Author Archives: Maggie

Noticias Week 11/26

“Did Zika Cause More Miscarriages Than Microcephaly?” by Jason Beaubien is a NPR article about whether Zika causes more miscarriages or microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect where the inflicted have abnormally small heads that can lead to seizers and other complications. Dr. Benedito Fonseca is a professor of internal medicine who conducted research on Zika after the huge crisis. He had 1,125 pregnant women complete in the study and out of them 178 tested positive for Zika. Out of the 178 women nine had spontaneous abortions (the body aborts the baby) and four women gave birth to babies with microcephaly. Dr. Fonseca expected to see a lot more babies with microcephaly. Alber Ko’s (a researcher from Yale) reason for the expected outcome of microcephaly to be greater then it was is that it wasn’t until after the babies were born with microcephaly did people start to worry. Ko suspects that the spontaneous abortions went unnoticed. As a result, there was more panic then proportional to the number of microcephaly affect babies caused by Zika.

This article reminded me of one time in class there was a discussion about how you are less likely to be in a terrorist attack then a car accident. However, since the media reports all the terrorists’ attacks but not all car accidents the opposite is thought to be true. This suggested a larger question if all the different news outlets are a good thing. Does the news bring with it unnecessary panic? While of course Zika caused complications in pregnancy was the amount of panic justified? Of the 1,125 women pregnant 15.8% of the women had Zika. Of the Zika inflicted women 2% had babies with microcephaly. This means out of the total women in the study who were pregnant 0.3% had babies with microcephaly. I remember Zika being in the news and I remember thinking that if a mother had Zika her baby was going to have microcephaly, no doubt in my mind. This is proven to be false. The news blow things out of proportion for ratings and as a result leads to misinformation and needless terror.

Almost as a subconscious curb the author was mainly focused on the fact that Zika isn’t as bad as it use to be. The author briefly mentions that the decrease in Zika complications could be due to the fact that the people have become immune. If this is true, then officials didn’t due anything to solve the Zika problem and Zika just ran its “common course” which would be unfortunate to think that there still is no cure. By only briefly mentioning this the author makes it appear that Zika is no longer a problem, but in reality Zika could mutate (like some viruses do) and it could come back with a different set of symptoms.

This article links to our course theme of identities. Latin America was facing a crisis when Zika originally broke out. Their people were panicked and as a result Latin America worked together to try and come up with a solution to Zika. Zika is a sensitive issue in Brazil and Brazil acted to try and come up with a solution. This shows the Brazilians as strong people who will not let anything take them down. This article is centered in Brazil and I think it shows it in a positive light. It shows Brazil is as capable as any other country at solving its medical problems. Before this article some readers may have doubts if Brazil had the resources to try and the Zika. This article demonstrates that Brazil is a capable country

Fiesta of Virgin of Carmen

In the article “The Show Must Go On: The Role of Fiestas in Andean Transnational Migration” by Karsten Paerregaard, he talks about the fiesta of Virgin of Carmen and the significance it holds for the Cabaneno community. Paerregaard explains how originally the fiesta was a religious experience where the community made offerings to the Virgin of Carmen and to the local mountains. Currently the fiesta is a platform for people who have migrated from Cabanaconde to show how successful they are. The fiesta has two devotos who sponsor and organize the fiesta. The devotos are competing to see who can provide the best entertainment, food, and other activities. To pay for all of this each devoto turns to his family and close friends to see if they could help pay for things. The fiesta easily costs USD$10,000, but it most likely costs more. The devotos take on this role for multiple reasons. One reason is to showcase how successful they are, and the other reason is to stay connected to their roots. The fiesta of Virgin of Carmen is a huge celebration for the Cabaneno community and lasts about four days. It is a huge part of their community; therefore, it is a part of their identity. It is their biggest celebration. Even when some of the Cabanenos migrate to different countries, their relatives who still live in Cabanaconde record the fiesta and send it to them, so they can see it.

Noticias Week of 11/12

BBC News Duncan Tucker Santa Muerte: The rise of Mexico’s death ‘saint’

Catholic News Agency Mary Rezac Have you heard of Saint Death? Don’t pray to her

I originally found the article “Santa Muerte: The rise of Mexico’s death ‘saint’” by BBC News and I found the article so intriguing that I decided to try and understand more background information on her. This lead me to the article “Have you heard of Saint Death? Don’t pray to her,” which is published by a Catholic Website called Catholic News Agency (CNA). Therefore, I will be summarizing first the article by BBC News and then what background information I gained from CNA.

