Friday, December 29, 2006

Latin American New Year's Traditions

With New Year's just days away, most of us have our party plans set. Part of those plans include partaking in traditions with roots in our native countries. Many of us partake of the ritual stemming from madre Spain, eating 12 grapes at the 12 strokes of midnight, making a wish with each uva and ensuring 12 months of good luck. Many South American countries including Ecuador and Colombia burn an effigy of the old year. Others insist in wearing, sometimes inside out, yellow or red underwear. Regardless of how you celebrate the New Year, may all of you have a healthy and happy one.

Feliz 2007!

Links : Yahoo! Answers

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Plaza De Mayo Madre Passes On

The Madres of la Plaza de Mayo, protesting with white scarves on their heads in Argentina the disappearances under Argentina's military rule of their children and the children of others have always served as an inspiartion for me and other activists. Sadly one of the founding members passed away.
Nelva Mendez de Falcone, 76, died Monday of an unspecified lung problem for which she had been hospitalized for the last 10 days in La Plata, 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of the capital of Buenos Aires, the family said.
Nelva had lost her own daughter, Maria Claudia Falcone, to the 1976-83 dictatorship.

The impact and pressence of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo has been used an a point of study by other mothers fighting in the name of their children even here in the United States. For example, Latina mothers in New York City who lost their sons to police brutality, met with some of the Plaza de Mayo mothers in the late 1990's.

According to official figures, some 13,000 people disappeared under the dictatorship's "dirty war" against dissidents, though human rights groups put the number at 30,000.

Mendez de Falcone's family said her body would be cremated and some of her ashes scattered in the Plaza de Mayo.

Link : CNN, VivirLatino
Tags : Argentina, Plaza de Mayo

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chile : Colo Colo Wins National Title

Ever since I lived in Chile and thanks to satelite television, I've been a big fan of Chilean futbol's Colo Colo. I and other Colo Colinos are celebrating Colo's recent win of the Clausura Crown.This feels especially good after Colo's loss to Pachuca.

Link : Sporting Life, VivirLatino
Tags : Futbol, Chile, colo colo

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ecuador and Colombia At Odds Over Spraying

The neighboring South American nations of Ecuador and Colombia are not seeing eye to eye on the issue of spraying herbicides over a 10 mile area. Colombia has been spraying glyphosate and has no intentions of stopping. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa canceled a planned trip to Colombia until Colombia decides to stop the spraying.

Colombia is spraying the herbicide, with the backing of the U.S., in order to wipe out Coca fields.

There are questions as to the safety of the herbicide.
Link : La Prensa Latina, International Herald Tribune , Earth Justice
Image : WikiNoticias
Tags : Ecuador , Colombia

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Raul Castro Promises a Different Kind of Leadership

Interim man in charge in Cuba, Raul Castro, brother of the ill President Fidel Castro, is saying that he's planning on taking a different road in terms of leadership than his hermanito.The changes promised in publiched comments include delegating more and making less (and hopefully shorter) speeches.

Link : Fox News
Tags : Cuba , Fidel Castro, Raul Castro

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fidel May Not be Fatally Ill After All

Cross-Posted at VivirLatino

Just last week there were reports that Cuban leader Fidel Castro was on his deathbed, again. A delegation of U.S. lawmakers are being told an entirely different story however.
Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said all the Cuban officials they spoke to during the three-day trip that ended Sunday told them the 80-year-old leader's "illness is not cancer, nor is it terminal, and he will be back."
No one has seen Fidel since the middle of the summer.

The real deal is that the truth won't be known until one fo two things happen: Fidel shows face or he actually does pass. Until then all these reports amount to nothing more than static on radio bemba.

