Friday, September 7, 2007

Video of the Day: Tuning in to “La Radiolina”

Sorry for the lack of posts today. Unfortunately I had a bit of a family emergency to tend to.

In order to make up for today several posts will be published on Saturday Sunday (sorry for the inconvenience!) In addition, we’ll have special coverage of the Guatemalan presidential elections tomorrow.

In the meantime, we wish to highlight the release of Manu Chao’s latest album this week. “La Radiolina” is the fifth solo album for the celebrated musician and thus far the album has been critically praised in Billboard and Rolling Stone, just to name a few.

Here is a video for one of the songs on “La Radiolina” entitled “Rainin’ in Paradize.” Chao’s political leanings shine through in this very catchy tune which is a little more guitar-heavy than his usual music. (Video link):

Want to hear more from “La Radiolina”? Then click here where is streaming the album for a limited time.


Sources- Billboard, Rolling Stone,, YouTube,,

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Video of the Day: R.I.P. – Luciano Pavarotti

We would be remiss without mentioning a great loss in the world of music with the death on Thursday of legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. The great tenor died at the age of 71 after a bout with pancreatic cancer and his passing has been mourned by many in his native Italy and around the world.

The gregarious singer may be best known for joining Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo as one of “The Three Tenors”, though long before that he entered the pantheon of transcendent opera stars with the likes of Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas.

The clip below is of Pavarotti singing “Manhã da Carnaval” along with Caetano Veloso live in concert. Both perform splendidly in a touching and magical performance together (video link):

Sources- E! Online, Guardian UK, Reuters, Wikipedia, YouTube

ILO: Grim job outlook for L. American youth

A report released this week by the International Labor Organization (ILO) concluded that millions of young Latin Americans face a negative job outlook. Ten million young people in Latin America are unemployed which is three times the adult rate for the region. Add to that the high percentage of youth working in the informal sector and the decrease in prospects for employment, and this leads towards a “vicious circle of poverty” affecting the region’s youth.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia observed that Latin America is wasting a prime opportunity for social and economic advancement in an increasingly globalized world:

“Young people are essential to integrate the region in the globalization process. All over the world, young women and young men, if they are given the opportunity, make an important contribution as productive workers, employers, consumers, members of civil society and agents of change.

Young people invest their energy, talent and creativity in the economy, and nobody can afford to loose this potential.”

Sources (English)- International Labor Organization, MercoPress

Source (Spanish)- El Diario/La Prensa

Image- (Young man working at a market in Grenada)

Univision’s GOP debate postponed

Most of the news has focused on Fred Thompson’s absence from last night’s Republican debate in order to announce his presidential candidacy on “The Tonight Show.” However, there’s a potentially more embarrassing debate absence affecting most of the GOP’s presidential hopefuls.

Last week U.S. television network Univision postponed a Spanish-language Republican debate that was supposed to take place on September 16th. An Univision spokesperson blamed “scheduling conflicts” for the change despite the network having announced the date nearly three months ago. As we mentioned last month, Senator John McCain was the lone GOP candidate to accept his invitation to what would’ve been a key forum to address the burgeoning Latino voting bloc.

In an op/ed piece admonishing the Democrats for their stance on free trade, Andres Oppenheimer rightly took the Republicans to task for their lack of enthusiasm at the Univision debate:

“Top Republican presidential hopefuls have turned their backs on U.S. Hispanics even more than the Democrats by embracing anti-immigration stands championed by their party's most extremist -- and xenophobic -- wing.

The immigration stands of Republican hopefuls Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney have put them at such odds with the Hispanic community that they declined the Univision network's invitation to participate at a Republican candidates debate. It had to be canceled after only one candidate -- Sen. John McCain -- agreed to participate.”

Univision’s Democratic debate will still be held this Sunday and will include all the candidates including Hillary Clinton who initially denied her invitation.


Sources- Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, Washington Post – The Trail, The Latin Americanist,, New York Times – The Caucus,

Quote of the Day: Better version of me

"I'm the new version of Bush. The Latino version"

--William Bush Howard (no relation to the U.S. President) comments after being sworn in Monday as chief of the Western Hemisphere office in Colombia's foreign ministry.

Source- International Herald Tribune

Follow-up: Dual storms pound Mexico and Central America

The death toll has risen to 38 64 as Hurricane Felix rolled through several Central American countries. Concerns about mudslides and flash floods remained in Honduras though worse hit by the storm was the Miskito Coast region of eastern Nicaragua where over 30,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Despite being grateful that the storm did not reach the magnitude of 1998’s Hurricane Mitch, Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega still emphasized the damage caused by Felix:

"There are more than 200 people missing. We are talking about really serious damage."

Meanwhile, Hurricane Henriette has been downgraded to a tropical storm but not before causing serious damage while traveling over mainland Mexico. The storm’s death toll is nine after two fishermen died in Baja California. The National Weather Service warned that it could bring as much as a foot of rain in isolated areas and cause flash flooding in northern Mexico.

Earlier this week, both storms reached landfall after strengthening over warm ocean waters.

Image- BBC News

Sources- AFP, Baltimore Sun, Wikipedia, Guardian UK, International Herald Tribune, Reuters, UK, The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: September 6, 2007

* Bolivia will seek the extradition of ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada from the U.S. to face trial on charges of genocide.

* Mexico government plans to reestablish diplomatic ties with Cuba and Venezuela for the first time since Vicente Fox left office.

* In a setback to Brazilian to President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, Senate President Renan Calheiros has been accused of violating several rules of conduct.

* Standard & Poor's raised the long-term credit rating for the Dominican Republic.

* The Chilean and Japanese heads of state launched a bilateral free trade agreement this week.

* Follow-up: It’s been over a week and the Chilean Supreme Court has yet to decide on the fate on ex-Peruvian leader Alberto Fuijmori.

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Living in Peru, Xinhua, Forbes, People’s Daily Online

Image- BBC Mundo

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Video of the Day: 5-0

It seems like an eternity ago, but it was on this day in 1993 that the Colombian men’s soccer team recorded a historical 5-0 upset over Argentina on the final day for qualifying to the 1994 World Cup. The likes of “El Pibe” Valderrama, Fredy Rincon, and “El Tren” Valencia shocked the soccer world on a chilly Buenos Aires night fourteen years ago.

Since then Argentina has only lost twice to Colombia with their latest confrontation being a decisive 4-2 victory for los albicelestes in this year’s Copa America. But for one game los cafeteros caught all the breaks and played as close to perfect as possible (video link):

Sources-, ESPN Soccernet, YouTube

Follow-up: Simpson-Miller down and out

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller admitted defeat in the country’s general elections that were held on Monday. As a recount of electoral ballots continues for a second consecutive day, Simpson-Miller rescinded from previous calls alleging voting regulates in her statement:

"The People's National Party (PNP) accepts the announced preliminary results, while reserving all legal rights under the Jamaican constitution and our electoral laws…The People's National Party, as part of its highest traditions, respects and will always respect the voice of the Jamaican people and their will, as expressed in the vote."

Preliminary results show the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) with 32 of 60 seats in parliament, and final results are expected to be released tomorrow. An official victory for the JLP would give that party control of Jamaica for the first time since 1989.

So who is Bruce Golding- the apparent successor to Simpson-Miller? He is a career politician who has been interested in politics since his father was a member of Jamaica’s parliament. Yet according to Radio Netherlands Worldwide the ideological differences between him and Simpson-Miller are very few:

“The ideological differences between Mr. Golding's Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party of outgoing Prime Minister Portia Miller Simpson are not that far apart. They are both in the centre of the political spectrum.

Many of Jamaica's citizens live in abject poverty, which is why more than a million people have emigrated in recent decades - mostly to Great Britain and the United States. Both parties say they want to do something about rampant crime levels, poor education and inadequate health care.”

Sources- AFP, The Latin Americanist, Voice of America, BBC News, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Jamaica Gleaner

Image- Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Judge blocks Noriega extradition to France

A U.S. judge temporary blocked the extradition of Manuel Noriega four days before he is expected to be released from jail. Attorneys for the former Panamanian leader are trying to avoid that their client gets sent to France where he faces money laundering charges.

Despite awaiting jail time in Panama, the Associated Press notes that the French government is eager to bring Noriega to trial:

“Noriega was convicted in France on charges of laundering more than $3 million in drug proceeds through French banks, with some of the money used to buy luxury apartments in Paris, while he was jailed in the U.S. The French government agreed to give him a new trial if he was extradited, according to court documents.”

