Posted by: ivetteromero | November 30, 2013

Bahamas Halts 56 More Haitians at Sea


As a follow-up to previous post Plight of Haitian migrants concerns int’l organisation, here is an article from the Associated Press on the 56 Haitian migrants who were detained week near the spot where another boat full of migrants capsized. According to this article, the Bahamas has detained more than 1,500 migrants this year, 90 percent of them from Haiti.

The Bahamas military turned its attention to 56 Haitian migrants who were spotted earlier this week near where another migrant vessel capsized earlier this week and caused up to 30 deaths, authorities said Thursday. The Royal Bahamas Defense Forces said the new group migrants were stopped near Ragged Island and detained Wednesday as authorities were searching for more survivors or bodies from Monday’s capsizing near Harvey Cays. Their rescue was delayed because Bahamian officials were scrambling to retrieve bodies of other migrants in the Exuma chain where a boat ferrying undocumented Haitians capsized. Authorities have not been able to recover all the bodies in that tragedy.

The military says the migrants drowned when their boat struck ground and capsized in an area dotted with tiny islands, reefs, rocks and expanses of shallow water. Some 111 Haitian survivors were rescued and transferred to a detention center in Nassau. Haiti’s ambassador to the Bahamas said the migrants were recovering after clinging for hours to the overturned vessel.

Envoy Antonio Rodrique said the migrants were dehydrated and weak when they were rescued, and one passenger was pregnant. The military said the 111 survivors of the capsizing and the 56 found near Ragged Island would be held in New Providence and repatriated.

As of Nov. 5, the Bahamas has detained more than 1,500 migrants this year, 90 percent from Haiti – and surpassing last year’s number of 1,447. Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell said the country will seek to have talks with Haitian officials in the coming days about the uptick in migrants washing up on the country’s shores.

“What we know is that this issue comes in waves. It ebbs and flows,” Mitchell said. “It simply appears that people are more desperate and the numbers are increasing.” Mitchell said the patterns have not changed much over the years, and the biggest challenge for the Bahamas is the sheer numbers of Haitians coming to the country. “We have a small population under 400,000 and we are face with 10 million on our southern border who are seeking a better way of life and are either trying to get to us or are using us as a way to get to the U.S. Then we have a problem with manpower and equipment,” he said.

The Haitian Embassy is waiting for a formal request from the Bahamian government to repatriate the survivors. The dead likely will be buried in the Bahamas.

For original article, see and

Photo from

Posted by: ivetteromero | November 30, 2013

Hollywood Kills: Pepón Osorio and his “Scene of the Crime”


In “Hollywood mata: Pepón Osorio y su ‘Scene of the Crime’” [Hollywood Kills: Pepón Osorio and His “Scene of the Crime”] Lilliana Ramos Collado and Manuel Álvarez Lezama hold a spirited discussion of an installation by Puerto Rican artist Pepón Osorio (one of my favorites)—“Scene of the Crime”—which, I believe, is in the permanent collection of the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art [MAC] in San Juan. I have only translated a couple of brief passages from the blog entry, but I highly recommend the complete dialogue (in Spanish) found in the link below:

[The setting of this dialogue: a house in Toa Baja; The plot: a crime]

Manuel: A gold high-heeled shoe, a body that is all bodies, the mirror and hyperbole…. On the left side of the corpse covered by a bloody sheet is the golden shoe. To the right, on a table, stands the over two feet tall figure of San Lázaro gazing at the body with a look of astounding peace. To the left of the body, closer to us—the visitors, the witnesses, the co-authors of the crime—a camera, which seems right out of the last scene of Visconti’s Death in Venice, reminds us that we are dealing with two realities: art and the brutal snapshot of one of the realities of OUR PEOPLE [our diaspora] in the United States. A yellow plastic tape that says POLICE LINE, DO NOT CROSS separates us from the crime scene. In this scenario, Pepón Osorio presents us as separate entities, presents us from [the standpoint of] our beauty, our confusion, our dreams. And the detective game begins—a voyeuristic, literary, anthropological game. And eventually we realize that this is not just a stage scene/an installation/a grand poem, but rather a mirror that reflects us and serves as an excuse for OTHER and its/his power structures, as this scenario is the one that is magnified by the OTHER to define and discriminate against us.

Lilliana: One of the many Hollywood video cases that adorn the left and right margins of this installation declares: “Hollywood is committing a crime against Latinos.” Thus, from the margins, Osorio’s installation gives us the key to its proper reading: on the cases lined up on shelves that allude to the organization of a video club, the artist has pasted phrases pronounced by Latinos who have gone to see in theaters (or have rented videos of) Hollywood films that portray Latino characters as murderers, drug addicts, in short, as transgressors of the rules of coexistence that North American society upholds.

