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· May, 2009

Stories about Latin America from May, 2009

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Honduras: Strong Earthquake Shakes Country

  29 May 2009

Honduras awoke early in the morning of May 28 when an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale shook the country. Five deaths were confirmed, more injured, and slowly there is the discovery of damages to the country's infrastructure like buildings, bridges, and highways. Microblogging platforms like Blipea and Twitter were the first to report the earthquake from users in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba. However, some bloggers were unable to update their sites due to electrical and internet outages all across the country.

Cuba: Sex Change Operations

  29 May 2009

Repeating Islands notes “that Cuba is reinstating sex-change operations that had previously been banned on the island.”

Jamaica, Cuba: Amnesty International Report

  29 May 2009

Iriegal and Jamaica Salt comment on Amnesty International’s criticism of the Jamaican police force, while Havana Times notes that the organization”recognized…that the US blockade on Cuba has a negative effect on the general population.”

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Mexico: Television Comedy Show Makes Light of Actor's Mental Disability

  28 May 2009

The Human Rights Commission of Mexico DF has asked the television network Televisa to apologize the actor known as Sammy, after the contestants of a comedy game show played a prank on him, even though it is widely known that he suffers from moderate mental disability. The incident brought to light the frequency that Mexican comedians mock others or their situations in order to get laughs.

Honduras: 7.1 Scale Earthquake Hits

  28 May 2009

A 7.1 scale earthquake has hit Honduras. Janpedrano [es] writes about communicating with friends and family around the country through internet, SMS, and telephone making sure that they were alright.

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Peru: Freezing Temperatures in Puno Result in Children Deaths

  28 May 2009

While much of Peru and the media has been discussing the 16 confirmed individuals with AH1N1 virus, very little has been mentioned about the 133 children that have recently died as a result of the freezing temperatures affecting the southern part of the country. Bloggers have been noting this difference in coverage, and have been criticizing the lack of planning by local and national governments for what has been become an annual tragedy.

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Colombia: Cyber-Politics for the 2010 Elections

  28 May 2009

With the Colombian presidential elections set for 2010, the list of candidates has not yet been finalized, but campaigning is well underway. Some candidates have started to use digital tools to reach voters, and at the same time bloggers and twitterers are critiquing how they are used. For some, they see it as a waste of time considering the lack of availability of the internet for many Colombians, but others appreciate the attempt by politicians understanding that it is a learning process.

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Argentina: Clarín Media Group Forces Removal of Videos

  27 May 2009

The media group Clarín is considered to be the most important in Argentina and has implemented a policy of demanding that YouTube close the accounts of any user that does not remove content produced by one of its television companies. This policy has affected bloggers, who have used content on a non-profit basis and for the purpose of commenting on the political situation of the country. Many are arguing that these uses are protected by law, and that Clarín is infringing on freedom of speech and practicing censorship.

Cuba: Gay Expression

  27 May 2009

Diaspora blogger Uncommon Sense says of the arrest of the President of the Cuban Lesbian, Gay, Transexual and Bisexual Foundation: “After 50 years, the Castro dictatorship has yet to get over its hang-ups over Cubans – gay or straight – expressing themselves.”

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Paraguay: Animated Film “Sebastian's Voodoo” Wins at Cannes

  27 May 2009

Paraguayans are celebrating that one of their own, filmmaker and animator, Joaquin Baldwin, took home first prize in the Online Short Film competition held in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival. The submitted film, Sebastian's Voodoo, was created using computer animation and beat out 9 other finalists during the online vote

Honduras: First Confirmed Case of H1N1 Patient

  27 May 2009

The first case of the H1N1 virus has been confirmed in Honduras. However, Janpedrano notes that the 9-year-old girl, who is no longer showing symptoms, was “officially presented” alongside her parents, President Zelaya and the Health Minister [es].

Cuba: Antúnez Arrested

  26 May 2009

“Former Cuban political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’ and six other anti-government activists were arrested in Havana…”: Uncommon Sense has the details.

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Venezuela: Keeping the Internet as a Priority

  26 May 2009

When the Venezuelan government emitted Decree No. 6649, it raised red flags within the online community concerned about the possible effects to development. The decree seeks to eliminate “luxuries” or “superflouous expenses” among the public expenditure, among which includes the Internet. As a result, the online campaign Internet Prioritaria was created with the opinion that Internet is a basic need and is pushing that research and other educational programs not be affected by budget cuts.

Cuba: “Cubans Can Connect”

  25 May 2009

“I’m coming to believe that the influence of the Internet on our reality is bigger than I thought”: When it comes to limitations imposed on Cubans having online access, Generation Y says: “We need to make the most of the situation, now they are saying ‘Cubans can connect’, and take...

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Brazil: Petroleum, elections and poverty matters

  24 May 2009

Discussions of an investigation into the nation's biggest state-owned company and its possible political motivation fill the Brazilian blogosphere. This debate takes place in a Brazilian society which sees 'black gold' as a solution to the country's economic and energy problems.

Brazil: Fighting against cyber surveillance

  24 May 2009

Brazilian cyberactivists are again taking action against online surveillance in defence of the netcitizen rights. The Mega Não! protest has been triggered by the controversial digital crimes bill which aims to control cybercrime, raising serious issues on digital rights management and the free use of digital devices. There will be...

Colombia: Two Years of Hiperbarrio

  21 May 2009

After two years since Hiperbarrio was founded in Medellín, Colombia, Catalina Restrepo of Cosas del Alma [es] looks back on the activities of the citizen media project.

About our Latin America coverage

Melissa Vida is the Latin America Spanish-language editor. Email her story ideas or volunteer to write.

Fernanda Canofre is the Brazil editor. Email her story ideas or volunteer to write.


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