Links : Fox News

Tags : Fidel Castro, Cuba

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pinochet or Bust

She may have been booed last week at Augusto Pinochet's funeral, but that hasn't stopped current Chilean Defense Minister, Vivianne Blanlot, from speaking up about Pinochet including taking his side. In a recent interview with the Chilean daily (and conservative) newspaper, El Mercurio, Blanlot said that Pinochet should have his bust in the gallery of Chilean heads of state inside the Moneda Palace. Yes, that would be the same Moneda he launched an attack on (with CIA help) in 1973 to overthrow the legally elected Salvador Allende.

Link : La Jornada
Tags : Chile, Pinochet

Friday, December 15, 2006

Chile and Cuba Meet to Talk Trade

Yesterday in the Chilean capital city of Santiago, Presidenta Michelle Bachelet met with Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Alejandro Gonzalez to talk trade.

Chile reaffirmed not only that it wanted to keep up its positive trade relationship with Cuba, but also affirmed that it wanted to work more closely with Ecuador and its new President, Rafael Correa.

Links : La Prensa Latina, People's Daily Online

Tage : Chile, Cuba, Ecuador

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mercosur Setting up Parliament

The Common Market of the South, commonly known as the MERCOSUR, is setting up it's own Parliament today in Brasilia, Brazil. The body will begin working in March of 2007 from its base in the Uruguayan capital city of Montevideo.

The Purpose of the Mercosur is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, peoples, and currency among member nations. Current members include Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Associate members include Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. Mexico has observer status.

Each member nation will be able to name nine deputies, nine senators and an equal number of replacements.

Link : La Prensa Latina
Image : Red Academica Uruguaya

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Boos at Pinochet's Funeral

Yesterday was Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's funeral. Those who attended the funeral, including the widow of the man who ruled the Southern Cone nation for 17 years thanks to a coup he orchestrated, were somber and tearful, until the current Chilean Minister of Defense appeared. Vivianne Blanlot, who was sent to the funeral as the only official representative of the government of Chile under Presidenta Michelle Bachelet, was booed and told to get out of the area by mourners. Blanot remained and did not react.

Link : Univision
Image : Univision

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Artists, Intellectuals and Businessmen Unite against Poverty in Latin America

The ALAS Foundation (America Latina en Accion Solidaria - "Latin America for Solidarity") will be launched on December 12, in the National Theater of Panama. With the aim of replacing philanthropy with commitment and charity with solidarity, personalities from the world of culture such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bose, Diego Torres, Juanes, Babasonicos, Mana, Ruben Blades, Daniela Mercury and Danilo Pere have risen to the occasion, as well as outstanding individuals in the Latin American world, such as Carlos Slim, Emilio Azcarraga, Alejandro Santo Domingo, Alejandro Soberon, Joseph Safra, Roberto Kriete, Marinela Servitje, Stanley Motta, Alberto Bollmer, Jose Antonio Fernandez, Felipe Gonzalez, Oscar Arias, Sergio Renan and Jaime Baily. All of them have joined to fight hunger, poverty and marginalization.

Link: Hispanic PR Wire

Honoring la Virgin de Guadalupe

Coming by any means at their disposal including by foot and by bike, hundreds of thousands are at the Basílica de Guadalupe in Mexico City to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe. Today markes the 475th anniversary of the alleged apparition of the Marian image to Juan Diego in 1531. The legend claims that the image apppeared to the Indigenous man in his shawl. The shawl is now in the basilica. Last night, as is traditional , Las Mañanitas was sung.

Celebrations honoring the "dark skinned virgin" are happening all over the nation, including places as unlikely as Wisconsin.

Links :, Green Bay Press Gazette
Image : Mexico Connect

Monday, December 11, 2006

Former Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet Dead

Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator who overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled with impunity for 17 years Pinochet has passed. Chileans I spoke to, both in the United States and inside Chile, first expressed disbelief, because of the countless hospitalizations false alarms, then happiness. Yes, I know it's not nice to celebrate the dead, but Pinochet, who has been linked to thousands of deaths and disappearances, and the immunity he created for himself within Chile has been a painful sore on the Southern Cone nation.

News reports show local reaction across Chile ranging from jubilation to mourning as well as protests in the streets that have been met with water canons.
Pinochet, as per his request, will be cremated, to avoid his grave being becoming a site of conflict. It's shame that so many of those that were killed or "disappeared" during his rule weren't afforded the same luxury.

Links : La Prensa Latina
Image : VivirLatino

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Leavin’ on a jet plane

Approximately 13 hours from now I will be on a plane leaving New York City bound for Bogota, Colombia. I have mixed feelings about the trip since I will be gone for several weeks and immersed into a culture quite different from what I am accustomed to. Nonetheless, I will be happy to see my family, get some well-needed rest, visit my father’s grave to pay my respects, and hopefully emerge refreshed and rejuvenated upon returning to NYC in late January.

With that said I want to wholeheartedly thank everyone who takes the time to read and comment on this blog. For my part, working on The Latin Americanist has been a thrill and something very enjoyable over the past 14 months. I’m quite sad to leave this blog behind but at the same time happy to leave it in the hands of someone as knowledgeable as Maegan la Mala. (Thanks again Maegan!)

(Quick FYI- I‘ll be blogging sporadically from my personal blog- Huevos Pericos- just in case you’re in the mood to check out my goings on waaaaaay south of the border).

May all of you have a very festive holiday season and a prosperous New Year. Take care, and all the best.

Hasta luego!

The left in Latin America and the year that was

In the days following Hugo Chavez’ reelection victory numerous news sources have analyzed politics in the region over the past year. Here is what some of them had to say:

* Time magazine believed that politics in the region have entered a phase different from the typical “oligarchic capitalism and populist socialism” of the past. Deemed the “third way” it describes a moderate approach that strengthens democratic institutions and where ideas are valued over strict adherences to ideology.

* However, Tyler Bridges and Pablo Bachelet would disagree with Time’s assessment since they believe that two sides of the political left have emerged over the past year: a staunchly-anti neoliberal and anti-Washington stance and a moderate, “market-friendly” left epitomized by Chile and Brazil. Though only 3 of this year’s 12 presidential elections in Latin America were won by conservative candidates, “Latin America has become much more plugged into the rest of the world” which is “not necessarily a negative step” according to an analyst from conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation.

* Chavez-brand of leftist populism has not taken a stranglehold across Latin America, according to the Christian Science Monitor. “The region is in great flux, and there is enormous frustration with persistent poverty. But there is no great revolutionary fervor in Latin America,” according to a political analyst cited in the article.

* Foreign Policy’s blog wonders about how relations between Chavez and ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro will influence a possible “Chavista” revolution across the region.

* “The Latin American left…cannot hope to address poverty, inequality, economic underperformance, or social exclusion without reforming the state” opined a commentator at the Guardian UK. In addition, “the international community must back away from the imposition of rigid policy recipes and give the region latitude to experiment” in order to help democracy will be allowed to flourish instead of authoritarianism.

So what do you think? Are these articles relatively accurate or are they missing the point? Will the left in Latin America achieve similar success next year? Don't be shy; give us your opinion!

Links- Time, Guardian UK, Foreign Policy Passport (blog), Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- Radio Netherlands

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Gabriela Montero and the world of classical improvisation

For over a 100 years connoisseurs of classical music have shunned improvisation set to classical pieces and dismissed it jazz. Yet Venezuelan-born American piano virtuoso Gabriela Montero has turned the classical music world upside down by embracing classical improvisation inasmuch as she is one of the world’s elite classical piano musicians. Montero showed off her phenomenal talents on 60 Minutes last Sunday by adding classical twists when playing songs like The Beatles’ “Yesterday” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Check out some of her amazing music via this article from NPR.

