A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘latin america

[LINK] On Cuban medical workers, Colombia, and the United States

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Al Jazeera America’s David Martin and Sheila MacVicar report (“Hoping to reach US, Cuban doctors and nurses sit in limbo in Colombia”) on Cuban medical workers who, after leaving Venezuela with the goal of getting to the United States, find themselves caught in Colombia as they wait to enter.

In a working-class section of the Colombian capital, a Cuban doctor, nurses and others spend their days languishing in a cramped apartment, checking their phones for word from the U.S. Embassy.

They’re hoping to hear they’ve been approved for U.S. visas under a program that was designed to undermine the Castro regime.

“It’s very hard,” said Dr. Yosmany Velasquez Silva, who has been waiting for a visa for more than four months after leaving his job in rural Venezuela.

Velasquez has applied for a visa under the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which grants entry into the U.S. for Cuban medical professionals sent overseas by their government.

The United States enacted the program in 2006 because Cubans sent on these medical missions are considered “conscripted” labor. But now that Cuba and the United States are normalizing relations after 50 years of Cold War tensions, the Cuban health care workers in Bogota worry the visas are drying up.

Velasquez and the others were working in Venezuela when they decided to leave their jobs and cross the border into neighboring Colombia. In all, more than 700 Cuban medical professionals left their jobs in Venezuela and have been living in Bogota.

“I’m in limbo here. A migratory limbo,” said nurse Adriana Lopez Lara, who received an email denying her U.S. visa application with no explanation.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 29, 2015 at 10:14 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Is Puebla like Bogotá? The geography of drug trafficking in Mexico”

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Fernando Montiel Tiscareño at Open Democracy describes how the Mexican city of Puebla now, like the Colombia city of Bogotá two decades ago, is being transformed by the money and the violence associated with the drug trade.

Some time ago, a Colombian citizen pointed out something to me: “Puebla is like Bogotá thirty years ago”. How is that? I asked him. “Just like Puebla today, thirty years ago Bogotá was full of investments and investors, housing developments and luxury cars, and only later did we realize that it was drug trafficking”. This conversation took place seven years ago.

My conversation partner knew what he was talking about. He knew what it was like to live with the multiple facets and time frames of violence: first come opulence, growth, development, and a rich, full, cosmopolitan life; then, decadence and hell. A family member of his had been blackmailed; another had suffered a kidnapping attempt. In the end, he and his relatives abandoned all hope, and left the country. This is how they came to Puebla.

“They need a place to live. It’s not so hard to understand”. This is not my Colombian friend any more, but a sturdy man who speaks naturally about the subject. He is an expert, a life-long security professional. He measures his words: “If the border is where the business is, in Tamaulipas, in Mexico City, and now in Veracruz, they’re not going to live there. They need a different, quiet place, such as Puebla”, he says with a wicked smile on his face.

But not everyone thinks the same. Whatever my Colombian friend would have said and the security professional would admit, is now being refuted by an automobile dealer: “That’s not the reason. What is happening is that they’re coming here from the southeast to buy cars, because there’s nothing over there. I’m talking about Veracruz, Campeche, Yucatán, Chiapas, Oaxaca”. It sounds logical.

But is it really so unbearable to wait for a couple of extra hours to bring a Ferrari from Avenida Masarik in Polanco (an affluent district in Mexico City) that it is worth opening up a dealership in Puebla? Those who come from a wealthy lineage do know their peers. And knowing one of them, it is relatively easy to access information on the others. They are not many, not all of them are buying ultra luxury cars, and when they do so, they are not buying many units. So, if they are not the buyers, who is?

