Friday, April 17, 2015

Sobredosis de TV: The Movement is Mightier than the Sword

Sobredosis de TV is our occasional feature where we highlight television programs. It is also the name of a song from famed Argentine rock band Soda Stereo.

The fourth season of the PBS documentary series “Voces” commences tonight with a film on the 1955 movie “Giant.” “Children of Giant” will examine how the film that starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean affected the Texan town of Marfa, where it was shot, and was one of the first major Hollywood movies to delve into the racial divide between whites and Mexican-Americans in the Southwest U.S.

Future episodes will look at the experiences of five Latina actresses who are behind the dubbing of the Spanish-language version of “Desperate Housewives” as well as the crusading work of Mexican peace activist Javier Sicilia.

The writer and post began his anti-violence campaign shortly after his son, Juan Francisco, was murdered by narcotraffickers in 2011. Sicilia gave up poetry and founded the Movement for Peace and Dignity campaign to denounce drug-related violence in Mexico.

“What my son did was give a name and a face to the 40,000 dead,” Sicilia said in a May 2011 interview. “My pain gave a face to the pain of other families. I think a country is like a house, and the destruction of someone is the destruction of our families.”

Sicilia has not shied from strongly criticizing the Mexican government and the country’s political class for supporting what he believes has done little to effectively combat violence, and expressed his solidarity with the families of the forty-three missing Ayotzinapa students. Last month he called for voters to abstain from upcoming local elections as an “act of civil disobedience against the treason, deception and crimes” by politicians.

Below the page break is the long trailer from “El Poeta,” which follows Sicilia and his caravans that have crisscrossed Mexico and travelled to the U.S.  This film premieres on PBS on May 1st (check your local listings for exact times of these and all of the future episodes of “Voces”.)

Daily Headlines: April 17, 2015

* Chile: Tens of thousands of university students marched in Chile yesterday to protest against growing corruption scandals and to call for stronger education reform.

* Brazil: Police in Rio de Janeiro evicted 100 squatters from a building that was supposed to be converted into a luxury hotel for the 2016 Olympics.

* Argentina: Argentine minister Daniel Filmus announced that the government started legal proceedings to prevent British firms from oil drilling near the disputed Falkland Islands.

* Mexico: Approximately 2.5 million children reportedly work in Mexico including nearly one out of every five farmworkers.

YouTube Source – euronews

Online Sources – Bloomberg, The Globe and Mail, Latin American Herald Tribune, BBC News

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Daily Headlines: April 16, 2015

* Venezuela: Spain’s ambassador to Venezuela was summoned back to his homeland amid a diplomatic rift stemming from the Maduro regime’s treatment of political dissidents.

* Argentina: The family of the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman has once again locked horns with lead investigator Viviana Fein over the circumstances of his mysterious death last January.

* Latin America: The World Bank warned that the Latin American economy could face a “permanent growth slowdown” if structural reforms aren't made.

* U.S.: it’s déjà vu all over again – the U.S. men’s soccer team beat bitter regional rivals Mexico by a score of dos a cero.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources – The Latin Americanist, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Fox News Latino, GlobalPost

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daily Headlines: April 15, 2015 (Updated)

* Colombia: Could the deadly clashes this morning that killed at least ten Colombian soldiers derail the peace process between the government and the FARC guerillas? 

Update: President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that peace talks will continue though he ordered the renewal of military bombings against FARC camps.

* Cuba: Cuba could be one step closer to being removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism though it could set up yet another battle between President Barack Obama and Congress.

* Brazil: The treasurer of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party we detained by police over her potential role in a major Petrobras corruption scandal.

* Argentina: The low prices of crude, not the diplomatic tug-of-war between Argentina and the U.K., has reportedly caused delays in the drilling of oil near the disputed Falkland Islands.

YouTube Source – The New York Times (Video uploaded in January 2015).

Online Sources including Update – Colombia Reports, NBC News, The Latin Americanist, CNN, The Telegraph

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Late Uruguayan Author Galeano Receives State Honors

The late Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano will receive state honors usually reserved for deceased heads of state and ministers.

The body of the prolific writer who passed away on Monday due to lung cancer will be on view at the legislative chambers in Montevideo. Galeano will be displayed for at least seven hours today in the same hall where other important Uruguayan cultural figures also received honors after their deaths including Mario Benedetti and Carlos Páez Vilaró. In addition, senators from the ruling Frente Amplio bloc proposed a special session of Congress in recognition of the man who died at the 74.

“He was an intellectually brilliant and totally self-made man,” said ex-president José Mujica about Galeano. The current senator also praised the late author as “one of the few chosen people who in the last thirty to forty years dignified us as Latin Americans.”

Born in 1940, Eduardo German Hughes Galeano began his career by publishing cartoon under the pseudonym “Gius” based on the Spanish-language pronunciation of the name “Hughes”.  He would eventually drop that moniker as he began writing news articles while also working a series of other jobs.

In 1971, Galeano published what is considered as perhaps his most famous text: “Open Veins of Latin America.” The book strongly criticized what he viewed as the historic exploitation and ransacking of Latin America’s natural resources at the hands of foreign powers.  His work endeared him as a leftist intellectual but was also banned by in his native country as well as Chile and Argentina. Galeano was imprisoned following the 1973 military coup in Uruguay and forced into exile for nearly twelve years.

Interest in “Open Veins” pique once more in 2009 after then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave a copy to U.S. leader Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas and urged him to read it. Galeano generally backed the regimes of Chávez and current chief Nicolas Maduro including co-signing a letter denouncing Obama’s executive order imposing additional sanctions against the Maduro regime. But according to Ticio Escobar, Paraguayan anthropologist and friend of Galeano, the Uruguayan was upset that Chávez used “Open Veins” in order to attract media attention to himself.

Daily Headlines: April 14, 2015

* Chile: Chile will become the latest Latin American country to recognize same-sex unions after President Michelle Bachelet approved a law that will go into effect next October.

* Puerto Rico: Researchers the New York Federal Reserve tried to downplay worries over Puerto Rico suffering from an alleged “brain drain” of young and educated residents opting to leave the island.

* Mexico: Did the Texas Department of Public Safety break federal law by collecting intelligence using drones in Mexico?

* Venezuela: “This year there's no recovery in oil prices forecast,” claimed Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro who also blamed increased fracking in the U.S. for “flooding the world's oil markets.”

YouTube Source – AFP (Chile’s Congress last January approved a proposal legalizing same sex unions that was signed into law yesterday).

Online Sources – BBC News, Reuters, Houston Chronicle, NBC News

Monday, April 13, 2015

Daily Headlines: April 13, 2015

* Brazil: For the second time in less than a month tens of thousands of marchers participated in anti-government street protests throughout Brazil.

* El Salvador: U.S. migration officials deported former Salvadoran defense minister Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova over accusations of committing human rights abuses during the 1980s.

* Peru: A series of abandoned pre-Incan canals built over 1400 years ago will be reused in order to provide water to the residents of Lima.

* Haiti: The bodies of at least twenty-one migrants whose boat sunk in the Caribbean washed ashore on the coast of northern Haiti.

YouTube Source – CCTV America

Online Sources – Bloomberg, Reuters, Newsweek, RTE