Links-, CBS News, NPR


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Venezuela denies supporting ETA members

Venezuela’s government denied a report published yesterday by the Spanish media claiming that the Chavez regime brokered a deal granting Venezuelan nationality to four members of Basque terrorist group ETA. “If that is what they've done, it would be unacceptable for Spain,” said Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba yesterday before Spanish and Venezuelan officials met in Caracas to clarify the incident. Bombings and attacks by ETA have killed over 800 people in nearly a half-century.

Links- International Herald Tribune, BBC News, Reuters, Wikipedia

Image- CNN

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Cuban legislators support Boricua “independentistas”

Members of Cuba’s parliament called for the changing of Puerto Rico’s political status from U.S. commonwealth to its own sovereign country. “Cubans consider it a fraternal obligation to strengthen their support for the Puerto Rican independence struggle,” said Cuban Parliamentary President Ricardo Alarcon during a hearing attended by several key members of Puerto Rico’s Independence Party.

Last month, Panamanian president Martin Torrijos lent his support to Puerto Rico’s independence movement by declaring that “no form of colonialism can be justified.”

Links- Cuban News Agency, Prensa Latina, The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- (Logo of the Puerto Rican Independence Party)

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Daily headlines: December 6th

* Brazil’s government placed under its protection a 58,000 square mile area of Amazon rain forest that extends into several northeastern countries of South America.

* Turkey’s government condemned a resolution passed by Argentina’s legislature last week that establishes April 24th as a national “day of remembrance” for a supposed genocide against Armenians nearly a century ago.

* The head of Air Jamaica- Jamaica’s national airline- dismissed as “impractical” suggestions that the financially troubled air carrier should merge with another airline company.

* Brazilian tourism officials are planning a major public relations campaign against “Turistas”- a U.S. horror movie set in Brazil that has been scorned by most film critics.

* A Texas jury convicted a U.S. trucker involved in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants he tried to smuggle in 2003.

Links- San Jose Mercury News, Angus Reid Consultants, People’s Daily Online, Jamaica Gleaner, Guardian UK, Rotten Tomatoes, CBS News


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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Follow-up: Pinochet did not exaggerate heart attack, says docs

Doctors from the Chilean hospital treating Augusto Pinochet denied that he exaggerated the effects of a heart attack he suffered over the weekend. “The recovery of General Pinochet is the result of a timely, efficient medical treatment” said a spokesman from the Santiago Military Hospital in response to some of his critics (like guest blogger Maegan la Mala) who have observed that Pinochet tends to become severely ill when he is facing trial.

Links- International Herald Tribune, The Latin Americanist (blog), VivirLatino (blog)

Image- CBC

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Argies settle for second-best in Davis Cup finals

Argentina’s bid to become Latin America’s first Davis Cup champion fell one match short as Russia’s Marat Safin beat Jose Acasuso in the deciding fifth match of the 2006 Davis Cup final on Sunday. Argentine team captain Alberto Mancini hailed his squad’s efforts inasmuch as they were unable to overcome a 2-1 match deficit after Saturday’s doubles in front of several hundred supporters who made the long trip from South America to Moscow’s Olympic Stadium.

Argentina was also runners-up in the 1981 Davis Cup, while Chile (1976) and Mexico (1962) have been the only other Latin American representatives in the Davis Cup finals.

Links- International Herald Tribune, CBC, MSNBC,, Wikipedia

Image- Monsters & Critics (David Nalbandian serving in the fourth match of the Davis Cup final, which he won over Russia’s Nikolai Davydenko)

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Bolivian gov’t formally nationalizes gas industry

Yesterday, Bolivia’s government finalized contracts that allow for the nationalization of that country’s gas industry. The Bolivian government will now control gas operations from foreign firms headquartered in countries like Brazil, France, and Spain. Negotiations for gas nationalizing had been going on since May 1st and have received mixed opinions from bloggers and heads of state alike.

