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November 05 2013

‘Women Should Be Submissive', and Other Google Autocomplete Suggestions

A series of ads by UN Women, revealed in late October, used the Google Autocomplete feature to uncover widespread negative attitudes toward women. Global Voices followed reactions to the UN Women campaign and conducted its own experiment in different languages. The results of searches conducted both within the UN Women campaign and Global Voices revealed popular attitudes not only about women’s social and professional roles, but also about their sexuality, appearance and relationships with men.

UN Women ad featuring Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase

UN Women ad featuring Google autocomplete suggestions for the phrase “women shouldn't”

The creators of the UN Women ads used search phrases like “women cannot”, “women shouldn’t”, “women should” and “women need to” completed by genuine Google search terms to highlight overwhelmingly negative stereotypes, sexist and highly discriminatory views held about women by society globally. The ads quickly went viral and sparked a heated discussion online. Last week, creators have announced that they are planning to expand the campaign in response to the mass online reaction.

The auto-complete function for searches, according to Google, predicts users’ queries based on the search activity of all users of the web as well as the content of indexed pages. The predictions may also be influenced by past searches of the particular user if they are signed into their Google account.

Global Voices asked its contributors from around the world to carry out Google searches using the same or similar phrases as those used in the UN Women campaign, in their own languages. The searches done between October 19 and October 25, 2013, revealed attitudes about the roles women are expected to take in society, often demonstrating the same global prejudices, but sometimes showing contradictions in different countries. Below are searches in 12 languages from different countries and continents:



“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Silvia Viñas. October 21, 2013.

Women should not…
Women should not preach
Women should not work
Women should not talk in the congregation
Women should not drive


“Women cannot…” A screenshot by Juan Arellano. October 21, 2013.

Women cannot…
Women cannot preach
Women cannot be pastors
Women cannot donate blood
Women cannot live without man

Puerto Rico

“Women should…”. A screenshot by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle. October 21, 2013.

Women should…
Women should be submissive
Women should use the veil
Women should preach
Women should work



“Women should…”. A screenshot by Suzanne Lehn. October 21, 2013.

Women should…
women should stay at home
women should work
should women preach
women should wear skirts
women should be submissive
women should know
women should vote
women should stay at home
should women work
women should do the cooking

“Women don't know…”. A screen shot by Rayna St. October 21, 2013.

Women don’t know…
women don't know how to drive
women don't know what they want
women don't know how to be in love
women don't know how to read cards


Egypt (similar results in Jordan)

“Woman cannot…”. A screenshot by Tarek Amr. October 21, 2013.

Woman cannot…
Woman cannot live without marriage
Woman cannot live without a man
Woman cannot keep a secret
Woman cannot interpret man's silence


“Women cannot…”. A screenshot by Gloria Wang. October 21, 2013.

Women cannot…
Women cannot be too smart
Women can't drive
Women cannot give birth
10 topics women cannot discuss with their husbands


“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Diana Lungu. October 21, 2013.

women should not…
women should be loved not understood
women should not be understood
women should not wear pants
what women should not do in bed



“Women should…”. A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.

Women should…
Women should stay at home
should play hard to get
should stay in the kitchen
should be subdued

“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Gaia Resta. October 22, 2013.

Women should not…
Women should not be understood
should not work
should not be understood but loved
should not read



“Woman should not…”. A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.

Woman should not…
Woman should not teach
My wife should not work

“Woman can…”. A screenshot by Katrin Zinoun. October 21, 2013.

Woman can….
Woman cannot come
Woman cannot get pregnant
Woman cannot cook
Woman cannot get a baby


“Women don't…”. A screenshot by
Gilad Lotan. October 21, 2013.

Women don't…
Women don't work
Women are not modest
Women don't know how to drive
Women don't want to have kids


“A woman should be…”. A screenshot by Marietta Le.
October 21, 2013.

A woman should be…
a woman should be a chef in the kitchen
a woman should be pretty and ruthless


“Women cannot…”. A screenshot by Solana Larsen. October 20, 2013.

Women cannot…
Women cannot drive
Women cannot control vagina
Women cannot be color blind
Women cannot barbecue

In Danish, the searches for “women cannot” and “women can” yielded the same results.


“Women should not…”. A screenshot by Veronica Khokhlova. October 19, 2013.

Women should not…
Women should not be believed
Women should not lift heavy things
Women should not drink
Women should not be trusted


The UK

“Women should…”. A screenshot by Annie Zaman. October 25, 2013.

Women should…
Women should be seen and not heard
Women should stay at home
Women should know their place

 Not all searches carried out by members of Global Voices community turned up negative terms. Nevertheless, the results of the experiment largely confirm UN Women’s worrying conclusion that a great deal of work still remains to be done in order to advance women’s rights and empowerment around the world.

October 22 2013

This Weekend at Developing Latin America 2013 Apps Challenge (Part I)


Photo from Desarrollando América Latina Facebook page.

This past weekend has been very productive for the Developing Latin America (#DAL2013) Apps Challenge; there was movement in person and on social networks in almost all locations of the participating countries. In this post we bring you a brief summary of what happened.

In México [es] they share some of the challenges they have raised and the activities they have organized to find solutions: 

#DAL2013 challenge about education in Mexico, children's rights and more.

Challenge ‘Infancy Counts': Visualizes the state of infancy in Mexico.

Video: Data expedition with @Mexicanos1o for #DAL2013

#DAL2013 Challenge: Information about quality and service in health clinics. Have you picked yours?

#DAL2013 Challenge: Help youth identify risky situations that can turn them into victims of trafficking.

Participants in Guatemala [es] have shown their excitement about a series of scheduled conferences:

Saturday conferences begin.

Socio-technical network of a flexible screen

“Ideas are easy to copy; business ideas, socio-technical ideas are harder” Alvaro Figueredo

The project has to take on a life of its own and have momentum to keep going- Javier Álvarez

The presentation on civic hacking is available here –>

Civic hackers from Costa Rica [es] took some time off this weekend, but the previous weekend they held their hackathon:

Experts co-creating with participants. In Costa Rica #DAL2013 has just begun!

24 hours later, 10 teams, 34 young people, a lot of talent.

A lot has happened at #DAL2013 Do you want to learn about the hackathon in Costa Rica?

#DAL2013 Costa Rica winners awarded by President Laura Chinchilla

@nacion brings us an article about all the winning teams of Developing Latin America Costa Rica 2013

Colombia [es] also held its hackathon earlier:

@williamgomezg presents #mochilapp projects, health and technology, political oversight. Great ideas!

@TheColombist presents this interesting project #RutaCiudadana

@sibcolombia shows for the first time their dynamic and open app to explore georeferenced data

Colombia also develops solutions at #DAL2013

Hackers and other specialists in Ecuador [es] are working towards Demo Day on October 26, but they've also been sharing some tweets about their activities:

#DAL2013 kicks off in Ecuador at ESPAE, Espol Campus Las Peñas

Ecuador seeks to find solutions to problems related to transportation, environment, democracy, health and education.

Complete integration between participants at DAL Ecuador

Awards at DAL Ecuador are being presented, thanks to @McDonalds_Ecu

We thank Santa María University for hosting the data scraping event last night.

And in Peru [es] there's been a lot of activity in the past two weekends, with the hashtags #datamaskay (data search) and #dataminka (work with data) becoming quite popular on Twitter:

#DAL2013 throughout October! [month of hackathons, earthquakes and miracles!] > @IPAE_Innova and @escuelab invite you!

Solutions are found in open data. In Peru ideas become solutions!

We have data! Latest poll about corruption 2013

Ideas discussed at #dataminka!

Once participants decided which app would be ideal to develop, they debated which resources they will use.

In the next post we will continue reporting about activities in the other countries participating in Developing Latin America 2013!