In “Santa Muerte: The rise of Mexico’s death ‘saint’” it explains who this ‘saint’ is. Santa Muerte is a ‘saint’ who is non-judgmental that many single mothers, members of the LGBT, and gang members pray to her. Santa Muerte serves as a ‘saint’ for the people who are treated as outcasts. The people who follow this religion feel it is deeply misunderstood and it is not a satanic mass. Worshipping Santa Muerte has surged in popularity and has about 10 to 12 million followers world-wide. Many of Santa Muerte’s followers believe she is the reincarnation of the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl, who presided over a festival of death every August. This article explains that members of this religion have decided to make Day of the Dead her feast day, which is angering the Catholic church. The Vatican has denounced Santa Muerte and repeatedly says this every year around the Day of the Dead to make clear she is not a part of the Catholic church nor will she ever be.

This leads to the article by CNA which provides more of an explanation of why it is growing in popularity. One reason they say Santa Muerte is growing in popularity is due to the drug wars. This article says that gang members do not feel comfortable praying to God for protection against the police and instead will pray to Santa Muerte and offer something in exchange. Another reason the drug wars have increased the popularity of Santa Muerte is because the victims of the drug wars find a ‘saint’ of death very appealing.

These two articles authors had very different purposes in their writing. The author from BBC wanted to briefly explain who Santa Muerte is and what her worshippers are like, while the author for the CNA’s intentions is to explain to readers why not to pray to Santa Muerte. Of course, the author’s viewpoints are going to be different because their readers are different. BBC news is for everyone to read while the CNA’s target audience is for Catholics. These two articles about the same topic prove how the target audience can affect the author’s argument.

Santa Muerte portrays the Mexican people as people who are deeply religious. While she is not tied to the Catholic church like most saints her presence still shows Mexicans as deeply spiritual and wanting a religious figure.

One of the reason’s I chose Santa Muerte is because of the class discussions the class has had together. One of the things we have talked about in class is the local saints that exist in Latin America and the effect they can have on a community. However, unlike the saints talked about in class the Catholic church has renounced her and has made it clear she will never be a saint to them. Santa Muerte is almost a ‘saint’ for the outcasts and can make them feel accepted for who they are, but she is also serving as an excuse for some gang members. Santa Muerte is very helpful for the people who consider themselves outcasts. She has helped their identity greatly. The gang members feel since Santa Muerte is accepting the gang members do not have to improve who they are. Another heavily talked about topic in class is gang violence and cartels. It is interesting how the rise of gangs has indirectly increased the popularity of Santa Muerte.

Noticias 10/30

Gillespie, Patrick. “Venezuela’s dreams are Dying”


This CNN article explains how the slow collapse of the Venezuelan government is affecting the people. It begins with talking about a dying child who cannot receive any medical treatment to improve his condition because the hospital does not have the supplies to complete the surgery. The hospital is running low on basic things such as gauze. Gillespie shares jarring statistics such as there has been a 76% increase in Malaria cases, but Venezuela eradicated Malaria more than 50 years ago. Gillespie explains that the Venezuelan government is in serious debt and as a result they are not giving hospitals proper funding which is causing people to die.

Gillespie explains how the government got themselves in this predicament and basically, it’s because they were spending too much. Also, their biggest natural recourse is oil and since the spending spree began, the oil prices have fallen. Venezuela cannot afford to pay back their debts and, not only are people dying, but they are leaving the country. There has been an increase in Venezuelan immigrants in other countries, but especially in Colombia. Gillespie also explains how there is rapid inflation in Venezuela and as a result a jar of peanut butter costs 80,000 bolivars which means one bolivar is worth less then a hundredth of a penny. People are waiting in line for hours to first, get many from the ATM, and then to try and by groceries.

Gillespie argument is for the countries of the world to not let the Venezuelan people suffer any longer. He has quotes from Venezuelans who wish their president would give up power to someone who can fix their problems. Gillespie writing style itself is very persuasive to try and help. He talks about a boy who is dying from kidney failure, then explains the countries problems and such, and goes back to say that the boy died. Gillespie makes the reader connect to the child by saying the child wanted to be an international journalist and by having quotes from the child’s mother. Gillespie also explains how the mother cried several times during the interview and how later he cried. Gillespie also expertly uses the photo of the boy (see below) to also show how real the situation is. This provokes sympathy in the reader to try and help the children if nothing else and in turn has the reader completely on board with his argument.

