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.
Art and Culture
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.
When one thinks of sports in Latin America, soccer normally comes to mind, with fans going crazy. But another sport dominates in certain countries: baseball. In the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Cuba, among others, baseball is extremely popular. So popular, in fact, that many beisbolistas from these countries have come to play in U.S. Major League Baseball. There is a lot of history behind this modern trend.
Ranchera, a style of music that grew out of the Mexican revolution, highlights the beauty and simplicity of Mexican life for all citizens. Known for its drama, passion and patriotism, this style of music elicits images of Mexican ranch life. The most famous ranchera singer is inarguably Vicente Fernandez, who has become a national icon in Mexico in the same manner as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley in the U.S.(1).