A photo essay in the website Sentidos Comunes [es] highlights 16 outstanding Chilean women who “are the protagonists of the public agenda in the next five or ten years.”
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Latin America
This photo of a statute of the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, has rapidly gone around the world since it was tweeted last week:
— Christopher Bello R. (@Ethical_Group) February 26, 2014
In Táchira, they tore down a MONUMENT of the deceased ASSASSIN and they beheaded it. Fear PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) for your time has come.
The image has been copied and retweeted hundreds of times, causing all sorts of reactions. Here's one from a government supporter:
Decapitado por fascistas monumento de Comandante Presidente Chávez en Táchira.Siguiendo guión de golpe a lo ucraniano pic.twitter.com/M9Aw9IOEfN
— itobé (@itobesur) February 26, 2014
Beheaded by fascists, the monument to the President Commander Chávez in Táchira. Following a Ukranian-style coup by the book.
Soon the image made it to the mainstream media, which informed [es] that the beheading happened during protests in San Antonio del Táchira. It was also reported that the statue was destroyed [es] afterwards.
Let's remember that Táchira, a Venezuelan border state with Colombia, was the birthplace [es] of the student protests against Nicolás Maduro's government, who ordered the deployment of the army [es] in the zone. The “gochos”, as the locals are known, have been the subject of many memes created by Venezuelan netizens due to their participation in the protests.
Here's another picture of the same scene:
CHAVEZ DECAPITADO!!! pic.twitter.com/YJj53nzCAo
— ALEXANDER MIRELES (@alexandermirele) February 26, 2014
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.”
“The party in Carnival week never ceases in Rio,” says Brazilian photographer Leonardo Coelho. But eventually the day comes when the party is over and thus “Rio de Janeiro wakes up to a trashed city after Carnival night“.
That is the title of a photo report by Coelho, which shows the “traces of trash scattered throughout Rio”. In a different set he calls it a “garbage crisis“, due to this year's strike of garbage collectors who are demanding better working conditions and wages.
Another photojournalist, Ale Silva (who also shared pictures of the day after on Demotix), caught on camera a protest staged by around 500 striking garbage collectors in front of Rio's city hall on March 4, 2014. More pictures of the day after can be seen on the website Fotos Públicas here and here.
“We would suggest you dress up a little bit more ‘formal’ when you have to interact with clients”. By “formal” he means, you have to renounce your cultural heritage because you belong to an indigenous group in Ecuador and your look is too ‘ethnic’ for business.This is a reality in many countries in Latin America, even in those that, like Ecuador, have a constitution that recognizes the nation as pluricultural and multiethnic. These are countries that have the potential to obtain economic growth through scientific discoveries that utilize the traditional knowledge of indigenous groups, and yet struggle to respect and accept their rich indigenous heritage.
In Latin American Science, Karina Vega-Villa writes about the importance of preserving the region's cultural heritage. She asks:
In a global society that highly values scientific advancement, what is the role that scientists play in developing a technology-based economic model in multicultural nations like those in Latin America?
And then concludes, among other things:
An emphasis on science programs directed by scientists and not business managers is required. [...] The role of scientists from a broad range of fields is essential and evident. Collaborative and cooperative efforts are fundamental to undertake this epic task.
— ¿Sabías que? (@sabiastuque_) March 1, 2014
Given the rumors that the Academy Awards Ceremony would include artists’ messages regarding the protests in Venezuela, the event was not aired [es] by Venevisión, the biggest television outlet in Venezuela which traditionally aired the ceremony.
The network informed on Twitter:
Queremos informar que este año no tenemos los derechos de transmisión de los Premios Óscar.
— Venevision (@venevision) March 2, 2014
We want to inform that we don't have the rights to air the Academy Awards this year.
The reactions to the possibility that some artists might have sent a solidarity message with the protests went from jokes…
Los Narco-Dependientes mas famosos del mundo atacan a Venezuela hoy, desde la entrega de los Premios Oscar. No te lo pierdas.