Osorio seems to be telling us that in the staging—through film products made for mass-consumption—of Latino space as a perpetual crime scene, Hollywood has assassinated the Latino character (the reputation, the “person” or the protagonist). What occupies the center of the installation is precisely the “crime scene,” which is none other than the variegated replica of a Latino habitat in a large U.S. city. On one side of this space there is a living room (or in this case, a ‘dying room’) full of trinkets or figurines of poor quality, as well as other objects made of plaster, plastic, glass, paper and fabric; on the other side, the dining room, overwhelming because of its excess of objects and decorative details. And in the center of the composition itself, on the ground and under a white sheet stained with blood is—one can guess—the body of a woman.

Around the body, abundant signs of violence: broken figures on the floor, shattered glasses, bloodstains on overturned armchairs. . .  This is sudden and recent violence: on the dining room table, a brown paper bag that probably contained a quick lunch or precarious dinner. Next to it, a soup tureen waiting for the soup and a newspaper open to the lottery-list page. Standing straight here and there among all the items in this scenario of suspended violence: television cameras, reflective screens, cases for video equipment, film studio lamps, VCRs . . . And to complete this scene, a yellow stripe that crosses from one end to the other in front of the installation and to keep the viewer out. On this stripe, a repeated message reads: Police line / do not cross … Police line / do not cross … Police line / do not cross. This “crime scene” is a cordoned off, closed space, intended solely for the delusional activity of the gaze.

For full conversation (in Spanish), see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

Caribbean Conferences: December 2013


Our thanks to Peter Jordens for compiling this update on upcoming conferences for our readers. The abbreviated list is below. To download the full list, which covers the period ending in October 2014 and contains additional information about the conferences listed click here: Caribbean conferences 2013 December

Abbreviated list of scholarly conferences relevant to the Caribbean

Month of December 2013 only

December 2-6, 2013.  Montego Bay, Jamaica

8th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management: “CDM for Resilient Development –


December 4-6, 2013.  Montego Bay, Jamaica

23rd Annual CAA Conference: “Risk, Recovery and Real Growth”


December 4-6, 2013.  La Habana, Cuba

6th International Psychology Conference “Hominis 2013”


December 5-7, 2013.  La Habana, Cuba

7th Caribbean and Latin America Conference: “The Search for New Forms of Integration and Cooperation”


Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

‘Doodu Boy’ a funny, powerful testament to the human spirit


This review by Melonie Magruder appeared in The Santa Monica Daily Press.

Los Angeles has a lot of black box theatre. The kind where all 99 members of the audience can hear the soundboard changing cues and view all $10 of the theatre company’s production budget onstage. Los Angeles has a lot of cringe-worthy theatre.

But occasionally, a piece comes along that is so compelling, so beautifully structured and played with such raw honesty that it transcends the boundaries of the theatre walls. “Doodu Boy,” at the Santa Monica Playhouse in a limited run, is such a piece.


Conceived, written and performed by Jamaican artist Stefhen Bryan, “Doodu Boy” is an autobiographical journey of such searing pain, its miracle is in just how much you laugh your way through to its poignant, but triumphant conclusion.

Bryan collaborated for two years on “Doodu Boy” with director and dramaturgical adapter Jared Scheib, and their friendship is unlikely. Bryan — as we learn in the play — grew up surrounded by poverty in Jamaica, graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics and ended up teaching English half a world away.

Scheib is a self-described artist-entrepreneur from Texas who attended USC to study film production and neuroscience as an inaugural member of the Brain and Creativity Institute. Together, they illustrated Bryan’s life from abused childhood through a youth struggling for identity, to adulthood stripped of hubris, revealing a hard-won peace. It makes for a mesmerizing 95 minutes.

This is theatre at its most elemental; a lit stage, two rectangular boxes that become a number of different props, no musical cues and one man. Bryan begins his story as a young boy in Kingston, living in a one-room house with a mother whose fierce love is applied as liberally as her regular beatings given to ensure his righteous path to God. In Bryan’s performance, you can feel the sting of each whack of his mother’s supple hickory stick.

