and possibly could improve Honduras's and other Latin American countries' economies.


suriname leader returns

The former dictator of Suriname returned to Suriname. Now he's the dictator again.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Brazil Star Moving to Europe?

Up and coming Brazilian soccer star Ganso has been linked in a move to one of Europe's largest clubs, Italian powerhouse AC Milan. http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ap-ganso-acmilan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mexican Wedding Cookies

On a much lighter note, these are AMAZING. "Pastelitos de Boda" are a traditional dessert at Mexican weddings. You can buy them from the grocery store but they're soooo much better homemade: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/mexican-wedding-cookies/Detail.aspx

Drug Cartel Kidnappings

In Mexico, mass graves are being discovered of those who were kidnapped and murdered by drug cartels, primarily the "Zetas." They corrupt the government and police force and citizens pay them for protection more than the pay taxes, according to this article. Anybody who doesn't comply is assassinated. After watching City Of God this week, it's unbelievable that that kind of world actually exists, and it's making our news today. Here's the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/world/americas/16mexico.html?_r=1&ref=americas

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cost of Living: NOLA v Torreon, Mexico

Many of my Latin American friends live in the same town—Torreon, Mexico. Due to this, I’ve become quite interested in living there at some point. So, I took the time to go on expatistan.comto compare what the price of living in Torreon is compared to New Orleans. As you can see from the screenshot below, according to expatistan’s data it would be almost 50% cheaper for me to live in Torreon. Even though this seems to me to be a sad testament to the value of the peso, it does give me a little bit more incentive to look into giving Torreon a visit in the next few years.
One thing about the data really confused me, though. Apparently, clothing in Torreon is 89% more expensive than in New Orleans. Upon further inspection, I realized that the rather high price estimation of a summer dress was skewing the data. However, clothing still seems more expensive there. I’m really stumped—why do you think this is?

Latin America seems a healthy place to live

A short while ago, I stumbled upon this article from International Living magazine about the healthiest places to live. I was a little bit surprised to find that three of the five mentioned in the article are places in Latin America. In class, we discussed a lot of aspects of life in Latin America, such as political instability and extremely high rates of poverty, which would almost lead me to believe otherwise.

However, when I looked at the reasons why International Living featured locations in Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador, it all made sense. “Optimism and purpose, a low stress level, a natural diet and an active lifestyle…”, they say, are they most important factors that lead to a long and healthy life. Latin America’s prominence in the article seems to be a wonderful testament to the lifestyle and natural beauty that is often found in Latin America.

In fact, this article made me remember why I took an interest in Latin America in the first place – the wonderful, entertaining Mexicans, Ticos, Argentines and Colombians that I met during three years of being involved Spanish language immersion camp.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trouble In Brazil

With Brazil getting ready to host the world cup, arguably the most prestigious sporting event in the world, all does not seem to be smooth sailing. According to a new report, it seems doubtful that Brazil will be able to get their airport ready for the increased traffic expected if they continue with their current levels of expenditure. http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6355188/study-says-brazil-airports-not-ready-2014-world-cup

Friday, April 15, 2011

New form of transparency in Chile

After years of negotiations Chile has approved a website that will grant public access to government information. more here http://www.santiagotimes.cl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21242:groundbreaking-website-to-showcase-transparency-in-chile&catid=19:other&Itemid=142

Last Two Speakers of a Dying Language Won't Speak to Each Other

I found this article really interesting after talking about the indigenous culture in South America. Ayapaneco has been spoken in Mexico for centuries and is in danger of dying out because the last two speakers refuse to speak to each other. It is fascinating to see how traditional cultures are dying out due to the influence of more mainstream languages and society.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mt Roraima

Check out the beauty of Mt Roraima. This mountain includes the triple border of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana! It's definitely a sight to see.

Drug traffickers trying to save their souls

This is an interesting article on a topic I'd never heard about before. It was recently brought to attention in Mexico that many Roman Catholic chapels and churches are being funded by drug lords. It's been an ongoing controversy in Mexico over the church's long-time link with drug cartels. Some churches are trying to purge themselves of the money from drug traffickers while others are saying it doesn't matter where the money comes from; it's a place to worship. Here's the article that talks about it more in depth: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/world/americas/07church.html?_r=1&ref=americas

Dancing in Latin America

We've talked about a lot of different dance styles that have originated in many latin american countries over the last few months, but I still wasn't exactly sure what many of them actually were. This website does a good job of giving the gist of the inspiration behind each dance and how to do them: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/latin-dance-salsa-jive-and-cha-cha-cha.html

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


A delicious thing to snack on are some tostones. If you ever find yourself near a good cuban restaurant make sure to try this tasty dish.


