Author Archives: Joseph

Final Noticias 11/28/17: Honduras’ Presidential Election


Honduras is currently going through its presidential election. Salvador Nasralla, a former television host and sports journalist, is running against the incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández. Supporters of both candidates have been celebrating, as both candidates have claimed victory, though the final votes are not yet in. The election results are supposed to be finalized on Thursday. As it stands, approximately 57% of the vote has been counted, and Nasralla has 45.17% while Hernández has 40.21%. According to the article, Honduran election observers have been critical of the “unprecedented delay” in the vote count, however, president of the Honduran electoral tribunal David Matamoros has said that the count was completely transparent, and that everyone, including the Honduran political parties, the OAS, and the EU, has access to the records. Thus, the whole world is eagerly awaiting the results.

The article goes on to describe the campaigns that each candidate ran with. Nasralla wants to end corruption in the government, whereas Hernández is more focused on shutting down the powerful and violent gangs of Honduras. During his first term, Hernández received financial aid from the US to support his campaign against the gangs. He is considered an ally of the US, and he has been credited with bringing down the murder rate in Honduras, which has one of the worst murder rates in the world.

I think the article does a good job of presenting Latin Americans in an unbiased way. I can’t really find any point in the article where I can definitively say the article portrays Latin Americans in a negative or positive light. I do think the fact that Honduras is, like many Latin American countries, having issues with corruption in government and powerful gangs reflects negatively on Latin America as a whole. In addition, the “unprecedented delay” in the election results is a bit suspicious. That being said, I think that the complete transparency of the electoral tribunal (especially to the EU and OAS) is a good sign that, despite its issues with corruption, murder, and gangs, among many other things, Honduras may be attempting to become a better country overall.

In terms of identity, the widespread public support for both Nasralla and Hernández shows that the Honduran public do not identify with the violence and corruption that plagues their country. They identify with and strongly support leaders who claim to be against corruption and violence. It shows that the large majority of the population wants to improve the country as a whole.

Paerregaard Article Blog Post

It is clear after reading the article that the Virgin of Carmen festival plays an incredibly important role in community identity for the Cabaneños. For Cabaneños abroad, the funding, planning, participation in, and celebration of the Virgin of Carmen festival allows them to form and strengthen their identities as part of the Cabanaconde community. For the Cabaneños in Cabanaconde, the participation in and celebration of the Virgin of Carmen festival allows them to commemorate the history and culture of their community. Large religious celebrations and rituals all tend to help strengthen a person’s identity in relation to their community, and I would argue that the Virgin of Carmen festival is no exception. Much like how a person’s participation in Easter or Christmas might help them form and strengthen their own identity and the identity of the Christian community that they are a part of, the Virgin of Carmen festival helps Cabaneños everywhere to celebrate and preserve their culture while also strengthening personal and communal identities. This is perhaps best shown through this quote: “In effect, the fiesta has become an identity emblem that migrants can draw on to express their sense of belonging and that serves as a point of reference with which Cabanenos living elsewhere distinguish themselves from migrants from other regions”.

In the article, the author argues that the rise of transnational migration has indeed changed the manner in which the festival is celebrated. Paerregaard states that “the village’s migrant population is thus gradually taking over Cabanaconde’s traditional rituals and religious life world”. Due to the fact that transnational migrants in places like the US have more connections and networks to draw from and access to more money, they have the ability to affect the entire community. When you apply this to the Virgin of Carmen festival, you can see how the migrants have changed the manner in which it is celebrated. What was once a religious ritual has now become “an event supported by an urban consumption lifestyle”. In addition, it would appear as though many of the inhabitants of the village are a bit bothered by the fact that the migrants have “taken over” the festival. Although the celebration promotes unity among Cabaneños everywhere, the rise of transnational migration has created competition between migrants and villagers.

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 10/31/17 : Argentine Airline Issues

Currently, Argentina is having some issues with its flights. Two different airlines, Austral Líneas Aéreas and Aerolíneas Argentinas (a state-run airline), are dealing with strikes from workers demanding salary increases. According to the BBC article, inflation in Argentina is expected to reach 22% this year, which is the reason these workers want their salaries increased. The workers represent five different labor unions, and these unions are threatening further strikes if these initial ones do not work. However, the president of Aerolíneas Argentinas argues that the workers’ salaries were “good compared to those at other firms”. Regardless, these strikes have caused nearly 400 domestic and international flights to be cancelled.

One could argue that because this article comes from the BBC and not Latin America itself, it has the potential to be biased against Latin Americans. An article like this one, one might argue, portrays Latin American countries in a negative light, as it highlights Argentina’s struggle with inflation and the results of such a struggle. Poor economies have plagued Latin America since the nations there were first established, and when we ignore the larger picture, we might lead people to believe that Latin Americans in general are not good at maintaining strong economies. However, the article fails to mention that a large part of the reason these economies are weak in the first place is due to the intervention/meddling from the US and other powers.

