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August 22 2012

Central America: Upcoming “Camps” for Young Cyber-Activists

Rising Voices is partnering with Hivos and Dialogía in two “camps” for young people using digital media for social change. The workshops, called “Activistmo” [es], will be held in Nicaragua and Guatemala during September and October. Young people from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala between the ages of 18-25 can apply [es] until August 31.

 

August 13 2012

Nicaragua: A Blogger's Olympic Dream

Mildred Largaespada from the blog 1001 trópicos [es] shares her “Olympic dream.” In 1984, Mildred was part of Nicaragua's National Junior Basketball Team and participated in the Central American Games of that year in Guatemala. Her dream was to make it to the Olympics, but after losing in Guatemala she traded her basketball shoes for a career in journalism.

August 03 2012

Central America Begins to Stand Out in the London Olympic Games

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

A week has passed since the London 2012 Olympic Games started, and while the medal count is being disputed strongly between China and the United States, Central America has also experienced moments of joy and hope with small triumphs in the midst of complaints of lack of support and obvious comparisons between well prepared athletes and some who are semi-amateurs.

Social networks have been a fundamental part of these Olympic Games, where people share their impressions, complaints, and dreams that Central America will bring home a medal after these games. These are some of the highlights up until this moment.

Guatemala

With a delegation of twelve athletes, Kevin Gordon and Ana Sofía have been Guatemala's best representatives this week. Gordon was able to advance into the next round of Badminton and competed strongly before being eliminated. Guatemalans expressed their satisfaction and pride in this participation, as demonstrated by Mario Santizo (@mario_santizo) [es], who wrote an excited Tweet after the first triumph:

(@mario_santizo) Kevin gordon gano su primer partido Felicidades #OrgulloChapin

(@mario_santizo) [es] Kevin gordon won his first game. Congratulations #OrgulloChapin

Additionally, the gymnast Ana Sofía classified into the final rounds of gymnastics, and in spite of being eliminated, she honored Guatemala's name, as dozens of people agreed on Twitter. Roba Mentes (@RobaMentes) [es] wrote:

(@RobaMentes) ¡FELICIDADES ANA SOFÍA GÓMEZ! ¡GRACIAS POR PONER A GUATEMALA EN ALTO!

(@RobaMentes) ¡CONGRATULATIONS ANA SOFIA GOMEZ! ¡THANK YOU FOR LIFTING GUATEMALA ON HIGH!

Honduras

Honduras reached its highlight of the week when their men's soccer team defeated the favorite Spanish team. Honduras is the only country from Central America that is participating in a team sport. Honduras tied with Morocco and Japan, classifying into quarterfinals  where they will face another favorite: Brazil.

The blogger Fabricio Estrada writes about this on his blog Bitácora del Párbulo [es] pointing out how even in the midst of difficult circumstances in their country, there has been time to cheer the goals and celebrate the accomplishments:

Qué días más difíciles en los que nos toca verles triunfar, compitas, y aún así, siempre, siempre, nos detenemos, hacemos pausa para gritar en silencio, con un orgullo extraño, olímpico, imposible de explicar, y una vez que sabemos que somos los mismos hermanos despojados de todo, me sumo al equipo humilde, al que muestra al mundo lo que podemos lograr y celebrar desde la nada impuesta. Arriba los humildes, arriba los pobres del mundo que siempre damos las grandes lecciones!!

What difficult days in which we have to see you triumph, brothers, and even so, we always, always, stop, we pause to cheer in silence, with a strange pride, Olympic, impossible to explain, and once we know that we are the same brothers striped of everything, I join the humble team, the one that shows the world what we can achieve and celebrate from the imposed nothingness. Long live the humble people, long live the poor of the world that always give great lessons!

Nicaragua

The highlight from Nicaragua this weeks was brought by Osmar Bravo, who obtained for the first time a boxing triumph for the Central American country. The boxer continues in the competition and could cause a stir and obtain a medal.

Amalia del Cid (@AmaliadelCid) [es] celebrates the event on her Twitter account:

(@AmaliadelCid) Osmar Bravo, la primera victoria de#Nicaragua en el boxeo olímpico en los últimos 20 años. #Londres2012 @JJOO

(@AmaliadelCid) [es] Osmar Bravo, the first victory for #Nicaragua in Olympic boxing in the last 20 years.#Londres2012 @JJOO

There are still several weeks of Olympic Games left and Central America will not give up the hope of obtaining a medal. This weekend the track and field competitions begin, where there is an important delegation of Central American athletes and with them the hopes of all the Isthmus.

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

June 18 2012

Nicaragua: The Continued Struggle to End Child Labor

It hasn't been easy to try and stop child labor in Nicaragua, and the following videos provide a look into the reasons why many children are still working despite the new laws. While some families are seeing value in getting their children educated and are responding to awareness campaigns, for others child labor is the way they keep their families afloat. While the law establishes that government, employers, syndicates and families all have the obligation to prevent child labor that could harm a child physically or emotionally and which keeps them from studying or developing, the hard economical situation in Nicaragua makes it very hard for families to resist either sending their children out to work or assigning domestic work for them to do at home.

Children in Ometepe, Some rights reserved by Zach Klein

Young fruit vendors in Ometepe Nicaragua, CCby Zach Klein

Journeyman pictures cover this in Hard Labour, where it shows children doing dangerous work, while authorities either deny their existence or declare themselves unable to turn a child away when they know the income is needed by their families:

A group of children smash stones into small pieces, risking blindness as chips of rock fly into the air. Officially, child labour is illegal in Nicaragua and the cooperative leader in one quarry is quick to deny that any children are working there. “It is prohibited for children to work as stone cutters. It's much too risky. Children should go to school, not work.” But Anibal, a ten-year-old labourer, tells a different story. He has already spent a year in hospital after he was injured working at the quarry. “A pile of dirt fell from up high. It fell on me and injured my leg.” Despite the objections of the Sandinista government, being one of the poorest countries in Latin America leaves families with little choice. Diana Espinoza, the local representative from Save the Children admits it is a very difficult situation: “there's a whole market with child labour at several levels”.