Fujimori Trial Temporarily Suspended Due to His Haggard Appearance

Alberto Fujimori's latest trial was suspended until Monday, October 28, after the former president showed up looking unkempt, disheveled, and carrying a blood pressure monitor.

Fujimori was subpoenaed to testify on Thursday, October 17, about the purchase of the editorial line of some media outlets as part of his re-election campaign during his second term, and which he did with public funds. The process is known as the trial over “chicha (tabloid) newspapers”.

[They are] asking for 8 years in prison for Fujimori for diversion of $122 million [Peruvian soles, $44 million US Dollars] for buying tabloid newspapers

Journalist Jacqueline Fowks, writing for El País, reports [es] what happened in the trial until it was suspended: “In the nearly 40 minute long hearing, the court confirmed that it was awaiting the decision of the Court of First Instance regarding the petition to recuse the three judges who were to try Fujimori; it heard the arguments of [William Paco] Castillo (Fujimori's attorney) for the Supreme Court to try Fujimori, and it sustained the prosecutor's request to increase the amount of civil damages.”

Many Twitter users were not so convinced [es] about the actual state of the ex-president's health and it became the object of mocking memes [es]:

Seriously–but for painting, writing, tweeting, he's okay? Fujiromi's attorney: “the president might collapse.”

Fujimori became a global trend after appearing like this at the trial

Some tweeted with sarcasm about what they considered a “show.”

What a great actor, applause please.

Totally! RT. Fujimori gets the Oscar for Best Actor.

Some questioned whether it might be part of a new strategy on the part of Fujimori's new lawyer [es], William Paco Castillo.

Fujimori debuted new lawyer. More suitable to his “victim” and charlatan profile. Simple new strategy– look, I just got up.

Others took the opportunity to remind us of Fujimori's history of human rights violations:

However, there were those who showed concern about the former president's health:

Be strong — and never forget that GOD NEVER FORGETS HIS GOOD CHILDREN AND THE CHINO [Chinese man, a nickname for Fujimori] IS ONE OF THEM. KEEP THE FAITH

All of you causing such a bad time for Fujimori are SONS OF BITCH*S

Opponents who hate and forget where they were when there was a car bomb. Fuji ended the barbarism. What ingratitude!

This is the sixth trial for Fujimori, and he will face a sentence of 8 to 15 years if he is convicted.

In the previous five trials he was convicted on charges of corruption, embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of power, among other things. In one of the trials he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights violations.

October 15 2013

Peruvian Congressman Michael Urtecho Accused of Corruption

Michael Urtecho, foto de Congreso de la República del Perú en Flickr, bajo licencia Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Michael Urtecho, photo of Congress of the Republic of Peru in Flickr, under the Creative Commons licence (CC BY 2.0)

[All links lead to Spanish language pages unless otherwise noted]

Peruvian Congressman Michael Urtecho is accused, amongst other things, of pocketing a large percentage of the Congress workers’ salaries, of being inconsistent with donations of wheelchairs for disabled groups and of falsifying and altering expense receipts (and payments to “ghost companies”) in order to radically increase the amount he was reimbursed.

Last week, Congress approved the suspension and constitutional accusation order that the Ethics Commission requested against Urtecho, who, at one point, was part of this Commission in Congress. Urtecho will be suspended from his roles for 120 days and will be charged constitutionally for four crimes. Furthermore, the group National Solidarity [en], a centre-right party to which Urtecho belongs, said that the congressman would be separated from their ranks if the suspension was approved.

Congress’ approval has awakened the debate in social networks surrounding this particular case that has already been present for nearly two weeks in the Peruvian press.

Internet users have been discussing this case, focusing primarily on the presumed entrenched corruption in Congress, in the lack of morality of the Congressman, and in the need to establish exemplary sanctions for these cases.

Regarding the matter, Mario C. Rosina commented on twitter:

The matter of M.Urtecho seems to be only the tip of the iceberg of a criminal custom installed in the Congress of the Republic for many years.

Carlos Francisco Herrera Díaz expresses his scepticism on Facebook:

El caso Urtecho ha incrementado las dudas sobre el Congreso en general, por lo que mal haría una gestión que ha ofrecido un trabajo con manos limpias, no adoptar medidas que ayuden en algo a pensar que todavía se puede creer en los congresistas.

Urtecho's case has increased doubts surrounding Congress in general, so it would be a mistake if an administration that has offered clean-handed management didn't adopt measures that help to maintain a belief in the credibility of Congressmen.

Pamela (@Pamelof) speculates about other types of scams:

Urtecho's former workers should also be sanctioned for their complicity, or at least demonstrate that they were deceived.

If proven that the Congressman was involved in these acts (typified as general misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and embezzlement by Peruvian law), Urtecho (who suffers from muscular hypotonia [en]) awaits a sentence of fifteen years in prison

October 11 2013

Lima Will Host 2019 Pan American Games

Peru's capital, Lima, was elected with 31 votes as the city that will host the 2019 Pan American Games, leaving Chile's Santiago, Argentina's La Punta and Venezuela's Ciudad Bolívar behind.

On Twitter, some were happy about the news, like Nelson Peñaherrera C:

So glad that the 2019 Pan American Games will be held in Lima! Let's get ready!

But there was also skepticism:

They are making such a big deal about it, as if someone actually follows the Pan American games.

October 10 2013

‘Chola Power': Peruvian Superhero or Sex Symbol?

‘Chola Power’ is Peru's “first and only female Superhero”, as Gareth Hunter writes for Peru This Week.

Hunter argues that although scantly dressed, “with long shiny black hair, large dark eyes and green loincloth”, Peru's female superhero “doesn't seem to be an offensive female character”:

Although attractive, she has a seriousness and solidness to her that suggests she means business and is not to be trifled with, rather than a glamor model who has decided to play dress-up and join in with the boys in saving the world. Unlike some of the DC and Marvel creations, her character seems to have some depth and personality, though this remains to be seen in her future adventures.

Visit Hunter's post in Peru This Week to read more and to see photos of Chola Power.

October 02 2013

Peru: Congress Passes “Practically Secret” Version of IT Crimes Act

Congresista Alberto Beingolea Delgado. Foto del Congreso de la República del Perú en Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Congressman Alberto Beingolea Delgado. Photo by the Peruvian Congress via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

On September 12, Peru's Congress approved [es] the IT Crimes Act, one that has generated serious questions since the release of its Pre Dictamen [es]. This has been based not only on the assumption that a good part of the text was copied from various sources, but also because it constitutes a likely threat to privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet [es].

Despite criticisms [es], the bill, known informally as the Beingolea Act [es] (named after Alberto Beingolea, original proponent of the bill), continued along its course and was approved with 79 votes in favor and none against. Congress reached a final text and voted in what many felt was a quick and questionable process.

The text of the law [es] (filtered) states that its objective is “to prevent and sanction illicit practices that affect computer systems and data, and other legal rights of criminal relevance, committed through the use of information or communication technologies, in order to ensure the effective fight against cyber crimes.” The law establishes sentences of up to ten years in prison for those who commit the offenses, which include crimes against data and computer systems, cyber crimes against sexual indemnity and freedom, and cyber crimes against the privacy and secrecy of communications, among others.

The penalties applied to each offense vary, meaning if someone commits a crime against data and computer systems, a measure written so vaguely that it could refer to various perfectly legal activities, he or she could receive a prison sentence of three to six years. In general, it is easy to see how the police or lawmakers could interpret the law in a way that could be restrictive to the exercise of fundamental rights online.

Despite the dangers that this legislation carries, there have not been as many reactions on the Internet as expected. Twitter user Blackhand @Yonzy commented on some of the legal text's shortcomings:

#CyberCrimeLaw if I built a database of people with information freely available, am I committing a crime, @CongresoPeru?