Links-, BBC News, International Herald Tribune, The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- The Economist (Bolivian president Evo Morales visiting a gas plant earlier this year)

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Former Paraguay prez off to jail…again

Former president of Paraguay Luis Gonzalez Macchi (image) was convicted on Monday of fraud and embezzlement and sentenced to 8 years in jail. Gonzalez Macchi was found guilty of hiding over $1 million in a secret Swiss bank account, yet the tribunal found his wife innocent of illicit enrichment from a Caribbean bank account worth almost $400,000.

In June, Gonzalez Macchi was sentenced to 6 years in jail for running an embezzlement scheme, but that conviction was later overturned on appeal.

Links- BBC News, International Herald Tribune, The Latin Americanist (blog)


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Mexico : Felipe Calderon Making Himself at Home as Pres

After coming into office just a few days ago, Felipe Calderon has already begun to make some changes and clean house. One of his first moves was to announce a 10% pay cut for himself, his cabinet, and other government officials as part of a larger economic reform package (FYI, that would put his annual salary at $220,500) But so as not to worry business and potential investors, he's making public assurances that he's going to battle crime and corruption to create a profitable business infrastructure.

It's not clear if part of this plan includes the arrest of Oaxaca APPO founder Flavio Sosa yesterday.

Links: VivirLatino, BBC News, Sky Valley Journal, San Francisco Indy Media Center

Image - BBC News

Tags - Mexico
, Felipe Calderon

Monday, December 4, 2006

Brazilian cardinal: Celibacy rule should be reanalyzed

A prominent Roman Catholic cardinal from Brazil who will take over the Vatican office on priests suggested in an interview that the celibacy rule for priests should be reexamined. Cardinal Claudio Hummes (image) said that celibacy amongst priests was a “discipline” that they place upon themselves and not a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. Celibacy was not an original mandate of the Catholic Church and many priests were married and with children until the Vatican banned that practice in the 9th century AD.

Links- Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, BBC News, Wikipedia

Image- BBC News

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Mill dispute leads to worst relations “in 15 years” b/w Argentina and Uruguay

Relations between neighbors Uruguay and Argentina have been “at their worst (point) in 15 years” according to Uruguay’s Minister of Economy. Danilo Astori’s assessment comes as a result of the never-ending row between Uruguay and Argentina over the construction of several European-owned paper mills near their shared river border. In the latest chapter to this sordid affair Uruguayan president Tabare Vasquez vowed that he would not negotiate with Argentine protestors while Argentine president Nestor Kirchner urged Uruguay to avoid sending troops to guard mill construction.

Links- MercoPress, The Latin Americanist (blog), International Herald Tribune, Reuters

Image- BBC News

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Pinochet in “stable and serious” condition after major heart attack

Doctors in Chile said that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (image) is in “stable and serious” condition after suffering a heart attack while under house arrest for numerous human rights violations. Some of Pinochet’s supporters have maintained a vigil outside of the Santiago military hospital he is in while Chileans are divided over the nature of Pinochet’s funeral should he die soon.

Links- Bloomberg, Reuters, BBC News, The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- RTE News (Ireland)

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Chavez big loser amongst Venezuelan voters abroad

Surely by now you’ve heard about Hugo Chavez’ landslide reelection victory in Venezuela yesterday. But interestingly enough Venezuelans living abroad and registered to vote overwhelmingly supported Chavez' rival- former governor Manuel Rosales. For example, about 300 of the over 11,000 Venezuelan expats who voted in South Florida cast their ballots for Chavez! As one Venezuelan who voted for Rosales observed:

“Mr. Rosales represents everything that is positive about Venezuela. He's a democratic man who truly loves his country and won't give away our natural resources like Mr. Chavez has done to gain influence overseas.”

Chavez may be celebrating now and reveling in his victory but he cannot ignore so much sentiment against him by Venezuelans living abroad especially if they aspire to form a formidable political force a la Cuban exile groups in the U.S. If Chavez wishes to remain in power for another 6-year term he will have to effectively face his opponents living outside of Venezuela.

