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.

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:

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:

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.

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

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:

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:

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"

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

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 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.

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