— BlackHand (@yonsy) September 16, 2013

The user also said it would be impossible to download tools for “ethical hacking,” noting that it is already “a crime to even have them.”

Internet law experts at Hiperderecho recounted the back-and-forth process that the bill went through at different moments, the presentation of a similar bill [es] on behalf of the executive branch, and the turn of events that took place on September 12, when the bill was approved:

[P]ocas horas luego del debate, el congresista Eguren volvía a someter al debate un nuevo texto de la Ley Beingolea que solo conocían los parlamentarios y que fue “plenamente consensuado con los representantes del Poder Ejecutivo, ya que tenían un proyecto de ley presentado que pretendía legislar las mismas materias”. El nuevo texto del Proyecto de Ley incorporaba casi todos los demás proyectos de ley presentados [anteriormente], pese a que no se habían revisado ni votado en Comisión previamente. Sin embargo, el nuevo texto apenas mereció un par de intervenciones menores y fue inmediatamente aprobado…

A few hours after the debate, Congressman Eguren came back to submit a new text of the Beingolea Act for debate, which only the parliamentarians knew about and was “fully agreed upon with the representatives of the Executive Branch, since they had introduced a bill that sought to legislate the same topics.” The new text of the bill incorporated almost all of the [previously] introduced bills, although it had not been reviewed nor voted on in the Commission before. Nonetheless, the new text was barely afforded a few minor interventions and it was immediately approved…

As such, without further debate and with a practically secret text, the Congress approved a bill that, despite eliminating some of the problems of the Beingolea Act, incorporated new ones. Miguel Morachimo of Hiperderecho expressed [es] his opinion:

La aprobación de la Ley Beingolea es el ejemplo perfecto de cómo no se debe llevar a cabo un proceso legislativo. En primer lugar, tienen un texto muy criticado durmiendo por más de un año en la agenda. Luego, lo someten a debate y en cuestión de horas cambian completamente el texto incorporando propuestas nuevas que no han pasado por ningún filtro en Comisión, como la de grooming o discriminación por Internet. Este nuevo texto solo lo conocen los congresistas y todos los demás ciudadanos tenemos que ver por televisión como es aprobado por unanimidad sin que sepamos qué dice. ¿No pensaron que si la primera versión había recibido tantos comentarios críticos era necesario someter a comentarios de la sociedad civil también la segunda?

The approval of the Beingolea Act is a perfect example of how a legislative process should not be carried out. First of all, they have a heavily criticized text hibernating for over a year on the agenda. Then they submit it for debate and in a matter of hours completely change the text, incorporating new proposals that have not passed through any filters in the Commission, such as grooming or discrimination on the Internet. This new text is known only to Congress members while the rest of the citizens have to watch it being approved unanimously on television without knowing what it says. Did they not think that if the first version had received so many criticisms, it would be necessary to submit the second one to civil society for comments?

From the blog V de Verguenza, author Chillinfart's attention was brought to one of the Modifying Supplementary Provisions, specifically the one amending the Criminal Procedure Code: “The licensees of telecommunications public services must immediately provide the geolocation of mobile telephones and records of interception, recordings, or registration of communications that has been ordered by the court, uninterrupted and in real time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year…” Chillinfart comments:

[esto da] a entender un almacenamiento obligatorio de todo dato de localización generado por los usuarios de telecomunicaciones, independientemente si eres un criminal o no; pero claro, barajando que solo se tocara esa información cuando venga un mandato judicial. El problema de esta intrusion a la privacidad es que puede ser foco de otros crimenes al tener esos datos personales en manos muy dudosas, como pasó con Claro en Chile, Republica Dominicana y Perú (El caso Rosendo Arias).

[this explains] a mandatory storage of all localization data generated by telecommunications users, regardless of whether you are a criminal or not; but of course, thinking that this information would be touched only in the instance of an injunction. The problem with this intrusion of privacy is that it can be the focus of other crimes once this personal data is in very questionable hands, like the case of Claro in Chile [es], the Dominican Republic [es] and Peru (the Rosendo Arias case [es]).

Erick Iriarte of IALAW published a copy [es] of some of the Comments on the Signing of the IT Crimes Bill, which he has forward to Congress. The article is quite extensive and detailed, commenting on and making suggestions article by article, additionally including final comments in which the following is proposed:

la autógrafa no puede continuar como se encuentra, debe volver a Comisión en el mejor de los casos, o pasar al archivo y volverse a plantear una propuesta de la adhesión del Perú al Convenio de Cybercrimen, en un marco de respeto irrestricto a las libertades y derechos constitucionalmente protegidos, y en dicho marco plantear una legislación en materia de delitos informáticos, analizar que hacer con los delitos por medios informáticos y brindar herramientas de informática forense a la Policia.

the signing cannot continue as is, it must return to the Commission in a best case scenario, or be filed and re-sent as a proposal from Peru in support of the [Budapest] Cyber Crime Convention within a framework of unrestricted respect for constitutionally protected rights and liberties, and to propose legislation on the topic of cyber crimes in said framework, analyze what to do with cyber crimes and afford forensic cyber tools to the police.

Following approval, the bill requires a signature from the President of the Republic to officially become law. Given that the bill incorporates parts of the proposal made by the executive branch itself, there is a good chance that the bill will be pushed through without much further delay.

Original post published on Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.

September 27 2013

Developing Latin America 2013: An ‘Apps Challenge’ for Social Impact


“Developing Latin America”

Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente is about to launch a new edition of their regional initiative entitled Developing Latin America [es], which brings together the efforts of developers, social specialists, and others to use open data to create applications that serve the Latin American community. In their own words [es]:

Impulsamos aplicaciones innovadoras, sustentables, escalables y de alto impacto social. Celebramos a la comunidad de emprendedores, tecnólogos, desarrolladores y diseñadores, desafiándolos a trabajar en conjunto con sus gobiernos y organizaciones locales para co-crear soluciones que generen un cambio positivo para los ciudadanos. Fomentamos una cultura de creatividad, innovación y emprendimiento en América Latina.

We promote innovative, sustainable, and scalable applications with a high social impact. We celebrate the community of entrepreneurs, technologists, developers and designers, challenging them to work together with their governments and local organizations to co-create solutions that generate a positive change for citizens. We foster a culture of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Latin America.

For its third edition, Developing Latin America (DAL) is transforming and is going from being a Hackathon to what they call an Apps Challenge, meaning a longer event with the goal of developing better ideas, obtaining more concrete solutions, and, as such, achieving applications that are more sustainable and scalable.

But, what is an Apps Challenge? [es]

Un Apps Challenge es una competencia entre aplicaciones. En el caso de DAL, es una competencia colaborativa que se realizará a lo largo de tres intensas semanas de desarrollo. Esta etapa está diseñada para dotar a los equipos de las herramientas que permitan desarrollar una aplicación innovadora y disruptiva. Realizaremos varias actividades con el objetivo de generar aplicaciones de alto impacto social.

An Apps Challenge is a competition between applications. In the case of DAL, it is a collaborative competition that will be held over the course of three intense weeks of development. This stage is designed to give teams the tools that will allow for the development of an innovative and disruptive application. Various activities will take place with the goal of generating applications of high social impact.


“Let's share idea and work together to develop Latin America!”

DAL officially launches on October 5 of this year, and we say officially because in reality the coordination of DAL and the different teams in charge of the event in the participating countries (now 12) have been working on preparing for it for several weeks. In fact, each team has planned various activities [es] to take place in their country during the month of October and, on October 26, there will be a Demo Day in addition to the selection of the three best applications per country.