However, some changes have been made, particularly in the coffee industry. Farmers who wish for their coffee to be part of Fair Trade, need to guarantee the children in the farms are not picking coffee but instead going to school. The coffee-pickers were child laborers themselves, and while they are aware of the challenges for them to send their kids to school instead of having them adding income, one of the woman also mentions that it is a sacrifice that needs to be made in order to successfully raise her children.  However, getting a child back into school is not easy, as shown by the story of Fabiola and her son Jose, where even though she has wanted to enroll her child in school instead of having him working in the streets, she has faced obstacles all along the way, and even if Jose enrolls, he'll probably have to deal with the stigma of being a child worker.

Children pitch in with their opinions on child labor in Nicaragua in the next two videos.  Through video training by Xchange Perspectives, children in the Jinotega region of Nicaragua reported on the issue:

And from Abre Tus Ojos Nicaragua [es], teens also reported on the issue in Matagalpa, to the North of Nicaragua. Through interviews with child workers as well as authorities in organizations trying to prevent child labor, the reasons behind these kids working are much of the same. For example, sometimes their family group is only the child and the mother, so the extra income is needed to make ends meet, or through sickness, these children become the only ones able to bring in income to feed their family and have to become adults overnight.  Other times, parents have their children working so they learn about working and not lazying about doing nothing. Although they work all day and go home very tired, these children and teens take pride in the help they give their families, not considering it as “work” or something that denies them their rights.  Actions being taken are combining education in the morning and then allowing for the children to go and help their families while raising awareness among the children and teens so they are aware of their rights.

June 01 2012

RightsCon: Future of Digital Rights in Latin America and Beyond

Activists, business representatives, thinkers and policy makers are meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Human Rights and Technology Conference, hosted by Access in partnership with the Center for Technology and Society from Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil.

Speakers and participants discussed everything from social movements and digital natives, to Net Neutrality and the digital divide.

Andrew Mclaughlin from Tumblr described the most relevant threats to a free Internet:

Here are the key battles: Censorship and political control, which is the erection of a technical architecture of control that can be used for ill. Surveillance and piracy is battleground number two, where we see within the rule of law, outside the rule of law, and by companies themselves. And finally, the structure of the internet is under attack, the battles around network neutrality, wireless network neutrality, competition or the lack thereof, and the legislation that would control it, like SOPA/PIPA, ACTA and CISPA.

Jochai Ben Abi from Access at Rightscon Picture by Paulo Rena under a Creative Commons License

Brett Solomon, director of Access, highlighted the importance of Latin America in shaping the future:

We acknowledge the leadership in Latin America on the many things that are taking place. The marco civil in Brazil, the Costa Rican recognition of access to the internet as a fundamental human right.

Via video conference, Marietje Schaake, MEP for the Netherlands, told attendees we are entering a new era of diplomacy:

A new era of global Internet politics kicked off with the introduction of the idea of the ITU managing the Internet. I don’t believe that a UN body could regulate this effectively, and I don’t believe that government alone, without a multi-stakeholder approach, could govern the Internet. And we must be careful that emerging economies don’t push human rights off the agenda, when economic growth is on the table. Western companies must stop providing technology for censorship and surveillance. IT is a fundamental misunderstanding of the rule of law.

A roundtable also discussed how digital natives are changing the World, using the #yosoy132 movement in Mexico as an example.

While discussing privacy and security, computer expert and activist Jacob Appelbaum advocated for strong protection of privacy and cautious use of social networks. He said:

Facebook in some ways is Stasibook–you report on your friends all the time.

He later explained the importance of security technologies being available for all, even for the “bad guys”:

As a planet, I think we need to make a decision to all be secure, even some bad guys, rather than to all be insecure, and policed by governments which are not good at self-regulating, and are not transparent or accountable about what they do with this information.

A small delegation of Global Voices authors is attending the conference, including Ellery Biddle and Jillian York from the U.S.A., Claudio Ruiz from Chile, Diego Casaes from Brazil, and Elaine Diaz from Cuba.

During the conference The Guardian Project, an initiative which aims to create technologies and hardware to protect communications and personal data from intrusion and monitoring, organized the Free Bird Event, a one-day workshop that aims to empower mobile technology users with greater knowledge about security and privacy.

At the conference, the Access Innovation Prize was announced, which will distribute USD100,000.00 around the World. The deadline to apply for the prize is August 15, 2012 and anyone in the World can apply for any of its five categories. The award's website explains:

The Access Innovation Prize is designed to discover and reward ideas that demonstrate unique promise, opportunity and possibility. You can submit a near to complete project, improve an existing tool or create something totally new.

The conference ends today, June 1, with a discussion on the future of digital rights in Latin America and beyond, but the conversation around theses issues is just starting.

Liveblogging has been facilitated by @krmaher; Live-streaming has also also available, and the Twitter account @rightscon –tweeting in three different languages– is more active than ever. Anyone around the World can send a question to specific panels, so start the conversation and share your comments on how businesses can improve and side with citizens while defending digital freedom.

April 01 2012

Video Highlights: Culture, Human Rights, Online Activism and Crowdfunding

This section aims to showcase interesting and recent posts in Global Voices that show the many ways in which videos are helping people tell stories all around the world. You can follow the activity by regions in our YouTube channel.

The Earth, image by Esparta Palma CCBy

The Earth, image by Esparta Palma CCBy on Flickr


Culture

India: The Last Handwritten Newspaper in the World

The earliest forms of newspaper were handwritten and now ‘The Musalman‘ probably is the last handwritten newspaper in the world. This Urdu language newspaper was established in 1927 by Chenab Syed Asmadullah Sahi and has been published daily in the Chennai city of India ever since.

Azerbaijan: Novruz Bayram

Alongside Iran and elsewhere, Azerbaijan once again celebrated Novruz, the Zoroastrian or Persian New Year. Usually celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, Novruz marks the first day of Spring, and is one of the most important dates in the Azerbaijani calendar.

This next promotional video prepared for Eurovision shows how the holiday is celebrated in Azerbaijan.

 

Human Rights and Videos

Ethiopia: Child Abuse Caught on Mobile Phone Camera

Ethiopian Facebook users have reacted to a mobile phone recorded YouTube video which shows a little girl constantly being abused by her mother. Shortly after the upload of the video, netizens on Facebook organized an online campaign for justice by starting a Facebook group called “Ethiopians Against Child Abuse”:

Warning: the video shows situations of child abuse.