World Futbol Rankings

New world soccer ratings have come out with Latin American power houses Brazil (3) and Argentina (5) both looking strong in the top 10.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mexican Violence

Here is an interesting article from CNN on "Why Mexico's Violence is America's Problem" http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/11/kumar.el.paso.juarez/index.html

Monday, April 11, 2011

Haiti's teen tennis star

Of all we have learned about in class about Haiti I recall mostly negative and heartbreaking stories and facts. Here is an uplifting story about a girl from Haiti...


Runoff likely in tight Peruvian presidential race

The Peruvian presidential race looks like it will be very close and could be decided by a runoff. Ollanta Humala is likely to receive the most votes in the first round of Peru's Presidential elections, but he is not likely to receive enough votes to avoid a runoff. Read more here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brazil Mourns Children Gunned Down at School

While looking for information on my country profile report coming up this week I came across this article on Brazil. Although violence it is not something we like to hear about, this is a current event in Brazil right now.



Of all things, the last thing I would have associated with Latin America is legos, but it seems that Brazil has just set the record for the tallest lego tower. This world record was stolen from Chile on April 10th, as a structure over 100 feet tall was constructed over 4 days in the parking lot of a grocery store.lego-1.jpg

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Brazilian School Shooting

A former student opened fire at a school in Brazil and was caught on tape by the school's security camera. The shooter, Wellington de Oliviera, told security upon his arrival that he was there to deliver a speech but opened fire indiscriminately upon the students soon after.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

US Ambassador Unwelcome in Ecuador

Recently, the Ecuadoran government stated that the US Ambassador for that region, Heather Hodges, was no longer welcome. She was told to leave immediately. The country claims this act was not done against the US but against the actions of an unsatisfactory diplomat--a cable had been leaked saying there was corruption among high command police which the president was aware of. The president was outraged by these accusations. Read More

Tierra del Fuego

When one thinks of natural wonders in South America, most think of either the Amazon River or the Andes Mountain Range. However, South America is rich in natural wonders that many people have no idea exist. One excellent example is Tierra del Fuego. Tierra del Fuego is the archipelago separated from the rest of South America by the Strait of Magellan. The main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, is owned by both Chile and Argentina, both of which have settlements on the island. Though the island may be separated, the unique flora and fauna can be found everywhere. Though the climate is very cold, there are six species of trees that grow there. These trees have actually been replanted in places with a similar climate in which people once thought nothing would grow. The fauna is diverse and interesting, including the Austral Parakeet, the Firecrown Hummingbird, and the condor. Along with these, there are Sea Run Brown Trout, which make Tierra del Fuego one of the best places for trout fishing in the world. For more information, visit this website.

Bodies Found as Mexicans March Against Drug Violence

Protests in more than 20 Mexican cities against drug-related violence have been interrupted by news of the discovery of 59 bodies. Read more about the bodies found in the following article!

At Least a Dozen Dead in Brazil School Shooting

Police guarded the perimeter of a school in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday after a gunman opened fire, killing at least 12 people.Police guarded the perimeter of a school in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday after a gunman opened fire, killing at least 12 people.

A gunman opened fire in an elementary school in Rio de Janeiro and at least 13 people are dead, authorities said.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

7 Injured in Gunfight at Hot Dog Stand

http://www.latinamericanews.net/story/765085/ht/7-hurt-in-shooting-at-hot-dog-stand-in-Venezuela A hot dog stand in Venezuela was the sight of a gunfight that left 7 people injured. The injured included 3 police officials, 3 pedestrians and the vendors son. The gunfight was rumored to have been started because the vendor put mustard on one of the hot dogs, or the officers refused to pay.

Lollapalooza in Chile

Every summer, a music festival called Lollapalooza is held in my hometown--Chicago. Turns out that this festival is also celebrated in Chile! Just as in the United States, Chileans have gained interest in tough female rappers. In Santiago, Jane's Addiction along with several other female hip hop artists headlined the show. There is talk of sending these Latin American rap stars to New York City in the near future! For more information, follow the link below...




In the online article above, it mentions that President Chavez was given a prestigious journalism award (Rodolfo Walsh journalism award) from Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Plata "for his unquestionable and authentic commitment to support the freedom of peoples."
I found this very ironic because I did my country profile report on Venezuela and my current issue was on the media being censored and how freedom of speech is diminishing.

Paraguayan Polka

Also known as "danza Paraguaya," the Paraguayan polka is a popular music style created in the 19th century. Paraguayan polka is very different than regular polka music, as it is vibrant, upbeat, and exciting. It combines two different types of rhythms. There are several different versions of the Paraguayan polka, such as "polca popo" and "polca saraki." It is danced in pairs by linking arms. For more information, visit this site.

