Joaquin Villalobos

Ex-guerilla commander now an advisor to Mexico’s government

Joaquin Villalobos

Joaquin Villalobos, advisor to Mexican President Calderon

Joaquin Villalobos, a Salvadorean former leftist guerilla commander, is now an advisor to conservative governments, including Colombia and Mexico. Even though his ideology has changed, he still proposes tactics similar to the ones he espoused as a guerilla leader many years ago. He believes that the level of violence in Mexico is indicative of the “self-destruction” of the cartels.

However, Villalobos faces criticism for his argument that high body counts translates into success. Also, many speculate that he is preparing for a presidential run in El Salvador, though he is still distrusted by the right and viewed as a traitor by the left.

For more information, visit:

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/22/world/la-fg-mexico-guru-20101023/4=

Victor Videla Godoy

Letras de la Vida

Victor Videla Godoy

Chilean artist, Victor Videla Godoy, speaks to high school students about his 147 Memoria.

The reconstructed prison cell features letters written from Videla Godoy to his mother.

Videla Godoy's sketches illustrate his ever-constant positivity.

Victor Videla Godoy disappeared in June 1974 along with several thousand other people. In August 1974 the corpses of the first victims of Operation Condor were found in garbage dumps in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Today and tomorrow in the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center, Videla Godoy stands to tell us about it.

Operation Condor was created by the military dictatorships of the Southern Cone, the secret service of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay. In the ‘Dirty War’ from 1976 to 1983, the Argentine military used what they considered necessary methods such as torture, rape, and violent repression in order to persecute leftists who were living as political refugees.

Videla Godoy was forced out of a United Nations refugee shelter on Córdoba Street in Buenos Aires and taken to ‘Coordinación Federal,’ where he was tortured for nearly 25 days.  From there, he was relocated to a jail in ‘Villa Devoto’ where he was assigned to cell 147.

“From jail cell number 147 I wrote approximately 100 letters to my mother.  In those letters I never told her that I was hungry, that I was cold, that they hit us, or that they punished us, but just the opposite,” says Videla Godoy.  He led her to believe that ‘Villa Devoto’ was a picture of beauty. “I told her stories that weren’t true. But in the end, she knew the reality.”

Just after Christmas in 1976, Videla Godoy was expelled from Argentina and put on a plane to Zurich, Switzerland. In exile, he continued writing letters to his mother until she died on August 30, 1983.

It’s times like these I wish my language barrier didn’t leave me so lost in translation. However, as Videla Godoy stands there in front of me, even as my brain struggles from word to word, I hear everything. It’s hard not to when his eyes light up with passion and willingness to illustrate to you such intimate details of his past.

Videla Godoy says, “I always told my mother to read the letters and then burn them; for some reason she didn’t do it.” Standing amidst the reconstructed prison cell of hundreds of letters signed ‘Victor’, with illustrations of flowers, exclamations of ‘Querida!’ and splashes of color wherever he could manage, this exhibit leaves us with countless reasons why she didn’t.

The exhibition will be open to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct 26 & 27) from 11:00am to 3:00pm, Design Media Arts Grad Gallery, Broad Bldg

Cost: Free and open to the public. Refreshments provided
For more information please contact:
Gloria Tovar, gtovar@international.ucla.edu

Death Strikes Paul the Octopus

Paul, the octopus who accurately predicted the results for the 2010 world cup died this Tuesday, Oct. 26. His tentacles were on the hearts and minds of many during the summer games and he subsequently rose to global stardom. After the games, he retreated from the prediction business and went back to the aquarium. He died at 2 1/2 years of age in an aquarium in western Germany.

To read more about his all-knowing skills and his short but fulfilling life follow this link:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130829015

Death Strikes Paul the Octopus

Paul, the octopus who accurately predicted the results for the 2010 world cup died this Tuesday, Oct. 26. His tentacles were on the hearts and minds of many during the summer games and he subsequently rose to global stardom. After the games, he retreated from the prediction business and went back to the aquarium. He died at 2 1/2 years of age in an aquarium in western Germany.

To read more about his all-knowing skills and his short but fulfilling life follow this link:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130829015

Obama in L.A. to Urge Students to Vote

Awaiting the Commander-in-Chief

Over 30,000 students and community members were in attendance to see President Barrack Obama during his brief visit to Los Angeles on October 22.

Arriving at the University of Southern California via Marine One, Obama joined other elected Democrats in an effort to motivate the parties base for the upcoming November election.

Actor and comedian Jaime Foxx hosted the event while using his digital camera to capture the audiences reactions.

“Im going to put this in a movie,” said Foxx as he led the crowd in chants of “Yes We Can” and “Si Se Puede.”

Obama was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer who is currently campaigning against former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina for the Senatorial seat.

Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown also attended and spoke briefly about the future of California.

California Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown

“When I see the power of the sun, I know we don’t need either Saudi Arabian oil or Texas gas, we got California sun, and it can fuel the economy,” Brown said.

Brown, who is running against former eBay CEO republican candidate Meg Whitman, said “we don’t scapegoat anybody, not public workers, not immigrants, not anybody because were all Californians together.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis were also part of the line-up of elected officials who urged students to vote.

Obama in L.A. to Urge Students to Vote

Awaiting the Commander-in-Chief

Over 30,000 students and community members were in attendance to see President Barrack Obama during his brief visit to Los Angeles on October 22.

Arriving at the University of Southern California via Marine One, Obama joined other elected Democrats in an effort to motivate the parties base for the upcoming November election.

Actor and comedian Jaime Foxx hosted the event while using his digital camera to capture the audiences reactions.

“Im going to put this in a movie,” said Foxx as he led the crowd in chants of “Yes We Can” and “Si Se Puede.”

Obama was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer who is currently campaigning against former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina for the Senatorial seat.

Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown also attended and spoke briefly about the future of California.

California Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown

“When I see the power of the sun, I know we don’t need either Saudi Arabian oil or Texas gas, we got California sun, and it can fuel the economy,” Brown said.

Brown, who is running against former eBay CEO republican candidate Meg Whitman, said “we don’t scapegoat anybody, not public workers, not immigrants, not anybody because were all Californians together.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis were also part of the line-up of elected officials who urged students to vote.

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Percentage of Latino College Graduates Remains Low

Tuesday, the government announced the establishment of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in order to bolster Latino achievement in academics. The percentage of Latinos to graduate college has remained relatively low over the last decade, with the lack of high school diplomas, language, immigration status and growing population among possible reasons why.

For more on the story:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304510704575562352066596296.html

784495_81139933

Percentage of Latino College Graduates Remains Low

Tuesday, the government announced the establishment of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in order to bolster Latino achievement in academics. The percentage of Latinos to graduate college has remained relatively low over the last decade, with the lack of high school diplomas, language, immigration status and growing population among possible reasons why.

For more on the story:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304510704575562352066596296.html

Girls in traditional Mexican dresses give out candy in the Desfile de los Charros, a parade celebrating regional cowboy practices and costumes on Sept. 13.

The Bicentennial: Mexico moves forward by paying homage to its past

Girls in traditional Mexican dresses give out candy in the Desfile de los Charros, a parade celebrating regional cowboy practices and costumes on Sept. 13.

The night is filled with different aromas, flavors and colors: tacos, sopes, carne asada, churros, and beautiful tricolored flags in every stand. But most exciting of all is the cheerfulness and anticipation of the people, young and old alike.

Gathered in the main square of Zapotlanejo in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, we impatiently await the famous Grito de Independencia on the night of Sept. 15. This is one of the most important traditions for Mexico performed annually since the movement for independence in 1810.

At midnight, we all enthusiastically exclaim “Viva Mexico!” However, this year’s cry was like no other for the Mexican people. We celebrated two important events, the Bicentennial of the Independence and the Centennial of the Revolution.

I spent two months in Mexico this summer and was fascinated to see how much innovation and creativity were dedicated in honor of these two historical events. Countless projects were implemented in almost every area.

New websites were created with recent historical research. Important historical places like Mexico City and Guanajuato opened special museum expositions that displayed artifacts of the Colonial and Independence eras. Patriotic TV commercials depicted famous revolutionary figures and scenes, while other commercials promoted tourism to “las joyas del bicentenario,” or natural treasures of the country. The Secretariat of Public Education printed new textbooks for public schools, detailing the events of 1810 and 1910.

According to an online article by El Informador, federal and state governments funded new and improved highways to make traveling from one state to another easier, thus promoting unity and security within the country. Many of these highways have signs indicating historical routes traveled by the characters of the Independence and the Revolution. Similarly, streets, town plazas, city halls, and schools were remodeled and adorned for the patriotic fiestas.

Dressed in a mariachi suit, a little girl smiles as she passes by, representing one of the most popular images of the state of Jalisco.

The best example, of course, is Mexico City. I was taken aback by the enormous decorations hanging from the balconies of the Zócalo buildings. The familiar faces of important figures like Miguel Hidalgo, the most representative of the Independence, and Pancho Villa of the Revolution, were displayed everywhere with great pride. I was fortunate enough to see a parade with horses and soldiers, carrying the bones of the Fathers of the Independence. I felt chills running down my back as I saw the carriages passing by me. I never imagined seeing the bones of Miguel Hidalgo!

All these projects served to educate and beautify Mexico, creating an atmosphere of progress and development. President Felipe Calderon affirmed that the employment goal was surpassed, reaching 290,000 new jobs by March of this year. This year brought a growth in the job market, improving the economic situation of many families. These projects and the festivities of this year opened Mexico to higher numbers of tourists. A Los Angeles Times article reported a 20% increase in tourism to Mexico this year.

