Author Archives: camryn

Final Noticias

     For the final Noticias post, I chose to read an article called “Gender Violence in Guatemala”. Though short, the article contains an interactive portion that tells the stories of six indigenous Guatemalan women that have been victims of all types of physical violence. The article opens with a brief description of the history that has led to such gender violence becoming a norm in the central American country. I found it especially interesting that much of the violence began during the political conflict between the indigenous peoples and Guatemalan government during the civil war in the late twentieth century. The article stated that “between 1960 and 1996, more than 100,000 women were victims of mass rape with many indigenous women forced into sexual slavery by the military”. The article suggests that this disturbing history has led to today’s high rate in femicide in the country, with at least two women being murdered a day. I thought this article was very inspiring because it talks about a small group of Mayan women that take matters into their own hands regarding the issue when the government does seemingly nothing to promote justice for those women.      

     The women in this article are portrayed as very brave. Recently in the news, there has been a lot of talk of sexual harassment in the United States, especially with the rise of the #MeToo movement on social media. From seeing and being involved in those current events, it has occurred to me just how hard it is for women, or anyone for that matter, to speak up about times they have felt unsafe or personally victimized in terms of sexual harassment and abuse. For these Latin American women to speak in a country where this very problem is profuse is incredibly courageous. I think this shows that these women are exceptionally strong and believe in fighting back against the issues that the government won’t fight against itself.

     Over the weeks in class, we have seen several Noticia articles where an injustice or injustices have been targeted at specific Latin American countries and peoples. We talk a lot about how that affects their cultures and their identities and how many of those people don’t have the power to fight back against the issues. I think this article is so important because instead of letting the issue of gender violence exist as a part of Guatemalan culture and identity as the article suggests, these women have chosen to speak out against the “norms” and speak to the women who need help. I feel like the women apart of the AGIMS organization are attempting to replace this negative aspect of Guatemalan identity and replace it with one that shares the value of community, support, and unity for everyone in the country, whether they are indigenous or not and regardless of their gender. We haven’t explicitly talked much about replacing parts of cultural identity in this class but I think it’s important especially in cases like these when a negative identifier of a community should be replaced.

Transnational Migration and Fiestas

     I thought the article on Fiestas in Andean Transnational Migration was a very interesting read, especially in the context of the themes in our class. Cabanaconde is a special village in southern Peru that takes pride in its culture and distinct characteristics that make it different from the rest of Peru. I found it very interesting that even though the village is located in Peru, the villagers go through an extensive measure to ensure that the indigenous peoples of the village stay separated from other Peruvian peoples and culture. At first, I thought it was strange that the CCA in Washington created a soccer league for Cabaneños only even though the other members were still from Peru. But after I continued reading the article and thinking about the issue, it made sense that these Cabaneños would want to preserve their cultural traditions and practices. As usual, the traditions and practices help to define cultural identities and I think that’s what makes the example of Cabanaconde a crucial example for this class’ themes.

     The Virgin of Carmen festival plays a huge part in the community’s identity because the Virgin of Carmen is a faith-based, religious figure. The Cabaneños celebrate the Virgin of Carmen around the time of crop harvesting in hopes that the Virgin would ensure them plentiful crops that year. To believe in a tradition custom to the village displays a lot of loyalty to Cabanaconde. For the Cabaneños to take pride in organizing the Fiestas even from the different countries they immigrated to. I think the rise of transnational migration changed the celebration of the fiestas both positively and negatively. A positive change in the sense that even when the Cabaneños migrated from Cabanaconde they didn’t have to feel like they abandoned their traditions back home; instead, they could still be involved with the festival from their new home as Cristina did. The negative impact that Transnational migration has on the celebration of this festival is that many Cabaneños that migrate to these new countries illegally find it hard to make it back to Cabanaconde to celebrate the tradition. This is the divide that Paerregaard mentioned in the thesis of her article. This divide comes across almost as a tinge of jealousy from those immigrants that are undocumented and can’t travel home to celebrate while they watch their documented family members and others take part in celebration.

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?

