Archive by Author

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?


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:

“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.

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?

Comparing and Contrasting Two 9/11s

11 Sep

With the landmark anniversary of a decade since the 9/11 attacks, compounded with an alleged terror plot, it is all two easy to forget the other monumental 9/11 in recent history – the Augusto Pinochet overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. Chilean academic and commentator contrasts the reactions of the Chilean and US population to their respective 9/11s today, writing on

“Both people suffered a grievous blow on their 9/11. Americans did not deserve to be attacked, Chileans did not deserve to be put under tyrannical rule. But if Chileans – admittedly over more than two decades, as opposed to the decade the US has so far had – learned tolerance and compromise from their traumatic experience, Americans seem to have become more divided and less willing to compromise after theirs. Chile is a much better country than before its 9/11; few in the US would say the same. The United States has yet to make the terrible moment part of a larger lesson about the need for tolerance, compromise and national unity across political divides.”

New Chilean Hip-Hop for Education

9 Sep

Subverso with a powerful song and video for the education reform movement, Rap al Despertar.