Saturday, May 5, 2012

Today’s Video: "Viva el Cinco de Mayo!" (Revisted)

Note: This post first appeared on this blog on May 5, 2010.

Today is Cinco de Mayo, an occasion to primarily celebrate Mexican heritage though some take advantage of the day for less historical means. Nonetheless, it's vital to note that today is not Mexican Independence Day but is instead the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

The following video from Rocketboom explains why the battle was such an important military victory not only for Mexicans but for their neighbors north of the border:

As we mentioned in 2009, the Battle of Puebla was one of Latin America's most important military confrontations.

Online Sources - Time, The Latin Americanist

Video Source - YouTube via Rocketboom

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today’s Video: Civics Smarts

A recent study found that over one-third of U.S.-born respondents would fail the civics section of the citizenship exam.

Even though 97% of immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship pass the test, 75% of those surveyed didn't know what the judicial branch did and 63% couldn't name one of the senators from their own state.

Would you be able to pass the U.S. citizenship test? Test your skills along with these university students via The Daily Californian:

Video Source - YouTube via thedailycal

Online Sources -, Newser

Daily Headlines: May 3, 2012

* Mexico: Mexican expats sent $5.37 billion in remittances to their home country in the first quarter of 2012, which represents a 5.3% increase compared to the first three months of 2011.

* Bolivia: A U.S. State Department spokesman said that the Bolivian government’s takeover of the main power grid could “really dampen the investment climate in Bolivia.”

* Guatemala: Officials declared a state of siege in the northwestern province of Huehuetenango after two hundred armed people briefly took over an army outpost.

* Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega called for three days of national mourning after the death of former Sandinista figure Tomas Borge.

Image Source – YouTube via teleSUR (Remittances are a major source of dollar inflows into Mexico and most of the money transfers are sent from the U.S.)

Online Sources- LAHT, AFP,, Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today’s Video: Seeking Justice for the ABC Victims

This week the Mexican legislature passed a landmark bill aimed at compensating the victims of drug crimes. Yet it’s another group of victims who continue to seek justice nearly three years after the tragic and sadly preventable ABC Nursery fire.

A citizens group known as the Movement for Justice on June 5 (El Movimiento por la Justicia 5 de Junio) has called on Mexican president Felipe Calderón to push for the implementation of the regulations in the Nursery Law.

"We call all the parents of affected families, to join forces with us and force President Calderon, that he enact regulations that should have been done April, "said Jose Francisco Garcia Quintana, spokesman for the the Movement for Justice on June 5. Quintana added that the lack of implrmentation of the Nursery Law, which was passed last year, has put into danger children that rely on the services of daycare centers throughout Mexico.

The following 2010 video via Al Jazeera English looks at the June 2009 blaze that killed forty-nine children in the state-run nursery:

Daily Headlines: May 2, 2012

* Bolivia: President Evo Morales announced yesterday that the government plans to seize control of the main power grid from a Spanish-owned company.

* Colombia: A woman claiming to belong to FARC called local reporters and said that the rebels were holding missing French journalist Romeo Langlois as a “prisoner of war.”

* El Salvador: The Church-negotiated truce between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 street gangs seemed to have paid dividends after officials reported a 58% decrease in homicides last month.

* Cuba: Will the Cuban government soon eliminate the “much-hated” exit visa and permit residents to travel freely?

Video Source – YouTube via teleSUR

Online Sources- Reuters, CNN, The Latin Americanist, InSight Crime, Fox News Latino

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today’s Video: May Day in Cartagena

From Ascunción to Tegucigalpa, May Day rallies were held on Tuesday throughout the Americas.

The below video shows the march held in the Colombian port of city Cartagena where an estimated ten thousand people called for “greater social assistance, the right to work” and attention to other economic problems affecting residents:

Last month U.S. President Barack Obama and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, said that a bilateral trade pact would go into effect on May 15th.

The agreement has received support from business interests in Colombia and the U.S. but has faced strong opposition by labor unions in both countries.

Video Source – YouTube via eluniversalmedia

Online Sources – BusinessWeek, ABC Color,

Daily Headlines: May 1, 2012

* Argentina: A rally was held Monday night in Buenos Aires on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the first protest held by the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo group.

