Friday, September 7, 2012

De Musica Ligera: Soul and Body

Colombian quartet Bomba Estereo released their third album this week, "Elegancia Tropical", in their homeland. The album features the funky mix of cumbia and electro music that has been the band's hallmark over the past few years.

The following is the official music video for "El Alma y El Cuerpo", the first single from "Elegancia Tropical" that will be released internationally in October:

Video Source - YouTube via user bombaestereo

Online Source - Official website for Bomba Estereo

Daily Headlines: September 7, 2012

* Haiti: The Turks and Caicos Islands will lift the temporary ban on deportations of Haitian migrants that was first established shortly after a January 2010 Haiti earthquake.

* Mexico: U.S. investigators will look into the death of a Mexican citizen who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent.

* Cuba: Could an experimental debit card program lead to the end of the island’s dual currency system?

* Colombia: Human Rights Watch claimed that the resignation of an auxiliary Supreme Court judge investigating the “para-politics” corruption scandal is a “loss for justice”.

Video Source – YouTube via user WIV4 (Note: This video was uploaded in 2008).

Online Sources- CBS News, MSNBC, ABC News, Human Rights Watch

Thursday, September 6, 2012

London Calling: Perseverance

On September 15, 2001 racing driver Alex Zinardi lost both of his legs after he crashed at a European racetrack. Nearly eleven years to the day of that accident, the Italian won a gold medal in the H4 handcycling time trial at the London Paralympics.

Much like Zinardi, other disabled athletes competing at the Paralympics were formally able-bodied individuals. One Latin American example of this is several members of the Colombian men’s wheelchair basketball team:

As noted in this article from BBC Mundo, four players on the squad that makes its debut in the Paralympics were not born with their respective disabilities. All of them were victims of the violence that has poisoned Colombia for decades.

Daily Headlines: September 6, 2012

* Paraguay: Reporters Without Borders denounced the “purge” of twenty-seven employees of a state-run TV station allegedly due to their support of ousted President Fernando Lugo.

* Latin America: “The balance of the political and economic performance of (Latin America and the Caribbean) during the last twelve months in general is positive,” claimed Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza.

* Argentina: Debate commenced yesterday in the Senate on a government-backed proposal that would lower the voting age from eighteen to sixteen.

* Peru: President Ollanta Humala said that the military killed Comrade Williams, one of the commanders of the Shining Path rebel army.

Video Source – YouTube via user TvPública Paraguay (Former Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo speaking on state-run TV Pública hours after he was ousted last June)

Online Sources- Reporters Without Borders, Bernama, Huffington Post, BBC News

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Major Earthquake Hits Costa Rica (Updated)

A powerful earthquake hit Costa Rica at approximately 8:42 am local time today.

The epicenter of the 7.6-magnitude earthquake was around the town of Liberia located near the northern border with Nicaragua and approximately ninety miles from the Costa Rican capital of San Jose. The tremor was felt throughout Costa Rica and other parts of Central America.

As a result of the earthquake a tsunami alert was initially issued for several Latin American countries along the Pacific coast. As it currently stands a tsunami warning remains in effect for Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

BBC News has cited "Costa Rican authorities" who claimed that "power and communications in much of the country were briefly knocked out". Nevertheless, the Red Cross has reportedly said that no major damage or fatailities have resulted from the quake.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, over the past forty years about thirty tremors of at least 6.0-magntude have hit the area within 180 miles of the epicenter of today's quake. None of these tremors (including two above 7.0-magnitude) have led to any deaths.

On August 26th a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador followed by a strong aftershock the next day. A tsunami alert was issued for Central America and Mexico but it was later rescinded.

(Note: Update after the page break).

Daily Headlines: September 5, 2012

* Mexico: Authorities arrested Mario Cardenas, one of the suspected leaders of the Gulf drug trafficking gang, and presented him to the media yesterday.

* Colombia: Now it’s official – the Colombian government and FARC guerillas will start peace negotiations next month in Oslo, Norway.

* Haiti: Will a huge billboard located along I-95 in south Florida help boost tourism in Haiti?

* Chile: Indigenous Mapuche protesters agreed to end their 39-day occupation of UNICEF offices in Santiago.

