A couple of interesting items relating to Latin America in the news today. In his Miami Herald column, Andres Oppenheimer addresses the issue of “illegal immigrants”, not the people labelled as such, but the term itself. The Associated Press has recently opted to use “undocumented immigrants” instead. But more interesting is the use of the word American to refer to people who are citizens of the United States of America. In fact anyone who is a resident of North, Central or South America can lay claim to being American.
“America,’’ or “the Americas,’’ is the Western Hemisphere. When Columbus discovered the New World, his first stops were The Bahamas and Cuba, not Boston. In fact, the first known references to the term “America’’ referred to South America, in honor of explorer Americus Vespucius.
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“You are right, the term ’’American’’ has overtones of cultural arrogance,’’ Wasserman said.
This brought to mind a bit of geography from my elementary school days; back then, we were taught that Mexico was part of Central America. Yep, not North but Central, which screws-up the NAFTA acronym. This had caused numerous debates with those who were taught Mexico is indeed in North America. My teacher must have been an admirer of the United Nations because according to that organization Mexico is part of Central America.
Central AmericaBelizeCosta RicaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasMexicoNicaraguaPanama
“If anyone among the people votes against Nicolas Maduro, he is voting against himself, and the curse of Macarapana is falling on him,” said Maduro, referring to the 16th-century Battle of Macarapana when Spanish colonial fighters massacred local Indian forces.
Anyone who is a fan of the Boston Red Sox is familiar with the Curse of the Bambino which resulted from the Sox’ trading Babe Ruth then going many years without a World Series win. Most people would understand this “curse” was mere folly, but Maduro chose to unleash his threat of a curse not in downtown Caracas, but in Amazonas state, a largely jungle territory on the borders of Brazil and Colombia, where superstition may trump education.