 

This month also saw other reactions in Ethiopia regarding human rights abuses, in the next case, an Ethiopian domestic worker was beaten by her employers in front of the Ethiopian Embassy in Lebanon, and it was captured on video. Sadly, she committed suicide shortly after.

Ethiopia: Outrage Over Abuse of Ethiopian Domestic Worker in Lebanon

Ethiopia Lebanon: Online Outrage Over Death of Domestic Worker Turns into Activism

The graphic nature of the video together with the tragic end of the plot left Ethiopians netizens outraged. Ethiopians have been using Facebook and online petition sites to mourn her death and campaign for justice for domestic workers in the Middle East.

Online Activism

Kony 2012 Special Coverage Page

With the Kony 2012 campaign, discussions increased online on the topics of online activism, its efficiency and how media portrays the conflicts and situations lived in different African countries. A Special Coverage page was created to follow the reactions on the polemic video with Ugandans weighing in on the topic:

Uganda: Kony 2012 Video Response from Ugandan Prime Minister

On the YouTube comments for the previous video, Ugacentricity gives credit to the intentions behind the Invisible Children's video, but defends the need for an accurate portrayal:

No doubt, Jason's intentions MAY have been good, but he threw truth and fact out in favour of drama and innuendo. True, he may not have got the 100 million+ viewers, but the end doesn't always justify the means. As a Ugandan who was affected by Kony, I'd rather have had 100 people listening to the truth in my story than 100 million believing the untruths in it.

A series of video responses made by people inspired by the original Kony 2012 video can be found in the post Uganda: Yes We Kony!.

Other examples of Online Activism:

Online Activism continues in the following examples of stories posted during the month of March 2012:

In Puerto Rico, an organization is seeking to raise awareness on the dangers and risks of planning unnecessary C-sections on women expecting babies through a music video.

In Russia, sex and videos were used as a means for political support by Putin supporters and detractors during the Election season, and this article walks us through some different examples.

In Latin America, women who had breast surgery with faulty implants are taking to the web to get their stories out and gather support. Through blogs, online forums, Facebook groups and online videos [es], women are talking about the high incidence of cosmetic breast enhancements, on financial responsibility for the removal of faulty implants and on the legal aspects of dealing with medical procedures that go wrong.

 

Crowdsourcing

 

Nicaragua: Film on the Consequences of a Leaked Sex Video Seeks Crowdfunding

An award-winning team of producers and actors is coming together in rural Nicaragua to make a movie based on actual events exploring the consequences of a couple of young people in love who make an intimate video of themselves which then becomes public by mistake, and how they deal with the backlash of their actions. They are looking for extra funding to cover costs on location in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and all the money raised will be spent locally.

March 30 2012

Nicaragua: Blogs Tell What the Press Ignore About Sexual Diversity

[All links lead to Spanish language pages except when otherwise noted]

Recently, the Strategic Group for Sexual Diversity Rights (GEDDS), a network of organisations that fight for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, transgender, transvestite and intersexual community (LGBTTTI), launched a study into the ways in which the country's major media outlets deal with issues of sexual diversity.

The study, which is available from Conexiones.com.ni , affirms that :

Hemos encontrado grandes características similares en el abordaje de la noticia en los dos periódicos de mayor circulación en el país (El Nuevo Diario y La Prensa) siendo estas:

  • El abordaje amarillista de la noticia cuando estas se refieren al tema de la homosexualidad de hombre y mujeres.
  • La falta de interés de confirmar los hechos relacionados con las noticias que tiene que ver ya sea con un gay, una lesbiana o un trans.
  • El lenguaje poco adecuado al formular los titulares de la noticia, siendo estos generalmente hirientes, despectivos, burlescos.
  • Constante homo, lesbo, Transfobia de los periodistas hacia las personas de la diversidad sexual.
  • La violación constante de los derechos humanos de las personas que se ven involucrados en hechos delictivos. Siempre son objetos de escarnio y vituperio.
We have found major similarities between the two widely-distributed newspapers in the country (El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa) with regard to how they tackle this type of news. These being:
  • The sensationalization of news that refers to the issue of homosexuality amongst men and women.
  • A lack of interest in confirming facts related to news that is related to, or is about, gay, lesbian or trans people.
  • Inappropriate language in news headlines, these being generally offensive, disrespectful, mocking.
  • Constant homo-/ Transphobia from journalists towards sexually diverse citizens.
  • Constant violation of the human rights of people involved in criminal offenses. They are always objects of ridicule and criticism.

However, in Nicaragua's case, blogs offer alternative spaces where the issue of sexual diversity rights can be discussed and expressed with different perspectives.

Image from Flickr user Aayesha Siddiqui, used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-ShareAlike License 2.0 Generic. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sometimes, the issue is discussed through personal anecdotes, as is the case with the blogger Waldir Ruiz. In a recent blog-post, also published at www.elnuevodiario.com.ni, he tells readers that:

Como era de esperarse, no me sorprendió que su madre fuera lesbiana; no, fue la historia de su familia. Me dijo que sus dos madres tenían 22 años viviendo juntas, que ella no llevaba el nombre de su madre biológica, si no, el de su otra madre. Me confesó lo duro que fue para ella cuando tomó conciencia del rechazo que la sociedad sentía ante este tipo de relaciones…

As it was to be expected, it did not surprise me that her mother was a lesbian. No, it was her family's story. She told me that her two mothers were 22 years old living together, she hadn't taken the name of her biological mother, but rather her other mother. She confessed that the hard part for her was when she realised the repulsion that society felt towards this type of relationships.

Ruiz later expresses:

En mi monólogo interior, durante la conversación, me decía a mi mismo: “¡Opa!, pensé que en Nicaragua no habían relaciones de unión libre (tipo matrimonio heterosexual) entre parejas homosexuales, menos, de generaciones de antaño y nunca imaginé ser, de algún modo, testigo… ¡Ni en mis sueños más locos!”.

In my head, during the conversation, I was saying to myself: “Wow! I thought that there weren't consensual unions in Nicaragua (like heterosexual marriages) between same-sex partners, not to mention of an older generation and I never imagined that I would, in a manner of speaking, witness one… Never in my wildest dreams!”

