Diversity of Natives in South America

By studying the genome of a mummified Incan boy, geneticists have discovered an untraced lineage that represents genetic diversity before the arrival and colonization of the Spanish. This particular DNA signature has almost vanished completely from people living in South America today. Three modern people today are the only ones left with the same kind of genetic signature. People today contain European DNA that bears the marks of the period of colonization and natives dying out due to the introduction of new diseases.

The finding of a new genetic sequence in the first inhabitants of South America will bring a change in the thinking of the people who crossed the Bering Straits from Asia. A rare sequence like this could be interpreted as to mean that as groups of people in Latin America became more isolated, their DNA became more unique from the drop in contact with other people. The Southern Andes, where this boy was found, is a region that could lead to the restriction of contact between people. Due to the lack of people with the same DNA signature, it will be hard to trace this lineage back to where these people came from and discover more about the diverse groups of people in Latin America before Spanish colonization.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/15/sacrificed-incan-boy-genome-lineage-diversity

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FARC and Colombian Government Peace Talks

Since 1964, Colombia has been in the middle of an armed conflict between the national government and a group of revolutionaries, known collectively as FARC. This group, which has engaged in acts of terrorism in the past fifty years, has tried to initiate a peasant revolution in order to install a Marxist government. The Colombian government, led by President Juan Manuel Santos, is seeking to engage in a bilateral truce with the rebel group. FARC has been in a unilateral ceasefire and has put pressure on the government to join them, but the government has not agreed to this action.

The peace talks between the two sides have entered into their third year of existence with both sides convening in Havana, Cuba. So far in the agreements, the political actions of the FARC, land rights, drug trafficking, and transitional justice have all been negotiated by both sides. The deadline that President Santos gave for signing the peace deadline is six months. With hundreds of thousands of people killed and thousands more internally displaced, the entering into a peace agreement would bring an end to a 51 year conflict between FARC and the Colombian government. The end of this conflict, which is the only one of its kind in Latin America still in existence, would be a historic day for the advancement of the nation of Colombia.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34661146

Posted by Brent Hunsucker

Cuba and Political Dissidents

In Cuba, a prisoner of conscious, Danilo Maldonado, also known as “El Sexto,” was recently released from prison. Originally for disrespecting the Castro brothers, he spent ten months in prison, starting in December of 2014, for planning an art exhibit that took influence from the George Orwell book “Animal Farm.” While in prison, many came to the support of the graffiti artist, like the human rights NGO, Amnesty International, and Cuban-American Senator, Robert Menendez. Many other prisoners of conscious were released back when Obama and Raul Castro began talks to establish diplomatic ties.

The imprisonment of Maldonado shows that Cuba still does not have the freedom to express dissident opinions focused towards the government. One Cuban group has estimated that as many as 70 prisoners of conscious are in Cuban prisoners. Maldonado is an example of this repression that is focused against the Cuban population. President Obama has made it a priority to stress the importance of Cuba creating an environment for dissident opinions in order to make the US Congress to be willing to create trade agreements and diplomatic relations.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/cuba-frees-prisoner-of-conscience/2015/10/20/3d40ab38-776d-11e5-a5e2-40d6b2ad18dd_story.html

Posted By: Brent Hunsucker

Mexican Satire of Donald Trump

The presidential campaign of Donald Trump has caused many people within the United States and Mexico to become upset because of his views of people from the Latin American country being nothing more than criminals. Even though Trump’s views are clearly untrue, many people are trying to combat these insulting remarks with humor. Throughout Mexico, musicians and app developers are using art and technology to make fun of the presidential hopeful. People are selling pinatas in the likeness of Trump so people can their frustrations out with every swing. The most visible form of using humor in response to his comments is a play entitled “The Donald.”

The play, which last an hour and a half, mocks Donald Trump and how he has run his campaign. The actors, dressed with hairpieces to match the billionaire’s, are making fun of the elite lifestyle that is expected of a man with this much wealth. Rather than becoming angry and protest the insulting remarks, people in Mexico are instead choosing to take a humorous approach to this issue. The same kind of elitism that Trump is famous for is also similar to extremely wealthy families in Mexico. The play, while focusing mainly on Trump, is representative of the powerful in the country. While people in Mexico are trying to make fun of Trump’s views, some people are angry that he is so high in the presidential polls. People who support Trump’s kind of misguided opinions make it hard for the truth to come to light and for Hispanic people to come into America. Trump is viewing people from Mexico negatively as criminals which Hispanics to try to laugh it off but it is becoming more difficult with the growing support of the presidential hopeful.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2015/1006/Sons-of-Trump-run-amok-in-Mexico-and-the-joke-s-on-him

buena vista

In 1996, a group of musicians convened in Havana, Cuba to create a band called Buena Vista Social Club. Ry Cooder, an American musician, traveled to Cuba to produce the album. In an interview with BBC, one member of the band, Barbarito Torres, explains the making of the album that would go on to win international acclaim and a Grammy. Torres recounts that “Cuban music has two periods, before and after Buena Vista.” The band consisted of music veterans from two different periods. Some, like Ibrahim Ferrer, had two come out of retirement to make the album. The group went on to sell 12 million copies of their album.

