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February 22 2013

SenseCamp Berlin: a Social Entrepreneurship Gathering

Berlin held its second SenseCamp on February 8 and 9, 2013, a barcamp dedicated to social entrepreneurship. The program included workshops, meetings and conferences, to raise the impact of social entrepreneurial start-ups. Creative types, entrepreneurs and those who were interested, were invited to register in order to participate in this event:

Vidéo créée par Stanislas Buagev présentant SenseCamp 2013 à Berlin - Sous license CC.

Video created by Stanislas Buagev to present SenseCamp 2013 in Berlin – Sous license CC-BY-2.0

April 02 2012

France: Lyon Hosts the World Wide Web 2012 Conference

The World Wide Web 2012 conference is hosted this year in Lyon, France, from April 16 to 20, and will feature many prominent figures of the Web, historic and current ones. Global Voices Online author Danica Radovanovic is presenting on the first day a paper about “one of the very popular social and communication dynamics on social networks and media”. Read more on her blog here.

June 16 2011

Russia: Ministry's Online Blunders

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) has recently started to mobilise on the Internet and in the past weeks two important events have taken place online to draw attention to the Ministry's activities.

The VKontakte group

On May 18, 2011, the MVD announced the creation of an the department's official group [ru] on the popular social network VKontakte, a site similar to Facebook.

The moderator of this community goes by the name of Uncle Styopa, a character whose image, thanks to Soviet cartoons and books, is a positive one for many generations of Russian citizens. The aim of the group, as stated by the page's profile is to “unite those who have a connection to the police, the interior forces and other units of the MVD of the Russian Federation or anyone else who is interested in their activities.”

Image from the official MVD group on the site "Vkontakte". Top caption reads: "In Service of the Law. We Serve the People", and lower caption: "The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation".

Image from the official MVD group on the site "Vkontakte". Top caption reads: "In Service of the Law. We Serve the People", and lower caption: "The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation".

However, in comments made to the Itar-Tass news agency a representative of the MVD stated [ru], that the group's aim was to “organise new channels of information and communication which will allow for contact to be established with those who practically bypass traditional channels such as television, radio, and print news and who prefer to receive new information and socialize via their favourite social network.”

Twelve thousand people have already joined the group in just a short period of time. So far the group's increasing numbers are not particularly interesting: the group's official news feed on the MVD's activities has been republished in the form of quotes taken from the original site or news agencies, in other words without any adaptation of its officious language to a younger audience. For example:The Realisation of Composite [Investigative] Measures”; this language is not of great value when communicating with an Internet audience, and even less so with the young users of Vkontakte.

Unfortunately, the absence of unique content is unlikely to be able to retain the audience which has been gathered so far, nor will it capture the interest of newer members.

However, the MVD's representative states the contrary: “The selection of the social resource which lies at the basis of the groups creation was no accident. Using young rhetoric, common phrases and expressions and vibrant personalities, the ministry purposefully obtained the support of the youngest and most active part of the country's population since, after all, the average age of the users of “Vkontakte” is 18 to 25 years.”

Search conducted at police-russia.ru creator's office

On the same day, May 18, two events took place that had a connection with both the Internet and the MVD. The MVD's Internal Security Service led a search of the office of a senior inspector of the Department for the Coordination of Government Spending of the Russian MVD, a Russian police major named Dmitri Vorobyev.

Vorobyev, according to the commander of the Department of Internal Security MVD (see here for the official order on the carrying out of the search), “had created a site called police-rassian.ru, in order to counter the official site of the Russian MVD” where, according to Draguntsov, “false or slanderous data was knowingly hosted regarding the employees of the Central Apparatus of the Russian MVD. The site explained the specific activities of the different subdivisions of the Russian MVD, which are not to be published in readily accessible sources of information, and in an insulting form criticized the Ministry's work.”

These arguments formed the basis for the decision to carry out the search in Dmitri Vorobyev's work office, which, to all appearances, was carried out in order to find additional ‘evidence' for the case about his criminal doings.

Within the limits of the search the police were assigned the task of “inspection, studying and removal of articles”, including electronic media, documents concerning illegal activities, which in practice means removal of the computer's hard disk, all other disks, flash drives and other media as well as piles of paper and even books, which more often than not bear no relation to the case. [I speak from the experience of many of my friends who have had searches carried out in cases of so-called political extremism].

An extract from the police order. Screenshot from the website Police-Russia.ru.

An extract from the police order. Screenshot from the website Police-Russia.ru.

The most interesting thing is that the site that is being talked about in conjunction with this decision does not actually exist under the domain police-rassian.ru.

Dmitri Vorobyev, in actual fact, is the creator of the police forum police-russia.com [ru], which is also available at the domains police-russia.ru, police-russia.com, militia-russia.ru.

Whoever wrote what appeared in the decision-making process for the search could not even correctly indicate the site's name. Yet another question which has been brought up is the spelling of the country's name - the second mistake afforded by the document.

The forum police-russia.com has existed for a long time and is a popular place for MVD and other security service employees to discuss and exchange opinions. Often normal citizens join in discussions, such as those following the Dissenters' March in 2006 and 2007, which ended in a strong crackdown on demonstrators.

On the forum there was a big discussion between the workers of the Special Purposes Police Unit (OMON) and the marchers who tried to discuss why there is always a crackdown, however law abiding they are and however properly the employees of the Security Services act during the crackdown. This discussion (which has now unfortunately been removed from the forum [ru]) was very important and showed that the demonstrators had a direct conversation with those who were ordered to hit them.

It is interesting that this forum became a place where allegations of corruption and acts of law breaking within the MVD were published. In this respect, on April 22, 2011, the thread “Corruption in the MVD's Support Division” was published, with a reference to the appeals [ru] from the workers of the Support Division to the country's leadership with discussions regarding the billions embezzled through government purchase contracts for MVD needs.

Public relations ‘vertical' vs bottom-up initiatives

This is a comment [ru] from a current MVD employee and a participant in the forum, about the order to conduct the search and the attempt to bring a criminal case against the creator of the forum:

The creation of the forum to counterbalance the official MVD site does not contradict the existing legal system. The forum's aim was not to spread lies or offensive data in relation to the Central Apparatus of the MVD. The individuals who spread such data bear the responsibility regardless of whatever site it was distributed on. Therefore, the site's creators cannot be responsible for any offensive language or slander written by one of the site's users. Find those who spread it. An explanation of the specific procedures of the MVD subdivisions can be accessed openly in textbooks on legal procedure, criminal investigation, the MVD's administrative work etc. In the forum secret government data was not expanded upon and had appeared accidentally before being quickly removed by the administration.

Transparency, as a principle of the work of our government, is one stipulated by our Constitution and by the law on government service. The suppression of transparency is a direct encroachment on the legal foundation of the country where you live. Your decision is unlawful. We would like to forewarn you that the regular participants in the forum are not only MVD employees but simple citizens, the mass media and deputies of the Duma who serve the government of the Russian Federation and its Constitution. Unlawful attempts to close the forum or persecute their creators could incite people to turn to the General Prosecutor's body, the State Duma, the President of the Russian Federation, international organisations, including group and mass acts of protests. I call on you to prevent unlawful actions. Your challenge to propose a way of leading negotiations has been set.

The reaction of the activists on the forum at the attempt to close it down and put pressure on its creators was interesting. By a way of a counter action the particpants began discussing registering the forum as a non-profit organisation and including former employees of the MVD. One of the participants of the forum, Plastun wrote [ru]:

With a such resistance movement it would be more efficient to oppose [the attempts of closure], since such associations would be able to defend members' rights by representing their interests in law-enforcement bodies whatever their level and to defend the rights of those who still work, simply by receiving information about rights infringements and making a claim on their behalf.

In reply to this, the creator of the forum clarifies [ru] ”This idea is already in motion I would say”.

And so what will we get as a result? An uninteresting, boring group on the social network Vkontakte, created by official MVD structures and an attempt to shut down and pressure the lively and interesting forum of MVD employees. Alas, this is a widespread bureaucratic practice, as one of the participants, Begemot, noted [ru]:

There is a police PR department. It is a powerful organization of several thousand employees, with salaries and full expenses which has, at least, twenty to thirty experienced specialists who occupy themselves with backing the online image of the MVD. […] At one point in time a lieutenant colonel [Vorobiev] […] creates a site which gathers a group of like-minded people, with only a pitiful budget (in ministry terms) and the site becomes the COUNTERBALANCE for the whole bulky official MVD site, which cost… but yes we're not talking about money and neither is it the question at hand. The question is a person. And  a professional. […] A first class professional who had established, almost single-handedly and almost without a budget, the competition to the whole MVD department!