Blogger Maycols Lovo, motivated by a conversation that he saw on Twitter about a video which features two homosexuals, writes:

Sin ahondar mucho en los trabajos que desarrollan las ONG’s y Gobierno, que son positivos, es notable que aún entre las generaciones de este siglo hay personas que se burlan de situaciones que enmarcan asuntos de género y sexualidad.

Without getting too bogged down with the work of NGOs and the government, which are positive, it is still noticable that among this century's generations, there are people that mock situations that encompass the subjects of gender and sexuality.

Later he offers his opinion about the Twitter discussion:

En cuanto a si soy merecedor de burla, admiración o ninguna de las anteriores, prefiero que lo hagan midiendo mi inteligencia y no mi opción sexual.

Regarding whether or not I am deserving of ridicule, admiration or either, I would prefer that it be based on my intelligence, and not my sexual orientation.

Other bloggers use avenues like video-blogs for telling their personal stories to offer information and advice. Mario S. Vásquez is one example. He has shared this video:

More examples of blogs as alternatives to the mainstream media agenda regarding sexual diversity can be found at  ”Nicaragua: Sexual Diversity in the National Blogosphere“ [en], a post for Global Voices by Rodrigo Peñalba.

A registry of Nicaraguan blogs can also be visited at Festival de Blogs de Nicaragua (Nicaragua Blog Carnival), which was held for the first time in September 2011 with the support of Global Voices.

March 28 2012

‘Mujeres Construyendo': Empowering Women, One Blog at a Time

“Una bloguera es, ante todo, una mujer valiente, que se atreve y se compromete. ¿Por qué? Porque a través de su blog se expresa, dice lo que piensa, siente, lo que es. Si tiene miedo de hablar o darle cuerpo a sus ideas, enfrenta ese miedo y lo supera.”

- “¿Quién es una bloguera?”, Mujeres Construyendo

A female blogger is, first and foremost, a brave woman, one who dares and one who commits. Why? Because through her blog she expresses herself, she says what she thinks, what she feels, what she is. If she is afraid to speak of or shape her ideas, she confronts this fear and overcomes it.

- “¿Quién es una bloguera?” [es] (Who is a female blogger?), Mujeres Construyendo

Women make up almost half of Latin America's Internet users. However, in spite of their high web-presence, women are mainly content consumers. Mujeres Construyendo [es], the first platform for female bloggers in Spanish, wants to transform Hispanic women into creators, not just consumers, of internet content.

Its founder, Claudia Calvin, answered some questions about this platform and community of Hispanic female bloggers.

Global Voices: How and when was Mujeres Construyendo created? 

Claudia Calvin: Mujeres Construyendo surge como proyecto en el 2008, después de un tiempo de haberme hecho bloguera. Su origen se encuentra principalmente en mis andares por internet y después de descubrir una realidad que llamó profundamente mi atención: que las mujeres de habla hispana que participamos en internet seguimos transmitiendo en este espacio una creencia profundamente arraigada en nuestra cultura. ¿Cuál es? Aquella que nos inculcaron de niñas y en la que nos decían que “calladitas nos veíamos más bonitas”. Descubrí que nuestra participación como blogueras era muy distinta a  la participación de las blogueras estadounidenses: ellas en la actualidad representan casi un 60% de los blogueros en su país y las blogueras en internet de habla hispana representamos un escaso 27%. Cuando inicié Mujeres Construyendo, la cifra era más desalentadora aún: 15%.

Busqué afanosamente un espacio de convergencia de mujeres blogueras, un espacio que no fuese un directorio, sino un lugar de convivencia, una comunidad como tal. Al no encontrarla, decidí hacerla, y así es como surge Mujeres Construyendo.

Hablé con unos amigos desarrolladores y lograron darle vida a esta idea que tenía en mi mente. La plataforma Mujeres Construyendo surge como tal en el 2009.

Claudia Calvin: Mujeres Construyendo came about in 2008, after a period of establishing myself as a blogger. It came from my internet browsing and the discovery of a reality that really caught my attention: Spanish speaking women who contribute to the internet continue to transmit a profound belief that is deeply-rooted in our culture. What was it? The belief that has been instilled in us since we were girls, the idea that “the quieter we are, the more beautiful we are”. I discovered that our contributions as bloggers were very distinct to that of American women. They currently constitute almost 60% of bloggers in their country and Spanish speaking female bloggers make up just 27%. When I began Mujeres Construyendo, the figure was even more discouraging… 15%.

I frantically looked for a space where female bloggers could get together, a space that wasn't a directory, but rather a place of coexistence, a community, as it were. After failing to find this, I decided to make it myself, and that is how Mujeres Construyendo came about.

I spoke with some developer friends and they managed to bring the idea I had in mind to life. And so the Mujeres Construyendo platform sprung to life in 2009.

GV: What is Mujeres Construyendo's mission? What does it want to achieve with this female blogging platform?

CC: El objetivo de Mujeres Construyendo es que las mujeres aprendamos a hacer uso de las nuevas tecnologías y las herramientas que brinda internet para empoderarnos, crecer, desarrollarnos. Los blogs son una herramienta de empoderamiento para nosotras: nos permite comunicar lo que hacemos, pensamos, visualizamos y participar en un diálogo central en el nuevo espacio público, que es internet.

Hemos participado más como observadoras y consumidoras de contenido que como proveedoras y en este espacio vacío se está perdiendo una enorme oportunidad para construir una realidad que refleje nuestros intereses y manera de entender y participar en el mundo, tanto en el ámbito de lo social, como lo político y empresarial, y ni qué decir de lo personal y familiar.

Las mujeres vivimos muchos tipos de marginación en el mundo, no necesitamos sumar una más a las existentes: la digital.

CC: The objective of Mujeres Construyendo is for women to learn to make use of new technologies and tools that the internet offers in order to be empowered, to grow and to develop. Blogs are empowering tools for us - they enable us to communicate what we do, what we think, what we see. They allow us to participate in a central dialogue in the new public space, the internet.

We have been more involved as observers and consumers of content than providers. We are missing out on a great opportunity to construct a reality that reflects our interests and way of  understanding and participating in the world, in a social sense, as well as a political and business sense, not to mention the personal and familial.

Women deal with many types of marginalisation in society, we don't need to add digital marginalisation to those that already exist.

