Last year as Brazil geared up to hold the Summer 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a huge corruption scandal hit the country: “Operação Lava Jato”, or “Operation Car Wash”. After much turmoil and international attention, many thought the scandal would subside with the new year. However, this has not been the case. And the scandal is still making headlines over a year since it first began, having become clear that it involves more than just Brazil.
Hace poco más de un mes que los países del Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur) hicieron noticia al suspender oficialmente del grupo a Venezuela, luego de que este país no cumpliera con regulaciones y otros aspectos que son obligatorios para el grupo. La expulsión sirvió para abrir nuevamente el debate sobre el rol de la organización, especialmente en cuanto al liderazgo del presidente pro tempore del grupo. El 2016 marcó el vigésimo quinto aniversario de la fundación del Mercosur, y algunos analistas creen que va a marcar el principio de su fin debido a sus magros resultados.
Seven Miss Universe, six Miss World, seven Miss International, and two Miss Earth titles have made Venezuela one of the top countries to produce the most “Misses” in the world. Many other countries around the world also value these international beauty pageants and also rank high in international pageant winners including the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Puerto Rico1.
Favelas have long been known as the impoverished neighborhoods surrounding the cities of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city, is home to one of the oldest favelas, Providência, founded in 18971. The original favelas normally consisted of informal housing like shacks, usually made from scrap metal, woods, or other materials. They originated due to a lack of affordable housing, thus pushing poorer citizens to the outskirts of the cities.
Over 140 prisoners have been killed in 6 different prison riots in Brazil during the last 4 months. This is not the first time that violence has called attention to the deplorable conditions of Brazil’s prisons on a global scale. While this particular wave of riots has its root in a recent fallout between two drug gangs, they are indications of far deeper structural problems within Brazil’s prison system itself, which have been present for decades.
Latin America may be the last place you would expect to see someone who is Chinese. Yet surprisingly, scattered around Latin America, there are many pockets of Chinese immigrants, many of whom consider these nations home. In the areas where there are large Chinese populations, you may even find a Chinatown or un barrio chino.
For centuries, the dominant religion found in Latin America has been Catholicism. Having been ruled by the Spanish and Portuguese starting in the 1500s, both nations emphasized religiosity and incorporated the Church into government decisions and policies, from land distribution, to conversion and education. As a result, centuries of the Christian religion and in many cases hegemony over indigenous religions pushed Latin America to be 90 percent Catholic, as of 1910.
This October, the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (BFPS) reported that in Brazil, one person is killed every nine minutes, for an average of 160 violent deaths a day, in what is considered one of the world’s most violent countries.
Emy Takada is in her fourth year of doctoral study in Hispanic Languages and Literatures while pursuing a certificate in Film Studies. She has taught Brazilian cinema, currently teaching Spanish Grammar and Composition and Conversation.