Noriega faces at least ten years in prison if he gets extradited and convicted in France.

Image- Javno

Sources (English)- Reuters, Guardian UK, Washington Post

Source (Spanish)- El Diario/La Prensa

Mexican teen imprisoned over TB to be deported

A 17-year-old Mexican teen will be deported after being jailed in Georgia for refusing treatment for tuberculoses. Since being in a county jail for about a month, Francisco Santos has taken medicine and signed a consent form obligating him to keep doing so for another nine months after being released from prison.

After being released, Santos will face deportation charges along with his mother since both are undocumented. Yet as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, they probably won’t be back in Mexico for quite a while:

“Enriqueta Palacios and her son are expected to appear before an immigration judge in Atlanta within a few weeks. Those proceedings can take a few months, and, pending appeals and other actions, the final deportation could come soon after that or take several more months.

In total, he may not be deported for another two years, which would provide him time to receive the treatment locally.”

Nonetheless, the Mexican government assured that the teen will keep getting treatment after he is deported south of the border.

Santos’ case is somewhat reminiscent of U.S. attorney Andrew Speaker who traveled to Europe earlier this year while being infected with tuberculosis.

Sources (English)- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Forbes, Voice of America

Source (Spanish)- El Diario/La Prensa

Image- BBC News (Tuberculosis bacteria)

Bill proposes big fines for Colombian adulterers

A Colombian senator has proposed placing massive fines and community service for people caught committing adultery. Senator Edgar Espindola claimed that the $4000 fines included in the punishment would “motivate Colombians to reflect on the importance of the marriage, the home and the importance of family.” However, he included a loophole where spouses pardoned by their partners wouldn’t be penalized.

Naturally, the Colombian media has had fun with Espindola’s suggestion:

“Some local radio commentators joked the proposal would get short shrift in Colombia's Congress because lawmakers were likely to want to hide their own indiscretions in the mostly Roman Catholic country.”

Espindola's idea comes from the country that brought you:

Sources- AFP, Reuters UK,, Canadian Press, BBC News

Image- Brickbox

Daily Headlines: September 5, 2007

* Argentina’s most infamous “dirty war” prison- the Naval Mechanics School, or ESMA- will open to the public next month as a converted human rights memorial.

* More corruption in the Puerto Rican police has come to light after the arrests of five officers accused of protecting a drug gang.

* Pollen extracted from the fossil of an extinct Dominican bee could shed some light on the history of flowers.

* Brazil’s government proposed creating a U.N. body for environmental concerns.

Sources- People’s Daily Online, Reuters Canada, Reuters AlertNet, Guardian UK

Image- BBC News

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Video of the Day: “Weasel dust” is slang for god-awful Spanish accent

In television and films non-Latino thespians have tried to portray characters with Spanish accents only to fail miserably:

However, none meet up to the failure that was Frank Zappa’s portrayal of a drug trafficker in “Miami Vice.” Despite Zappa’s best efforts, the legendary eclectic musician’s stab at Spanish ends up falling flat (video link):

(Hat tip:

Sources- YouTube,

Mexico: Calderon speech focuses on immigration

Mexican president Felipe Calderon touched on immigration during his state-of-the nation speech on Sunday by continuing to criticize U.S. policy on the subject:

“We strongly protest the unilateral measures taken by the U.S. Congress and government that have only exacerbated the mistreatment of Mexican undocumented workers.

The insensitivity towards those who support the U.S. economy and society has only served as an impetus to reinforce the battle … for their rights.”

Calderon’s address also emphasized his desire for fiscal reform as well as support for his anti-crime initiatives.

The speech was delayed by one day and moved to a different venue due to the ire of opposition lawmakers including some who still contend that he is an illegitimate president.

Image- Washington Post

Sources- Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist

Oil spill threatens Puerto Rican sea life

Pristine areas of Puerto Rico's southwestern shore have come under danger due to a mysterious oil spill. Despite efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard to clean up the mess, officials are investigating where the spill originated from:

"We don't know exactly what it is. It's a black, oily, tar-like substance," (Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo) Castrodad said. "The aerial view showed four or five patches, each of up to 500 yards long and 50 yards wide, spread out about five miles."

The cleanup efforts are expected to take several weeks though that could be delayed by inclement weather.

Image- National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (The coral reefs at La Parguera, Puerto Rico are in danger from an oil spill)

Sources-, UPI, FOX News, Forbes

Dual hurricanes bear down on Mexico and Central America

Several Central American countries are reeling after being hit by nearly 200 mile per hour winds from Hurricane Felix this morning. So far two people have been killed in northern Nicaragua and the National Hurricane Center warned of potentially fatal mudslides and flash floods ravaging Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. The storm has diminished to a Category 3 hurricane though “torrential rains” are expected to fall over Central America for days.

Meanwhile, Baja California is readying for Henriette which strengthened from a tropical storm into a hurricane. The typhoon is expected to reach landfall later today after having previously caused several deaths over the weekend.

Sources- The Telegraph, Reuters, MarketWatch, Bloomberg, Forbes, AFP

Image- Guardian UK

Jamaica: Simpson-Miller down but not out after elections

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has yet to concede defeat in yesterday’s general elections on the island as results are still too close. Ballots are undergoing a recount as preliminary results show the opposition Jamaica Labour Party obtained 31 of 60 parliamentary seats.

How could Simpson-Miller “lose” by such a razor-thin margin? According to the Jamaica Gleaner she should’ve called elections shortly after taking power nineteen months ago. Yet the Guardian UK notes that it’s more than that:

“The prime minister, widely known as ‘Sista P’, retains widespread affection. But confidence has been eroded by party scandals, violent crime and sluggish growth. When Hurricane Dean swept through coastal regions last month she was accused of hiding in a bunker.”

As we mentioned last Friday, Simpson-Miller gained eight spots on Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” list.

Image- Al Jazeera (Opposition supporters celebrate the Jamaica Labour Party’s apparent victory)

Sources- Canadian Press, Reuters, Jamaica Gleaner, Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: September 4, 2007

* U.S. presidential candidate Bill Richardson expressed his worry over being “Swiftboated” by attack ads due to his Latino background.

* Ecuadorian soccer player Jairo Andres Nazareno died from a heart attack while playing on Saturday. His death occurs almost a week after Spain's Antonio Puerta passed away after suffering a heart attack on the pitch.

* Nearly 7 out of every 10 Mexicans oppose certain forms of drug legalization according to a recent poll.

* Follow-up: Bolivia’s government is seeking negotiations in order to quell protests that have taken place throughout the country.

Sources-, Angus Reid Consultants,, BBC Sport, People’s Daily Online, The Latin Americanist

Image- TIME

Monday, September 3, 2007

Daily Headlines: September 3, 2007 – Evening Edition

* Anyone interested in a piece of Ché Guevara’s hair that will be up for auction next month?

* Dominicans continue to debate the usefulness of a subway line being constructed in the capital of Santo Domingo.

* British politicians Prime Minister Gordon Brown to halt all arms sales and military aid to a close ally of the U.S.: Colombia.

* Remittances to Mexico increased in July by about 4%.

Sources- Associated Press, International Herald Tribune, Guardian UK, BusinessWeek

Image- TIME

Daily Headlines: September 3, 2007 – Afternoon Edition

* Hundreds of tourists in Honduras were evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Felix reaching land tomorrow morning.

* Coming this season to “Ugly Betty” – Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham.

* Seven people died during a shootout between police and gangs at a Rio de Janeiro slum.

* Work is beginning on an expansion of the Panama Canal.

* A senior Colombian guerilla commander was killed in combat according to the country’s defense minister.

Sources- BBC News, Monsters & Critics, Canadian Press, Xinhua, International Herald Tribune

Image- The Telegraph

Daily Headlines: September 3, 2007 - Morning Edition

* Last week: Cambridge mathematicians conclude that actress Jessica Alba has the “ultimate sexy strut.”

This week: “they’ve already decided what the result is, beforehand.”

(Hat tip: Guanabee,

* Hurricane Dean may be the deciding factor in today’s general elections in Jamaica.

* Argentine president Nestor Kirchner suffered a setback when voters of Santa Fe province elected an opposition politician for governor.

* A Chilean Catholic priest was charged with having covered up the deaths of 28 dissidents during Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

* An exhibition of over 600 images of Eva Peron at Argentina's Institute for Cinema and Audiovisual Arts has been both praised and criticized.

Sources- Guanabee,, The Telegraph,, MSNBC, Guardian UK, BBC News

Image- E! Online