Around Latin America

-UNESCO is investigating whether or not to include Brasília on its list of endangered World Heritage sites. The entire city, which was built in the late-1950s and inaugurated in 1960, is on the World Heritage list for its value as an engineering feat of the mid-20th century and a paragon of the high modernist aesthetic that people seem to either love or hate.

-Last week, Mexican authorities found  a cave that contained the remains of 167 bodies in the southern state of Chiapas, and this week, anthropologists say the cave is part of an indigenous cemetery that is around 1300 years old.

-I’ve talked plenty here about the Argentine dictatorship’s crimes against humanity, but human rights abuses were not the limits of the regime’s abuse of power. As investigations into military officials’ past acts continue, authorities’ economic crimes and abuses are also coming to light, revealing the greedy side of authoritarian rule.

-While LGBT rights have a long way to go in Latin America (and much of the world), but the increasing presence of gays, lesbians, and trans-gendered individuals in government posts throughout the region is an important step in shattering stereotypes and increasing acceptance of the LGBT community throughout Latin America.

-A Guatemalan court sentenced an ex-soldier to 6,060 years in prison for his role in the massacre of civilians. Pedro Pimentel, now 55, was convicted for his role in the Dos Erres massacre that took the lives of 201 people in December 1982. While the 6000+ year sentence is symbolic (Pimentel can legally only serve 50 years), it is still an important step towards justice for one of the more gruesome events in what was a horribly gruesome 36-year civil war in the Central American country.

-The US Department of Justice has blocked a Texas Voter ID law that would discriminate against Latino voters in the state.

-While there are certainly many areas in which one can legitimately criticize the Obama administration, Obama’s record in treating Brazil as the increasingly-important global power it has become in the last ten years is excellent and marks a major improvement in US-Brazilian relations, as Boz reminds us.

-Ricardo Teixeira, the head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol, CBF) has stepped down amidst allegations of corruption.

-Bolivian president Evo Morales appeared before the UN to again defend the indigenous practice of chewing coca leaves. The leaves, which function as a mild stimulant in the same way as coffee or tea when consumed in their natural state, are also chemically processed and refined into cocaine.

-On the other side of the coca leaf issue, the US Coast Guard recently seized two tons of cocaine worth nearly $43 million in the Caribbean.

-In Peru, hundreds of nude cyclists took to the streets in Lima to protest reckless driving that kills scores of cyclists.

-In El Salvador, mid-term elections gave a “victory” to the right-wing ARENA party, which won a plurality of the vote over the left-wing Farabundo Marti Liberation Front. ARENA’s legislative gains could make  passing legislation difficult for President Mauricio Funes. Tim breaks down what the elections mean going forward,

-Finally, returning to Guatemala, Greg provides this answer for anybody who wonders why Latin Americanists may be more-than-occasionally skeptical of the US government’s rhetoric on and policy towards Latin America [hint: “the Guatemalan people themselves” most certainly did not rise up to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 in a coup that ultimately led to a 30+ year civil war that left more than 250,000 Guatemalans dead].


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, Argentina's Military Dictatorship (1976-1983), Around Latin America, Bolivia, Brazil, Caribbean, Corruption, Drugs and the Drug Trade in the Americas, El Salvador, Futebol (Soccer), Guatemala, Guatemala's Civil War, Latin America, Latin American-U.S. Relations, Latinos in the U.S., LGBT Rights & Issues, Mexico, United States. Bookmark the permalink.