Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Weekender: Batty Bloodsuckers

“The Weekender” is our occasional feature where every weekend we hope to highlight a short film, movie or documentary pertaining to the Americas.  

To commemorate Halloween, we're running the following post originally published on October 31, 2014. The text mostly remains the same but the video below the page break is changed.

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.

An excerpt from ¡Vampiros can be seen below. (Note that the movie has some adult themes; hence, we're classifying it as Not Safe For Work).

Online Source -

YouTube Source - delamilonga 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Daily Headlines: October 30, 2015

* Peru: President Ollanta Humala lifted a state of emergency order for regions in southern Peru affected last month by violent clashes between police and protesters opposed to a planned copper mine.

* Venezuela: The U.S. could push for more sanctions against Venezuelan officials despite President Nicolas Maduro’s threats of suing the Obama administration.

* Puerto Rico: Will Puerto Rico run out of money as early as this November and fall into default?

* Costa Rica: The Costa Rica government and children’s rights advocates are planning to expand an online marketing campaign aimed at discouraging child sex tourism.

YouTube Source – AFP (“Demonstrators gather in Lima (weeks ago) to protest against a big Chinese copper mining project in the provinces of Cotabambas and Grau.”)

Online Sources – Reuters, GlobalPost, La Prensa, Seeking Alpha, Tico Times

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Daily Headlines: October 29, 2015

* Ecuador: In the latest twist to the legal telenovela that is the Ecaudoran environmental damages ordeal against Chevron, the oil giant’s main witness at a 2014 appeal recanted his entire testimony.

* Mexico: Mexican federal police committed extrajudicial killings in two incidents earlier this year that left some fifty people dead according to Human Rights Watch.

* Brazil: Community groups in Rio de Janeiro claimed that the government’s relocation program ahead of the 2016 Olympics is in reality segregating thousands of impoverished families.

* U.S.: The Kansas City Royals won the first two games of the World Series with help from Dominican starter Johnny Cueto who pitched a complete game gem on Wednesday night.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English (“The Canadian Supreme Court (last month) voted to a allow the lawsuit that seeks to recover US$9.5 billion from a 2011 compensation settlement arising from the pollution of land belonging to Amazonian indigenous villages by Chevron.”)

Online Sources – ESPN, The Guardian, Vice News, Al Jazeera America

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Daily Headlines: October 28, 2015

* Cuba: Despite a diplomatic rapprochement towards Cuba, the U.S. once again opposed a U.N. General Assembly resolution overwhelmingly condemning the trade embargo against the island.

* Mexico: The Mexican Supreme Court may emit a ruling this week that could open the door to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

* U.S.: Kansas City Royals pitcher and World Series Game 1 starter Edinson Volquez left for the Dominican Republic hours after his father suddenly passed away at the age of 63.

* Colombia: President Juan Manuel Santos proposed a bilateral ceasefire with the FARC rebels to begin on New Year’s Day of 2016.

YouTube Source – euronews (191 U.N. member states condmned the U.S. embargo against cuba in a resolution that for the second straight year was only opposed to by the U.S. and Israel).

Online Sources – USA TODAY, GlobalPost, BBC News, CNN

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Daily Headlines: October 27, 2015

* Brazil: The first-ever World Indigenous Games commenced in Brazil yet much like preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the competition has not been free from controversy.

* Mexico: Residents in Mexico’s Golden Triangle region claimed that they have been unfairly displaced as part of the manhunt to find fugitive drug capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

* Colombia: Preliminary peace talks between the Colombian government and ELN are in jeopardy after at least eleven security agents were killed and two were kidnapped in a guerrilla ambush.

* Venezuela: Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz tried to downplay allegations by ex-prosecutor Franklin Reyes who claimed that false evidence was used to convict opposition activist Leopoldo López.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources – Scotsman, Global Voices Online, Voice of America, BBC News

Monday, October 26, 2015

Daily Headlines: October 26, 2015

* Latin America: Elections were held in four countries of the Americas yesterday including Guatemala where Jimmy Morales became president-elect while a runoff will be needed to see who will replace Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

* Brazil: A recent Human Rights Watch report blasted Brazilian prison authorities for allowing inmates to takeover severely overcrowded Pernambuco prisons.

* Mexico: Six people died in Mexico as a result of accidents related to Hurricane Patricia though damage was minimal and the death toll was lower than anticipated.

* Colombia: Forensics investigators last week positively identified the remains of three women who may have been tortured and killed by security forces during the 1985 Palace of Justice siege.

YouTube Source – euronews (Official results of Haiti’s presidential elections, which involved a whopping fifty-four candidates, are expected to be revealed around November 4th).

Online Sources – Human Rights Watch, Fox News Latino, Colombia Reports, Reuters, CNN