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The Americas

FESTIVAL NATIVE STYLE

Festival season has kicked off. Many of you associate the word ‘festival’ with big dance events like Sziget or Lowlands and with people wearing oversized sunglasses, light summer dresses or trendy shorts, dancing in the hot summer sun. But festivals come in many different ways: they are celebrated throughout the world, with different purposes and are indeed a phenomenon of ... Read More »

Hands up! It’s the Language Police!

Oh no, you have not misread the title. This specialized office has the remarkable duty of, for example, fining restaurants that inaccurately call their pasta ‘pasta’ or those who give away plastic spoons with only English writing on it. Where on earth, you might ask yourself, does the police involve itself with such surreal and seemingly trivial practices? Dictating the ... Read More »

Review: The Fog of War

With the academic year nearly at an end, is it possible that you over-satisfied your yearly reading needs? Apart from some well-deserved relaxation, the decade’s worth of documentaries that is freely dispersed over the internet can provide you with sufficient food for thought. In the field of IR, The Fog of War is often considered as a standard work among ... Read More »

Chamula: Where Coca Cola Is Sacred

About two years ago, when I was living in Mexico, I visited the town Chamula in Southern Mexico. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I entered a world I never knew existed, a mixture of modernity and ancient Maya culture. The town is inhabited exclusively by Tzotzil people – direct descendants from the Mayans. It ... Read More »

Cleaning Hearts and Minds: America’s War on Drugs

What would prove to be the United States’ longest war started in 1971, when Richard Nixon declared war on America’s public enemy No. 1: drugs. Since then, the budget invested in the drug war has multiplied by 30, which amounts to $15 billion dollars being invested under the Obama administration. The total direct and indirect costs are even greater and ... Read More »

The Kennedy Curse

In the United States, Joseph Patrick ‘’Joe’’ Kennedy started what would become one of the modern world’s most powerful dynasties. Even today the surname seems to go hand in hand with power and success. However, a shadow follows the Kennedy family wherever they go.  The original Kennedy family consisted of the nine children of Joe and Rose Kennedy, descendants of ... Read More »

Carlos the Jackal

 ‘‘A professional revolutionary’’, that’s what Ilich Ramirez Sanchez called himself. Others would name him world’s most infamous terrorist until 9/11.  But most of the people know him as Carlos the Jackal. Named after Lenin, Sanchez was born in Venezuela’s capital Caracas in 1949. Despite his mother’s wishes to raise their firstborn child as a Christian, his father, a true Marxist, ... Read More »

Haiti: After the Earthquake

On the 12th of January 2010 an earthquake of the magnitude 7.0 has rocked the state of Haiti to its core. In less than a minute Haiti was broken apart. A nation and its people suffered devastating destruction. The world responded to the crisis promising to put Haiti back again, better than before. According to the United Nations the earthquake ... Read More »

The Mountain That Eats Men

Until recently, Bolivian tourist brochures mostly focused on the highest capital in the world (La Paz) the salt planes of Uyuni.  Today, one can ‘experience’ the hellish conditions deep in the ‘mountain that eats men’, making the mines the newest must-see attraction of Bolivia. This men-eating mountain in Potosí is also named Cerro Richo (Rich Mountain), derived from the exorbitant ... Read More »

The Unnoticed War of 1864

Under the shades of the American civil war, another conflict took place a bit more south. Paraguay was facing Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. What the hell did Paraguay do to anger the entire region? We have to go back to 1842. Carlos Antonio López came to power and started a massive industrialization. He imported European experts to build modern infrastructure ... Read More »