Category Archives: Noticias

Malls- Their growth in Latin America, and Decline in the North


This article in City Lab examines the explosion in the growth of Malls and their construction in the last decade. The writer begins by stating how 25 percent of the roughly 1,100 shopping malls still alive in the U.S. are projected to close by 2022.

Nolan writes,

“Developers haven’t built a new mall since 2006 (except for one in the bizarre land of Sarasota, Florida). “

Conversely, 100 new malls were built in Latin America in 2016 alone and, the largest mall in the western hemisphere is in Panama. Nolan describes this trend with an air of wistfulness for a time past.

Multiple anchors. Many different stores that attract customers and allow the businesses to benefit from each other’s presence by agglomeration. Beyond retail, Latin American malls often house other major employers, including call centers, healthcare facilities, and office space. The writer describes how he thinks malls as they exist in Latin America today, embody their original designer’s vision of them: mixed-use hubs rather than gigantic shopping hubs. He describes how these malls in Latin America are increasingly incorporating residential homes as well in apartments and condos. The writer argues that is this diversity of use that will allow malls in Latin America to outlive and out-function their North American counterparts.

While these malls in Latin America thrive on diversity and multipurpose usage, they also exist in much more specialized areas and for functions. Nolan describes how there are malls in some parts of Latin America such as Guatemala that exist specifically for dining and restaurants. He also explains how there are malls that exist specifically for interior design and how such malls, not meant for selling clothes, remain rare in the US, and Canada.

American malls are anchored by big chain stores, like Macy’s and J C Penney, and as these companies have gone out of business in recent years, they have dragged the malls built around them down with them. Nolan describes the cultural and social effects malls have had in America especially in the 80s and 90s, at their peak, and in Latin America now. Nolan examines how young people mill around malls and don the fashionable clothing brands and labels as a product of these malls, and how in the wake of stagnating incomes, and a reduction in wage increases, people have less and less disposable income and therefore less and less money to spend in shopping malls.

Nolan describes how the poor internet access and delivery services protect brick and mortar stores from the convenience and ubiquity of online shopping in Latin America. Whereas in North America, malls are doomed because of the ubiquity of the internet, in Latin America, malls remain thriving and abundant because internet access is much less ubiquitous there. It is interesting then that industrialists and capitalists identify this market opportunity and exploit the lack of internet rather than address it.  Nolan also cites the security of malls as compared to isolated stores as a reason why people migrate and become concentrated around them. Shoppers also prefer to do their shopping in a safe area. This has led to the rise of the shopping mall in Latin America.

Nolan describes how when we feel nostalgia for malls, maybe what we’re really feeling is nostalgia for a time when incomes were rising in North America, and the quality of life of average people was improving. Today, that’s what’s happening in much of Latin America. But as their mall era begins, and the American one fades, he encourages land developers and people in North America to find a more enduring model for the shopping mall.

I find it interesting how Nolan correlates economic phenomena like the growing middle class in Latin America with less economic phenomena like the activities of children and teenagers to paint  a vivid and relatable image of the shopping mall and the impact it has had on society and our daily lives.

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.

Noticias 11/28/2017

Tijuana turns wastewater into wine, as Latin America dips toe in reuse 

Within this article by Thomas Reuters, he tells us that the city of Tijuana is starting to break the barrier on their water crisis by simply reusing it. This is all starting to happen through a winery that is reusing water from the water treatment plant to irrigate their grapes used to make the wine. By using the treated water rather than the natural water that they would normally get from another irrigation system, it helps out other winery’s that struggle with the lack of water due to their location like the one in the Baja de California Peninsula that competes for water supplies from other local towns. Reusing water is a very underused system in the world and in Latin America only 30% of the wastewater is treated, but with their newfound knowledge of what they can do with the reused water, they will surely implement more water treatment plants to help create more reusable water for the people.

The Latin American people are portrayed like a progressive people in a way that they are in search of a cleaner and easier way to get water to their crops to further businesses but they are also mindful of the economic problems that the reuse of water can cause for the people.

Relating to our class theme of the identity of Latin America, these people seem to be thinking about the future and what they can do to make life easier for them like bringing another “source” of water to their problem of lack of usable water as their solution. This shows them in progressive mindset as said before but also they are mindful in what their actions can cause as far as economic problems and who should get the water (city or farmers) for a higher price or maybe even the same price.

Final Noticias

Tijuana turns wastewater into wine, as Latin America dips toe in reuse

Reuters. “Tijuana turns wastewater into wine, as Latin America dips toe in reuse.” NBC News, November 27, 2017.

Image result for water reuse

My final article was about a new way that people are using wastewater from a Mexican treatment plant. An Italian wine maker has begun to use treated wastewater from a Mexican plant to irrigate his nearby grape fields. While it may seem gross or unsanitary to use wastewater, this winemaker guarantees the water is perfectly clean and suggests that the water will make grapes that will eventually become wine that will sell for $200 a bottle. In addition to growing good grapes, the use of wastewater helps with water shortages in Mexico’s arid climate. In many other regions around the world including Singapore, Israel, and parts of the US people already use recycled wastewater however Latin America has been slow to adopt the trend despite water shortages. In some Latin American countries including Mexico, Chile, and Brazil are beginning to use treated wastewater for agriculture, specifically irrigation. Water recycling is very efficient and cost effective but it requires lots of infrastructure that many Latin American nations do not have yet. There is also a stigma about treated wastewater that makes people reluctant to use it, especially for drinking. There is also a growing concern among farmers about water prices potentially increasing because of water recycling which could easily put their farms out of business.

This article is interesting because the portrayal seems very balanced which is rare, especially for an article about Latin America. I liked this article because it did not talk about anything bad or violent like many other articles about Mexico and Latin America in general. Many articles that I have read for noticias posts in the past week have talked about murder, rape, corruption and poverty. It was nice to find an article that focused on an example of technological advancement in Latin America. While it did not really mean anything, it felt kind of nice to end on a high note.

