The LAMC is often a place for wondrous musical discoveries, and the 2014 quinceañera edition was no exception. One of our favorites was the incredibly eloquent Cuban artist Danay Suárez, whose lucid, melodic hip hop spun a rhythmic web around our minds and captured our souls. Check the LAMC conversation with Danay and get a […]

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U.S. opinion has proved, perhaps predictably, split. And despite the fact that Latinos as a demographic group are becoming more progressive, only 22 percent of both Latinos and white people believe Israel is using excessive force in this latest conflict.

Despite all the rhetoric we spew about solidarity, about supporting other communities of color, according to the survey, most Latinos side with Israel.

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“Hasta el dia de mi muerte me despertaré con un cafe, guitarra en mano y no importa donde esté yo cantare y trasnocharé.”  Making Movies returns to Chicago to share some of their psychedelic Latin American son at this weekend’s 42nd annual Fiesta del Sol performing Saturday night on the main stage of the festival. […]

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Bath High School

Chicago Public Schools data recently released by a Chicago Public Radio education reporter reveals that high school students express school choice.  The rationale is simple—CPS high school students don’t have a choice BUT to want and need school choice.  The statistics tweeted on Saturday, July 19 show how many Chicago students do NOT attend their assigned neighborhood […]

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“Everyone dances, and when they get tired of dancing and jumping, they bounce, sway their bodies and bob their heads. That pretty much describes the EDM scene to outsiders, and that’s how I viewed the scene myself for a long time — noise, lights, drugs.”

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We love summer in Chicago most especially because of all the exciting outdoor music festivals that take place across the city and this weekend is no exception. The 9th annual Celebrate Clark Street World Music Festival takes over Rogers Park this weekend and the lineup, as usual, is extraordinary! Curated by world music expert, Sound […]

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Tijuana is a very detached city, right on the border, away from the rest of Mexico. For many years it was well known by its violence and drug traffic path. Nowadays that could be a misconception, or at least there is much more of a truth to discover. I haven’t had the privilege to step in that […]

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After the death of Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos last week, his party has confirmed running mate Marina Silva as his replacement:

Yesterday’s announcement came after a day-long meeting between the leaders of Campos’ Socialist Party and Silva’s political movement, the Sustainability Network. During the meeting it was reportedly settled that Silva would not be required to fully step in for Campos and campaign for candidates with whom she herself has no political affiliation, which includes PSB-aligned candidates in São Paulo, Paraná and Santa Catarina states.

Colombia has deployed undercover “pervert police” throughout Bogotá’s mass transit system to make commuters’ rides to work safer:

Locals joke that the city’s Transmilenio bus system, which carries 2 million people a day, sometimes gets so packed that the sauna and massage are free. But groping on the bus is a serious issue. Since the squad began operating 20 days ago, it has caught 16 men (it’s always men), some of whom have been repeat offenders.

It takes a special kind of blood lust to kill people at the morgue:

A Honduran official says gunmen attacked a family retrieving a body from a state morgue in the city of San Pedro Sula, killing seven of the dead man’s relatives and two bystanders. San Pedro Sula Forensic Medicine director Hector Hernandez says five masked, heavily armed men arrived at the morgue in two pickup trucks early Tuesday and opened fire on the family of Jose Luis Terrero, who had been slain a day earlier.

A new Gallup Law and Order Index makes Venezuela the least secure country in the world:

Eight out of 10 countries with the highest homicide rates are located in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the region accounting for 36% of the world’s homicides in 2012, according to a United Nations report. Furthermore, the Americas have overtaken Africa — where index scores are only slightly higher — as the region with the most murders, largely because of a surge in organized crime.

The World Bank was blasted again this again for not putting enough consideration into environmental and social consequences before it lent tens of millions of dollars to Honduras’ largest bank:

The IFC approved $70 million for Ficohsa in 2011 despite the bank’s risky operating environment and clients, including a palm oil company linked to multiple killings and drug trafficking, the IFC’s Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) said in the report. … Human rights groups have accused Dinant and its guards of human rights violations, including killings and forced evictions of peasants occupying disputed land.