Video Source – YouTube via user ElUniversalTV

Online Sources- UPI, MSNBC, The Latin Americanist, CBS Miami, Santiago Times

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

London Calling: Mexican Pride

Last July we examined Mexican sprinter Ana Guevara including her numerous accomplishments on the track and after she hung up the spikes. The case could be made that she was the greatest Mexican athlete in Olympics history that included a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Field athlete Mauro Máximo de Jesús has been one of the top Mexican competitors in Paralympics history. In the six occasions that he has participated in the Paralympics he has won at least one medal. This year has been no exception after Máximo de Jesús won two medals: silver on Friday in the F52/53 shot put followed by bronze in the F52/53 javelin on Tuesday.

Ahead of the games Máximo de Jesús had hoped to win gold much like he obtained in 2004 and 2008. Nonetheless he expressed his joy and pride in his accomplishments in London according to Mexico's El Universal:

From the Archives: First

The Latin Americanist blog was born on September 3, 2005 as the brainchild of a group of students at New York University’s Center for Latin American Studies. Seven years and over 7300 posts later the blog still continues with the same goal it had when it was conceived: to provide an English-language forum for issues pertaining to Latin America.

Today we will take a look at the first article that was published on this blog.

There is a cliché that states, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” This saying can apply to the first post on this blog, which was the following:
Chavez earns scorn from The Economist

The Venezuelan president incurs the disapproval of the British mag after clamping down on the private sector. article

Since then the renown international affairs magazine has not let up on its criticism of the Venezuelan leader. The publication’s latest article on Venezuela reported on last month’s fire at the Amuay oil refinery as a potential liability for Chavez’ reelection campaign.

Additionally, an article published in April claimed that diplomatic officials worried about urban violence “found Venezuela's security services underwhelming” while a January headline asked if Chavez and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were “brothers in arms?

Video Source– YouTube via Voz de America (“The Economist” analyst Robert Woods provides his views on Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election in this February 2012 video from Voice of America’s Spanish-language channel).

Online Sources - The Economist, The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: September 4, 2012

* Colombia: Griselda Blanco, an infamous Colombian drug trafficker nicknamed the “Godmother of Cocaine” and “The Black Widow”, was gunned down in Medellin yesterday.

* Mexico: Money transfers to Mexico, which are the country’s third-biggest source of foreign currency, decreased slightly in July compared to the same month in 2011.

* Guatemala: Several human rights groups are opposed to the U.S. military cooperating with the Guatemalan army in a series of counternarcotics operations.

* Brazil: The population of humpback whales that migrate to the Brazilian coasts is reportedly 10,000, more than triple the number of a decade ago.

Video Source – YouTube via DiscoveryID

Online Sources- NPR, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, LAHT

Monday, September 3, 2012

London Calling: Alan's Golden Sprint

On Saturday and Sunday numerous Latin American athletes including Argentine judo competitor Jorge Lencina and Mexican weightlifter Amalia Pérez captured medals at the London Paralympics.  But the most noteworthy result from the weekend took place in front of 80,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium.

Brazilian sprinter Alan Oliveira won the gold medal T43/44 men's 200-meter event with a blistering time of 21.45 seconds.  His victory was by a razor-thin 0.07 seconds ahead of South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius who last month became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics:
Sadly, Olivera’s win came under controversy after the race when a disappointed Pistorius criticized the length of the Brazilian’s artificial legs or blades.

“You can't compete on stride length. You saw how far (Alan) came back so, you know what, we're not racing a fair race here, but I gave my best on a great night,” said Pistorius on Sunday night.

Oliveira to his immense credit took the comments by his “idol” in stride:

Daily Headlines: September 3, 2012

* Mexico: While members of Mexico’s Caravan for Peace anti-violence campaign continued their trek across the U.S., Mexican President Felipe Calderon claimed that crime has been “confronted decisively” under his administration.

* Venezuela: Nicia Maldonado, Venezuela’s Minister of Indigenous Peoples, claimed that government investigators found no evidence of an alleged massacre committed against the Yanomami community.

* Guatemala: Swiss police arrested Erwin Sperisen, former chief of Guatemala’s national police, who is accused of being involved in the extra-judicial killing of six prisoners in 2006.

* Peru: The government lifted a state of emergency in three provinces that was imposed in July when five people died in violent protests.

Video Source – YouTube via Univision News (Author turned activist Javier Sicilia leads the Caravan for Peace tour that started nearly a month ago)

Online Sources- Chicago Tribune, The Telegraph, Bernama, CNN, ABC News