— Rommel Bello (@RommelBello) March 2, 2014
The world's most famous drug-addicts attack Venezuela today from the Academy Awards. Don't miss it.
— Ray Angel Torres (@rayangeltorres) March 2, 2014
Meanwhile, many creative memes on the matter appeared on the web.
— Mili (@milivallad) March 2, 2014
It's worth noting that Venezuelans with cable TV were able [es] to watch the Oscars.
In rural Peru, women are encouraged to spend their last weeks of pregnancy in special residential facilities that offer comfort and care. But the waiting remains difficult.
To prevent women from giving birth at home, where they face a higher risk of death, Peru has established a network of maternal “waiting houses.” These residential facilities host women from rural areas during their final weeks of pregnancy, so they can give birth in the presence of skilled attendants. Ana María Bolege, 21, has come to a waiting house in the Andean town of Ayacucho, three hours by road from her home.
This story is part of PRI's The Ninth Month series, a journey through pregnancy and childbirth, across cultures and continents. Join the Ninth Month community on Facebook to share stories about childbirth where you live. Twitter hashtag #ninthmonth
A dictionary of Honduran indigenous languages was recently released online [es].
Honduran newspaper Tiempo [es] explains that this dictionary “registers the equivalent [words] in Spanish, chortí, garífuna, isleño, miskito, pech, tawahka and tolupán, languages that make up the country's linguistic heritage.”
For example, a search for the Spanish word for bead, “pan” [es], gives the following result:
Baked food made with flour.
P. síra arinayoka.
Ta. wan busna / brit.
Brazilian journalist and activist Carlos Carlos posted [pt] a list of the most important “Brazilian songs that denounce the police” on his blog, Bola e Arte. He explains:
Now it is trendy to make lists, right? and amid so many useless lists, Bola e Arte blog has prepared a selection of (Brazilian) songs of all genres (rap, samba, rock, reggae, funk etc…) with direct denouncements of arbitrary actions of police corporations. With so many sharp denouncements, could it be that these are all lies??? Or an effective reality, especially in the peripheries across Brazil (and the world)??
I dedicate this list to the mothers of Movimento Mães de Maio [Mothers of May Movement, that was created after the death of around 500 young people in a police action in the state of São Paulo, May 2006], who have lived (and still live) through these coward, discussing injustices! We're together until the end, against gray rats!!!
The song below “Who polices the police?”, by “Zumbi Somos Nós”, is one of the 27 tunes that the collaborative list already includes:
More suggestions can be added in the comments section of Bola e Arte blog.
Both Venezuela and Haiti have been facing anti-government protests. However, the international media’s escalation of the Venezuelan crisis and their complete silence when it comes to Haiti, raises some important questions about the United States’ inconsistency in upholding the values of human rights and democracy.
Kevin Edmonds calls out the mainstream media.
Women who support the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro took to the streets on Saturday, February 22, to demand an end to the violence that has been sweeping the country as protests continue.
Photographer Jesus Gil shared photos of the demonstration on Demotix:
The day before the march, Andreína Tarazón, Minister of Women's Affairs and Gender Equality in Venezuela, invited women to join the demonstration:
#mujeresporlapaz marchamos para pedir el cese al vandalismo, la violencia y por el respeto a la Constitución.
— Andreína Tarazón (@AndreinaTarazon) February 21, 2014
We march to demand an end to vandalism and violence, and [to demand] respect for the Constitution.
The protests are being carried out in many parts of the country and are lacking in center and direction, having being called through social media networks. Among the protesters themselves, there are many diverse opinions about the opposition political parties, so it’s possible to find many expressions of support and also rejection at the same time.
In the case of Caracas the middle class and college students are the primary actors in the demonstrations. On the other hand, in other states, many popular sectors have joined the protests. In Caracas the majority of the demands are political, including calls for the freedom of the detainees and the resignation of the president [Maduro], while in other cities social demands are incorporated, with protests against inflation, scarcity and lack of proper public services.