I would argue that the prevalence of weak economies in Latin America has a negative effect on the identity of Latin Americans as a whole, although I think the history of colonialism in the region and of imperialism at the hands of countries like the US are the main causes of the perpetual political and economic strife in Latin America. Weak economies cause the poor to stay poor and the divide between rich and poor to grow. Inevitably, with poverty and a lack of opportunity comes crime, gangs, and violence, which further negatively effect the identity of Latin Americans as a whole. The strike of these airline workers is merely a symptom of a much larger issue that Latin American hasn’t been able to solve for quite some time, and until the issue is resolved somehow, the issue will continue to negatively impact Latin Americans and their identity.

Summary of Peer Reviewing

My peer reviewer mentioned a few things about my sources which I think are incredibly important. Dr. Holt noted that two of my sources are not very scholarly though they have interesting information. My peer reviewer pointed out that my sources may be biased in some respects so I have to make sure to leave that out of my article, and I have to make sure I represent all viewpoints. Also, because my peer reviewer admitted that she didn’t know much about the DSL, I think it will be important for me to make sure the people reading my article know what I am talking about. I think that if I make sure my introductory paragraph is solid, readers will understand what I’m talking about, so I’ll be sure to make my introductory paragraph at the beginning of the article informative and easy to understand. Lastly, my peer reviewer noted that because I am working on a brand new article as opposed to a preexisting one, I need to be sure to stay on topic, because I have so much freedom with what I can write. I will be sure to keep this in mind as I write my article. I found my peer reviewers comments to be beneficial and practical.

Homework 10/23/17

In this chapter, Rivera-Rideau argues that the racialization of reggaetón creates negative stereotypes that apply to all people of Latin American descent. The author seems to be incredibly frustrated with the way American media represents reggaetón and Latin Americans in general as well as hip hop and African Americans in general. The term “Hurban”, a combination of Hispanic and urban, is often used to describe the audience of reggaetón. However, the author argues that the association of reggaetón with urban areas is problematic. This is because in American media urban areas are typically depicted as being unsafe areas of crime, drugs, and violence. In terms of race, categorizing the music as “urban” marks it as being connected to Latin American and African American culture, which thus allows people to stereotype these cultures as being naturally violent and criminal. Additionally, the author argues that the term hurban marks reggaetón as a Hispanic only music genre, which completely ignores the African disaporatic roots of the music. The American media views reggaetón as being not quite black, which the author claims is bad because it has black roots but also is not a completely black genre. It is difficult to understand what the author is finding a problem with, because to claim that reggaetón is black music would be to ignore all of its non-black roots, but regardless the author finds fault with calling reggaetón “not quite black”.

In terms of class, the author argues that because reggaeton is described as being urban, and because the words “urban” and “inner-city” are associated with blacks, Latinos, violence, and crime, reggaeton is stereotyped as being “lower-class” as are black people, Latinos, hip-hop, and urban areas. The classification of the genre based on class and race force a connection between the two, and thus most American media coverage of urban areas overlooks the racist policies that created the economic issues in the urban areas and instead the blame is put on the black and Latino communities.

Finally, the author seems to argue that reggaeton and hip-hop are wrongly depicted in the American media as being inherently misogynistic music genres. The author argues that the media depicts Latin American women (as well as Latin Americans in general) as being hypersexualized, promiscuous party people, which are negative stereotypes that affect Latin Americans as a whole. “Urban” men are typically depicted as violent thugs, and thus as a result, those who perform and create reggaeton are also considered violent thugs at times.

These negative stereotypes of the music genre and the cultures it was born out of prevent the public from truly understanding the diverse roots of the genre and the people that create it.

Noticias Week 8- MS-13, Gang Violence, and Latin America

A man believed to be a leader of the Mara Salvatrucha (aka MS-13) gang has been arrested in Guatemala recently. Ángel Gabriel Reyes Marroquín, or Blanco, as he is known, was found in a town 31 miles west of Guatemala City called Chimaltenango. Reportedly, Blanco was wanted for his involvement in an armed attack on a hospital two months ago. According to the article, Blanco and his fellow gangsters were attempting to liberate another one of their leaders, who was being treated at the hospital “under armed guard” of the Guatemalan police. Later, the article goes on to describe Blanco’s criminal history. In 2014 he was reportedly detained in a maximum security prison for charges that included murder, and furthermore, he is believed “to be connected to the deaths of at least 287 people”. However, he was able to escape and was not recaptured until now. The remaining parts of the article give a brief description of MS-13 and their crimes.

