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Quick Reads + Colombia

Media archive · 598 posts

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Colombia

87-Year Old Gabriel Garcia Marquez Died

Colombia Nobel laureate author Gabriel García Márquez passed away on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Mexico City. He was 87 years old. Colombian network Caracol posted a chronology [es] of his life.

On Twitter, user Pepin Balongo expressed his sorrow:

There are no more a hundred years of solitude; from now on, it will be an eternity in solitude; goodbye Gabo [author's nickname].

Coming Soon! Rising Voices Microgrants for Amazon Communities

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas  (CC BY 2.0)

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas (CC BY 2.0)

Rising Voices will be launching a microgrant competition next month for digital citizen media projects in the Amazon region which is home to many indigenous communities. Thanks to Avina Americas, Fundación Avina, and the Skoll Foundation, we'll be offering this support with ongoing mentorship from the Global Voices community.

Read more about the project on Rising Voices and register your interest here.

Citizen media has played an important part in many cultural, political, social and environmental struggles in the region. See some of our past coverage of Amazon communities on the special coverage page: Forest Focus: Amazon.

15 Free (or Very Cheap) Things to Do in Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá and its price points tend to get a bad rap. This is a very valid point when you consider that the average monthly salary in the city as of 2013 was just over 1 million pesos (about $500 at the current exchange rate), and that it has the biggest inequality gap of any city in Colombia, with Estrato 6 (the wealthiest economic level) making 4.8 million pesos per month on average, nearly 14 times the average income of about 350,000 pesos for people in Estrato 1 (the poorest level).

In her blog A Year Without Peanut Butter, Natalie lists 15 of her “favorite free (or very cheap) activities and places in Bogotá,” including free concerts in parks, public art exhibits, free museums, street performers, and the ciclovía (on Sundays and holidays certain streets are closed to vehicles so that pedestrians and cyclists can use them) :

You can’t really get to know this town until you stroll one of the main streets when it’s packed with bikers, rollerbladers, skate punks, kids on tricycles, dogs lounging in baskets or trotting alongside their owners, juice vendors, roadside bike repairmen and just about everything else. All you need to enjoy Ciclovía is a pair of shoes, some water and a serious appreciation for the best people-watching in central Colombia.

5 Important Points on Colombia's Parliamentary Elections

Bloggings by boz lists 5 points on Colombia's parliamentary elections, which took place on March 9, 2014.

1) Though his coalition lost seats, President Santos keeps a divided and fragile majority coalition in Congress. [...]

2) Colombia's party system is divided and weak. No party received over 20% of the vote and the four top parties combined received less than 60%. [...] 

3) For those trying to identify or map a left-right divide, Colombia is tough. [...]

4) A good portion of Colombia's population is against the system as a whole. Voter turnout was around 42%. [...]

5) A more secure Colombia. The country did not face any major attacks or even significant threats during election day. It was a peaceful day of voting, a solid change from elections past and a sign of success and hope for the government's security policies (including the ongoing peace process). [...]

Read more about each point in Bloggings by boz.

Political Representation: A Key Struggle for Afro-descendants in Colombia

With 5 million people, or 10.6% of the total population, Colombia has the largest Afro-descendant population in Latin America, behind only Brazil, according to a 2005 census. There are, however, serious difficulties in quantifying blackness, given the mixed ethnic backgrounds of many Colombians. The stigma associated with African descent in much of the country leads mixed-race individuals to identify away from their Afro roots, and unofficial figures place the Afro-Colombian community at as high as 25% of the total population.

Maren Soendergaard in Colombia Reports writes about political exclusion of afro-descendants in Colombia, stating that “a historic lack of political representation in Colombia’s political system is one of the key focuses in the ongoing social, political and economic struggle of the Afro-Colombian community.”

According to Google Autocomplete ‘Colombia is Passion’ and ‘Mexico is Culture’

Colombian blogger Javier Moreno typed “[Name of country] is” on Google search to see auto-complete suggestions for each country in Latin America and Europe. He modeled his experiment after the English version of the Google search “Why [country] is.”

From his search in Colombia he got results like “Ecuador is dangerous,” “Brazil is a Latin country”, “Bolivia is God's people,” “France is socialist,” “Belguim is expensive,” and “Spain is different.”

He added his results to two maps in his blog Rango Finito [es].

 

10 Documentaries on South American Music to Watch Online

Nick MacWilliam from the blog Sounds and Colours has compiled a list of 10 documentaries, “looking at all manner of musical styles and movements from the region, with films focused on Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.”

This list makes no attempt to rank the films, nor does it purport that these films are any better or worse than other music documentaries related to South America. The idea is to provide a sample of some of the films out there so that, firstly, they are enjoyed and, secondly, we hope they will open a few doors for our readers into new areas of regional identity.

The films are available online, for free.

Colombians March in Support of Dismissed Bogotá Mayor

Supporters marched in Bogotá and in other major cities to support Mayor Gustavo Petro, who was dismissed from his duties by Colombia's Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado and banned from public office for 15 years.

Mike's Bogotá Blog shares photos and an account of the march on January 10, 2014:

[...] the most widespread motive I heard for backing Petro was on general democratic principles: Ousting him this way, by an extremely conservative unelected official, was anti-democratic.

Kenneth Lowe in Colombia Reports adds:

The former mayor is currently waiting for the inspector general to rule on [his] appeal. The United Nations and the Inter-American Court for Human Rights are also studying claims Ordoñez overreached his authority by removing the elected official from office.

Colombia: 60 Unfading Phrases of 2013

The blog Unfading phrases of Colombians [es] features the 60 unfading phrases of 2013 [es]. This an annual compilation, or from nationalwide events, such as football soccer [es].

The ongoing peace negotiation process held in Havana, Cuba, was among the topics of the selected phrases, as the one by Colombian comedian Ricardo Quevedo:

My sex life as the peace in Colombia, there is dialogue but nothing gets set.

Undoubtledly, the most talked about pharse was said by the country's president during the agrarian strike that started on August 19 and ended 21 days later: “The so called national agrarian strike doesn't exist” [es].

The orginal Spanish term “inmarcesible” (unfading) is used by the blog as a refrence to one of the verses of the Colombian national anthem.

New Museum in Medellín to Create Historic Memory About Colombia's Armed Conflict

The museum, the first in Colombia dedicated solely to the armed conflict, was designed as a space to reconstruct a history shrouded in violence and promote peaceful co-existence, according to [museum director Lucía] Gonzalez. “Remember to not repeat,” she said, is the guiding principle behind the museum.

[...]

“We think that art is a very powerful medium through which you can communicate with people and sometimes touch them in a more profound way than for example through intellectual or rational means,” said Gonzalez.

Philipp Zwehl writes about this new museum [es] in Colombia Reports.

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