Human rights defender, sociologist and journalist Rafael Uzcátegui (@fanzinero) [es] writes a “brief summary of Venezuela’s situation for curious people and/or the poorly informed,” originally published in Spanish [es] but now translated into English.
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.
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.
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.
Dear International Editor:
Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.
What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.
Francisco shows screen captures of news sites like the BBC, The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, and Fox News on the morning of February 20 –all missing articles on the violent events from the day before.
The level of disengagement on display is deeply shocking.
Venezuela’s domestic media blackout is joined by a parallel international blackout, one born not of censorship but of disinterest and inertia. It’s hard to express the sense of helplessness you get looking through these pages and finding nothing. Venezuela burns; nobody cares.
Let me put this clearly. Y’all need to step it up. The time to discard what you thought you knew about the way things work in Venezuela is now.
You can check out our special coverage page about the protests in Venezuela here.
Recent amendments to Brazil's pioneer bill of rights for Internet users, the “Marco Civil da Internet” (Internet Civil Rights Framework), put net neutrality and users’ privacy at stake. The bill is expected to be voted on by Congress during the last week of February 2014.
Activists have launched an online campaign asking for the removal of one of the new provisions, Article 16, that mandates service providers to store personal data of their users. The hashtag in use is #16igualNSA (“Article 16 leans towards NSA surveillance”).
Joana Varon, a Brazilian researcher from the Center for Technology and Society at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, points to an article on the PrivacyLatam blog as the “most accurate post in English regarding changes on #privacy protection at #marcocivil“:
This measure not only contradicts all previous versions of the Bill (which is a work in progress started by a draft generated by a public consultation in 2010). It establishes an unprecedented duty to all “for profit” Brazilian Internet players who run a site or service to keep private information of their users for 6 months, regardless of any consideration about their users’ consent.
Even if the Bill mention protection measures for the data owners, it is clear that the simple fact of the existence of the mandatory personal data register is, ‘per se’, a danger that users cannot avoid since their free consent would be not taken into account. Moreover, the lack of a general framework for personal data protection makes the whole environment at least very prone to the misuse of personal information.
The Brazilian Institute for Consumer Rights (Idec) created an online petition [pt] asking for “neutrality, privacy and freedom of expression in Marco Civil”. The platform allows sending letters to the Members of Parliament.
In the video above by Open Society Foundations, Giorgio Jackson, former student leader and newly elected parliamentarian in Chile, discusses the education system in his country and what it means to have an “open society.”
Trine Petersen writes:
A fair and inclusive system that makes education available to all is a powerful lever for a fair and open society. It enhances social cohesion and trust. Chileans want an education system that promotes education as public good and enables all citizens to engage in critical thinking and free expression.
López, the leader of the Voluntad Popular party, had an arrest warrant that was issued against him by a court in Caracas for allegedly being responsible for crimes related to the protests taking place in Venezuela.
The massive demonstration where López turned himself in on February 18 was peaceful, with his followers shouting out [es] refrains supporting him. The following tweet contains a photo compilation of the demonstration and of López turning himself in to authorities in Caracas:
- Juan Arellano (@ Cyberjuan) 18 de febrero 2014
Venezuela- February 18 demonstration
This video [es] captured the moment López handed himself in:
And in this video [es] you can hear López addressing the crowd of protesters from the police armored car that would take him to the Venezuelan Public Prosecutor's Office.
Up until the moment that the Spanish version of this post was written, people were still on the streets protesting [es].
The Berlin wall was not just physical. There was also an idealogical wall that prevented people from seeing reality clearly. The East Germans were told that the Wall protected the population from Fascist elements conspiring to prevent the peoples’ will from building a socialist state, so it was officially called “The Wall of Anti-Fascist Protection”.