Links- VivirLatino (blog), Bloomberg, ABC News, CNN, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Bradenton Herald, BBC News

Image- Bradenton Herald (Anti-Chavez supporter outside of the voting area at Miami’s Orange Bowl)

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Daily briefs: December 4th

* “It’s time to build a new Haiti!” exclaimed Wyclef Jean who on Friday night performed a concert in his birth country of Haiti for the first time since 1998.

* The popularity of Dominican president Leonel Fernandez has dipped over the past few months according to the latest poll figures.

* A malaria outbreak has killed 75 indigenous people in western Colombia.

* Tourism and mining- two of Argentina’s main industries- have been cited as seriously endangering caves and other vital archeological sites.

Links- Angus Reid Consultants, People’s Daily Online, International Herald Tribune, National Geographic News

Image- BBC News



A few things:

1- The “Events” part of our blog has been updated with several art exhibits, lectures, concerts, etc. that will happen this month and in January. Have an event that you want to spread the word on? Then please leave a comment on the “Events” page.

2- The “Links & Organizations” page will be modified soon in order to remove dead links and mention several blogs that have caught our eye.

3- Last, but certainly not least, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our guest blogger for the next few weeks- Maegan “la Mala” Ortiz. Maegan will be taking over things here at The Latin Americanist for some time while I spend several weeks in Colombia starting on Thursday with my extended family and (gasp!) without internet.

Maegan has worked tirelessly over the past year as one of the main editors over at VivirLatino and she also has her own personal blog here. If you’ve ever read her posts at VivirLatino you’ll know that she has a knack for writing on important issues on Hispanics, and she is very informed in her opinions and comments. Maegan is a fantastic blogger and I’m thrilled (and very thankful) that she will be guest blogging here at The Latin Americanist. Thanks Maegan!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Hispanic Rep. Reyes picked to head intel committee

Future U.S. House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi chose Hispanic congressman Silvestre Reyes to be the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Reyes- a Vietnam War veteran and former Border Patrol agent- was picked ahead of more senior Democrats representing Florida and California. The 5-term Congressman has been very critical of President George W. Bush’s intelligence policy, especially after the 9/11 attacks.

Reyes will be the second Hispanic to head a Congressional committee starting in January. (New York Representative Nydia Velazquez was chosen by Pelosi to head the Small Business Committee).

Links- San Francisco Chronicle, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Wikipedia, The Hill

Image-Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

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UN peacekeepers face sex abuse charges

According to a UN spokesman approximately 180 individuals (including 7 Uruguayans) involved in peacekeeping missions have been accused of sexual abuse during various campaigns around the world. “Sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel is unacceptable” said Stephane Dujarric in response to this harrowing report from BBC News on exploitation by UN personnel in Haiti. It’s sickening and disheartening to read tales like that of a 14-year-old Haitian girl who told a BBC reporter that she was offered candy and some money in exchange for sex with a peacekeeper.

Links- Globe and Mail, BBC News

Image- BBC News

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Mexico: Calderon inaugurated amidst cheers and jeers

Felipe Calderon was inaugurated earlier today first in a private ceremony at the President’s residence and then publicly inside a divided Chamber of Deputies. Dozens of supporters of vanquished presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador booed, whistled, and even hurled insults at Calderon as he was flanked by now ex-president Vicente Fox and members of the ruling PAN. Some fisticuffs broke out in the hours leading up to the swearing in ceremony as politicians had gone days occupied inside the congressional chambers.

