Friday, June 1, 2007

Bloggers of the world unite and take over

Note: Thanks to everyone who’s sent us tips over blogs that could be added onto our blogroll. We’ll be updating the list soon so please don’t hesitate to keep sending us tips at

* E-s-p-a-ñ-o-l – fellow contributor Maegan la Mala tells us of New York City’s official Spanish Spelling Bee competition.

* Remember how domestic violence may have been behind the deaths of a Salvadoran family near Washington, DC? The same thing may have been a factor in the murder/suicide of a Latina immigrant mother and three of her children.

* Reactions from the left and right over a New York Times article on the Cuban health care system. (Second link via Global Voices Online).

* From Hispanic Tips: Supermarkets in the southwestern U.S. have increasingly stocked up on Mexican Coca-Cola, which uses sugar rather than the corn syrup of its U.S. counterpart.

* A trippy-looking poster from a Mexico City art gallery, via La Elbahara.

* What is behind Colombian president Alvaro Uribe’s plan to free imprisoned guerillas? Adam Isacson gives four possible reasons.

* points out an opinion article by ex-Miami mayor Maurice Ferre on Puerto Rican statehood.

* Contradicting popular perceptions on Latin American economies, via Greg Weeks.

* Blame Argentina and Brazil for FIFA’s ban on high altitude matches that has shaken up several South American countries, says Foreign Policy Passport’s Sam DuPont.

* The "almost feel-good" tale behind Colombian soccer team and current Copa Libertadores semifinalist Cucuta Deportivo.

* Lastly, Tim’s El Salvador Blog links to the trailer for an upcoming documentary on the Mara Salvatrucha gang entitled “Hijos de la Guerra”:

Sources- Beautiful Horizons, Child of the Revolution, Global Voices Online,, Two Weeks Notice, La Elbahara, Tim’s El Salvador Blog, VivirLatino, Hispanic Tips, Plan Colombia and Beyond, Latina Lista, The Latin Americanist, Foreign Policy Passport, The Offside

Headlines for May 31

Apologies for the sporadic posting today and yesterday, folks:

Latin America could be the next potential outsourcing source.
Countries continue in the region's trend to ban smoking.
Roman Catholic bishops gather and vow to invigorate the church.
Navy ship prepares South and Central American goodwill mission.

Links: rediff News, Inter Press Service News Agency, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FIFA cuts out some Latin American cities

Latin American leaders are joining together against a FIFA banthat would bar games in several of the region's cities.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales is galvanizing other leaders in an effort to fight the international soccer organization's May 27 ban on matches in cities, including La Paz, more than 2,500 meters above sea level, according to a May 29 article on The ban also would exclude Bogota, Colombia and Quito, Ecuador.

FIFA issued the ruling to protect players' health.


Photo: Uruguay's Alvaro Recoba against Ecuador's Ivan Hurtado during the 2006 World Cup in Quito, Ecuador

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Weekly Debate: Venezuela and the media

At midnight on Monday, Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) ceased operations (for all intents and purposes) after the Venezuelan government declined to renew the network’s broadcasting license. Hours after the RCTV shutdown, the government denounced CNN and Globovision for spreading “lies” and misinformation against Hugo Chavez. Venezuelans have spent days protesting for and against the measure, and anti-Chavez protesters denounced government troops that shot tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

So what do you think about Chavez' decision? Is his opposition to RCTV censorship or correct? Will he go after other media outlets or just this one time against RCTV? Will opposing media be more or less anti-Chavez due to the RCTV situation? Are the problems between Chavez and the Venezuelan media worse than conflicts with the press in other Latin American countries?

Please feel free to give your opinion by voting in the poll located on the sidebar and/or by leaving a comment to this post.

What’s your opinion?

Sources- CNN, Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, BBC News

Image- BBC News (Pro-RCTV protester in Caracas, Venezuela)

Daily Headlines: May 29, 2007

* Brazil’s government will create a new program to subsidize birth control pills, while Mexico’s government is mounting a legal challenge to Mexico City’s abortion law.

* An interchange between imprisoned guerillas and kidnap victims “will always be the best option” said recently rescued Colombian police officer Jhon Frank Pinchao.

* Congrats to Argentine film “XXY” and Mexican actress Elisa Miller for receiving top awards during the Cannes Film Festival.

* In an article published over the weekend in Granma, Fidel Castro blasted U.S. President George W. Bush as "an apocalyptic person."

* Coca-Cola was levied with a $1 million fine for monopolistic practices in Mexico.

* Follow-up #1: Opposition in Venezuela and Haiti is mounting against the Chavez administration’s financing of two Danny Glover films.

* Follow-up #2: Miss Japan won last night’s Miss Universe pageant despite several Latin American contestants as favorites and some classless jeering from the crowd.

Sources (English)- CNN, International Herald Tribune, The Latin Americanist, The Hollywood Reporter, CNN, Granma, BBC News, MSNBC, Monterey Herald, ABC News

Sources (Spanish)- Milenio, El Tiempo

Image- CNN

Monday, May 28, 2007

Will Chavez go after CNN and Globovision?

Note: Last post for today.

Less than a day after Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) closed due to the non-renewal of their broadcast license, Venezuela’s government seems to be going after news giant CNN and local news network Globovision. According to Bloomberg:

“Communications and Information Minister Willian Lara said CNN last week falsely portrayed a Mexican protest as being in Caracas and displayed images of Chavez alongside an al-Qaeda leader. Globovision, a 24-hour news channel, ran scenes from the 1981 attempt to kill Pope John Paul II, which Lara said was incitement against Chavez.

