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:,8599,2052944,00.html

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!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hispanic Achievers

Article here.

Venezuela gives Computers to 1st and 2nd grade students

Check out this article.

I personally love to see countries working to better their education systems, so bravo Venezuela. I think that of all the school supplies that a government could provide to students in this day and age, a computer is one of the best. If a student has access to technology and the internet, many more doors open up for them than would be available to them otherwise.


Talking about the lost volcanoes in Mexico made me think of this one in Costa Rica. It erupts constantly and when I was in Costa Rica you couldn't go on one side of the National Park because the dust from the volcano was blowing over there. It was erupting every night at around midnight. Here's more info on the volcano:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Murder Rates Among Youths in Brazil Soar

In this article, I learned that the murder rate amongst youths in Brazil has increased dramatically in past ten years. The news article also stated that Brazil had the 6th highest murder rate- the first being El Salvador, the second being Columbia, and the third being Venezuela. This article left me puzzled as to why the countries with the three highest murder rates were in Latin America and why these nations are prone to such violence. This is definitely a topic I would like to explore further in class.;_ylt=Av1p8H740DryZ3cjg4Ev1g.3IxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTJzbDVqMmlsBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwMjI0L2x0X2JyYXppbF9tdXJkZXJfcmF0ZQRwb3MDMTEEc2VjA3luX3BhZ2luYXRlX3N1bW1hcnlfbGlzdARzbGsDbXVyZGVycmF0ZWFt

(CNN) - Thousands of Migrants Kidnapped in Mexico

"In a six-month period in 2010, more than 11,000 migrants were kidnapped, the Mexican human rights commission found in a report published this week." This article talks about the experience of one man who was kidnapped while trying to illegally cross the border to work in the United States.

Venezuelan Students end Hunger Strike

This article discusses Venezuelan students who had gone on a hunger strike as a way of demanding the release of political prisoners. The strike ended with a deal freeing 7 prisoners. At least 82 students across Venezuela had been participating in this hunger strike. Their main goal is to call attention to the need for evaluation of human rights issues in the country.

Dominican Republic: Haitian migrants exploited, forced to beg

Yesterday Dominican authorities found dozens of illegal Haitian immigrants on the streets of the capital city. There were 74 illegals in total with 44 of those being children. These Haitians were living in an old daycare center that hasn't been in use for some years. It is suspected that the adults intended to give up their kids in exchange for cash. After the earthquake and cholera outbreak in Haiti, many citizens have crossed over to the Dominican Republic in hopes of better living conditions and opportunities. However, Dominican agencies definitely do not approve of such human trafficking. Children will be returned to their Haiti relatives as soon as possible.

Presidential Primary Being Held by Venezuela's Opposition Parties

On February 23rd, a combination of Venezuela's opposition parties announced that they would be holding a presidential primary to pick a candidate to run against Hugo Chavez next year. The primary will be held between Nov. 27, 2011 and March 11, 2012. For more information, follow this link.

"Slay Suspect Is Named in Mexico" Wall Street Journal

In Mexico City there has been named a possible suspect in the killing of Jamie Zapata, who was a Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in the US. The person the US has named as their believed suspect is Jesús "El Mamito" Rejón, a former corporal in Mexico's elite forces who became a top leader in the violent Zeta cartel.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Obama to visit Latin America in March"

From the Associated Press, Feb. 18, 2011:

"WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama will make their first foreign trip of the year when they travel to Latin America March 19-23.

The Obamas will visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, where the president will meet with leaders and speak to the public about a wide range of issues, including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships.

The White House says the trip will provide an opportunity to engage key bilateral partners and advance the president's efforts to work as equal partner to address the basic challenges facing the people the Americas.

Obama will hold events in several cities, including Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and San Salvador."


It seems that I can't go anywhere without seeing some kind of advertisement for the Acai berry. It has been incorporated into almost every type of food group imaginable including Ice Cream. While I find this influx slightly overwhelming, there is an upside to the obsession with the berry. According to this article, the demand for the berry is actually helping to save the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest holds the highest concentration of Acai berry plants. Over the years, the rainforest has been cut down in efforts to making the land more economically profitable for the people who live off it. In the past, that would mean cutting the land down to make it pastures for cattle etc. Now with the need for Acai berries, people are deterred from cutting down the trees of the rainforest, and hopefully slowing the deforestation of the rainforest.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hunger in Cuba

For those of who are not familiar with Zapata, he died from his hunger strike to better conditions for political prisoners in Cuba. His mother was jailed and has finally been released. She has now become a critic of Castro's government. The more Cubans that begin to speak against Castro's regime the more hope there is for a revolution that will perhaps one day overturn the current communist government.