In the aftermath of Felipe Calderon’s inauguration the logical question that follows is “what happens now?” Outgoing president Vicente Fox leaves office to mixed results and Calderon will face a wide range of problems such as severe economic inequality, the seemingly never-ending chaos in Oaxaca, and a politically fractured country. Perhaps Calderon would behoove from the advice given by famed Mexican author Carlos Fuentes:
“he must be president of all the people who voted for him, not of this or that special interest within his own party”.
Links- Reuters, BBC News, Globe and Mail, Vivirlatino (blog), New American Media, Bloomberg, Houston Chronicle,

Image- CBC

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World AIDS Day and Latin America

The sobering reality of the scourge that is HIV/AIDS is the focus today of World AIDS Day. Globally the numbers are grim: approximately 65 million people worldwide infected with HIV and AIDS, and nearly 3 million people died last year of AIDS.

In Latin America and the Caribbean there are some encouraging signs in a few countries and an International labor Organization report released today estimates that fewer youths in the region will die of AIDS. Unfortunately, the region is hurt by a lack of effective AIDS prevention due to political bickering and lack of funds, and HIV infection has grown in high-risk groups (e.g. prostitutes, homosexuals) throughout the region.

Image- Inter-American Development Bank

Links- United Nations, The Latin Americanist (blog), Monsters & Critics, Reuters, KBPS, Vivirlatino (blog),, Sydney Morning Herald, The Observer, BBC News, Prensa Latina, Living in Peru (blog), Hardbeat News, Center for Public Integrity, Reuters, AlertNet,

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Daily headlines: December 1st

* Ouch! Protestors in Paraguay have set up a public crucifixion in support of a former general convicted of staging a coup a decade ago.

* Brazil’s government “has not lived up to expectations” according to a report on the struggle for land rights.

* A second-half strike by Humberto Suazo helped Chilean side Colo Colo tie against Mexican squad Pachuca in the first of a two-game final for the Copa Sudamericana.

* Mining firms from Canada and the U.S. are behind a boom for finding precious metals on the Dominican Republic.

* Government officials from the Dominican Republic are trying to work out a deal with Saudi Arabia to build an oil refinery on the Caribbean nation.

Links- BBC News, Reuters, Guardian UK, Jamaica Gleaner, Malaysia Star

Image- BBC News


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Do you “speak good English?”

The next two days I’ll be away from Latin Americanist headquarters which is why I will not be posting until Friday. I apologize for the slight hiatus. Nonetheless, there are some important changes that will be taking place over the next week so please stay tuned!

In the meantime, we leave you with a lesson via Overheard in New York on how to speak English “well” according to a Latina on the subway.

Previous posts linking to Overheard in New York can be found here and here.

Links- Overheard in New York (blog), The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- British Council- Bulgaria

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Follow-up: Correa confirmed as winner in Ecuador

A top electoral official said that Rafael Correa (image) won Ecuador’s presidential election by an ample margin over business tycoon Alvaro Noboa. White House officials have already contacted and congratulated Correa for his victory in Sunday’s elections, though Noboa has yet to concede and may even ask for a recount.

The original post on Sunday's elections may be viewed here.

Links- Al Jazeera, BBC News, Reuters, The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- Malaysia Star

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Brazilian students start receiving $100 laptops

As part of the international “One Laptop per Child” project Brazilian students will start receiving special laptops this week that are priced at a mere $100. Nicholas Silva- founder of the “One Laptop per Child” program- said that all the laptops will be built in Brazil and plans for 1000 of them to be ready for distribution by January. Several other countries are being considered for future “One Laptop per Child” campaigns including Libya and Argentina.

Links- People’s Daily Online, Taipei Times,


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Rumsfeld replacement advocated bombings of Nicaragua

A recently released memo from 1984 showed that Robert Gates- President Bush’s nominee to succeed Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense- advocated the use of air strikes against Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime. Gates- who was at the time deputy director of the CIA- warned that the Sandinistas “threatened the stability of Central America” and called for “hard measures” including economic sanctions and increased funds for the anti-communist “contras.”

Gates is expected to pass confirmation in the Senate but not without heavy questioning over his role in Nicaragua and the infamous Iran-Contra scandal.

Links- Seattle Times, International Herald Tribune, United Press International, The Latin Americanist (blog)

Image- BBC News

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