Friday, May 25, 2007

De Musica Ligera: Big Apple summer concerts

Whether one is a native or a tourist, one of the advantages of being in New York City over the summer are the excess of concerts that are held throughout the city. With the Memorial Day weekend representing the symbolic beginning of the summer in the U.S., we bring to you six concerts that will go on in the “Big Apple” over the next few months.

As an added incentive, please note that all of the following concerts have free admission! Hence, we’ll have to reluctantly put aside future performances by Manu Chao and Os Mutantes.

June 6th: Puerto Rican Power

Boricua salsa giants will perform in Battery Park as part of the River to River Festival. The group formed in the early 1970s and had famed salsero Tito Rojas as their main singer trough most of the 1980s. Rojas has enjoyed a successful solo career for nearly two decades, but Puerto Rican Power continues going strong as they near three decades together.

July 1st: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Vietnam, JDH and DAVE P

The Mexican duo (by way of Ireland) will headline a nighttime concert as part of the Central Park SummerStage series. Though visa problems nearly derailed their North American tour earlier this year, the pair has been slowly gaining notoriety with heir infectious mix of acoustic rock. It’s almost impossible to not be stirred by their tunes, one of which we include below.

July 13th: Zoe, The Prinker Tones, Chestes

The Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) has been held for yearly in New York for the past few years and 2007 will be no exception. Several famous acts have played free concerts as a result of LAMC including Aterciopelados two years ago and ex-Soda Stereo front man Gustavo Cerati last year. This year, Mexican rockeros Zoe (who we touched on here) will perform in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park along with Spain’s The Pinker Tones and Monterrey pop group Chetes.

July 14th: Café Tacuba, Pacha Massive, La Sista

The following night, LAMC will host a concert in Central Park with well-known band Café Tacuba. The Mexican quartet will top what should be a killer concert with local act Pacha Massive and Boricua singer La Sista.

July 15th: Nortec Collective, Grupo Soñador

Much like Bondo do Role and Insitituto Mexicano de Sonido (who we discussed here), Tijuana’s Nortec Collective fits in the musical genre known as “Latintronica.” As we described in this post, it is a genre which fuses traditional, folkloric Latin American music (northern Mexican sounds, in the case of Nortec Collective) with elements from electronic music. Superficially it may seem like an oil-and-water combination, but Nortec’s sound is anything but.

August 9th: Yerba Buena, Los Amigos Invisibles, Jose Conde y Ola Fresca

Eclectic, fascinating music will be the order of the day during this concert at Hudson River Park. Yerba Buena combines funk, hip-hop, and afro-Cuban beats into a wonderful milieu of music, while disco and funk are in the repertoire of Los Amigos Invisibles (who I was lucky enough to see free at El Museo del Barrio last August). Good times, good times!

Are there any other concerts going on this summer that you want to tell others about? Then please feel free to either comment to this post or drop us a line at ourlatinamerica@yahoo.com!

Sources- YouSendIt, YouTube, Huevos Pericos, The Latin Americanist, Latin Alternative Music Conference, RiverRocks, Central park SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn!, River to River Festival, Lincoln Center

Image- afropop.org (Los Amigos Invisibles performing in Prospect Park last summer)

News briefs on Colombia

Because there are too many to list separately, here are several links on different news stories regarding Colombia:

* President Alvaro Uribe said he would “release” several imprisoned guerrillas by June 7th as a gesture “in the national interest”.

* FARC commander Raul Reyes has urged the government of France to push for the release of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three American hostages.

* Despite his differences with Democrats, Uribe will be on hand at a star-studded award gala honoring Bill Clinton next month.

* In a survey carried out by Colombian media outlet RCN, most people were opposed to Uribe’s suggestion of not jailing politicians with ties to paramilitaries.

* Ex-U.S. ambassador to Colombia Anne Patterson was nominated by the White House as the next ambassador to Pakistan.