But that is not all. After this phase, in association with Socialab, a project accelerator specialized in high impact social projects, will choose five teams among the winners to build up their projects for three months, helping them construct a business plan and find funding, among other things:

  • Co-creación “en terreno” con sus potenciales usuarios y clientes.
  • Definición de áreas de impacto que el proyecto tendrá en la sociedad, estos son co-creados con la comunidad y usuarios en trabajos en terreno.
  • Capacitarse en metodología de innovación y emprendimiento (Lean Start-Up, Canvas Business Model, Design Thinking, etc.)
  • Búsqueda de financiamiento para la sustentabilidad de sus proyectos a través de distintos medios: inversionistas, crowdfundings, fondos concursables, entre otros.
  • Generación de redes con distintos actores relevantes para el proyecto.
  • Planes comunicacionales y financieros elaborados.
  • Co-creation “in the field” with their potential users and clients.
  • Definition of areas of impact that the project will have in society, these are co-created with the community and users in field work.
  • Training in innovation and entrepreneurship (Lean Start-up, Canvas Business Model, Design Thinking, etc.)
  • Finding funds for sustainability of their projects through various means: investors, crowd funding, competitive funds, among others.
  • Generating networks with various stakeholders relevant to the project.
  • Elaborating communication and financial plans.

To learn a bit more about what DAL will be like this year and familiarize ourselves with the Apps Challenge process, our collaborator, Elizabeth Rivera, met with Anca Matioc, Regional Coordinator of Developing Latin America. Below is a video [es] of the interview:

In the interview, Matioc expanded on DAL's decision to go from a Hackathon, typically 36 hours, to an Apps Challenge, which will span a period of three weeks. As a response to DAL's growth over the past two years, Matioc highlighted the desire to have participants go beyond making prototypes for applications by giving them the opportunity to create more efficient and finished apps for social change. With the Apps Challenge, which she described as an “extended hackathon”, each of the twelve participating countries will have its own agenda of activities and workshops, culminating in the Demo Day and Socialab nominations. Currently, DAL is continuing its preparations for the event and meeting with its stakeholders to discuss their roles as mentors for each team of participants.

DAL has already generated interest in the region. For example, ALT1040 reports on the event and says [es]:

Este tipo de programas son ideales para impulsar pequeñas startups que pretenden resolver problemas comunes de la región. Lo interesante es que las aplicaciones pueden estar enfocadas tanto en solucionar un problema de tu país como hasta solucionar uno de Latinoamérica en su totalidad. Un reflejo de que podemos y queremos cambiar el mundo en el que vivimos, aunque tengamos que hacerlo una aplicación a la vez.

These types of programs are ideal for inspiring small startups seeking to resolve common problems in the region. The interesting thing is that the applications can be focused on solving a problem in your country as well as solving one in Latin America as a whole. A reflection on the idea that we can and want to change the world we live in, even if we have to do it one application at a time.

El Becario from the Código Espagueti blog reflects [es]:

Sin duda, un gran reto para países en los que no todos tienen un smartphone o una tableta, aún así se trata de un gran esfuerzo que bien podría ayudar a mejorar las condiciones de vida en la región.

Without a doubt, a big challenge for countries where not everyone has a smartphone or tablet; still, it is a great initiative that could really help improve living conditions in the region.

If you are a developer and are interested not only in a professional challenge but simultaneously having the opportunity to help solve social problems in your city or country, such as education, health, public safety, and transportation, among others, you can sign up [es] until October 4 and participate in this event on a regional level.

On our behalf, we will be providing coverage of the details of this great initiative.

Other related posts:

Developing Latin America – 30 hours of technology and society [es]
“Developing Latin America”: Open Data Projects

Developing Latin America 2012
What Exactly is a Hackathon? And What is Open Data?
Developing Latin America Draws Near!
Day 1 of Developing Latin America 2012
Day 2 of Developing Latin America 2012
Winning Applications From Latin America's Biggest Hackathon

September 26 2013

Peru: 7 Magnitude Quake Hits Acari, Arequipa

A 6.8 magnitude quake, later updated to a 7, was felt at 11:43 a.m. in the central and southern regions of Peru. The USGS determined that the epicenter was in the Acari area in the Arequipa region.

Some media report small-scale damage [es], such as rock slides that have blocked part of the southern Panamericana highway. There have been no reports of victims until now.

There are reports of collapsed telephone lines, presumably caused by the saturation of calls from people with families in the affected areas. For his part, the mayor of Acari, Carlos Mejia Quispe, said [es] that there was damage to houses and schools, whose infrastructures suffered cracks, and the mayor of Caraveli, the province to which Acari belongs, dismissed deaths.

Coverage on Twitter was rather quick; here are some reports:

The quake occurred at 11:42:40. The magnitude was about 6.9º to the south of Lomas (Arequipa) with a depth of 30 KM

That quake was rather long, neighbors

Radio Yaraví and Radio Melodía report live about the quake in Arequipa.

Later some of the media spread reports by audio [es] and video [es] from the area. Some images and reports also came through Twitter from Acarí:

Police from Carreteras confirm collapse of hill in Chala

A Palca local reported that a group of houses remained cut off by strong quake

Image of a house destroyed in Acarí

Torn walls and broken pieces of glass from houses caused by the quake in the district of Acarí

Although a tsunami as a result of the quake was ruled out [es], some reports indicated anomalies on the Peruvian coast:

Intense wave occurs in Mollento, according to a report by a local from Arequipa

The quake was also felt in Lima, although with less intensity; however, they still had to enact security measures:

Workers in Dan Isidro evacuated after 6.8 quake in Arequipa


There were also reports from other cities in the country:

In Chincha, a seismic area, it was felt strongly, happily there is no known material or personal damage

Quake in the city of Cusco.

I am on a second floor in Huancayo and and the quake was felt…

In Chile, Peru's southern neighbor, the quake was also felt:

Regions of Chile were shaken by the quake in Arequipa

It was a 7 magnitude quake in Peru; it was felt in Arica and was a three magnitude.

Original post published on the Globalizado [es] blog by Juan Arellano.

September 24 2013

Esther Vargas Helps Journalists Stay Relevant

In the blog News Entrepreneurs, James Breiner highlights the work of Peruvian journalist Esther Vargas and her website Clases de Periodismo [es] (Journalism Classes):

She and her team of four dedicated collaborators compile the latest news and courses of interest to journalists and share it all through social networks such as Facebook  (54,000 “likes”) and Twitter (@cdperiodismo 109,000 followers).


For Vargas, the goal of the site is to help journalists improve, teach themselves and achieve independence.

“Journalists have the responsibility to change and learn and evolve. It's your responsibility to not stand still, to not get behind so that you won't be replaced by an intern or recent graduate. And you have to learn from young people because they help you understand the new stuff.”

Latin America: “Where do the Disappeared go?”

Manifestación convocada por la Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos. 2009, Santiago, Chile. Foto de antitezo en Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Demonstration Convened by Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos [Families of Detained Missing Persons Group]. 2009, Santiago, Chile. Photo from antitezo on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This is the second part of a two-part article. To read the first part click here. We also invite you to visit the Office of High Commission for Human Rights page, which you can access with this link, for some more official information on the topic.

In the previous post we explored some of the stories and activity of families of missing people in Latin America. We got closer to testimonies, we opened up contexts, and we introduced popular songs which ask, “Where do the missing people go?”

After decades of questions with no answers and cases that continue to increase the list of victims, we could say that, thanks to their relatives, the missing people and their stories can be found, if only virtually, on Internet social networks.

We see, therefore, family and friends making an effort to fight so that memories are not another victim of the forced disappearances. In this way, the internet becomes a source of innumerable initiatives and stories that fight against impunity and the return to the past.