He earns the name “Doodu Boy” in a hilarious enactment of a childhood moment of innocent play gone wrong, and it just fuels the boy’s determination to escape the indigence of his home life for the bright lights and assuredly big city adventures his father lives in Brooklyn. When “Stevie” finally gets to leave Jamaica to go live with his father, in his own bedroom, with a cool dad who drives him around in cool cars, he can’t believe his luck.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t turn out so well. “Junior” Bryan is “tall and skinny like a coconut tree” and he has the cool cars, but not a shred of paternal instincts, and his ultimate rejection of Stevie is scathing and confounding. However, through the kindness of strangers, a lively intellect and a lot of psychotherapy, Stefhen comes out of an itinerant adolescence with a degree from a noteworthy Southern California university and a determination to show his father that he made something of himself.

But Junior isn’t ready to hear it. His rebuff of his son is agonizing and infuriating and very, very funny. In his rebound, Stefhen finds himself in Japan, reveling in the “rice fields” of nubile, willing young women and burying himself in a culture a world away from his own. It’s a good fit; Bryan’s public description of deflowering his girlfriend is so forthright and hysterical, it is a tribute to her good nature that she is still married to him.

But, if, as Faulkner said, the past is never dead, Bryan finally learns how much it’s not even past. Some long overdue candor from his mother tells Stefhen more about his father than he probably wants to know, but also allows him forgiveness and the chance to see the lengths people go just to cope with so much unfairness of things.

Ultimately, Bryan’s new sense of identity is ready to seek some kind of resolution with his father. Their inevitable confrontation is heartbreaking, but, somehow, you know Stefhen is going to be OK.

Bryan’s performance is astonishing. His enactments are so spot-on, you can smell the leather of that new car on the bare stage and see the colorful fabric of a Jamaican woman’s dress. Playing some half dozen characters, he moves seamlessly between roles, transforming vocally and physically with such precision and emotional investment that you would swear there was more than one person on stage.

“Doodu Boy” was originally sponsored by the Jamaica Cultural Alliance as part of their mission to expand American awareness of Jamaican culture and heritage. But Bryan’s tale surpasses cultural identity and allows us a peep into the frailty and power of the universal human spirit. This is story telling at its very finest.

“Doodu Boy” plays at the Santa Monica Playhouse Sunday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. Tickets may be found at:

For the original report go to



This article by Shannon Farley appeared in The Cost Rica Star.

In the case of butterflies, it pays to look like your neighbor.

New information about long-winged butterflies in Costa Rica is showing how the importance of “mimicry” and the butterflies’ natural promiscuity has led to interbreeding and the creation of new species that look very much alike, according to a study led by University of Chicago evolutionary biologist, Marcus R. Kronforst.


“In evolutionary biology, mimicry is the similarity of one species to another which protects one or both. This similarity can be in appearance, behavior, sound, scent and location, with the mimics found in similar places to their models,” notes Wikipedia.

Mimicry, or looking like another, is important to butterflies to avoid being a tasty snack for birds and other predators. If a tasty or non-venomous butterfly is confused with a bad-tasting or toxic butterfly, both species will go unmolested and be more likely to survive.

Take, for example, the Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) which mimics the Monarch Butterfly(Danaus plexippus) in shared orange and black coloration patterns. While the Viceroy butterfly isn’t incredibly appetizing to birds, it is not highly toxic like the Monarch; yet because they look alike, predators tend to leave both alone.

The long-winged Heliconius butterflies are the species in the study whipping up interest. The butterflies, including one known as the “Costa Rican postman,” have bright orange markings on their wings and are toxic. Promiscuous habits have led to the creation of up to 45 new species from the butterflies’ interbreeding, scientists report. The interesting thing the geneticists have discovered is that all of the species resemble one another (Mullerian mimicry) with slight differences, which has led to shared survival tactics by baffling predators into avoiding a range of wing patterns.

Approximately 17,500 species of butterflies exist in the world, according to the Smithsonian Institute. Costa Rica is home to about 1,251 species of butterflies and at least 8,000 species of moths, cites Wikipedia.

The Butterfly Garden at Veragua Rainforest Research & Adventure, in Costa Rica’s Caribbean rainforest, is inhabited by some of the most colorful butterflies in the world, including the noteworthy Heliconius butterflies. A tour at the 1,300 hectare (3,212 acre) biology research center and adventure park lets you walk through an immense live butterfly garden, plus visit a research lab where staff scientists study the behavior and lifestyle of these vivid flying insects.

Veragua Rainforest Research & Adventure is located in the Talamanca Mountain Range about an hour inland from Costa Rica’s Caribbean port of Limón. Veragua Rainforest is an excellent one-day tour in the Costa Rica rainforest. Attractions include wildlife exhibits and science labs, an aerial tram, canopy zipline tour, rainforest hiking trails, a river with waterfalls, and a restaurant, café and souvenir shop.