* The University of Chicago may be the next school to ban all Coca-Cola products from campus due to allegations of labor abuses in Colombia.

* Singer Juanes has been rumored to have separated from his wife, actress Karen Martinez.

Sources (English)- BBC News, Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Maroon, Contactmusic.com

Sources (Spanish)- RCN, El Tiempo

Image- 33ff.com

Semifinalists decided in Copa Libertadores

Two top Brazilian teams, one of the world’s best squads, and a surprise team out of Colombia make up the four semifinalists to South America’s top soccer club competition- the Copa Libertadores (Liberator’s Cup).

Sao Paulo-based team Santos continues its recant resurgence by coming behind to beat Mexico’s Club America on Wednesday. With Pele in the stands enjoying the match, Jonas and Rodrigo Souto scored in the second half to win the game and the series 2-1.

Santos will go on to meet southern Brazil's Gremio who took advantage of playing their quarterfinal second leg at home to overcome Paraguay’s Defensor Sporting via penalty shootout. Gremio’s kickers were perfect from the penalty spot and the boys from Porto Alegre won 4-2 in the shootout, and get to rub it in the noses of their closest rivals- reigning Copa Libertadores champions Internacional.

Colombia’s Cucuta Deportivo won their quarterfinal series 4-2 over Uruguay’s Nacional after tying them 2-2 in the second leg. Despite having played in the Colombia’s second division in 2005, Cucuta made it past the group stage as the 13th seed and upset Mexico’s Toluca in the second round.

Cucuta’s Cinderella run faces its most difficult challenge after having to face legendary Argentine club Boca Juniors. Juan Roman Riquelme and Rodrigo Palacio gave “Los Xeneizes” a 2-0 win against home side Libertad of Paraguay. The Asuncion-based side was hoping for an upset after tying Boca in the first leg 1-1, but it's the five-time Libertadores champs from Buenos Aires move on.

Sources- Wikipedia, Fox Sports, International Herald Tribune, Reuters

Image- El Tiempo (Boca Juniors player Martin Palermo fights for a loose ball against Libertad’s goalie during Thursday night’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal match)


Mexico: Calderon rolls the dice on anti-crime policy

A newspaper shuts down due to constant threats.

The assassination of a top police official in Monterrey.

Twenty-two dead during a gunfight in Sonora.

Infiltration of the police by drug gangs.

With crime in Mexico apparently out of control president Felipe Calderon has steadfastly stood by his policy against crime and the people seem to praise him for his efforts:

“Mr. Calderón's popularity has also doubled, with two-thirds of Mexicans now approving of his presidency. It is not necessarily because they believe he is solving the problem of insecurity, however. For most Mexicans, analysts say, taking bold action – even if initially unsuccessful – is better than none at all”.

Caldron’s policy changes have not been without controversy, however. His proposal to use army soldiers in law enforcement operations has met with strong criticism from opposition politicians. The use of U.S. aid to expand Mexico’s electronic surveillance program may easily backfire due to issues over U.S. involvement and privacy.

Yet the ultimate arbiter of Calderon’s anti-crime police will be if it’s successful in diminishing crime. That remains to be seen.

Sources (English)- CNN, International Herald Tribune, Monsters & Critics, People’s Daily Online, Christian Science Monitor, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Sources (Spanish)- Jornada, El Universal

Image- BBC News (“Federal police units were sent to hunt down the gang members”)

Honduras: Gov’t orders propaganda on TV and radio

Ecuador and Venezuela aren’t the only Latin American countries to have disputes over freedom of press.

In Honduras, President Manuel Zelaya ordered that all TV and radio stations must air government propaganda for two hours daily starting on Monday for ten straight days. Zelaya’s edict comes after having “poor relations” with the media since coming into power in 2005, and may be legal since the law allows for government to order broadcasters to transmit messages that are “of importance to the country”.

