Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Around Latin America - Cuban Dissidents, Cross-Dressing, Scams, and Baseball

-Imprisoned Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo has died after an 80-day hunger strike. Tamayo, who was sentenced in 2003 to 3 years in prison for criticizing the government and whose sentence was later extended to 36 years, went on the strike to protest the conditions of and his treatment in prison.

-Pinochet may have been dead for over three years, but the legacies of his regime continue. This week, thirteen bodies of individuals killed during the Pinochet dictatorship and that had been buried in a abandoned mine were identified. The army under Pinochet executed the men, who included "a farmer and his four sons, day workers, and even a teenager caught smoking a joint."

-A group in Guyana is seeking to make cross-dressing in public legal. Currently, the act remains illegal, thanks to a colonial-era act outlawing it. argues that it is discriminatory against a social minority, and thus is unconstitutional. The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination is representing gay and lesbian groups in the small country, and has filed its affidavit in the courts.

-Costa Rica likes to promote itself as a peaceful environmental paradise in Central America, an image that is central to its success as a tourist spot and an alluring site for ex-pats. However, as Peter reminds us, what's left out of that image is the presence of scammers who use that image to fleece ex-pats and foreigners.

-Finally, as the most wonderful time of the year (baseball season) approaches, The Latin Americanist points us towards this trailer for a documentary on Dominicans who hope to become professional ball-players in the MLB.