GV: Why is it important for women to have a blog?

CC: Como mencionaba anteriormente, los blogs son una herramienta de empoderamiento en la medida en que posibilitan que las mujeres puedan comunicarse, expresar, proponer y dialogar en internet y con ello contribuir a la definición y construcción de una realidad que refleje sus intereses y visión. Las voces de mujeres en la blogósfera son importantes porque son el reflejo de la mitad de los habitantes del planeta y en el medida en que sean actores sociales, políticos, voten, consuman, tomen decisiones y vivan de manera cotidiana los diversos contextos de su entorno (desde violencia, hasta crisis económicas, pasando por desastres naturales o guerras) su voz es importante. Son actores de la vida cotidiana y su visión y mirada cuentan, valen, reflejan una circunstancia. Su silencio resulta -sin que ellas mismas los sepan- cómplices de realidades sexistas o que marginan y en la medida en que paulatinamente vayan apareciendo y expresando su voz…irá cambiando el entorno. El silencio jamás ha sido socio del empoderamiento.

CC: As I mentioned before, blogs are tools of empowerment insofar as they make it possible for women to be able to communicate and express themselves, make suggestions and converse on the internet. They are tools with which women contribute to the definition and construction of a reality that represents their interests and vision. Women's voices, in the blogosphere, are important because they reflect half of the planet's inhabitants. Their voices are important in the sense that they are social players, politicians, they vote, they act, they make decisions and everyday they live through different environmental contexts (from violence, to economic crises; from natural disasters, to wars). They are players in everyday life and their vision and perspective counts, they are valued, they reflect a situation. Their silence, although they themselves are unaware, acts as an accomplice for a sexist reality, or it means they are marginalised. As long as their voices continue to gradually appear and be expressed, this environment will keep changing.

GV: How many women have a blog on Mujeres Construyendo?

CC: La comunidad de Mujeres Construyendo está constituida por la plataforma Mujeres Construyendo (www.mujeresconstruyendo.com) y las redes sociales a través de las cuáles se conecta su comunidad. La suma de personas conectadas a esta propuesta y a este espacio suma hoy cerca de 9 mil personas.

CC: The community of Mujeres Construyendo is made up by the Mujeres Construyendo platform (www.mujeresconstruyendo.com) and the social networks that connect this community. The total sum of people connected today is around nine thousand.

GV: What is the profile of the women who blog on Mujeres Construyendo?

CC: Cabe decir que participan hombres y mujeres en nuestra plataforma. Somos un espacio incluyente y consideramos que no se puede hablar de equidad partiendo de un principio de exclusión, por ello, las voces masculinas son bien recibidas. La mayoría, estamos hablando de más del 96%, son mujeres. Su perfil es principalmente urbano, de entre 25 y 45 años, en su mayoría de México, España, Argentina, Venezuela y Estados Unidos. Quiero destacar a una de nuestras blogueras más activas, y que inclusive ha sido entrevistada en televisión: Bertha, una extraordinaria mujer de 82 años que nos enseña que no hay edad para seguir aprendiendo y que las herramientas digitales son poderosas y permiten a las personas seguirle dando sentido a su vida.

CC: I should say that both men and women use our platform. We are an inclusive space and we don't believe that you can talk about equality while at the same time exercising a principal of exclusion, so male bloggers are also welcomed. The majority, we're talking more than 96%, are women. Their profile is mainly urban, from 25 to 45 years of age, and mainly from Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Venezuela and the United States. I want to focus on one of our most active bloggers, who has even been interviewed on television. Bertha, an extraordinary 82 year-old woman who shows us that there's no age limit to learning and that digital tools are powerful and they can continue to give meaning to people's lives.

GV: What will 2012 bring for Mujeres Construyendo?

CC: Empezamos el año con el pie derecho, estrenando nueva casa y nuestro nuevo sitio nos permite interactuar mejor, conocernos y convivir de manera más cercana. Detrás de esto hay trabajo y compromiso y queremos consolidarnos como un espacio central para que las mujeres participen, tengan voz y con ello contribuir con nuestro grano de arena no sólo a su empoderamiento, sino al fortalecimiento de la democracia. Queremos incrementar el número de blogueras participando y vinculadas a nuestra comunidad, estamos trabajando en ofrecer herramientas a las blogueras que les permitan fortalecer su presencia y cumplir sus objetivos, sean estos personales, familiares, profesionales. Detrás de este trabajo hay alianzas y proyectos que podrán ver en un futuro muy cercano y del que con gusto les platicaremos en su momento.

Muchas gracias por su interés en conocernos y ojalá a través de Global Voices más mujeres se animen a sumar su voz a nuestra comunidad. Juntas podemos hacer una diferencia.

CC: We're going to start the year off on the right foot. Opening a new house and our new site will allow us to interact, get to know each other and live together in a closer way. Behind this there is work and dedication and we want to consolidate it into one central space so that the women who participate have a voice with which they do their bit, not just towards their own empowerment, but also towards strengthening democracy. We want to increase the number of female bloggers who participate within and are linked to our community so we are working on offering tools to the female bloggers that enable them to strengthen their presence and achieve their goals, whether these be personal, familial or professional. Behind this work there are aliances and projects that will be seen in the very near future, about which we'll talk about nearer the time.

Thank you very much for your interest in getting to know us and hopefully through Global Voices more women will be encouraged to add their voice to our community. Together we can make a difference.

Claudia is also a blogger [es] and she tweets under @LaClau [es]. You can follow Mujeres Construyendo on Facebook [es], Twitter, [es] YouTube [es], and LinkedIn [es].

Nicaragua: Film on the Consequences of Leaked Sex Videos Seeks Crowdfunding

An award-winning team of producers and actors is coming together in rural Nicaragua to make a movie on the consequences of young people making an intimate video which then becomes public by mistake.  They are looking for extra funding to cover costs on location in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and all the money raised will be spent locally.