Article by Shannon Farley
A Southern California native, Shannon Farley writes English-language blogs and handles social media marketing for Enchanting Costa Rica and Profimercadeo in San Jose, Costa Rica.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

Cayman Islands Museum celebrates cultural memories


The Cayman Islands National Museum, celebrating its 22nd anniversary last Saturday, brought to life a host of cultural and historical memories, as Jewel Levy reports for Compass Cayman

The day featured free interactive arts, folk songs and cultural activities presented by local artists, groups and organizations.

In addition to the anniversary celebration, said Maia Muttoo, the museum’s editor and programs specialist, the event paid tribute to the contributions of Capt. Paul Hurlston and other Cayman Islands seamen.

“We hope everyone will have a chance to come and see the new exhibition, ‘Voyages: A Sea Captain’s Legacy,’ she said.

Accepting a coil of thatch rope as symbolic “rent,” Osbourne Bodden, minister of culture, congratulated the museum for its connection to the islands’ history and to seafarers for their part in the development of the islands.

“Since 1919, the museum has built a priceless national collection that represents the cultural history, natural history and art of these islands,” he said.

Mr. Bodden said items in the collection include boats, furniture, textiles, ceramic, musket tools and archaeological materials.

“We have reached a point in our history were we have unhindered access to visual reminders of our past, which allow us to appreciate the beauty of our humble beginnings.”

In addition, Mr. Bodden said the exhibitions at the museum bring to life culture and memories that might be lost if we were not able to save them in this fashion. He also noted that, “In the last century, many Caymanians went to sea to provide a living for their families, and along the way created legions of stories for us to share and remember. Among these mariners was Captain Paul Hurlston, himself a local historian, who we are here today to celebrate … he is true Cayman treasure.”

“We are very pleased with how the celebrations went,” said Ms Muttoo. “We had a really great turnout, and we are thankful to the people, sponsors Fosters Food Fair and the Cayman National Bank for their support.”

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

Storied past of The Warwick revealed in new doc


A new film charting the history of the fast sailing ship that wrecked on Bermuda’s shores almost 400 years ago is to be screened on Tuesday, The Bermuda Sun reports.

Greed, Violence and Ambition tells the story of The Warwick. The Ship carried a handful of passengers who watched their only link to civilization sink in the wake of a fierce
hurricane.  The Warwick had a mysterious purpose “a purpose laced with greed and violence”.

New light

The documentary, by local filmmaker Robert Zuill, reveals her true story as a team of underwater archaeologists in a National Museum of Bermuda project led by Dr Piotr Bojakowski, shed new light on the early Bermudians.

Robert Zuill worked for CNN for ten years as a producer and has won several prestigious awards including: The Edward R. Murrow Award for International Reporting and a CINE Eagle.

He has also worked for PBS and has reported on a broad range of subjects including cocaine trafficking in Mexico; massacres in Kosovo; alternative energy in Afghanistan and development work in Haiti.

He has reported on presidential elections, the US economy, and science stories on discovering new planets.

For the original report go to


Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

Plight of Haitian migrants concerns int’l organisation


The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says the death of 30 Haitian migrants at sea earlier this week off the coast of the Bahamas has triggered renewed concerns about the plight of irregular migrants risking their lives around the world in unseaworthy boats and other life-threatening transport in search of better lives, Jamaica’s Observer reports.

“The deaths at sea of these migrants in the Caribbean, and others in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, as well as in the deserts of Mexico and the Sahara, are a wake-up call for the international community to act,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in a statement issued here on Friday.

“We must take urgent measures to ensure that these tragedies become a thing of the past,” he added.

The Geneva -based IOM said it was calling on “all actors” to address the situation of migrants attempting life-threatening journeys.

They include refugees and asylum seekers, people seeking employment and people who may be particularly vulnerable, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors.

“The priority is to save lives. National authorities must ensure that any people travelling in unsafe conditions are rescued and receive adequate humanitarian assistance, and that traffickers taking advantage of desperate individuals are prosecuted,” Swing said.

“Based on our understanding of mobility, and our hands-on experience in places of origin, transit and destination, IOM is convinced that the international community needs to develop a more comprehensive approach to protect migrants and uphold human dignity.

“Governments should recognize that migrants arriving by sea and land are not criminals,” Swing added.

Earlier this week, the Bahamas government says it plans to hold talks with the Michel Martelly administration in Haiti in order to discourage migrant smuggling.

The statement comes as the US Coast Guard assisted Bahamian authorities on Wednesday in the search of Haitian migrants whose 40-foot wooden sailboat ran aground and capsized off Exuma islands in the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard said at least 30 migrants were dead and 110 rescued from the mishap.

