Saturday, May 19, 2007

De Musica Ligera: Who should get back together?

This week’s music post will look at the disbanded rock en español groups that we included in the poll located on the sidebar. Perhaps you’re not familiar with all the bands that we thought should reunite including (possibly) Soda Stereo. Hence, with the help of YouTube, here are links to music videos by each one of the bands mentioned in the poll. A new debate and poll will be posted in about 48 hours, so don’t forget to check out the videos and vote as soon as possible!

Sources- The Latin Americanist, YouTube

Image- (Image of Caifanes from the 1990s)

AP and Reuters differ on reaction to immigration deal

We’ll get into more detail next week over the landmark compromise over immigration between Congressional Democrats and President George W. Bush. However, one detail that has caught my eye concerns the reporting by different news sources on immigrant reactions to the deal.

From an Associated Press’ article entitled “Illegal Immigrants Speak Out Against Plan”:

“(Illegal immigrant Daniel Carrillo) said the proposed $5,000 fine was too much to ask illegal immigrants to pay upfront. ‘Where would I find $5,000? In two years, I don't get $5,000.’

`Too many people would not go because of the fear that they would not be approved once they get there,'' (immigrant Marco Antonio) Rodriguez said. ‘Myself, I might risk it, because I am here alone. But people with families are not going to leave their children behind and wait eight years.’”

From a Reuters article entitled “Workers caught daydreaming on immigration deal”:

“‘The first thing I want to do is to go home and hug my wife and children,’ said Hermilo Sanchez, 44, a Mexican who left his wife and nine children in the dirt poor state of Chiapas two years ago to find a job in the United States.

‘The youngest, a little girl, was born after I left and I have never held her,’ he said, chatting in Spanish as he waited in a sun-baked parking lot for contractors to roll up, looking for muscle for landscaping and other low skill tasks.

For Rogelio Cruz, a devout church goer and father of four from Michoacan, Mexico, it raises the hope of escaping a world of irregular work paid at $7 to $8 dollars an hour while in constant fear of deportation.

‘I want to work an eight-hour day, as God sees fit, without problems with either the immigration authorities or the police or anybody," he said. "Everyone should have the right to that in this life.’”

While both articles differ in their slant over immigrants’ reactions to the compromise, note that only immigrants from Mexico were interviewed in both pieces.

Sources- BBC News, Guardian UK, Reuters

Image- MSNBC (Mexicans waiting for visas outside the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico)

Colombia: Uribe peeved at Democrats over free trade

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (image) lashed out at congressional Democrats who have been reluctant to pass a free trade agreement with the South American country. Colombia is punished in this battle, treated like a pariah,'' said an angry Uribe yesterday at Democrats who have expressed concern over violence against trade unionists and ties to paramilitary groups by politicians loyal to Uribe.

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Voice of America, Guardian UK

Image- BBC Mundo

Chavez demands Pope apologize to indigenous peoples

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has asked Pope Benedict XVI to apologize for remarks made last Sunday about converting indigenous people to Catholicism during the colonial period. Said Chavez (who claims he is of the Christian faith):

“With all due respect your Holiness, apologize because there was a real genocide here and, if we were to deny it, we would be denying our very selves.”

Sources- Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist, Reuters India

Image- Press TV (Chavez meeting the Pope last year)

Daily Headlines: May 19, 2007

* Quick follow-up: Thirty years in jail awaits the convicted Brazilian mastermind behind the assassination of environmentalist nun Dorothy Stang (image).

* The reality of “communism” in Cuba- The German state of Bavaria struck a $500 million economic deal with Cuba.

* Looks like former Mexican leader Ernesto Zedillo will have a hard time being named the next World Bank president.

* Venezuela’s Supreme Court refused to hear a legal challenge by soon-to-be-shutdown network Radio Caracas Television.

* A San Francisco-based businessman was convicted of raping a seven-year-old boy in Mexico.

* Brazil’s legislature is considering a bill to eliminate visa requirements from five countries including the U.S. and Japan.

* Mexican soccer player Salvador Carmona was hit with a lifetime suspension after failing yet another doping test.

* Opposition politicians in Nicaragua are not pleased with the passage of a public information bill.