‘This is an effort to associate Hugo Chavez with two things, violence and death,’ Lara said in a televised news conference today in Caracas. ‘CNN lies about Venezuela.””

In the meantime, anti-Chavez demonstrators in Caracas alleged that their peaceful protests were interrupted by troops who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them. The European Union, Reporters Without Borders, and Honduran media groups facing their own problems with the president have condemned the decision against RCTV. (Mind you, not everyone in the Americas is displeased at the closing of RCTV).

Even though RCTV could be transmitted on cable TV, the network’s president did not discard the possibility of “government pressure” to eliminate that possibility.

Image- SBS – World News Australia (Protests around RCTV’s headquarters yesterday in Caracas became violent after police fired a water cannon at a group of unruly protesters)

Sources- CNN International, Globovision, Bloomberg, CNN, Reuters, Reporters Without Borders, El Universal, The Latin Americanist

Contestants from the Americas favorites for Miss Universe crown

Online betting outfits have several Latin American and Caribbean contestants as favorites to win the Miss Universe beauty pageant tonight in Mexico City. One website has Miss Venezuela Ly Jonaitis and Miss Brazil Natalia Guimaraes as the top two to vie for the crown, while another site has participants from the Western Hemisphere in eight of the top ten spots.

Several contestants have broken the mold of the traditional Miss Universe candidate such as Miss Jamaica Zahra Redwood. The most radical deviation has been by Miss Sweden Isabel Lestapier Winqvist who dropped out of the competition and said that the pageant “is degrading to women and weighed down by scandals”.

Seventy-seven contestants (image) will aim to succeed Puerto Rican Zuleyka Rivera as the next Miss Universe.

Sources- Monsters & Critics,,, The Latin Americanist, The Hindu, Wikipedia


Chile and Bolivia still at odds over border

Over a century ago Bolivia signed a treaty ceding its coastal land to Chile. Since then, citizens of the landlocked country have held slight resentment towards Chile, while Bolivia’s government has tried to work out a deal in order to regain access to the ocean.

Despite gradually closer relations between the two countries, Chile continues to refuse Bolivian demands over a coastline. Last week Chile’s government rejected a Bolivian proposal that would have exported much-needed natural gas from Bolivia in exchange for granting Bolivia a coastline. The latest round of discussions has been unsuccessful for Bolivia’s territorial demands and it appear that Chile will not bend backwards.

Sources (English)- People’s Daily Online, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist

Sources (Spanish)- Wikipedia Español,, Radio Univerisdad de Chile

Image- BBC Mundo (19th-century map of Peru (in pink) and Bolivia (in green))

L. American countries hurt by FIFA high altitude ban

The world’s governing body for soccer- FIFA- announced that international matches may not be played in locations whose altitudes are located 8200 feet above sea level. The measure has hit several Latin American countries the hardest; international games may not be played in Quito, Ecuador, Bogota, Colombia, and La Paz, Bolivia.

Soccer officials in Bolivia deemed the measure as “against the right to ‘play where one lives’”, while Peruvian commentators claimed that FIFA caved in to demands by Brazil and Argentina. Bolivian President Evo Morales has even called for an emergency Cabinet meeting to figure out what to do. Nonetheless, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that playing at such a high altitude “is not healthy or fair.”

Interestingly enough, Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca (located about 7350 feet above sea level) was saved from FIFA’s decision.

Image- (Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, Bolivia)

Sources (English)- ESPN Soccernet, Radio Australia Sports, BBC News,, Wikipedia, Soccer by Ives

Source (Spanish)- El Tiempo

Daily Headlines: May 28, 2007

Note: Posting will be a little light over the next 24 hours due to the Memorial Day holiday here in the U.S.; a day of remembrance and reflection.

* Will the Dominican Republic’s “little New York” plan be successful or result in a resounding Bronx cheer”?

* Archeologists in Mexico found wooden pieces that may have been used in “peace offerings” by the Aztecs over five hundred years ago.

* The few survivors of a Peruvian government flight that killed thirteen people claimed that inclement weather was to blame for the accident.

* Via Angus Reid: El Salvadoran president Tony Saca has a paltry 23.4% approval rate, while Rigoberta Menchu is a distant third in the race for Guatemala’s presidency.

* A chapter in Uruguay’s dark past is being reopened with the exhumation of bodies supposedly killed during political repression in the 1970s.

* A crash in the 66th lap ended Venezuelan rookie driver Milka Duno’s hopes of finishing her first Indianapolis 500.

* Colombian songwriter Fabio Alonso Salgado (a.k.a. Estefano) was shot and critically wounded at his Miami residence.

* Follow-up: The beleaguered Universidad de Chile soccer team was saved from bankruptcy and a possible dissolution after a group of investors purchased the club.

Sources (English)- Guardian UK, Wikipedia, Angus Reid Consultants, International Herald Tribune, The Latin Americanist, FOX Sports, CBS News, ESPN, ABC News

Sources (Spanish)- La Razón,

Image- ABC News (Construction of a subway tunnel in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)


At midnight on Monday, Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) ceased operations. On Saturday, Venezuela’s Supreme Court permitted the government to go through with not renewing RCTV’s broadcast license. Throughout the weekend protests for and against the government’s decision have gone on and they are expected to continue. RCTV executives claimed that troops took over RCTV relay stations Sunday evening hours before the network signed off.

As Global Voices Online noted, Venezuelan bloggers are split on the Chavez administration’s decision against RCTV, which had been one of the country’s most vocal anti-Chavez media outlets. For the time being, RCTV has been replaced with a public television station- TVes.

As of the time of publication of this post, RCTV’s website was down.


Sources- BBC News, Bloomberg, Global Voices Online, El Universal,, Reuters