“This tragic story continues with too much regularity despite strenuous efforts to stop and discourage it,” said the Bahamas’ Foreign and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell in a statement.

“This is a human tragedy. We again urge people not to take the risky journeys on the high seas which too often lead to the loss of life and the tragedy that occurred in the Exuma Cays,” he added.

The US Coast Guard said the boat capsized sometime overnight Monday near Harvey Cay in the Exuma chain, about 200 miles southeast of Miami.

In the wake of the tragedy, the Royal Bahamas Defence Forces said another group of Haitian migrants were stopped near Ragged Island and detained.

Bahamian officials said, as of November 5, they have detained more than 1,500 migrants this year, with 90 per cent from Haiti. The figure surpasses last year’s total of 1,477.

IOM said it was calling for a “comprehensive approach to migration management with the understanding that no one action is enough to address the root causes that drive these life-threatening journeys”.

 It said it proposes “concrete actions to be taken to help both migrants and countries of origin, transit and destination with a focus on increased dialogue and cooperation to improve preparedness and national responses for the protection of all migrants, irrespective of their legal status”.

IOM said it was also advocating for an increase in activities, such as targeted information campaigns and the establishment of migrant resource centres, to raise awareness among potential migrants in countries of origin and transit of the dangers of trafficking and smuggling.

“Cooperation between governments to crack down on traffickers and smugglers also needs to be stepped up. In addition, the IOM calls for more legal migration avenues for migrants seeking better prospects abroad, a move that will remove the need of some migrants to risk their lives at the hands of smugglers and traffickers.”

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

Poet debuts new book in Waltham about road to presidential podium


For Richard Blanco, known to many as President Barack Obama’s inaugural poet, the story begins much further back than a phone call from the commander in chief, The Wicked Local Waltham reports.

The youngest person, first Latino and first openly gay man to assume the honor, Blanco debuted at Brandeis his new book, “For All of Us, One Today” (Beacon Press, 2013), which chronicles his life-changing experience as the fifth inaugural poet.

For more than an hour last Thursday, he regaled a standing-room-only audience with tales of his emotional and geographic journey – searching for a cure to a feeling of lifelong displacement, a quest for a sense of “home.”

Introducing him at the Hispanic studies program event, James Mandrell, associate professor of Hispanic studies, comparative literature and film studies, called his inclusion in Obama’s second inauguration ceremony “important, even historic.”

“It exemplified the types of inclusion we never thought we’d see in the political realm,” Mandrell said.

“He was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain,” Mandrell said, a line Blanco later reiterated, adding “and imported to America,” explaining that his mother was seven months pregnant with him when she and his father left Cuba for Spain, and later for the U.S., where they settled in Miami.

“My first newborn picture was my picture for a green card,” Blanco said.

There were a lot of stories in the press, he said, about him and his inaugural poem, “One Today,” but they never captured the emotional component of his journey. Sharing the story that led him around the world and to Washington, D.C., Blanco read excerpts from his preface, which introduced each of the three poems he wrote for the inauguration, as well as seven other pieces that revolved largely around his sense of ethnic and cultural identity.

But the book “gets down to nit and grit, including stories of Beyonce,” Blanco teased.

In Miami, Blanco recalled, there was a tremendous Latino community that was isolated from the rest of the population and so his “concept of America was what I saw on TV.”

But his search for his place in the world is not unique, he said. Though the details of his story are peppered with the mangos and sunshine of Cuba, it’s a natural, human instinct, he said, which is evidenced in all forms of art. “Country roads, take me home,” he offered, quoting the John Denver song.

He began his reading with “America,” a poem about his efforts to convince his Cuban family to observe a traditional Thanksgiving, a holiday he says Cubans never understood, and concluded with “One Today.”

For the original report go to


Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 29, 2013

Van Van to Perform Anniversary Concerts throughout Cuba


The legendary Cuban band Los Van Van plans to celebrate its 45th anniversary with a series of concerts across the island, bandleader Juan Formell announced.

Formell, a bass player, creator of rhythms like the songo, and winner of the 2013 Latin Grammy Musical Excellence Award, confessed that he always enjoys performing for the grassroots audience in Cuba, to which he dedicated his award last week.

He said the band plans to perform all of its anniversary concerts during early 2014.

Revered as the so-called “Train of Cuban Popular Music,” Los Van Van was created on December 4, 1969, and its quality and popularity has earned it the nickname The Rolling Stones of Salsa.

Formell, who is popular by critics and the public alike, is considered a fundamental figure of Cuban and international music.

This year he has been honored with a number of awards, including the Womex World Music Award and the Latin Grammy.

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