LAPI Weekly Round Up – Interesting Stories From the Americas

Below a couple of cool stories you might have missed but are totally worth taking a look at. Enjoy! 

  • Great article by BBC Mundo on the complicated question regarding amnesty for abuses committed by Colombian military units.
  • The Economist writes about how the Mexican home has been transformed. Apparently, more interesting still is what Mexicans put in those homes. An excerpt below: 

More houses have televisions (93%) than fridges (82%) or showers (65%). In a hot country with dreadful television this is curious. Communications habits are interesting too: despite some of the world’s highest charges, two thirds of Mexicans have a mobile phone—though only four out of ten have a landline.

If you tap those phonelines you will find that 6.7m people speak an indigenous language, principally Nahuatl and Maya, though there are dozens more. Surprisingly, the number of indigenous language speakers is higher than in 2000. At the same time, the number of people unable to speak Spanish has fallen.

This is thanks to much better education. Less than 2% of today’s youths are illiterate, compared with a third of over-75s. But there is amazing regional variation. Nearly one in five residents of Chiapas, a poor southern state, cannot read nor write. In Mexico City, the figure is one in 50.

  • The same week the Cuban government  announced it is "studying plans that would allow citizens to travel abroad" as tourists for the first time in 50 years, it also forbid the outspoken blogger Yoani Sánchez to travel to Denmark & collect her $50,000 Freedom Award from CEPOS. So ironic.
  •  Brazil's Supreme Court has voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals. Brazil is the world's most populous Roman Catholic nation and has an estimated 60,000 gay couples.

From now on, same sex couples will be able to register their civil partnerships with solicitors and public bodies, giving them proper inheritance and pension rights. However, the landmark ruling stops short of recognising gay marriage, which could involve public or religious ceremonies.Brazil's Roman Catholic Church had argued against the decision to allow civil unions, saying the only union referred to within Brazil's constitution was that between a man and a woman.

But the country's recently elected President Dilma Rousseff has made the issue one of her big social policy reforms.