1 VOLUME 24 ISSUE 4 SPRING 2009 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Inside this issue: SOLAS President Letter 2 SOLAS Pics 3 Interview: Carmen Julia Holguín Study in Nicaragua! Words from your LA Librarian Chasca y Yazmin 10 Peace and Justice Center Seminar Internship in Nicaragua KUDOS to Patrick Schafer Working in an El Salvador Election Poema 15 El Mitin 16 The Island Effect: A Glimpse at Cuban Life and Culture Today by Tijen Tunali In literature, from the Tempest of Shakespeare to Robinson Cruise of Daniel Defoe, as well as in American popular culture, from the cult movie Lord of the Flies to new TV hit Lost, we encounter the island as a mysterious place, which metaphorically and literally symbolizes a physical as well as mental threshold. In Tempest, Ariel encounters Cannibal, in Defoe s novel Robinson meets Friday, in Lost the survivors discover the hostile group in the island- all adhere to the Western conception of confronting the Other. The island is thus constructed as a mysterious threshold between civilization and savagery, science and mysticism, Self and Other. Nevertheless, Columbus and later Spaniards used Antilles as a physical threshold to the Americas, thus starting colonization of the continent. In an island, being physically Havana s Malecon restricted from departing as desired or from escaping a hostile attack generates a claustrophobic psyche. Cuba is an island that demonstrates all the psychological as well as social traumas of being surrounded by water in four directions. One could imagine the great-greatgrand fathers of young Cubans today gazing to the horizon across the ocean a couple of hundred years ago as they do themselves today. Since 1901, a 7 km long tick concrete wall that separates the seashore from the pedestrian pavement has contoured the infamous seafront Malecón in Havana. At each curve, there is a dwarf-like tower structure that gives the wall a continuous rupture. This wall is ingrained in the psyche of Havana s residents. It is even called the soul of Havana as locals use it for all sorts of social gatherings. No wonder why many artists have treated Malecón s wall as a symbol of psychological and political imprisonment. One of these artists is Isaac García Toledo, a recent graduate of San Antonie Art Academy who held a single show at the Cuban National Library by the Plaza de La Revolucion in December-January In the uncompleted paintings of Toledo s Malecon-wall becomes a border, a limit, a chain, a handcuff, a leash reflecting all the suffocation of the islander existence. Photo courtesy of Tijen Tunali Hence, in his works, the wall moves from the seashore to inland to parks, to bedrooms, even to dreams questioning the limits of existence in social, private and psychic realm of Cuba altogether. He makes the wall appear like as a panoptical architecture with the corner interventions becoming watchtowers. In Toledo s solo exhibition at the Plaza de La Revolucion during the 50 th year anniversary of the regime one is surprised by the sharp tone of the images that outline the unability to leave, unability to think and unability to do. For several decades, Cuban art has stimulated curiosity on how a society, perceived to be dogmatic and a regime set out to be dictatorial, can produce art with such a high degree of creativity using the language of free expression. Contemporary Cuban art owes greatly to the advantages of radical changes in the development of cultural institutions in the 1970s. Establishment of Ministry of Culture and foundation of Institute Superior de Arte in 1976, both embodied Fidel Castro s 1961 infamous speech Words to the Intellectuals, where he said: Everybody agrees that freedom of form must be respected No one ever thought that every man, or every writer, or every artist has to be revolutionary However, interestingly, this speech is not known for what I quoted above but for the now infamous saying of Fidel within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing, which quoted alone causes a fatal misunderstanding of Castro s government s cultural policies. From the late 70s to late 80s, the Ministry of Culture, with the leadership of open-minded Armando Hart, actively supported Cuban art to be a bridge between West and non-west. And thus, artistic freedom and institutional support a rare combination created the climate for visual art to be regenerated by the 80s generation. Another aspect of such vital creativity, that is now so typical of Cuban post-1959 art, is the use of unusual materials and the Continued on Page 9 ->
2 Page 2 President s Letter Queridos lectores, If you want to be involved in SOLAS next year, please contact the new SOLAS President at Este año académico ha estado lleno de eventos y actividades, Hay muchas personas a que agradecer su activismo con SOLAS!, como mi última carta a ustedes, me gustaría mencionar mis recuerdos favoritos del año y compartir mis pensamientos para el próximo año. Aunque tengo varios recuerdos muy especiales, estoy encantada por todos esos momentos que compartimos juntos. En particular, fue bueno conectar a la comunidad y estudiantes en general a las horas sociales a través de nuestra solidaridad en la promoción de derechos humanos con eventos como Sin Fronteras, las presentaciones de Brown Bags y la visita del mayor Miguel Ángel de Guatemala. En los años que vienen, uno de los objetivos de SOLAS es continuar usando el nuevo ámbito político para sustentar y fortalecer los derechos de los trabajadores e inmigrantes en EEUU. Aunque la administración del Presidente Obama puede hacer algo más progresivo sobre este tema, EEUU no ha estado enfocado históricamente en los derechos sociales, económicos ni culturales. Como una organización bien establecida, SOLAS tiene la oportunidad de fomentar activismo desde el fondo. También, me gustaría