Honduran newspaper Tiempo Digital reports that the country’s main journalists association has demanded that Zelaya reconsider his controversial decision:

“For the Journalists College it has been a surprise to find out that the president wishes to impose his will on radio and television stations. In the past, the people have been disturbed by many de facto stations working for the government.”

(La Tribuna has the entire communiqué from the president of the Honduras Journalists College).

Sources (English)- CNN, BBC News, The Latin Americanist, Associated Press - Far and Wide

Sources (Spanish)- Tiempo Digital, La Tribuna

Image- 20minutos.es

Daily Headlines: May 25, 2007

* Brazilian Health Minister Jose Temporao is behind a new alcohol prevention policy that would limit beer ads.

* Could the border barrier between Mexico and the U.S. violate a 1970 treaty between both countries?

* An ex-Peruvian soldier convicted of his role in the 1985 Accomarca massacre pled guilty to falsifying U.S. immigration documents.

* Over 100 people were arrested in the U.S. and four Latin American countries for their part in a heroin smuggling ring.

* Colombian legislators want the removal of the head of the Organization of American States' peace mission to their country.


Sources- MSNBC, ABCmoney.co.uk, Forbes, APRODEH, Dominican Today, International Herald Tribune

Image- Gringo Guides (Brazilian print ad for Brahma beer)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Titulares de las Americas

It’s been a while since we took a look at what the Latin American press had to say, so why not check out a few articles?

  • The Catholic Church cannot forget the “shadows that accompanied evangelization throughout the continent” said Pope Benedict XVI as he tried to clarify comments made against indigenous cultures during his visit to Brazil.
  • Ecuador’s economy minister confessed to secretly taping a meeting with himself and an ex-minister that showed them allegedly trying to rig the bond market.
  • The former head of Colombia’s lead intelligence agency claimed that they have a book describing ties between politicians and leftist guerillas.
  • Gasoline prices reached a record high in Jamaica, while a poll showed that the public has little faith in politicians to tackle crime.
  • Approximately 200 Brazilian soldiers have been mobilized to clear roads blockaded by land reform activists.
  • The Peruvian Supreme Court would respect Chile’s judicial findings over exiled former president Alberto Fujimori. Perhaps they should not be so trusting since a report by Transparency International found that corruption is pervasive in Latin American judicial systems.
  • Bolivian president Evo Morales strongly criticized the country’s press by calling them his “main adversary.”
  • “It would be an outstanding move if she were a (presidential) candidate” declared Argentine president Nestor Kirchner about his wife, Cristina.
  • Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration are analyzing samples of possibly toxic toothpaste exported from China and sold in the Dominican Republic and Panama.
  • Chilean environmentalist Douglas Tompkins warned of a “mini-Transantiago” that could occur if the government goes through with plans to build a road through Pumalin National Park.

Sources (Spanish)- Jornada, Hoy, El Tiempo, La Republica, Diario Color ABC Digital, Hoy Bolivia, La Nacion, Listin Diario, La Tercera

Sources (English)- Jamaica Observer, Jamaica Gleaner

Sources (Portuguese)- Folha da Sao Paulo

Image- American Association of Law Libraries

Bush has “confidence” in embattled Attorney General

President Bush continued to back Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in spite of increased pressure by Democrats and Republicans. During a press conference earlier today, Bush also reiterated remarks made earlier this week against a possible no-confidence vote led by Democrats that has led to speculation over Gonzales’ possible resignation.

The president’s comments came a day after an aide to Gonzales testified to the Senate that she “crossed the line” in bringing politics to the hiring process at the Justice Department. The Mexican-American attorney general has been accused of his role in the firing of eight federal attorneys supposedly due to political reasons.

Sources- FOX News, Denver Post, MyFoxColorado.com, Guardian UK, International Herald Tribune, Wikipedia, Reuters India

Image- MSNBC (2004 photo of President Bush and then-nominee for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales)

Fidel’s health is improving, says Granma

The health of Fidel Castro is improving after a series of operations, according to an article by him in official Cuban newspaper Granma. As CNN’s Morgan Neill reported:

“Castro said his prolonged recovery from the surgeries was due to the fact that the first operations he underwent were not successful. He also disclosed that during his illness, he received nutrition intravenously, although he said he is no longer doing so.”