December 06 2010

Africa: Condoms Finally Authorized Conditionally by The Pope

By Abdoulaye Bah · Translated by Lynn Palermo · View original post [fr]

The news spread around the world in a matter of minutes.  In a book released on November 23, Pope Benedict XVI declared that “in certain cases, when the intention is to reduce the risk of contamination, [the condom] can even be a first step toward opening the way to a more humane sexuality, lived differently.”  He gave this response to the question(fr)* , “Is the Catholic Church fundamentally against the use of condoms?”

According to several observers, this response marks sea change in the Pope's vision on contraception: until now, for the Church, abstinence was the only way to limit births or to prevent the spread of illness through sexual activity.  The Church opposed any other form of contraception and condemned the use of condoms, even to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

Until now, the many activists and religious Catholics involved in the fight against AIDS had to choose between disobeying the Church or limiting their activity to helping people already infected.  Thus they could not work to prevent AIDS, only hope to prolong life after the infection struck.

Earlier, during a trip to Cameroon and Angola in March 2009, the Pope had declared that the use of condoms “aggravated” the problem of AIDS.  His words, spoken in the airplane, provoked an outcry worldwide and caused embarrassment to Catholic organizations engaged in the fight against AIDS.

Photo by parousie on medial.photobucket.com

Reactions were heated.  têtu.com presented a few of them:

Des groupes polémiques tels que «Je porte plainte contre le pape, me soutenez vous?» ou encore «Vivement que le pape soit une femme vraie ou fausse» sont apparus.

Désormais, tous les dimanches est organisé un lâcher de préservatifs devant le parvis de l'Église Saint-Eustache à Paris, pour une opération nommée «une capote pour le pape». L'action consiste à gonfler un maximum de préservatifs et à les lâcher dans le ciel. D'autres ont eu l’idée de remplir les urnes des églises avec des prophylactiques. Le projet le plus fou est celui qui consiste à envoyer un maximum de capotes par courrier, de façon à obstruer le petit bureau de poste du Vatican. »

Polemical groups, such as, “I'm going to sue the Pope, will you support me?” or “I can't wait for a woman Pope, real or fake” were created.

From now on, in an operation called “a condom for the Pope,” we will hold a condom release every Sunday on the steps of Saint-Eustache Church in Paris, Activists will inflate condoms and release them into the air. Other activists thought of filling urns in churches with prophylactics. The craziest plan was to mail the Pope enough condoms to paralyze the Vatican post office.

In Cameroon, Jean Marcel Bougereau of the Mouvement camerounais pour le plaidoyer à l'accès aux traitements (Cameroonian Movement for Access to Treatment) commented:

Ce n’est plus Benoit XVI, c’est Gaston Lagaffe. Un Gaston Lagaffe réactionnaire. On se souvient de celle gaffe, énorme, proférée à la veille de son voyage en Turquie (Il avait cité un empereur byzantin disant que les enseignements de Mahomet étaient “mauvais et inhumains”), il y eut plus récemment la réintégration de l’évêque intégriste – et négationniste – Williamson, l’homme qui croyait à l’immaculée conception mais demandait des preuves pour les chambres à gaz ! Il y eut plus récemment encore l’inhumaine ‘excommunication d’une petite fille brésilienne de 9 ans qui avait été violée par son beau-père, ainsi que des médecins qui lui ont sauvé la vie en la faisant avorter, comme si pour l’Eglise le corps de la femme, et là d’une enfant, n’était que le réceptacle passif des spermatozoïdes masculins.

He's no longer Benedict XVI, he's Gaston Lagaffe.  A reactionary Gaston Lagaffe.  Think of his enormous blunder, pronounced on the eve of his trip to Turkey (he had cited a Byzantine emperor who had said that the teachings of Mohammad were “bad and inhumane”).  And more recently, the reintegration of Williamson, the fundamentalist and negationist bishop who believed in the immaculate conception but demanded proof for the gas chambers!  And even more recently and more inhumane, the excommunication of a nine-year-old Brazilian girl who had been raped by her step-father.  The doctors who saved her life by performing an abortion were also excommunicated, as though for the Church, a woman's body, or in this case, the child's body, were only a passive receptacle for male sperm.

