Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

How Brazil’s Funk Music is Challenging Social Norms

Boom CHA-CHA, de boom CHA-CHA, the sound of funk carioca can be heard reverberating loudly throughout Brazil. Unapologetic, brazen and controversial, the music’s percussion-heavy sound forms the backdrop to life in the favelas. But while the genre is sometimes written off as lewd or “cheap,” funk carioca often reflects the harsh reality of life in Brazil’s marginalized communities. That … Read more


Oil Companies’ Uncertain Return to Mexico

Mexico welcomed international oil companies back into its borders for the first time in 77 years, today, with the announcement of winning bids for rights to explore 14 shallow-water oil blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. Though just two of the available blocks garnered successful bids, the auction was an early step in what will be … Read more


On Immigration, States Look to Move Past Rancorous National Debate

For progressive supporters of immigration reform, recent developments in national politics must undoubtedly seem grim. While two key elements of President Barack Obama’s sweeping executive actions on immigration appear to be headed towards defeat before the Firth Circuit Court of Appeals, House Speaker John Boehner continues to blame those actions for Congress’ inability to pass immigration reform.  … Read more


This Week in Latin America: ‘El Chapo’ Escapes—Oil Bidding in Mexico—Buenos Aires Mayoral Election—Pan-American Games

Here’s a look at some of the stories we’re following this week:   ‘El Chapo’ Escapes: Law enforcement officials from throughout the region continue their search for Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, after the drug kingpin and leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel escaped from a maximum security prison outside Mexico City on Saturday. Authorities have heightened surveillance along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, … Read more


Is Latin America Ready for a 21st Century Pope?

A revolutionary. A reformer. The most progressive Catholic leader in history. All have been used to describe Pope Francis, the Argentine pontiff who has shown a willingness to embrace change in the Catholic Church and reenergize his flock in places like Latin America, where the share of adults identifying as Catholic has fallen precipitously over … Read more


Brazil’s New Rules to Limit C-Sections

On Monday, Brazil introduced new rules aimed at curbing the country’s unusually high rate of caesarean sections. The rules will require doctors to inform women about the risks of C-sections and ask them to sign a consent form prior to the procedure. Doctors will also have to sign a form justifying the C-section. This is not the … Read more


Leaks Bring New Information about Surveillance in Latin America to Light

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently concluded her first state visit to the U.S. after abruptly canceling a trip scheduled for October 2013 due to allegations that the NSA had spied on her. While in the U.S., President Rousseff responded to questions about the spying issue, saying, “Some things have changed […] I believe President Obama.” … Read more


This Week in Latin America: Immunity in Guatemala—the Pope Visits—Pipeline Attacks in Colombia—Debt Crisis’ Wide Reach

Here’s a look at some of the stories we’ll be following this week: Corruption Scandals in Central America: Guatemala’s legislature will vote this week on whether to strip President Otto Pérez Molina of presidential immunity. The vote may open the door to prosecution as part of an ongoing corruption investigation involving the country’s customs authority … Read more


Copa América Final Offers Chile a Chance at Redemption

When Chile takes the field against Argentina in this Saturday’s final of the Copa América football competition, they can do more than just win. They can redeem a “golden generation” that went before them, and make good on decades of missed opportunity. It was a 1989 World Cup qualifying match in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium … Read more


Cuba’s ‘Major Victory’ in the Fight against HIV

Lost in the fanfare surrounding President Obama’s plans to re-open the U.S. embassy in Cuba was an announcement that may prove even more significant for the island’s inhabitants. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that Cuba had become the first country to successfully eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis. By the WHO’s … Read more


United States and Cuba Set Date for Embassy Inaugurations

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba will reopen embassies in their respective capitals on July 20, officially restoring diplomatic ties between the two countries. The opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana for the first time in over 54 years would be the most tangible sign of progress in the … Read more


Afro-descendant women gather in push for racial justice

Artist and activist Bree Newsome became an internet sensation, this weekend, after she briefly took down the Confederate flag that stands on the grounds of South Carolina’s state capitol. Many viewed her act as an important statement about racial equality in the United States. But it was also a reminder of how Afro-descendant women are taking the … Read more


How Guns N’ Roses brought down Manuel Noriega

It was thanks in part to rock and roll hits from bands such as The Doors and Guns N’ Roses that Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, fell from grace. In December 1989, with Noriega holed up at the Vatican embassy in Panama, the U.S. military installed a line of stereo speakers around the building blaring songs such as “Dead … Read more


Panama’s success isn’t just about economics

Over the past decade, Panama has often been in the international spotlight thanks to robust economic growth rates that consistently outrank those of its neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean. On Wednesday, the country received a different kind of attention after taking the top spot in the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index for the second year in a row. The index, which uses public surveys … Read more

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