Fidel adds that he has not appeared publicly since he doesn’t “have the time” for grooming despite having held several private meetings such as with Hugo Chavez.

Speaking of Cuba, Pablo Bachelet observed a global cleavage on whether or not to strengthen ties with the island.

Source (Spanish)- Granma

Sources (English)- Bloomberg, CNN, Monsters & Critics, The Latin Americanist, FortWayne.com

Image- CBS News

Factory owner in immigration raid okayed to go to Panama

The owner of a New Bedford, Massachusetts factory who was accused of hiring illegal immigrants was permitted to travel to Panama next month. A federal judge approved Francesco Insolia’s request to go on a ten day “humanitarian mission” in Panama “to help provide medical care”.

Insolia and three other defendants stand trial after their plant was involved in a massive immigration raid last March (image) which ended in the arrest of nearly 400 employees. The raid was decried by a Washington Post editorial that criticized called it “cruel, self-defeating and illogical.”

Sources- Boston Herald, Boston.com, The Latin Americanist

Image- The Militant

Salvadoran prez surprises troops in Iraq

Yesterday Salvadoran President Tony Saca made an unexpected visit to troops from El Salvador who are stationed in southern Iraq. Saca praised the soldiers and assured his countrymen that “morale was very high."

El Salvador is the only Latin American country with soldiers stationed in Iraq with nearly 400 Salvadoran troops are over there. Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic withdrew their soldiers from Iraq in 2004.

Image- PBS (President Tony Saca decorating five soldiers who returned from Iraq in 2006)

Sources- International Herald Tribune, Wikipedia

Bloggers of the world unite and take over

Don’t forget, e-mail us ourlatinamerica@yahoo.com if there’s a blog that should be included on our blogroll. Also, please take a look at the blogs on the blogroll; they represent different viewpoints on many topics concerning the Americas.

  • Mmmmmm, chorizo (image).
  • If a Canadian real estate developer has land to sell in Cuba, then I got a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to consider buying.
  • “As far as I am concerned you can take your 'Straight Talk Express' straight to Tijuana”.
  • Several panelists on the Washington Post/Newsweek blog PostGlobal examine the issue of immigration.
  • Venezuela and RCTV – “If the government can do this…then your TV station or your newspaper or your radio station or your website can be next if you cross the wrong line in political speech.”
  • Via Hispanic Tips: iHspanic HResearchers at Florida International University concluded that immigrants to Florida “contribute significantly to state and federal coffers but receive fewer government benefits than native-born individuals”.
  • A pair of great music posts on reggaeton and Bebel Gilberto.
  • Could Bill Richardson’s Hispanic background hurt his presidential bid? Marisa at Latina Lista thinks it might.
  • Adam at Plan Colombia and Beyond clues us in to an empty threat delivered by an uribista in Colombia’s Congress. Professor Greg Weeks compares it to a threat made by Hugo Chavez over oil.

Links- A Year in Uruguay, Babalu Blog, Wonkette, Bloggings by Boz, Hispanic Tips, Blogcritics.org, La Onda Tropical, VivirLatino, Latina Lista, Plan Colombia and Beyond, Two Weeks Notice, PostGlobal

Image- Cooking Light

Daily Headlines: May 24, 2007

* Is global warming killing off over a dozen species of amphibians in Costa Rica?

* Venezuela's government rejected a U.S. Senate draft resolution condemning them for not renewing the license of Radio Caracas Television.

* The New York Police Department is facing scrutiny over the killing of a Honduran immigrant by an off-duty cop.

* Support for Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez has slipped by 6% since December.

* Cuban businesses are expected to rake in as much as $150 million from U.S. firms at an agribusiness fair next week.

* A new agriculture minister for Peru was named on Tuesday after his predecessor quit over a dispute regarding coca leaf production.

Sources- Reuters AlertNet, El Universal, Newsday, Angus Reid Consultants, Canada.com, Reuters UK

Image- The New Zealand Herald (According to the photo’s caption “Amphibians in Costa Rica such as the blue jeans dart frog are being threatened by global warming”)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rodriguez to direct new Barbarella movie

El Mariachi

From Dusk Till Dawn

Sin City

Grindhouse

And now you can add a new Barbarella to the list of film directed by Mexican-American director Robert Rodriguez.

Rodriguez agreed to be behind the cameras of a remake of the 1968 cult classic starring Jane Fonda. Said Rodriguez as he was in Cannes to promote Grindhouse:

“I love this iconic character and all that she represents, and I'm truly excited by the challenge of inviting a new audience into her universe.”

Sources- IMDB, BBC News, Reuters

Image- TIME

Swiss will return “Baby Doc’s” funds

Switzerland will return over $6 million that was seized from bank accounts belonging to former Haitian ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier. Most of the assets will be destined for humanitarian projects in the Caribbean nation though the rest will go to his family. The money will be released by June 3rd unless Haiti’s government divulges evidence tying the money to corruption or criminal activity.

“Baby Doc” Duvalier (image, circa 1970s) served as Haitian dictator between 1971 and 1986, and after seven years of rule by his father, François. The Duvalier duo ruled Haiti via harsh repression of any opposition, and squandered public funds on a luxurious lifestyle while the country lay mired as one of the world’s poorest countries.

“Baby Doc” is allegedly exiled in France.

Image- BBC News

Sources- Voice of America, Reuters AlertNet, International Herald Tribune, Wikipedia, Washington Post, latinamerianstudies.org

Giuliani opposes immigration compromise

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani (image) broke his silence on the bipartisan congressional proposal on immigration and expressed his opposition to it. The former New York City mayor believed that the deal is misguided in its goal:

“We need to know everyone who's in the United States who comes here from a foreign country. That has to be the goal of our immigration law. If you make that the objective of your law, you will clear up a lot of the confusion that presently exists both in our present immigration law and in what Congress is trying to do right now, which kind of goes in 10 different directions without any central focus.”

Despite rumors of flip-flopping on immigration, Giuliani joins others such as Newt Gingrich and Lou Dobbs in their opposition to the deal.

Not all Republicans have shared Giuliani’s disagreement; President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, have led the push behind the immigration compromise.

Update: The Senate has just approved an amendment to the compromise which would reduce the cap on a possible guest worker program.

Sources- Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, San Jose Mercury News, FOX News, CNN, ABC News, Boston.com, Houston Chronicle

Image- New York

RCTV should shut down by Monday says court

Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) needs to cease broadcasting temporarily by this Monday. Though the Court refused to hear a legal challenge by RCTV last week, the tribunal acceded to hear a separate appeal to decide the permanent fate of the television network.

The Venezuelan government’s controversial decision not to renew RCTV’s broadcasting license has further divided Venezuelans. Tens of thousands of RCTV supporters marched in Caracas over the weekend clamoring for “free independent media.” Conversely, critics call RCTV “hypocritical” after the network backed the failed 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez.

Sources CNN, Guardian UK, BBC News

Image- Guardian UK (Pro-RCTV protestor)


Report: Human rights in Americas needs improvement

Earlier today, Amnesty International released its yearly report on the state of human rights around the world. Though some of the study's harshest comments were against the U.S.’ “war on terror”, other countries in the Western Hemisphere were not exempt from criticism:
  • Weak institutions that undermine democracies
  • Continued economic inequality
  • Deep “ethnic divisions” in Bolivia
  • The growth of urban militia groups in Haiti, Jamaica, and Guatemala
  • Colombia’s “humanitarian crisis”
  • “Pattern” of killing women in Mexico and Honduras
  • Overcrowded prisons in Brazil

However, the report also cited several positive human rights developments in the Americas including:

  • Advancements in reproductive rights
  • More acceptability of the LGBT community
  • Less impunity of former leaders accused of human rights violations
  • Stronger trade alliances

The Amnesty International Report 2007 section on the Americas can be read here and includes country-specific links (e.g. Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico).

Sources- Scotsman, SignOnSanDiego.com, Amnesty International Report 2007

Image- Earthtimes.org

Daily Headlines: May 23, 2007

* The U.S. Senate voted against an amendment to remove the guest worker program from the bipartisan immigration compromise created last week.

* Researchers in Argentina found that Viagra may help lessen the effects of jet lag in men. (No laughing from the peanut gallery, please!)

* The U.N. Security Council became the latest setting for the debate over alleged bomber Luis Posada Carriles.

* Brazilian energy minister Silas Rondeau resigned due to accusations of corruption over a public works project.

* "Stop illegal logging in Honduras" is the message being conveyed via this El Diario/La Prensa editorial.

* “The discrepancy between what is reported internationally and what is happening on the ground (in Venezuela) raises concern that even respected groups like Human Rights Watch, the BBC World News, and CNN are out of touch.” Oh really?


Sources- Yahoo! News, The Latin Americanist, ABC News, Reuters, BBC News, El Diario/La Prensa, Upside Down World

Image- NPR (According to the caption “U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), left, shakes hands with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff looks on during a news conference to announce a compromise on immigration legislation between the White House and the Senate”)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Feliz cumpelaños, Morrissey!

English singer/songwriter Morrissey celebrates his 48th birthday today. Though we mentioned him briefly before, it’s worth repeating the cult-like following he has amongst Chicano youth, particularly in the southwestern U.S. Why so? Speaking out of personal experience it’s hard to figure out. However, Gustavo Arellano (he of “Ask a Mexican” fame) tries to explain:

“It may be that it echoes the music of Mexico, the ranchera. His trembling falsetto brings to mind the rich, sad voice of Pedro Infante, while his effeminate stage presence makes him a U.K. version of Juan Gabriel.

Morrissey’s signature beckoning and embrace of the uncertainty of life and love, something that at first glance might seem the opposite of macho Mexican music. But check it out: for all the machismo and virulent existentialism that Mexican music espouses, there is another side—a morbid fascination with getting your heart and dreams broken by others, usually in death”.

Another part of the cult of Morrissey may be due to his perception as an outsider by those who believed that they in turn have been marginalized by society:

“Thousands of Los Angeles' young Latino-Americans, (most of them born in the years of The Smiths' early hits), have rediscovered and redefined this music in the new millennium. By immersing themselves in the impassioned, delicately layered music of Morrissey, these teens have effectively rejected savvy media marketing and the relentless hip-hop hype. They have also found solidarity, a way to escape. Setting themselves apart with towering pompadours, shiny saddle shoes, leather jackets, tattooed arms and spotless tees, these fans have also created an immediately identifiable fashion, the uniform of the consummate outsider”.

Perhaps it is this reason which explains his less rabid yet equally as important following in the Americas. Though his style and mannerisms do no fit within the machismo/marianismo dichotomy, Morrissey is beloved by fans throughout the region and this will not change any time soon.

Image- BBC (Morrissey performing in concert in December 2006)

Sources- Wikipedia, Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, O.C. Weekly, Rhino RZine

Argentina: Concession nullified a week after rail riot

Argentina’s government cancelled a firm's concession to operate two major rail lines one week after a riot at a Buenos Aires train station. “We will keep all the workers on the job and ticket prices will remain the same,” said Planning Minister Julio De Vido earlier today as the government will temporarily control the dual train lines that had been run by private company Metropolitano S.A.

