August 31, 2009 § Leave a Comment
The Kogi are a Native American ethnic group that lives in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. They are one of the few surviving indigenous peoples of Pre-Columbian South America. The Kogui language belongs to the Chibcha family.
The Kogui are descendants of the Tairona culture, which flourished at the time of the Spanish conquest, and have been living in isolation for generations.
Their mythology teaches that they are “Elder Brothers” of humanity, living in the “Center of the World” (the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta). Those not living in the Center of the World (generally people from the west) are called “Younger Brothers.” Their mythology suggests that these Younger Brothers were sent away from the center of the world long ago. In response to infringements on their homeland by westerners, a legend arose claiming the Younger Brothers had now found their way back, and were reaping their destruction on the land.
If you are interested in learning more about the organization and helping the Indians of the Sierra Nevada, contact
c/o Margarita Villafañe at:
Carrera 19A No. 23-05
Santa Marta, Colombia
The Indians have also created a website, and can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 28, 2009 § Leave a Comment
“There are angry rumblings in South America over a deal that would grant U.S. troops greater access to military bases in Colombia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is prepared to break diplomatic relations with neighboring Colombia, claiming that the agreement “amounts to a declaration of war” against his socialist political movement, the Bolivarian Revolution.
The plan has also raised concerns with more moderate leaders in South America, including President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil. Analysts say the U.S. should have been more sensitive to the potential political fallout. Presidents from 12 countries will discuss the issue Friday at a meeting of UNASUR, the Union of South American Nations in Bariloche, Argentina.
Colombian officials have said the 10-year agreement would allow the U.S. to station aircraft at up to five Colombian air bases, and to dock naval vessels at two Colombian ports, one on the Caribbean and the other on the Pacific.” – NPR (more here)
I caught a video of the Colombian President speaking to a congress of LatAm leaders today, and I must say, he sounds like Bush (‘war on this, war on that’). We all know Uribe’s Colombia and the US are buddies or should I say, partners in crime, but what ever happened to (Colombian) sovereignty? Why must the US interfere in so many matters in so many countries? In what kind of world does there exist a carrot so enticing that it can be held over any country’s head and they’ll always jump to try and get it? I wish I could keep on track and only discuss the ‘US bases’ in Colombia but there are much bigger and more important questions to be asked.
Colombia should and does have the right to say no here. How would Americans feels about Colombian use of American bases? It would never fly in a million years, I’ll tell you that right now. While everyone else is made to be the hare chasing after the carrot, the US knows and goes by the Fabian way, slow and steady wins the race. We may have braun and brains but we’re a long way from being wise.
June 28, 2009 § Leave a Comment
“Parque Simon Bolivar in Bogota opens its doors for the 15th anniversary of Rock al Parque this weekend. 68 national and international bands will play under the slogan “Vida, máximo respeto”.
Rock al Parque is the biggest open air rock festival in Latin America, it has three stages and is for free. It is one in a series of open air festivals planned this year in Bogota.
68 bands, like Molotov, Fito Paez, Morbid Angel and I.R.A. among others, will rock the park. But they will rock with respect. The slogan of 2009 calls on the audience to maximal respect the music, the rock, the city, the earth and other people. “A la vida, máximo respecto” – to the life with maximal respect.” – Colombia Reports (more here)
June 4, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Passports are no longer needed between Brazilians and Colombians traveling to each others countries. Also, yellow fever vaccinations are no longer need for those coming from Colombia. The new rules took effect at the beginning of May, 2009 yet were only divulged publicly on Tuesday by the Tourism Minister, Luis Barreto while in Bogotá. He made the trip mainly to promote the Discover Brazil Committee, which has created tourism incentives among travel agencies and airlines since 2004.
The declaration also acts as a means to jump-start tourism to Brazil from other South American countries in order to keep the economy strong and as a way to replace possible declines in tourism coming from Europe and the US. In the last year alone, Brazil has doubled its investment ($225,000 in 2009) within Colombia to promote itself as a great place to vacation.
According to a 2007 study by Embratur, 45,000 Colombians visited Brazil that year as opposed to the roughly 7,000 Brazilians which made the trip to Colombia. In an effort to turn the tides a bit, Brazilian tour operator CVC trained Brazilian tour agents from both Manaus and Belém on how to market Colombia to those travelling through the North of Brazil. More specifically, the island of San Andrés and the city of Cartagena will be highlighted in the brochures.
