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Emancipation Day Sees New Triumph as Haitian-Born Dominican is Declared a National

Emancipation Day, the anniversary of which is marked in several Caribbean territories on August 1, inspired two Jamaican bloggers to consider the occasion more closely. Nadine Tomlinson quoted Marcus Garvey on the importance of emancipating the mind, while her compatriot, Jean Lowrie-Chin, thought it significant that August 1 also marked the day that Juliana Deguis, a Dominican of Haitian descent, was finally declared a citizen of the Dominican Republic. There was widespread outrage across the region last year after the Dominican Constitutional Court made a controversial decision to deny citizenship to everyone born in the country to illegal immigrants as far back as 1929.

Reasons to Take a Trip Once in a While

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Image on Flickr by user larshuj (CC BY 2.0).

On her blog Historias de una mujer lobo (Stories of a female werewolf), Natalia Cartolini reflects on the reasons why a trip can be beneficial as, in her opinion, “the fact of visiting new places or meeting new people from another perspective is important at any moment. It doesn't matter if you go out within your own city or its surroundings, just open your eyes to a new point of view. Do something different. [...] But as the further from what you are familiar with, the more you will be able to find yourself, as you are aware you are the only one needed to survive.”

She ends up her reflections saying:

Entonces, imagínate escuchar tu música instrumental favorita mientras caminas por la calle. Todo se transforma. Ahora tú eres el protagonista.
Por un momento eres un Gatsby, en otras, un vaquero o un montañista. ¿Quién detiene a la imaginación? Sólo tú. Sal de tu sitio y aprovecha lo que tienes alrededor tuyo. Porque es tuyo.

So, just imagine you listen to your favorite instrumental music as you walk down the streets. Everything gets transformed. Now you are the leading character.
For a while, you are a Gatsby, some other times, a cowboy or a mountaineer. Who can stop imagination? Just you. Get out from your place and take the most out of what you have next to you. Because it's all yours.

Colombian Sentenced to Prision and Fined for Comments Online

On a judicial ruling that sets a dangerous precedent in Colombia, the Supreme Court of Justice refused to reconsider an appeal taken on the verdict that orders 18 months of imprisonment and a 9,5 milon pesos fine (about US$5,1000) for netizen Gonzalo López for comments published on El País newspaper website, in the Colombian city of Cali.

On 2008, López called Gloria Lucía Escalante, former officer at a public utilities company, a “rat”.

Newspaper El Espectador wonders if this is not a threat against the freedom of expression and shares opinions by lawyers who consider there is a confunsion between information and opinion.

One and a half years without cassation by Gonzalo López to dismiss verdict for slander.

What abot his right of free expression? Supreme Court condemns Gonzalo Hernán López for telling Gloria Escalante what he thinks. Wrong!

Some netizens have sarcastic opinions that the decision should be for former president Alvaro Uribe:

(Former president Alvaro) Uribe accused (former president Juan Manuel) Santos without producing evidence, he is free. Gonzalo Lopez accuses Gloria Escalante on the internet and he serves 18 months. Equality?

Venezuela Clears the Tower of David, the “World's Tallest Slum,” of Squatters

The Venezuelan government has finished evacuating thousands of squatters from the Tower of David, which overlooks Caracas’ slums, and is the tallest and most distinct building in the capital city's skyline. 

The one-time office tower is a symbol of how prosperous Venezuela once was and its current dilapidated state reflects growing inflation and poverty problems in the country. Some of the squatters were people seeking refuge from growing daily violence in the sprawling city.

“This is not an eviction, this is a coordinate operation, harmoniously carried out with the community of the Confinanzas towers, that implies moving from here to units in Misión Vivienda”, stated Ernesto Villegas, minister for the Transformation of Gran Caracas, to a local TV station. Those units are located in Valles del Tuy.

On Twitter, users are posting some images from the so called skyscraper-favela of Caracas:

Know why the famous Tower of David is being evicted (PHOTOS).

CARACAS: Since last night, the “Tower of David” is being evicted. Since 2007 the building was invaded by squatters.

One of the seasons of TV show Homeland was set in the Tower of David. On this report, we watch.

Simply, Thank You!

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Image on futbolshampan.blogspot.com.ar, used with permission.

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is over and Argentina didn't win this time. A week after the final match, there are still lots of reflections and comments about the performance of the Argentinian national team. This time, we find a hearfelt comment by Manuel de León, where he expresses his grattitud to the crew on his blog:

 No son magos, pero 23 jugadores y un cuerpo técnico que eran sumamente criticados dieron vuelta la tortilla e hicieron que hasta el más incrédulo, se llenara de fe y esperanza. El mundo entero vio la bandera Argentina y escuchó el himno nacional de nuestro país en una final de la copa del mundo. No pasa todos los días. Es por tal motivo, que no encuentro otra manera de terminar este texto: tan solo, GRACIAS.

They are not magicians, but 23 players and a technical staff who were severely criticized and who turned things over and filled even the most skeptical ones with faith and hope. The whole world saw the Argentinian flag and heard our country national anthem on a World Cup finale. This doesn't happen every day. That's why I can't think of other way of ending this text: just THANK YOU.

You can follow Manuel on Twitter

This post was part of the eleventh #LunesDeBlogsGV, (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 14, 2014. 

