Startups from Brazil to Mexico Are Giving Banks a Run for Their Money

Investors are increasingly placing their bets on Latin America’s thriving financial technology startups.

For Latin Americans accustomed to red tape, it can seem like a godsend – instead of waiting in line, a swipe on a smart phone; instead of piles of paperwork, a text message or two. Over the last several years, financial technology has changed the way that consumers from Mexico to Brazil save and spend their money. Now, as startups in the region multiply and traditional banks adjust, what started as a trend is looking more like a boom. Continue reading Startups from Brazil to Mexico Are Giving Banks a Run for Their Money

Fighting Maduro: The Venezuelan Opposition’s New Plan

Can a new year and a new strategy help Venezuela’s opposition MUD coalition resolve internal differences?

Venezuela’s opposition has had to do some soul-searching. Despite a year punctuated by massive street protests and international condemnation of President Nicolás Maduro’s anti-democratic turns, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), a coalition of opposition parties, ended 2016 with little to celebrate. Its effort to force a recall referendum on Maduro came to naught when the National Electoral Council dismissed the option in late October.Vatican-brokered negotiations with the government also fell apart. And Maduro’s hold on power – which for months had seemed so tenuous – appeared secure as ever after the Supreme Court declared the opposition-held National Assembly illegitimate.

But MUD leaders say that 2017 will be different, and have responded to growing criticism of their efforts with a plan to reorganize, re-strategize, and learn from past mistakes.  Continue reading Fighting Maduro: The Venezuelan Opposition’s New Plan

How a Venezuelan Playwright Conquered Broadway

One evening in September, while sitting in a cab in midtown Manhattan, Moisés Kaufman got a phone call telling him he’d been selected to receive the National Medal of Arts, the U.S.’ government’s highest artistic honor. “The first thing I said was ‘Are you sure you got the right number?’” Kaufman told AQ between laughs.

That the 52-year-old playwright and theater director is surprised by his own success is perhaps understandable. Growing up in an orthodox Jewish household in Catholic Venezuela, Kaufman’s sense of being an outsider was made doubly acute by the realization, at age 11, that he was gay. “Faggot and gay were some of the worst things you could say to a Venezuelan macho in the 70s and 80s,” he said, raising his eyebrows. “I was a minority within a minority.” Continue reading How a Venezuelan Playwright Conquered Broadway

As Colombia Votes On Peace, Child Soldiers Struggle To Adapt

For Colombia’s young combatants, the end of one war can mean the beginning of another.

They may call themselves the “generation of peace,” but young Colombians are actually among those least likely to support their government’s recent peace agreement with FARC rebels, which will be put to a plebiscite vote on October 2. Part of the reason, observers say, is that many young Colombians have not experienced the conflict as directly as their older compatriots.

But there is a portion of the youth population in Colombia that has had as close a view of the war as anyone: namely, those that have been fighting in it. Continue reading As Colombia Votes On Peace, Child Soldiers Struggle To Adapt

How Sept. 1 Could Be The Beginning Of The End For Venezuela’s Maduro

Major demonstrations could pressure the country’s elections board to allow a recall vote. But challenges to the opposition are significant.

September 1 may mark a “before and after” moment in Venezuela’s political and economic crisis.

Following further delays by the electoral authority on advancing a recall referendum against President Nicolás Maduro, opposition leaders have called on residents across the country to mobilize in the capital city this Thursday in what they have dubbed “The Grand Taking of Caracas.”

The opposition is anticipating success, and expects at least one million people to join the march. Henrique Capriles of the Primero Justicia party said the protest will have a worldwide impact.

But will it? Continue reading How Sept. 1 Could Be The Beginning Of The End For Venezuela’s Maduro

In New York, a Home for the Latino Experience

NEW YORK — The four actresses playing the Mirabal sisters wore light blue dresses, braids and buns decorating their hair, and teased each other in Spanish. They acted like kids, singing Dominican salsa tunes and goading the oldest one to dance. When a butterfly fluttered by, Minerva, the second youngest, caught it and stored it in a jar.

Later in life, and onstage, Minerva Mirabal would adopt the code-name “Butterfly.” She would lead her sisters in the effort to overthrow the 30-year-reign of Dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. And in 1960, three of the four Mirabal sisters would be hunted down and killed by Trujillo’s minions.

Continue reading In New York, a Home for the Latino Experience