Screenshot from the Broken Screen Fundraising Video

Screenshot from the Broken Screen Fundraising Video

The film, La Pantalla Rota (The Broken Screen) is the second film made in Nicaragua by the local independent film and video production company Camila Films. Last year, they released the first Nicaraguan film in 20 years, La Yuma, about a young girl who wanted to become a boxer: it became a hit nationally with jam-packed theaters and bringing more money in than Hollywood blockbusters screening at the same time.  Internationally, it was invited to dozens of festivals and has won more than 15 different awards.  But this hasn't been enough to kickstart the Nicaraguan film industry, and that is why Frank Pineda and Florence Jaugey of Camila Films are turning to crowdsourcing to assist their funding, as Ms. Jaugey tells in the following indiegogo campaign video:

This second film is in the same line and aims to fill this void of identity caused by the absence of audiovisual production. Again we wanted to watch and talk about the world we live in. We were inspired by true facts, trying to find a definitely contemporary story to tell, set in the universe of young people.

This time we decide to turn our eyes towards country life, the northern lands, the country of cowboys, where predominant values are deeply rooted to land, tradition and a patriarchal model. In parallel with rural life, we wanted to venture into the cyber world, which governs social relationship of youth in the 21st century.

The campaign wishes to raise at least $35 000 USD to cover expenses on location for filming during January 2013, such as food for the actors, salaries for extras, props, scenery, accommodations and other needs: this money would stay within the community of Matagalpa.

Following is the trailer for La Yuma, the previous award-winning Nicaraguan film by the same director:

You can show your support for the film by collaborating in the funding process through the IndieGoGo page, by sharing the campaign through your social networks - both online and offline, by sponsoring the film through your business or enterprise and by writing about the project and spreading the word.

March 13 2012

Intercontinental Cry Will Launch Spanish Edition

Ahni announces the upcoming Spanish edition of Intercontinental Cry [es], which will go live on March 31, 2012. “The main objective of IC Espanol is, of course, to provide Spanish readers with the same news that our English readers have come to expect from us; what I consider to be essential news on the global indigenous movement.” Find out about more languages on the IC Translation Project Facebook page.

March 08 2012

Ibero-American Blogging Competition Asks Teens: “What are you reading?”

The Organization of Ibero-American States invites teens ages 12 to 15 to enter a blogging competition about reading. The sign up [es] deadline is May 31, 2012, and judges will consider blog posts written until July 31. The winner from each participating country will receive an iPad. Visit the official website [es] and follow the hashtag #questasleyendo [es] (”what are you reading”) to find out more about the contest.

March 01 2012

Nicaragua: Author Arquímedes González Champions Self-Publishing

Mildred Largaespada reviews [es] the work of Nicaraguan writer Arquímedes González [es], “the first Central American writer (to my knowledge) who decides to jump to self-editing using social networks, very much in tune with modern times,” she writes. The Kindle versions of González's novels can be purchased for 0.99 US Dollars on Amazon [es].

February 21 2012

Nicaragua: Discovering ‘1001 Tropics' with Blogger Mildred Largaespada

“In the same way Scheherazade tells her stories, I am going to tell the thousand and one, sometimes interlinking, stories that emerge and that interest me, using the tools of journalism”. This is how Mildred Largaespada introduces [es] her blog 1001 trópicos [es], which will turn one year old this week, on February 9. The well-known blogger and journalist was interviewed recently by Conexiones.com.ni [es] about being the first Nicaraguan woman to participate in the Premios 20Blogs [es] blog competition run by the digital newspaper 20minutos.es. Mildred explains the context of this interview in her blog [es].

Esta entrevista me la hicieron porque apunté al blog en el concurso Premios 20Blogs VI edición del diario digital 20minutos.es y Angélica Fajardo, la periodista de Conexiones.com, me hizo varias preguntas relacionadas al quehacer del blog, al trabajo como bloguera. Son preguntas que la gente me hace porque se muestran interesadas en el fenómeno de cómo ciudadanas comunes y corrientes abren un espacio para expresarse.

En la entrevista contesto varias de las preguntas. Interrogantes parecidas me hicieron para ser parte del corpus de la extraordinaria (por buenísima) tesina La blogosfera literaria nicaragüense, cuyo autor Martín Mulligan, es también bloguero y escritor, y su blog Jugados de cegua tengo enlazado aquí abajo.

They did this interview with me because I submitted the blog to the digital newspaper 20minutos.es Premios 20Blogs VI edición [es] competition. The Conexiones.com [es] journalist Angélica Fajardo asked me various questions about the blog and working as a blogger. They are question that people ask me because they show an interest in the phenomenon of how ordinary citizens open spaces to express themselves.In the interview I answer several of the questions. I was asked similar questions as part of the extraodinary and excellent thesis La blogosfera literaria nicaragüense (The Nicaraguan Literary Blogopshere), whose author Martín Mulligan is also a blogger and writer. I have linked to his blog (Jugados de cegua [es]) below.

Mildred adds five questions to the interview, amplifying the discussion about her blog, the competition and what it is like to run a blog like hers:

¿Para qué abrir un blog? No tengo una respuesta clara a esta pregunta, y sólo se me ocurre decir: por puras ganas de comunicar “algo”. En mi caso, era la necesidad de comunicar asuntos que no miraba que atraían el interés de los medios de comunicación tradicionales y que consideraba importantes como noticia, es decir, como algo que está ocurriendo. Con un blog tenés una agenda periodística propia.

Why start a blog? I don't have a solid answer to this question and the only thing that comes to mind is for the simple desire to communicate “something”. In my case it was the need to communicate subjects that didn't seem to attract the attention of traditional media and that I considered to be important news, I mean like something that's happening. With a blog you have your own journalistic agenda.

¿Para qué apunté al blog al concurso? Mi obligación como bloguera es promover al blog porque a su vez promuevo a la comunidad que apoya al blog. Es decir, todas las lectoras y los lectores del blog son un tipo de gente que encuentra algo en los textos y artículos, se identifican con los temas e interactúan intensamente. De modo que el blog en sí mismo no tiene vida sin esa gente. Esa interacción se aprecia en mi perfil personal en Facebook, aunque en enero de este año ya le abrí una página en esa red social al blog.

Why did I submit the blog to the competition? My duty as a blogger is to promote the blog because at the same time I'm promoting the community that supports the blog. In other words, all the blog's readers are a kind of people that find something in the texts and articles, they identify with the issues and they interact intensely with them. So the blog itself is not alive without these people. This interaction is seen on my personal Facebook profile, even though in January of this year I already opened a page for the blog on this social network site.