Written by Randy McDonald

September 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture reports on Olympics evictions in Brazil, compares school life in Boston and Haiti, and follows an elderly man climbing Mount Washington.
  • blogTO suggests jets will not be coming to the Toronto Island airport and argues the city is unlikely to legalize Uber.
  • The Broadside Blog examines the staggering level of income inequality in the United States.
  • Centauri Dreams considers, in real-life and science fiction, the problems with maintaining artificial economies and notes the complexities of the Pluto system.
  • Crooked Timber notes the problems of organized labour and Labour in the United Kingdom.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes how atmospheric oxygen may not automatically point to the sign of life.
  • The Dragon’s Tales maps volcanic heat flow on Io and wonders if that world has a subsurface magna ocean
  • Far Outliers notes a popular thief in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan and looks at the politicization of the German military after the 1944 coup.
  • Geocurrents calls for recognizing the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland and looks at the geography of American poverty.
  • Language Log notes Sinified Japanese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines the complexities of race and history in New Mexico.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that India unlike China cannot sustain global growth, approves of Snyder’s Black Earth, and notes poor economic outcomes for graduates of some American universities.
  • Otto Pohl is not optimistic about Ghana’s economic future.
  • The Planetary Society Blog evaluates the latest images from Mars.
  • pollotenchegg evaluates the 1931 Polish census in what is now western Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at why Syrian refugees will not be resettled in South America and observes that Mexico has birthright citizenship.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands describes the negative relationship for her between blogging and writing.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines rising mortality in Ukraine and notes changing ethnic compositions of Tajikistan’s populations.
  • Savage Minds talks about the importance of teaching climate change in anthropology.
  • Transit Toronto notes Toronto now has nine new streetcars.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi considers the situation of poor people who go to good schools.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the lack of Russian nationalism in the Donbas, observes the scale of the refugee problem in Ukraine, and looks at Russian alienation of Moldova.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly asks her readers what work means to them.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Saturn’s A ring.
  • Crooked Timber examines a mid-19th century horror story.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the circumstellar disks of supergiants in the Magellanic Clouds and on TW Hydrae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the Donbas war.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the interactions between science fiction and social media.
  • Geocurrents looks at Argentina’s north-south economic divide and examines controversial energy policies.
  • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad react to Kim Davis’ claims.
  • Language Hat considers spelling reform.
  • Language Log explains Obama’s strange Chinese nickname.
  • Languages of the World notes controversies over Spanish pronunciations.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes bootleg Soviet liquor in the Afghanistan war.
  • Marginal Revolution Looks at China’s surprisingly mixed experience of the 1930s and notes China’s weak growth prospects.
  • pollotenchegg maps language and identity in southeastern Ukraine in 1926 and finds continuities with the present.
  • Strange Maps depicts the distribution of refugees across Europe.
  • Towleroad notes the success of Truvada in preventing HIV infection.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes how people can claim religious exemptions on the job.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the solidarity of Belarusian soccer fans with Ukraine, notes the vulnerabiliy of Belarus to Russia, examines controversy over the Rail Baltica project, and wonders if the Donbas war will be to Russia what the Afghanistan war was to the Soviet Union.
  • Zero Geography celebrates the publication of a new book.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos from the European migrant crisis.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the writing of numbers on the arms of refugees.
  • The Dragon’s Tales updates readers on the war front and on the domestic mood.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Tennessee judge who denied a straight couple’s divorce because of marriage equality.
  • Language Hat notes the perils of translating Alice in Wonderland with its rich wordplay.
  • Languages of the World considers the question of the identity of the Black Jews.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests the United Kingdom and Latin America should take on more Syrian refugees.
  • Spacing Toronto suggests Toronto can stand to learn from Philadelphia about preserving art in public spaces.
  • Torontoist maps the rooming houses of Toronto.
  • Towleroad follows the Kim Davis saga.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy warns of restrictive copyright law lurking in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the high male mortality in Russia and refers to a writer who compares Putin positively to Alexander Nevsky.

[LINK] “Latin America’s 100 Years of Slow Growth”

Bloomberg View’s Justin Fox writes, with charts, about the slow economic growth over Latin America over the past century. Only Chile shows signs of converging strongly and consistently towards high-income levels.

[E]vident in [Hans] Rosling’s animations is the great breakout to much-higher living standards that the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand made in the 1800s, followed by the great catchup in Asia since the middle of the 20th century. Some African countries have begun making big strides, too, although sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s poorest region by far.

Then there’s Latin America and the Caribbean, whose part in this story has always intrigued and saddened me. In the 19th century, some of the countries and colonies to the south of the U.S. were among the world’s most affluent. In the 20th century most of them have become much more affluent in an absolute sense (Haiti is the tragic exception). They have nonetheless lost relative ground, especially during the past half-century, as rich countries just got richer and Asian nations broke through to wealth.

[. . .]

Compared to these other, more dynamic economies, Latin America seems to have been making hardly any progress. I’m not even going to try to go into all the possible reasons for this, in part because they vary greatly among countries. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think either U.S. imperialism or persistent bad luck is a satisfactory explanation for Latin America’s slow growth. Clearly these — with the possible exception of Chile — have not been among the world’s best-managed economies. And that really is too bad.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 3, 2015 at 7:24 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes that John Tory wants private industry to fund a Toronto bid for the Olympics.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a paper suggesting that the effects of panspermia might be detectable, via the worlds seeded with life.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that the Earth’s geological composition is likely to be unique.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the technological advancement of Neanderthals in Spain.
  • Far Outliers notes the extent to which some opposition to the Anglo-American invasion of Europe in the Second World War was motivated by pan-European sentiment.
  • Geocurrents dislikes very bad maps of human development in Argentina.
  • Language Hat notes that Jabotinsky wanted Hebrew to be written in Latin script.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the Sad Puppies.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes a book talking about a specifically Orthodox Christian take on demography.
  • Spacing Toronto looks at the first ride at the CNE.
  • Torontoist notes a Toronto libraries “passport”.
  • Understanding Society notes M.I. Finley’s excellent book on the dynamics of the Roman Empire.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a bizarre article published in a journal arguing that professors are equivalents to terrorists.
  • Why I Love Toronto recommends Dream in High Park.

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