ver más intercambio entre SOLAS y otras organizaciones estudiantiles para fortificar nuestra voz por la universidad y por la comunidad. Atentamente, Lisa Burns Letter from the Editor Dear Readers, I honestly cannot believe that the end has come. Not in the Apocalypse Now sense, but more in regards to the finality of another semester, another graduating class and another academic year (hail the power of summer break). This year has been one with unexpected returns (e.g. economic crisis, pirates, swine flu, torture memos, no peanut butter for a couple of weeks ) along with positive outlooks (e.g. International Astronomical Union recognized a fifth dwarf planet, recycling pilot program in Albuquerque, Wall-E ) that have affected our lives in some way or at least entertained us while we trudged through the semesters. For those of you graduating, I hope your experience in either your undergrad or grad program has been rewarding coupled with the belief that your time was spent wisely. For those of you not graduating, there is something to be said for stamina. Soon you ll be done and you ll have the same token of achievement to look forward to...a degree. If anything, rest assured that homework is not an eternal venture or a professional occupation. It has been my pleasure to be editor of Limón this year. All of you who submitted have been terrific to work with and it never failed that Limón would contain a diverse range of interests. I hope all of you will continue to submit in the future no matter where life might lead you. All my best, Abby
3 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Page 3 SOLAS in ! Dinner with International Students! Sin Fronteras Film Festival HAPPY HOUR! International Fair 2009
4 Page 4 ENTREVISTA de María Nieves de Abajo Bajo a la poeta mexicana Carmen Julia Holguín Chaparro Carmen Julia Holguín Chaparro, nació en Hidalgo del Parral (Chihuahua, México) en Se graduó con una maestría en Literatura Latinoamericana en la Universidad Estatal de Nuevo México (NMSU) en Las Cruces, y actualmente está a punto de finalizar su doctorado en el mismo campo en la Universidad de Nuevo México (UNM), en Albuquerque. Después de haber publicado varios de sus poemas en diferentes antologías y revistas, en distintos lugares de su país y en el extranjero, en octubre del 2008 salió su primer libro de poesía A tu prójimo amarás en el Departamento de Estudios Superiores Zaragoza de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Si hay alguien inter esado en comprar su libro de poemas pueden dirigirse dir ectamente a ella: 1. Carmen, cuándo comenzaste a escribir poesía y cuándo te decidiste a compartirla con otros, a publicar seriamente? Comencé a escribir más o menos desde que estaba en secundaria, pero aquellos textos y los posteriores fueron parte de la práctica y la experiencia que un día me llevarían a escribir los que ya me atrevería a darles la categoría de poemas. Querer publicar y compartir fue un gusanito que fue naciendo poco a poco. Los encuentros de poetas a los que empecé a asistir desde el 2000 me fueron impulsando. El libro como la culminación de una primera etapa en mi vida era necesario y lo sentía desde el fondo de mí misma. 2. Cómo surge un poema? Es difícil escribir? Explícanos cómo es el proceso de escritura para ti. Yo no tengo un método de escritura. Cada poema que escribo surge de una manera diferente a la anterior. Un poema no es resultado de un instante es toda una experiencia de vida, de una actitud abierta al mundo que te rodea; de una actitud de amor por la palabra y fe en ella y su poder de comunicación. 3. Tu libro está dividido en cinco secciones, cuáles fue tus criterios para esta división? Fue un criterio más o menos temático. En la sección Sirenas de cierto mar reuní sólo poemas dedicados a mujeres que de alguna manera han afectado mi vida. En la sección Plegaria, todos los poemas giran alrededor de las mujeres asesinadas y/o violentadas en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Este es un tema que me afecta como ser humano, como mujer, como mexicana, como chihuahuense y hasta como hermana de una obrera de una maquiladora. En los poemas de Entre la luz y las sombras el tema es el amor y el desamor. Los textos de Voces y secretos son de diversa índole, los hay inspirados en algunas ciudades visitadas, en la familia, en objetos especiales. La selección es bastante heterogénea. La sección final, que es la que da título al libro A tu prójimo amarás, son poemas en contra de la guerra. La mujer, la violencia contra ella, el amor y su contraparte, el mundo que me rodea, con su paz y su guerra son preocupaciones que forman este libro. 4. En la sección Sirenas de cierto mar, aparece el poema Autorretrato en el cual la identidad lingüística parece ser una clave creando cierta tensión en la voz poética. Qué puedes decir al respecto? Nacer en la frontera supone para muchos un conflicto en diversas áreas, una de
5 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Page 5 ellas es la lengua. Cuál idioma hablar? cuál idioma se espera que hable de cada lado de la frontera? qué se exige para ser socialmente aceptado en cada lado? qué pide o qué exige la familia de un lado y del otro? son cuestionamientos que crean una tensión de vida. Lo que quise hacer en este poema es retratar este conflicto. 