Mildred Largaespada. Image used with permission.

¿Cosas feas que genera tener un blog? El blog 1001 trópicos sólo me ha generado satisfacciones inmensas. Pero tengo que decir que también me ha generado un fenómeno feo: las amenazas. Cuando escribo artículos sobre política nicaragüense y le hago una crítica al gobierno de Ortega los amenazadores empiezan a funcionar. Se lo conté sin querer contárselo a la periodista de Conexiones.com. Quienes escriben las amenazas no quieren que yo siga respirando aire puro en la faz de la tierra. Sólo quieren el aire para ellos. Pero las intimidaciones no han dado frutos, porque aquí seguimos.

Anything unpleasant about having a blog? The 1001 trópicos blog has only given me great satisfaction. But I must also say that it has generated an unpleasant phenomenon: threats. When I write articles about Nicaraguan politics and I criticise  the government of Ortega, the threats begin. I told this unintentionally to the Conexiones.com [es] journalist. Those who write the threats don't want me to be breathing this earth's fresh air. They only want the air for themselves. But the intimidations have been fruitless because here we are.

¿Por qué este blog a veces se expresa en inglés? Porque en Nicaragua se habla español e inglés, y miskito, sumo y rama, y náhuatl. Uno de los intereses de este blog es reconocer que esa realidad existe en el país. Y sigo esperando el día en que los medios de comunicación tradicionales inauguren sus ediciones en inglés para todo el caribe nicaragüense. Además, el blog tiene lectoras y lectores allá. Y porque estoy aprendiendo miskito y náhuatl.

Why is the blog sometimes written in English? Because in Nicaragua we speak Spanish and English and Miskito and Sumo and Rama and Náhuatl. One of the intentions of the blog is the recognise this reality that exists in the country. I keep waiting for the day that traditional media will inaugurate its English editions for all of the Nicaraguan Caribbean. Also, the blog has readers there. And because I am learning Miskito and Náhuatl.

¿Qué podemos esperar de la participación en el concurso? Desde el principio todo ha ido bien: las lectoras y los lectores han comentado sus ideas sobre el blog y hemos estado en el top ten de la categoría de Actualidad durante todas las semanas, eso significa apoyos e identificación con los temas que se abordan en el blog. La participación del blog 1001 trópicos es parte del movimiento bloguero que se vive en Nicaragua y El Salvador. En Nicaragua es donde está más fuerte el blogging y están participando buenísimas bitácoras. Esa es la idea: participar en todos los eventos para llevar los temas que se abordan en los blogs para la mayor difusión.

What can we expect from the participation in the competition? From the start everything has gone well: readers have contributed their ideas about the blog and we have been in the top ten in the Current Events category during all weeks. This means support and identification of the issues that are dealt with in the blog. 1001 trópicos' participation is a part of the blogging movement that lives in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Nicaragua is where blogging is stronger and there are some excellent blogs taking part [es]. The idea is to participate in all the events to spread the issues dealt with in the blogs as widely as possible.

Mildred belongs to an active community of Nicaraguan bloggers who use the internet and citizen media to communicate, inform and share their ideas. In September 2011 they organised a Blog Carnival, with the support of Global Voices in Spanish, about migration. To find more Nicaraguan blogs you can visit the Nicaraguan Blog Carnival blog [es] that includes a list of the blogs [es] that took part in the festival, including Mildred's 1001 trópicos.

Beatriz Arze subtitled the video in this post.

February 02 2012

Nicaragua: Sandinista Revolution Icon Starts Blogging

Mildred Largaespada reports [es] that Sandinista Revolution icon Dora María Téllez has started blogging [es]: “This is big news for the national and international blogosphere, because she is also one of the female ‘comrades' who participated in the guerrilla war that defeated the Somoza dictatorship and who continue their anti-dictatorial struggle through political and peaceful means and now using the tools of social networks.”

January 26 2012

Nicaragua: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty

Maddy M., a Voices of our Future correspondent for World Pulse, writes about how free trade agreements and other policies have affected the access to affordable, locally-produced, healthy food in Nicaragua. She also highlights citizens who are “working to raise awareness about the need to change the agricultural system in the country.”

January 24 2012

Latin America: Museum Releases Digital Archive of 20th-Century Art

The International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICCA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has released a digital archive of 20th-century Latin American and Latino art, which, “is now available, free of charge, to the research and teaching community as well as to the public at large.” Culture magazine Ñ [es] briefly interviewed Mari Carmen Ramírez, the project's director.

January 18 2012

Nicaragua: Telecom Company CLARO Censors Clients

This past November 29, some less-than-satisfied customers decided to start a blog complaining about the telecommunications company CLARO Nicaragua [es], a subsidiary of América Móvil consortium which belongs to the most wealthy man in the world, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú. The blog is called Claro que NO! [es], a play on words in Spanish meaning ‘of course not,' and describes the bad service and worse treatment of customers by CLARO employees.

However in less than 3 days the company responded to this initiative by blocking the website [es] hoping to impede dissatisfied clients from freely expressing themselves on the internet. Many users have manifested their objections toward this on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

Blogger Juan Ortega was one of the first to write about this on his blog juanortega.info [es]:

Esto claramente atenta no solo a la neutralidad de la red, sino que es una clara violación a nuestro derecho de libertad de expresión en cualquier medio, por lo que esperemos que Claro Nicaragua se pronuncie al respecto, y rectifique su error. Mientras tanto, invito a todos mis colegas blogueros, tumbleros, y demás, a que denuncien por cualquier vía lo que está sucediendo, en twitter pueden encontrar mas información, de igual forma se está siguiendo el caso con el hashtag #clarobloqueo.

This is clearly threatening not just net neutrality but is also an obvious violation of our freedom of speech on whatever medium. We hope that Claro Nicaragua acknowledges this and rectifies their error. Meanwhile, I invite all of my fellow bloggers, tumblr users, and others to decry this action through whatever means. On Twitter you can find more info, if you are not doing so already, follow the hashtag #clarobloqueo.