Links- Guardian UK, BBC News, Miami Herald, MSNBC, ESPN Soccernet, The Latin Americanist, People’s Daily Online

Image- BBC News

Friday, May 18, 2007

Headlines for May 18

Observe as I give daily headlines a try...

United States and Latino musicians meld music. Will the future bring some form of "reggaepop" or "alternaton"? (My shabby attempt to be witty with pop and reggaeton.)

A Florida community needs volunteers for Latino kids not only experiencing foster homes but also culture shock.

Latino soldiers speak out on why they refused to to serve in Iraq.

Four California police officers won $10.4 million in a police employment discrimination case involving two Hispanic city officials.

Links: Newsday, Bradenton Herald, Inter Press Service, Los Angeles Times

"El gol lo hizo Scholes, el gol lo hizo Scholes!"

Hi everyone!

Though it was my responsibility to publish posts today unfortunately I'll be unable to because of personal circumstances that suddenly came up.

On Saturday I'll add several posts and update the blog accordingly.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

In the meantime, here's a hilarious video of Argentine soccer commentator Juan Manuel Pons adding 80s arena rock to his goal call:

Sheer silliness.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Desperate" Latin spinoff announced

Hispanic viewers soon will have a sort of "telenovela" based on the drama of ABC series Desperate Housewives.

WebWire reported May 16 that Univision and Disney-ABC International Television Latin America signed a production agreement, their first joint venture together, aimed toward presenting programming of specific interest to Hispanics. The agreement includes a special production of "Amas de Casa Desesperadas" for Latino viewers in the United States.

The "world-renowned" cast of "Amas" will be announced separately, and the format and scripts will follow the U.S. version while being adapted to Hispanic audience preferences. The series will air next season in prime time.

Read the press release on WebWire here.

Link: WebWire

Image: IMDB

One-fifth are moms before age 18

A brief yet newsworthy tidbit from the Latin American Press:

One in five women in Latin America and the Caribbean has her first child before the age of 18. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean released this statistic reported May 16.

Additionally, a high percentage of these are unwanted pregnancies and many the result of abuse within poor families.

Read more of the briefs here.

Link: Latin American Press

Image: Inmagine

Catholics discuss church changes

The Catholic Church in Latin America might need a different kind of priest.

According to a May 17 article from the Catholic News Service, the recent changes in Latin America might mean the church needs fundamental changes.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras says the church needs new kinds of disciples that can respond adequately to situations in Latin America.

Bishops participating in the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, going on now, will have a chance to address any changes they can make to better fit their countries’ political, economic and social situations.

Church leaders hope the conference will lead to “a renewal of mission” in the region.

Link: Catholic News Service

Photo: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga from Enquirer

Reporters at risk in Latin America

Today, Andres Oppenheimer provided a compelling and unsettling look into continuing violence and censorship against journalists in Latin America.

Among the perils reporters face:

In Cuba, the government sentenced independent journalist Oscar Sanchez Madan to four years in prison for “pre-criminal dangerousness.” Yes, that means he was preemptively jailed for something he might have written.

He joins 28 other Cuban journalists, some sentenced to terms of more than 20 years.

Mexico is now the second-deadliest country to report in as drug gangs continue to kidnap and kill reporters. Two reporters who disappeared last week are still missing.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to continue with his plan to dismantle an independent television network at the end of May.

Meanwhile, Cuba and Ecuador are cracking down on freedoms of the press, respectively restricting Internet access and demanding jail time the editor of a newspaper that linked the president with violent demonstrations.

South American Cerveza

Brewer SABMiller can thank Latin American beer drinkers for a rise in profits this year.

The company, which brews brands like Miller Lite and Pilsner Urquell, reported a 15 percent increase in profits to $1.6 billion this year, in great part due to a 27 percent rise in Latin American earnings despite a 17 percent slump in North America.

The company also enjoyed a 29 percent increase in Europe, Forbes reported May 17.

Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are the biggest markets for SABMiller and Lager its strongest product in South America.

Earnings in the United States have dropped because of high aluminum costs and consumers choosing wine and spirits instead of beer.

After South Africa, Latin America is SABMiller’s strongest market, bringing $915 million in profits for the year.

Photo: The Bottom Shelf

Link: Forbes

Bloggers of the world unite and take over

Note: Don’t forget to check out the blogs included on our blogroll located on the sidebar below our weekly poll. Drop us a line at if you know of a blog that should be on the blogroll.