* Colombia: President Juan Manuel Santos called on the FARC to free French journalist Romeo Langlois who has been missing since Saturday and is believed to have been kidnapped by the rebels.

* Chile: Work on the controversial El Morro copper mine project was suspended after the Supreme Court ruled against renewing its environmental permit.

* Venezuela: Opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles and local human rights activists criticized President Hugo Chavez’ suggestion that Venezuela should withdraw from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Video Source – YouTube via TVPublicaArgentina

Online Sources- New American Media, CNN, The Latin Americanist, Reuters, CBS News

Monday, April 30, 2012

World Watch: Chen’s Destiny

* China: U.S. and Chinese officials are reportedly close to reaching a deal that would grant political asylum to escaped Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng.

* Burma: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the easing of sanctions against the government while opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said her party will agree to swear the parliamentary oath this week.

* U.S.: According to a new study published online in Nature Neuroscience, the way in which the brain is wired may explain why some people engage in risk-taking behavior such as smoking or experimenting with drugs.

* France: With days to go before the country’s presidential election, President Nicolas Sarkozy said that he will sue a news website that claimed that he received accepted a multi-million euro campaign donation from late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Video Source– YouTube via Associated Press

Online Sources – New York Daily News, Voice of America, The Telegraph, CBS News

U.N. Denounces Forced Sterilizations of Mentally Disabled Peruvians

Last year Peruvian authorities reopened an investigation into the alleged clandestine forced sterilizations of some 2000 women during the 1990s. Yet the practice of forced sterilizations in Peru apparently still continues though the victims are not exactly the same as those from two decades ago.

Earlier this month the U.N. expressed its “profound worry” against the Peruvian government for allowing the forced sterilizations of mentally disabled people. According to the U.N. Committee for the Rights of People With Disabilities, individuals sterilized under the program often do so “without free or informed consent.” Therefore, the U.N. urged Peruvian officials to immediately halt this program that is reportedly carried out as a “method of contraception” against individuals with psychiatric issues.

The committee also denounced substandard conditions in Peruvian psychiatric clinics such as the Larco Herrera Hospital in Lima. Patients at these clinics are forced to take medications and some people have been allegedly “institutionalized” in these centers for as long as ten years without receiving proper rehabilitative care according to the U.N.

The below video via Peruvian TV looks at the patients at a psychiatric center in Iquitos as well as the lack of proper medical care for the mentally disabled:

Mexican Reporter Slain; French Journalist “Abducted” in Colombia

International organizations from Amnesty International to the International Press Institute have bemoaned the dangers faced by members of the media in Latin America. Their concerns were apparently proven in a pair of incidents this past weekend.

The lifeless body of Mexican magazine journalist Regina Martinez was found in the bathroom of her house in Veracruz according to local authorities.

“Apparently, the cause of death (was) asphyxiation by strangulation,” said a Veracruz state prosecutor who added that the journalist's body showed signs of “blows to the head and body.” Nevertheless, authorities have yet to provide a motive for her death.

While authorities vowed a thorough investigation approximately three hundred people protested on Sunday in front of the government offices of the Veracruz governor. As seen in the video below, marchers shouted several slogans including “Regina’s death is our death”:

One of Martinez’ former colleagues, Raúl Torres Jiménez, expressed in an article published yesterday in Proceso his sadness over her death. “My voice is small, but I will raise it to say quite firmly: Justice for Regina, enough is enough!” declared Jiménez at the end of his article.

Daily Headlines: April 30, 2012

* Dominican Republic: Will the May 20th presidential election be decided by the over 220,000 registered Dominican voters living in the U.S.?

* Cuba: "Una Noche" actors Javier Nuñez Florian and Anailin de la Rua de la Torre reappeared publicly on Friday and told the press in Miami that they would seek political asylum in the U.S.

* Venezuela: The state-run oil companies of Venezuela and China are linking in order to build an oil refinery in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

* Argentina: According to Google, Argentina’s main antitrust agency has opened an investigation into “certain business practices” by the tech giant.

Video Source – YouTube via DaniloMedinaPLD (Official campaign ad for presidential candidate and poll frontrunner Danilo Medina.)

Online Sources- Huffington Post, The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, BBC News, MSNBC