On Monday the Venezuelan government began nightly closures of its 1,370-mile border with Colombia:

Venezuela loses an estimated 14% of its gasoline production in contraband sales, mainly to Colombia, but also to Brazil, sources in state-owned PDVSA have told The Times. There is also a thriving black market for smuggled Venezuelan food items including rice, chicken, cooking oil and beans. … Gasoline costs less than a penny a gallon at unofficial exchange rates, creating a huge profit potential for those who can ship it to Colombia, where gas costs upward of $5 per gallon.

Here’s what happens when you make a former leftist guerrilla (who was tortured by the government) president:

Uruguay will ask fellow members at the Unasur summit to be held in Montevideo later in the month to discuss the Gaza Strip situation, said Foreign minister Luis Almagro who next week will be meeting a delegation from the Palestine Authority. Almagro and president Jose Mujica have been questioned for using the words ‘genocide’ and ‘massacre’ to describe the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

A national security consultant debunks a few myths about the child refugee crisis, including recommendations for increased aid to the region:

Calls for more aid and increased foreign investment are unrealistic in light of the dysfunction of the Northern Triangle governments. The rule of law there has been replaced by transactional politics: Whoever pays the most gets the results they want, and the police, judiciary, executive branch and legislature are at the service of the highest bidder. In this environment, more money would inevitably mean more corruption.

A former USAID worker reminds us of the flipside behind recent AP articles revealing the secretive methods used by USAID to spread democracy in Cuba:

Reading any of these articles, or their peanut gallery shouts of endorsement, one would assume that all was hunky dory in Cuba—that the Castro government endorsed or even supported human rights, accepted—even responded to—dissent over matters of healthcare policy, and permitted the sort of collaboration among nongovernmental organizations allowed throughout the hemisphere and much of the world. Of course, the Castro government doesn’t allow for those things, not at all.

President Juan Manuel Santos doesn’t know what he wants to do with drugs:

‘What we have been doing for the past 40 years has not worked. I am in favor of finding a more effective way to take drug money out of criminal hands. It may be decriminalizing. It may be more of a health approach. If you find someone with marijuana in the street, instead of putting him in jail, you send him to a rehabilitation center.’ … While Santos certainly deserves praise for his commitment to debating drug reforms, it’s worth pointing out that, technically, he’s making two mismatched points here. On the one hand, he supports a completely new, health-based approach to the problem of drug consumption. But at the same time, he is in favor of continuing Colombia’s commitment to supply reduction through illegal crop eradication.

Faced with a spiraling economy, Venezuela is looking for stuff to sell:

State-owned parent company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) signaled its interest in a finding a buyer for the U.S.-based Citgo … On Tuesday, Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez … added that the country would not sell its oil refining and marketing assets in the U.S. for anything less than $10 billion. … Citgo, the Houston-based subsidiary of PDVSA, owns three refineries capable of handling about 749,000 barrels a day in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois. It also sells gasoline through about 6,000 stations and donates heating oil to 200,000 low-income families during winters.

The Mexican Senate on Wednesday, with the support of PRI and PAN senators, voted to end seven decades of state monopoly over the oil and electricity sectors:

The Mexican government under Pena Nieto has advocated opening the country’s oil and gas sector to bring billions of dollars in new investment and boost the country’s flagging oil production. Mexico saw its peak production in 2004, with 3.4 million barrels a day. It has fallen steadily since to the current 2.5 million barrels. With the reform, private companies with the expertise and technology lacking in the state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, will be able to exploit the country’s vast shale and deep-water reserves.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has been charged with caring for child refugees at the border, says it will close three of its shelters housed on military bases:

Those who work with the youths cheered the base shelter closures, saying the minors fared far better in smaller, less institutional shelters where they have more access to lawyers and other advocates. Some communities have protested opening such shelters in recent weeks, successfully blocking them. But there are still enough shelters to house those coming now, advocates said.

One of the most informative, interactive and beautifully written articles on immigration you’ll read this year:

They had left Exelina at 7:30 in the morning, the woman explained, and walked all day until they reached the highway north of the immigration checkpoint. They were picked up by men in trucks and driven to Houston. They arrived that Saturday around 9 p.m. ‘I am a woman in my late 50s, a grandmother,’ she told Salvador. ‘There aren’t any words to explain how difficult it was.’ But somehow everyone had made it to Houston—everyone except Exelina.