News in Haiti


Martelly Wins

I can not not believe that a man described as "'Sweet Mickey', a popular kompa singer who enthralled his fans with a bad-boy antics on stage that cursed and swayed with a bottle of Barbancourt rum in his hands and on occasion, mooned his audience" is the President of Haiti. After all of the turmoil occurring in Haiti they need a leader that is a true politician not some phony. They need a leader that will guide them out of the economic rut they are in.


"Preliminary results: Michel Martelly beats Mirlande Manigat in Haiti"

This article discusses the results of Haiti's election for a new president, held last month. Martelly is best known for being a carnival musician, and has the nickname of Tete Kale, or Bald Head. Results have been delayed due to fraud but the final decision is expected next week.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Tea from South America

I was sick this past week and my friend's mom was in town who is from South America. She gave me this tea, and it was so good! They give it to people in South America when they suffer from colds etc. Try it when your sick.


New sense of hope in the City of God

Who would think that the opening of a town center for the elderly would be able to bring a rebirth of hope for a community? This article explains how exactly that happened in the shanty town that was portrayed in the City of God.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez Resigns After Wikileak

Chávez is the second attorney general to resign under Calderón. His resignation reflects the growing influence of the media on politics. As the media becomes more technologically advanced, political figures must become increasingly aware of and accountable for their actions. This clearly has both positive and negative effects. Read more here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

An Example of Changing Attitudes...


Brazilian Tire Factory Sold For Almost 100 Million Dollars

Titan closes $98.6 million deal for Goodyear assets in Latin America

Two New Freshwater Stingrays Discovered in the Amazon


Quino - Argentine Cartoonist


Gold Mines in Colombia


Chile Re-opens Copper Refinery

Chile reversed Wednesday's decision to freeze operations at the Las Ventanas copper refinery and smelter. http://www.santiagotimes.cl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21114:chiles-las-ventanas-copper-plant-shutteredthen-reopenedby-local-court-&catid=44:environmental&Itemid=40

Hugo Chavez Given Free Press Award in Argentina

Chavez has always been a controversial figure, especially here in the US. Widespread opinions here question his "democracy" claiming it leans more towards authoritarian. Chavez has been known to censor the media so many are surprised that he has received this award. The Rodolfo Walsh is given to people who advance freedom of the press. Read More

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chavez Seeks Re-Election

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reaffirmed his plans to seek re-election in 2012 and warned supporters the alternative to his Bolivarian socialist revolution could be a return to capitalism and imperialism. Read more about Chavez's plan in the this article!

Gallo Pinto

Ticans eat this every day, sometimes for every meal. It's so amazing, usually eaten as a supplement to some type of meat or soup and platanos fritos. They also add it to their breakfast, it's pretty much a staple to a costariccense diet. Here's the recipe: http://costa-rica-guide.com/travel/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=282&Itemid=489

José Hernández

Born José Rafael Hernández y Pueyrredón on November 10, 1834, José Hernández was a prominent Argentinian journalist, poet, and politician. He was best known for his poem "Martín Fierro," which was essentially a protest against the current Argentinian president, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. The poem was translated into over 70 languages and has become a symbol of the Argentinian identity. Hernández also founded El Río de la Plata, an Argentinian newspaper which was based on his federalist political views. Hernández died on October 21, 1886 of heart disease.

Sex Tourism Involving Children

In Acapulco, Mexico children are being trapped in prostituion. Many of the children leave abusive homes or are in extreme poverty. A lot of other children are unwillingly put into prostitution by "pimps." The children are all extremely drugged and do not know what is going on most of the time. They continue to drug them so they do not realize their circumstances. Most of the customers are foreigners who arrive on cruise ships or are staying at nearby resorts. Shelters have been started to save these children and provide them with health and psychological needs.


#1 drug trafficker captured in Guatemala

Yesterday, Juan Ortiz Lopez was arrested at his house with two other alleged accomplices. Ortiz has been monitored by the FBI and DEA for quite some time now. Since 2007, it has been reported that he smuggled almost 4 tons of cocaine into Florida. For more information on this article, follow the link below!


Haiti Halts Elections

Everyone knew that Aristide coming back to Haiti could cause problems in the upcoming election, but they will have to wait for the answer as Haiti has been forced to put the elections of hold due to accounts of fraud. This article explains what has happened.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Arepas are among my favorite of all of the foods from Latin America that I've had so far. I stumbled upon this blog post , which compares Colombian arepas to Venezuelan arepas. I've only ever had arepas the Venezuelan way, so I found this article extremely interesting. I hope this inspires you to either find arepas in your area, or try your hand at making them yourself.

Paraguay Defeats U.S. 1-0

Paraguay's soccer team defeated the U.S. 1-0 in a friendly played in Nashville. Oscar Cardozo scored the only goal in the 18th minute by deflecting a shot fromVictor Hugo Mareca. Michael Bradley almost equalized in the second half, but Paraguay was able to hold onto the 1-0 lead. http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/latinamerica/story/united-states-remains-winless-after-paraguay-friendly-defeat

Monday, March 28, 2011

Resignation Shows U.S.-Mexico Divide on Role

MEXICO CITY — Carlos Pascual, the American ambassador here who resigned last week, had hoped to withstand the fierce storm caused by the release of diplomatic cables revealing his private criticism of Mexico’s fight against organized crime....


Chipotle Vodka, More From Mexico Than Moscow

Several years ago Lance Winters, the head distiller for Hangar One in California, concocted a limited batch of chipotle vodka by infusing fresh, dried and smoked chilies. The demand outpaced supply. Finally, he has been able to triple the production, and the vodka is now being sold across the country. In addition to japaleños and chipotles (smoked jalapeños), he also uses habaneros for heat, and bell peppers for vegetal richness. The result, 80 proof, has a pale straw color, peppery complexity, haunting smoke and an almost tequilalike greenness to the flavor, making it a spirit to savor on the rocks, to mix in a bloody mary or margarita or to season ceviche.

Hangar One Chipotle Vodka is $38 for 750 milliliters at Park Avenue Liquor Shop; $32.99 at Prospect Wine Shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn; and $29.99 from klwines.com.

In Colombia, New Gold Rush Fuels Old Conflict


Sunday, March 27, 2011

'American dream' in Chile


“It means paying attention in class every day... It means listening to your teachers. It means doing every assignment, and always, always doing your very best. It means taking some risks, it means trying something new, it means trying something hard, not being afraid to make mistakes. And it means asking questions when you don’t understand something, because that’s really how you learn.”- Michelle Obama
I found this quote in the article to be particularly motivational and something that I know my two young female students at Sophie B. Wright would appreciate hearing.

Obama's visit to Latin America

Obama recently visited Latin America. Here is an article about his trip. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/24/obamas-successful-symbolism-in-latin-america/

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Venezuelan Students Stich Mouths Shut in Protest for Education

I found this article interesting because it discusses young adults my age taking a dramatic stand to defend something they are passionate about. The article also states that "Government officials dispute those claims, saying the students are being manipulated by President Hugo Chavez's opponents," highlighting the divided political scene of modern Venezuela.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Honduras Soccer Team Beaten by South Koreans in a Friendly

The Honduran National Soccer team lost 4-0 to the South Korean National Soccer team in Seoul. Even though South Korea was playing without two of its best players, Honduras was no match for them. Next up for Honduras is a trip to China to play against the Chinese National team.


Cinema Argentina

The other day, I was very excited to find this article that lists a bunch of the best Argentine movies. Try and get your hands on them if you're interested in movies at all. I, personally, am very excited to watch Cama Adentro in the near future.

Interesting Facts About the Andes

Out of the many mountain ranges in the world, the Andes Mountain Range is one of the most interesting. One very distinguishing feature is the fact that the Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world. Because they are so large, it would make sense that they would play an important role in the environment of South America. There are so many types of flora indeginous to the Andes that it is the most diverse hotspot in the world. The Andes also provide a home to many animals. These range from the endangered Chinchilla, to the culturally important Cougar and Llama, to a variety of amphibians which make the Andes the most important spot for amphibians. For more information on the Andes, visit this site, or this site.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

President Obama visits chile

Here is an article about President Obama meeting with former presidents of Chile. http://www.santiagotimes.cl/politics/presidential/21033-obama-meets-presidents-from-chiles-transition-to-democracy

Haiti is a depressing country

NY Times country overview on Haiti ... possibly the most depressing country I have ever researched.

H1N1 Outbreak in Venezuela

The Swine Flue has recently become a problem for the Venezuelan state Merida. More than 100 cases have already been found, 56 of which were in Merida. Merida is taking especially cautious measures to prevent the disease from spreading such as canceling classes and banning clubs and other closed-in venues. Full Article

US Immigration Policies

President Obama has visited three different Latin American countries in the last three weeks, including San Salvador. The issue of illegal immigration was addressed and in addition to increasing US border control, a much broader, comprehensive plan was made to increase the economy of San Salvador by better controlling drug trafficking and economic development. While Obama is completely behind this new policy, the Republican-dominated house will have a more difficult time supporting this plan. More information found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/world/americas/23prexy.html?_r=1&ref=americas