Carbon Sequestration in Latin American countries

     For Noticias this week, I chose to research carbon sequestration in Latin America through an article called, “Carbon Sequestration Potential Second-Growth Forest Regeneration in the Latin American Tropics”. This article was definitely the hardest one I’ve had to analyze so far because it’s more science related so I had to take time to really understand the data collected from the experiments that researchers conducted. Though the article was challenging, I chose to analyze it because it is different from the cultural articles I usually gravitate towards. The content in the article seemingly discussed the effects of Carbon on the environment and the lead causes of global warming. Global Warming has always been a very hot topic, but has become more controversial and relevant recently; I think it is necessary that we discover how these situations are handled and viewed in Latin American countries.

     The article begins by giving a description of the issue. It is commonly accepted that global warming is the result of greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide. Carbon Dioxide tends to be emitted in large amounts through the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. The authors of the article argue that as a global community we have been approaching the situation incorrectly. Instead of trying to eliminate global warming by preventing deforestation, the authors suggest that we should turn our attention to the concept of reforestation. This idea of second-growth forests (“SFs” in the article) was the driving theme present in the research article because it appears that these forests contain a lot of potential for carbon sequestration. So what exactly is a second-growth forest? Second-growth forests are the regrowth of organisms and populations in a specific land environment after a traumatic destruction of the land (ex: wildfire,   post-cultivation fallows etc.). My understanding is that the benefit of allowing second-growth forests to exist is that these forests accumulate an aboveground carbon (AGC) stock of about 8.48 petagrams of Carbon which is the equivalent of 31.09 petagrams of CO2. As stated by the article, “this total is equivalent from fossil fuel use and industrial processes in all of Latin America and the Caribbean from 1993 to 2014. Ten countries account for 95% of this carbon storage potential, led by Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela”. It is important to realize that though the article argues in favor of the second-growth forests tactic, it does not argue against the idea of limiting deforestation. The article later goes on to explain the experiments and tests that were set up to measure the effect of second-growth forests on the environments in Latin America.

     I think this article portrays Latin America in a positive light. For four Latin American countries to be leading the carbon sequestration attempt out of ten countries total is very impressive. This article shows that Latin America is very concerned with how Carbon Dioxide is affecting the planet that we live on. I think by running these tests and experiments and finding tactics that work, Latin American countries are taking responsibility, or at the very least acknowledging that human activity on earth can be detrimental to our planet. I feel as though these Latin American countries are leading by example in hopes of inspiring the rest of the global community to follow in their footsteps in helping to prevent global warming. This article is less about the cultural identity in Latin America and more about how Latin America interacts in the world. I think that because Latin America is known for its tropical regions and is abundant in its flora and fauna it feels the need to advocate and be proactive about these issues.  


For help understanding this complex article and what exactly was going on in these Latin American countries, I watched this video on Carbon Storage methods that might help you guys as well.

Peer Reviewer Suggestions!

     First, I want to thank my peer reviewer! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my ideas on improving the article and giving me feedback for it. The person who reviewed my ideas of improvement agreed that adding to how society impacts the way women dress and the textiles they produce is important to add. I think by doing this I can address the different meanings behind the patterns and embroideries of certain clothing pieces such as the huipil (only briefly mentioned in the article) as my peer reviewer suggested. While brainstorming of things to add to the article, I did feel like I had hit a sort of roadblock of things to add which is why I appreciate the suggestion to add to the introduction/overview section of the article. Looking back at the article now, I completely agree. The overview section is incredibly underdeveloped in this article and I think I can add a lot to it. I can use this section to provide historical context and introduce the audience to evidence that’ll help them answer the question of “Why does this article even matter?”. Lastly, thank you so much to my peer reviewer for reminding me of the picture idea! You’re so right, I do actually have a hooded jacket that I brought back from Latin America that would work well with this project and the article. This suggestion also reminded me of a lot of other things I brought back that could possibly work in these projects! I’m going to try to get someone from home to text me a picture of them!       

Remixing Reggaeton: Enter The Hurbans

     In the United States, Latinos were stereotyped as “hypersexual party people”. They were seen as “hot tamales” for the way citizens of the United States perceived their music videos and themes in their songs. However, Rivera-Rideau’s argues that if these Latino songwriters and performers could “pass” as being white, they had a chance at being assimilated into the mainstream music industry of the United States. Rivera—Rideau argues, while illustrating through the usage of a spectrum, that these Latino music artists are racialized, essentially being labeled, categorized and compared relative to White Americans and African Americans, to promote the style of music throughout the industry.