Honduras Generates Employment with Community Activities

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandes launched the program “Desarrollemos Honduras” (Let's Develop Honduras) alongside civil servants and community members. Hernandes explained that if a house has a damaged or a dirt floor, it should be replaced with a cement floor; or prioritize according to the family needs, and:

Cambiar los fogones tradicionales por los ecofogones. Yo sé que en muchos lugares, tal vez no sea el caso de las casas aquí, es triste preguntarle a la gente cuánto paga por la leña y la gente no sabe, hay que explicarle (…) A veces a la gente se sale más cara la leña que la comida.

Replacing traditional stoves for ecologic stoves. I am aware that in many places, maybe not here, it's sad to ask people how much do they pay for firewood and they don't know, we have to explain them (…). Sometimes, people pay more for firewood than for food.

Twitter users posted pictures and their opinions:

LET'S DEVELOP HONDURAS started today at El Reparto community. Painting my neighborhood program will create 150 positions for young people from the community.

This is definitely worthwhile, let's all collaborate so it all might look better. Let's Develop Honduras.

Venezuela Suspends -and Brings Back- Flights to Netherlands Antilles

On Friday June 25, 2015, Venezuela government announced the suspension of all flights between Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Curazao, Bonaire, Saint Marteen and other islands).

According to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the action would be a consequence of the detention of Venezuelan Army general Hugo Carvajal –former director of intelligence between 2004 and 2009– by request of the American government, due to Carvajal's alleged ties with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known as FARC) and with drug trafficking. Carvajal was appointed as consul in Aruba, but he didn't have the blessing of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, that is in charge of Aruba's foreign affairs.

Note: later, the decision was revoked, and flights between the two countries were resumed.

Cuba's Customs Clamps Down in “Illegal Imports”

On September 1, 2014 the Customs Service of the Republic of Cuba will begin enforcing new regulations intended to combat illegal trafficking of merchandise by relatives, friends and ‘mules’ (a slang term for couriers of goods from overseas through airports and port facilities).

Iván's File Cabinet considers this “one more turn of the screw”, explaining that since 2011, there have been new measures every year to try and stop the illegal importation of goods by families and private businesses on the island.

How to Become a Good Father

Panamanian Joel Silva Díaz elaborates what many people wonder, especially men: how to be a good father. On his personal blog he describes his challenges with his own father and his goals as a father:

…Recuerdo que veía como un juego el buscar un tema de conversación, debido a mi falta de interés en el deporte, nunca tuvimos una conversación de más de 5 líneas (legítimamente contadas por más de 10 años), pero conociendo otros casos e historias, por lo menos tuve un padre.
[...]
Y es eso lo que quiero mejorar, quiero ser un padre que no haga las cosas sin enterarse, quiero abrazar, quiero besar a mis hijos, presentarle siempre la opción de tomar las mejores decisiones y apoyarlos cuando no tomen las mejores, nunca dudar en mostrarles mi amor y cariño, mucho menos dudar cuando se ganen un coscorrón.
[...]
Pero mi parte no quiero que se quede en un apellido, o un cheque en la quincena, mi parte ha de ser presente, determinante y quiero que mi hijo o hija tenga por lo menos un solo recuerdo lindo impregnado en su corazón, como los domingos de Salsa y el olor a grama recién cortada de los domingos en mi casa.

I remember I considered a game to look for something to talk about, due to my lack of interest in sports we never had a conversation longer than five lines (rightfully registered for over ten years), but knowing other cases and stories, I at least had a father.
[...]
And that's what I want to improve,I want to be a father that does things without noticing it, I want to hug, kiss my children, present them the best option to make the best decisions and support them when they don't make the good ones, never hesitate in demonstrating my love and care, let alone when they earn a smack on the head.
[...]
As for me, I don't want a last name to last, nor a check every two weeks, my part has to be present, decisive and I want my child to have at least on only nice memory in their heart, as Salsa and the scent of recently trimmed off grass on Sundays at home.

Are you, or plan to be a good father?

You can read Silva Diaz following his accounts on G+ or Twitter

This post was part of the eleventh #LunesDeBlogsGV, (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 14, 2014.

Reflections After 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014

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Image from Flickr, with CC license.

Mexican student Álvaro blogs about his sentiments and opinions about 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. He reflects on the poor performance of Mexico and Brazil national teams, but highlights what he considers a strategy failure of Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff.

Días antes del comienzo del mundial, Dilma se imaginaba este lunes 14 de Julio como el día en que ganaría anticipadamente las elecciones presidenciales de octubre, un Brasil campeón en su tierra hubiera sido suficiente para sofocar las protestas civiles que se han alzado en contra de su gobierno, o al menos hubiera logrado distraerlas por un rato.[...] Sin embargo, es evidente que el plan no salió según lo esperado, sino todo lo contrario; de manera similar a lo ocurrido en Sochi, Rusia para las Olimpiadas de Invierno, el enfoque mundial sobre Brasil solo sirvió para exponer los graves problemas que enfrenta el país en todo ámbito. No hubo escasez de reportes de la prensa internacional sobre el mal estado de las calles, las acomodaciones, la gente y hasta los estadios, mismos que se derrumbaron o que ni siquiera pudieron terminarse antes del evento.

Just days before the World Cup started, Dilma was imagining this Monday, July 14 as the day she would win in advance the Octobre presidential election, with Brazil champion on its own land would suffice to calm down the civliian protests against her administration, or at least, it would be useful as a distraction for a while. [...] However, it's evident that didn't work as expected, but on the contrary; just as it happened in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympic Games. The world approach to Brazil only exposed the serious problems the country faces. There were many reports by international press about the bad roads, accommodations, people and even stadiums, that collapsed or weren't even completed before the tournament.

You can follow Álvaro on his Twitter account.

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