Friday, September 21, 2012

Venezuelan “Amigos” Upset Over Chavez Ad

With Venezuela’s presidential elections less than a month away both incumbent Hugo Chavez and rival Henrique Capriles are seeking any advantage they can get.  Yet the use of music to support the current president has raised the ire of one well-known Venezuelan band.

Members of Los Amigos Invisibles have asked a state-run radio station to quit running pro-Chavez campaign ads that use their 2004 song “Majunche.” 

"They've expropriated Majunche.  Just what we needed," tweeted bass player Jose Rafael Torres after the group found out that the YVKE station used their song. Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the band's management claimed to Reuters that the song was utilized without the band’s permission.

The instrumental tune, whose title is roughly translated as “Loser,” was played behind a speech where Chavez declared that “The loser won't win elections in Venezuela ... this year, or even in 2,000 years!”

Several members of “Los Amigos” have not been shy in admitting that they support the former governor of Miranda state.  “I would like to be an oligarch but I don’t have any lands…I’ve been forced to be on the opposition by conviction,” Torres tweeted.  Percussionist Marco Arias composed a song for the Capriles campaign entitled “Algo bueno está pasando” (“Something good is happening”).  Lyrics for the upbeat tune include “We’re all going to celebrate” and “Something good is happening, change is coming.”

Daily Headlines: September 21, 2012

* Brazil: Petrobras CEO Maria das Gracas Foster said that the company’s attorneys are trying to overturn an injunction against oil drilling contractor Transocean.
* Peru: At least person died after police clashed with protesters who claimed that a gold mine owned by Canadian company Barrick is polluting the local water supply.
* Mexico: The U.S. Department of Justice inspector general blasted the ATF for its role in the controversial Operation Fast and Furious but exonerated Attorney General Eric Holder.
* U.S.: A pair of national Latino organizations denounced the apparent “constant pattern of exclusion of Latinos” from receiving the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.

Video Source – YouTube via Associated Press (Video from November 2011).

Online Sources- Reuters, CBS News, Huffington Post, Politico

Thursday, September 20, 2012

World Watch: Torture

* Georgia: Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia resigned amidst escalating protests over alleged torture and abuse in Georgian prisons.
* Syria: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that approximately 54 people died when an air force jet blew up a gas station.
* Space: Six weeks after landing on Mars the Curiosity rover is expected to analyze rock samples on the surface of the Red Planet.

* Somalia: At least a dozen people were killed as result of a double suicide attack believed to have been perpetrated by a group with ties to al-Qaeda.
Video Source– YouTube via euronews

Online Sources – Voice of America, Reuters, Scientific American, ABC Online

Nuestro Cine: Selling Democracy

The annual celebration of Chile’s “Fiestas Patrias” (“Patriotic Holidays”) took place this week in recognition of the country’s 202nd year of independence.  It was an occasion for Chileans to come together to show their patriotism and pride for their country.

The signs of unity on display on Tuesday contrasted sharply with the divisions displayed one week before on the 39th anniversary of the coup d’état against the country’s civilian government.  In Santiago, for instance, police and protesters clashed after a “largely peaceful demonstration” in memory of the hundreds of victims targeted by the military junta. 

The silver screen has not been immune from the heated opinions on the September 11, 1973 coup and the subsequent military regime led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.  In June supporters and detractors of the late dictator faced off at the screening of a documentary that praised the late dictator as a “national hero who saved Chile from communism.” 

“No” is a 2012 movie that takes a critical look at the Pinochet government. The film stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal as Rene Saavedra, an advertising executive heading a marketing campaign trying to convince voters to defeat the strongman in a 1988 national referendum.  The movie dramatizes the many difficulties faced by the campaign including limited resources and pressure from the government.  The film also shows archival footage including commercials that helped sway pubic opinion against Pinochet.

Below the page break is a clip from “No” where Saavedra and his associates encounter resistance to their plan from opposition activists:

Daily Headlines: September 20, 2012

* South America: At least nine people died in Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia after being hit with storms that included ninety-mile-per-hour winds.

* Cuba: A group of thirty Cuban dissidents ended an eight-day hunger strike after authorities reportedly gave in to their demands.

* U.S.: A Department of Justice report found that a North Carolina sheriff routinely discriminated against Latinos including referring to Latinos as “taco eaters”.

* Costa Rica: Cases of dengue fever have reportedly shot up by 36% in Costa Rica with over 8400 people affected by the illness.

Video Source – YouTube via teleSUR

Online Sources- France24, Huffington Post, Bernama, Reuters

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Daily Headlines: September 19, 2012

* Colombia: Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, one of Colombia’s most wanted drug traffickers, was captured in neighboring Venezuela.

* Mexico: At least twenty-six people died after an explosion rocked a Pemex gas facility in the northern Mexico city of Reynosa.

* U.S.: Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended for three games after writing a homophobic slur in Spanish on his eye-black during a recent game.

* Argentina: Argentina could face sanctions from the International Monetary Fund over its allegedly misleading economic data.

Video Source – YouTube via user cablenoticiastv (Daniel “El Loco” Barrera is believed to have led a drug trafficking “banda criminal” (or “criminal group”) with ties to former right-wing paramilitaries as well as FARC guerillas).

Online Sources- CBS News, Reuters, The Guardian

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Daily Headlines: September 18, 2012

* Chile: Scientists released photos taken from the world's most powerful digital camera, which is sitting on a mountaintop in Chile.

* Bolivia: A U.N. report released days after Bolivia was placed on a White House drug trafficking "black list" found that coca production in the Andean country dropped by 12% in 2011.

* Brazil: Finance Minister Guido Mantega criticized the latest round of U.S. monetary alleging, “the depreciation of the dollar will cause lots of problems for emerging nations.”

* Mexico: Authorities are searching for over 130 inmates who escaped from a prison in the northern Coahuila state.

Video Source – YouTube via Fermilab

Online Sources-, ABC News, Reuters, Businessweek, USA TODAY

Monday, September 17, 2012

Daily Headlines: September 17, 2012

* South America: The Bolivian and Venezuela governments rejected being placed on a White House drug trafficking "black list" released last Friday.

* Brazil: According to a Brazilian media report former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the “chief” in the alleged “mensalao” corruption network implicating over thirty politicians and publicists.

* Mexico: At least two Mexico state legislators allied with the PRI political party were murdered over the weekend.

* Argentina: Juan Martin del Potro’s decision to drop out of his second Davis Cup semifinal match due to injury may have cost Argentina the chance to reach the finals.

Video Source – YouTube via AFP

Online Sources- ABC News, Mercopress, Fox News Latino, CBC