The existence of MS-13 itself reflects negatively upon Latin Americans. Although the gang was created in Los Angeles, it has its roots in Central America, specifically El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. MS-13 is known as one of the most brutal gangs in existence, and they operate internationally. The fact that pretty much all members of MS-13 are of Latin American descent portrays Latin Americans in a negative light. However, I’d say that the article is hopeful. The fact that an important leader of MS-13 has been captured recently by Guatemalan police shows that MS-13 does not have complete control over Guatemala. More importantly, however, it shows that MS-13 is not a good representation of Latin Americans and their culture. I believe it’s safe to say that nobody likes MS-13 other than its own members. If Americans don’t like MS-13, how do you think Latin Americans feel about the gang? The same can be said about Muslims and ISIS. When a person or group is doing something that is giving your people and culture a bad name, you probably won’t like them, because the few extremists give the peaceful majority a bad name and a poor identity. Finally, I would say that the article shows that Latin Americans are doing their best to cope with and end the gang violence and crime that has such a strong hold on several Latin American countries.

I think it is also important to note the American perspective of MS-13 and the gang violence in Latin America. Many Americans are fearful of traveling to certain Latin American countries for fear of gangs, with good reason. Some people may look at the gang violence in places like El Salvador and believe that all Latin Americans are inherently violent people. However, I would hope that Americans who read this article are able to differentiate between the few violent gang members and the peaceful majority of Latin Americans who detest the gangs as much if not more than Americans.



Noticias Discussion Questions Week 7: The Identity of Puerto Ricans as Americans

Read the posts by Brooks and Kyrsten on the current crisis Puerto Rico and how it is being handled by the American government and American celebrities.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the response time of the American government to the crisis in Puerto Rico reflect the way Americans perceive Puerto Ricans?
  2. Do you believe that Puerto Ricans are citizens just like other Americans, and are they treated as such?
  3. What is the American government doing to help the situation in Puerto Rico? Is it enough? Is the aid given to the citizens of Puerto Rico comparable to the aid given to other areas of the US affected by natural disasters, such as Texas?
  4. What role can celebrities play in times of national crisis? How can they help those affected by disaster?
  5. What are celebrities doing to help? Is it enough? To what extent are celebrities responsible for helping in times of crisis?
  6. Do Puerto Rican celebrities have a greater responsibility to Puerto Rico than other American celebrities?
  7. Who has a greater amount of responsibility to giving aid to those affected by crises, politicians or celebrities/CEOs/etc.?

Here is an interesting article for context:


Baseball in the Dominican Republic

I may be able to complete my Wikipedia assignment on this article about Sports in the Dominican Republic. In the baseball section there is a lot of good information about the history of baseball in the country. However, I noticed that closer to the end of the baseball section there is a little bit of information about the relations between the US and the Dominican Republic as a result of baseball. I think this information could be built upon or elaborated upon.

One good source might be the information that the MLB has on the history of baseball in the Dominican Republic, found here.  Another article, found here, has more information about why the Dominican Republic produces so many great baseball players. However, the wikipedia article already has a lot of information about the history of baseball in the Dominican Republic. So I think an even better source can be found in this article about the way the MLB treats prospective players from the Dominican Republic.

It would appear as though nobody else has spoken about including the way the MLB treats prospective Dominican players in the article. Lots of parts of the talk page include stuff about other sports, like volleyball. So perhaps this is not the best article to think about working on but I think it could be improved a little bit.

Noticias: Murder in Mexico

A location scout by the name of Carlos Muñoz Portal has been found dead in Mexico. He was scouting for locations to shoot scenes for the popular Netflix show ‘Narcos’. The 37 year old’s body was found riddled with bullets in his car just outside Mexico City. The article goes on to describe the main premise of Narcos, which, according to the article, is about “the gritty wars of the 1980s between drug kingpins and law enforcement agencies”. Furthermore, the article describes the context of the murder of Muñoz, which essentially is only one of thousands of murders that have occurred throughout Mexico this year.

The cultural and social implications of this article are much greater than they may seem at first glance. Regardless of how the author wishes to depict Mexico, one cannot tell this news story with a positive connotation for Mexico. In other words, this story makes Mexico look bad, no matter how you put it. This is particularly interesting when one considers the implications within the United States. For one thing, many people are upset at Trump and his supporters for the way they treat and talk about Mexican immigrants, but this kind of story gives allows those who are racist and bigoted to say “look at how violent Mexico is, we don’t want those people coming into our country”. The fact that Mexico has had over 2,200 recorded murders nationwide in the month of June alone makes it even worse. It is difficult to convince those who are prejudiced against Mexicans that they are not all gangsters or criminals when over 2,200 people have been murdered in Mexico in one month. Not only that, but I find the article itself to be incredibly ironic. A location scout for a show about gang violence in the 80s was murdered in Mexico just last week, proving that violence in Latin America is still a large problem.

In terms of identities, it is sad to see that Mexico seems unable to rid itself of its identity as a country full of violent gangs and poverty. This makes Mexico and Mexicans (and consequently all Latin Americans) look bad on the world stage, and the murder rate in Mexico right now can only worsen Mexican-American relations. It is important for the Mexican government to find a way to deal with the rampant violence plaguing Mexico, because as stated previously, articles such as this one will only serve to give more fuel to the fires of those who are prejudiced against Mexicans.