A state of generalized discouragement covers the country today. Discouragement can blind us from seeing the opportunity of our wall's collapse… In Venezuela there are 15 protests every day, probably more than any other country in the world. There are protests in Caucagua because a bridge fell, protests in the Carpintero neighborhood because a stray bullet killed a girl, protests in Villa de Cura because people demand decent housing. [...]
In Caucagua, Villa de Cura, and El Carpintero, people believe that they are protesting different issues. Some of the protesters still have a wall of ideas that prevents them from seeing the reality of a model that collapsed. It is the job of the leadership to make them understand and liberate them from their personal wall. It is not about organizing the protest, it is about accompanying it…
Marianne Díaz, lawyer, digital activist and Global Voices Advocacy author, has been making constant appeals from her Twitter account asking users to collaborate on collecting data related to access to some websites and online platforms from Internet service providers in Venezuela, due to growing reports of partial or total blockage of online content and services.
¿Tienes un rato libre? Ayúdame a probar si las páginas web de esta lista están accesibles donde sea que estés. https://t.co/JZ5Okqd9MF
— Marianne Díaz H. (@mariannedh) February 16, 2014
Do you have some free time? Help me test if the websites on this list are accessible where you are located.
Marianne believes that putting together this kind of information is very important in the current climate in Venezuela. After three people died in protests on February 12, demonstrations and clashes between protesters and security forces have continued across the country. Marianne states that “data is evidence, and evidence resists more than opinion.”
Swiss skier Darío Cologna was awarded the gold medal on the 15-kilometer freestyle cross country ski race in the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. But in Peru he made the news due to a moving and exemplary scene: he waited for more than 20 minutes at the finish line for Peruvian Roberto Carcelén to shake his hand and hug him, for he knew Carcelen had competed although he had two broken ribs.
Carcelén broke two ribs during training, and nonetheless he decided to participate in a 15 kilometer race because he had already announced these would be his last Winter Olympics.
On Twitter, the news didn't go unnoticed:
VIVA el espiritu olimipico!.costilla rota y llego a la meta,Roberto Carcelen de Peru,quien creen lo esperaba en meta? http://t.co/C3B8r3kjGd
— Diego Arcos S. (@DiegoArcos14) febrero 14, 2014
HURRAY for the Olympic spirit! Broken rib and he made it all the way to the finish line, Roberto Carcelén from Peru. Who do you think was waiting for him at the finish line?
Un momento tan dulce que la nieve casi se hace raspadilla. Roberto Carcelén compitió hoy en Sochi – Rusia http://t.co/CzQOJCzjNf
— La Mula (@lamula) febrero 14, 2014
A moment so sweet that the snow almost became snow cones. Roberto Carcelén competed today in Sochi – Russia.
Ecuador is the only Latin American country featured on the Committee to Project Journalists’ (CPJ) annual Risk List. CPJ explains:
The list is based on the expertise of CPJ staff, but also takes into account press freedom indicators such as journalist fatalities and imprisonments, restrictive legislation, state censorship, impunity in anti-press attacks, and journalists driven into exile. Those places on the Risk List are not the worst press freedom offenders, but rather spots where CPJ documented the most significant deterioration of the media climate during 2013.
Samantha Bagden from the Journalism the Americas Blog gives more context:
The Ecuadorian National Assembly approved the new law intended to regulate editorial content in June. The law gives authorities the right to impose arbitrary sanctions and censor the press and it’s enforced by a state watchdog loyal to President Rafael Correa.
In its report, CPJ quoted Monica Almeida, editor at Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo, saying that the atmosphere is much worse because of the law.
“Before, there was a level of control by the government … but they did not have this legal framework like the Communications Law which allows them to do many things in their favor.”
A myriad of articles about the recent Costa Rican elections have proclaimed the country’s “turn to the left.” Perhaps some do this because it is simply too convenient to whip up an article or op-ed about leftist victories in El Salvador and Costa Rica. Or perhaps some are still trapped in the Cold War. But these headlines miss the more salient point of Costa Rica’s elections – Costa Ricans are fed up. And they’re fed up with the status quo.
