Thursday, March 9, 2006

Lost in Translation

No, this has nothing to do with the 2003 movie starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson nor is it a particularly newsworthy article. Rather, it’s an interesting exchange between two people courtesy of blog Overheard in New York.

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Book Review: “The Eagle’s Throne”

Widespread corruption and chaos in 2020 Mexico is the setting of famed Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes’ latest translated work “The Eagle’s Throne.” Fuentes is keenly satirical in his novel and pulls no punches, notes Hephzibah Anderson’s review.

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Buenos Aires mayor removed from office

The mayor of the capital of Argentina, Anibal Ibarra, was removed from office by the city’s legislators who believed that Ibarra was partially responsible for a 2004 nightclub fire that killed almost 200 people.

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Fox redeems himself on Int. Women's Day

Despite having once called women two-legged washing machines, Mexican President Vicente Fox called for the elimination of discrimination against women and affirmed that even words can be violent. (La Jornada) (Sp.)

Venezuela's Congress changes 'imperialist' horse on coat of arms

Venezuela's Congress, dominated by supporters of President Hugo Chavez, have voted to make a change to the national coat of arms that would make the white horse gallop left instead of right. (Reuters) On a related note, I have done extensive research and written award-winning publications about how the rightward-galloping white horse is an important issue in Latin American politics. (Okay, so I made that part up.)

Fortune calls cubicle 'the Fidel Castro of office furniture'

"Reviled by workers, demonized by designers, disowned by its very creator, it [the cubicle] still claims the largest share of office furniture sales--$3 billion or so a year--and has outlived every "office of the future" meant to replace it. It is the Fidel Castro of office furniture." (Fortune)

Femicide on the rise in Latin America

On the eve of International Women's Day 2006, a delegation of Latin American women made an historic journey to Washington, DC. Rather than celebrating the gains women have made through their many struggles, the group arrived at the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States with an alarming message: femicide, the murder of women, is spreading. (IRC)

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New Pew Report: Size and characteristics of the unauthorized migrant population in the US






Submitted by Joe Burgan. Analysis of the March 2005 Current Population Survey shows that there were 11.1 million unauthorized in the United States a year ago. Based on analysis of other data sources that offer indications of the pace of growth in the foreign-born population, the Center developed an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million for the unauthorized population as of March 2006. (Pew)

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Collaboration might save what you can't see at TulĂșm

All indications are that the Riviera Maya stretching along the Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo state is destined to become a Mexican national sacrifice area. The natural beauty of the area is being overrun by harebrained commercial operations taking advantage of it. But maybe we can still do something to save it. (IRC)

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U.S. hegemony or global good neighbor policy?

Over the past few years we have faced two major challenges in conceiving of a new foreign policy in Latin America. The first is the relative lack of attention to the region, by both the U.S. government and public. The second is the increasing friction between the current U.S. administration's strategies for global U.S. hegemony and Latin American elected governments and grassroots trends toward greater independence and new models. (IRC) (Cartoon credit: Al-Jazeera)

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Reframing the immigration debate: The actors and the issues

"We at the IRC strongly believe that this is a critical moment for immigration reform in the United States. For several years, we have watched with consternation as restrictionist forces have gained ground in communities, public policy, and political discourse. While there have always been brave voices to protest the violation of immigrant rights, we have seen a relative weakness in mounting a unified and coherent defense of immigrants and building a compelling call for reform." (IRC)

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Arias officially declared winner

More than a month after elections were held, Oscar Arias was officially declared as president-elect of Costa Rica by that nation’s electoral tribunal. Arias had served as president from 1986 to 1990, and is in favor of a free trade agreement with the U.S.

Want to know more about the Costa Rican election? Listen to this podcast with Taylor Kirk.

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Corn consumed in Peru for nearly 4000 years

Scientists reported in this month’s Nature that maize was grown in the Andes and eaten by Peruvians 4000 years ago, more than 1000 years than a previous estimate. Last year, a separate team of researchers identified the first potato had come from Peru 7000 years ago.

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Venezuela: Loan payments to World Bank ahead of time; Chavez threatens to rule until 2031

The Venezuelan government recently that they will pay back approximately $800 in loans to the World Bank ahead of schedule this month which would “free up money that can be invested by the government to spur economic growth,” according to Venezuela’s Finance Minister. Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez threatened to stay as president until 2031 if the opposition boycotts December’s presidential election.

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'Che Guevara in Tweed'

Newsweek profiles former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and his new book, 'The Accidental President of Brazil'. (Newsweek)

International Women’s Day: Positive and negative signs for Latin America

Today is International Women’s Day and several articles have examined the role of women in Latin America. A press release by the International Labor Organization highlights the growth of female employment, but also a lack of quality jobs for women, and the prevalence of racial and gender discrimination. Nonetheless, women have emerged as political leaders throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, such as the recent election wins of Portia Simpson-Miller in Jamaica and Michelle Bachelet in Chile.

Previous posts from The Latin Americanist on women include analysis on female politicians, famous artists, and religious icons.


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Film: The Devil's Miner

The award-winning film 'The Devil's Miner' opens March 17th at the Cinema Village in New York. Directed by long-time collaborators Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani, THE DEVIL’S MINER is a moving portrait of two brothers – 14-year-old Basilio and 12-year-old Bernardino – who work deep inside the silver mines of Cerro Rico, Bolivia. Through the children's eyes, we encounter the world of devout Catholic miners who sever their ties with God upon entering Cerro Rico (also known as “the mountain that eats men alive”). It is an ancient belief that the devil, as represented by statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work within the mines, which date back to the sixteenth century. View the trailer! (The Devil's Miner)

Monday, March 6, 2006

Ecuador: Freed ex-president vows to run again

After being exonerated last week from charges related to treason, Lucio Gutierrez wants to regain the presidency of Ecuador and feels that he can do so. An article from the Financial Times worries that Gutierrez will exacerbate an already delicate political situation in Ecuador.

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Poll numbers show mixed results for Colombian president

Recent polls have shown that support for Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has decreased 14% since December and that he may need to go through a second run in his campaign for reelection. Also, polls show that pro-Uribe political parties would fall short of capturing a majority in the Senate; legislative elections will be held on Sunday and the presidential election on May 28.

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US bad for Hispanics' health?

Submitted by Joseph Burgan. The national Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the longer immigrants stay here in the United States, the more likely they are to become obese, and develop heart problems and diabetes. Another interesting finding is that immigrants who stay more than five years are less likely to smoke than their recently-arrived counterparts. (AZCentral)

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Bus 174

In 2000 Sandro do Nascimento hijacked a bus in Jardim Botanico no Rio de Janeiro, which was immediately swarmed with television reporters filming the event. The footage found its way into the documentary 'Bus 174', produced by Jose Padilha and Marcos Prado. Due to the many cameras trained on the bus, every minute of the 4 1/2 hour hijacking was shot from several angles. Padilha/Prado skillfully use the footage to create one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. The use of anecdotes from the hijacker's life sparked debate in Brazil and abroad on the relationship between poverty and violence. (Bus 174)


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Lula lampooned at Carnaval

Even though his popularity is recovering from last year's PT bribery scandal, Brazilian President Lula da Silva found himself the butt of jokes and the subject of caricatures at this year's Carnaval. (WAPO)

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Santaolalla wins Oscar

Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla won the Oscar for best original score for the film “Brokeback Mountain.” In his acceptance speech, Santaolalla dedicated the award to "my mother - mi madre, my country - Argentina - and to all the Latinos."

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Sunday, March 5, 2006