     The chapter mentions that Reggaetón does have many similarities to music produced by Black Americans, however, when the genre was introduced to the United States it was labeled as “Hurban” or “Hispanic Urban” to primarily attract the Latino Americans that resided in the states to the style of music. By labeling the genre “Hurban” the genre had the opportunity to flourish in the United States because it was initially targeted to a community that could more easily relate to the style and its themes. I’m sure this was a marking ploy created so that once the music became popular in highly concentrated latino regions of the U.S., the musical genre would spread to other cultures and regions ultimately making more money while appearing to assimilate the culture. Throughout the chapter, I noticed that it seemed that Rivera—Rideau argued in the United States we tend to group the latino genre differently depending on how we care to view the culture in a specific circumstance. Rivera—Rideau states that “this Hurban category linked Latinidad and blackness via stereotypes associated with poor, urban black and Latino communities while simultaneously maintaining the rigid separation between the two categories in the U.S. racial lexicon;” this sentiment ultimately shows that we acknowledge the stereotypes that say these minorities belong to a lower class but we should keep them separate probably to appeal to the Latino community.

Baile de Favela?: Talk of Banning Brazilian Funk

     The article I chose primarily for this week is entitled “Why is there talk of banning funk music in Brazil?”.The article discusses how Brazilian funk is becoming an ostracized music genre due to the content and reoccurring themes in its songs. The article begins by comparing the alienation of the genre to Samba, also known as “Brazil’s most iconic and widely acclaimed musical style”. In the early twentieth century, notably under the Vargas dictatorship, Brazilians were persecuted and arrested for enjoying a music genre that symbolized their culture. This year Samba is celebrating its 100 years in Brazilian pop culture because its roots of being “the music of former slaves and their sons” was ultimately forgotten. Though it appears that Samba got its happy ending, its spot was just taken by Brazilian funk, now being criminalized for its content and its apparent encouragement of crime, drug trafficking, and inappropriate sexual encounters. Opponents of the musical genre took to Facebook to create a group called “Funk is garbage”, in order to collect signatures on the issue and encourage the presentation of a bill to Senate that would ban the genre altogether.

     This bill was, in fact, sent to Senate, however, Senator Romario Feria assured that the ban on an entire musical genre was not “legally defensible ‘because of the right of free expression of thought guaranteed by the Federal Constitution’”. Reading this response from the Senate did not surprise me; as someone who is from the United States, the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution assures the same right to free expression. BBC interviewed with Danilo Cymrot, a doctor in criminology, and he explained that there have been “other attempts to criminalize blacks, poor people, and favela residents” and one way to do that is to attack an aspect of pop culture that they are associated with, in this case, Samba and Funk.

     The article makes the Brazilians who oppose Brazilian Funk look paranoid in my opinion. The article emphasized that those who oppose Brazilian funk did so because it was a bad influence on the Brazil’s youth. There were a lot of arguments saying that this style of music is a gateway to drug trafficking, drug consumption, irresponsible sexual encounters etc. Because I knew little about the topic beforehand I did question if any of these assumptions were warranted/ if there was anything that justified these strong thoughts on funk music. Brazilian funk and its reoccurring theme are most closely related to today’s Hip Hop and Rap in the United States. Hip Hop and Rap artists usually sing lyrics that tell rags to riches stories while their music videos portray drug use and the objectification of women, but it has become mainstream in our culture, especially among our youth. I came across a video that helped me understand more about why Brazilians might be so determined to eradicate the genre. About three weeks ago, reports were published of the Brazilian government having to shut down the largest favela in the country because of increased levels of drug violence. After watching this video, I began to understand why the impact of the music genre might be something that alarms Brazilians. I felt like after the army had to intervene in drug violence, citizens would do anything to ameliorate the issue. Perhaps the easiest way to begin the fight against drug trafficking, consumption, and other poor behaviors, was to attack a genre that portrays these aspects of culture as normal.


      Our last class we began our new unit on music and dance. Music and dance are very important within different societies because they help to describe a specific cultural identity. These styles and genres might be popular throughout an entire country, maybe even continent, however when examined closer, there are slight variations that may occur based on a specific community or geographic region. I think this current issue in Brazil raises a lot of questions that are relevant to our new unit such as “Is it right to ban a music genre?” or even “If a genre IS banned, is the decision to do that ultimately disregarding parts of that culture?”.