Vidberg also expressed his point of view:

According to the Pope, condoms aggravate the problem of AIDS.

Pope: “So, despite protecting yourself, you contracted AIDS?”

Patient: “Yes, I always wore a condom.  The only time I took it off was to make love, obviously.  Otherwise it would be unpleasant.”

Pope:  Yes, obviously.  I understand.

An article published by Senego.com on November 21 said:

Condamnée par beaucoup, jugée définitivement obsolète par nombre de fidèles la position du Vatican n’avait pour elle que sa profonde cohérence interne. En prônant la chasteté absolue avant le mariage et l’absolue fidélité réciproque ensuite, en décrétant que la vie humaine commençait avec la fécondation d’un ovocyte par un spermatozoïde, en condamnant toute forme de contraception mécanique ou hormonale de même que l’ensemble des techniques d’assistance médicale à la procréation, le Vatican avait délibérément choisi de ne pas accompagner l’évolution des sciences, de la médecine et des mœurs.

Condemned by many and judged obsolete by numerous faithful Catholics, the Vatican's position had only  internal logic.  By promoting absolute chastity before marriage and absolute fidelity afterward, by decreeing that human life begins at the moment of fertilization, and by condemning any form of artificial or hormonal contraception, as well as any type of fertility treatment, the Vatican had deliberately chosen to abandon the evolution of science, medicine, and mores.

Specialists in the area of STDs who are faithful to Catholic doctrine did not have time to celebrate the Pope's new pronouncement.  Another AFP dispatch published on haitien headlines stated that:

Dimanche après-midi, le Saint-Siège a toutefois tenu, de manière tout à fait inhabituelle, à publier un communiqué pour souligner “le caractère exceptionnel” de l'éventuelle utilisation du préservatif, soulignant, face aux attentes de responsables et militants de la lutte contre le sida, que “le raisonnement du pape ne peut pas être considéré comme un tournant révolutionnaire”.

Sunday afternoon, the Holy See, in an unusual move, published a communiqué to emphasize how “rare” the possible use of condoms must be, and to clarify, given the expectations of AIDS activists, that “the Pope's thinking cannot be considered a revolutionary turning point.”

Will we see other caveats, clarifications, or obfuscations seeking to halt this evolution?

For the time being, specialists wanting to reconcile their religious faith with the exigencies of their profession will now have recourse to a key tool, for there is no real substitute for the condom in the fight against AIDS.

* Links are in French unless stated otherwise.

September 08 2010

Getting to Know the Global Voices Latin America Team

By Eduardo Avila

As outgoing Editor for Latin America, I have seen the Global Voices team from Latin America grow tremendously over the past three years. Each of the volunteer authors has dedicated time and energy to serve the mission of Global Voices, and to share their part of the world with a global audience. At any given time, each of the countries that make up the Latin American region has been represented by a talented blogger tasked with the challenge of presenting a wide range of issues in a balanced and fair manner. Now that I am moving on to take the helm at Rising Voices, I am eager to see how the team will take the coverage of such a diverse region to greater heights under the leadership of the new Latin America Editor, Silvia Viñas. Continuing a recent tradition, let's meet some of these amazing people that have been part of the Latin American team (in alphabetical order by first name).

Members of GV Latin America with friends from GV Portuguese and GV Caribbean. Photo by Suzanne Lehn

Andrea Arzaba [Mexico] - I don't think I've seen a single picture of Andrea in which she was not smiling. Her enthusiasm and friendliness is both sincere and contagious. Recently back in Mexico after spending a semester studying abroad in Spain, Andrea is very active in youth conferences and blogging competitions. She was recently chosen to represent the Think About It organization at the UN Summit to be held in New York City later this month. Read her blog One Lucky Life [es] and follow her on Twitter: @andrea_arzaba.

Belén Bogado [Paraguay] - Belén is quite the multimedia star in her native country of Paraguay. Not only is she an accomplished print journalist, but she has also hosted her own radio show and television program. In addition, she has brought special recognition to Paraguayan bloggers, including an introduction to the first blogger to write in the Guaraní language, who was featured in a GV post and which caught the eye of the local CNN affiliate.

