Noticias: Art as a Form of Healing

Article link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41926222

This article titled ‘A way of healing’: Art and memory in Latin America describes the tragedies resulting from war and political unrest in Guatemala and Chile. Both countries experienced violence against indigenous peoples and minorities in the late 1900’s, and are still recovering from the effects of genocide and racism. The article for a period follows Amanda Jara, and her mission to have the Chilean soccer stadium named after her father, political singer and songwriter, Victoria Jara. Amanda Jara notes that her father was the first victim to be killed as a result of the military coup in Chile. The article also discusses the Mayan theatre group, Mujeres Ajchowen, an all-female group performing contemporary renditions of traditional mayan stories and motifs. The group’s aim is to reanimate lost mayan practices and traditions that were forgotten as casualties of the Guatemalan civil war. The article concludes with the message that art does not redefine the past they attempt to remember from a specific perspective, and that the aggressors remain unaffected, while the missing remain lost.

This article, and art in general, heavily associate with our class themes of identity and encounters. The art movements mentioned in this article outline the catastrophic, recent history of Guatemala and Chile. The strong identities of the people of these countries is displayed through their resiliency to bounce back after such attacks on their liberty as people. These horrific encounters in both country’s pasts directly correlate with the identity of their citizens as they shaped their morals and will to stand against oppression.

Likewise with most articles from BBC, the Latin American people are shown as resilient in times when their oppressive government tries their mental strength and endurance. Despite fatal blows to minority communities such as the Mayans in Guatemala, these people are still able to take an uplifting stance on tragedy, translating messages of positivity from hostile government corruption.

 

11/17: Noticias Discussion Questions

This week, we will be discussing the articles chosen by Bryce and Brooks.

Bryce’s article discusses the election of Sandra Morán as a Guatemalan representative who is openly apart of the LGBTQ+ community. Brooks’ article discusses the use of performing arts to honor the memories of those lost or wronged under the Chilean and Guatemalan dictatorships.

Lesbian Congresswoman Creates ‘Path Toward Representation’ in Guatemala

1. What similarities do we see between Guatemalan Government (specifically congress/representation) and our own government? How can this be solved?

2. Do you think it’s hypocritical for Moran to have been in a guerrilla insurgence and yet now be in office?

3. What steps can Moran take in creating a safer environment in Guatemala especially with exceptionalities such as the LGBT community?

‘A way of healing’: Art and memory in Latin America

Clara Alicia, the founder of the all-female Maya theater group, says that “[she] things art is the best way to transform society”:

  1. In what ways can art be beneficial for setting new standards for a society? Can the use of art to “transform society” be negative as well? How?

The article also states that “Many people prefer to forget rather than keep confronting the past”.

 2.  Often times when the government allows for very controversial/ questionable behavior,              years later there is hesitation to compensate for, apologize for or even recognize the fault in        those actions. By honoring the memory of those who were wronged under the Pinochet              and Efraín Ríos Montt dictatorships in these performances, are these women risking                      censorship of such issues?

 3. In the event their performances are censored or limited, what would the effects be?

Noticias

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/veterans-policy-experts-call-more-immigrants-dreamers-u-s-military-n819341

In this article the topic of immigrants in the military is discussed. It deals with Erick Ruiz who wanted to join the military but couldn’t due to his family being illegal immigrants. To speed up this process he joined theMilitary Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI). A program which helps speed up the naturalization process. This program has since been suspended leaving many people who lack citizenship with no way to serve the country.

Latin Americans are portrayed as strong as they are trying to find a way to bring back the program. This shows a great amount of strength and unity.

This fits our class themes because it shows people can fight for what they believe in and identify with.

