In the headlines: Protests take over Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Haiti; Argentina puts Peronists back in power; Brazil suffers the largest oil spill in its history while former President Lula is released from prison; and more.
Argentines elected to put Peronists back in power after the presidential election last month. President Mauricio Macri lost the vote to leftist Alberto Fernandez and former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who ran as his running mate. Fernandez won with 47% of the vote, enough to prevent a run-off election, and gained most of his support from those hoping a different party will fix the country’s economic crisis. Many seem optimistic that Fernandez and Kirchner will be able to improve the economy. Fernandez vowed to work with Macri in order to have a seamless transition of power.
After a contentious presidential election last month that led to massive street protests, President Evo Morales resigned following a report from the Organization of American States (OAS) found “clear manipulations” in the vote count. Bolivia’s Electoral Board abruptly halted the public tally with only 83% of votes counted, claiming the stoppage was intended to focus on a slower official calculation. After a 24-hour silence, official election results were announced with 98.4% of the votes counted, giving Morales a 10% lead over Carlos Mesa, just enough to avoid a run-off election. Following the vote, the opposition called for peaceful protests, but clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters were violent, leaving three dead. Roadblocks brought business to a stop, protesters burned government buildings and forced resignations from politicians aligned with Morales, and the military and police supported the protests suggesting Morales resign to bring peace.
By Madeline Asta
‘Machismo’. The idea that masculine pride comes from strength and aggression. A concept that is predominantly associated with Latin American culture and customs, but is also prevalent in societies across the globe. Historically and contemporarily, ‘machismo’ is used to justify male sexual, physical, and emotional dominance, primarily over females. It is the stereotype that the man goes to work and makes a living while the woman stays home to take care of children and clean the house, that men do not cry or need help, and that expressing feelings is a sign of weakness. Local, national, and regional feminist movements have been fighting to change these societal roles and customs. The ‘Green Tide’ brought the issue of abortion to the streets of Argentina, #EleNao spread across social media platforms as women resisted now Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and numerous women fought back against violence through politics. Within the last five years, men have also started taking steps to change this culture. Throughout Brazil, groups and centers aimed at starting dialogue between men about masculinity have developed. The film “O Silêncio dos Homens,” or “The Silence of Men,” was made by Papo de Homem as part of a project to bring awareness and open dialogue surrounding machista culture in Brazil.
“Men are always talking, imposing themselves, interrupting women whenever they talk. They are in places of power. How are men in silence? What I hear most is a man’s voice talking. But there is a difference between talking and actually unveiling oneself […] he talks to maintain an image.”
We recently sat down with Nestor “the Boss” Gomez, host of the storytelling podcast 80 Minutes Around the World and 40-time winner of the Moth Grand Slam.
Nestor, who used to stutter, hails from Guatemala and found his voice after migrating to Chicago, enrolling in high school, and learning to navigate a new culture. Currently, he uses his platform to encourage others to tell their stories.
“Every place, person and thing inspires a different story or poem,” he says.
This Q&A has been lightly edited for clarity.
The Journey North
My childhood was a very hard childhood. I was the second of four siblings. Actually, I’m the second of six. Two of my siblings died when they were very young. We were poor and my family made Guatemalan worry dolls [small cloth figures dressed in traditional Mayan clothing] that we sold at the airport and tourist shops.
In the headlines: Deforestation in the Amazon increases under Bolsonaro, Ecuador fights illegal mining, Haitians demand President step down over corruption, Italian court sentences 24 to life sentences in Operation Condor trial, and more.
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Brazil’s Amazon saw an 88% increase in deforestation in June compared to the same month last year. Since Jair Bolsonaro became president in January, he has supported development in the Amazon and criticized the environmental ministry’s harsh fines for deforestation. June was the second month in a row of high deforestation numbers, and in the last 11 months, deforestation is up 15% from the same period the previous year. While the Bolsonaro government seems to be supporting deforestation, international pressure to implement anti-climate change measures has increased. In the new European Union-Mercosur free trade agreement, members are required to implement the Paris Agreement provisions.
By Orestes Rafael Betancourt
Evo Morales, tenant of the Palacio de Quemado for 13 long years now, rejected the fact that 51.3% of Bolivians voted “No” in the 2016 referendum for his fourth presidential candidacy in October 2019. To do so, the Constitutional Court ruled that the same Constitution Morales passed in 2009, which limited presidential reelections, violated his political right to run for office. The ruling stated that term limits were essentially a human rights violation, and, therefore, overruled the Constitution to allow Morales to run for reelection. Now, with all the resources of the state in his favor, Morales will be the candidate of the governing party once again. His reelection in 2014 and the 2006 Constituent Assembly have been questioned as well. However, some disregard these criticisms based on the economic and social achievements of Morales’ administration.
By Christian M. Bills
The information in this article has no affiliation or association with the United States Government, the United States Military, or the Department of Defense. It is not to be misconstrued as the opinion or belief of the aforementioned parties.
For the last four decades, the War on Drugs has remained a constant in both the United States and Mexico. Since its official beginning in 1971, under the Nixon Administration, the meaning of the phrase “the War on Drugs” has varied depending on who is asked. In the United States, it is presented as an assault against drug abuse and addiction, while those who oppose the struggle claim it to be an attempt to diminish minority communities. In Mexico, the War on Drugs symbolizes the beginning of a long and bloody period full of corruption, violence, and pain. Regardless of which side of the border you live on, one component of the drug war remains a constant: the cartels who are responsible for initiating widespread violence and distributing millions of pounds of narcotics. However, despite the violence and pain felt in Mexico due to these criminal organizations, in 2018 the promises of reform and a new strategy were presented by recently elected Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. This new breath of life was explained by presidential aid Olga Sanchez: “We will propose decriminalization, create truth commissions, we will attack the causes of poverty, we will give scholarships to the youth and we will work in the field to get them out of the drug situation.”
Por Pilar Espitia
Como bien habrá notado, hay días en la vida que pueden pasar sin contratiempos; poco memorables que quedarán enterrados en su almohada, una vez llegue la noche y le entre el sueño. Pero habrá otros días mucho menos agraciados; días funestos que cambiarán su vida. Es con días como estos en los que reflexionamos sobre el acto de comenzar de nuevo.