Catalina Restrepo [Colombia] - Many of us have seen how much Catalina has grown over the past three years. She started as one of the participants of the Rising Voices' project HiperBarrio. Since then, she has really come into her own, gaining confidence by the day and asking for more challenges. In addition to being invited to speak at international conferences, she was also recognized at home when she was awarded the Talented Young Woman [es] prize in Medellín. Read her blog: Cosas del Alma [es] and follow her on Twitter: @catirestrepo

Felipe Cordero [Chile] - Felipe joined Global Voices in 2010, and his participation began shortly after the tragic earthquake struck his country of Chile. He was living in Columbia, Missouri at the time when he volunteered to help with the coverage, as way to draw more attention to the tragedy and reconstruction. His posts helped make the Special Coverage Page of the earthquake timely and diverse. Since graduating from college, Felipe has taken part in many interesting training programs and internships, including one at the Chilean Mission at the United Nations. Read his blog: Política Online [es] and follow him on Twitter: @felipe_cordero.

Gabriela García Calderón [Peru] - At the Global Voices Summit in Santiago, Chile, Gabriela received recognition for being the GV member with the most number of translations across all Lingua sites. With more than 2000 translations under her belt, Gabriela wanted to get involved with GV even more. So, she volunteered to become a GV author by focusing on some of the non-political facets of Peruvian society. Read her blog: Seis de Enero [es].

Issa Villarreal [Mexico] - To say that Issa is interested in the urban arts scene in her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, would be an understatement. In her free time, Issa covers local concerts and music festivals [es] on her blog and other publications. In addition, she is a videographer, and one of her most recent works was filmed a local amusement park. Her three-part series exploring graffiti and urban art across Latin American stands among some of her most classic posts. She also covers other topics, including the #internetnecesario campaign, although I was unable to convince her to write a post on the Mexican delicacy of eyeball taco. Read her blog: Perdida en el Súper [es] and follow her on Twitter: @hiperkarma.

Members of GV Latin America meeting with GV Board Member Rosental Alves at the GV Summit in Santiago. Photo by Juliana Rincón and used under a Attribution 2.0 Generic CC license.

Jenny Cascante [Costa Rica] - Jenny is another of our authors that is active in her country in the arts and cultural scene. She has been a part of the super-stylish arts digital magazine De La Bimba [es]. Read her blog: Nube Número Nueve [es] and follow her on Twitter: @nubecina.

Jorge Gobbi [Argentina] - Buenos Aires is one of my favorite Latin American cities and most times that I've visited, I've managed to stop by to say hello to Jorge. I don't think I realized how well-known he is in the Argentine blogosphere until he was featured in the La Nación newspaper as one of 5 of the most important bloggers [es] in the country. Probably best known for his travel blogging, he won Best Travel Blog in Spanish awarded by Lonely Planet. Jorge is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. Read his blog: Blog de Viajes [es] and follow him on Twitter: @morrissey.

Juan Arellano [Peru] - Ever since Juan has taken on the leadership role for Global Voices in Spanish, the site has thrived. The roster of active translators that he has recruited makes it one of the most diverse and willing teams to bring GV content into the Spanish language. The partnerships and collaborations that he has pursued serves as a model for other Lingua sites. In addition to translating posts, Juan also makes sure that local issues in his native Peru makes it to the pages of Global Voices. Read his blog: Globalizado [es] and follow him on Twitter: @cyberjuan.

Juliana Rincón Parra [Colombia] - While I had less interaction with Juliana than before, it was because she was promoted to Global Voices Video Editor. However, she still managed to provide great coverage of important videos from the region, which was whenever she was not knitting or podcasting. Read her blog: Medea Material [es] and follow her on Twitter: @medeamaterial.

Julián Ortega [Colombia] - Digital media has become an integral part of Colombian politics over the past several years, and Julián has provided a service for helping GV readers wade through the vast amount of tweets, Facebook groups, and blog posts. He is extremely knowledgeable about the subtle nuances and context of Colombian politics. Julián is also very active in the equinoXio [es] digital magazine. In addition, he holds a special place in his heart for his cats, who can be seen on his Flickr account. Follow him on Twitter: @julianortegam.

Laura Vidal [Venezuela] - Laura has been personally responsible for making sure that Venezuela is not portrayed as a country that only revolves around polarizing politics. She has made sure GV readers learn about many of the country's talented musicians, writers, artists, and cultural projects. Currently pursuing her Master's degree in Education Sciences at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in Paris, Laura has always offered me a place to crash on her floor during my stops in Paris, and also showcased her culinary skills to me when she made delicious arepas. Read her blog Sacando la Lengua [es] and follow her on Twitter @lenguaraz.

Luis Diego Molina and Adriana Vargas [Costa Rica] - I hesitate to not give each of these young authors their own recognition, but they've been working together on the citizen journalism project Habla Costa Rica, where they have reported from the ground during events like the protests at the University of Costa Rica. I've been thoroughly impressed with their willingness to learn and how much dedication they have put into their project. Follow the project on Twitter: @hablacostarica.

Lully Posada [Colombia] - Lully is such a strong supporter of citizen media projects around the world, but there is one that has attracted more attention than others. In fact, she has started volunteering with the HiperBarrio project helping out with workshops, but more importantly, providing encouragement and motivation to the new bloggers. She is also one of the co-founders of the equinoXio digital magazine, and provides interesting interviews. Read her blog: Reflexiones al Desnudo [es] and follow her on Twitter: @lullyp.

Milton Ramírez [Ecuador] - Milton or perhaps I should write Dr. Ramírez, has been one of the most prolific GV authors from the region over the past several years. Milton holds a doctorate in Education and is extremely interested in examining the relationship between education and technology. He is also a champion for local technology projects and events in his native Ecuador, including extensive coverage of BarCamps and other digital campaigns. His love for his home region of Loja has placed the city on my must-visits someday. Read his blog: Education and Tech and follow him on Twitter: @tonnet.

Renata Avila [Guatemala] - As one of the resident Creative Commons experts within the Latin America team, Renata is the lead for the Creative Commons project in her native Guatemala. She is also serving as one of the co-leads in the Technology for Transparency project at Global Voices. Renata also holds a special interest in the plight of the indigenous communities in her country and which has served as a subject for many of her articles on Global Voices. Read her blog: Nothing is Permanent [es] and follow her on Twitter: @avilarenata

Rocío Díaz [Dominican Republic] - Rocío is our first author from the island of the Dominican Republic. She took great care in presenting a wide range of issues from the colorful characters of Carnival to the national sport of baseball, as well as the DR's response to the earthquake in neighboring Haiti. She started blogging as part of a national movement for community action, which helps draw attention to problems, as well as solutions in the island's municipalities. Read her blog: Monaco [es].

Silvia Viñas [Uruguay/Chile] - As the new Regional Editor for Latin America, Silvia has always been willing to fill in whenever needed, whether it be about issues facing Chile or Uruguay. No wonder she is so flexible, since she describes herself as half-Uruguayan and half-Spanish, and has lived in five Latin American countries. This allows her to be a great fit for the role of Latin America Editor, who needs to be well-versed in the affairs of an entire region. When she is not online posting and editing, she is the mother of an adorable two year-old, who just celebrated her birthday. Read her blog: Walking Around [es] and follow her on Twitter: @silviavinas

This is only a partial list, as there are many more authors who have recently joined or who have been recently inactive, but have been an integral part of making the Latin America region as strong as it has become. These authors include: Claudio Ruíz [Chile], Clotilde Castillo [Panama], Nike Jung [Chile], Muna Annahas [Paraguay], Roy Rojas [Costa Rica], Celeste Calvet [Argentina], Aaron Ortiz [Honduras], Leonidas Mejia [Honduras], Mario Durán [Bolivia], Carlos Suasnavas [Ecuador], Mario Blanco [Uruguay], Tim Muth [El Salvador], Rodrigo Peñalba [Nicaragua], Melissa De León[Panama], Luis Carlos Díaz [Venezuela], Rosario Lizana [Chile], Iria Puyosa [Venezuela], Claudia Cadelo [Cuba], Alvaro Berroteran [Nicaragua], HJ Barraza [Mexico].

As you can see, the Latin America team is very diverse, not only in the part of the world that they coverage, but in their own personal interests and background. Congratulations to such an amazing team of volunteers for making the Latin America region so well represented at Global Voices.

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