Notícias – Taxes, Obesity and Corruption in Colombia

This was a long article with lots of information, so I will try to sum it up as best I can. Dr. Esperanza Cerón, head of the organization Educar Consumidores, was working to promote a tax on sugary drinks that many experts believe to be a cause of obesity in Colombia and globally. She and her organization raised money and awareness of the issue, all the while supporting the installation of a 20% tax on sugary drinks. They even created a television ad that alerted the citizens of Colombia of the connection between sugary drinks and obesity and diabetes. As a result of Dr. Cerón’s actions in support of the tax, she and her colleagues were harassed, and the sugar drink industry, led by a company called Postobón, worked to shut her work down. Cerón and her colleagues found that their computers and phones began operating in a strange manner, and men were seen taking pictures of the organization’s office. Cerón was even followed while driving and approached in public, being told to be silent and to stop what she was doing. She no longer drives alone.

Postobón sent a complaint to the government, and soon after Dr. Cerón’s ad was taken off the air. What’s more, she and her organization were no longer allowed to publicly discuss the health risks of sugar, effectively silencing her and Educar Consumidores. Though Cerón reported the harassment she and her colleagues faced to authorities, federal prosecutors declined to investigate. However, after being silenced, Cerón wrote a blog post about the issue. RCN Televisión, the biggest media company in Colombia, claimed intellectual property theft due to the content of her blog post, so she took it down, but RCN sent a complaint to federal prosecutors, who ironically did not decline to investigate this time. She faces a possible fine of $300,000.

Eventually, the Constitutional Court of Colombia overturned the decision from the government agency that silenced Educar Consumidores. However, this happened after the Colombian Congress had voted against the tax that Cerón was working to promote.

This article portrays Latin Americans in an interesting way. The majority of Colombians supported the tax, yet when people tried to speak out and support it, the government and the soda industry shut them down. Thus I think this article is a good representation of the perpetual struggle against corruption in Latin America. I think it reflects positively on Latin American citizens, but negatively on the governments they live under. To what extent Latin Americans are to blame for their corrupt governments is a topic of much debate, and the US often receives a large portion of the blame. However, I think ultimately the article shows that Latin Americans are an intelligent and advanced group of people who could truly prosper if political corruption, weak economies, and political instability weren’t such large issues. This article did a good job of revealing how much power and control the large companies have over the Colombian government, which negatively effects Colombian citizens in the long run, particularly in this case with regards to their health.

I would recommend that anyone interested in what I’ve written about here go check out the article I wrote about, as it goes a lot more in depths than I could in this blog post.

 

Noticias: ‘It’s a Black Thing’: Offensive Quip Becomes a Rallying Cry in Brazil

By SHASTA DARLINGTONNOV. 10, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/10/world/americas/brazil-racism-william-waack.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Famericas

In recent news according to this article a video from over a year has surfaced in Brazil, that has received a lot of backlash from the Afro-Latino or “Black Brazilian” community. #ECoisaDePreto began to trend on Twitter in response to the leaked video of news Anchorman, William Waack muttering “It’s a Black thing. No doubt.” In response to excessive honking on a pre-live shot of the United States Elections at the White House.

At that time a year ago, a former editor for the Brazilian Network, Globo feared personal backlash and loss of his job if he brought it to attention…now a year later he released this video because he was disgusted by Waack’s choice of words. Globo states that, “Waack affirms he doesn’t remember what he said, given that the audio is not clear, but he offers sincere apologies to those who feel they have been offended.”


“An image from a YouTube video showing William Waack, right, an anchor for the Brazilian television network Globo, preparing for a live shot with a guest. He has been suspended for saying: “It’s a black thing. No doubt.” Globo”

But, the fact that such a key figure in the television industry in Brazil would feel comfortable enough to say this whether live or not, is a reflection of Brazil’s anti-black sentiments, especially against the Afro-Latinos. According to the article around 50% of the Brazilian population would self-identify as Black or Biracial (predominately European White and African in descent).
This is important to not only acknowledge but understand as there is a divide in the Brazilian National Identity or overall Unity of the Nation. With some apparently saying that Brazil experiences better racial relations than the United States does, but others arguing that there is a failure to acknowledge that Black Brazilians are significantly underpaid, and experience poverty on greater scales.