In this post we dedicate space to the topic in Peru, Guatemala, Uruguay and Mexico. Similarly, we also mention the contribution from arcoiris TV [es], which makes accessible a documentary [es] directed by Ángel Palacios about forced disappearances in Venezuela.

In Peru, the conflict between the Peruvian State, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) has been the main source of the crimes that have resulted in victims of forced disappearances.

A decade after the delivery of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, Spacio Libre [es] publishes observations about the results that the Peruvian justice has presented regarding the victims of forced disappearances. In the editorial, the right of the victims to get answers is defended and the unfulfilled promises that are not allowed to advance to Peruvian justice are listed:

Muy poco se ha avanzado en materia de reparaciones y sobre todo en la búsqueda de la verdad y de un proceso sincero de reconciliación, luego de la violencia desatada por la insanía terrorista de Sendero Luminoso y el MRTA y la respuesta brutal de un Estado que no dirimió entre inocentes y culpables y mató tan igual que el enemigo que perseguía.

Y es que no se puede hablar de reconciliación, cuando un sector bastante influyente de la clase política ha pretendido silenciar y desprestigiar un trabajo realizado con ahínco, con compromiso y con un interés concreto de generar memoria y buscar un camino para recuperar la esperanza de miles de familias que perdieron a un ser querido y que en muchos casos (15 mil) no tienen ni idea de donde están.

Very little has progressed in terms of compensation and above all in the search for the truth and for a sincere process of reconciliation, after the violence unleashed by the terrorist insanity of Sendero Luminoso and the MRTA and the brutal response of a State that does not distinguish between the innocent and the guilty and kills just the same as the enemy it pursues.

And the thing is you can't talk about reconciliation, when such an influential sector of the political class has tried to silence and discredit an undertaking achieved with effort, with compromise and with a concrete interest in generating a memory and searching for a way to regain hope for thousands of families that lost a loved one that in many cases (15 thousand) have no idea where they are.

Also in Peru, the historian Renzo Salvador Aroni [es] gathers stories and analyses the circumstances of families that still hope for signs from their missing relatives. In his post “The Families of the Disappeared”, the blogger defends the importance of regaining the historical memory of the country and indicates that this also involves “regaining the memory of those who are absent”:

[…] La memoria de los familiares de los desaparecidos, siguen aguardando la posibilidad de que sus seres queridos aparezcan. […] Para los familiares es muy difícil aceptar un hecho aún no concluido.

[…] The memory of the family members of the missing people, they continue believing in the possibility that their loved ones will appear. […] For the families it is very difficult to accept an event that is unresolved.

The author also explains how pieces of memory carve themselves a space in people's daily lives. He explains that these are painful experiences and sometimes they express themselves in oral narratives, in artistic representations, in dreams, and in other forms of language, and cites part of the testimonial of the mother of a missing person.

- Si lo veo, me dice: “mamá no llores por mí”.

Así me habla. Ya no lo he vuelto a ver [a mi hijo: Segundino Flores Allcaco], sólo en mis sueños. Lo veo con la misma ropa que tenía puesta.

- If I see him, he tells me: “Mum don't cry for me”.

This is how he talks to me. I haven't seen him again [my son: Segundino Flores Allcaco], only in my dreams. I see him with the same clothes he had on.

In Guatemala, where the detained and disappeared are commemorated every 21st of June, the Comunidades de Población en Resistencia (Communities of Population In Resistance) [es] blog explains that forced disappearance in Guatemala is a current circumstance, that has expanded throughout the region and that counts on the silent collaboration of power:

La desaparición forzada en Guatemala no es un hecho del pasado. Es un crimen de lesa humanidad de carácter imprescriptible instaurado en América Latina, que también permanece vigente por su continua utilización como mecanismo de control social y dominio político; así como por la impunidad que persiste sobre los hechos cometidos y que hoy se expresa, entre otras cosas, en la reconfiguración de las estructuras de poder que articularon, financiaron y callaron estos crímenes.

Forced disappearances in Guatemala are not a fact of the past. It's a crime against humanity of an imprescriptible character established in Latin America, that also remains in force because of its continued use as a social control and political dominance mechanism; as well as because of the impunity that persists about the committed acts and that is expressed today, among other things, in the reconfiguration of the power structures that articulate, finance and conceal these crimes.

The blog Familiares de Desaparecidos [Families of the Disappeared] [es] also reunites the Uruguayan families of missing people that have not stopped searching and gathers together the efforts of people who live in Uruguay or are in exile:

Desde la apertura democrática caminamos juntos respetando la diversidad de pensamientos que nos caracteriza pero unidos en torno a nuestros principales objetivos: MEMORIA, VERDAD, JUSTICIA Y NUNCA MÁS

Since the democratic opening we have walked together respecting the diversity of thoughts that characterises us but united around our principal objectives: MEMORY, TRUTH, JUSTICE AND NEVER AGAIN

In Mexico the forced disappearances explode from the war against narcotics trafficking. The Mexican Comité Cerezo [es] made available a handbook called “What to do in case of forced disappearance [es]“, downloadable from its web page.

It's important to add that the topic of disappearances is not exclusive to Latin America and does not form a part just of the historical memory. Yet the number of people who vanish in dubious circumstances is great, and many more are those who are silenced and terrorised by these crimes.

So, to conclude, it's important to highlight that the families’ struggle continues outside the Internet. And also that these initiatives and movements see their reflections online before and after the international day of their commemoration. In this way social media helps to revive the memories and connect groups of victims outside their borders. Their meeting point: the search for answers and the collective fight for justice.

September 19 2013

Global Voices Partners with InfoAmazonia

A new form of visualization of Global Voices stories about the Amazon rainforest is now available in the shape of a map of the website Through the established content partnership, Info Amazonia's special interactive map is being updated with the latest citizen media stories by Global Voices about the Amazon in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

The platform, a project by Internews and Brazilian environmental website O Eco [pt], was launched in June 2012 at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. It intends to “help broaden the understanding of the global impact of this important region in the world” by aggregating articles and data on the environmental changes in the Amazon rainforest:

InfoAmazonia logo. Follow them on Twitter for updates: @InfoAmazonia.

Follow InfoAmazonia on Twitter for updates: @InfoAmazonia.

InfoAmazonia provides timely news and reports of the endangered Amazon region. A network of organizations and journalists deliver updates from the nine countries of the forest. The data used will always be freely available for download and will be renewed frequently. The comparison between stories and data aims to improve public’s perception of issues in the Amazon region.

The Amazon region is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, keeping in check climate change by absorbing CO2. Yet in the light of its importance, the region has faced acute environmental challenges.

As Global Voices reported in the special coverage page Forest Focus: Amazon created for the United Nations International Year of Forests (2011):

In the Amazon rainforest region, deforestation impacts around 30 million people and 350 indigenous and ethnic groups. Yet the Amazon, and other forests like it, are fast-becoming major casualties of civilization as growing human populations increasingly threaten these important biomes.

A platform to serve the community

“Use us as a tool”, Project Coordinator and Knight International Journalism Fellow Gustavo Faleiros told Global Voices team when offering to serve the citizen media community in terms of maps and visualization of data in the Amazon:

We want to be your desk of maps and visualization.

We took on the challenge and invited InfoAmazonia to draw us a map with the boundaries of Amazonia Legal for a Global Voices story from last July about the approval of a bill in Brazil that has opened the door to the cultivation of sugar cane for the first time in that area, which comprises the geographical regions of the Amazon forest, the tropical savanna Cerrado, and the swamp land Pantanal.

Five more Global Voices stories have already been mapped in the InfoAmazonia platform since June, representing a step forward for our community on data journalism from Latin America.

InfoAmazonia invites anyone to participate by sharing data, stories and geographic coordinates through the website's submission tool. Existing maps, organized by publisher or categories such as protected areas and indigenous lands, deforestation, oil & gas, among others, can also be embedded in other pages using a sharing widget.