- Source (in PT)
I’m very pleased to see some effort being put into cross-cultural interactions as out of all the Colombians I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot, none take much (if any) interest in their giant neighbor to the Southeast. My only guess as to why is that their countries are seen as somewhat similar therefore Colombians would rather take interest with cultures other than that of Brazil. Having spent time in both places, I can honestly say there are great similarities yet there are an equal amount of differences which obviously, if never explored, will never be known.
February 26, 2009 § 12 Comments
“HATO COROZAL, Colombia – They look like hamsters on growth hormones, bark like dogs and swim as fast as otters — all reasons why “chiguiros,” the world’s largest rodents, are an object of fascination for zoologists and wildlife enthusiasts. But ranchers here in northeastern Colombia fail to see the attraction. They claim that the barrel-shaped rodents, which stand knee-high to humans and weigh as much as 120 pounds, consume valuable pasture, foul drinking water and spook horses and cattle.
That antipathy, plus a booming market for chiguiro meat in neighboring Venezuela, has prompted open season on the rodents and landed them on Colombia’s endangered species list. Rancher Magali Delgado says chiguiros, which were visible recently from the veranda of her house in this isolated settlement in Casanare state, are a costly nuisance.” – Newsday (more here)
January 12, 2009 § 2 Comments
I stumbled upon some beautiful paisajes (landscapes) of Colombia set to music of pure Colombian talent. The video takes you through all of Colombia and makes you wish you were there right now. Thanks to British-Colombian Youtube user Johany2k for making the fantastic video below (and including the track listing)!
Lindos Paisajes de Colombia.
Beautiful Landscapes of Colombia.
1. Navidad Negra – Lucho Bermudez
2. El Torito – Joe Arroyo
3. Mas Papaya – Sidesteppers
4. Pueblito Viejo – Jorge Villamil
5. Bandera de Manos – Juanes
6. Cali Pachanguero – Grupo Niche
7. La Guaneña – Neftali Benavides/ Nicanor Diaz
8. Nada Me Obliga – La Pestilencia
9. Si soy Llanero – Cholo Valderama
10. A Guapi – Grupo Bahia
11. Somos Pacifico – Chocquibtown
12. Expreso Amazonia – Aterciopelados
Puro Talento Colombiano!
January 5, 2009 § 3 Comments
Guillermo Prieto La Rotta better known as Pirry, is a Colombian journalist who was born on May 3, 1970 in the city of Tunja, in Boyacá, Colombia.
He is well-known for his program El mundo según Pirry (The World According to Pirry), as well as for his interviews with both the famous and the infamous and for his reports around the world, normally presented via high risk situations. In addition to his main show, he also directs the program Especiales Pirry (Pirry Specials).
Among his reports, one can find an interview with the rapist and serial killer Luis Alfredo Garavito as well as ”Fantasmas de la Ciudad de Piedra” (Ghosts of the City of Stone), which discusses the social and political situation of the city of Cartagena de Indias.
Thanks to user ColombiaPrende on Youtube, quite a few episodes (most a bit grainy without spectacular audio) of his award-winning show can be seen, although for how long, I’m not sure. The great thing about Pirry’s show is that it focuses on presenting the Colombia many don’t get a chance to know, all in short video presentations. Here are a few of them…
Modelo Imperfecta about a famous Colombian model who was born with a sensory impairment.
Sueño Colombiano about a young and poor Bolivian girl who got the chance to leave her little town in search of opportunities that only Bogotá could offer.
Desnudo Feminino about the constant onslaught of female nudity/semi-nudity and how one man brings it all back to basics by focusing on the art of drawing nudes. (Need I say, there will be some nudity here?) (Part 2)
January 2, 2009 § Leave a Comment
In the department of Norte del Santander on the Colombian/Venezuelan border, the street dogs are running out of luck…not that they had much to begin with. A local NGO called Amor por los Animales (AMA) is asking pet owners to sterilize their dogs in an effort to control the runaways. As part of their effort, they are are distributing flyers that say “Sterilize your pet and save the life of hundreds of innocent animals.”
In the case that they get out of their pen or living area, and many of them do, the NGO hopes that sterilizing them will result in less perros callejeros (street dogs) which converts into less dogs suffering with diseases like Rabies. The Departamental Institute of Health has so far sacrificed 1,200 dogs found in very bad shape in order to curb the runaway population but the new initiative by AMA is hoping to get around such measures.
