Friday, October 31, 2014

Nuestro Cine: Battle of the Vampires

What happens when the Cuban musician nephew of Dracula finds a secret potion that allows vampires to be able to live under the sun's rays?  The answer to this can be seen in the 1985 animated movie ¡Vampiros en La Habana! (Vampires in Havana).  The film provides a satirical look at both capitalism and Communism when competing factions of vampires - a Chicago mob and a European cartel - seek to get their claws on the "Vampisol" concoction from Joseph Amadeus von Dracula.  Featuring trumpet playing by the legendary Arturo Sandoval, ¡Vampiros is not your usual scary Halloween flick but is instead a funny spoof of horror and gangster films.

¡Vampiros can be seen in the following video in Spanish and with English subtitles.  (Note that the movie has some adult themes; hence, it's NSFW and probably not recommended for young children).
Video Source - YouTube user R Delgado

Online Source -


Daily Headlines: October 31, 2014

* South America: Venezuela’s PDVSA will import light crude allegedly as a “cost-saving” measure while Argentine legislators approved an energy reform bill that reportedly could help boost the country’s shale oil production.

* Colombia: The FARC rebels admitted to “assuming their role” in Colombia’s armed conflict but claimed to have never purposefully targeted the civilian population.

* Nicaragua: How has Nicaragua avoided the rampant gang violence that has led to high crime rates in other Central American countries?

* Panama: Regulators in Panama fined a U.S. firm seeking to sell the world’s first genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

Video Source – CCTV America via YouTube

Online Sources – Reuters; Bloomberg; NPR; Latin American Herald Tribune; Inter Press Service

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 30, 2014

* U.S.: According to a new Pew Research Center poll, Latino voter support of the Democratic Party has diminished slightly while more respondents believe that there is no difference between the Democrats and the rival Republican Party.

* Brazil: The Brazilian central bank rose interest rates as a possible sign that President Dilma Rousseff is seeking too woo investors spooked by her recent reelection.

* Dominican Republic: At least one person was killed during protests where demonstrators called for improvements to social services.

* Chile: 850 marijuana seeds were planted as part of a pilot program in a Santiago municipality to grow medical marijuana for cancer patients.

Video Source – AFP via YouTube 

Online Sources – Pew Hispanic Center; ABC News; BBC News; GlobalPost; The Latin Amercanist

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ongoing Protests in Solidarity with Missing Mexican Students (Updated)

University students in several parts of Mexico are protesting on Wednesday as part of a continuing push for the safe return of 43 young adults missing for more than a month.

At least one hundred protesters have taken control of several highways of access Mexico City today and have allowed motorists to avoid paying at the tollbooths. The demonstrators reportedly include pupils from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) and are calling for support of the students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero state who have disappeared since September 26th. 

In addition, students from the IPN and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) plan to take control of the radio stations to their respective schools and provide messages of support for the families of those missing.  Meanwhile, both teachers and students at one of the campuses of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) have suspended classes today as part of their own protest.

Today’s events are part of three days of action planned by several universities with the aim of calling to justice those responsible for the missing students, defend public education and criticize state-sponsored violence.  Students, teachers and other demonstrators plan to march in Mexico City on Friday, for example.

On September 26th, were riding local buses back to their school in Ayotzinapa following a protest over job discrimination in Iguala.  That evening, armed men from the town of Iguala fired upon the buses and killed three passengers while others fled in terror.  Eyewitnesses claimed that local police shot at some of the escaping students while others were caught and bundled into police vehicles.

Daily Headlines: October 29, 2014

* Cuba: Another year, another overwhelming rejection of the U.N. General Assembly against the decades-long U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

* Brazil: Will the reelection of Dilma Rousseff to the Brazilian presidency improve U.S.-Brazil diplomatic relations that have been fractured since last year?
* Colombia: A World Bank report found that Colombia is the best country in Latin America and Caribbean to do business in.

* Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition activist imprisoned since February, refused to appear in court this week as a sign of protest.

Video Source – Reuters via YouTube

Online Sources – Fox News Latino; Miami Herald; The Latin Americanist; ABC News

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 28, 2014

* Uruguay: The ruling Frente Amplio maintained its majority in the Uruguayan legislature, which could be very good news for Tabare Vazquez who is the odds on favorite to return to the presidency in November’s runoff election.

* Nicaragua: A new World Economic Forum report ranked Nicaragua as the world’s sixth best country in the world for gender equality and the best among Latin American and Caribbean states.

* Peru: The bodies of eighty victims of Peru’s Dirty War between the military and Shining Path rebels were returned to their families.

* Argentina: Daniel Filmus, the Argentine secretary regarding the Falkland Islands, blasted British efforts to allow for the offshore drilling of hydrocarbons near the contested archipelago.

Video Source – teleSUR English via YouTube

Online Sources – MercoPress; Inside Costa Rica; Bernama; The Guardian

Monday, October 27, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 27, 2014

* Dominican Republic: Top St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras and his 18-year-old girlfriend died in a car crash yesterday near the ballplayer’s hometown in the Dominican Republic.

* Venezuela: The Venezuelan government backed down from plans to sell Citgo, which is valued at approximately $10 billion.

* Ecuador: A 22-year-old Ecudoran woman became the second person to die from an attack last Wednesday in the Israeli capital city of Jerusalem.

* Colombia: A U.S. federal judge last week sentenced a FARC commander to 27 years in prison for his role in the 2003 kidnapping of three U.S. citizens in Colombia.

Video Source – MLB via YouTube (Oscar Taveras followed his first rookie season in the majors by going 3-for-7 in the postseason including hitting a game-tying home run in the National League Championship Series).

Online Sources –; Bloomberg; NDTV; LAHT

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dilma Rousseff Reelected to Brazilian Presidency

President Dilma Rousseff has won Sunday's runoff election by a narrow margin ahead of opposition rival Senator Aécio Neves of the PDSB.

With 99.57% of the votes counted, Brazil's first female president garnered 51.59% of the votes versus 48.41% for the former governor.

Thank you very much!” tweeted a grateful Rousseff whose triumph means that the Workers' Party will command the presidency for a fourth straight term.

Even though the runoff was the tightest election since 1989, Rousseff rejected the notion that “these elections have divided our country in half”.

“Instead of broadening our differences, I have the strong hope that we can create the conditions to unite,” she added.

According to opinion polls Rousseff and Neves have been running neck to neck since the first round was held three weeks ago.  Most polls taken in recent days have given the incumbent a slight but growing advantage though a Senus survey published on Friday gave Neves a nine percent lead. (An October 13 Senus poll taken prior to his endorsement from ex-candidate Marina Silva had Neves up by double digits).

I fought the good fight,” noted Neves in a speech govern shortly after he called Rousseff to his conceded the election.  He also seemed to echo the victor’s remarks by noting, “The main priority is to unite Brazil and work on a project to dignify all Brazilians.”