September 18 2013

Peruvian Blogger with Parkinson's Disease Publishes Book

Peruvian blogger Cyrano, from the blog Columna 17 [es], has published his book “El párkinson y yo” (Parkinson's and me), where he shares his daily life as a patient with this medical condition, and he announced it [es] on his blog:

Se trata de un relato desde mi experiencia como paciente con el mal de Parkinson, con un breve recuento de mi vida con esta condición médica, de mis peripecias cotidianas sazonadas con anécdotas graciosas y de las otras, desde que aparecieron las primeras manifestaciones hasta estos momentos [...] en un lenguaje de fácil comprensión que, espero sea del agrado de todos.

This is a recount from my experience as a patient with Parkinson's disease, with a short account of my life with this medical condition, about my daily events spiced up with funny stories and some of the other ones, from the moment the first symptoms appeared until these days [...] using an easily understandable language which I hope you'll all like.

September 16 2013

Ancient Pyramid Destroyed in Peru as Developers Eye Land

This post, written by Jessica Mota, was originally published [pt] on 21 August 2013 by Brazilian investigative news organization Agência Pública as part of the series on #PatrimônioAmeaçado (Threatened Heritage, in Portuguese).

It was four o'clock in the afternoon of a Saturday, 29 June when Estequilla Rosales, a 51-year-old Peruvian, heard a noise coming from the other side of the archaeological site she knew very well. As vice president of the association Kapaq Sumaq Ayllu [sp], for 14 years she has been responsible for helping to protect a national cultural heritage in Peru, the 45-hectare Archaeological Complex of El Paraíso, one of the largest and oldest in Peru. It is in that spot that she spends her days. And it was nearby, on the Santa Josefina hill, that she built her house.

The noise was coming from something that Estequilla could never expect, not even in her nightmares. A group of men were making use of heavy machinery to destroy one of the eleven archaeological mounds registered on the site. Underneath this small mound, a pre-Inca pyramid, four to six meters tall and 2.5 square kilometers, which dates from ancient times.

O local onde foi derrubada uma das pirâmides de El Paraíso onde se vê a areia revolvida. Foto: Jessica Mota / Agência Pública

The place where one of the pyramids of El Paraiso was knocked down, as seen in the sand. Photo: Jessica Mota / Agência Pública

“I was desperate, didn't know what to do, because there is no telephone signal here. What I did was I climbed up the hill and told the watchman to call the police”, remembers Estequilla:

Agora estou mais calma. Mas quando aconteceu realmente senti uma dor imensa, como se fosse uma pessoa, um ser muito querido para mim. Porque é parte de meu país, estavam assassinando minha identidade, minha cultura. E isso é, como se pode dizer, uma traição à pátria. Eu sinto que um peruano seja tão ignorante para destruir assim.

Now I feel calmer. But when it happened, I really felt a deep pain, as though it had been a person, someone I had been very fond of. Because it is part of my country, they had been murdering my identity, my culture. And this is, as one might say, a treason to the nation. I am deeply sorry that a Peruvian might be so ignorant as to be able to destroy like that.

Localização do Complexo Arqueológico de El Paraíso na região do estado de Lima no Peru. Arte: Bruno Fonseca para a Agência Pública

Location of the Archeological Complex of El Paraíso in the region of the state of Lima, Peru. Design: Bruno Fonseca for Agência Pública

The Archaeological Complex of El Paraiso, one hour away from Lima in the county of San Martin de Porres, is located in an area where there is growing real estate speculation. Discovered in the 1950s, the site remained idle until December 2012, when the Ministry of Culture began to implement the project. As the years went by, the area surrounding the site was gradually taken up as private property. Today, the borderline of the archaeological site is right where the private plots and crops begin.

There used to be 12 registered pyramids on the site. The main one had been almost completely restored by Swiss archaeologist Fredéric Engel between 1965 and 1966. In January 2013, the sector responsible for excavations in the Peruvian Ministry of Culture discovered evidence to suggest that El Paraiso is as ancient as the Egyptian pyramids or Mesopotamian civilization. Between 4,500 to 4,800 years old, that would be one of the cradles of our Latin American continent. It is proof that long before the Spaniards, the Church and even Christ, Lima had already become a major capital city.

Marco Guillén, the chief archaeologist for the project developed by the  Ministry of Culture in El Paraíso, explains:

É uma das poucas cidades no mundo que tem uma continuidade cultural ao longo do tempo. E isso é uma grande vantagem. (…) Lima, a capital, tem a waka [sic] (monumento antigo e sagrado) mais antiga do Peru. É como a civilização surge aqui. A destruição da pirâmide significa arrancar a folha de um livro da história do Peru. Não se pode saber o que aconteceu.

It is one of the few cities worldwide which presents a cultural continuity over time. And this is a great advantage. (…) Lima, the capital city, has the oldest waka [sic] (ancient and sacred monument) in Peru. It is how civilization appeared here. The destruction of the pyramid amounts to tearing off the page of a book of the history of Peru. There is no way of finding out what happened.

In the middle of the road, there was a pyramid

As you leaves Lima, in order to get to El Paraíso, you must take a microbus – a kind of van which outnumbers other means of public transport in Lima – up to the neighboring town of Pro. It is a 40-minute journey through the hectic traffic of the Peruvian capital. From there, two more microbuses which will take you to the car, near the station, driven by one of the members of Association Kapaq Sumaq Ayllu. The landscape is bare, dotted with humble houses. As you arrive at the narrow lane that leads to the complex, you see open air garbage, vultures and children who seek toys amidst the dirt.

“When we arrived, there were billboards placed in every hill. They think that this area belongs to them”, says one of the project archaeologists. The sign reads “private property recognized on August 8, 1984″, followed by the description of the area and its registration number. Photo: Jessica Mota / Agência Pública

I observe a wall which hugs the side of the road the entire way. “It's a wall”, explains Miguel Castillo, field head of the project of El Paraíso, who sits in the rear of the car. Later I would find out that the wall is 30 kilometers long and surrounds the hills in the region. As time went by, it was snatched up along the way by the private buildings and plots.

Castillo ponders:

O Estado é ineficiente. Tem recursos para delimitar e proteger as wakas [sic], mas não o fazem. É igual no Brasil, na Argentina… O que se tem é a iniciativa pessoal de algumas pessoas, de arqueólogos. Mas não é suficiente.

The Government is inefficient. It has the means to set out and to protect the wakas [sic], but it does not do anything. It is the same in Brazil, in Argentina… What we have is the personal initiative from a few people, from archaeologists. But this is not enough.

Members from the Kapag Association, together with their security people, had been victims of an attack a week before. For safety reasons, a watchman accompanied our group – with the entire team of archaeologists – while walking to the area where the pyramid had been destroyed.

The native workers who previously used to be engaged in the excavation, now sit on the top of the hills, watching over. After the pyramid was knocked down, security has been doubled. There are now four policemen who protect the place day and night, as well as two watchmen from a private firm who have been hired by the Ministry of Culture, and they all make a big effort to oversee the whole 45 hectares of land.

September 12 2013

Peruvian Singer Criticizes ‘Free Riders’ and Gets Dose of His Own Medicine

Se la llevan fácil

Screenshot from video clip of song “Se la llevan fácil” posted on YouTube by user Julio Andrade.

In the last few days, Peruvian singer and songwriter Julio Andrade [es] has been in the spotlight among Peruvian netizens due to his most recent song “Se la llevan fácil” (roughly translated as “They earn it easily”), where he directly criticizes people who acquire fame and sometimes even fortune with little effort and less talent. “Se la llevan fácil” is an expression that means “they easily earn money, fame or recognition”.