5. En la sección Voces y secretos cuál es la idea que quieres desarrollar? Hay temas muy localizados que me preocupan, la mujer, el amor, la guerra, etc. Otros poemas responden a las experiencias del día a día o a detonantes inesperados: un viaje, una imagen, una persona, un recuerdo. Uno que me gusta mucho es El secreto que lo escribí ante la impresión que me causó el Río de la Plata cuando viajé a Buenos Aires: lo personifico, le hablo y le prometo guardarle el secreto de que no es mar sino río. 6. Me impresiona la voz que emerge con fuerza en todos los apartados de tu libro, pero particularmente aquélla de Plegaria y A tu prójimo amarás porque la identifico con una voz de denuncia social. De dónde sale esta voz tan fuerte? Qué fue lo que te empujó? Los poemas de Plegaria son dedicados a las muertas de Ciudad Juárez y los de A tu prójimo amarás son textos contra la guerra. En el primer caso me toca no sólo como ciudadana mexicana y chihuahuense, sino como mujer porque, si bien es cierto que el problema de Juárez es uno muy grave que me impresiona por la cercanía (incluso porque mi hermana trabaja en una maquiladora, labor que desempeñan una gran mayoría de las mujeres violentadas), actualmente la violencia contra el género femenino es un problema mundial. En lugar de que los seres humanos vayamos creciendo y avanzando mentalmente, parece que vamos en retroceso y cada vez parece más autorizada la violencia contra la mujer, por el machismo, del que no están exentos los países del primer mundo, por la depreciación del género y por la indiferencia, producto también de la globalización. En el caso de la guerra, vivo en un país que está luchando dos en este momento y que ha hecho varias en el pasado, el mismo país que me ha ayudado a estudiar y a superarme, la mezcla de sentimientos es inevitable cuando pienso en todo esto. Sin embargo, una cosa bien clara es que no estoy a favor de la guerra y toda su terrible carga de muerte y destrucción para todas las partes que se implican. Es muy doloroso oír las noticias y ver las imágenes de la gente herida, mutilada, muerta; las imágenes de los pueblos y los seres humanos, civiles, rebeldes, soldados destruidos Comencé a escribir los poemas de estas secciones porque me salen de la rabia, del dolor y la impotencia que se hacen nudo en la boca del estómago. Yo no pretendo que sean o no de denuncia social, sólo sé que son algo que tiene que salir de mí porque de otra forma me envenenarían. Comencé a escribir estos temas cuando fui abriendo más y más los ojos, cuando pudo más mi coraje que mi miedo If you are interested in buying her book of poems, you can ask for a copy directly from her: Photo courtesy of
6 Page 6 UNM Students Have Great Opportunities to Learn in Nicaragua For the first time this spring UNM students are participating in a semester-long study program in Central America, based in Granada, Nicaragua, sponsored by Sociology, Peace Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, Latin American & Iberian Institute, and the Office of International Programs & Studies. Under the leadership of Dr. Christine Rack, who teaches Sociology and Peace Studies, and LAS graduate assistant Benjamin Waddell, nine UNM undergrads are living, studying, and doing research and service-learning programs in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. They will be spending several weeks in the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua, taking intensive Spanish language classes, reading and studying about social institutions and race and cultural relations in Central America. In Granada the students are living with local families and meeting with a variety of grassroots programs, which thrive in Nicaragua. The students are also taking field trips to other parts of Nicaragua e.g., health and ecological development in the north and will spend Photo courtesy of Robyn Cote several days in Costa Rica interviewing Nicaraguan migrants in a San José barrio, visiting international institutions like the Inter-American Court for Human Rights and the University for Peace. In the middle of the semester, students will work on independent research and service-learning projects. For example two of the students, Sociology major Albert Arocha and Political Science major Fraser Turner, will travel to El Salvador to serve as election observers in the March presidential elections. Pre-med student Tristen Adams will be working with a clinic in Ocotol, Nicaragua. Gabriel Gaarden, a Peace Studies minor, will work with the Friends Peace Center in San José, Costa Rica, a country that abolished its army in the 1948 constitution. Other students will be working with education in a rural school, with economic issues in a women s labor group, with a women s health advocacy group, a forensic investigator, or the youth division in the local police department. In the final month, students will utilize their enhanced capacities in Spanish to interview people about the effects of four decades of dramatic change on Nicaraguan social institutions which they have chosen for their focus: health, family, politics, economics, defense, education, or religion. In all cases, students internships and service is in these same areas, allowing the students to learn through service, through participant observation, and to arrange specific semi-structured interviews circling around the same sectors, creating a multidimensional understanding of the vulnerabilities and resiliencies in specific domains of Nicaraguan society. The semester program concept is a relatively new one at UNM and combines some of the best features of a faculty-led program and a semester-long exchange program. The first such program for UNM began one year ago at the UNM study center in Rome, Italy. Students get the support and assistance of UNM faculty members on the site, and they earn credit in regular UNM courses. However, they also have an intensive immersion experience living and working in another culture. UNM student Myra McGowan learned about the program last semester through her Spanish instructor. I was interested in this program because Spanish is my second major and I really wanted to understand the culture that comes with this language, says McGowan. I find the language beautiful. I also wanted to learn about the health and education systems in Nicaragua, and get involved with the families.