· Conservatives in the U.S. state of Maryland are in a tizzy over the local airing of a PBS en español-like network called “V-me.” (Hat tip: Hispanic Tips).

· Is Hezbollah setting shop in South America? Bloggings by Boz takes a look.

· Some women who took part in Spencer Tunick’s nude photo shoot earlier this month are upset over his decision to take female-only pics, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Latin American news blog.

· Excellent post from The Temas Blog examining a World Bank report on global warming and changing sea levels.

· The salary gap between women and men in Latin America is narrowing, reports Jennifer at VivirLatino.

· Chuck Stull’s insight into Uruguay looks at a carnival-like event called Llamadas Otoñales.

· won’t be shedding any tears for the demise over Radio Caracas Television.

· Could Brazil replace Chile as South America’s winemaking capital?

· Latina Viva disagrees with comedian George Lopez who argued that race was behind the cancellation of his sitcom.

· Marisa at Latina Lista notes the problems associated with an anti-immigrant ordinance in Farmers Branch, Texas.

· Chileno bemoans the lack of smart solutions from politicians over the excess smog in Santiago.

· The Mex Files touches on the transferring of U.S. National Guard troops from patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border to deployment in Iraq.

· An epilogue to the Pope’s visit to Brazil, via Professor Greg Weeks.

· Lastly, the latest season of the English Premiership (top soccer league) may be over, but the controversy over Argentine striker Carlos Tevez continues. Check out his relegation-saving goal for West Ham against Manchester United in the final game of the season.

Links- Washington Post – Maryland Moment, Hispanic Tips, Bloggings by Boz, Los Angeles Times – La Plaza, The Latin Americanist, The Temas Blog, VivirLatino, A Year in Uruguay,, Drink the Vine, Latina Viva, Latina Lista, Chileno, The Mex Files, Two Weeks Notice, Who Ate All the Pies?, YouTube

Daily Headlines: May 16, 2007

* Are the rumors true that Colombian singer Shakira will get married in the Dominican Republic this September?

* Will Venezuelan smokers be pleased at a recent government anti-tobacco initiative?

* Is Colombian president Alvaro Uribe’s defense of his vice president against charges of paramilitary involvement justified?

* Are fewer births really the reason why Cuba’s pollution is in decline?
* Will the idea of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to buy water utilities in Chile pay dividends?

Links- Dominican Today, Guardian UK, BBC News, CNN, Toronto Star

Image- LT24onLine (Shakira with her fiancée, Argentine Antonio de la Rua)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The tie that binds – L.A. mayor profiled in New Yorker

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was profiled in the latest issue of the New Yorker. The lengthy article emphasizes how he is trying to unite the city despite racial and social differences:

“In the Villaraigosa administration, governing looks a lot like campaigning. The Mayor spends a great deal of time away from his office, appearing at half a dozen events most days, and holding multiple press conferences, in both English and Spanish. In times of crisis, his talent for connecting with people is a boon, but at other times it can appear contrived.”

The article goes on to note that Villaraigosa’s Latino background serves as a double-edged sword, especially regarding the immigration debate:

“Being Latino obviously accounts for a large part of his appeal and his political success, but the subject of immigration is one of the country’s most polarizing issues, and if he appears “too Latino” he risks losing support among all his constituent groups. When he spoke at the National Press Club, in January, he was annoyed that many questions concerned immigration. He now seems to avoid the subject when he can”.

The article also describes Villaraigosa’s history including how he entered into politics as well as his policies as he enters his third year as mayor. It is a must-read piece for those interested in someone who may become a major player in U.S. politics.

Related- Immigration rally ends in violence earlier this month in Los Angeles.

Links- New Yorker, The Latin Americanist, Wikipedia

Image- MSNBC (Antonio Villaraigosa after wining the race for Los Angeles mayor in 2005)

Lula to emphasize biofuels at G8 summit

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will promote alternative fuel sources during next month’s G8 summit in Germany. Despite being criticized by Fidel Castro and blamed for abuses against sugar cane cutters, Lula said that biofuels could “un-warm” the effects of global warming and should be welcomed by develop countries.

