Friday, January 30, 2015

Daily Headlines: January 30, 2015

* Argentina: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner defended her right to publicly opine over the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman while pressure continues to mount against the government since his suspected suicide earlier this month.

* Dominican Republic: Dominican Finance Minister Simon Lizardo claimed that his country finished paying off a multibillion dollar debt owed on Venezuelan oil shipments.

* Cuba: The White House rejected Cuban President Rául Castro’s call for the U.S. to hand over the Guantanamo military base as part of the effort to normalize ties between both countries.

* Mexico: The plummeting price of oil led the Mexican government to announce the slash of $8.4 billion from the federal budget and postpone development of a controversial high-speed rail project.

Video Source – YouTube user euronews

Online Sources – BBC News; Bloomberg; Reuters; The Latin Americanist; BBC News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Headlines: January 29, 2015 (Updated)

* Mexico: Rescue operations are taking place at a Mexico City maternity hospital where at least seven people died in a massive explosion this morning.

Update: Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera lowered the official death toll to two but said that there were sixty-six casualties as a result of the blast. He added that the explosion was caused by a leak when a gas truck attempted to supply the hospital.

* Cuba: A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators proposed removing decades-long travel and banking restrictions against Cuba.

* Venezuela: The Venezuelan government ordered the accelerated importing of basic goods amidst a growing economic crisis.

* El Salvador: President Salvador Sanchez Ceren rejected calls from leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs to negotiate with the government.

Video Source – YouTube user Associated Press (“A gas tank truck exploded outside a maternity and children's hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, collapsing much of it. Officials say dozens are injured, including several children.”)

Online Sources including Update – Fox News Latino; Reuters; El Universal; CBC News; USA TODAY

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Daily Headlines: January 28, 2015 (Updated)

* Peru: The Peruvian Congress rejected a controversial labor reform law following pressure from young workers who believed the proposal discriminated them.

* Cuba: Former Cuban President Fidel Castro allegedly penned an article supporting the diplomatic rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba despite admitting distrusting American policy.

Update: Earlier today, Current Cuban leader Rául Castro placed several conditions on fully normalizing ties between his country and the U.S. including returning the Guantanamo military base and lifting the decades-long trade embargo.

* Brazil: State-run energy firm Petrobras reported a third quarter loss of 9.1% but didn’t reveal how much money had been lost in a major corruption sandal.
* Venezuela: Is legislative chief Diosdado Cabello the head of a Venezuelan drug trafficking ring according to the claims of a defecting ex-top government bodyguard?

Video Source – YouTube user Reuters

Online Sources (including Update) – Voice of America; GlobalPost; Reuters; Miami Herald; ABC News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daily Headlines: January 26, 2015

* Latin America: Will Bolivia soon follow the example of Cuba and become the next Latin American state to seek renewed diplomatic relations with the U.S.?

* El Salvador: Legislators in El Salvador recently paroled a woman sentenced to thirty years in prison for undergoing an abortion in 2007.

* Mexico: A measles outbreak that reportedly started in at a Disneyland theme park in December has spread across the border into Mexico.

* Colombia: University student Paulina Vega became the first Colombian representative since 1958 to win the Miss Universe contest

Video Source – YouTube user VOAvideo

Online Sources – Reuters; UPI; ABC News; Miami Herald

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nuestro Cine: Beauty is Skin Deep?

The Miss Universe contest will be held tonight and perhaps no other country is more synonymous with the world’s top beauty pageant than Venezuela. Seven representatives from the South American country have won Miss Universe tonight including reigning titleholder Gabriela Isler. Nineteen-year-old Migbelis Lynette Castellanos is surely one of the favorites to the crown, which she hopes to win in order for her countrymen torn by economic uncertainty and deep political divisions to “forget everything that is happening for just a short while.” (As the cases of Genesis Carmona and Monica Spear showed, however, even beauty queens are not immune from becoming the targets of violence in their homeland.)

Venezuela’s pageant obsession that includes sending girls as young as four-years-old to train in special “beauty schools” is a theme explored in the film “3 Bellezas” (“3 Beauties”). The movie, examines the lives of Perla, a mom focused on training her daughters to become future beauty queens and her children willing to do whatever it takes to acquiesce to their mother’s wishes. Perla is not shy to teach her kids how to vomit meals or instill hem advice like only “beautiful women” are able to get whatever they desire. They drive to reach what they believe is the pinnacle of fame and fortune but the price they all pay could be very costly.

“I would like for people to understand that we’re acting superficial, said “3 Bellezas” director Carlos Caridad-Montero. “But there is a system that takes you to that level.”

The film takes a very critical look at beauty pageants in Venezuela, though even Caridad-Montero acknowledges those who feel that “attractiveness is seen as a way of climbing the social ladder.”

Below the page break is the trailer with English subtitles for “3 Bellezas” that premiered last Friday. Please check it out: