Srananart's Blog celebrates Trinidadian artist Christopher Cozier's winning of the 2013 Prince Claus Award, which “honors individuals and organizations reflecting a progressive and contemporary approach to the themes of culture and development.”
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Caribbean
The Cuban Interest Section, the country's diplomatic mission in Washington, has temporarily reestablished its consular services until 17 February 2014. The decision comes after M&T Bank Corporation indicated they would postpone closing the Cuban diplomatic mission's accounts in the United States.
The official announcement by the Cuban Interest Section is an indication that the country “will continue efforts to identify a new bank to take over the operation of its accounts and, to the extent that this is achieved, will be capable of permanently normalizing consular services.”
According to the website Café Fuerte, “it is estimated that some 80,000 people travel to Cuba from the United States during the December holiday period.”
Last July 12, M&T Bank Corporation informed the Cuban Interest Section in Washington that it would no longer offer banking services to foreign diplomatic misions. As a result, the Cuban Interest Section and the Cuban Permanent Mission to the United Nations found themselves, in short order, having to terminate the relationship and initiate the search for a new financial institution with which to conduct their banking activities.
This situation had prompted the Cuban Interest Section to suspend its consular services until further notice.
Valéry Moise, a Haitian physician and activist, reflects upon the dire situation of street children [fr] in Port-au-Prince :
Moi, quand je regarde un enfant des rues briser une vitre, je vois une promesse électorale non tenue, quand je regarde un enfant sans idéal, je vois un gouvernement sans vision, quand je regarde un enfant manquer de respect à une loi établie, je vois de policiers et officiels circuler en sens inverse, quand je regarde un enfant essuyer une voiture aux heures de classe, je vois une société touchant le fond de l’abîme. Rendez-moi fou ou sage, je verrai toujours à travers les enfants l’image des adultes.
When I witness a child breaking a window, what it tells me is that another promise by a politician went unfulfilled. When I see a child without a dream, it tells me that the government is lacking a vision for the country. When a child does not respect the law, what I see are police forces going the other way. When I see a child cleaning cars when he should be at school, I see a society that has reached the bottom of the ocean. Color me crazy or wise, but I will always see the characters of the adults through the behavior of their children.
Sociologist, poet, and blogger Guillermo Rebollo-Gil wrote an open letter on his blog to U.S. President Barack Obama in which he calls for the release of Oscar López Rivera, one of the longest-held political prisoners ever. The letter has quickly gone viral over the past two days.
Oscar López Rivera has been in prison for 32 years already, convicted of “seditious conspiracy”, even though it was never proven that he was involved in any violent activity, nor was he convicted of crimes that resulted in death or injury to anyone. After expressing great disillusionment with President Obama's administration, Rebollo-Gil writes:
Over the last three plus decades, five different Presidents have been sworn into office. I wonder if it would be possible for you to consider standing out amongst them. I wonder if you would be interested in imbuing your presidency with historical significance in the form of a direct action to assuage this injustice perpetrated by the American government. I wonder if you would be interested in affirming the fundamental American principle of freedom and grant a pardon to Mr. López Rivera. I really hope so. At all times.
Guillermo Rebollo-Gil's letter has been widely shared on social media and was republished on the online journal 80 grados [es].
Active Voice isn't so sure that the new Jamaica tourist board slogan is actually “all right”.
Thousands of people are marching today in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in favor of the liberation of Oscar López Rivera, imprisoned in the United States 32 years ago on charges of “seditious conspiracy.” López Rivera, 70, is a fighter for the independence of Puerto Rico, a colony of the United States. Politicians, artists, and many people across different ideologies have united to ask the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to pardon López Rivera, who has been called the longest held political prisoner in the western hemisphere. To follow the demonstration live, click here. For more information on Oscar López Rivera, see the Facebook pages 32 X Oscar and Free Oscar López Rivera Now. Also, follow the conversation under hashtag #FreeOscarLopez.
Jamaica needs to be declared the bilingual state it is asap.
Annie Paul thinks that “half of Jamaica’s problems stem from its linguistic identity crisis, insisting its mother tongue is English when a huge proportion of the population can only speak Patois.”
If the police involved…are allowed to go unpunished aren’t you sending a message to other cops with no respect for human rights, especially the rights of the poor, that they have a license to behave like this?
Active Voice issues a plea to Jamaica's police commissioner after two teens were beaten – one fatally – by police.
Regional litbloggers will be glad to know that The Caribbean Review of Books is back in publication – online – with some help from Bocas Lit Fest.
Epitomized by racial taunts [fr] towards the French Guiana-born Minister of Justice Christine Taubira on the cover of the weekly newspaper Minute, many observers bemoan the rise of racist behaviors [fr] in France. One of those observers is Harry Roselmack, a prominent reporter born in Martinique, who wrote an editorial in which he opines that the current atmosphere in France reduces his citizenship to the color of his skin [fr]:
Ce qui me chagrine, c'est le fond de racisme qui résiste au temps et aux mots d'ordre, pas seulement au sein du FN, mais au plus profond de la société française. C'est un héritage des temps anciens, une justification pour une domination suprême et criminelle : l'esclavage et la colonisation. [..] Tant que l'on laissera ces peaux de Banania traîner dans nos cerveaux, des glissades et dérapages vers l'injure raciste sont à craindre. Surtout par les temps qui courent, avec cette crise qui alimente la xénophobie de son bien étrange carburant : la jalousie envers plus mal loti que soi.
What saddens me is that there are remnants of racism that presevere through time and political correctness, not only within the FN party (ed's note: a far right political party) but also deep within the French society. This is a legacy from an ancient time, a justification of a supreme and criminal oppressive era : slavery and colonization. [..] As long as we leave banana peels hanging around in our brains, slides and skids and tumbles to racist insults are bound to happen. Especially in these challenging times, in which economic crisis feeds the most basic xenophobia with its strangest component: jealousy towards those who are much worse off than ourselves.
You can buy the exclusive rights to such shows but you can’t do that and treat them as if they’re the kind of traditional uni-directional, analog content that’s on its way out without raising the ire of your viewers.
Many will say the murals are merely ‘a glorification of criminals’ and should be defaced for fear of their ‘grave effects’ on ‘poor Jamaicans’ [but]…How does a profoundly corrupt state determine criminality?
A really interesting post by Active Voice about the police embracing iconoclasm as a crime strategy.
The Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH), a Puerto Rican pro-independence movement, is organizing a peaceful protest on November 23 to demand the liberation of Oscar López Rivera. López Rivera is the longest-held political prisoner in the western hemisphere, charged with “seditious conspiracy” for his struggle for Puerto Rico's independence from the U.S. López Rivera has already been imprisoned for 32 years in several federal prisons in the U.S. José M. López Sierra, writing on his blog Compañeros Unidos por la Descolonización de Puerto Rico, has posted further details on the protest, along with this video, which shows the highly respected Puerto Rican actor, Jacobo Morales, urging people to join the protest.
The non-profit think tank Center for the New Economy (CNE), based in Puerto Rico, has launched the innovative and creative online campaign “The Mysteries of Your Energy Bill” [es] in which they explain the unexplainable: Where do all those increases in the energy bill come from? What do those formulas and cryptic phrases in your bill mean? Do they make any sense? The answer is no, they don't. According to the CNE, many of the increases in energy have more to do with the inefficiency of the state-run energy agency Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE).
The blog Repeating Islands republished two letters to the editor of the New York Times that paint two very different pictures on the situation regarding the recent decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic to strip citizenship from all descendants of immigrants who entered the country extralegally, retroactive to 1929. The first letter is from Aníbal de Castro, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Washington, who considers the Dominican Republic unduly pressured by the international community:
The Dominican Republic has a legitimate interest in regulating immigration and having clear rules for acquisition of citizenship. It should not be pressured by outside actors and other countries to implement measures contrary to its own Constitution and that would be unacceptable to most other nations facing similar immigration pressures.
The second letter is signed jointly by authors Mark Kurlansky, Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, and Julia Álvarez, who dispel the assurances of the ambassador that no one will be negatively affected by the Constitutional Tribunal's ruling:
The ruling will make it challenging for them to study; to work in the formal sector of the economy; to get insurance; to pay into their pension fund; to get married legally; to open bank accounts; and even to leave the country that now rejects them if they cannot obtain or renew their passport. It is an instantly created underclass set up for abuse.
This is an island. No way out. So these two nations, who have been doing a live rendition of a Russian novel for 500 years, are going to have to work it out.
Contrary to many of the opinions expressed in this post, Changing Perspectives weighs in on the decision by the Dominican Republic to deny citizenship to subsequent generations of illegal immigrants, most of whom are Haitian.
Last June, René Pérez, the group's frontman, visited Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Using the hashtag #JulianAssangeCalle13 they asked people to answer a series of questions through Twitter. These tweets are the material for the single for which Calle 13 collaborated with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Palestinian vocalist and musician Kamilya Jubran, according to Billboard magazine.
Abeng News magazine reports that the Caribbean has some of the lowest savings rates in the world.
In Latin America, street art is of major cultural relevance. The region’s traditions of social movements and revolution have allowed the form to give voice to otherwise unheard sectors of the population. Of course, not all street art is politically or socially-oriented in content, but it does often provide insight into specific objectives and ideals.
Nick MacWilliam from Sounds and Colours browsed the online store Amazon “to see what’s readily available for those who are interested in the subject of street art in Latin America.” He recommends 16 books on the subject, covering Haiti, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and more.
Why – when the country has received at least one billion U.S. dollars worth of food aid between 1995 and the 2010 earthquake – is hunger on the rise?
Haiti Grassroots Watch examines “complaints and rumors about the misuse, abuse, or negative effects of food aid.”
In my opinion, the anti-Property Tax movement was an important measure of the extent to which our national discourse is now irrational and baseless.
Afra Raymond explains.
I was transfixed; in turns horrified, unbelieving, angry, and sad. Worse still, frustrated. Because the verdict of the film as to who was really responsible was inconclusive.
Norman Girvan reviews Bruce's Paddington's film “Forward Ever”, about the executions of former Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and members of his cabinet.
Gerard Best blogs about a new open data initiative aimed at stemming the tide of crime in the country.
Vexed Bermoothes says that the public will tolerate a certain level of surveillance in the interest of safety, but is concerned that “Bermuda has no established regulations regarding the collection, storage, and use of such data. Nor do we have any privacy legislation worth talking about.”
[The Principal] believes that if he allows this…long haired boy, who never did anything wrong at the school, to enter the classroom, then chaos will prevail…[but] by resisting the simple, inevitable change, HE is falling into the trap of the being the agent of Chaos.
The FLOGG BLOGG is incensed over the unconstitutional behaviour of his Alma Mater.
Is the smartphone the death knell for professional photography? Mark Lyndersay discusses the question here.