Link to the article.

Juanes and Shakira win awards at Lo Nuestro Music Awards

Latin American artists such as Juanes and Shakira are taking the music world by storm. Each of the pop artists took home awards at the Lo Nuestro Music Awards this past friday for best Latin American artists. The following article recaps their impressive feat at the music awards.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Mexican City’s Troubles Reshape Its Families

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — Telma Pedro Córdoba could have left this blood- and bullet-marked city when she lost her husband to a drive-by shooting in 2009, or when an injury kept her mother from factory work, or when gunmen killed a neighbor in front of a friend’s 3-year-old son a few months ago.

Article continued here.

Reference article from the New York Times here.

Cuba to release prisoners

The Cuban government is releasing 7 prisoners after Spain and the Catholic Church negotiated the release of 53 prisoners arrested in 2003. The prisoners have agreed to go live in Spain in exchange for their release.

Chinese Influence in Latin America

China is planing on building a cross continental railway to rival the Panama Canal... but will the increase in trade have a positive impact on the region?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guadalajara Reporter

One of my favorite places in the world is the lovely city of Guadalajara, Mexico. For the past 7 years or so, I have brought groups of college students to Guadalajara over the summer to participate in a summer study abroad program. I have come to look forward to and to enjoy this summer experience. Last summer, in the midst of growing concern about the violence in the border areas of Mexico, our group in Guadalajara had a very tranquil experience. In fact, it was one of the most peaceful, stress-free, worry-free experiences I have ever had in Mexico. No run-ins with any kind of authority, no "mordidas" (or bribes to traffic officers), no road stoppages or bus searches during our excursions, etc. Nothing but fun and relaxing times, both in the classrooms and outside of them. And I always relate this to potential students in addressing concerns about the growing violence in other parts of the country. I say that the border region may be dangerous, but Guadalajara is safer than New Orleans. But that image has recently been shattered with a recent drug-related bombing that took place outside of a nightclub that was only blocks from where we took classes in Guadalajara, and in the neighborhood where most of our students found themselves living with their homestay families. I checked out the location of the bombing on Google maps and realized that I must have walked in front of the bombed location hundreds of times over the years. It was a sad wake-up call. But that doesn't mean that the city of Guadalajara isn't as lovely and charming -- just that I probably won't be going there with students for a while. Anyway, for anyone who wants to keep up with events in Guadalajara, including how the city is now coping with this tragic event, there is a great online news source in English, called the Guadalajara Reporter. And you can read in the Guadalajara Reporter all about the recent bombing.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chilean Priest Found Guilty of Abusing Minors

Story here.

(CNN) - 13 killed in Mexican border city in less than 24 hours

This article talks about the continued violence in Mexico that is related to the drug trade. In this case, "at least 13 people were fatally shot in less than 24 hours in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez on Thursday, authorities said."

Coffee Growers

I happened to stumble upon this article recently and I think it connects with what we've been learning in class quite well. It discusses a coffee grower's decision to go organic, and sheds light on the difficulties that coffee farmers in Latin America face, such as the harmful use of pesticides and the struggle to make even a meager profit.

Venezuela: Chavez and the Opposition

This story discusses the debate over the labels of "criminals" and "dissidents" in contemporary Venezuela.

Costa Rica/Nicaragua Border Dispute

In class we discussed the major Peru/Ecuador border dispute. Online I read an article that goes into detail about recent territorial arguments between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The problem regards the San Juan River area and since these two countries cannot meet a compromise through mediation, the issue has been turned over to the ICJ (International Court of Justice).

Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has increased armed forces. Laws were passed to strengthen security and improve technology throughout the country. He claims to be doing this "to defend ourselves from the expansionism of our neighbors." Some people take this increased power of the Nicaraguan military as a threat.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Rene Castro has also done some of his own intimidation. His troops are now on the offensive, especially as more than 1,000 new officers will be added to its police force this year. Costa Rica will continue to construct this "territorial defense network" until the ICJ makes a final decision.