Noticia: Venezuela Again

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 10 More Venezuelan Officials

Venezuela, in recent years, has experienced some serious economic downturns as well as political chaos. The country’s vulnerable economy, which mainly relies on the exports of the oil, has been greatly influenced by the decrease in the oil price. Despite the fact that the country is troubled by the economic issues, the irresponsible government is not taking their responsibility to protect their citizens’s well-bings, which even further deteriorates the situation in Venezuela. In addition, the policies that the president Maduro and his bureaucracy have made are not helping the situation, but generating more problems. The U.S has blamed the government for their inactions and call the president Maduro a dictator. In this article, U.S shows their stance towards the Venezuelan government by imposing the economic sanctions on more than ten Venezuelan officials.

In fact, the U.S has long been having issues with Venezuela. In 2002, the bilateral relation has hit the worst when the then Venezuelan president accused the U.S of supporting a failed coup attack against his presidency. In reaction to the U.S inlegitemate conduct, the country starts to form alliance with countries that are amity to the U.S and rejected the aid from the U.S-led help group when there are millions of people inside the country who cannot access to the basic life necessities.

Several days ago, the U,S president Trump has ordered the economic sanctions against serval Maduro’s bereau. The reason for the sanction upon those officials, from the U.S perspective, is because those people have violated the human rights, engagement in corruption, illegal interference in election and inhibition of freedom of speech. Five of them were charged of participating the regional election using clandestine methods, several of them were accused of aggressively controlling the news media and the vice president was designated as a narcotics trafficker who controlled the planes and drug routes and protected and facilitated other narcotics traffickers operating in the South American country.

In my opinion, this news is connected to the course theme because economic issues are negatively affecting Latin American countries. South America used to be the most vibrant economy in the world with its high-speed annual growth rate. However, countries like brazil, which was considered to be the strongest economy in South America diminished. Also, often times, the economic issues are often correlated with the corrupt governmental agencies. The president is not taking a spear role in reforming the economy and the bureau itself, but to stir the election, trying to seize its power. Therefore, establishing the responsible and competent government agencies are the most indispensable steps to address the issues like economic instability.

 

Noticias

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/lesbian-congresswoman-opens-path-toward-representation-guatemala-n816006

This link talks about how Guatemalan lesbian congresswoman Sandra Moran is making great progress in the representation of the LGBTQ community. Ms.Moran says she doubts she is the first member of congress to be apart of the LGBTQ community but she is definitely the first to be open about it, she decided to come out publicly while running for congress to give more representation for the community she represents. This was a big step. forward for Guatemala which is historically a very conservative Catholic country.

Some of the ways Ms.Moran is fighting to advocate, protect and represent the LGBTQ community is by fighting to strengthen Guatemalan Anti-discrimination laws so that they will include gender identity, and sexual orientation. Sandra argues that “The violence against the LGBT community because of homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia is overwhelming.”

She has a long history of activism and fighting for equal rights for the people of Guatemala, she joined her first activist group at age 14 it was a “leftist student movement” at the time the country was in the mist of a civil war where leftist students disappeared methodically due in entirely to the Guatemalan government. So her long history of activism has not and will not end anytime soon she is making great headway in the fight for human rights and is a very brave individual unarguably.

Noticias 11/14/17

Art and Memory in Latin America

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41926222

Within the article, the writer tries to show how the people within Latin American communities use art to help protest the “extreme state violence” that they have went through after the civil wars in Guatemala and Chile. In the main skit done by Regina Galindo, she reads the testimonies of indigenous Mayan people who “suffered massacre, torture and rape at the hands of the Guatemalan military during the Central American country’s 36-year civil war.”, but while she reads the testimonies, at certain intervals within the show, a doctor comes in and injects her mouth with anesthetic. When he does this her speech becomes more muffled with each shot of anesthetic. This is a huge part of the show as it shows that even when the government (the Doctor) tries to silence the victims (Regina), they still try to speak out and will never be ultimately never be silenced.