7 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Page 7 Can t take a whole semester to go to Central America? Try the shorter summer course. Don t worry. UNM is also offering a four-week summer course on Central America, based in Granada. The course meets at UNM from July 6-10, and then moves to Nicaragua from July Students will earn 3 credits in Sociology. The topic of the course is Social Dynamics of Global Change Recovery and Challenge in Post-Violence Central American Society, and is also taught by Dr. Rack. Students will not be taking formal Spanish classes, but will have a chance to practice the language by staying with families and participating in the field trips and visits to local organizations. Students will also have the opportunity to visit other parts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This is the fourth year Dr. Rack has taken students to Central America during the summer session. According to Dr. Rack, The course is an interdisciplinary, experiential investigation of economic, cultural, and political dynamics of change in Nicaragua, especially the post-war/disaster recovery process, and the human rights of women. The course offers students a holistic learning opportunity with some of our most diverse, warm, and gracious Central American neighbors in a beautiful and challenging geographical setting. The course may also be cross-listed in other UNM academic departments. For free time, the program includes a number of activities and trips so that students can enjoy the ambiance of Granada, the cultural center of Nicaragua, and the magnificence of the volcanoes, lakes, forests and beaches in Nicaragua and nearby Costa Rica. The cost of the summer program will be between $1,200 and $1,375, depending on the number of students participating. The cost includes all expenses while in Central America, but does not include UNM tuition, or roundtrip airfare, which should cost between $500 and $800. For more information, or to receive a program application, contact Robyn Cote, advisor in the Latin American & Iberian Institute, telephone Applications and a $500 deposit are due by April 30, There will be an information meeting about the summer program on Friday, April 24th, from 12:30 to 2:00 pm at the Latin American & Iberian Institute. Photo courtesy of Robyn Cote Photo courtesy of Robyn Cote
8 Page 8 Words for the summer From your friendly Latin American Librarian by Suzanne Schadl Hi all, as the semester winds down, please come see the current exhibit in the 2 nd floor lobby and in the Herzstein Latin American Reading and Conference Rooms. We are very fortunate to have Yuyanapaq: Para Recordar, images from the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission s larger exhibit. There is no denying the international attention this exhibit has garnered since the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission published its report in In fact, Germany recently gifted the Peruvian government two million dollars to design and build a permanent monument honoring the dignity of those Peruvians who have suffered terrorism, repression and unimaginable loss. Some of them are depicted in these traveling photographs from the permanent exhibit, but much more remains undocumented. Please take this opportunity to learn more about this history and to re-tell the story so these horrors can never be repeated. As many of you know, former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori was convicted of human rights abuses and sentenced to prison for 25 years on April 8 th, One day later, current president Alan García appointed Fujimori s opponent and acclaimed novelist Mario Vargas Llosa to direct a Truth and Reconciliation Commission memorial that will permanently house the sobering photographs you can see form now to June 12 th in the Zimmerman Library. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, García also oversaw bloody counterinsurgencies during his presidency, so this exhibit is quite timely. During the 1980s and 1990s, Peruvians, particularly indigenous communities in the Andean highlands, found themselves tangled in complicated webs of ruthlessness between state-sanctioned military operations and revolutionary assaults. The Maoist-oriented Shining Path often victimized and manipulated locals, while the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement organized along Cuban-inspired guerrilla lines to return the Peruvian Andes to the locals. Together these armies murdered or disappeared over 70,000 people. Even with efforts like this well-traveled exhibit, many of the communities most snarled in the crossfire remain unidentified by official entities. Many Quecha-speaking families in the impoverished Andean highlands have not established eligibility for government reparations. They often lack the connections and Spanish language fluency to apply for such vital national documents as birth and death records that would qualify them for such programs. Many within and outside of Peru, including Vargas Llosa, cite the Shining Path as the primary culprit for the appalling bloodshed of the 1980s and 1990s. However, they did not act alone in victimizing thousands of Peruvians with terror campaigns and repressive actions. Fujimori s recent conviction is a testament to the power of this well-executed effort to offer many-though not all-peruvians an opportunity to tell their stories, to share in the their losses, to educate the world beyond Peru s borders, and to hold accountable those responsible for these terrible crimes. Join us on May 7 th, 2009 for an opening reception and if you re still around May 18-21, 2009 for lectures from Louis Bickford of the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Jo-Marie Burt, Associate Professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as well as local experts on Peru and Truth Commissions. Bickford has consulted with governments, NGOs, human rights activists, and democratic movements on strategies for confronting the legacies of past abuse in more than a dozen countries. Previously, he was the associate director of the Global Studies Program and a lecturer in International Studies as the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Bickford has worked as a consultant for the Ford Foundation in Chile, and was a visiting researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences. He has published Research Review, and has contributed chapters to several books, including The Art of Truth-telling about Authoritarian Rule (2005). He is currently an adjunct professor at the Wagner School of New York University and in the Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA) at the New School for Social Research. Dr. Burt was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting researcher at the Catholic University of Peru in 2006, and she served as a research consultant for the Peruvian Truth and Justice Commission in She is co-editor, with Philip Maurceri, of Politics in the Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform (2004). In 2008, Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru was nominated for the WOLA-Duke book award for the best non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy and social justice in contemporary Latin America. Oh yes, if you re headed out for research this summer and if you think of it, I would like to start a community inspired Latin American ephemera collection and house it in the Herzstein Reading Room. Please, pick up on thing you think would be interesting (a flyer, poster, newspaper, cartoon, postcard, whatever as long as it packs lightly and ell) and bring it back to donate to the collection. Have a great summer