Image- Sydney Morning Herald (Buenos Aires riot police inside the Constitucion train station last Tuesday)

Sources- Bloomberg, CNN, The Latin Americanist


Weekly Debate: The immigration compromise

Last Thursday, a bipartisan compromise was reached that would bring much-needed reform to the immigration debate in the U.S. The deal has several points including creating a guest worker program, increased border enforcement, and a special visa plan for some illegal immigrants.

However, passing the compromise in the Senate will be very difficult due to harsh opposition from both the political left and right; the former call it an undue burden on illegal immigrants while the latter consider it as an “amnesty.” Wrangling and disagreements over the bill amongst senators have already delayed work on the bill.

Depending on which source you read, immigrants are either deeply disappointed or ecstatic with the immigration agreement.

So what do you think? Is the deal on immigration fair or problematic? Did politicians opt for a Solomon-like solution that will backfire? If the bill is passed, will it be drastically different form the initial agreement? Which political party would be more at fault if immigration reform is not realized?

Express your opinion via the comments to this post and/or the poll located on the sidebar. (Poll closes on May 28th).

(Previous debates on rock en español, Latin American leaders, and presidential candidates).

Sources- Bloomberg, MSNBC, BBC News, Guardian UK, Christian Science Monitor, The Latin Americanist, PollDaddy

Image- Christian Science Monitor (According to the caption “Margarita Medina, a resident alien in Phoenix, gets assistance filling out U.S. citizenship forms”)

Airline pulls racist ad on Cuba

Spain’s a national air carrier Iberia pulled a sexist and racist ad that a consumer rights group deemed “offensive.” Though a spokeswoman for Iberia called the animated ad “completely trivial”, it’s hard not to argue with the indignation shown by Henry at Babalu Blog.

Here’s the ad in question via YouTube; judge for yourself if the ad is really “trivial”:

Sources- Babalu Blog, Scotsman, YouTube


Ecuador: Correa in conflict with media

Venezuela isn’t the only country with a debate between the president and the media; Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa sued a Quito-based newspaper for libel due to an editorial published last March. Correa said that he would combat the "mediocrity" and "incompetence" he perceives in the Ecuadorian media, though his decision has brought widespread criticism from international press groups.

In a recent post we noted how columnist Andres Oppenheimer criticized several Latin American countries, (including Ecuador), for their lack of freedom of press.

Sources- BBC News, International Herald Tribune, azstarnet.com, The Latin Americanist

Image- BBC News (Ecuadorian newspaper reader)

Daily Headlines: May 22, 2007

* Miss Jamaica Zahra Redwood (image) aims to go “against what (the general public) developed as a stereotype” of Rastafarians in the week before next Tuesday’s Miss Universe pageant.

* The U.S. needs to boost its military aid to the Americas according to a senior defense official.

* “Ethnic Democrats, wherever they are, are going to be attracted to Rudy (Giuliani).” Oh really?

* Sex workers in Peru want the government to regulate their industry due to safety and health reasons.

* Leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky gives his two cents on Venezuela in this interview.

Image- Jamaica Gleaner

Sources- Sydney Morning Herald, Reuters AlertNet, Gothamist, VenezuelaAnalysis.com


Monday, May 21, 2007

Bachelet vows to fix Transantigo, more funds for education

The need to fix Santiago’s transit system and additional funds for education where two of the main themes in Chilean president Michelle Bachelet’s state-of-the-nation address earlier today. “People have the right to be angry and anguished. I understand their indignation,” mentioned Bachelet (image) in response to dwindling public support over problems with the Transantiago system as well as rising costs of the country’s school system.

A small group of debtors protesting Chile’s economic policy were able to briefly interrupt Bachelet’s speech, while opposition leader Sebastian Piñera deemed the discourse as “long…but poor in content.”

Click here for a full list of the points made by Bachelet in her speech.

Sources (English)- Guardian UK, Angus Reid Consultants, The Latin Americanist

Sources (Spanish)- La Tercera, La Nacion

Image- La Nacion