Category Archives: Americas

The rise of Bolivia’s indigenous 'cholitas' – in pictures

As recently as 10 years ago, Bolivia’s indigenous Aymara and Quechua women were socially ostracised and systematically marginalised. Known as ‘cholitas’, these women, recognisable by their wide skirts, braided hair and bowler hats, were banned from using public transport and entering certain public spaces. Their career opportunities were severely limited. While these women have been organising and advocating their civil rights since at least the 1960s, their movement was invigorated by Evo Morales’ election as Bolivia’s first indigenous president in 2006.

In Cholita’s Rise, the photographer Eduardo Leal has created an exhibition of work that portrays their accomplishments and celebrates their success while also looking to inspire others

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Source: gad

José Antonio Meade: Mexico's common man struggles to connect

PRI’s presidential candidate faces battle to turn around ruling party’s unpopular image

José Antonio Meade, the presidential candidate for Mexico’s ruling party, drives his own Honda Fit rather than being chauffeured in the bulletproof SUVs preferred by most politicians.

He flies commercial rather than renting private jets, and tweets about ordinary activities such as strolling through central Mexico City with his family and taking in a Mixtec art and cultural exhibition. Even a grainy photo of his wife, Juana Cuevas, shopping in the supermarket surfaced on social media – as if to contrast her ordinariness with the opulence of the country’s soap opera star first lady.

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Source: gad

Rejecting the Solutrean hypothesis: the first peoples in the Americas were not from Europe

A recent Canadian documentary promoted a fringe idea in American archaeology that’s both scientifically wrong and racist

Last month’s release of The Ice Bridge, an episode in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series The Nature of Things has once again revived public discussion of a controversial idea about how the Americas were peopled known as the “Solutrean hypothesis”. This idea suggests a European origin for the peoples who made the Clovis tools, the first recognized stone tool tradition in the Americas. As I was one of the experts appearing on the documentary, I want to share my thoughts about it and why I see the ideas portrayed within as unsettling, unwise, and scientifically implausible.

First, in addition to the scientific problems with the Solutrean hypothesis which I’ll discuss shortly, it’s important to note that it has overt political and cultural implications in denying that Native Americans are the only indigenous peoples of the continents. The notion that the ancestors of Native Americans were not the first or only people on the continent has great popularity among white nationalists, who see it as a means of denying Native Americans an ancestral claim on their land. Indeed, although this particular iteration is new, the idea behind the Solutrean hypothesis is part of a long tradition of Europeans trying to insert themselves into American prehistory; justifying colonialism by claiming that Native Americans were not capable of creating the diverse and sophisticated material culture of the Americas. Unfortunately, the producers of the documentary deliberately chose not to address this issue head-on, nor did they include any critical perspectives from indigenous peoples. While supporting the agenda of white nationalists was not the intent of the producers or of the scientists involved, it would have been appropriate for the documentary to take a stand against it, and I and many archaeologists are disappointed that they did not.

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Source: gad

Mexico hit by 7.2 magnitude earthquake, damaging buildings

No deaths are reported after shocks in southern Oaxaca state and Mexico City, but country remains on edge after last year’s deadly quakes

A 7.2 magnitude quake rocked Mexico on Friday, causing minor damage to buildings in the southern state of Oaxaca, but with no preliminary reports of deaths.

The epicentre was close to a surfing resort on Oaxaca’s Pacific coast and had a depth of 24.6 km (15.3 miles), according to the US Geological Survey. Both the south of Mexico and the capital are still reeling from earthquakes that caused widespread damage in September 2017.

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Source: gad

Brazilian army to take control of security in Rio as violence rises

  • President Temer’s plan aims to curb street crime and gang violence
  • Proposal criticised by residents of Rio’s favelas

Brazilian president Michel Temer has signed a decree putting the military in charge of security in Rio de Janeiro, following a rise in street crime and drug gang violence.

Massed robberies and gunfights during carnival, followed by a storm that killed four and caused chaos, have heightened a sense that the city is slipping out of control.

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Source: gad

Laser scanning reveals 'lost' ancient Mexican city had as many buildings as Manhattan

Groundbreaking lidar scanning reveals the true scale of Angamuco, built by the Purépecha from about 900AD

Archaeology might evoke thoughts of intrepid explorers and painstaking digging, but in fact researchers say it is a high-tech laser mapping technique that is rewriting the textbooks at an unprecedented rate.

The approach, known as light detection and ranging scanning (lidar) involves directing a rapid succession of laser pulses at the ground from an aircraft.

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Source: gad

Iran urged by UN to respect environment activists after wildlife campaigner death

Officials say Kavous Seyed Emami used endangered Asiatic cheetah surveys as pretext for spying, but no evidence has been cited

UN officials have urged the Iranian government to respect the work of environmental activists following the death in custody last week of wildlife campaigner, Kavous Seyed Emami.

Emami was buried on Monday, but several members of the organisation he founded, the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, remain in jail and the deputy head of the Environmental Protection Organisation, Kaveh Madani, was detained for 72 hours over the weekend.

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Source: gad

Justin Trudeau pledges full legal framework for indigenous Canadians

  • PM to abolish policies built to serve colonial interests
  • ‘Recognition of rights will guide all government relations’

Canada will create a legal framework to guarantee the rights of indigenous people in all government decisions, doing away with policies built to serve colonial interests, Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

In a sweeping speech that condemned past governments for failing to do enough to protect the rights of aboriginal people, the prime minister said the planned legislation would ensure “rigorous, full and meaningful” implementation of treaties and other agreements and could establish new ways to resolve disputes.

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Source: gad

Canadians cut food and heating to afford prescription drugs, report finds

  • Nearly one million Canadians sacrificed groceries and heating
  • The only developed country with no universal drug plan

Nearly one million Canadians sacrificed food and heating last year in order to afford prescription drugs, according to a new report.

Despite having a universal health care system, Canada remains the only developed country in the world with no universal drug plan. It also has the second-highest drug prices in the industrialized world.

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Source: gad

How Canada became an offshore destination for 'snow washing'

The country’s opaque jurisdictions allow owners of private companies to remain anonymous and the firms to remain in the shadows

Canada is one the world’s most opaque jurisdictions when it comes to identifying the owners of private companies and trusts, according to anti-corruption campaigners who say that more rigorous checks are required to obtain a library card than to set up a company in the country.

“Anyone can start a company in Canada. It costs about C$200 and the owner of the company can remain completely anonymous,” said lawyer Mora Johnson, who recently authored a report detailing the country’s lax rules around corporate registration.

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Source: gad