Latin America: between Bay of Pigs and Ricky Martin

I am fortunate to be subscribed to a TV cable company that runs a lot of “local” channels from other countries in Latin America, as well as the BBC, DW and CNN. When I have the chance I like to watch the local news of other Latin American countries, mostly because I find it amusing that if one ignores the different accents the problems seem to be exactly the same in all the countries. However my main source of news is BBC World, which I consider the best news broadcaster in the world. And contrary to what one would believe they show more Latin America-related news than CNN.

I have noticed that we (Latin America) are the Great Absents in the international news. Not for lack of news I believe, but for what seems to be lack of interest in the part of the rest of the world. The only news coming from most sources seem to be about Ricky Martin, Shakira and what people call the Latin Invasion (I would rather call it the Pop Music invasion sang by Latin Americans, nothing inherently Latin in that, but I digress).

Apparently the last news-worthy event in LA was the Bay of Pigs incident (slight exaggeration). I am surprised that a lot of people don’t know that there have been 7 times more deaths in Colombia than in Israel (see links below). I reckon that Colombians are killing each other (sort of) instead of being attacked by/defending from another country.

There have also been quite a few economic meltdowns in the area that hasn’t made the news past Wall Street. Political crisis doesn’t even make the news anymore. What’s going on? Is that after the fall of the Soviet Union, and consequent end of the fight over Latin America the world lost interest? Is it that we are of no economic/strategic importance to the rest of the world? Is it that we haven’t attacked anyone and pose no threat to other countries? Or that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction?

I’d like to know… I could live without the answer, but I am curious.

I hear about Venezuala constantly on Foxnews. Mexico makes the news rather often as well. Argentina was on quite a bit during the height of its crisis. The Brazillian elections were covered. Colombia get coverage every now and again (Not enough, I’ll agree with you there). Cuba is in the news far too often.
You just don’t watch enough news. :wink:

Well, I don’t get FOX news. Am I missing something?

About BBC: they have a weekly program on Asia, one on Africa, and obviously constant news on the middle east. Not much about LA. CNN is worse.

Yeah… mainstream US-American news outlets tend to pay attention to Latin America only when there is a chance that some US-Americans may get killed or that it may have an adverse effect on the economy (but then usually too late, when someone’s economy has already tanked and taken a whole lot of investments along. And for the general US public it often becomes something condescending like “Oh, those wacky Argentines, having 4 Presidents in one week, they should stick to playing soccer” rather than an analysis of what happened )

However, I would place the last “golden age” of Latin American news coverage in US-American media would be the Central American transnational East/West proxy war of the 1980s – starting with the rise of the Sandinistas, passing through the climax of the Salvadoran and Guatemalan civil war, the Contras and Ollie North; and having a tail end involving the Colombian Drug Cartels that pretty much ended with the Panama invasion to take out Noriega. That was BIG news and a source of much debate in US circles throughout nearly a whole decade.

Well, you are missing ‘The O’Reilly Factor’, for one… :slight_smile:

I lived in McAllen, Texas for a while, and worked in Reynosa, MX. We were able to get several Mexican television stations, which I would watch in a failed attempt to help my spanish speaking skills. On the news segments, (on the Mexican stations), there didn’t seem to be much more LA news (non-Mexican) then one would get up here.
The exception seemed to be cultural news. I was down there during the mid-late 90’s, before Ricky and Co. made it big up here. But I remember hearing all about him well before I heard of them on US news. Heck, my ex-SO bought me a Shakira CD several years before she got any mention up here.

But for ‘real’ news, it seems to me that the 24-hr cable stations do an good enough job regarding LA. But I don’t really look for it, so I could be missing something.

So true… but it wasn’t because of LA per se. It was more like let’s get Ol’ Ronald in trouble.

It seems like a couple of months back somebody farted in Afghanistan and it made instant news worldwide. All the while a presidential candidate was kidnapped in Colombia, the Argentinian Affair was in full swing and the Venezuelan brouhaha was brewing. Venezuela has made the news now because of, guess what, OIL.

Obviously I’d rather have a LA so boringly peaceful that we never made it into the news, a la Denmark. But alas, it seems unfair that some of our fellow Latin Americans are dying like flies and are being ignored.

BBC News website has a page dedicated to America, and it includes news from different parts of the continent, not just US, Canada, and Mexico. I remember reading about elections in Ecuador and Brazil there.

If you watch Spanish-language local stations, especially in places like Miami with large local Latino populations, the coverage of Latin America is much better. And I’m not just talking about Univision.

I will certainly agree with you, though, that Latin America is almost totally ignored in the mainstream English-language U.S. media, unless the story has a U.S. spin, like when Bush and President Fox were having talks. Unless something really huge is going on, like a coup(which might get a 30-second blurb), local/regional Latin American news is almost completely ignored.

I am more offended by the total lack of atention of foreign goverments, specially our Hegemon. Worse since Bush came to office he and his administartion went out of his way to alienate, at least the argentinian people. We still remember your offensive former secretary of treasury Mr. O’ neill.
Never was the public opinion in Latin America more favourable to the U.S. than in the 90 it seemed that finally we ceased to be your “backyard” to be partners. This last few years everything changed. But still when the time comes you will need us and we will be there for you.

Pssstt, Estilicon, don’t tell anyone but I think that they really never needed us.

I agree with you that the present administration is not favored by Latin America. Clinton strenghtened the relations with LA and acted in a seemingly respectful ways toward us. He’s an idol here (it helps a lot that he visits frequently, coincidentaly he’s here at the moment).

Bush seems (despite his claims) treat us with comptempt and exudes ignorance of the LA situation. Only Fox seem to “like” him, cow-boy boots may help.

And well, except for Spain and sometimes France, Europe is also ignoring us. I tend to cut them more slack, there’s not much historical or economic reasons why they would particularly pay attention to us.

Boy it sucks that we are only known for “Shake Your Bon-Bon”.

Mighty, it does suck we are only known for one of Ricky’s worst songs. sigh

There has been plenty of coverage in Ireland of the Venezuelan situation, and Argentina was often in the news a few months ago. Colombia also gets a fair bit of coverage, although lately that’s more to do with the three Irishmen on trial there.

Pinochet’s arrest was a pretty big story throughout Western Europe, and most of the Europeans I discussed it with had very strong feelings on the subject (ie regret that he didn’t meet the fate he imposed on so many others).