The Latin American people within the article are portrayed as strong in the way that even though the government is against them, they still stand up for what they believe in by creating a civil war between them and the government. Also as portrayed by Regina’s performance, they refuse to be silenced by the government for their actions that have brought them terror and the power to stand up for what is right.

This article shows the true identity of the Latin American people as they stick together and try and rebel against the government that has violated and terrorized them for 36 years during the civil wars in Guatemala and Chile. Art for them is the best way to showcase their pain and protest the government. This article also showcases their identity in the creative arts as they use many different forms of art utilizing their indigenous roots of their Mayan ancestors: plays/skits, posters/paintings, etc.

Noticias Week 11

Mexico drug cartel’s grip on politicians and police revealed in Texas court files

Agren, David. “Mexico drug cartel’s grip on politicians and police revealed in Texas court files” The Guardian, 10 November, 2017.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/f8/Los_Zeta_logo.jpg/200px-Los_Zeta_logo.jpg

Organized crime in the form of cartels has been found to have deep rooted influence on local politics in the border sate of Coahuila. A recent report released by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas school of law has released testimony from many Texan courts showing the extent to which cartels like Los Zetas (logo pictured above) have infiltrated border state politics. In addition to bribing local politicians, cartels have paid off local policemen who turn a blind eye to mass murders and disappearances in the state.  Experts were not surprised at the lack of government response to this new study however some said they were disheartened by the apathy of Mexican citizens. It seems like Mexican citizens are becoming accustomed to this type of violence and are ignoring it more and more.

The article went on to describe recent violence by the Zetas cartel. It mentioned that the cartel has carried out hundreds of killings between 2014 and 2016 and that there are probably many more killings that went unreported. The Zetas cartel has also bribed or “purchased” many government leaders, even at the executive level. There are strong allegations that the Zetas have bribed two governors to work for them.

This article portrays the Coahuila region in a negative light. This negative portrayal may be appropriate because of the high levels of cartel violence in this region. As a whole, this article portrays Mexico as violent and cartel ridden however it also covers an under covered area of Mexico and an issue that many people are afraid to write about because of potential retaliation. Also this article portrays the citizens of Mexico as apathetic toward cartel violence. This portrayal is negative and harmful. When the article talks about how Mexican citizens are apathetic toward cartel violence it is also dangerously close to the stereotype of the “lazy Mexican”. Overall, this article does a good job of covering an under covered area of Mexican society however it also could be harmful to the identity of Mexican citizens, especially Mexican activists.

Noticias!

The article I picked for this week is especially fitting as it touches on something Cesar mentioned in his presentation today; corruption in the Guatemalan government. While the author argues something a little different than Cesar does, in that he says that Guatemala has made successful strides in cleaning up government corruption, especially comparatively to the rest of Latin America. Currently there’s a UN sponsored commission that is attempting to end corruption in Guatemala called CICIG, and they’ve allegedly done a very good job at holding corrupt officials accountable for their actions. The article puts a lot of the blame on the judicial system in Latin America, claiming it protects local and federal political elites. However, there is fear that if CICIG gets disbanded that things will just return to the same they’ve always been, or that Guatemala is being controlled by outsiders, primarily by the US, which has a reputation of messing around in Latin America, much to the detriment of the citizens of these countries.

YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

While the title of the article is Outsiders Can’t Clean Up Latin America’s Corruption, I personally feel like the author makes the opposite argument in saying that the UN sponsored commission has done an excellent job. The author himself says “the UN crime busters have won ample accolades and street cred. On their watch, convictions for homicides soared and the homicide rate plunged. A dozen tainted judges and some 2,500 crooked bad police have been sacked.” While the author does express concern that if the UN backed out, there would be nothing holding corrupt officials and indicted officials responsible for their actions, I think that the amount of attention that has been cast on the issue globally through the UN and the power of visibility via modern technology that Will brought up in his pecha kucha on Brazil, could be enough to hold people responsible for their wrongdoings.