Sweet sounds of a wooden instrument ringing throughout the airport caught my attention as I got off my flight in Guatemala City in the summer of 2016. As I turned the corner, I saw the source of this joyful music that breathed happiness being played on a large wooden xylophone-looking instrument, which I later learned was called a marimba, by a group of Guatemalan men underneath a large sign that said, “Bienvenidos a Guatemala” (Welcome to Guatemala).
Art and Culture
Walking down the cracked sidewalks of a hot, palm frond-shaded street in Vedado, Havana’s western upper-middle class neighborhood, you pass two women. One of them, younger and taller, is dressed entirely in white—from her white umbrella and white hair wrap down to her white high-heeled shoes. When she notices you staring at her trailing white dress, she smiles and looks down. Her older companion speaks loudly and emphatically to her as they pass you by.
Favelas have long been known as the impoverished neighborhoods surrounding the cities of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city, is home to one of the oldest favelas, Providência, founded in 18971. The original favelas normally consisted of informal housing like shacks, usually made from scrap metal, woods, or other materials. They originated due to a lack of affordable housing, thus pushing poorer citizens to the outskirts of the cities.
Upon meeting Maurice Tomlinson, one would never guess all that he has been through in his life. His smiling face lights up the room and his laughter is immediately contagious. Nothing about the LGBTI rights advocate’s demeanor reveals that he was forced out of his home country of Jamaica after threats to his life.
For centuries, the dominant religion found in Latin America has been Catholicism. Having been ruled by the Spanish and Portuguese starting in the 1500s, both nations emphasized religiosity and incorporated the Church into government decisions and policies, from land distribution, to conversion and education. As a result, centuries of the Christian religion and in many cases hegemony over indigenous religions pushed Latin America to be 90 percent Catholic, as of 1910.
The story of world renown, Nobel-winning poet, Pablo Neruda, will be highlighted in the 2016 film, Neruda, directed by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín. The film is Chile’s 2016 Oscar submission for the Foreign-Language category. Larraín describes the film as an “anti-bio”, the opposite of what many call a biopic1. Rather than describe one’s life in order like in a biopic, an anti-bio creates its own story within the main character’s life.