By Christa Giesecke
In spite of Central America’s rich history, culture and traditions, international news from the region frequently tells of violence. Organized crime in the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala is frequently linked to maras, organized gangs with transnational origins. With a total of 431 reported homicides in September 2017 alone, El Salvador, in particular, is considered to be among the most violent countries in the region (Instituto de Medicina Legal, 2017). For women and girls, this violence poses an additional threat in the form of gender-based and sexual violence. Femicide, the intentional killing of women and girls on the basis of their sex, is prominent in El Salvador, with 468 reported cases, the equivalent of one woman’s death every 18 hours, reported in 2017 (Instituto de Medicina Legal, 2017). These alarming statistics raise questions about the nature and roots of violence in El Salvador.
By Leah Hutton Blumenfeld
Writing a historiography of labor in Colombia is not a simple task. The variety of topics and time periods that have been covered in the literature reveal that it is underdeveloped, since there are not a significant number on any one era or area in particular. Generally speaking, as one searches for sources on Colombia, one finds hundreds of articles and books on drugs and violence. This may be part of the explanation for the unevenness of sources on labor, and can be considered a reason to explore other aspects of Colombian history so as not to pigeonhole it any more than it already has been. A reorientation in the approach to Colombian history may, in fact, help illuminate the proclivity towards drugs and violence in Colombian history in a different and possibly clearer fashion.
By Laura Schroeder
The video begins with slow, dramatic music.
The words “Grupo Jaremar” flash against a concrete wall, followed by shots of factory equipment and signage surrounded by lush foliage and zooming cars.
A deep male voice announces in Spanish that Grupo Jaremar, a Central American palm oil conglomerate, delivers high-quality products with the customer in mind.
Then, the stories start.
Por Susana Cardenas-Soto
La memoria como un remedio para el mal de Tzvetan Todorov identifica cuatro roles principales en las narrativas del bien y del mal: el villano y su víctima; el héroe y sus beneficiarios (8-10). Al examinar la esfera patriarcal de los cárteles mexicanos y sus narrativas, específicamente Fiesta en la madriguera de Juan Pablo Villalobos, podemos ver que las mujeres desempeñan el papel de víctima. Feminicidio se define como “el asesinato misógino de mujeres por hombres…” (Fragoso 283). Fragoso explica que esta violencia es “consecuencia lógica del sistema patriarcal que mantiene la supremacía masculina” (284). Es fácil disolver la empatía a favor de demonizar a los perpetradores cuando leemos sobre los horrores del narcotráfico. Todorov afirma que para evitar una ‘repetición de acontecimientos’ se requiere reflexionar sobre las circunstancias que dieron lugar a actos bárbaros, las motivaciones de los responsables y los medios que emplearon (80). No podemos simplemente culpar a los hombres como Guzmán, o el ficticio Yolcaut, sin mirar los sistemas de patriarcado y explotación económica. Es natural estar sorprendido sobre las realidades de la narco-violencia; para comprender, debemos emplear la empatía. Fiesta en la madriguera revela, a través de la estructura narrativa, la victimización de las mujeres en los cárteles mexicanos, e ilumina simultáneamente la humanidad de sus agresores y el sistema omnipresente que perpetúa la estratificación de clase y género.
By Emanuel Pietrobon
In 2014, according to Pew Research Center, about 69% of Latin America’s population identified as Catholic, in comparison with 92% in 1969. During the same period, the share of Evangelicals grew from 4% to 19%, a growth rate three times larger than the world’s population growth. Within the last decade, Roman Catholicism’s influence has decreased and is no longer followed by the majority of the population in countries such as Guatemala, Chile, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Uruguay. This trend is due to the increase of new Christian denominations and irreligiosity, and is being recorded all over Latin America, which may no longer be a Catholic majority by 2030.
Several factors pushed people to abandon Catholicism and to embrace other denominations or atheism such as sexual and accounting scandals involving the clergy, involvement with military dictatorships during the 1970s and 1980s, the crisis of the Catholic welfare model based on supplying public goods and services to villages and slums, secularization processes, and the energetic campaign of proselytism through social and political activism of Evangelical Churches.
By Aidan Sanchez
The current political climate in the United States in 2018 is volatile. Among the many contentious topics is Islam’s place in modern Western society. Much of the kindling for growing islamophobic sentiments in the West has come from President Donald Trump. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump regularly established that Islam, and by extension Muslims, are public enemy number one. During a campaign rally in December of 2015, Trump infamously called for “’a total and complete shutdown’ of Muslims entering the United States ‘until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.’” In the same speech, Trump conceded that “we have no choice,” and must prevent Muslims from entering the United States. Establishing such a travel ban was, according to supporters, imperative in the interest of preserving national security. In his 1993 article The Clash of Civilizations?, Samuel Huntington predicted that cultural differences between the East and West would be the fundamental source for international conflicts in the post-Cold War Era. Using Huntington’s hypothesis, it is possible to identify the historical framework that has led us to where we are now.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union took the place as the U.S. collective ‘other,’ unifying two distinct conservative political sects: civilizational and ideological, against a common enemy. The civilizational conservatives opposed communism due to ideological reasons. The Soviet Union was an atheist state; its lack of faith ran contrary to Anglo-Saxon Christian traditions. Ideological conservatives stood against communism in the interest of preserving liberty and preventing the global domination of a totalitarian regime. This ‘us versus them’ paradigm is useful in analyzing this time period. Politicians and media outlets alike utilized this worldview to frame international politics because it was easy to identify the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’ From this perspective, the United States was the good guy, and the Soviet Union was the godless enemy. In a December 1992 memo to his staff, New York Times foreign editor Bernard Gwertzman wrote, “In the old days, when certain countries were pawns in the Cold War, their political orientation alone was reason enough for covering them.” However, when the threat of nuclear annihilation subsided, the United States emerged as the clear global hegemon.
By Rosalie Mattiola
The following text is an excerpt from a research paper written in spring 2017. To read the full text and to see the sources used, click here.
Between 1997 and 2013, Chile experienced a shift in mortality rates of diseases considered “modern” or “western” like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The number of deaths caused by malignant tumors of the colon, sigmoid, rectum, anus, liver, pancreas, trachea, bronchus, lung, head, lymphatic tissues, hypertensive disease, cardiac arrhythmias, arteriosclerosis, aneurisms, and aortic dissections have dramatically increased in the last two decades. Within 16 years, the number of deaths from cancer of the colon, sigmoid, rectum, anus, pancreas, trachea, bronchus, lung, and head have more than doubled. Those caused by hypertension jumped from 1,700 in 1997 to 4,574 in 2013. Moreover, the number of deaths from cardiac arrhythmia more than tripled in this time (DIES-MINSAL Series Principales causas de muerte tasas según sexo Chile).