Out of the 1,200 that have been euthanized in one year, 300 others have undergone the sterilization at a cost of between 80,000 pesos to 120,000 pesos (around $45 US dollars) each. The dog owners are asked to at least put up 50,000 pesos ($25 US dollars) with the rest being covered through other means.
The total dog population of Norte del Santander is around 170,000.
For the story in Spanish, go here to El Tiempo.
Having lived in Brazil and traveled within Colombia, runaway dogs are a big problem, no doubt. What saddened me about what I saw in Brazil is the fact that when someone didn’t feel like feeding or caring for their dog anymore, they let them out onto the street. It is common practice, from what I saw, for dog owners to let their dogs out during certain periods during the day, to play and get exercise, but with the intention of letting them back in at some point before nightfall. It seems sterilization is a good option as in the least, it can mean that less dogs will be killed from diseases. The problem of why the runaway population is seemingly so large (how does one really count the total number) is another story.
December 26, 2008 § Leave a Comment
Sancocho is a traditional soup (often considered a stew) in several Spanish and Latin American cuisines. Variations represent popular national dishes in the Canary Islands of Spain, Colombia, Panama, Argentina, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. It usually consists of large pieces of meat and vegetables served in a broth. Similar dishes exist in other countries, such as Bouillon in Haiti.
In the Canary Islands of Spain, the dish is usually made with fish. The fish is usually cooked whole. It is called Sancocho Canario and is usually eaten with gofio. Sancocho in Latin America, especially the Caribbean, evolved from both Puchero Canario and Sancocho of the Canary Islands, which were brought with “Canarios” – Canary Islanders who emigrated to Latin America.
In the Caribbean, Sancocho is considered a fairly rustic dish. Ingredients usually include chicken, fish, plantains, yuca, cilantro , yams, corn, and potatoes. Sancocho made with chicken is called Sancocho de gallina.
In Colombia, Sancocho is made with almost any kind of meat, along with large pieces of plantain, potato, yuca and/or other vegetables depending on the region.
The recipe is here at Food Network.
December 25, 2008 § Leave a Comment
(thanks to Lcacique from PBH)
Christmas in Colombia is primarily a religious holiday. Presents are brought by El Niño Dios (Baby Jesus) instead of Papá Noél (Santa Claus), whose gift giving role has been downplayed some by the Church. However, Santa Claus is still an important Christmas figure, as Santa decorations are common, and Santa can be seen posing for pictures at shopping malls.
While Christmas decorations may be put up as early as the beginning of November, the unofficial start of Colombian Christmas festivities takes place on December 7, Día de las Velitas, or “Day of the Candles.” At night, the streets, sidewalks, balconies, porches, and driveways are decorated with candles and paper lanterns, which illuminate cities and towns in a yellow glow to honor the Immaculate Conception on the following day, December 8. Activities such as musical events and firework displays are planned by cities and held during this time.
In many cities, and even in small rural towns, neighborhoods get together and decorate their whole neighborhood or street, turning streets into virtual “tunnels of light.” Many radio stations and local organizations hold contests for the best display of lights, making the competition for the best light show a serious event.
Fireworks were a common item during the holiday season in Colombia, often going on at any time of the day everyday in many cities, but a recent ban of fireworks has decreased the use of fireworks, and now only cities or towns are able to hold firework displays.
December 16 is the first day of the Christmas Novena, a devotion consisting of prayer said on nine successive days, the last one held on Christmas Eve. The Novena is promoted by the Church as a staple of Christmas, and is very similar to the posadas celebrated in Mexico. It is a call for an understanding of the religious meaning of Christmas, and a way to counter the commercialism of the Christmas season. Individual traditions concerning the Novena may vary, but most families set up a pesebre (manger scene), sing religious Christmas carols called villancicos accompanied by tambourines, bells, and other simple percussion instruments, and read verses from the Bible as well as an interpretation which may change from year to year. From December 16 to 18, some people play games called aguinaldos. The games include Hablar y no contestar, Dar y no recibir, Si y no, Tres pies, Beso robado, and Pajita en boca.
Churches offer nightly masses during the nine days of the novena, culminating with the Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) on Christmas Eve at midnight.
Christmas Eve is the most important day of Christmas in Colombia. Families and friends get together to pray the last Novena and wait until midnight to open the presents, parties are held until sunrise on Christmas Day, kids stay up late playing with their new presents, and fireworks fill the skies. Because Christmas eve is the most important day, little goes on on December 25.