Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nuestro Cine: Timeless Love

Last month we looked at several films vying for this year’s best foreign film Academy Award from Latin American countries including animated children’s film “Anina” from Uruguay.  Though “Anina” apparently filled the requirements to be nominated for Best Animated Feature Film it was not among the nineteen submissions to that category. 

Among the nominees are big-budget entries like "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" and "Monsters University" along with the final film from acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.  The only Latin American film among the eligible Best Animated features is an entry from Brazil: “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury” (“Uma História de Amor e Fúria”).

Set during four different periods of Brazilian history, the drama depicts the adventures of the 600-year-old Immortal Warrior as he courts the love of Janina.  The couple encounters great obstacles throughout the centuries such as slavery in the nineteenth century and a war over water in the future.

Directed by Luiz Bolognesi, “Rio 2096” won the prize for best feature film at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival last June.  But will the film be selected as a finalist by the Academy? See for yourselves by viewing the film’s trailer below the page break:

Daily Headlines: November 7, 2013

* Vatican: Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles asked Pope Francis to help mediate in the politically fractured country, while several photos were released showing the Argentine-born pontiff embracing a severely disfigured man

* Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega is pushing a proposal through the Nicaraguan legislature that would eliminate term limits for presidents.

* Ecuador: A former judge behind a $19 billion environment damages ruling against Chevron rejected allegations of fraud against him and claimed that another magistrate did not ghostwrite his decision.

* U.S.: Latino voters played a key role in several elections on Tuesday including reportedly backing Terry McAuliffe by a 2-to-1 margin in a close Virginian gubernatorial race.

Video Source – YouTube via Rome Reports

Online Sources- The Huffington Post; Reuters; Al Jazeera English

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Daily Headlines: November 6, 2013

Note: Before we get to Wednesday’s headlines we would like to apologize for the inexcusable lateness of this post.

* Cuba: William Potts said that he would return to the U.S. twenty-nine years after he hijacked a commercial airliner and forced it to land in Cuba.

* Chile: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Chilean government to pay $32,000 to an exiled man who was tortured during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

* Colombia: Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin sent a note of protest to Russia regarding the alleged incursion of a pair of Russian jets into Colombian airspace last week.

* Mexico: U.S. officials have offered a $5 million reward for the capture of recently freed Mexican drug capo Rafael Caro Quintero.

Video Source – YouTube via Associated Press

Online Sources- Fox News Latino; UPI; The Guardian; ABC News

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dominicans Rally For Controversial Court Ruling

Several hundred Dominicans rallied in support of a recent high court decision that would strip the citizenship of tens of thousands of individuals.

“Get out illegal Haitians,” “Them there and us here”, “We will not negotiate our sovereignty” where just some of the signs reportedly seen by the demonstrators who gathered in Santo Domingo’s Independence Park on Monday. 

Several speakers at the event, which was organized by a group calling themselves The National Sovereignty Defense Network, backed the Dominican government’s crackdown on undocumented Haitians. (For example, the organization called for the construction of a wall along the entire Dominican border with Haiti).

Emil Santana, one of the speakers at the rally, told the crowd that Haitian children have overrun schools in San Juan de la Maguana while residents in the town are allegedly without work due to migrants from the neighboring country.

Other presenters blasted the international response against the September 25th ruling by the Dominican Constitutional Court that voided automatic citizenship to the descendants of migrants who came to work in the country after 1929.

“The Dominican people will not accept that their rights will be squashed in order to resolve the Haitian problem”, declared legislator Pelegrín Castillo.

Meanwhile, journalist Consuelo Despradel blasted renowned Peruvian author and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa for recently comparing the ruling of the high court to the stripping of citizenship of Jews living in Nazi-era Germany.

While the rally took place in the Dominican capita city, a protest against the court’s decision was held in the southern Baoruco province.  Hundreds of demonstrators including members of at least twenty community groups participated in the march that rejected the tribunal’s “arbitrary” actions.

Daily Headlines: November 5, 2013

* Argentina: The government declassified hundreds of previously secret files including transcripts of all the meetings held by the “Dirty War” military junta and the names of blacklisted artists.
* Puerto Rico: A new survey reveled that about one in three Puerto Ricans are seriously considering leaving the island due to the commonwealth’s financial troubles.

* Guatemala: Guatemala withdrew from the Petrocaribe oil alliance due to the inability to reach “favorable rates for purchases and financing.”

* Cuba: Dissident Guillermo Fariñas claimed that he was attacked by a “government-organized mob” on Sunday when he attempted to file a complaint against the detention of several members of the Ladies in White protest group.

Video Source – YouTube via user TV Pública – Argentina

Online Sources- BBC News; LAHT; Reuters; Miami Herald

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brazilian Legislators Urge Investigation Into Spying on Diplomats

Brazilian legislators want to look into their country’s intelligence activities after the government admitted to the surveillance of foreign diplomats.

Rep. Ronaldo Caiado will reportedly summon the Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Domestic Security along with the chief of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) to testify in front of several Congressional committees.  He questioned the Brazilian government’s credibility abroad, particularly in light of alleged widespread surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

“The (Brazilian) government lost a golden opportunity to have entered high-level discussions with the Americans and possibly reach a deal instead of making a big deal over being the target of surveillance,” said Caiado.

“These charges of espionage must be taken very seriously but we have to see the context in which they occurred,” said Sen. Richard Ferraço.  “If not, then it would seem like two different measures: do as I say but not as I do,” admitted the vice-chair of the Congressional committee on intelligence.    

On Monday, a Folha de São Paulo report that described how approximately ten years ago the ABIN monitored office space rented by the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia due to suspicions of maintaining spying equipment.  The Folha report also outlined how Brazilian intelligence agents followed the movements of Iraqi, Iranian and Russian diplomats in their respective embassies as well as their official residences.

A statement from Brazil's Institutional Security Cabinet, which oversees the ABIN, claimed that any surveillance is being done “develop intelligence activities” for the country’s defense and “national sovereignty, in strict observance of constitutional principles and the laws that guarantee individual rights.”  The letter also said that their intelligence operations “follow Brazilian law for the protection of national interests.”

One Russian diplomat in Brazil was supposedly not bewildered by the Folha report:

Daily Headlines: November 4, 2013

* Brazil: Some 3000 Cuban doctors traveled to Brazil in order to participate in a government program aimed at sending foreign medical professionals to underserved areas.

* Latin America: At least thirteen people died in clashes between drug gangs and the Mexican military in Matamoros while approximately eight people died in an airplane crash in northern Bolivia.
* U.S.: Millions of Latino families are expected to be affected by billions of dollars worth of cuts to the federal food stamp program.

* Honduras: In an interview with the Associated Press Honduran police chief Gen. Juan Carlos Bonilla rejected rumors that he led a “social cleansing campaign” several decades ago.

Video Source – YouTube via Newsy

Online Sources- Huffington Post; BBC News;; Reuters; LAHT