In addition, Lula said that he would not support a bill that would allow him to seek a third term in the presidency. “Any proposal to allow a third term is a joke to the Brazilian democracy,” Lula told the press yesterday.

Image- BBC News (Lula at the 2003 G8 conference)

Links- Monsters & Critics, The Latin Americanist, San Francisco Gate, Bloomberg

Poll: Americans back immigration reform

While Democrats and Republicans continue to hammer out a bipartisan deal over immigration, a poll released by CNN shows that most Americans are in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

According to the poll by Opinion Research Corporation, 80% of those surveyed would back residency and citizenship for illegal immigrants if they were employed and paid back taxes. The poll also showed a slim majority were opposed to constructing a 700 mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, while half of those polled approve of making a temporary guest worker program.

Links- ABC News, Angus Reid Global Consultants

Image- The State News (Approximately 300 people became U.S. citizens during a ceremony in Michigan in September 2004)

Argentina: Riots over substandard rail service

Massive delays led to a clash yesterday between commuters and riot police at Buenos Aires’ main train terminal yesterday. As argentine newspaper Clarin reported:

“Rail service was paralyzed in the middle of the evening rush hour…from there it became chaotic. ‘Enraged commuters started to destroy and set fire to the ticket offices and to break office windows. There have always been problems with the train system’ said one witness.”

Earlier today president Nestor Kirchner blamed previous “neoliberal policies” for the problems with Argentina’s rail system and vowed to make “additional investments”.

Links (English)- Boston Herald

Links (Spanish)- Clarin

Image- Clarin

Colombia: Gov’t admits to spying on Uribe’s opponents

Who would’ve figured that being such a close ally of the U.S. president would lead Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe (image) to seemingly take a page from Bush’s playbook?

Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos admitted yesterday that the government set up an illegal wiretap program against politicians and journalists critical of President Uribe. Though Santos denied that Uribe was aware of the secret program, opposition politicians called for the president to assume "political responsibility."

Meanwhile, Colombia’s “para-politics” scandal continues to deepen with the declarations from former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso that he met twice with Defense Minister Santos and Vice President Francisco Santos before they were part of the Uribe administration. Mancuso confessed that the former encouraged him to create an alliance to defeat former president Ernesto Samper while the latter proposed that he make a right-wing paramilitary group in the Colombian capital of Bogotá.

In addition, an article published over the weekend in Colombian newsmagazine Semana alleged that imprisoned paramilitary leaders continue to be involved in the drugs and arms trade.

Along with the arrests of twenty former and current politicos for ties with paramilitary groups and the resignation of the head of police, the “para-politics” firestorm against President Uribe's allies will not go away anytime soon.

And somehow Uribe still maintains skyrocketing popularity!

Links (English)- The Latin Americanist, CBS News, Reuters, Guardian UK, Plan Colombia and Beyond, Bloggings by Boz

Links (Spanish)- RCN, El Tiempo

Image- swissinfo

Daily Headlines: May 16, 2007

* Scientists believe that a penguin from southern Chile “strayed off course” after traveling over 3000 miles to Peru (image).

* U.S. border inspectors are rarely using screening technology, according to a report from the Associated Press.

* Fidel Castro’s health woes are “definitely behind us,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque to Mexican newspaper Reforma.

* Bolivia’s government nearly quadrupled the price of natural gas it sells to Brazil.

* Jamaican police still are not certain on how Pakistan team cricket coach Bob Woolmer died despite it being nearly two months after his death.

Links- Sydney Morning Herald, MSNBC, Bloomberg, Prensa Latina, International Herald Tribune

Image- BBC News

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Follow-up: Splitsville for Bolocco and Menem

In an interview with the Chilean press, former argentine president Carlos Menem admitted that he and Chilean celebrity Cecilia Bolocco have separated. “We are separated because living together had become impossible,” said Menem but not as a result of photos published last week showing a topless Bolocco sunbathing with an Italian businessman. Menem added that the pictures snapped by paparazzi represented a “serious mischief” against Bolocco’s privacy.

Image- La Opinion (Carlos Menem and Cecilia Bolocco)

Link (English)-, The Latin Americanist

Link (Spanish)- La Nacion

Mexico: Secret deal led to Fox’s presidency, says PRI politico

Vicente Fox’s victory in 2000 and the end of the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI, in Spanish) presidential hegemony were caused by a secret pact, according to a soon-to-be-released book.