Evidence has been uncovered showing how the corporate state operated under the dictatorship:

A government-appointed commission investigating abuses during Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship has found documents that it says show [Michigan-based manufacturer] Rapistan and other companies secretly helped the military identify suspected ‘subversives’ and union activists on their payrolls. … Foreign and Brazilian companies are cited in the documents, including, most prominently, some of the world’s biggest automakers: Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and the Mercedes-Benz unit of Daimler AG, among others.

A 36-year-old pianist has learned he is the grandson of Estela de Carlotto, president of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo:

Hurban is the 114th individual to be identified as a child of a Dirty War victim. … Still, this figure pales against the number of those who have not yet been identified. From 1976 to 1983, an estimated 500 children were taken from captured dissidents and placed with other families by the military government after their parents were executed.

A beautifully illustrated children’s book tells the story of the iguaca, Puerto Rico’s endangered parrot:

Iguaca! Iguaca! the parrots called as they looked for deep nesting holes under the tall trees. Down below, waves from the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean washed the island’s white-sand beaches. Delicate orchids and wide-spreading ferns, tiny tree frogs, kapok trees bursting with seedpods, and big, scary iguanas covered the land.

A few Indiana Republicans think there’s another reason to fear child refugees from Central America:

Appearing on WIBC’s The Garrison Show, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) said he and other members of Indiana’s congressional delegation, including heart surgeon Rep. Larry Buschon (R), sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for more information about the 245 migrant children who had been released to Indiana sponsors this year. ‘We sent a letter to the president saying look … we need to know just from a public-health standpoint, with ebola circulating and everything.’

Lollapalooza had a special guest. And, no, I’m not talking about Rihanna or R. Kelly:

After one festival-goer shouted, ‘Obama’s daughter is here,’ lots of people tried to get a glimpse, Lomas said. ‘Everyone was trying to get in to see her, but those Secret Service guys just formed a wall,’ she said. One of Lomas’ friends, Justin Starns, 17, also from Valparaiso, said he spoke to Malia Obama. ‘She was just saying, yeah, she was here for Chance. She said she likes Chance,’ Starns said. … Chance the Rapper, like the Obamas, is from Chicago’s South Side.

This is why they don’t trust the United States:

Their assignment was to recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism, which they did under the guise of civic programs, including an HIV prevention workshop. … Over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development — best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid — sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba. The danger was apparent to USAID, if not to the young operatives: A USAID contractor, American Alan Gross, had just been hauled away to a Cuban jail for smuggling in sensitive technology.

Recent polling shows 64 percent of Uruguayans oppose the new marijuana law. And now the pro-weed presidential candidate is seeing his support slip too:

When former President Tabare Vazquez came out in support of marijuana regulation last August, it was seen as a proof that the law was out of jeopardy, as Vazquez’s presidential win in October 2014 was all but guaranteed. [But] support for Vazquez has been falling in recent months, while support for Luis Lacalle Pou — who has said he will seek to repeal the law’s authorization of commercial pot sales — has been growing.


In the House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner and his lieutenants have for years struggled to contain a restive caucus of conservative backbenchers, the bill would have provided $659m (£391m) for additional border security, costs associated with the housing, detention, processing and repatriation of the children, hiring of temporary immigration judges to speed judicial processing and more. … But it proved too much for a group of conservatives led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who crossed from the other side of Capitol building to rally conservative opposition to the House bill. … Mr. Cruz and many conservatives demand Mr. Obama rescind a 2012 order allowing some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to avoid deportation and live and work legally in the US.

On Friday a Ugandan court overturned the country’s new anti-gay law, but only on a technicality:

Activists erupted in cheers after the court ruled the law ‘null and void,’ but some cautioned that the fight was not over: The state could appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court and legislators might try to reintroduce new anti-gay measures. The law provided jail terms up to life for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also allowed lengthy jail terms for those convicted of the offenses of ‘attempted homosexuality’ as well as ‘promotion of homosexuality.’

Leaders from Mexico, Guatemala and the United States have agreed to set up more checkpoints to keep people from riding the infamous train known as La Bestia.

Many Central American migrants jump onto La Bestia on their way north, clinging perilously to its sides or sitting on its roof. They are regularly targeted by criminal gangs, which rob them of their possessions or abduct them to force them to join their ranks. Those who, exhausted, fall from its roof often lose limbs when they fall under the train’s wheels.