Andrade [es] had several songs that became popular hits in the 90s. He is currently a second vicepresident of the Peruvian Association of Authors and Songwriters, known as APDAYC [es] for its name in Spanish, the entity in charge of protecting the assets of Peruvian authors and songwriters.

The website Comunidaria [es] shares the story of the origin of the song, on a post by Cholodecono [es]:

El cantante nacional Julio Andrade afirmó que no se esperaba la reacción del público en las redes sociales por el lanzamiento de su nueva canción: “Se la llevan fácil”. El tema, que critica a los artistas que apelan al facilismo para ganar fama, fue calificado por el músico como una simple “ocurrencia”.


“Estaba tomando unos tragos con un amigo, agarré la guitarra y me puse a cantar”, comentó Andrade a la web de Diario16.

Local singer Julio Andrade claimed he wasn't expecting that reaction from the public on social networks on the release of his new song: “Se la llevan fácil”. The song, which criticizes artists who appeal to the easiest way of doing something to gain fame, was described by the musician as a simple “witticism”.


“I was having some drinks with a friend, I took the guitar and started”, commented Andrade to Diario16 website.

Meanwhile, the blog El lado B de Manzarock [es] wonders “Who will take Julio Andrade away?” [es]:

Rajando de las “letras vacías y coreografías como el Baile del Caballo“, nuestro Julio Andrade, no contento ni satisfecho con ser partícipe de inenarrables composiciones que dudosamente puedo calificar de canciones, ahora reniega de aquellos que se la llevan fácil en el ancho y ajeno mundo de la música popular.

Talking bad about “shallow lyrics and choreographies such as Gagnam Style“, our own Julio Andrade, not happy nor satisfied with being part of indescribable compositions that can hardly be qualified as songs, is now ranting about those who earn it easily in the broad and alien world of pop music.

On Twitter, users have also been expressing themselves with the hashtag #YSeLaLlevanFacil, making fun of the song and referring to some current national events, like the omnipresent football matches:

If Peru [national football team] wins “We are the champions” will be played, but if they lose the music will be #SeLaLlevanFácil because misery loves company.

Con Todo Respeto shares the real purpose of the song:

A new torture method has just been discovered. Activists are protesting because it's too cruel. #selallevanfacil

Pedro Canelo mentions a movie released in the early 90s:

Thelma y Louise also heard Julio Andrade #JulioAndrade #Selallevanfácil

— Pedro Canelo (@jovennostalgico) September 3, 2013

User Giovanni Arce B. remembered part of Andrade's history:

Julio Andrade doesn't remember “Look at the brunette, such good thing, how she moves her backside”, what an intellectual revolution #selallevanfacil

Meanwhile, El Cuy del Perú posts an image from the video, a friar jumping from some point of the Green Shore, as the Limean shoreline is called, a well known tourist attraction:

The friar decided to commit suicide before listening to Julio Andrade's #SeLaLlevanFacil, he preferred to be crushed by the rocks

Finally, a local newspaper quotes Andrade himself saying:

Julio Andrade: “‘#Selallevanfácil‘ was created to be an advertising viral”

September 01 2013

Asteroid Named in Honor of Peru

The Committee of Small Objects Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union gave astronomers authorization to name the asteroid identified with the number 1995 SG5 as Qoyllurwasi in honor of Perú.

Qoyllurwasi means house of the stars in Quechua language, where qoyllur means star and wasi is house.

The asteroid was discovered on September 20, 1995 and it has just been named.

On Twitter, Jois Koo (@joiskoo) [es] refered to the asteroid's shape:

@elcomercio #Qoyllurwasi Has the shape of a French bread :D :P

The bread known in Peru as French bread has a very particular shape that can be seen here.

August 29 2013

Peruvian Merchants Burn Clothing to Protest Chinese Imports

Merchants from the Gamarra [es] area, a well-known center of textile manufacturing and commercialization in Lima, burned imported Chinese clothing [es] in the streets as a protest over the low priced Chinese garments which, according to them, make their businesses go bankrupt.

On Twitter, Alfredo “Alial” (@Alfredo_jch) [es] implied a better use for those burnt clothes:

In Gamarra they are burning Chinese clothes, in Puno people are freezing to death. #Perú

This last weekend, the Carabaya province, located in the department of Puno, experienced the worst snow storm in a decade, affecting more than 1,200 families, leaving people missing and causing the death of animals that are the livelihood for the people in the area.

August 27 2013

Peruvian Runners Win Mexico City Marathon

Peruvian athletes Raúl Pacheco and Gladys Tejeda won their respective categories in the Mexico City Marathon [es].

Pacheco won the male category, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:16,53 hours. Meanwhile, the 2:37,32 time achieved by Tejeda gave her the first place in the female category.

Peruvian sports newspaper (@deporpe) [es] announced the news on Twitter:

Peruvian athletes put an end to African predominance in the Mexico City Marathon.

August 16 2013

Peru: Despite its Critics ‘Cementerio General’ is a Blockbuster

Cementerio General (General Cemetery), a Peruvian horror movie directed by Dorian Fernández, was a hit in theaters [es] during its debut during Fiestas Patrias (Peruvian National Holidays), where Hollywood hits usually claim the spotlight. The movie, which was filmed in Iquitos -in the Peruvian Amazon- drew long lines [es] in the city where it was filmed when it premiered on July 25, 2013.

To date, Cementerio General has garnered [es] more than half a million viewers, becoming the most watched horror movie of all time in Peru. Nevertheless, in spite of its great success, or perhaps because of it, the movie has not gained much favor with movie critics, at least not on the blogosphere.

Cementerio General. Photo taken from the movie's Facebook page, used with permission.

Cementerio General. Photo taken from the movie's Facebook page, used with permission.

Almost as soon as the movie was released, bolgger MildemoniosCultural expressed reservations, about the timing of the release (during the holidays), among other things. Still, he wished it success [es]:

a lo mejor les liga a pesar de esto y la película es un éxito. Ojalá. Después de todo, ha sido hecha por evidentes fans del género de terror. Además, es necesario que en el Perú se siga desarrollando el cine de género. A ver si así diversificamos un poquito y dejamos de hacer siempre la misma película una y otra vez.

maybe it will grab your attention and become a hit. Hopefully…after all, it was made by people who are genuine fans of this genre. Also, it's important that Peru continue developing its local film industry. It remains to be seen if we can diversify and stop making the same movie over and over.

FrancHis Neumann blogger on Yo voy por el bosque gives a little bit of historical background [es] on Peruvian cinema, calling into question Cementerio General's claim to being “the first Peruvian horror movie: “

Existen ya varios experimentos de terror en nuestro país, como “Jarjacha” (película ayacuchana de Mélinton Eusebio sobre el demonio del incesto) y “Pishtaco”, sobre el ser que chupa la grasa de sus víctimas. “Cementerio General”, al igual que éstas y otras predecesoras, recoge un mito urbano (las posesiones satánicas en Iquitos) como punto de partida. es que si algún país es riquísimo en leyendas y mitos, ése es precisamente nuestro Perú. Es decir, material hay para rato. En todo caso, podemos redefinir a “Cementerio General” como “la primera película estrenada a nivel masivo en nuestro país.”

There have already been many forays into this genre in our country. Works such as “Jarjacha” (an Ayachuchan movie made by Mélinton Eusebio about the demon of incest) and “Pishtaco”, a film about the creature that sucks its victims’ fat. “Cementerio General,” just like all its predecessors, takes an urban legend (in this case that of Satanic possessions in Iquitos) as a jumping off point for the story. If there is a country that is rich in myths and legends it is Peru. Meaning, there is a lot to draw on for inspiration. In any case, we can re-cast “Cementerio General as “the first wide release horror movie in our country.”