Christine Wade writes a guest post in the blog Central American Politics where she discusses “the general political malaise amongst Costa Ricans”. She concludes:
It’s time to move beyond the left-right discourse that all too frequently characterizes the analysis of Central American politics if we are to better understand the political dynamics of a region in flux. As the case of Costa Rica demonstrates (and this is true for El Salvador as well), such superficial explanations obscure more than they enlighten.
As the world comes together to take a stand against mass surveillance on February 11, 2014, Brazilian citizens, organizations and collectives are bringing momentum to #TheDayWeFightBack campaign.
Anti-surveillance collective Antivigilancia.tk (@antivigilancia on Twitter), one of the 15 Brazilian signatories of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, has a website with complete information in Portuguese on how to participate in #TheDayWeFightBack, as well as several resources for the day of action, such as banners and memes.
Well-known Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff took on the challenge launched by Web We Want early in February to create original visual works on digital surveillance and the right to privacy.
On Twitter, many Brazilians are linking the day of action with the country's pioneer bill of rights for Internet users, the “Marco Civil da Internet” (Civil Framework for the Internet), which will be brought to the floor in a plenary session [pt] in the House of Representatives today. A group of civil society organizations is expected to meet the Minister of Justice [pt] to voice “serious concerns” regarding the latest modifications to the bill, especially with respect to “the right to the inviolability and secrecy of the flow and content of private communications, the right to privacy and freedom of expression.”
All submissions to the Web We Want contest are available on Flickr.
Codpi (Coordination for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) has created a map to monitor projects that are affecting indigenous territories, as their website explains [es]:
This map aims to collect cases of conflict that arise due to the presence of transnational corporations -mainly those with headquarters in Spain- in the territories of indigenous peoples in Latin America.
In Otramérica [es], Diego Jiménez from Codpi adds:
It is a tool in permanent construction, which collects some of the most important cases of violations, and that will be completed periodically to reflect a total of 50 identified [cases]. For each [case] a record is published -accessible from the interactive map- that contains basic information about the violated rights, the resistance posed by the indigenous people and a summary of the current situation. We have also included a number of links and additional audiovisual material.
With all this, we don't want to limit ourselves to denouncing a situation of enormous and increasing severity. We also hope that this tool will be useful and effective for indigenous peoples and also for the organizations, social movements and groups working with them.
The pressure to conform to an impossible standard of beauty was, and is, incredible. Why? Because if you do not nip, tuck, fill and blow-dry your way towards “beauty,” then you will be the exception to the rule, you will be “un-beautiful,” you will break the mantra that we all repeat about Venezuelan women being the most beautiful in the world, and that in itself is not a big deal, except, not being beautiful means that no matter what you do, you are a failure.
In the blog Caracas Chronicles, Audrey M. Dacosta writes about the culture surrounding beauty pageants and the concept of “beauty” in Venezuela. Audrey concludes:
It’s easy to see these young women and snark. It’s easy to feel superior, to blame them for the objectification of women in our society. The problem is that they are not the guilty ones. They are the visible victims.
Let’s fight this culture. Let’s stop saying “Venezuelan women are beautiful,” and start giving our girls other options.
In preparation for the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance that will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 23-24 April 2014, the organizers are now accepting pre-registrations through a form for expression of interest. The event is a partnership between the state-convened Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), and the non-governmental multistakeholder platform ./1net.
According to the website of the event, NetMundial.br:
This meeting will focus on crafting Internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem.
The organization of a global Internet governance event began a few weeks after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivered a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013, when she criticized the United States for spying and mentioned that Brazil “[would] present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web.”
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.
The blog “Diseñado en Puerto Rico” (Designed in Puerto Rico) interviews [es] film director Kacho López Mari. Among many other musical videos, López Mari directed the most recent video of the Puerto Rican hip hop duo Calle 13, “Multi_Viral,” shot in Palestine. The lyrics are the product of a collaboration with Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.