9 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Continued from Front Page > way art springs from all aspects of life. Because of the US blockade against Cuba since 1961, information and materials from the outside world arrives in scarcity, which forces the artists to be constantly thinking to turn the used and discarded materials into artworks. European artists created arte povera that transformed garbage into art as a reaction to modern industrialism and urbanism. Cuban artists, in turn, used any object as sculptural material such as coffee, diluted brown sugar and even their own blood and urine as paint not just to make a statement for their material condition like their European pioneers, but also simply because art materials were scarce. Although, even the artists such as Juan Roberto Diago, who enjoys a significant fame and money, still chooses to use discarded materials for his sculptures and articulates this in his own words: We didn t have the materials you need to paint like we were taught in school, so we had to adapt our art to what we could find. Now I can afford to buy good paper and oil paints, but that no longer interests me. The symbolic weight of my materials has become a characteristic of my work. In a land surrounded by water, where irony is natural and reality is surreal, the art flourishes with the heartbeat of the daily life. But in Havana, life seems to be in constant hold somewhere in between utopia and reality, the past and the future, the Atlantic Ocean and the row of both colonial and high-rise buildings. The usual dichotomist symptoms of a typical Third World country, despair and hope, beauty and ugliness, dignity and degeneration are part of the daily life of the Cuban people. However, some contradictions signal, what some writers call, the elegantly hypocritical character of the way of life that was composed by the triumphs and mistakes of the Revolution altogether. My impression, after getting over the initial disappointment of not finding Cuba as The Land of the Socialist Dream, was that of a girl from another Third World country, who is immune to filthy pavements, unlit streets, canned-sardine style buses, street food, polluted air, contaminated water, as well as pick-pocketers, beggars, and homeless children at every corner. While I experienced these symptoms as the dark side of capitalism, ironically for Cubans they are the dark side of Communism. Many of them I met from various popular sectors of society were undeniable eager to speak to me about that dark side, and once they started, it was impossible to stop them. Almost all of them started the conversation saying somos colgados, aqui en este tiempo (we are stuck here, at this time). I felt the psychic suffocation in each conversation I had with each Cuban, later to discover that it is not only because of the regime effect but also the island effect. What caught me off-guard about Cuba were not the extreme contradictions in daily life but the visible class differences. The people who work in the tourism sector enjoy the privileges of literally making more than 10 times of an average Cuban worker or Doctor, therefore could enjoy buying a $100 Adidas in an air-conditioned shopping mall and enjoy a $5 Mojito, while the rest of the Cubans have to go by with $30 a month. In 1994, Cuban government introduced the currency CUC (Cuban Convertible), which is now exchanged for $ Many tourist restaurants, bars, cafes and bookstores accept only CUC, and prices are often higher than in the US. I was surprised to see some Cubans enjoying a $30 lobster at a tourist restaurant (paladar) at 11 pm, while others who earn and spend in Cuban Pesos, after 6 pm it is impossible to find any food in any restaurant, shop or food kiosk that accepts Modeda Nacional. It was also disturbing that, while most of the Cubans I met complained about lack of food and kitchen or electronic items in their homes, a supermarket that sells important goods priced in CUC has about everything an average US supermarket does for those who has Cuban Convertibles. Page 9 In the realities of the Cuban daily life, those two currencies mark the differences between the Cuban national buying power and that of the foreigners, or people lucky enough to earn their living in tourism. Yoan Capote s Bilingual Money (Dinero Bilingüe), which was exhibited at the 9 th Havana Biennial in 2007, makes strong statement on Cuba s complex system of economic exchange and the growing divisions between those who can and cannot access the imported resources and goods. Capote conjoins the 20-cent Cuban peso with a US quarter- disclaiming both currencies. He marks the pitfalls of the double internal economy and the contradictions it creates in the social life. Yoan Capote s other work Island (2007) defines Cuba s identity through the ocean. Hundreds of fishhooks make the waves of the ocean creating an infinite landscape of traps. The treacherous fishhooks mark the space between Cuba and the rest of the world. The panel attempts to illustrate the risk of being caught on the hooks the symbols of the many ideological and psychological traps between the official representations of life in Cuba and the actual experiences of the Cubans. I observed that devastating effects of the 1990 s have not hit Cuba economically, but also morally. People are struck by the ambiguity of the future and they often behave in a survival mood. Even families with little kids approach tourists to ask for money to buy milk, which they actually can get for free with a food card given by the state at the so called Russian markets as a part of their monthly basic food supply. Many young men prefer to do a clandestine business providing tourists with stolen cigars from factories or other blackmarket and counterfeit goods. Jineteros/as (a term that encompasses a range of activities from prostitution, to pimping and hustling tourists) are very visible and Yoan Capote, Bilingual Money, 2002; Photo courtesy of Tijen Tunali they are often encouraged by their parents for several reasons. One of the Jineteras I spoke with told me that life was easier this way and another said she