Image for the campaign against the Claro censorship

Also, blogger Adolfo Fitoria [es] comments on the following:

Esto sienta un terrible precedente, en un futuro podrían bloquear a otras empresas competidoras, blogs independientes, alguna aplicación que no les convenga y a como ya hacen: limitar ancho de banda en cierto sitios como youtube.
No esperen ver nada de esto en los medios, no creo que publiquen algo al respecto ya que casi NUNCA critican a esta empresa, que es una de las que mas gasta en publicidad en el país, y los medios escritos que por esta época mueren no tienen otro palo donde ahorcarse.

This feels like a premonition of a terrible future where these companies will block access to competitor companies, independent blogs, some application that doesn't suit them… like we see already where the bandwidth has been limited for some sites like YouTube.
Don't expect to see any of this covered by the media. I don't think they will publish something because they NEVER criticize this company, which is one of the companies that spends the most money on advertising in the country, and print media outlets are now dying and have no other means to survive.

Leandro Gómez on his blog comuNIdad [es] continues with a similar thought:

Esta acción ilegal de parte de Claro Nicaragua puede representar el comienzo de una nueva era para los ciudadanos digitales en Nicaragua. Si esta empresa, una organización privada extranjera, no tiene el menor reparo en prohibirte visitar sitios que los critican abiertamente, el día de mañana podrían comenzar a bloquear otros sitios; por presiones políticas, por conveniencia económica, o porque simplemente les dió las ganas, y nosotros, los ciudadanos de este país no vamos a poder hacer absolutamente nada.

This illegal action on the part of Claro Nicaragua could represent the start of a new era for the digital citizens of Nicaragua. If this company, a private foreign enterprise, does not have the least reservation in denying access to openly critical sites, the day may come when they will start blocking other sites to exert political pressure, to improve their financials, or just for kicks… and we, the citizens of this country, will not be able to do a single thing in response.

The blogosphere has not been the only place to strongly reject CLARO's heavy-handed measure; social networks like Twitter (@CQN_Nicaragua) and Facebook have been used to broadcast to others what is happening.

Nicaraguan bloggers united their voices to denounce the action on social networks and due to their persistence received a response from CLARO. The response which is less than convincing alleges that they didn't block anything, rather the website's server settings caused the problem. The website administrator for claroqueno.com responded by stating that at no point were there server settings to block incoming traffic from CLARO subscribers.

For their part, on December 13 the official Twitter account of @ClaroNicaragua [es] maintained:

@evialejandrina As we have already indicated to@nim_rod, we did not block that page. There's no problem on our side.

Marketing director for CLARO Nicaragua published an article [es] in the daily La Prensa that same day, citing the vandalism and defamation of companies that happens on social networks via fake, anonymous accounts. Even though the marketing director did not refer to the specific claroqueno.com situation, the article was very negatively received by Nicaragua's netizens.

The independent blogger movement was the only group to denounce the act; traditional media did not publish anything on the censorship applied by CLARO Nicaragua.

On December 25, CLARO Nicaragua lifted the access block, once again allowing CLARO subscribers to visit the website. On Twitter, ClaroQueNo (@CQN_Nicaragua) celebrated:

Ganamos! aparentemente @claronicaragua al fín enmendó su error y levantaron el bloqueo. Por favor entren a http://claroqueno.com y confirmen

We won! So apparently @claronicaragua mended their ways at last and lifted the site block. Please visit http://claroqueno.com and confirm!

In an article published [es] in the paper El Nuevo Diario on Wednesday December 28 by journalist Oliver Gómez, CLARO Nicaragua recognized the block but alleged it had taken such action because of the defamation and lies about CLARO which were published on the website. The Corporate Communications Manager Azalia Salmerón said: “we respect the freedom of expresson but not defamation or licentious behavior.”

The group Claro que NO! celebrated its victory and has confirmed its continued commitment to working with dissatisfied users; its Twitter and Facebook page as well as its website continue to be active, receiving new complaints to publish.

January 09 2012

Nicaragua: Life in Villa Norte

In the blog Huella Libre [es], Fernando Guzman describes the difficult living conditions of residents of a settlement in Jinotega, Nicaragua, called Villa Norte.

January 05 2012

Central America: LibreBus Project Presents its Documentary

Several months have passed since the LibreBus [es] collective project traveled across the streets of five different Central America countries looking for free culture and knowledge sharing enthusiasts.

As Jane Park explained in October, 2011:

Librebus, a project inspired by Free Culture principles, consisted of a regional tour spanning most of May of this year [2011] to explore Central American shared culture and digital communities. Twenty-seven “librenautas” [free navigators] with different nationalities, backgrounds and skills, from the free software community, Creative Commons chapters, freedom of speech activists and natural commons experts, shared their “open” knowledge with others in a variety of activities, from roundtables to public data hackathons and the first Central American CC Salon in Guatemala.

Conversations were held in each city with representatives of diverse communities that promote the use of information technology and communication. LibreBus ‘free navigators' also organized meetings with digital natives whose contributions complemented to the discussion on free software and the defense of freedom of speech and content sharing.

Musicians, artists and users in general were able to learn about the cultural commons licenses. Also, participants had the opportunity to learn about the development of knowledge and technological constraints that farmers face in the region because of the legislation and use of transgenic seeds.

A documentary [es] showing the different interactions that took place during the tour through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is now available online. The organizers are open to arranging a similar tour in the future, under the same flag: free collective knowledge.

These are some extracts from the documentary:

El 16 de mayo de 2011 LibreBus dejó de ser un viaje por Centroamérica para convertirse en un compromiso.

On May 16, 2011 LibreBus was not just a trip through Central America, it became a commitment.

LibreBus leaving Honduras. Image by Flickr user LibreBus (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

24 personas subieron y bajaron en el trayecto pero son muchos más los que comparten la filosofía de ser librenauta.

24 people got on and off the bus along the way but there are many more who share the philosophy of being a free navigator.

Ser librenauta es seguir un camino: el del conocimiento libre para todos y todas.

To be a free navigator is to follow a path: free knowledge for everyone.

Information on presentations related to free software, photographs of the trip, and posts published by some participants can be found on the LibreBus [es] website. You can also follow the project on Twitter @Librebus [es] and Facebook [es].

December 27 2011

Latin America: Youth Unemployment

Bloggings by boz looks at youth unemployment in Latin America, concluding that “with growth projections decreased for 2011 and 2012, the current situation for youth unemployment is almost certainly getting worse. That could have major economic, political and social implications moving into 2012.”

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