Friday, February 27, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 27, 2015

* Argentina: An Argentine judge dismissed charges originally filed by the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman over an alleged cover up by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA bombing.

* Chile: The Chilean government rejected the euthanasia request of a 14-year-old girl hospitalized with cystic fibrosis.

* Latin America: Chinese loans to Latin America reportedly jumped by 71% to $22 billion last year and surpassed the money lent by the by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank combined.

* Mexico: A court settlement could allow thousands of Mexicans who were allegedly deceived into voluntarily exiting the U.S. to return and appeal their respective cases.

Video Source – YouTube user euronews

Online Sources – Houston Chronicle; GlobalPost; The Latin Americanist; CBS News; BBC News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 26, 2015

* Venezuela: Political tensions have intensified following the February 19th detention of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma and the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy on Tuesday.

* Guatemala: Ex-Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo could soon return to his homeland after he was released from a U.S. prison where he served less than a year on bribery charges.

* U.S.: A new study found that Latinos are expected to account for more than 40% of job growth in the next five years mainly due to an increase in the number of working age Latinos to offset retiring “baby boomers.”

* Haiti: Approximately 10,000 protesters in Port-au-Prince called on better treatment and more respect of Haitians living in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Video Source – YouTube user ODN (“A policeman has shot dead a teenage boy during an anti-government protest in Venezuela.”)

Online Sources – Fox News Latino; ABC News; The Globe and Mail; Reuters

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 25, 2015

* Latin America: Remittances to Latin America reportedly jumped by 4% to $62.3 billion last year with Mexico and several Central American states seeing the most gains.

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa called on OPEC countries to engage in an emergency meeting due to the low prices of oil.

* Colombia: Scientists have identified a new volcano in central Colombia though there are said to be no signs that it will soon erupt.

* U.S.: A new poll found that Latinos largely share similar views to non-Latinos on most foreign policy issues with the exception of immigration and climate change.

Video Source – YouTube via teleSUR English

Online Sources – Reuters; Wired; Fox News Latino; NBC News

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 24, 2015

* Brazil: Indonesia’s president denied granting clemency to eleven foreigners facing the death penalty for drug smuggling including a Brazilian national.

* U.S.: A senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that the recent outbreak of measles in the U.S. has caused the virus to be “exported” to Mexico.

* Panama: The former president of Panama's top court, Alejandro Moncada, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to corruption charges.

* Mexico: The Mexican government sent a note of protest to the Vatican after Pope Francs warned against the “Mexicanization” of the drug trade in Argentina.

Video Source – YouTube user CCTV America (“Indonesia has recalled its ambassador to Brazil, adding to a diplomatic row over executions. A Brazilian drug smuggler was put to death last month.”)

Online Sources – Reuters; The Guardian; The New York Times; NBC News

Monday, February 23, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 23, 2015

* Cuba: The 270 members of the Ladies in White could soon select their new leader due to infighting within the Cuban protest group.

* South America: Diplomatic tensions have grown between Peru and Chile over a spying scandal.

* Colombia: The U.S. gave a strong indication of support to the Colombian peace process by naming veteran Latin America diplomat Bernie Aronson as special envoy to talks between officials and the FARC.
* Mexico: Authorities detained fifty-four migrants from Central America, Cuba and Sri Lanka who were traveling “in bad conditions and had not consumed food or water for more than 24 hours.”

Video Source – YouTube via Reuters (“Cuba's Ladies in White, a group made up of wives and mothers of jailed dissidents,” in a protest march last December.)

Online Sources – Zee News; Reuters; ABC News; Fox News Latino

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nusetro Cine: Orfeu e Eurydice

Tonight we will find out if Argentine anthology comedy “Wild Tales” can upset Polish Holocaust-era drama “Ida” and Russian satire “Leviathan” to capture the Oscar for top foreign film. Twice before has a Latin American movie won the Academy Award in that category and both came from Argentina including most recently “The Secret in Their Eyes”. Unofficially, however, one could make the case that the first ever best foreign film Oscar for a Latin American movie was given over fifty years ago.

Up to that time, 1959’s “Black Orpheus” wasn’t the first movie based on the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice but it was a unique adaptation from a play from Brazilian writer Vinícius de Moraes. Set in the in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval the film follows trolley conductor Orfeu who falls in love with a newcomer to the city, Eurydice. Their relationship becomes stronger despite Orfeu’s engagement to Mira and Eurydice constantly trying to run away from Death dressed in a stylized skeleton costume. Much like in Greek mythology, Death catches up to Eurydice and, thus, Orfeu travels to the underworld in order to get her back.

 “Black Orpheus” is famed for its soundtrack that was composed by two little-known artists at the time: Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá. Their work helped create greater worldwide attention to bossa nova music through several songs in the film like "Manhã de Carnaval" and "A Felicidade".

Though “Black Orpheus” was based on de Moraes’ play, co-produced by Brazil’s Tupan Filmes, shot in Rio with mostly Brazilian actors and spoken in Portuguese, the French government submitted the film as its official entry to the Academy Awards. Since only one film can be nominated per country in the best foreign film category, France was recognized as the recipient of the Oscar. (The movie won the 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language and was Brazil credited together with fellow co-producers France and Italy).

Film critics then and now have mostly looked favorably upon “Black Orpheus” though its depiction of dark-skinned, happy-go-lucky Brazilians did not sit well with some viewers. Then-university student Barack Obama acknowledged that the movie was his mother’s favorite film yet he found it to be exploitative. Musician Caetano Veloso remembers the less than favorable reaction in Brazil: