Below the Equator

Sexing for the Rainforest & Saharan
Sands Sweeping Over South America

There is no sin on the low side of the equator. The loosely translated sentence is from a 1970s Brazilian song that plays with preconceived notions about South America being a paradise of promiscuity, exoticism and wild animals. It should have said Norway instead.
That’s where a troupe devised a novel way to support the Rainforest: having sex for it. As this peculiar notion penetrates the deep cavity of your brain, let’s add another piece of the puzzle: every summer, a Sahara dust cloud comes to visit the continent’s shores.
There’s obviously no connection between the two facts, except that they both relate to that massive tropical land, where Americans speak Portuguese and Spanish, and little English, and that seems at times to offer an odd counterpart to its big brother in the North.
Again, let’s make yet another detour. One of the pleasures of writing a blog is to set oneself challenges in order to tell stories that one hopes, can’t be found anywhere else. How we’re going to find a common sense between these two strands of narrative is today’s quest. You’ll be the judge as to whether we’ll manage it.
We keep collecting stories in a dusty file, any of which could strike our fancy and serve us well as a springboard to talk about our favorite themes. You know, life, the universe, and all the fish, issues we hardly know anything about and shouldn’t even be allowed to tackle. But why make it easy to ourselves?
We could always offer our absolutely worthless take on the Brazilian government’s new homegrown email system, an attempt to ward off spying from the NSA, Canada, everyone and their mothers-in-law, which according to recent files leaked by Edward Snowden, has been rampant for years. The spying, not the mothers. Or have they too?
We could also add our two cents to the apparent Latin American trend of digging up dead people. Nothing to top a good Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story, for the record. But if it means to understand the Continue reading

South American Way

On Neruda, Garcia Marquez
& Argentina’s Stolen Children

The world remembers two Latin American writers who both received the Nobel of Literature, Chile’s Pablo Neruda, who would have been 108 yesterday, and Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose mental health is reportedly deteriorating. Both were active in the struggle against the wave of military dictatorships that took over the continent for over 20 years, starting in the 1960s.
While there are doubts about Neruda’s cause of death, there’s much sadness about Garcia Marquez’s condition. But the week also had another sight that things are no longer as bleak as they once were: members of the junta that ruled Argentina during the time were convicted of having stolen children of many members of the opposition, who they also stand accused having killed.
It was a dark time for South America, as one by one, almost all governments in the region fell under the iron-fisted control of its military. A whole generation of political leaders, who opposed the status quo, were killed or ‘disappeared,’ and it’s been taking a long time for all the facts about the period to come to light.
Both Neruda and Garcia Marquez became well known all over the world, their work suffused by what was going on around them. They were natural symbols of the resistance in their countries, either by Continue reading