This article can relate to the course theme of identity. Right now, the Venezuelan people are feeling abandoned, lost, and scared because their government is not helping them. Venezuela is falling apart and as a result the people feel unstable and lost. Because of this article I now understand the hardships and uncertainty the Venezuelan people are facing.

Ways to Improve My Writing

I’d thank to thank my peer reviewer for their feedback. I only had one peer review and many of their comments were about my writing style. I will improve my grammar and sentence phrasing to make it easy to read. Another comment they had was to explain key words like Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a bit complicated, so I will not explain Fair Trade in its entirety, but I will include a wiki-link to its page. Overall, I will improve the readability of my section of the article and include the wiki-links to any important words or organizations. Thank you peer reviewer!

Enter the Hurbans

In the Chapter “Enter the Hurbans” by Petra R. Rivera-Rideau, she talks about how the rise of reggaetón came to be and how was perceived when it entered mainstream United States music. Rivera-Rideau’s central argument is that the U.S media has made reggaetón into something it is not. Rivera-Rideau’s point is that the U.S media has made the reggaetón singers into hypersexual people who are fairer-skinned than most of their Latin peers. The U.S media also portrays the singers as people from the “hood.” Daddy Yankee is the poster child for reggaetón because he is a lighter-skinned Latino who states that without reggaetón he would either be dead or in jail. Rivera-Rideau detests the fact that the U.S media also portrayed well-established Latin singers as “new discoveries.” Rivera-Rideau also dislikes the fact that hip -hop does not get credit for influencing reggaetón. Rivera-Rideau’s dream would be that race would no longer affect the music industry and it should be valued for what the music is and not where it comes from.

Reggaetón is a form of hip-hop that is often sung by Latin artists especially Puerto Rican artists. Reggaetón is associated with “urban” Puerto Rico. What Rivera-Rideau says this translates to is black, poor, thug Puerto Ricans. Reggaetón is often associated with Afro-Puerto Ricans and, because of this, it has been put in this box with hip-hop. The box that reggaetón and hip-hop share is they one that is called “Hood Origin Music.” This means that they both are seen as coming from poorer areas of cities which means they are associated with drugs, sex, and gang violence. Therefore, they are associated with a “lower” class of society and may never be seen as socially acceptable. Reggaetón is male dominated genre, but the singers are portrayed as being super sexy Latinos. A classic example of this is Ricky Martin.  

The reason the cultural exchange between reggaetón and the U.S happened is because the U.S music industry saw the “hurban” population as an “untouched motherload,” meaning they saw dollar signs. As a result, many radio stations started broadcasting reggaetón and other Latin music. If the U.S music industry did not see financial potential for them in reggaetón, it would not have entered the average American’s vocabulary. The U.S music industry say how the hurban population was not having a music directed at them, so they took it upon themselves to make reggaetón more available to them. The cultural exchange between the U.S and reggaetón is because the music industry wanted more money.

Noticias Discussion Questions

Please read Camryn and Cesar’s articles. Before class please read the lyrics to “All I Blow is Loud” by Juicy J to get a frame of reference of Brazilian Funk lyrics. Also, please look at this translation of a funk song.

Mexican Radio Host’s Resignation Highlights Ties Between Government and Media Questions

  1. Do you think the governments involvement in media influences the media’s criticisms (or lack there of)?
  2. Does the media in general hold leverage with public opinion on government effectiveness? Is this a good thing?

Why is there talk of banning funk music in Brazil?

  1. Is the attempt to ban Brazilian Funk race or lyric related?
  2. Do you think music has a positive or negative influence on youth? Specifically do you think rap and funk promote drug and misogyny?
  3. What are the differences/ similarities in rap and Brazilian Funk? Why are U.S. citizens not trying to ban rap, but some Brazilian citizens are?

