An End of the Year Overview of Latin America

Latin America continues to be in the news– from the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil to the train-wreck that is Venezuela’s economy. I have a strong interest in Latin America, having lived there and through multiple visits around the region. I will write a post for each of the more interesting countries over the next two weeks.

Then I will shift my gaze to the west and start writing about Asia. My second novel, Chita Quest, which should be available in late February, takes place mostly in Asia. Doing the research for the book gave me a new appreciation for Asia and highlighted how little I knew/know about the region.

Colombia. Things are improving rapidly in Colombia. When I was working in Bolivia in the early 1990s, Colombia was a mess. Once, my flight to Panama was cancelled– the airline offered me an alternative fight that meant changing planes in Medellin. I said “no thanks, I’ll fly tomorrow.” No way was I  going to transit the dangerous Medellin alone. Now, Medellin is featured in magazines like International Living and shows like House Hunters International as a wonderful, inexpensive and peaceful place with much to offer as a retirement destination for Americans.

Progress against the FARC– the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia– continues. It looks as if the FARC will be brought into the political process. According to this report in the Washington Post, the defeat of FARC was not an accident– the US government played a substantial part. The real credit, in my opinion, should go to the Colombian government and military for their dedication and professionalism. By not taking the easy way out and continuing with repressive and arbitrary policies, the government/military actions have been (mostly) restrained. Compared to neighboring Venezuela, Colombia looks positively progressive.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2013/12/21/covert-action-in-colombia/?hpid=z1

A good summary of a wide-ranging subjects is at http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesand territories/colombia/

For a peek at the effect of climate change on the famous Colombian coffee crop, try this…http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/03/10/science/earth/20110310-coffee.html

Test yourself– Most Americans have a hard time with Latin American geography and history. See how you measure up.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0203/Think-you-know-Latin-America-Take-our-geography-quiz/Which-country-is-South-America-s-second-largest (I managed an 83%– while the average was 73%…shoulda done better though).

Advertisements

2 responses to “An End of the Year Overview of Latin America

  1. Excellent blog, Brinn. I got 72% due to some lucky guesses. I was due to fly to SA with Airlift International, but we were laid off in training. Your blog is very elegant and informative. I love your comments; they are well-balanced, not extreme. What do you think of the Nazi connection to SA countries? Colonia Dignidad? Do they still have a strong caste system in SA: peninsulares (godos or gachupines), criolos, Hispanics, Latinos? It is hard for me to understand all of the categories (zambos)? Congratulations on all of your literary work. Somewhere on the web, probably at the AOG website, is a list of all USAFA grads who have published. I hope you are on it.

    • Hi Dean
      There were too many Nazis in SA. The Bolivian military had one bad guy as a consultant before I arrived. The movie Boys From Brazil was too close for comfort. W.E.B. Griffin addresses some of the Nazi legacy in his later books.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s