A Real Life Mother and Child!

15 Oct

Maybe I’m getting mean and picking on the NYTimes travel section too much… or maybe this type of essentialism is just what this blog is focused on…

Today’s Travel Section features this photo and caption:

“We were in the Urubamba Valley, often called the Sacred Valley, in the Andes, not far from Machu Picchu. I was struck by the rapt attention of this mother and her child. Peru is a country of vast contrasts, from the sophistication of Lima to the huge mountains that nurture its inhabitants and the awesome remains of the Incan civilization.”

Yes, what a contrast between sophisticated Lima and this nameless woman and the attention she pays to her child… Who knew that indigenous people took care of their children?

You’d think that at this point in the game, the NYTimes would only accept submissions from travelers who made at least some attempt to respect the dignity of their photographed subjects…

Does this woman have a name? A story? A hope and a dream? Has she given permission for her face to be used as an example of the joys of traveling for the U.S. leisure class?

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The Quotable Cristobal Colon

10 Oct

While we enjoy a day off of work there’s also that wee problem of trying to figure out how to reconcile our relaxation with a day to commemorate a man who kicked off the whole imperialism and conquest of the western hemisphere thing…. A man who, having encountered the Taino of Hispaniola and Cuba remarked that:

 “They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them.” …  “I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men and govern them as I pleased.” [via Vito de la Cruz]

I like the way this article puts it – “What if Congress declared January 30, the day that Hitler was appointed German Chancellor, a national holiday? ”

This type of critique, though somewhat common, is not likely to take hold as a serious challenge to mainstream narrative on our day off.  Let’s be real. We’re unlikely to go baghdad with it today. We could, as Vito de la Cruz talks about in today’s Huffington post, simply not celebrate the man. You can reclaim it as a commemoration of Indigenous people’s? How ’bout Immigration Day? Or take the free day to Occupy Wall Street?!!!??

Actually, I think this some-e-card sums it up best:

Santiago Marches for Sexual Diversity

2 Oct

While the Chilean education movement continues to take names, thousands participated yesterday in a March for Sexual Diversity.

For a country that is in theory still shaking off its conservative politics, ties to the church and the legacy of a ruthless dictatorship, they sure know how to lure people into the streets:

Urgente declaración desde el Sur!!!!!!!

18 Sep

Hace 201 años atrás, en Santiago de Chile se organizó un acto cívico que no estaba aislado. Era parte de un contexto mundial de cambios. En España el Rey Fernando había sido tomado prisionero por las tropas de Napoleón, por lo que todo el reino entró en un estado de alerta y discusión. En nuestra sudamericana colonia, la conclusión fue clara: LEALTAD AL REY DE ESPAÑA.

Sin embargo, aquello se reconoce como el primer acto de organización de quienes vivían y nacieron en Chile, y, de paso, en el punto de inicio del largo proceso de Independencia. Eso celebramos en esta semana, ese es el motivo de nuestras fiestas patrias.

Esa es la razón de los feriados, el aumento de las compras, los días de descanso, el consumo indiscriminado de alcohol, los desfiles y la banderita puesta en cada casa de quién no quiera pagar una multa.

En medio de eso, se mezclan sentimientos de patriotismo con patrioterismo, nacionalismo y xenofobia, recuerdos vagos sobre personajes lejanos que en realidad no conocemos tanto. Quijotes crueles y aristocráticos asesinados y puestos en un altar, criollos adinerados venidos a menos con ganas de fama y desorden, hacendados y dueños de la tierra, políticos hijos de inmigrantes, desclasados, y hasta huachos formados bajo la ilustración inglesa, un tanto resentidos,   y al margen del puñado de familias que habían controlado el país toda la vida y que, ho  sorpresa, tantas ganas ahora tenían de independencia.

En medio de todo eso, sólo un segundo para ver el patriotismo desde otro punto de vista, nuestra historia interpretada de otra manera.  Más que música, una verdadera declaración de principios, nuestra propia acta de independencia.

Aquí, una de las bandas más importantes de la historia de la música chilena y latinoamericana, tal vez la más importante, con su tema “No necesitamos Banderas”. Los Prisioneros en el festival de viña del mar en el año 2003.

“Splendid in its Isolation”

18 Sep
Common geographical regions of Latin America

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s New York Times Travel section focuses on Latin America and there are some real gems:

  • A continent “where you can get 5 star service at 3 star prices.”
  • Quito, Ecuador – A city overlooked that is “coming into its own.” (Something tells me that the capital city isn’t either of these things to its 2+ million citizens)
  • Suriname – Splended in its isolation – paradoxically Latin American, African, Dutch and Asian – a singular place where you can feel like you’ve traveled several continents. You can score a double room at the Hotel Krasnapolsky – starting at $390. This in a country where 70% live below the poverty line. I’m also not so sure that poor Surinamese would describe their isolation as “splendid.”
… and the list goes on. Check it out and enjoy a laugh… or think about how you might do your next trip south a tad differently.

A sure way for Republican candidates to attract Latino voters

14 Sep
For those of you who missed the Republican Tea Party debate, don’t feel too bad.  You didn’t miss much – other than extreme amounts of ignorance on display.  For those of you who did catch a piece of it, I hope you caught when Presidential hopeful Santorum confused the term “illegal” with “Latino”.  I suspect Santorum does this often and that he may not in fact know there is a difference.  Another candidate stated at some point that “the American way is to learn American history and the constitution….”  At least someone brought their sense of humor to the debate.

Former General Otto Perez Molina Faces Second Round in Guatemala Election

13 Sep

Former Guatemalan General Otto Perez Molina, the candidate that raised grave concern with Guatemalan human rights advocates for his role in the Guatemalan genocide and political violence of the 1980’s will face a second round election against Manuel Balzizon – an affluent businessman running as a populist.

As per usual, Al Jazeera has some of the best coverage:

And there’s coverage from TeleSur (with subtitles):

Some question to ponder on – where is the left in Guatemala? What does this run-off between an ex-general and an entrepreneur with populist rhetoric say about Guatemalan politics today? With the current trend of violence, can campaigns solely be run on a security and mano dura (strong hand) partly line?