Nicaragua is also arguing with Honduras, again regarding border disputes. Nicaragua sure seems to be picking a lot of fights lately. Maybe other neighboring countries should raise some concern, too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Museum of Latin American Art

MOLAA is the only museum dedicated to Latin American Art in the United States (located in Long Beach, California). It gives out educational tours as well as hosting different events. The next exhibit that will be featured is Between Theory and Practice: Rethinking Latin American Art.

Haitian Campaign Kick-Off!

After watching "The Agronomist" in class, I recently have taken interest in Haitian news and updates. We witnessed the constant threat of violence throughout Haiti as it bounced back and forth from times of peace to times of war. Even though the military was in control of the government for some time, Haiti still has worked toward democracy.

Elections in Haiti will be held on March 20th of this year. Michel Martelly, a singer, and Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, officially announced their run for presidency. Martelly fortunately has the endorsement of hip-hop celebrity Wyclef Jean. Manigat is a bit older whose husband was president back in 1988. She criticizes her opponent, saying that he has little to no political experience.

Rene Preval is the current Haitian president. The winner of the upcoming March 20th elections will definitely have to focus on the poor economic status of the country. After the giant earthquake and cholera epidemic, Haiti desperately needs help and assistance on a global level.

1.) Wyclef Jean wanted to run for president but did not meet the proper residency requirements.
2.) Ex-President Duvalier returned to Haiti in January after being in France for 25 years of exile.
3.) Ex-President Aristide is considering a return to Haiti but still currently resides in South Africa for his exile.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Latin American History Month

As I was informed in another class February is National African American Heritage Month. I learned in this class that February is dedicated to African Americans because a Harvard scholar named Carter Woodsen chose it to honor the birthdays of a few prominent African American rights supporters. After doing a little bit of research I was quick to figure out that September is National Latin American History Month. After researching a little more I learned that it is in September because Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua all received their independence in this time frame all in the year 1821. In my opinion, I don't believe that American should have months dedicated to a certain race or group of people. I think that every race, religion, and group of people should be celebrated at all times. Especially the celebration of Latin Americans should be celebrated at all times because their impact on the United States is so great and constant that it should be remembered everyday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Amazon River Basin

After today's class discussion, I looked into the Amazon River Basin and found this article. I hadn't heard much about it in the news and thought it was interesting.

It shocked me that after winning this lawsuit, because Chevron doesn't have any properties or refineries actually located in Ecuador, the Ecuadorean courts have no way to make them pay for the damage and cost of lives and resources that Chevron has destroyed. I realize it's an American company, but based off of the facts presented in this article, the whole situation is completely unethical and scary that a company can get away with something at this scale.

Sopa de Pollo

Since this entire school has been sick with the flu, here is a recipe that may help you feel better. Ana Quincoces is my best friend's mother and a good family friend. She is a lawyer, chef, and published author. Here is a recipe for "sopa de pollo" also known as chicken noodle soup:

Cuban Style Chicken Soup
Serves 6 to 8
4 chicken breast halves, Bone in, skins removed
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt, plus more as needed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup diced white potatoes
4 ounces angel hair pasta
Pepper to taste
Lime wedge, for serving

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large IMUSA STOCK POT. Add the chicken breasts, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for at least 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through and opaque.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Discard the garlic and bay leaf. Reserve ½ cup of the hot stock and dissolve the tomato paste. Set aside. Transfer the remaining stock to another container and allow it to cool completely.
Heat the olive oil in the same pot used to make the stock. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the potatoes and the tomato paste mixture, and the stock. The stock should cover the vegetables by 3 to 4 inches. If the stock is too low, add more water.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the bone and tear it into pieces with your hands or a knife. Add the chicken and the pasta to the stock and stir to incorporate.

Bring the soup to a boil again, consequently, reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, stirring it occasionally. Turn off the heat and season. Add a squeeze of lime before serving.

Drug Trafficking

When I came across this article I was taken aback by the idea of drug lords now using submarines to bring drugs from Colombia to places as far away as Mexico, which gives them an easier access to the boarder of the United States.

Brazil-Corrupt Police

SÃO PAULO, Brazil. Federal police in the region "arrested 30 police officers in Rio de Janeiro on Friday who were suspected of working with drug traffickers." This has brought to light the corruption of the police in this region. José Mariano Beltrame who is the the state’s senior police official stated "that rooting out corrupt officers would be a priority this year." In order to get rid of drug trafficking, gangs, etc., corrupt police must be sought out and brought to justice. Corruption has to be tackled in order to solve problems within this region.

For more information, click here.

Colombia Drug Submarine

In Ogato, Colombia naval authorities seized what they call a "sophisticated 105-foot long submarine" that drug traffickers were using to smuggle cocaine into the United States. This shows the money, resources, and power that drug smugglers have and what authorities in both the US, Colombia, and many other countries are up against in order to stop drug trafficking.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammys 2011: Best Latin Pop Album

The album "Paraiso Express" by Alejandro Sanz won the Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album at last night's 53rd Grammys. It is his 8th studio album and won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2010 Grammys. It was also nominated for Album of the Year last year.

Here is a recording of a single from the album. It is called "Looking for Paradise."

US/Mexico Border Tensions

The following article discusses the border tensions between the United States, primarily Arizona, and Mexico that have still yet to be relieved. The United States has been dealing with this issue for a while now and one must question what the future has in store for the Americans and Mexicans. If we have still not found a resolution, how long will it be until we can find one?

Gabriel Gárcia Márquez

Gabriel Gárcia Márquez is one of the most famous Latin American authors in the world. He was born on March 6, 1928, in the small town of Aracataca in Northern Colombia. In 1940, he was given a scholarship to attend a prestigious secondary school for gifted students, which is where he began to really love literature. He later went to law school, but was disinterested in his studies and preferred to read poetry rather than law. He eventually left law school to study journalism. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He eventually came to write many famous novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967 and Love in a Time of Cholera in 1985. He is still alive, and remains one of the most esteemed authors of the 20th century. For more information about his life and works, you can visit this site.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Candiru - Amazonian Parasite

Out of the many diverse fauna of the Latin American world, the Candiru is one of the most interesting and strange. The Candiru is a species of freshwater, parasitic catfish. It is located throughout the Amazon River, though the highest concentration of Candiru are at the junction of the Amazon River and the Rio Negro. This is due to the fact that the junction of the two rivers if very conducive to sustaining a large and diverse ecosystem, providing the Candiru with many options for food. Since the fish is parasitic, it lives off other animals. Some of them suck blood, while others actually eat their way inside of the host and eat them alive from the inside out. For more information about these unusual fish, you can visit this site.

A Mexican City’s Troubles Reshape Its Families

From the New York Times.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Entrepreneurialism in Cuba

Cubans can work for themselves, now.

Puerto Rican Pasteles

A Recipe

Platanos Fritos (Fried Bananas)

May sound weird, but are SOOO amazing. I spent a summer in Costa Rica studying and my homestay family made these for me every night. They eat them with anything; and unlike the bananas we're used to here, there are so many different types. Usually they're at least twice as big as the bananas we get from bruff and sometimes they're green. Basically, I love them. There's a place on Carrolton around where Walgreens is that serves them, the Pupuseria place. Not as good as Tican ones obviously, but still delicious. Buen provecho!

Click for a recipe.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chile's Foreign Minister Visits Bolivia

For the first time in 60 years Chile's foreign minister visits Bolivia to talk with his counterpart. Check out the whole article at this link here.

Flesh Beck Brazil

Flesh Beck began as a graffiti crew, and has grown and expanded to illustrations and graphic design.

While scouring the internet looking for something to post this week, I found the website of what looks like a "crew" of artists from Brazil. They host a blog and have a portfolio full of work that they have done, most of which seems to center around Rio de Janeiro. "Flesh Beck," as they call themselves, have even done an illustration for the packaging of a Brazilian Nestle product. The website is in Portuguese, but the translated site can be found here.

Tulane, the Stone Center, Service-Learning, and the Latino Community

If you want to find out what some faculty and students are doing to serve the Latino Community of New Orleans and to learn radio production skills in the meanwhile, check out this story. I have to say that I'm very proud to work for the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane, a center which encourages and supports such wonderful and creative research and outreach programs like the one featured in the article.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cuban Arts Coming to New York

From the The New York Times, a story on the coming of a Cuban Arts Festival to New York.


President Obama to Visit South and Central America

President Obama has made plans to visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador next month to discuss security and strengthen economic ties in the region. This is a modern day example of U.S involvement and exchange in Latin America.

