Around Latin America

-For the first time in its history, Brazilian census data has found that a majority of Brazilians define themselves as black or mixed race. To be clear, this isn’t the first time Afro-descendants are the majority in Brazil’s history; they regularly outnumbered the Portuguese in the early colonial period as slavery took hold in the Northeast. And certainly, census data has its own problems in terms of how categories are created and defined, how people identify (or are identified), and other issues. Still, this is a big story if for no other reason than this marks the first time that a majority of Brazilians have been comfortable acknowledging their own status as at least partly Afro-Brazilian at the personal level.

Lillie has an excellent roundup on the immediate impact of Uruguay’s recent decision to revoke the amnesty law from it’s military dictatorship of 1975-1983. Reports and cases have already been filed for hundreds of victims, hopefully allowing them to begin proceedings against their torturers and against those who murdered their loved ones and ultimately bringing at least some small degree of closure to those who suffered for decades.

-This blog has focused heavily on the 20th-century military dictatorships of countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Peru, but they were not the only countries who violated human rights. Mexico [whose Institutional Revolutionary Party scholars now consider a “party dictatorship”] had its own share of repressive violence, most notably in the 1968 Massacre in Tlatelolco. That was not the only example of state-sponsored violence and tactics common to Latin American dictatorships, however, as many opponents to the government also were “disappeared” in this period, including folk singer Rosendo Radilla, who sympathized with guerrilla movements. Radilla was last seen at an army checkpoint in 1974, and his fate remains unknown to this day. This week, the Mexican government apologized for his disappearance.

-Speaking of violence in Mexico, Human Rights Watch has issued its findings on human rights abuses in Mexico’s drug wars. Suffice to say, the results are not good; among other things, formal abuse complaints increased from 691 between 2003-2006 to 4803 between 2007-2010.

-Brazilian officials are defending themselves against accusations that their recent invasion of Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro, was a media spectacle and little else. Meanwhile, the always-outstanding Rio Real has excellent photos and a write-up on the invasion itself, its execution, and implications for what it means going forward.

-Peru’s Vice President, Omar Chehade, has stepped down over allegations of corruption.

-Students in Colombia have ended their month-long strike over educational reforms after Congress withdrew the educational reform legislation that had spurred the protests.

-Also in Colombia, the government continues its efforts to completely and finally dismantle the FARC by launching an ad campaign designed to target child-soldiers in the FARC (as well as those thinking of joining the guerrilla movement).

-Brazil has granted residency to a Brazilian citizen’s spouse. While this happens on a daily basis, this particular event is notable in that it is the first time it has granted residency to a same-sex couple, making Brazil one of the most open and accepting countries in the Western hemisphere in terms of legal rights for same-sex couples.

-Facing economic turmoil at home and throughout Europe, some Spaniards are again migrating to Argentina. Although nowhere near the size of the immigration wave to Argentina that took place in the late-19th and early-20th century, over 24,000 Spaniards migrated to Argentina in 2010 alone.

-Outgoing Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom has authorized the extradition of former president Alfonso Portillo to the United States over charges of money-laundering. Portillo, who served from 2000-2004, is accused of laundering over $70 million during his time in office, charges he denies. Colom is leaving office after the recent election of conservative ex-general Otto Perez Molina.

-A São Paulo man can now add “getting drunk and then invading the pen of spider monkeys” to the list of things that aren’t a good idea.

-Finally, it is no secret that Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of the seminal band Sonic Youth are separating, throwing the future of the band (in its thirtieth year) into doubt, and they may have played their last show in São Paulo. You can watch the show in its entirety here.

About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
This entry was posted in Argentina, Around Latin America, Brazil, Colombia, Corruption, Drugs and the Drug Trade in the Americas, Educational Reforms, Favelas, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionárias de Colombia (FARC), Guatemala, Human Rights Issues, Human Rights Violations, Immigration, LGBT Rights & Issues, Mexico, Mexico's Institutional Dictatorship, Peru, Race in Brazil, Race in the Americas, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Student Movements, Uruguay, Uruguay's Military Dictatorship (1973-1985). Bookmark the permalink.