Author Archives: Will

Noticias: Art as a Form of Healing

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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.


Noticias: Nicaragua Joins the Climate Change Talks

On October 20th, Nicaragua signed to join the Paris climate treaty, taking effect on November 22nd. Previously, Nicaraguan government officials didn’t believe the climate talks would have a true impact on mitigating the impact of humans on climate change. After 2 years of consideration, the Nicaraguan government reconsidered. As mentioned by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, Nicaragua is the 4th most susceptible country to climate change worldwide, other Latin American countries joining is top 4 list. The article goes on to discuss plans of other Latin American countries as outlined in the Paris climate agreements, however I am choosing to focus specifically on Nicaragua as their contributions to the climate treaty are just now being brought forward. Previous to the Nicaraguan government’s involvement in the climate agreements, various indigenous communities within Nicaragua (amongst other countries) joined the talks at the summit in 2015.

The portrayal of Latin American people in this article depicts them as cautions and self-aware people. Although the government of Nicaragua didn’t sign to join the treaty until a couple weeks ago, it appears that the Nicaraguan people have been on board since the climate summit in Paris. Contrary to the average depiction of Latin American governments by US media, Nicaragua is shown to be quite aware of the severity of climate change in this article, the US used as a contrasting example. In fact a Nicaraguan government official is commented in reference to the Paris Climate Treaty, stating that, “even though it is not an ideal treaty, it is the only instrument that currently allows for unity of intentions and effort.” Furthermore, the Nicaraguan government hopes that in collaborating with over 160 countries around the world that their contribution is essential. Despite the small steps being taken to mitigate climate change, worldwide collaboration is essential if positive impact is to be made on our planet’s environment.

I believe the strong-willed identity of the Latin American people if Nicaragua is exhibited quite clearly in this article. They are angry about the impact climate change is having on their environment, being one of immense diversity. In addition, the impact of other countries’s pollutants are the primary contributors to the environmental deterioration in Nicaragua. As a result, the Nicaraguan people are outraged, naturally, as countries like the US display preposterous levels of ignorance as they withdraw from Paris Climate Agreements. It is clear that the motives of the US are purely centered around money. The lunacy of the situation is amplified when one looks at the extremes of climate change; money could easily be of no use within 30-40 years as the global scale of climate change intervenes with everyday life of all humans.


Response to Suggestions in Response to My Suggestions in Response to Wikipedia Article

I will take Fish’s advice to include a history about Cobra Mansa’s history that gives insight on his influencers. Although the article includes the names of those who have influenced Mestre Cobra, the article is worded in a way that does not make this clear. I am also going to reword other parts of the article that contain plagiarism, copied directly from Cobra Mansa’s website. There is a significant amount of plagiarism in the article, so it is important that it is removed as quickly as possible. Tanaka’s advice to find a second source to strengthen credibility of the article’s content is important to ensure all information on Wikipedia’s article is accurate and not plagiarized. The second source I will include comes from the review titled Capoeira Angola from Salvador, Brazil. Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho by Mestre Cobra Mansa, Heidi Rauch from a collection of reviews called Ethnomusicology by Kathleen O’Connor. This article contains a description of the organization Mansa co-founded named Grupo Capoeira Angola Pelorinho or GCAP for short. This source was found through JSTOR, rendering it a reliable source of information.


Source to be included:

O’Connor, Kathleen. Ethnomusicology 41, no. 2 (1997): 319-23. doi:10.2307/852622.

Reggaeton Article: “Enter the Hurbans”

In Petra R. Rivera-Rideau’s article, Enter the Hurbans, the background of Reggaeton and its rise in US culture are discussed. In the article, Rivera-Rideau makes the clear distinction between the Reggaeton that is known throughout Latin America and what Reggaeton has been adapted into in the US: a racial controversy promoting stereotypes, the success of lighter-skinned artists, and the appropriation of cultures for the purpose of entertaining US residents. Additionally, the media in the US hypersexualizes reggaeton portraying this as the norm throughout Latin America.


Given that the roots of the genre stem from primarily Afro-Puerto Rican ghettos, it is expected that the genre would be compared to hip-hop because of its roots in lower-class, African-American neighborhoods. As far as race, class and gender affecting how reggaeton changes in the future, I believe minor changes will result from these issues in Latin America. However, in the US, the future of the genre will be almost entirely shaped by money and race, just the same as rap music. Although reggaeton artists in Latin America are mostly men, I believe the rise of reggaeton in the US will bring opportunities to many artists, male and female.


The few reggaeton hits that were popular in the US resulted in hundreds of millions of plays and dollars of revenue. Given this history, anyone in the music industry in the US who has had interest in reggaeton in the past is now likely trying to make the next “Despacito.” This money-fueled attack on traditional reggaeton could result in the formation of a new genre, or even the US’s takeover of the genre worldwide. While reggaeton stands in its current state as hope for US culture to adapt a new genre into its mainstream music scene, the destruction of its latin influence could prove to be quite damaging to reggaeton artists, as their money and genre is stolen for good business.