wouldn t afford her nice clothes and her cell-phone otherwise. In his recent mixed-media work Malecón 2008, Yoan Caapote uses condoms to refer to the illegal trades at the Havana s infamous seafront. Tourists are often looked at as a way of petit salvation, not only to milk them of some Euros or CUC but also to use them to complain about their desperation to feel that their voices are heard by the rest of the world. However, it was shocking to notice how little knowledge an average Cuban has about the life beyond Cuba s shores. Most people I spoke with told me that they thought Cuba was the poorest country in the world. They were shocked to learn, for example, that in Turkey an average worker makes $300 a month, while he has to pay $250 minimum for a one-bedroom apartment in a shanty town and $200 minimum for the basic food necessities for himself- for both of which a Cuban worker gets as state subsidy. I was surprised to learn that Cubans conception of the capitalist world is that of the Mexican soap operas and popular American TV shows such as Grey s anatomy, Ghost Whisperer, House, etc. They mostly believe that it is the command economy Continued on Page 11 ->
10 Page 10 Chasca y Yazmin por Kenneth Gaona Esta es la historia de dos amantes, Chasca y Yazmín. Es la historia del fin de su vida de amor porque un Incan y una princesa española están prohibidas casarse. Chasca seguía buscarla, en la multitud de caras oscuras, ver su Yazmín por el último tiempo. Nada pero oscuridad llenaba el patio mientras las personas lo miraban. El olor de lluvia llenó el aire mientras la selva estaba quieta. Se aparecía que cada cosa habrían parado. No voces de las personas o sentidos de la selva, solo silencio. El no cuidaba como los grilletes cortaban y desgarraban sus muñecas y piernas. El no cuidaba sobre los cardenales moraduras o los azotes. No trató cubrir sus heridas. La sola cosa que hizo, fue que el esperaba ver su cara por el último tiempo. Se levantó sus ojos a las estrellas y la recordó esos tiempos con ella. El tiempo cuando se encontraron por el primero tiempo; esos tiempos cuando jugarían en el jardín y recogieron la más bonitos flores; esos tiempos cuando vagarían en la selva por la tarde crepúsculo y ver los últimos rayos del sol por los vides de la selva. Esos tiempos cuando caminarían por el rió, mano en mano, con la luz de la luna como una guía; eso tiempo cuando tenían su primero beso al atardecer; eso tiempo cuando hicieron marido y mujer. Recordaba todo de estos tiempos y sonrió bajo de los cielos. La recordó. Una marcha lejana estuvo oído pero la memoria su voz llenó las orejas del hombre. Todavía, seguía mirar para su amor por las caras oscuras. Encarnaciones de plata, como fantasmas, estaban dirigidas por una figura oscura en el patio. Se aparecían enfurruñar mientras el hombre les sonrió a ellos. Una voz bruto áspero le habló a el, pero todo lo que pudiera oír era la memoria de su voz. El levantó sus ojos ver las estrellas por el último tiempo, pero en eso tiempo los nubes rompieron y empezó llover. El vio las gotas de lluvia caer y golpear su cuerpo pero solo podría sentir el toque de su piel suave de su amor. Calmó su corazón. La figura oscura se apareció enfrente de el y habló con un voz aburrido y sin emoción. Pero todavía solo podría oír el oído de su voz, de su amor. La figura oscura lo salió. Emociones y memorias llenaban el corazón del hombre encadenado. El sentía mucho poder mientras estando de pie en la oscuridad mojada fría. Preparen tus armas! gritó la figura oscura. El aire estaba llenado con su aroma mientras pensaba de ella. Uno! El color de sus ojos lo cegó Dos! El sabor de su beso abrumaba sus sentidos. Tres! El cerró sus ojos mientras sonrió. Fuego! El abría sus ojos mientras las nubes salían. El día amanecía. El pestañeó una vez y por su visión borrosa, vio Yazmín por encima de él. Los rayos del sol lo calentaron como ella lo calentó todos esos tiempos antes en la noche fría. Ella le caminó a él en lágrimas. Todos esos tiempos antes, pero nunca significó más, él le digo a ella Te amo Yazmín Ella le digo a él Te amo también Chasca Y entonces Chasca fue no más.
11 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Page 11 Continued from Page 9 -> that creates the contradictory and hypocritical conditions, while they are indifferent of life even in their capitalist neighbors, Haiti and Dominican Republic, which prove to be worse in all aspects. Many studies show that romanticizing and idealizing notions of becoming like metropolitan societies are actually very typical characteristics of island societies, as well as small and very peripheral societies, all over the world. This inevitably brings forth the related anxiety to keep up with the world. The islanders are prone to fantasize about the rest of the world beyond their shores and develop not only a self-conscious image but also, for them, the world beyond waters represents hope and opportunity that they cannot reach. This I would call the island effect is not particular to Cuba but is felt very much in Cuba along with other psychological traumas. Cubans have their own ways to deal with those traumas of the island effect, the liminal condition of existence. And those ways are ironically connected to their transitory condition; in-between past and present, in-between capitalist and communist economy, in-between private and communal spaces. Cubans do not have private property and thus; they share their time and space as if they are not subject to private property. It looks as if there is no difference between somebody s private garden and a public alley. For example, you could observe indoors of a house, because many leave the front door wide-open. Cubans interact with each other more frequently, more openly and more publicly. They may be an island nation, isolated by an ocean but their experience of social alienation is minimal. By peeking at their living rooms from open doors and windows, one is able to see that even the houses lacking the basic furniture have a stereo with big speakers. Music functions as a lifeline and you could hear loud music at any time of the day at any corner. As Theodor Adorno aptly states, we must investigate the experience of the music in the households of the masses but contrary to Adorno s theory, for the people of Cuba, music is not just a pastime in Cuba. Cubans sing and make music when they are cooking, cleaning, playing soccer or walking. Adorno argues that the popular music causes distraction to those who live in fear and are anxious about unemployment and alienation. The mode of production of the popular music of which Adorno writes is intertwined with the society s modes of production and thus relations of production. Adorno writes of the culture industry in the West where capitalism has thrived. For Cuban people, who are experiencing the gradual change to state capitalism, music constitutes a powerful force, a