Noticias: Claudio Yanez

Yanez, Claudio. “It Took Me 20 Years to Talk About My Childhood.” BBC News, 2 October 2017

WARNING!!! This article talks about sexual violence

This article does not have an author because it is from an interview over the radio that someone later wrote what was said. This article is about Claudio Yanez, a man who was put into a public care center in Chile when he was ten. The idea behind the public care center is comparable to an orphanage. One day a public care center official took him to a public care center, but his life would have been better on the streets. At these places the children are physically and sexually abused. Corporal punishment is used quite fondly. The children at public care centers do not go to school. The day to day life at the public care centers causes the children loose sympathy. If the boys complain to their social workers they are only treated worse, so they do not complain. Luckily for Yanez he was recommended for a psychological test and was discovered to have a high IQ, so he was permitted to go to school. Yanez ran away and a kind family “took [him] under their wing.” At this time, he started working at a hotel where he eventually told his story to a family. This family took him in and he considers them family to this day. He decided to speak out because a report came out last year that 1,300 children died in the custody of these public care centers.

Yanez explains that he also decided to speak out because he is currently a civil engineer and is therefore considered a high ranking official. He expected his friends and colleagues to be unaccepting, but was pleasantly surprised in their support. He explains that Chile is a much more accepting place then he was a kid.

Yanez is speaking out, so more people realized how horrible the public care system is in Chile. Yanez’s goal is having reform in the Chilean system. This article is written in the first person (because Yanez said it) and this makes the article devastating to read. The effect of having it be in the first person is overwhelming when Yanez describes how alone he felt and how emotionally stinted he and the other boys became. The mindset these children have is something I’ve only read about in the Nazis’ death camps. In the death camps the survivors eventually stopped feeling emotional pain because it became a part of their everyday life and if not the victim then it would be them.

It is safe to say this is an experience Yanez will never forget and it is now a part of his identity. Like Cabeza de Vaca, Yanez went through a traumatic experience and he figured out who he was. He mentions how he learned to only rely on himself because he could not trust the other children or his social worker. Yanez also threw himself into his school-work because it was his only escape he had and this lead him to be the civil engineer he is today. Yanez now has a nonprofit charity that advocates for children in the system. Without being in the system he would not have a charity trying to help the children. Having the experience of being in the public care center has shaped his identity. He is a civil engineer, he is self-reliant, and he has a charity, all because being in the public care center shaped who he is as a person. Like Cabeza de Vaca, Yanez learned from his horrible experience and without it he wouldn’t be who he is today, therefore being in a public care center is a part of his identity, for better or for worse.

Images copyright Claudio Yanez Image caption Claudio’s new family: He is the boy with the big smile at the right of the middle row


Annotated Bib Rough Draft

Topik, Steven. “Coffee Anyone? Recent Research on Latin American Coffee Societies.” Hispanic American Historical Review 80, no. 2 (May 2000): 225-266. Humanities International Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 27, 2017).

Steven C. Topik is a professor at University of California with a particular research interest in the History of Latin America and World history through the studies of commodities with a specific interest in coffee. Topik first explains why to study coffee as a backdrop to how and why Latin America has changed throughout the years. Topik also explains some older ideas and then recent ideas of how coffee affected Latin America. Throughout Topik’s article he has numerous citations and eventually has one-hundred and one different citations. Topik’s intended audience is other historians who focus on Latin America with a particular interest in how coffee shaped Latin America. The article was published in Hispanic American Historical Review so it is assumed that the reader already has a very good understanding on Latin American history and politics. Topik points out how coffee helped bring Latin America into the industrialized world instead of being a region that was imperialized.

Possible Wiki Article

One idea for an article that can be improved is Carlos Juan Finlay. Finlay was the first person to realize that yellow fever is connected to mosquitos back in 1886. However, his idea was ignored until 1900 when someone else made the claim, and he did not received credit for making this discovery until 36 years after his death. The Wikipedia article about Finlay is very brief containing only seventeen very short paragraphs. There could be expansion on his work with the yellow fever/mosquito connection and expansion on his other work. There are only two paragraphs about his Legacy, which could be expanded, and there is no information on his personal life (if he was married, had children, etc.). One source that has more information than Wikipedia is ScienceBlogs where it describes more accepts of his professional career. On the Wikipedia talk page there seems to be confusion if his name is Carlos Juan or Juan Carlos and there are comments about citation errors. If this article was to be chosen the first step would be to figure out if his name is Carlos Juan or Juan Carlos and then make sure the Wikipedia article name corresponds with the discovered information.