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Quick Reads + Mexico

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Mexico

Zapatista Textbook Now Available in English

Put on your thinking caps because the first of four Zapatista textbooks from last year’s widely popular escuelita (little school) have been translated to English.

For those who are not yet familiar, the Zapatista Escuelita (Zapatista little school), brought 1630 students from around the world to learn what it really means to be Zapatista. Contrary to what some might believe, there’s a lot more to the Zapatista than “smashing the state” or looking good doing it!

John Ahni Schertow writes about the first English translation of the Zapatista textbooks in Intercontinental Cry, where you can download the textbook and see the dates for the upcoming translations.

You can read more about the ‘escuelita’ in Upside Down World.

Mexicans are Pushing for the ‘Redemocratization’ of Democracy

The Mexican population is not with Peña Nieto or the political class. Even the polls, which are generally most sympathetic to the president, accept that no one supports Peña Nieto. The political class seems to think it’s just because the economy hasn’t grown, but it goes far beyond that. Mexicans aren’t that easily fooled—it’s not a generalized apathy but instead a sense of disempowerment.

Peter Watt from the NACLA blog Mexico, Bewildered and Contested interviewed professor John M. Ackerman (@JohnMAckerman) about Mexico and U.S. relations, self-defense groups, the arrest of the Sinaloa cartel leader, El Chapo Guzmán, and more.

Venezuelans in Mexico to Protesters: “You Are Not Alone”

The situation in Venezuela continues to be extremely tense, with enormous marches and gatherings around the whole country that have left ten people killed and hundreds wounded. Venezuelans around the world who oppose their government have organized peaceful gatherings to make their voices heard and ensure local governments understand what their compatriots are living through. Mexico has been no exception.

Mexico City, February 16th

Mexico City, February 16th. Photo by Patricia Acosta, author of original article.

Venezuelans resident in Mexico used social media to arrange a march on February 16th. After meeting at the Simon Bolivar (Venezuela's founding father) obelisk in the Polanco area, demonstrators walked down the main Reforma Avenue towards the Angel of Independence. There, with the support of several Mexicans, Venezuelans demanded freedom of information in the presence of media censorship and shouted in unison “freedom”, “peace”, and “no more deaths”, then sung the Venezuelan national anthem as seen in the following video [es]:

After this march, Venezuelans arranged a vigil in front of the OAS (Organization of American States) headquarters in the Mexican capital on February 18th. 

Vigil, Tuesday February 18th

Invitation to the February 18th Vigil

 
Wearing white and carrying candles, Venezuelans prayed for the students who died on February 12th. “Here is my message for Venezuela: You are not alone”, exclaimed a woman at the vigil. 

In Mexico City

Mexico City Vigil, Photo by Patricia Acosta, author of original article.

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Mexican Newspaper Editor?

On PBS.org you can take “The Reportero Challenge”, a game inspired by the documentary Reportero which presents various scenarios that journalists and editors face in Mexico:

You have been offered the position of Editor-in-Chief at El Centinela-Investigador. Since its inception, the paper has stood up to the drug cartels and a corrupt government, and the decisions you make will affect the newspaper's credibility, its circulation and the safety of its staff.

Do you have what it takes? Take the challenge here.

Memes to Confront Impunity in Mexico

David Sasaki shares viral videos and social media memes from Mexico to show how “the meme has been embraced by a Mexican middle class as a tool to confront the impunity of the country’s elite.” For example:

In the same way that literature inevitably builds on the books of the past, memes in Mexico are often inspired by their predecessors. The week after subway riders protested the fare hike, leftist legislators rallied against the proposed energy reform bill, which allows private investment in Pemex, the state oil monopoly. For some reason, one of these legislators decided to strip down to his undies in protest. Twitter users immediately dubbed this decision “#PosMeEncuero,” or “well, then, I’ll just get naked.” It’s a playful example of how Mexicans creatively address their feelings of powerlessness.

The almost-naked legislator then inspired the protesters of the metro fare hike who not only jumped the turnstiles, but did so in their underwear.

You can find more examples in his blog.

Latin America's Black Metal Fans, Punks and Otakus

Santiago, Lima, Mexico City and Oaxaca have been some of the cities in which photographer Carla Mc-Kay has photographed punks, thrashers, transvestites, black metal fans, new waves and otakus, recording their everyday lives in their habitat.

Sentidos Comunes has published Carla Mc-Kay's photographs in a photo essay titled “Street Youth” [es].

16 Books on Latin American Street Art

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.

NSA Hacked Mexican Government, According to Latest Snowden Leak

According to information leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by the German publication Der Spiegel, the NSA (National Security Agency) “has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years.” 

explains more at Boing Boing:

A Snowden leak, discussed in detail in Der Spiegel, shows how the NSA broke into the email servers of the Mexican president Felipe Calderon's public account, and used that access to wiretap the president, cabinet members, and senior diplomats. The NSA described the program, called “Flatliquid” as “lucrative.” A second program, “Whitetamale,” also spied on senior Mexican politicians (including presidential candidate Peña Nieto), targeting efforts to change the country's disastrous War on Drugs.

The Guardian reports that Mexico's foreign ministry condemned these allegations and stated that “this practice is unacceptable, illegal and against Mexican and international law.” The foreign ministry also said that “US President Barack Obama had pledged to carry out an ‘exhaustive investigation’ into who was responsible for the suspected spying.”

Crowdmapping Mexico's Disappeared

#PorTodosLosDesaparecidos

#PorTodosLosDesaparecidos

# PorTodosLosDesaparecidos (For all the missing) is a direct initiative, without intermediaries, which seeks to create a direct contact between the victims, citizens, family and the media. The goal is to document the 27,000 people missing that the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has registered. The Secretary of the Interior (Segob) announced the database of people reported missing in Mexico, and the official number up until February 27 of this year amounted to 26,121.

Read more about this crowdmapping initiative [es] in the Mexican blog Sopitas [es].

TNW Announces Latin American Startup Awards Winners

In the lead up to this year’s The Next Web Conference Latin America, we’ve been running Startup Awards competitions in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil in search of the hottest startups and investors.

[...]

The result has been absolutely amazing – in just under a week 18,448 people have cast a total of 31,000+ votes. We’ve seen finalists create beautiful social media campaigns, adding calls-to-action to their websites and we’ve even heard of finalists flying to other cities to strengthen their leaderboard position.

Wytze De Haan in The Next Web (TNW) announces the winners of the Latin American Startup Awards in each category: Best Consumer Startup, Best B2B Startup, Best Investor, and Best co-founder(s).

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