Jean Bertrand Aristide

In Haiti former exiled president Jean Bertrand Aristide is saying he is going to return to Haiti because his country needs him. This has created much controversy in the country especially in relation to the presidential elections.


mexico advises workers on sexist language


this is related to our reading on "machismo"

Carlos Pascual's Resignation

The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, resigned due to the sensitive reports released by WikiLeaks, which angered the Mexican president and caused him to distrust the diplomat. The reports released by WikiLeaks detailed "infighting and jealousies among Mexican security forces contrasted with public U.S. praise for Mexico's fight against drug trafficking." Opposition lawmakers also became reluctant to meet with Pascual. So far, he is the first U.S. Ambassador to resign due to WikiLeaks, but it seems as though there may be more to come. To find out more, read this article.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Allow More Latin American Students into the U.S."

On Monday, President Obama gave a speech in Santiago, Chile. Here he discussed plans for free trade with Colombia and Panama as well as ambitions to increase the number of Latin American students in the United States. The price and availability of a college degree are problems for some younger Latin Americans hoping to pursue higher education. These two regions share similar histories and values so both would benefit in educational development.

For more information on this, click the website below!


One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say- "I'm craving Mexican food, let's get Taco Bell." This statement could not be father from the truth. This article does a great job of explaining what Taco Bell has done to skew people's idea of what true Mexican Cuisine is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Castro says he resigned as Communist Party chief 5 years ago

Fidel Castro, the leader of the Communist Party, officially stated that he is no longer the head of the party. This announcement is contrary to the present belief that he was in fact still in charge. Castro's younger brother Raul is said to be the head now.


Obsession with beauty in latin america

When visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina this summer, people constantly talked to me about how vulgar and ridiculous the tv shows were. Once they turned on the tv for me and changed the channel to the highest rated talk show I quickly saw what they were referring too. Every single woman on the show had some type of plastic surgery done. The people I was staying with quickly informed me of how butt implants are the top surgery in Argentina. There is clearly an obsession with perfection and beauty in this country. Poor Miss Argentina even died after having butt implants. Here is the article I read about her death.


(RTT News) - US Ambassador To Mexico Resigns Over WikiLeaks Disclosure

This article explains why Carlos Pascual, a U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, resigned from his position following one of his remarks being leaked on the internet. This article helps show that in the technological world we live in today there are countless mediums of exchange that we must be aware of. Often, if we don't want someone to find out how we feel, then we shouldn't talk behind their back because it will likely get back to them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Obama in Brazil


Colombia's Gold Rush

As the Colombian government works to eradicate the coca trade, guerrillas have turned to local gold mining for cash. Now the government is cracking down on illegal mines.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Venezuela's New Enemy= Breast Implants

I found this article particularly interesting when navigating the internet. There are so many issues currently going on in Venezuela and Chávez is focusing on speaking out against breast implants. Although Venezuela is one of the leading countries in the number of women getting breast augmentation surgeries and it is a growing issue, I for sure think that Chávez should be more vocal on issues having greater detrimental effects on his country.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Surfer Brings Sports Benefits to Communities in Need

Nick Mucha, an avid surfer, has made it his mission to bring the benefits of surfing tourism to areas of Latin America that previously had locals living on ~ 4 - 7 dollars per day.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian seafood stew. Moqueca has been made for the past 300 years. It consists of fish, onion, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, and whatever additional ingredients you choose. There are two variants of Moqueca, Moqueca Capixaba in the Southeast and Moqueca Baiana in the Northeast. It's very easy to make and takes less than an hour. It is served with rice or crusty bread. Enjoy!



  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of fillets of firm white fish such as halibut, swordfish, or cod, rinsed in cold water, pin bones removed, cut into large portions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion, or 1 medium yellow onion, chopped or sliced
  • 1/4 cup green onion greens, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, de-stemmed, chopped (or sliced)
  • 2 cups chopped (or sliced) tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp paprika (Hungarian sweet)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped with some set aside for garnish
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water (check your rice package for the appropriate ratio of liquid to rice for the type of rice you are using)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1 Place fish pieces in a bowl, add the minced garlic and lime juice so that the pieces are well coated. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Keep chilled while preparing the rest of the soup.

2 If you are planning on serving the soup with rice, start on the rice. Bring a couple cups of water to a boil. Heat one Tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium high heat. Add the chopped 1/2 onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the raw white rice and stir to coat completely with the oil, onions, and garlic. Add the boiling water. (The amount depends on your brand of rice, check the package. If no amounts are given, add 1 3/4 cup of water for every cup of rice.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes, after which, remove from heat until ready to serve with the soup.