force that speaks to the hearts of the people that have been going through drastic changes, towards the hope of a new day. Thus, music in Cuba seems to be both an escape from daily realities and a way of life, where time still does not mean money. Cuba today is in a constant flux trying to adapt to the changing circumstances in the world and maintain the Revolution at the same time. With two legal currencies, minimal internet access, and divisions between those who can and can t access external resources, life is about social negotiations. Cuban art stems from life itself and negotiates the exchanges between the personal and social, the political and cultural. Peace and Justice Center 202 Harvard SE, Corner with Silver Friday, May 15, 2009 Teaching Resistance & Hope: Confronting repression to construct communally based bilingual education in Oaxaca Indigenous education in Mexico has been abandoned for decades, was co-opted for nationalistic ends, and now is being sold to private, commercial interests. However, in a growing number of communities in indigenous Oaxaca and other states, local communities are reclaiming their children s futures and recreating schools to stabilize and revitalize their own languages and cultures. These grassroots educational efforts are directly related to sustainable community development, protection of Oaxaca s ecodiversity, and communal self-determination. An array of photographic images will display efforts to construct, document and assess communal bilingual programs in rural Oaxaca that teach resistance and hope. Presented by Lois M. Meyer, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies, UNM
12 Page 12 No Need for TV When You Have a Nicaragua Internship Myranda McGowan My first week: Clinica Forense (Forensic Clinic) outside Granada, Nicaragua I am sitting in the office of Dr. Hernandez when a young man walks in. He is here for a physical exam, evidence collection and then is on his way to prison. The doctor is to check his height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. After this he will collect blood and DNA swabs of the mouth and urethra to send to the lab for analyzing. Interestingly, this young male is a possible sex offender but he appears happy, friendly and attempts to speak to me when the doctor steps out. He is a little guy and has a warm, welcoming face. It makes me realize you can t judge someone on the way they look or portray themselves externally. This is the process I observe all week. They conduct physicals, approving people s health for prison, conduct evidence collection on domestic violence, sexual abuse and victims of lesiones (injuries) from fighting. Lesiones are reported to be the most common case that walks in to this office on a weekly basis. The second and third most common cases are that of domestic violence and sexual abuse. My second week: La Oficina de Medicina Legal (Office of Legal Medicine) in Managua My first day I find myself suited up like I am headed to the moon. I am given scrubs, shoe covers, arm guards, gloves, an apron, mask and a face shield. I enter a small room that is freezing cold in comparison to the 94 F weather outside. I notice two metal tables in the middle of the room, one of which has the body of a deceased person on it. He was found in a water tank and an autopsy will be done to clarify the cause of death is drowning. The doctor approaches the table and the external examination begins. The body is examined from head to toe for Photo courtesy of Myranda McGowan evidence of foul play. The Doctor takes photos of the face, scars and tattoos in hopes of someone recognizing something that will put a name to this lifeless face. Afterward the body is thoroughly cleaned and specimens are collected. At this point the body has been prepped for autopsy to begin. During these two weeks I learned so much about the system of Nicaragua and how their justice and health system operate hand in hand. Many of the doctors have studied in other countries such as the United States, Spain and Germany but tell me they come back because they feel they need to serve their people. During these two weeks I was among truly talented, successful, intelligent, humble doctors. They allowed me to observe, and took interest in my want to learn about their system here in Nicaragua. An experience I will truly never forget.
13 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Page 13 KUDOS! Latin American and Iberian Institute University of New Mexico Albuqeurque, New Mexico April 19, 2009 Patrick Schaefer, a third year law student at the University of New Mexico School of Law, has been selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for a Fulbright grant to Portugal for the academic year. Patrick will enroll in the Catholic University of Portugal s LL.M. program in International Trade and Business Law. There, he plans to develop a thesis investigating the impact that regional economic and legal integration have had on the concepts of state sovereignty and individual autonomy, particularly through the study of Portuguese arbitration law. In addition to his Fulbright Grant, Patrick will also be receiving a full scholarship to study at the Catholic University of Portugal. I am very excited to finish my academic career as a Fulbright Scholar, said Patrick. At the same time, I immediately think of all those who have helped me along the way this award is really a reflection of their dedication and care. Over the course of his academic career, Patrick has focused his work on the political histories and legal systems in the Iberian-American sphere. During his M.A. degree in Latin American Studies (UNM 2005, Honors), Patrick studied the modern, post-revolutionary political histories of Mexico and Spain, as well as Brazil and Portugal. Once in law school (UNM 2009), he furthered this research to include the impact these political movements have had on classical concepts of state sovereignty within the respective legal systems, specifically within the field of economic and trade law and international environmental law. In various contexts, such as international economic integration or international environmental cooperation, countries are facing global challenges that have generated a reevaluation of what sovereignty has traditionally meant, Patrick noted. Reconciling the need for economic growth as well as environmental protection with state sovereignty in a globalized world is one of the great legislative challenges of the 21 st century. After the conclusion of his Fulbright grant and the LL.M. program, Patrick plans to return to Capitol Hill to work with members of Congress on international trade and environmental legislation. Of all those currently serving in Congress, it would be especially gratifying to apply all that I have worked on and learned to the members of the New Mexico Delegation. How special indeed would it be to give back to our state.