Maurizio Silingardi Zapater, writer of the blog El Bofe, was somewhat ambivalent [es] about the film: he didn't like it, but applauded the effort. He was not a fan of the location selection, among other things:

Me explico, mientras que al inicio de la película esta nos indica que nos encontramos en Iquitos, los personajes se comportan como jóvenes limeños de clase alta, uno solo llega reconocer a la ciudad selvática por tomas de algun que otro paisaje o por el reconocido Cementerio General de la ciudad de Iquitos, del cual el film lleva el nombre.

Let me explain: we are told at the start of the film that it takes place in Iquitos, however the protagonists act like young people from Lima of upper class backgrounds. One only recognizes the rustic town from some landscape shots or because of the renowned cemetery that is located in Iquitos and from which the film takes its name.

Colas en Iquitos el día del estreno de Cementerio General

Lines in Iquitos on the release date for Cementerio General. Photo from the Cementerio General Facebook page, used with permission.

According to Juan de Sombras from Rebelión the film becomes problematic when it attempts to become more serious. After listing the reasons why he believes it falls short, he concludes [es]:

Técnicamente está bien. Dorian Fernández sabe cómo mover una cámara, incluso cuando está en modo “found footage” hace tomas interesantes. Y los efectos digitales también están bien, en su mayoría (olvidémonos de cierta mancha de sangre digna de una animación de PSOne). Y si no me equivoco, este es el primer largometraje del director, así que lo considero un comienzo respetable. Con mejores guiones y mejores actores, seguro que llega lejos.

Technically it is well done. Dorian Fernández knows how to work with a camera, even when using “found footage” techniques. There are some really interesting shots. Also the digital effects are good for the most part (not counting a certain blood stain that looked like it could have come straight from a PSOne game).  If I am not mistaken, this is the first feature film from this director, so I think its a commendable first attempt. With a better script and a better cast it I have no doubt that it could go further.

Carlos Esquives from the blog Fotograma Gourmet thinks that the film underestimates its audience, and paradoxically is quite funny, but not particularly scary. He adds [es]:

En trama, Cementerio general absorbe los clichés del cine de género, desde los estereotipos de una infante poseída hasta los giros argumentales producto de una antigua promesa. Filmes como The grudge (2002) o Actividad paranormal (2007) se confunden en esta historia que no provoca tensión desde su antesala,

As far as the plot goes, Cementerio General adopts all the horror film cliches, from the stereotypical possessed child, to the plot twists that arise from some ancient legend. Films such as The Grudge (2002) or Paranormal Activity (2007) get tangled up in this story that fails to create tension from the very beginning.

According to Jimmy Ce, writer of the blog No hay futuro, it is a simple fact– the movie is bad [es]:

Lo primero que hay que hacer al salir de ver “Cementerio General” es pedir el libro de reclamaciones (?), nos ofrecen “Cine de terror” y no hay cine y menos terror. Un insulto para el género de “metraje encontrado”. Porque, seamos sinceros, están las películas malas, pésimas, bodrios y Luego está”Cementerio General”.

The first thing that you have to do when you leave the theater after watching “Cementerio General” is log a complaint. They claim to offer a “horror movie” but it is not the least bit frightening. It is an insult to “Found footage” style films. Because, let's be real here: there are bad films, disastrous films, films that are complete duds, and then there is “Cementerio General.”

Gustavo Faverón shares the same opinion [es] on his blog. He tries to explain why he, as a lover of horror films and bad cinema, thinks that Cementerio General is so exceptionally bad:

una película puede ser mala y a la vez estar llena de hallazgos, descubrimientos imprevistos, a veces incluso casuales, o ser mala pero decir algo sumamente interesante, o puede ser pésima de manera grotesca y en medio de su vulgaridad encontrar un lenguaje propio y distinto: una mala película puede ser una fuente extraordinaria de ideas, dejarlo a uno marcado con imágenes que un cineasta más consciente o más pudoroso o menos refrenado o más sutil jamás se hubiera permitido filmar. [...] Bueno. No esperen nada así de Cementerio general,

A movie can be bad and yet still be full of surprises, unexpected revelations, even some that are completely unintentional. It can be a bad movie but still have something interesting to say. It can be a clumsily made disaster and yet still have its own unique logic and meaning. A bad movie can be a playground for extraordinary ideas, it can leave you with images that a more diligent, restrained, or perhaps less risky film maker would have never dared to make. [...] This is not the case with Cementerio General.

Cartelera de un cine con todas las funciones de Cementerio General agotadas.

Movietheater sign with all showings of Cementerio General sold out. Photo from the Movie's Facebook page used with permission

Invazor C also believes that the movie is bad, but that does not make it a bad film. He explains:

no disfruté Cementerio General, pero debo reconocer que al igual que Hans deseaba que me gustara, en principio porqué esperaba que una película nacional de género bien lograda pudiera sacarme el mal sabor de boca que me dejó Asu Mare. Sin embargo, debo ser justo y dejar claro que no soy el público objetivo de esta película; Es una película de horror adolescente tradicional y está pensada para un público de esa edad. Si puedes meterte eso en la cabeza, o si disfrutaste sin prejuicios con la saga de Destino Final o la Bruja Blair, tienes un motivo para ir y apoyar al cine nacional.

I didn't enjoy Cementerio General, however, I have to admit that just like Hans [es] I wanted to like it, at first because I hoped that a well-made movie done entirely in Peru could rid me of the bad taste that was left in my mouth after Asu Mare. Nonetheless, to be fair I have to state upfront that I am not the target audience for this movie. It is a teen horror movie and it is intended for an audience of that age. If you can keep that in mind, or if you were able to enjoy movies such as Final Destination or the Blair Witch Project, then you should go out and support national cinema.

Eduardo Adrianzén, a television and theater writer and producer, thought that the film was entertaining, well filmed and acted, as he posted on his Facebook profile [es]:

El público sale satisfecho: grita, se ríe, está atento. Excelente sonido -bueno, es de Guillermo Palacios, de lo mejor que siempre hemos tenido en nuestro país-y en general, una película peruanísima que merece darse su lugar. Y sin ánimo de polemizar: vi bastaaaante más chamba de lenguaje cinematográfico y uso de recursos visuales, que en algunas otras películas nacionales con propósitos artísticos. Insisto: 2013 es el año en que se está re-pensando el cine peruano…

The public isn't let down: they scream, laugh and they are engaged. The sound effects are excellent – after all they are done by Guillermo Palacios, the best we have ever had in our country. In general it is a very Peruvian movie that deserves its place in our cinema's history. At the risk of starting a debate, I must say, I saw a lot more cinematic language and visual effects in this movie than in other locally made movies that claimed to have serious artistic intentions. I insist, 2013 is the year when we are beginning to re-think Peruvian cinema…

You can read more opinions on the Spanish language blogs La Nuez [es], Terrorífilo [es], Solo fanáticos del cine [es] and Cineros [es].

If you would like to know more about the film you can visit its Facebook page [es] or follow it on Twitter [es]. You can also see some of the behind the scenes footage on the AVFilmsPerú [es] YouTube channel; and if you still haven't seen the official trailer as yet, here it is:

Originally posted on the blog Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.

August 15 2013

Peru: An Encounter with Mario Vargas Llosa

Peruvian blog Los mil rostros de la ciudad [es] tells about an encounter [es] its blogger had with writer Mario Vargas Llosa on a street in Miraflores, where many of Vargas Llosa's novels take place:

I met Mario Vargas Llosa when Populibros published his book The time of the hero, during a military government.
So, that morning when he passed along the entrance of my building, greeting everybody with his usual courtesy, I felt the urge to ask him: “was it here?”, as we always believed that where my building stands now was the precise location of the house where he lived in his youth. But I didn't dare to.

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