The FARC continues in Colombia

It amazes me that the FARC is still around in Colombia... I know we have discussed America intervening in Latin America, but shouldn't someone do something about the FARC? Here is an article about politician Marcos Baquero being released from the FARC after over a year of captivity.

"La vida es un carnaval" - Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz is a Cuban singer who became known as the "Queen of Salsa" all over the world. If she hadn't pursued a career in music, she would have trained to be a Spanish teacher. In 1959, when Fidel Castro took control of Cuba, Celia and her husband left the country and later gained citizenship in the United States. Cruz died in 2003 but her legacy lives on. Feel free to listen to my favorite song by her, "La vida es un carnaval." Click the link and check it out!

FARC releases 1 hostage, to release 4 more soon

FARC, the Colombian rebel group, has released politician Marcos Baquero after kidnapping him a year and seven months ago. The FARC is expected to release 4 more hostages by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Low Temperatures in Mexico

Here in New Orleans we complain when the temperatures fall to the 40s, even 50s! Imagine how unhappy we would be if we were in Mexico, where temperatures have dropped so low that zoo animals are freezing to death! This cold front, with temperatures as low as 5 degrees fahrenheit, caused 65 zoo animals to die since it hit unexpectedly and zookeepers were unprepared. Full Story

Health Care in Mexico

Like many of my previous posts, the article I'm highlighting here comes from a public health perspective. It discusses the new health care plan that was just implemented in Mexico, and the pros and cons of having universal coverage. Although the article discusses many of the flaws in this new system, from my point of view it is a big stride in the right direction for Mexico -- and the health of Latin Americans as a whole.

That 'Dam' Project

This article is about a demonstration by environmentalists and indigenous-rights supporters, in the capital of Brazil, protesting "a hydroelectric dam project that they say would be devastating to the Amazon region."


Picadillo (Cuban dish, 4 servings)

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground extra lean beef
¼ cup sherry (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch ground red pepper
¼ cup raisins
1 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef, onion, garlic until the onion is tender and the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Drain off all fat. Add all remaining ingredients except the green and red bell peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers and heat through.

Serve with rice and bread.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Costa Rica and Nicaragua Border Dispute

There is currently a heated dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua regarding the border between the two countries. This article explains the history of the dispute and how the US has become a player in the fight. Another article tells about Costa Rica bringing its case to the international court.

This situation is interesting to me because the alliance of Nicaragua and the United States elevates the importance of the condition. The upcoming Presidential elections for Nicaragua also raise the stakes for Daniel Ortega.


For those of you who don't know, Juanes' new album, P.A.R.C.E., has recently been released. If you aren't familiar with Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez, more commonly known as Juanes, he is a Columbian musician. He was originally a member of Ekhymosis, but became a solo artist when the band dissembled in 1998. Since then, Juanes' fame has skyrocketed in the Latin American world. He has released 5 albums, won 17 Latin Grammys and 1 Grammy Award. Juanes is known for his humanitarian work, such as his 2009 Peace Concert in Cuba and his aid work with victims of anti-personnel mines in Columbia. For more information on Juanes and his new album, or to listen to some of his music, you can visit his website.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Cuba and US Relations: Still on the Rocks

The following article shows how there is still a lot of political tension between Cuba and the United States. An American citizen was arrested in Havana in December of 2009 and now faces up to 20 years in prison. One can't help but question whether the United States and Cuba will be able to develop positive relations in the near future.

Carnival Season in Latin America

As Mardi Gras draws closer, the international community also celebrates the Carnival season (not just in New Orleans, as one may believe). Mexico, Colombia, and especially Brazil host fabulous festivals and parades to celebrate the period before Lent begins. Spring break next year?!

Universal Health Care in Mexico

Successes and Challenges.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Inflation in Argentina

Update on the latest.

Castro comments on Obama and Egypt

I found this article to be interesting because it shows again how Latin America views the United States as a power that intervenes in other countries' problems... at least that's what I understood from what Castro said about the U.S.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Venezuelan Game Day Snack

Everyone needs fun treats on Superbowl Sunday, why not spice it up and change it up from the usual wings and popcorn and make it a Venezuelan treat!

Fidel Castro Speaks Out on Egypt?

Possible web posting by Fidel Castro about the situation in Egypt. Probably not real, but I found the statement that was made to be very interesting.

Political Cartoons!