In “La Traicion” (“The Betrayal”), losing 2006 PRI presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo blames then-president
Ernesto Zedillo (image) of spearheading the plan in 1994 which called for clandestinely alternating the presidency between the PRI and Fox’s National Action Party (PAN, in Spanish).

So far, Zedillo has yet to publicly respond to Madrazo’s accusations despite being long time political rivals. However, losing 2000 PRI presidential candidate Francisco Labastida denied Madrazo’s charges.

Zedillo’s name has been in the news lately as a possible successor to embattled World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz; Foreign Policy magazine editor Moises Naim brought up that possibility in an editorial published in Sunday’s Washington Post.

Links (Spanish)- Revoluciones, El Tiempo, Periódico AM, Milenio

Links (English)- VivirLatino, Washington Post

Image- Televisa

The cult of Che…in Iraq?

For better or worse, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is a cult hero known around the world and whose image graces many items from t-shirts to massive futbol banners. For some Latin Americans, Che is revered as a mythical figure of the left.

However, what happens if the admiration for him is co-opted by sanguinary rebel groups in Iraq?

This seems to be the case according to a post published today by a New York Times’ news blog:

“A previously-unknown group is using Che’s image in leaflets announcing a ‘movement of Iraqi Communists and Marxists experienced in armed struggle, leftist Iraqi nationalists, and their supporters,’ according to Iraq Slogger.”

Not everyone on the Iraqi far left who invoke el Che believes in the terrorist insurgency, however; a spokesman for Iraq’s Communist Party claimed that their “nonviolent message” attracted “thousands of Iraqis” to the party’s anniversary services.

Links- TIME, Wikipedia, New York Times – The Lede

Image- Lonely Planet (Cuban propaganda billboard of Che Guevara)

Weekly Debate: Reunited and it would feel so good

Yesterday, VivirLatino linked to an article last week from the New York Daily News which claims that classic Argentine rock en español trio Soda Stereo may reunite.

According to the article, ex-band member (and successful solo act) Gustavo Cerati alluded to the possibility of having Soda get together a decade after breaking up and bassist Hector Bosio said that "If they call me, I go."

Soda Stereo has been highly influential not only in the Americas but around the world and a reunion would be much loved by legions of rock en español fans. It would be sheer bliss to hear the again in concert singing tunes like “De Musica Ligera”, “Profugos”, and (my personal favorite) “Persiana Americana.”

So what do you think? Should Soda Stereo reunite or would that harm their legacy? If they do get together, should they record new songs or stick to their classics? Should other defunct rock en español groups reunite or make space for newer bands?

Let us know what you think by commenting to this post and/or voting in our poll located on the sidebar. (Poll closes on May 21st).

(Last week’s poll and debate on the Pope's visit to Brazil).

Links- VivirLatino, New York Daily News, PollDaddy, The Latin Americanist

Image- (Soda Stereo)

Daily Headlines: May 15, 2007

* Lips vs. Hips? Mexican president Felipe Calderon, his wife, and their daughter attended Colombian pop star Shakira’s concert in Mexico City on Sunday.

* The fallout from the release of Luis Posada Carriles continues as Nicaragua wants him extradited and Cuban courts are trying him in absentia.

* The U.N. is mobilizing in order to help flood-ravaged Uruguay.

* Another day, another corruption scandal in Peru’s legislature.

Links- Pravda, Prensa Latina,, UPI, Living in Peru,


Monday, May 14, 2007

Pope denounces “authoritarian” regimes, upsets indigenous leaders

Pope Benedict XVI left Brazil yesterday after having spent five busy days there including overseeing masses and opening a Latin American bishops’ conference.

Aside from critiquing on
abortion and the media, the Pope also criticized "authoritarian governments" in Latin America and the Caribbean that "do not correspond to the Christian vision of man and society." Though he did not name any particular government, Venezuelan Information Minister Willian Lara publicly denied that the Pope’s remarks were against the Chavez regime.

Not everyone was pleased with the Pope’s speech on Sunday; Brazilian indigenous leaders claimed to have been offended by "arrogant and disrespectful" remarks made by the pontiff on the alleged superiority of Catholicism over native spiritual beliefs.