3 Back to the soup. In a large covered pan (such as a Dutch oven), coat the bottom with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the bell pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. (At least a teaspoon of salt.) Cook for a few minutes longer, until the bell pepper begins to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and onion greens. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the chopped cilantro.


3 Use a large spoon to remove about half of the vegetables (you'll put them right back in). Spread the remaining vegetables over the bottom of the pan to create a bed for the fish. Arrange the fish pieces on the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then add back the previously removed vegetables, covering the fish. Pour coconut milk over the fish and vegetables.


4 Bring soup to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may need to add more salt (likely), lime or lemon juice, paprika, pepper, or chili flakes to get the soup to the desired seasoning for your taste.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice or with crusty bread.

Serves 4.

American incarcerated in Cuba


The American contractor Alan P. Gross has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the Cuban state. According to Cubans Gross was working on a U.S. project intended to undermine the Cuban government by distributing illegal satellite communications equipment.

Chilean Nuclear Plant Concerns

After the devastation in Japan countries around the world, including Chile, are rethinking the construction of new nuclear plants. Chile is an earthquake-prone country, and building new plants would put the country in danger in the case of a strong earthquake. President Obama plans to discuss a cooperation agreement during his visit between America and Chile.


Of all the parrot species, the Hyacinth Macaw is one of the most popular. It is the largest flying parrot in the world, and is characterized by its beautiful azure plumage along with distinct yellow skin around the beak, which is black, and eyes. The Hyacinth Macaw makes their nests in the holes of trees, usually laying one or two eggs, of which only one usually survives. Unfortunately, these beautiful birds are on the endangered species list. This is due to their immense popularity in the pet trade, which significantly impacts the number of wild Hyacinth Macaws, and to the fact that deforestation is reducing their natural habitat and limiting there choice of breeding spots. To learn more about Hyacinth Macaws you can visit this website.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Blue Hole of Belize

The Blue Hole of Belize is one of those places anyone would love to travel to during their lifetime, especially those interested in scuba diving. This sinkhole is the deepest part off the Belize reef AND it's shaped as a perfect circle! It was a cave above land level until the last ice age when it was flooded and the roof collapsed. The dive is deep enough to give you that drunk feeling (Nitrogen Narcosis) at the 40 meter mark while staring at a sea of sharks. In total its about 120 meters deep and 330 meters in width. Many divers have been left blown away after traveling here.

Panama not affected by tsunami

As most of us already know, there was an 8.9 earthquake near the coast of Japan last week; thousands of lives were lost. Defense agencies in Panama were concerned that the waves would affect its Pacific coast. Warnings were given to citizens in Panama but luckily the waves did not cause any harm. Wave heights had a minor impact in Mexico, however. Please pray for the families who lost loved ones in Japan's earthquake/tsunami.
Its interesting to see how the problems with the nuclear plants in Japan are effecting other countries, including Venezuela. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12768148

Tortilla Soup Recipe

For days when you don't want to go out to dinner or order in, this recipe for Tortilla Soup is the perfect solution. Though it's not a traditional recipe, Rachel Ray's recipe is a take on the classic Mexican dish. It is a fairly easy recipe and never disappoints!

Cuba-US Relations Shaken

In Cuba due to a 15yr jail term sentence given to Alan Gross(an American citizen) ties between the two countries have suffered. Gross had been giving out Internet communications equipment in Cuba under a democracy-promotion program run by the U.S. Agency for International Development. However, in Cuba that was deemed illegal.


Living in Mexico?

I just recently stumbled across this documentary by Caren Cross, called Lost and Found in Mexico. Apparently, it is all about why people are moving to Mexico. I think this is very interesting, as I was not aware of such a trend. I would be very interested in watching this documentary, as it has gotten quite a few awards at film festivals.

If anyone has seen it, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments. I'm really interested.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BEST cuban food in the United States

Looking for authentic cuban food without having to go to cuba?
Well if you ever find yourself in Miami, FL the best place to go to is Versailles on Calle 8. This spring break a few friends of mine from Tulane came to Miami and during their visit I made sure that they did not miss out on this experience. This place is famous and all the local cubans come to versailles all the time whether it is to get a "cafecito" in "la ventanita" or to get a good old "pan con bistec" with "arroz y frijoles." They also serve delicious cuban pastries such as "croquetas," "pastelitos de guava o queso," etc. Make sure to try this place out! It will be quite the culture shock since you will quickly learn that although you are in the United States, english is not the main language spoken at this restaurant or in the city!

We thought America was fat, think again, its MEXICO!

Mexico Puts Its Children on a Diet


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Puerto Rican coquí is a very small - tiny - tree frog about one inch long. Some coquíes look green, some brown and some yellowish - actually they are translucent. Coquíes have a high pitched sound and can be heard from far away.