The important aspect of Buena Vista Social Club is that Cuban music was able to be heard around the world. Barbarito Torres recalls that the country’s music was not being internationally sold because of the US embargo. The band was able to revitalize the country’s music scene. They were able to travel to Holland and Ney York to play two concerts. The interview with Barbarito Torres provides insight into making of one of the greatest albums of all time that is synonymous of the Cuban sound.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34340200

One Year Anniversary of the Abduction of 43 Mexican Students

Today marks the one year anniversary of the kidnapping by police of 43 university students in the town of Iguala in Mexico. This showed the world that Mexico still is plagued with corruption in the government that is supposed to be protecting their citizens. On this one year mark, Al Jazeera talked with an anonymous witness to the horrible acts. Throughout the interview, the sense of fear that troubles many of the population can still be felt. The woman showed immense bravery by speaking out of the events that occurred because, with corruption still rampant in the Mexican government, the same thing could happen to her.

She recalled the events of that fateful night with fluidity like it had just occurred. One of the most chilling parts of her story is when the students, who were unarmed, were screaming for help. Fearing for their own safety, the witnesses were stuck in their shops because of gunfire that had hit their businesses. The students, who were from out of town, were being tortured by special-forces of the police force. The woman remembers that the only thing left after the abduction were fingers that had been cut off of the students. This woman, along with other residents of the community, is still afraid of the corruption of the government because of its ability to cover-up such horrific events.

http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/americas/2015/09/mexico-year-kidnapping-150926054117369.html

Brazil and the Syrian Civil War

One of the major headlines in the world today is the refugee crisis in many Europe countries. Many of these refuges are fleeing a turbulent life in the Middle East, with many leaving the country of Syria. The Middle Eastern country is in the middle of a violent civil war that is making daily life basically a constant warzone. While many of the immigrants are trying to make it to the wealthiest nations in Europe, like Germany, in Latin America the main destination is the country of Brazil.

Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, over 2,000 Syrians have relocated to Brazil. Before this conflict arose in 2011, there were only sixteen Syrian refugees living in the country. So this number has increased dramatically in the past four years. Syria has been granted almost 8,000 visas by the Brazilian embassy. An account by one of the refugees recounts the daily horrors of life in Syria. A car explosion was witnessed by the daughter of the refugee. The explanation for relocating was not one of wanting to but out of necessity. Loss of normal habits, like sleep, has caused many people to see that, even though they love their homeland, it is not worth dying there in Syria.

The landscape of the refugee community in Brazil has been changed due to the Syrian War. The Latin American country has donated money, food, and medicine to the war torn nation. While the main focus of the refugee crisis has been on Europe, attention needs to be turned Brazil and their changing landscape due to the Syrian Civil War. Even though, in Europe, it is seen as a hard choice to accept the vast number of refugees, Brazil is making a positive impact in Syria.

The link to the article is posted below.

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1268587

Brazil’s Corrupt Prisons

Brazil has a problem with corruption inside many of their prisons. Many people within the Latin American country have the fear of being tortured while being in custody. Alexandre Ciconelle, in an article for Al Jazeera, describes these troubling statistics in a country that is on the verge of becoming a world power in the future.

The author, who is a human rights lawyer, writes of horrendous things done within the walls of prisons to try and curb crime. A picture released from one prison shows a couple of people that were beheaded. This image sent shockwaves throughout the population. Another shocking detail about Brazilian prisons are the statistics. In a ten year period, the population in these prisons rose by 67.5 percent. Including house arrest, this increase has lead Brazil to reach the third spot on the most populous prison system behind the United States and China. A large part of this population are poor, black, and not well educated. These people are locked are away for mostly minor level offenses. Petty drug dealing is a major example of these kinds of low level crimes that are keeping people behind the bars of Brazil’s corrupt prisons.

Brazil has a problem with corruption inside many of their prisons. Many people within the Latin American country have the fear of being tortured while being in custody. Alexandre Ciconelle, in an article for Al Jazeera, describes these troubling statistics in a country that is on the verge of becoming a world power in the future.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/12/barbarism-brazilian-prisons-201412994538161939.html

Introduction

Hello, my name is Brent Hunsucker and i am a senior at Wingate University. I am majoring in Political Science and interested in political philosophy and the ideological side of politics. The purpose of this is to be a beneficial tool in my History 411 class and later in life.

Brazil, at this very moment, is going through a lot of political turmoil because of corruption. Protesters have been congregating in the street to show their support of a new government. In Latin America, protesting anytime a government official has been accused of some sort of corruption has become commonplace in the past few decades. Living under a military dictatorship for as long as Brazil did, the people feel like they have now have a political voice and want to express this kind of freedom.

There are many contrasting views on this kind of large scale protest by the people. Brazilians who are protesting feel like this is necessary for their democratic voice to be heard. Others believe these sort of protest might in the end actually hurt the democracy of the country which has been stable for over twenty years. Much  of this tension going on right is due to the basis of governments, not just in Brazil, but in the rest of Latin America. For example, in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez stayed in the presidency for fourteen years. The belief that if a leader is good, then they should stay in power is widespread throughout this part of the world.

Personally, I feel like it is good for the population of Brazil to protest corruption in this way. Leaders of government should not take advantage of their population their the misuse of money. The people of Brazil are in a place where they are tired of bad leaders and want something to be done. I do not think that this problem will be solved just be the removal of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The problem of corruption runs much deeper then one person.

Below I am posting a link to where some info in this blog came from.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2015/0817/Brazil-Why-do-Latin-American-protests-so-often-call-for-impeachment