Links- Monsters & Critics, The Latin Americanist, Raw Story, International Herald Tribune, Reuters

Image- New York Times

“Mad scientist” Macias captures kids’ imaginations

Bye-bye Beakman.

Adieu Bill Nye.

Eat your heart out Mr. Wizard.

Try Carlos Macias, instead.

The Christian Science Monitor examined the scientific genius that is Carlos Macias. Since he opened his workshop (Mama Tierra) in 1992, Macias has sought to teach Mexican children to solve scientific problems with hands-on work and by using recyclable materials:

“If a child can describe it, Macias usually can help bring an idea to reality from his cluttered jumble of cables, tools, and dusty model boats and spaceships. He'll discuss an idea with a child until they come up with a plan for construction.

One little girl who wants to make a mechanical caterpillar is given egg containers to get started, and Macias checks in periodically on her progress”.

There are very few types of projects that Macias will not do (e.g. a model of a nuclear plant), though he is open to helping kids with a multitude of scientific quandaries. His interest in science began with observing common items and processes as a child, and this is what he tries to promote in the kids that go to Mama Tierra to see him. Some of them have even gone on to study different fields of science on the university level and will surely be some of Mexico’s most amazing minds in the near future.

In the meantime, Macias’ spirit of teaching has not diminished:

“A fast-talker by nature, (Mama Tierra assistant Dinah Colin) gets even more animated when asked to describe Macias: ‘He's like those guys in the cartoons, like a mad scientist. He gets energized about everything he sees, as if he were seeing it for the first time.’”

Image- Christian Science Monitor (Carlos Macias in his office located in Mama Tierra)

Links- Wikipedia, Sony Pictures, Nye Labs, Christian Science Monitor

No punishment for 11 cops involved in de Menezes murder

Relatives of a Brazilian immigrant killed by London police are upset at the decision by British authorities to not charge eleven of the police officers involved in the shooting. "It is a travesty of justice and another slap in the face for our family," said a cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, though four “senior officers” may still be disciplined.

Two weeks after the July 2005 bombings in London, de Menezes was shot seven times in the head as he rode in the subway by officers who thought he was a suicide bomber. His death sparked outrage throughout Brazil and Scotland Yard has even been accused of running a posthumous “smear campaign” against de Menezes.

Image- Londonist (Side-by-side image of wanted suicide bomber Hussain Osman (left), and Jean Charles de Menezes (right))

Links- The Australian, Edmonton Sun, Channel 4, BBC News, Wikipedia, The Independent

Oppenheimer: Hooray for pricey petrol!

Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer was thrilled with the high prices of gasoline, according to his latest article. But before you think that he’s finally gone off his rocker Oppenheimer justifies his supposed joy by arguing that:

“Unless gasoline prices rise above $4 a gallon, there won't be a nationwide uproar strong enough to force Washington to get serious about reducing the U.S. suicidal dependence on foreign oil.”

This includes the obvious segue into critiquing “oil-rich tropical autocrats” like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez whom Oppenheimer categorized as “a perfect example of U.S. oil-funded radicalism”. However, Oppenheimer also goes after U.S. politicians including president George W. Bush by criticizing their strong ties to special interests that benefit directly from U.S.’ foreign oil dependence.

Yet Oppenheimer saves his conclusion to blast the commoners, not the politicos:

“My opinion: This is insane! I have nothing against you buying a light truck or an SUV if you are a soccer mom with quintuplets, a concert bass player, or a rancher in Montana.

But when I see these ever-growing vehicles driving through Miami -- where I have yet to find a hill, let alone a mountain -- with just one person inside, carrying nothing, I can only conclude that America deserves the foreign oil-rich despots that are causing so much trouble.”

Links- Orlando Sentinel


Daily Headlines: May 14, 2007

* The trial of one of the supposed intellectual heads behind the murder of nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang (image) just begun in Brazil.

* The new face of Salvadoran tourism- having former guerrilla soldiers as tour guides.

* Promoting women in politics appears to be one of the aims behind the Guatemalan political coalition backing Rigoberta Menchu’s candidacy for president.

* A three-hour hostage situation at the Russian Embassy in Costa Rica on Friday ended peacefully.

Image- Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Links- International Herald Tribune, Denver Post, Prensa Latina, USA TODAY