Stephen Cairns

Growing up in the south (Georgia, United States), I am now enjoying a whole different type of “south”. After cutting my teeth on Spanish through Central America, I taught English in Ecuador. Now I work in Bogotá, Colombia.

My interest in the Latin American region and the Spanish language led me to Global Voices. Global news distribution and actual reaction by people (or blogs) on the ground make this site enjoyable and educational to read.

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Latest posts by Stephen Cairns

Colombia Answers with New Promotional Campaign and Slogan

  10 September 2012

"Where are foreigners welcomed with courtesy, friendship and love? #TheAnswerIsColombia." A new promotional campaign and video was launched by the Colombian government with the slogan "The Answer is Colombia." Countless responses, positive and negative, have been appearing under the hashtag #LaRespuestaEsColombia.

Spain: How Social Networks are Cleaning Up TV

  25 May 2012

For several years low-quality content has been broadcast in Spain. Called "telebasura" in Spanish or simply trash TV, it has been a very profitable business model for its low cost production and wide audience reach. However TV trash is in serious danger thanks to an active audience that has used the power of social networks and digital campaigns.

Colombia: Lawmakers Rush Bill on Author Rights and Intellectual Property

  2 April 2012

On March 20, a bill was hurriedly presented to reform the legislative and regulatory framework of authors' rights and intellectual property as part of the government's implementation of the requirements for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Activists and citizens on social networks have rejected the lack of debate on what many are calling a new version of the "Lleras law."

Nicaragua: Telecom Company CLARO Censors Clients

  18 January 2012

The perseverance of Nicaragua's internet community through social networks in denouncing the censorship act by CLARO Nicaragua was the reason the company stopped stonewalling and lifted the access block on the website

Colombia: El Puente_lab Making a Difference in Moravia, Medellin

  4 October 2011

In Medellín, Colombia, the project Hiperbarrio (Rising Voices project) is being developed along with other interesting projects that attempt to improve social inclusion and citizen media training. One project we highlight in this article is the El Puente_lab, a production platform for art and culture.

Blog Carnival: Mexico – Verbalizing the Violence

  29 August 2011

Our first 2011 Blog Carnival had the theme "Mexico - Citizenry, Violence and Blogs". In this first part of the final summary, we showcase what Mexican bloggers thought about past violent events happening in their country and how they handle and express their pain when violence has affected them.

Chile: Nurse Expedites Organ Transport Using Twitter

  21 April 2011

Cristina Bizama, a nurse at Talca hospital in Chile, has devised a way to speed up the transport of organs from the city of Talca to the capital, Santiago, some 260 kilometers away. Everything started with one tweet: "Incredible! There is no way to transport 5 organs to [Santiago]."

Colombia: Citizens Reject Proposal to Reform Higher Education Law 30

  12 April 2011

Colombian President Santos' proposal to reform the Higher Education Law 30 has not been received well. Despite some accepting it, the loudest voices heard, online and in the streets, have been the opposition. This past April 7 a national march was held; at the same time, netizens share their concerns on blogs, videos, web pages and other social media.

Peru: Gay Marriage Becomes Presidential Election Issue

  1 February 2011

Same-sex marriage has been debated for some time, and its possible legalization has become a part of the election platforms of presidential candidates in Peru. This follows the rejection of the matter by a representative of the Catholic Church. The issue has generated many diverse reactions.

Chile: Citizens respond to natural gas crisis in Magallanes

  24 January 2011

The announcement to raise natural gas prices in the southern region of Magallanes in Chile generated an immediate reaction from citizens that forced the government to modify the measure. Protests, barricades, and mobilized citizenry were followed minute by minute on social networks in Chile.

Panama: Fire in Youth Prison Sparks Controversy

  19 January 2011

A fire in a correctional facility for juvenile offenders has generated all types of reactions on Twitter and Panamanian blogs. The police officers involved are trying to defend themselves and explain what happened, and on the other side the Panamanian people are divided between those that want heads to roll among the prison guards and those that justify the police actions.

Dominican Republic: Demanding 4% of National Budget for Education

  24 December 2010

In the Dominican Republic there is a heated debate about the quality of education that focuses on the fact that the General Law of Education establishes that annual public funding on education must reach at least 4% of the GDP. Actually, only around 2% is destined to education. The Internet and social media networks have become important spaces for grassroots campaigns and communication.

Nicaragua-Costa Rica Conflict, Revisited: Part II

  13 December 2010

This is the second part of a walk-through of the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican blogospheres discussing the recent border dispute between the countries. The conflict, which started November 2nd, has become more complex. In this second part, we cover three parts of the crisis: Nationalism in the media, "the X word", and self-assessment and analysis from Nicaragua.

Colombia: Floods in Riosucio, Chocó

  3 December 2010

The recent winter weather in Colombia has been picked up by traditional media and social networks are talking about the flooding, landslides and uprooted trees happening there. The national news reports that 28 of the 32 departments in Colombia have been affected; on Territorio Chocoano's Twitter account, people have been following the difficult situation in the Chocó department of northeast Colombia, especially in the Riosucio municipality.

Ecuador: Keeping Traditions Alive on Day of the Dead

  5 November 2010

Ecuadorians recently finished celebrating the Day of the Dead with liters of colada morada and many, many guaguas de pan, the traditional drink and food for the holiday. The special drink and bread are prepared and consumed on November 2nd, celebrating an ancestral tradition. The tradition was also celebrated through the blogosphere, where a campaign has appeared to keep Halloween from the traditional celebration.