Earlier today, I came across this site with three political cartoons about Latin America. All three have descriptions, so they're easy to understand; but try figuring out their meanings before reading the descriptions. I found the first cartoon the most interesting because it accuses Hugo Chavez of using oil wealth for political schemes. In class we discussed the instability of an economy based upon a natural resource such as oil.

Mexican police: Gunmen open fire at soccer game, 7 dead

The following article reports the shooting of an unknown group of heavily armed men on players ranging from 19-26 at an innocent soccer game in Mexico. In the United States, we see several outrageous stories like these; however, the article shows that even in the seemingly safest settings, the country's civility is pretty chaotic.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

(CNN) - Nuevo Laredo police chief gunned down, Mexican authorities say

This article is about continued violence in Mexico that is related to rivalries between drug cartels. "The director of public security in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, was gunned down Wednesday night, officials said, though details of the incident remained scarce."

Brazilian Title Brawl

Anderson Silva ... possibly the greatest mixed martial arts champion of all time and a Brazilian national defends his middle weight title saturday against Vitor Belfort, who is also from Brazil. The sport as a whole is very well represented in its upper ranks by people from Latin American countries.

El Paisano!

Tonight I found myself at a fantastic Mexican restaurant on the corner of Claiborne and Louisiana called El Paisano. The restaurant is definitely a hole in the wall and doesn’t look like much, but the food was VERY good. The last time my friend was there, he said that the gentleman behind the bar described the food as “authentically Mexican”, saying that other New Orleans “Mexican” restaurants were run by South Americans and didn’t cook authentic Mexican recipes. In fact, I was told by a different friend that El Paisano is the only place in New Orleans that serves a traditional Mexican beef and vegetable stew called Cosido (or Cocido).

It is clear that this restaurant, which seems like it hasn’t been around for all too long, clearly caters to the Mexican immigrant community of New Orleans. This was clear immediately upon entering, as a telenovela played on the flat screen television above the bar, where three or four Mexican men sat speaking Spanish, occasionally walking over to the juke box to play some Latino songs.

My friend and I enjoyed a filling (and CHEAP!) meal of tacos and gorditas al pastor.

So, if you find yourself in the mood for an authentic Mexican meal in the company of authentic Mexicans, you might consider heading over to El Paisano.

Walmart Restructuring Strategy

International enterprises like Walmart changed its strategy on occupying the market of Latin America to realize "sustainability." This means that Latin America has gotten rid of the image of itself as a labor resource or a raw material resource, but rather an area of growing power that deserves respect and protection. Of course, the environment protection issue was stressed by the governments in Latin America, which may also contribute to the result.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mexico Police Force

Current dilemmas with Law Enforcement in Mexico.

In Mexico Massacre

In Acapulco, Mexico in one week 15 human heads have been placed outside a tourist shopping center. This has put the total number of victims to 33 in one weekend. Tourists have been able to see the bodies and heads of those massacred. Mexican police believe they have caught the person responsible who could also be responsible for the disappeance of 20 male tourists. Mexico sees this capture as a victory for Mexico's war again crime. Last year saw the "heaviest" yet total of murders in Mexico (15,273). America and Mexico have been working together to fight crime, however there is no proof to show it is working.

Click here for more information.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hugo Chavez's Latest Threat

After reading this article, it makes me really grateful that I live in a democratic nation that honors freedom of speech. It seriously is astounding that a single person can dictate like this to avoid criticism.

Crime War in Mexico

In a single weekend in Acapulco, Mexico, 33 victims turned up dead due to a "shadowy criminal organization." This organization is also responsible for the mysterious disappearance of 20 men. There has been a recent increase in violence in Mexico, specifically due to the recent crime war. Mexico and America are attempting to work together to decrease crime.

Biutiful: Oscar-nominated Mexican Film

Biutiful is a Mexican film nominated for the Oscar categories of Best Actor (Javier Bardem) and Best Foreign Language Film.

The IMDb description is as follows: "This is the story of Uxbal (Javier Bardem). Devoted father. Tormented lover. Mystified son. Underground businessman. Friend of the disposed. Ghost seeker. Spiritual sensitive. A survivor at the invisible margins in today's Barcelona... Uxbal's story is simple: just one of the complex realities that we all live in today."

Here is a link to the trailer:

The Academy Awards are February 27, 2011 - don't miss out!