“Only 20.7 percent of American adults can speak a foreign language — compared with 66 percent of all European adults who know more than one language” (Zietlow, 2017). This statistic is often justified by the American explanation that for Europeans, due to the close proximity of different countries, learning a foreign language is easy because it is as though each state in the United States spoke a different language. As if for some reason close neighbors that speak a different language make it more common for Europeans to learn a second or even third language.
Over the last 15 years, the cult of La Santa Muerte (St. Death) has attracted a remarkable number of followers in Mexico and the USA. Considered a sacred female personification of death by her devotees, she has been the object of global curiosity since it first became public in 2001 in Mexico City. Mexican and international journalists, novelists, and scholars have since then been fascinated by the photogenic Santa Muerte, with the tangible result that most major broadcasters have shown scenes of devotees praying, deeply moved, in front of a skeleton figurine in Baroque dress.
President Obama’s upcoming visit to Argentina coincides with the 40th anniversary of the military coup responsible for the curtailment of political and civil rights, forced disappearances, and the torture and murder of thousands of civilians. The decision of Mr. Obama to honor the victims of Argentina’s brutal “dirty war” by declassifying military, intelligence and law enforcement documents from that period should be applauded.