Alma Guillermoprieto often writes on Latin America in these pages. She lives in Mexico City. (November 2012)
Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy by Diana Kennedy
Atentamente, El Chapo (Sincerely, El Chapo) by Héctor de Mauleón
La Ruta de Sangre de Beltrán Leyva (The Path of Blood of Beltrán Leyva) by Héctor de Mauleón
Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juárez by Howard Campbell
Mafia & Co.: The Criminal Networks in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia by Juan Carlos Garzón, translated from the Spanish by Kathy Ogle
La Iglesia del silencio by Fernando M. González
Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner
Money Paved the Way for Maciel’s Influence by Jason Berry
Maciel despojó a 900 mujeres by Eugenia Jiménez
“Así matamos a monseñor Romero” an investigation by Carlos Dada
Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero a film directed by Ana Carrigan and Juliet Weber
Cave, City, and Eagle’s Nest: An Interpretive Journey Through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 edited by Davíd Carrasco and Scott Sessions
Chávez, un hombre que anda por ahí: Una entrevista con Hugo Chávez by Aleida Guevara
Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: Una historia personal by Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka
Hugo Chávez: The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela by Richard Gott
La Revolución como espectáculo by Colette Capriles
Mi confesión:Carlos Castaño revela sus secretos by Mauricio Aranguren Molina
Buena Vista Social Club recording produced by Ry Cooder
Afro-Cuban All Stars: A Toda Cuba le Gusta recording produced by Nick Gold, by Juan de Marcos González
Introducing Rubén González recording produced by Nick Gold
Fidel Castro y la religion: Conversaciones con Frei Betto
Memorias de un soldado cubano: Vida y muerte de la Revolución by Dariel Alarcón Ramírez, by ("Benigno")
Deposition of Raúl Salinas de Gortari published in Epoca
Lessons of the Mexican Peso Crisis Foreign Relations, John C. Whitehead, Chairman, Marie-Josée Kravis, Project Director. Report of an Independent Task Force sponsored by the Council on
The Mexican Shock: Its Meaning for the United States by Jorge G. Castañeda
Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas by George Collier and Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello, foreword by Peter Rosset
Rebellion from the Roots: Indian Uprising in Chiapas by John Ross
EZLN: Documentos y comunicados A collection of the writings of Subcomandante Marcos
A Fish in the Water: A Memoir by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Helen Lane
Sometime in the three months since Hugo Chávez was pronounced dead, his favorite television mouthpiece, a broadcaster called Mario Silva, delivered himself of his sorrow regarding Venezuela in the course of a highly private conversation. It was a riveting aria: fifty-three minutes in which Silva told of coup plots, death threats, power struggles within the heart of chavismo.
What Venezuelans may remember most about last month’s presidential campaign is the moment right at the start, when Nicolás Maduro Moros, the late Hugo Chávez’s chosen successor, told a television audience that the supreme comandante had come back to him in the shape of a little bird and, chirping, urged him on to victory.
In trying to evaluate the astonishing rule of Hugo Chávez the question to ask is this: whether the people he leaves behind regressed into a kind of childhood faith and dependency under his spell and what the price of such regression might be.
As a normally pro-forma gathering of hemispheric leaders gets under way in Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend, Latin America could instead be approaching its declaration of independence from the United States. For the first time, the region might come out against a US policy. Unimpeachable US allies, like Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla and Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, who is the meeting’s host, have expressed their support for legalization of the drug trade. And, as is not infrequently the case in matters concerning Washington’s home hemisphere, the US has been caught unaware.
Those of us who were privileged to study with Merce Cunningham at whatever point in his long career will cherish forever the physical challenges he posed for a dancer. Followers like myself also loved his senseless determination to make every piece new, even if it meant losing audience members unwilling to work that hard for the payoff. We loved Merce’s courage: he showed up for work when he was exhausted, when he was injured, when he was suffering, and he always danced full-out. But in an extraordinary act of artistic self-immolation, the creator of some of the twentieth century’s most moving dance works decided in his final years that the Merce Cunningham Dance Company should have a last world tour after his death—and then shut down. Whether he should have been allowed by his board to torch everything he worked so killingly hard to create will be debated for a long time, along with the question of why he did it.
In Mexico, the dearly beloved who are no longer in this world receive special dispensation to return to us once a year. To celebrate this miracle, we bring flowers to an elaborate, colorful altar, make a path with marigold petals to show them the way, sing to them, pamper them with offerings of their favorite foods, and generally laugh with them at death and other things. In certain parts of the country, the Day of the Dead, and the altar-building events that lead up to it, are a bigger deal than Christmas.
This November 2nd has turned out slightly different from the preceding ones, however: as the number of fatalities in the current wave of narcowar violence approaches 40,000, a growing number of people have decided that these dead, too, should be remembered, although their killing is hardly a cause for celebration.
Without the rest of the world paying much attention, the tortured relations between drug traffickers and the rest of the Mexican population have taken a significant turn.
In January 1986, I became the South American bureau chief for a US magazine. It was not a happy marriage, and from the beginning I showed that I was not up to the job.
It may be that Latin America is the last great reservoir of innocent art. Or at least, one could happily arrive at that conclusion after watching a video on YouTube, “En tus tierras bailaré” (“In Your Lands Someday I’ll Dance”) that has gone way over the million-hit mark.
Of all the terrible sexual scandals the hierarchs in the Vatican find themselves tangled in, none is likely to do as much institutional damage as the astounding and still unfolding story of the Mexican priest Marcial Maciel.
I was in Managua, Nicaragua, thirty years ago, recovering from dengue fever, when my editor at The Guardian called from London to say that I should get on the next plane to San Salvador: the Archbishop of El Salvador had been gunned down while saying Mass.
For whatever reason—global warming seems to be one—Bolivia’s Chacaltaya glacier, whose runoff provided water for the contiguous cities of La Paz and El Alto for centuries, is now gone. Glaciers reconstitute themselves, if at all, outside the span of human time: we will not see so much ice shimmer again above the harsh brown altiplano, the highland plateau where two thirds of all Bolivians live. Other glaciers in the Bolivian Andes—like the Illimani, so beautiful to look at—are also melting, and in all likelihood will disappear before 2040.