The coquíes begin to sing when the sun goes down at dusk. Their melody serenades islanders to sleep. Coquíes sing all night long until dawn when they stop singing and head for the nest. Puerto Ricans love their coquíes and have written poems, stories, and Aguinaldos about them.

During the time of the Taíno Indians trillions of coquíes serenated our ancestral home. Many Taíno Indian myths surround the coquí. Coquíes are found in much of the Taíno art like pictographs and pottery.

In Puerto Rico all coquíes are called coquí even though not all sing ''co-quí''. Only two of the species the ''Coquí Común'' and the ''Coquí de la Montaña or Coquí Puertorriqueño'' actually sing ''co-quí''.

Puerto Rican coquíes have relatives all over Latin America. The coquí genre is found in all the Caribbean Islands, and in Central and South America. But again, the only ones that make the sound ''co-quí'' are Puerto Rican.

The scientific name for the coquí is Eleu-thero-dactylus, characterized because they have no webbed toes. There are 16 different species in Puerto Rico and all of them have padded discs at the end of their toes which helps them climb. Coquíes are classified as amphibians - a grouping for cold blooded vertebrates that includes frogs, toads, or newts -that are able to live in both water and land.

Contrary to frogs, the coquíes do not go through a tadpole stage and break out of their egg - a small replica of their parents. Some coquíes are terrestrial some are arboreal. The Coquí Dorado is the only specie in the world that bears live young.

The male coquí sings - not the female. That means that in Puerto Rico we hear only half the coquíes singing. The male coquí watches over the eggs. The eggs hatch in 28 days and the young coquíes remain in the nest for an additional 5 days. Again the male coquí watches over them until they leave the nest.

When there is more light either from the moon or from street lights, there are less coquíes to be heard. Therefore there are more coquíes in isolated areas like the mountains. The specie ''Puerto Rican coquí'' sings co-quí, co-quí, co-quí at dusk and changes to co-quí-quí-quí, co-quí-quí-quí, co-quí-quí-quí, at dawn. It is arboreal - climbing to the top of trees in search of insects. There it remains until dawn when it changes its song and jumps down nesting until the evening.

Coquíes are in danger of extinction and actually two of them are already extinct - the Coquí Dorado and the Coquí Palmeado. Others are endangered species like the Coquí Caoba and the Coquí de Eneida. Why are coquíes in extinction? Because of deforestation. People have destroyed their habitat or homes (nests) destroying their eggs and destroying their source of food and nourishment.

11 Salvadoran Gang Members Setenced in Killing of Foreign Film Maker

Chrisian Poveda was shot and killed in September 2009 and those held responsible are just now getting sentenced. Poveda was a French documentarian who was following the lives of members of Mara 18, a gang in El Salvador.
For the full story, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/03/15/el.salvador.filmmaker/index.html

(CNN) - Thousands Left Homeless by Brazil Rain

This article talks about recent heavy rainfall in Brazil. In addition to 10 deaths, thousands of people were left homeless, and thousands more were affected by the rain. Unfortunately, this issue hasn't received much coverage in the US because the international media is currently focussed on the catastrophes in Japan.

The US needs to do this too!!!

Obesity in America has been an ongoing issue. Mexico has began a new program to monitor what schoolchildren can eat. They have cut out certain high sugar foods from school cafeterias and vending machines and replaced them with low sugar, un-fried foods. Soft drinks have been banned as well. Drinking a soda everyday amounts to an unnecessary 10 extra pounds of body fat a year - gross. I think this is a very proactive idea. Learning to eat right when young could promote a much healthier adult lifestyle. The United States would do well to follow Mexico's lead and create some new, stricter policies of our own. Here's the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/world/americas/14mexico.html?_r=1&ref=americas


Two weeks back, I posted that the US man was headed to trial in Cuba regarding some volunteer work that he had done.
At this time, the trial has been completed, and he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was charged for crimes against the Cuban state as a result of going down to Cuba to help the small Jewish community there. He has already served 15 months in prison. This article explains the rest of the details.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Former President Aristide's presence in Haiti may disrupt Elections

The two candidates for the Haitian Presidency do not believe that Aristide's presence will disrupt the elections, although candidate Michel Martelly would prefer that Aristide would wait to arrive in Haiti until after the elections are completed. Haitian lawyer Ira Kurzban isworried that the candidates would reverse their stances on Aristide due to pressure from the United States Government.