Pendulum Diplomacy in Latin America

In this article from The Diplomat, author Dawisson Belém Lopes opens up by giving historical examples of countries using a method called pendulum diplomacy. This form of diplomacy involves a third party country avoiding full investment in a single country when conflict arises between multiple governmental superpowers. The author first gives the example of Brazil reaping benefits from both the United States and Nazi Germany following World War II. Egypt is also mentioned in reference to the Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s refusal to choose sides during the Cold War, allowing them to prevent losing territory or jurisdiction within certain regions of Egypt. The author proceeds with more examples of pendulum diplomacy in Latin America following World War II, noting Brazilian President Kubitschek’s Operation Plan America, which forced JFK to pour funds into an impoverished Latin America, protecting the vulnerable South American countries from communist influence.

Juscelino Kubitschek, Brazilian president responsible for Operation Plan America

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In the final section of the article, Lopes discusses the modern day application of pendulum diplomacy. In recent years, a need has arisen for the now dormant use of pendulum diplomacy. But whether or not such tactics will work in today’s society, the author expresses doubts. For one, the region does not contain any of the world’s dominant superpowers (at the moment), and Latin America is expressly non nuclear, increasing the threat of Chinese and Russian intervention. Furthermore, difficulties to pursue strengthened relationships with the US have increased as a result of the Trump administration and it’s unprofessional prejudice towards Latin America. For this reason, several counties in South America have shifted their dependance away from countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, and instead are focusing on leveling their relationships across Asia. This means emphasizing trade between countries in Southeast Asia, like Taiwan, as mentioned in the article. Resulting from the recent conditions and arising conflicts between governmental superpowers, Latin American countries may likely look for new tactics to ensure their prosperity in the 21st century.

Hub of business and Brazilian metropolitan culture in São Paulo where the growth of the city can be seen at an exponential rate. Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil.

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Little perspective and opinion on Latin America is shown, until the end of the article where an image of poverty and corruption is illustrated about Latin America. The author holds a surprisingly aggressive and ignorant viewpoint on South America. Interesting enough, Lopes references an “ugly” speech by Donald Trump in which the president remarks Latin Americans (Mexicans) as “outlaws” and “rapists.” Two paragraphs later, Lopes describes all of Latin America as one region, saying that Latin America as a whole, “does not apparently have what it takes to becoming a strategic asset to either side of the Pacific Ocean – North America and Asia,” (Lopes).  By grouping Latin America as a whole into one, this scrutinizes the ability and potential of countries like Brazil who are soon to join the world’s top economies. However, the author is correct that Brazil and other Latin American countries are unable to compete with the US and China in their current state.

The class theme expressed in this article outlines encounters in Latin America from outside forces. The primary concern of countries like China and the US is to exploit Latin American countries who rely on their aid. As Latin American economic influence begins to increase, both Latin America and its allies must adapt in order to declare their dominance over one another. In this instance, some Latin American countries such as Brazil have the power to rival the world’s largest economies, and reverse their economic reliance on them.

Picture of the Museum of Tomorrow, built before the Olympics, the museum focuses on the future of the earth, and how countries will be forced to adapt in order for the human race to prosper. Museo do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Noticias 2: Pacificação nas Favelas de Rio

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In this Rio Times article, the author, Lise Alves addresses a recent altercation between Brazilian police/military, and gangs that occupy the favelas of Rio, specifically the Favela known as Rocinha (ho-see-nya). The news article states that police and military special forces entered the favela named Rocinha to find and arrest rival gang leaders. Firefights and battles over territory between rival gangs within the favela forced police to take action and encouraged non-violent residents to stay inside to avoid confrontation with gang members’ crossfire. The article goes on to state that the nearby metro stations of São Conrado were closed when gunfire was heard coming from Rocinha. On the northern end of the city, skirmishes between rival gangs took place the favela of Juramento.


This article gives readers a stereotypical view of Brazil that embodies the violent slums, and heavy influence of drug trafficking within them. What this article fails to mention is the results of raids by authorities. For years, Rio’s police have been battling gangs as a part of their initiative to pacify the favelas, making them safe for their people as well as visitors. This pacification movement, which was commenced in 2008, has for the most part been a total failure. Other than the success in Rio de Janeiro’s smallest favela, Santa Marta (pop. ~5,000), police have made little to no impact on Rio’s larger favelas like Rocinha (pop. ~70,000). One reason the outcomes of the police raids may have been left out is to avoid projecting a negative image towards the Brazilian Government, assuming police were unsuccessful. In addition, total pacification of Rio’s favela of Rocinha would be nearly impossible, noting the density of both innocent civilians as well as gang members. Furthermore, previous occupation of the favela in 2008 proved widely unsuccessful as police faced danger in trying to eliminate gangs while protecting themselves and the favela’s inhabitants.


This article displays both class themes, predominantly the theme of encounters. This article by The Rio Times is a common example of English news stories from Brazil, which Brazilian government fails to address. For example, in preparation for the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Government took many provisions to improve outsider’s views of Brazil, by simply hiding the problems rather than fixing them or providing a call to action by tourists attracted by the Olympics. For example, main roads were improved, and tunnels were added through various mountains in the city to block the view of favelas that were previously visible from the road. From my personal accounts, the views of the Brazilian people and residents of Rio seemed to be a general feeling of disappointment and despair in regards to the consistent secrecy and corruption the Brazilian Government displays.