In Nuevo Vallarta, I had the opportunity to meet an Argentine couple who came to Mexico every other year for vacation. We talked about food, politics, and violence and drug-related crime. Despite all, I was pleased to hear them say that Mexico is a paradise and their favorite destination in the world.

Many national and international politicians, newspaper articles and even citizens have criticized the time, effort, money and commercialism put into this year’s historical anniversaries. They claim that the government should address more important issues in Mexican society and economy like the drug wars, the trafficking, crime, inundations, and political corruption. Sadly, this is reality in Mexico.

But I ask, what country doesn’t have problems? It’s easy to judge Mexico’s condition, especially with the media focusing on negative aspects and sensationalizing the news.

From my experience, as a Mexicana and an American student-traveler, I can confidently say that Mexico is a country with great potential. It is important to observe Mexico with an insider perspective to understand its condition. We must lose the fear and pessimism, and learn to live it and love it, either as our native country or as our next-door neighbor.

Girls in traditional Mexican dresses give out candy in the Desfile de los Charros, a parade celebrating regional cowboy practices and costumes on Sept. 13.

The Bicentennial: Mexico moves forward by paying homage to its past

Girls in traditional Mexican dresses give out candy in the Desfile de los Charros, a parade celebrating regional cowboy practices and costumes on Sept. 13.

The night is filled with different aromas, flavors and colors: tacos, sopes, carne asada, churros, and beautiful tricolored flags in every stand. But most exciting of all is the cheerfulness and anticipation of the people, young and old alike.

Gathered in the main square of Zapotlanejo in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, we impatiently await the famous Grito de Independencia on the night of Sept. 15. This is one of the most important traditions for Mexico performed annually since the movement for independence in 1810.

At midnight, we all enthusiastically exclaim “Viva Mexico!” However, this year’s cry was like no other for the Mexican people. We celebrated two important events, the Bicentennial of the Independence and the Centennial of the Revolution.

I spent two months in Mexico this summer and was fascinated to see how much innovation and creativity were dedicated in honor of these two historical events. Countless projects were implemented in almost every area.

New websites were created with recent historical research. Important historical places like Mexico City and Guanajuato opened special museum expositions that displayed artifacts of the Colonial and Independence eras. Patriotic TV commercials depicted famous revolutionary figures and scenes, while other commercials promoted tourism to “las joyas del bicentenario,” or natural treasures of the country. The Secretariat of Public Education printed new textbooks for public schools, detailing the events of 1810 and 1910.

According to an online article by El Informador, federal and state governments funded new and improved highways to make traveling from one state to another easier, thus promoting unity and security within the country. Many of these highways have signs indicating historical routes traveled by the characters of the Independence and the Revolution. Similarly, streets, town plazas, city halls, and schools were remodeled and adorned for the patriotic fiestas.

Dressed in a mariachi suit, a little girl smiles as she passes by, representing one of the most popular images of the state of Jalisco.

The best example, of course, is Mexico City. I was taken aback by the enormous decorations hanging from the balconies of the Zócalo buildings. The familiar faces of important figures like Miguel Hidalgo, the most representative of the Independence, and Pancho Villa of the Revolution, were displayed everywhere with great pride. I was fortunate enough to see a parade with horses and soldiers, carrying the bones of the Fathers of the Independence. I felt chills running down my back as I saw the carriages passing by me. I never imagined seeing the bones of Miguel Hidalgo!

All these projects served to educate and beautify Mexico, creating an atmosphere of progress and development. President Felipe Calderon affirmed that the employment goal was surpassed, reaching 290,000 new jobs by March of this year. This year brought a growth in the job market, improving the economic situation of many families. These projects and the festivities of this year opened Mexico to higher numbers of tourists. A Los Angeles Times article reported a 20% increase in tourism to Mexico this year.

In Nuevo Vallarta, I had the opportunity to meet an Argentine couple who came to Mexico every other year for vacation. We talked about food, politics, and violence and drug-related crime. Despite all, I was pleased to hear them say that Mexico is a paradise and their favorite destination in the world.

Many national and international politicians, newspaper articles and even citizens have criticized the time, effort, money and commercialism put into this year’s historical anniversaries. They claim that the government should address more important issues in Mexican society and economy like the drug wars, the trafficking, crime, inundations, and political corruption. Sadly, this is reality in Mexico.

But I ask, what country doesn’t have problems? It’s easy to judge Mexico’s condition, especially with the media focusing on negative aspects and sensationalizing the news.

From my experience, as a Mexicana and an American student-traveler, I can confidently say that Mexico is a country with great potential. It is important to observe Mexico with an insider perspective to understand its condition. We must lose the fear and pessimism, and learn to live it and love it, either as our native country or as our next-door neighbor.