When she won a James Beard award for her cookbook, Gran Cocina Latina, Maricel Presilla felt gratified to be acknowledged for the "work of a lifetime," as well as for "the collective work of millions of Latin Americans that live on two continents, in the Caribbean Islands, and also in the U.S."
A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Credit Felipe Dana / AP
Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva (from left), Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos and Jonathan Foudakis de Souza were arrested this month for allegedly gang-raping an American tourist and beating her male companion in Rio de Janeiro. An alleged accomplice, arrested later, was reported to be 14 years old.
In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.
Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.
"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."
Laureano Marquez, a popular Venezuelan writer and political satirist, says he is always opposed to the government in power. "The mission of humor is to show the people that things can be better," he says.
Venezuelan author Romulo Gallegos (1884-1969), circa 1950.
Credit Pedro Valdes
Marcela Valdes was a founder of Críticas, the English-language magazine devoted to Spanish-language books. She is now serving her second term on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.
Marcela Valdes is the books editor of The Washington Examiner and a specialist in Latin American literature and culture.
For more than 40 years, the most important book prize in South America has been bankrolled by the region's most famous petro-nation: Venezuela. Yet Venezuelan novelists themselves rank among the least read and translated writers in the entire continent. Over and over again as I worked on this article, I stumped editors and translators with a simple question: Who are Venezuela's best novelists?
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 8:01 pm
Pope Francis goes into history as the first pontiff from the New World.
For Latin America in particular, this is a momentous occasion: It is home to 483 million Catholics, or a little more than 40 percent of the global population.
Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Italian parents. At one point, he was the archbishop of the Buenos Aires diocese, which The Wall Street Journal reports, has "the largest concentration of Catholics in the world."
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is an especially tough blow for Cuba, whose feeble state-run economy has been propped up for more than a decade with Venezuelan oil shipments and other subsidies.
The Castro government has declared three days of mourning, calling Chavez "a son" of Cuba, but privately Cubans are quietly fretting about the potential loss of billions in trade and the threat of a new economic crisis.