TUDO EM PORTUGUÊS KKKKKKKKKK. Calma, os Tópico São Brasileiro Cara.

As danças do mundo têm muitas variações. Algumas são bem devagarzinho e íntimo, quando outras são rapido e sem intimidade. No caso de capoeira, os dançarinos movem rapidamente, e ataca ao outro (sem tocando). Deste tópico, queria aprender mais sobre a história de capoeira e qual formas do combate que inspiraram a formação de capoeira. Wikipedia tem bastante informação sobre capoeira, incluindo a história, formas da dança, e bailarinas famosas de capoeira. No Credo, tem muito informação da história de capoeira e a evolução da dança (falando sobre as formas modernos e como a dança original chegou aí).

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Um outro tópico que também tá no brasil é a problema das favelas, especialmente em Rio de Janeiro. De minha pesquisa, gostaria saber mais dos problemas nas favelas de Rio, a as causas dos problemas. No Wikipedia, tem um artigo sobre a Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora, a unidade das polícias quem trabalham protegendo as favelas e tentando remover as gangues, usualmente o comando vermelho. No Credo, consegui buscar um artigo falando sobre o movimento da pacificação das favelas. Também, o artigo falas sobre as problemas das favelas e os efeitos desses problemas na cidade de Rio, e Brasil.

Review of Vice President Pence’s Recent Visit To Latin American Countries

In the New York Times article In Latin America, Pence Aims to Soften ‘America First’ Message, the author, Ernesto Londono, outlines a recent trip by Vice President Mike Pence to several countries in Latin America. The purpose of his visit being to President Trumps “America first” message, however little action is actually being taken. The US plans to create deals to open imports of avocados from Columbia, and exports of rice to Columbia, with the author regarding Pence’s actions as doing “ little in the way of concrete measures to announce,” (Londono). Many Latin Americans are hesitant to believe that the Trump administration truly intends to work towards a greater compromise for the US and its allies. Instead, many have stated that they are fearful of the common theme of the US being a bully. The severity is of this current crisis is apparent when a Member of the US Congress notes that, “unsure of what the White House’s intentions are and fear either a return to the days of U.S. arrogance and bullying or, at best, benign neglect,” (Member of US congress).


Furthermore, this statement comes from Mexican media outlets, giving the weight of the Member of Congress’s statement further magnitude. Camila Capriglioni, 21, a medical student in Buenos Aires proclaims that,.“if I put myself in the shoes of an American citizen, I understand the appeal of trying to prioritize your national interests.” The US has no reason to act so hostile towards Latin American countries; his intents are extreme.

The strong-willed Latin American community coming forth and visualizing their opinions to the Vice President of the United States, personifies nothing less than the bully that Donald Trump has become in concordance with Latin America. The class theme of Identity can be seen here with the Latin American decisiveness portrayed by general population that inhabits Latin america.



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Exploring Quotes Related to Environment in “A Land So Strange”

In chapter 8 of A Land So Strange, Andres Resendez narrates the journey of Cabeza de Vaca and his companions across vast landscapes, in which Cabeza de Vaca is frequently left in awe. Each sight is a new experience to these men, and such environments are reminiscent of nothing they have seen back home in Spain. Such evidence of Cabeza de Vaca’s interest of what the Americas have to offer is displayed when he gratifies “pine nuts that were better than those of Castile,” describing them as “small pine trees with cones ‘like small eggs,’” (Resendez 188). In this passage, Cabeza de Vaca emphasizes the grandeur of the pine nuts by comparing them to what is presumably Spain’s greatest  pine nuts, noting that they are trumped by what this new land has to offer. Although seemingly minute, this quote exemplifies Cabeza de Vaca’s language as lackluster and impressed in regards to the portions of Mexico he observes. He no longer speaks with an uncomfortable tone, conversely, he admires the beauty of his surroundings, without the bias induced by fear. Moreover, it is clear through Resendez’s speech that Cabeza de Vaca has undergone a distinct change of heart. Besides a determination to exploit untouched resources the region has to offer, Cabeza de Vaca marvels in those that simply stand to be admired, although this admiration is still surpassed by his greed for riches.

Exploration of an Unfamiliar Environment in “A Land So Strange”

At the very beginning of chapter 6, Résendez describes Cabeza de Vaca’s failed attempt to escape and island inhabited by Indians. Cabeza de Vaca and his men are caught off guard by the large waves of this region since waves of such monumental size and force are foreign to Europe, specifically Spain. In addition, those who survive the treacherous waves fight the effects of hypothermia. Given that it was the middle of summer in Florida, this would not normally be a problem. However, when Résendez points out that the earth was undergoing a unique period of cooling, specifically harsh during the years of Narvaez’s expedition, this supports thesis of increased level of challenge to Narvaez and his men, due to change in environmental conditions. Had there been normal environmental conditions during this time, the water would have felt refreshing rather than dangerously cold, especially when compared to the well-known hot summertime air in Florida.