     Before choosing this article I had never heard Brazilian Funk, so I included one song (above) as well an Eminem song that you guys might be more familiar with as well. I thought it was really interesting to compare this Brazilian Funk song/music video to a music video by Eminem. “The Monster” was very popular in the United States a few years ago and touches on every theme that the Brazilian Funk genre is being criticized for within the first minute of the five-minute music video. I think it’s really interesting to see how the Eminem music video was received in the United States as another inspiring Eminem song about how he cleaned himself up after a rough past.

For anyone who’s interested in other Brazilian Funk songs here’s a list of 15 songs.

Venezuelans in Colombia


Volunteers serve food to people in a church in Cúcuta

     This week I read an article entitled Venezuelans Cross Into Colombia as Crisis Deepens. As the title suggests, the article was about the citizens of Venezuela that cross the country’s border into Colombia. These travelers cost the border for a multitude of reasons. First, a little background, Venezuela, and Colombia are at a political and economic opposition. In addition to this, Venezuela “is suffering from acute shortages of medicines, hospitals struggle to treat patients and staple goods have become scares and unaffordable”. This is what causes the very large number of Venezuelans that made the trip across Simón Bolivar International bridge. The article explains that many Venezuelan families take family trips across the bridge with empty suitcases so they could fill them up will food and supplies. The churches in Colombia prepare meals for 600 to 2,000 meals a day. As well, the Scalabrini International Migration Network provides shelter in the center of Cúcuta for victims who ended up living on the streets of Venezuela.The article discussed border mobility cards which “allow Venezuelans to go back and forth across the border without the need for a passport”.A view of shacks built on the outskirts of Cúcuta

Fashion Trends in Latin America

     The article on Wikipedia called Latin American Clothing has very little information regarding fashion trends in Latin American culture. I would like to research how the usage of certain textiles, colors, and patterns culminate to create the unique, traditional clothing styles that are represented in Latin America. The clothing trends between different regions of the world are obviously different, mostly because the traditions behind those styles vary greatly. If I choose to research this topic, I would like to add sections about the importance of the textiles used to make the clothing, how the clothing is produced, and also the way specific trends are viewed in the society. I would love to see how fashion intertwines globally and the influence that European culture has had on Latin American culture and vice versa. The Wikipedia article provides links to articles of clothing from Chile, clothing from Mexico and Peru as well. All of these three additional articles do not provide a complete breakdown of the fashion trends in Latin America, only 2 or 3 specific articles of clothing that have some significant meaning in the culture. The only comment on the Talk page of this article is a comment about how “Latin America produce a kind of cotton that also makes clothes for a Venezuelan company”.

Noticias: Odebrecht Scandal

Odebrect Scandal


worker in hard hat with Odebrecht logo on back of uniform For Noticias this week, I found an article entitled “Politicians Worldwide Suspected as Bribery Scandal Unfolds”. The article was published on September 14 of this year. Right off the bat, I found this topic interesting because I have studied the faults in Latin American politics so I think this article was a good place to start.

     The article was about a Brazilian construction company called Odebrecht. This construction company has been under investigation since 2016 for allegedly bribing political officials for construction jobs in return. Odebrecht is a company that was responsible for the construction of the Olympics stadium, the infrastructure of the 2014 World Cup, as well as the metro systems, dams, airport terminals etc.

     Odebrecht’s influence impacted the majority of South America, a large part of Central America and parts of even African and Europe. Since the beginning of the investigation, Odebrecht has admitted to bribing politicians to help them gain construction jobs. The company admitted to paying $349 million in bribes to Brazil alone, on top of the bribes paid to at least 12 other countries.

Table of countries where Odebrecht has admitted paying bribes (Brazil, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Panama, Angola, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique) and where it is alleged to have paid bribes (Antigua, El Salvador) and is under investigation (Chile, Portugal)     The article breaks down each country’s involvement with the Odebrecht scandal. The responses from these countries ranged from politicians having no idea that their election campaigns were being paid off by the Odebrecht company as stated by the current president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos to countries such as Peru and Ecuador who have prohibited their elected officials from leaving the country due to the investigation.

     The article briefly explains the consequences of the construction company’s actions and how those contractors will be spending their lives. The CEO of the company, Marcelo Odebrecht, is serving a 19-year jail term which began last year after being found guilty of bribing Brazilian officials in exchange for contracts for construction.