This article began by portraying Latin America and Mexico in a positive light by talking about the technological advancements that Mexico has made that help deal with wastewater and water shortages in arid regions. The article also discussed similar systems in other Latin American countries which is a good thing and could save Latin America. The only part of the article that portrayed Latin America in a negative light was the part where it talked about the lack of technological advancement in Latin America. This may have been negative in a way but at the same time it was purely factual and did not embellish at all which is good. They also did not talk about poverty or infrastructure outside of the context of the article so I think that this article did a good job overall of remaining unbiased.

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

Noticias Week 14

Link to article


For the final noticias week, I chose the article titled “Search for Argentine submarine enters ‘critical phase'” that is written by Eliott C. McLaughlin and Stefano Pozzebon. The Argentine submarine ARA San Juan has been missing for over a week and eleven countries have joined in the search effort to locate it and save its 44 crew members, which includes the country’s first woman submarine officer, Eliana Maria Krawczyk. The submarine was last seen on November 15 in the San Jorge Gulf about half the distance from where the submarine disembarked and its hopeful and final destination. The submarine has enough air to last for ten days and since a week has since passed, an Argentine spokesperson states, “We are in a critical phase.” Nevertheless, there is still the possibility that the submarine has surfaced or so-called “snorkeled,” meaning that it has raised a tube to the surface to acquire new air.

People’s Response

Thus far, the search effort has been unsuccessful and has caused many family members and the country to severely worry about the passengers aboard on the submarine. The article includes statements from the brother of another passenger by the name of Christian Ibañez. His brother voices that the search effort was not performed quickly enough and he along with others believe that they are being disrespected by the navy that continues to state that the submarine could still be on the surface. He expresses, “If it was on the surface, they would have found it. They didn’t, and they didn’t look for them at the bottom. If they did it earlier, it could have been different” (McLaughlin). The daughter of Christian Ibañez has been told by her mother that her father is missing, but that he will be home soon. Despite all this turmoil, hope still remains that the submarine will be found. Several kind gestures have been carried out by the local community, such as the ones that is pictured below. Over 20,000 students from local schools made drawings that include hopeful wishes and have attached them near the base in Mar del Plata.


Outcome/Relation to Identity

No one knows where the submarine is, but there have been many theories for its disappearance and several reports of sounds and signals that could be related to the missing submarine, but they have since been proved false. This tragic event has greatly affected Argentina, however the way in which the country and several nations have assisted in the search for the submarine can be said to have a relation to Argentina’s identity. Despite this mysterious event and the understandable complaints that have been voiced by some people, Argentina is being portrayed in a relatively positive manner because of the willingness of other countries to take action and assist with the search effort. Additionally, the kind gestures that have been performed like the one mentioned above shows the nation’s optimism despite the sadness that it also greatly feels.

If you are interested in learning more about the search effort and the effect that this event has had on many people in Argentina, you can watch the video below:

McLaughlin, Eliott C. “Search for Argentine Submarine Enters ‘Critical Phase’.” CNN, Cable News Network, 23 Nov. 2017


Over the past few weeks my blog posts have a reoccurring theme or topic. Which is the role of politics in Latin American or National Identity. Within countries with deep rooted corruption in their Government or current political/social upheavals (or scandals). Venezuela, being one of the few I’ve commented on, especially after it being topic of quite a few class discussions.

Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of Caracas, speaking to the news media on Saturday after his arrival at the airport in Madrid. Credit Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The article I choose for this weeks noticias is surrounded around the “Escaped Venezuela Opposition Leader [Reaching] Spain and [Vowing To] Fight”   To offer a little context to what is going on in Venezuela in relation to this article, we have to go back a few years. The Mayor of Caracas, Venezuela was arrested a few years ago on accusations that he along with others and the American Government planned to overthrow the current Venezuelan Government. Ex Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma refutes these accusations. Arguing along the line with many of his supporters that Venezuelan President Maduro, did so to silence opposition in Venezuela that is bringing attention to the suffering caused by severe economic decline and famine under his administration.

Supporters of the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, demanded his release on Thursday.Credit Ariana Cubillos/Associated Press.


Mr. Ledezma has always been outspoken about Venezuela’s internal struggles and the Government’s lack of appropriate addressal to said issues. He led Government protests that shook Venezuela and still advocated for socio-economic political changes that would begin to fix the problems Venezuela faced from house arrest until his recent escape from the country.

After his escape to Colombia and then Madrid, Espana he stated that “[He is] going to dedicate [himself] to traveling the world, to spread the hope of all Venezuelans to escape this regime, this dictatorship,” because “Venezuela isn’t on the verge of an abyss — it has fallen into the
abyss.” To which since landing in Madrid he’s spoken to former Venezuelan Ambassador, Fernando Gerbasi, and former Colombian President , Andrés Pastrana. As well as, Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy.

It is important to understand that in the midst of all of this internal turmoil, like the declining economy and increasing nationwide famine there are large groups of people that oppose the current Government Administration under Maduro. They desire under a (metaphorical) banner of Venezuelan Nationalism, an administration that will represent their needs and work towards dismantling corrupt government practices that allow their issues to continue worsening. People are rallying against a Government collectively that they no longer support… (In class it was argued that the Government itself was made up of the Venezuelan people and that it was certainly possible that the Venezuelan people would continue the support of a corrupt Government…in an endless cycle that would obviously not end their issues. But, I believe there is enough opposition within that they could potentially cause some form of change, even if it takes the form of a coup.)


Noticias: Art as a Form of Healing

Article link:

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 11/14/17

Art and Memory in Latin America

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.