South America

Pro Mujer: Changing Lives Through Microloans

Posted by on December 20th, 2013

Microfinance has proven to be a powerful engine of change in the fight against global poverty.  The idea is that with a small loan for use as startup capital, individuals who have no collateral and are considered “not credit-worthy” by traditional financial institutions will be able to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. … Read Full Post

Environmentalism in Patagonia

Posted by on November 28th, 2013

A few years ago, bumping along an unpaved road in Argentine Patagonia, I found myself reflecting on just how different this desolate grassland was from my urban home in Oakland, California.  We passed a gaucho trotting along on his horse, hours from any sign of civilization, and I wondered about his lifestyle.  Was his way of… Read Full Post

Cape Horn: The Southern Tip of South America

Posted by on November 18th, 2013

What is it about the geographic extremes of the earth that appeal to us so much as human beings?  Several years ago, while teaching and traveling in India, I visited one of these extreme sites: Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, where the the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean converge. … Read Full Post

Zen Birding in South America – Macaws in Peru

Posted by on June 26th, 2013

While preparing for a recent trip to the Mindo Cloud Forest in Ecuador, one of the most bird species-rich areas of the world, with over 450 species of birds, I stumbled across a book by David M. White and Susan M. Guyette entitled Zen Birding which reminded me of my experiences with macaws in Peru. … Read Full Post

Film review: “Even The Rain” (2010)

Posted by on May 4th, 2013

Even the Rain is at once a deeply political message and a gripping tale. It tells the story of a Spanish and Mexican film crew who are trying to make a movie about the truth behind Columbus’ arrival in the new world; the ugly truth about Spanish exploitation of the Indians. The irony of the… Read Full Post

Understanding South America through its History of War

Posted by on April 14th, 2013

It pays to know at least a little bit about the history of a place before you visit it, and wars are a good place to start. They shape fortunes and borders but they also form memories and national grudges. Here are three post-independence wars in South America that are still important today. Falklands War… Read Full Post

Two Werner Herzog Movies Set in South America

Posted by on April 6th, 2013

Reading Nick’s article on his favorite Latin American movies, I just can’t help giving a shout out to a couple of my own particular favorites. Both are by the same director, Werner Herzog, and both are set in the Amazon: “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.” Aguirre Wrath of God starts off with an… Read Full Post

Four Latin American blockbusters worth watching

Posted by on March 20th, 2013

Ever since I lived in Argentina, I’ve had a thing for movies from or about Latin America. I haven’t watched everything, but I have watched a lot. Here’s a list of four that have achieved global success. I’ll do a blog post on four lesser-known films soon. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) This tells the story… Read Full Post

Three questions arising from One Hundred Years of Solitude

Posted by on March 18th, 2013

  Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. The first line of One Hundred Years of Solitude encapsulates not only a book, but also a nation, a continent and a literary movement. Think about it. The… Read Full Post