14 Page 14 Working in an Latin American Election El Salvador by Fraser Turner When the opportunity first presented itself to monitor the presidential elections in El Salvador as part of my internship on this trip I jumped at the opportunity. The prospect of monitoring a presidential election as an international observer was something I simply could not pass up. I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador with one of my fellow classmates from this program and the University of New Mexico. We embarked on our journey to El Salvador early in the morning, taking in the scenery by bus on the way up to the capitol city of San Salvador. It was a great way to see firsthand what exactly we were dealing with and the obvious differences between the rural and urban areas of the country. Photo Courtesy of Fraser Turner Upon arriving in San Salvador we were greeted by other observers who had made the trek from all over the world to witness the same historical election. The program was facilitated through CIS(Centro de Intercambio y Solidarided), an organization well established in the country that has been observing elections in El Salvador for more than 15 years. For the first part of the program we received training and advice as to what to expect come Election Day. Our training was extremely extensive as we covered the ins and outs of the voting process. Additionally we met with numerous members of the electoral board in El Salvador. It was clear from the start of the program that our group and CIS had a purposeful mission planned. A mission that both the electoral board of El Salvador and it s people were grateful to accommodate. It was routinely expressed to the observers by members of the board that we played a crucial role in the historic election. After the training process the more than 300 observers of CIS separated into groups assigned to observe the elections in every department in El Salvador. As it was in my case I was sent to the department of Zacatecoluca for the elections. It was great to see the department as the rural setting was different then the hustle and bustle of San Salvador. Going into the Sunday before the elections we really had no idea what to expect. Polls had had FMLN leader Mauricio Funes up in the months leading up to the election, but the recent polls had been trending towards the ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila. There was a slight tension in the air the night before the election, as we had heard reports warning of the potential for violence and rioting. Regardless we climbed into bed early to be ready for the official ballots to be dispersed at 3AM the following morning. We arrived at the voting center early Sunday morning to see the faces of both parties optimistic about the possibilities either candidate possessed. The process went as planned to perfection. Every election official did what he/she was supposed to do and in an organized fashion. We had heard horror stories in our training about past elections but I was pleased to see that none of the prior problems were present in this election. The polls closed without problems and after the vote count it was declared that the FMLN had won in our department of Zacatecoluca. It was the first of many triumphs by the FMLN that night, as Mauricio Funes went on to win the presidency in what CIS and all of the observers later declared a free and fair election. Continued on Next Page >
15 Latin American and Iberian Multidisciplinary Opinion Newsletter Page 15 Continued from Previous Page > Ultimately my experience in El Salvador was the experience of a lifetime and I was honored to have experienced such a historical election. I felt proud to be one of several observ Trilogía Por: Pablo López La rebelión. La paz. Mi ser. Lo que fisura mi centro Lo que no puedo desechar con fisiología El regreso constante a la elevación, la devoción constante sin regreso Las memorias tantas veces desechadas se convierten en perpetuas El sol no ciega; mis manos no duermen Los pasos se opacan; la malicie fermenta Mis luces titilan. Mis luces se apagan. Mis luces no existen Qué es la luz? La ambigüedad al cuadrado. El reproche de mis brazos estirados La división sin dividendo, la elección fluctuante Una guerras; mil luchas; días y días Un nuevo tren arriba, un nuevo tren se va Y siempre veo a mí ser sentado en el transporte del sur cuando cabalgo el convoy del norte Mi centro respira pureza, mi risa desdobla y refleja No anhelo la cota, el suelo se ajusta a mis imperfecciones La adrenalina, melina y selina no es importada y define exquisitez No hay neblina respiro mar. No hay neblina respiro Las mañanas son mañanas, no despierto con la luna Paro; Pienso; Me equivoco, y que!
16 VOLUME 24 ISSUE 4 SPRING 2009 For an electronic copy; go to ~lasunm/solas.html El Mitin por Robert Alanís El guardaespaldas llevaba buen tiempo caminando de un lado a otro del escenario como si estuviera esperando algo. Ya eran unos treinta minutos después de la hora y ya todos los que tenían que haber hablando en el mitin habían dado su discurso, sí lo faltaba ella. De repente ya no se escuchaban sus pasos rítmicos y su figura ancha pará de moverse y él atentamente escuchaba el mensaje transmitido por el alambre transparente que salía por debajo de su traje. Después de haber oído lo que le habían dicho le hizo una sea a su compañero de su trabajo que cuidaba la entrada el escenario. Y aunque no lo dijo, cualquier persona se podía a haber dado cuenta fácilmente que ella aún estaría más tarde. Muchos de los habitantes de la ciudad y de las colonias cercanas estaban en el estadio y con ellos tenían anuncios, ropa, y carteles comprados y hechos a mano con el nombre de ella y de su campaña. Ellos querían ser parte de su candidatura histórica y muchos hicieron línea desde la mañana para verla y tenía a la ilusión de que ella sí iba ser el cambio que prometía. La situación del país estaba muy mal y realmente necesitaban a alguien con quien se podían identificar y entender, pero la espera había sido muy larga y ya bastaba cualquier persona. Ya todos estaban muy desesperados de la larga espera y de seguro todos se preguntaban qué hago aquí? Haber escuchado el alcalde y los congresistas era intolerable pero aún así tenían la oportunidad de reírse de las bromas vacías que hacían y los intentos enmascarados con el propósito de avanzar sus carreras políticas que eran todo menos sutiles. Pero tener que estar viendo un escenario vacío donde lo más interesante era un vaso de agua que estaba ya preparado para cuando ella estuviera dando su discurso que de seguro estaba colectando polvo después de estar expuesto al aire por tanto tiempo era más que intolerable. Page 16 Las mismas cuatro canciones seguían repitiéndose a través de las bocinas que llenaban el estadio con las letras de esas cansadas canciones. De seguro todos estaban hartos. Si antes todos estaban parados por la emoción y anticipación que los consumían y no los dejaban sentarse, ahorra sí la mayoría se resignaron y se sentaron de aburrimiento y desesperación. El escenario vacío donde iba a estar ella ya no era suficiente para ellos y sin decirle a nadie, silenciosamente exigían su presencia. De repente las luces se apagaron, la música se desaprecié y en unos instantes como si fuera reacción humana se llenó el estadio de los destellos hechos por las cámaras de los miles que asistieron llenando la oscuridad de lo que parecía estrellas brillantes bajo una noche oscura. El apagón no duró mucho pero era tan espectacular la exposición de luces que el tiempo parecía haber parado y todos se olvidaron de todo aquello que habían sentido. En cuanto las luces se prendieron ella apareció como si fuera arte de magia en el medio del escenario con una sonrisa tan grande que parecía fingida y con su traje café con un prendedor de la bandera en el cuello del traje como toda una política. Y mientras todo esto ocurría, todos simultáneamente cantaban su nombre. La noche era suya y ella estaba un paso más cerca de la presidencia. Y dentro de sí misma pensaba nunca me fallan esas cuatro canciones --