Friday, March 04, 2011

American To Go To Trial In Cuba After 2 Years


Alan Gross went down to Cuba with the intentions of helping the Jewish Community there gain better access to communication. He is finally facing trial after almost 2 years of being detained by Cuban authorities.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


In light of Mardi Gras I thought I would do some research to see if Latin American countries have carnivals. I learned that carnivals used to be banned and Brazilian citizens rioted until the government saw them as a form of cultural expression. Today they are known as blocks where groups dress up in costumes that have certain themes.

Here is a link to carnivals in taking place this year:

Chile Congress blames San Jose mine owners for collapse


Massacres in Mexico

As we head into spring break this year, it's important to be aware of our safety. Vacation hotspots in Mexico are not the same as they used to be, this article claims that there have been nearly 35,000 homicides in Mexico in just the last 4 years. Organized massacres are haunting the country, leaving its citizens fearing for their safety. As we leave New Orleans (or the United States) on vacation next week, be aware of your surroundings and stay safe!

Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/world/americas/02mexico.html?_r=1&ref=americas

Buried in Peru’s Desert, Fossils Draw Smugglers


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mexico's Calderon to visit Washington for talks with Obama, Boehner

(CNN) -- "Mexican President Felipe Calderon travels to Washington on Thursday to meet with President Barack Obama, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and others during a two-day visit likely to include discussions on organized crime, immigration and commerce."

Read more here!

Have you Ever Wanted to go to Haiti?

Labadee, Haiti
Whenever I hear people discussing the unique places they've traveled to I join in the conversation by saying I've been to Haiti. You may be wondering just what there's to do in Haiti--it doesn't exactly seem like the most tourist prone spot especially after the devastating earthquake. Well, I visited a private island of Haiti called Labadee during a cruise. I was able to enjoy tropical beaches while talking to Haitian natives. Tours were offered as well that allowed people to see first hand poverty in the nation. My brother even saw a boat being built with the intention of escaping the country. More info!
(Above photo taken by me on the gorgeous beach we all went to. Stands were set up selling Labaduzze drinks, possibly a rival to our New Orleans hurricanes and hand grenades!)

Soldiers Find Bodies in Mass Grave in Mexico

Mexican soldiers discovered a mass grave containing 17 bodies in San Miguel Totolopan, which is in southern Mexico. The area is known for marijuana and opium production, as well as a cocaine trafficking route. Soldiers are now searching for more bodies in the area. This is the third time this year authorities have found a mass grave in the area.


Kaka is quite popluar

Brazilian Soccer Star Kaka is the second most popular athlete on twitter

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

US Deporting Criminals Back to Haiti

In January, the U.S. government deported 27 Haitian-born individuals who were convicted of crimes in the US. Since the devastating Haitian earthquake, the U.S. government halted deportations, but they are beginning to start them back up. The government plans on deporting around 700 convicted criminals back to their birthplace this year alone. The U.S. has been deporting foreign-born criminals from countries like Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador back to their barely known homelands since 1996, when it was mandated that "every non-citizen sentenced to a year or more in prison be booted from the country upon release." For more information, read this article.

Google has big plans for Latin America

The 500 person staff for Google in Latin America will soon expand to include 800 members. Sales were extremely successful last year, increasing by almost 80 percent. Rapid growth is exciting for the Google search engine team. Markets will now be available online for Latin American customers. The internet could do great things for sales boosts. Lima and Santiago are two of many locations where new Google offices find their home.

With Mardi Gras approaching quickly, many students are starting to lose their ability to focus on anything other than parades and partying. However, I believe that the Mardi Gras Season is the perfect time to think about other similar events going on in the world. Starting Saturday, March 5th, is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Carnival is derived from the ancient Greek and Roman celebrations of the Rites of Spring. Nowadays, the Carnival season is a time for Masquerade Balls, parades, dressing up, and having fun. For more information on Carnival in Brazil, follow this link.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tensions Grow Between the U.S. and Mexico

The first American on active duty was killed last week as a result of the ongoing drug war in Mexico. Yet over 2,000 Mexicans have also died from these issues, and unfortunately the problem is unlikely to be solved in the near future.

Here is the full article from TIME Magazine:

Inflation, an Old Scourge, Plagues Argentina Again


Inflation in Buenos Aires has been causing prices to rise so fast that store owners have grown tired of updating the prices of products.

A 45-Story Walkup Beckons the Desperate


The “Tower of David,” a 45-story uncompleted skyscraper located in downtown Caracas, Venezuela, is one of Latin America’s tallest skyscrapers. It is also home to more than 2,500 squatters.


A teenager in mexico has been on a hunger strike for at least over a week now in hopes that she will be invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Some people are simply insane.


Mudslide in Bolivia!

Yesterday, La Paz suffered a devastating landslide leaving 800+ families homeless. The Bolivian government is still trying to work out the pressing issue. Check out the following article for more details!