Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Venezuela: Selective Indignation

As Venezuela erupts in violence and the United States moves quickly and unilaterally to capture its oil, historian Miguel Tinker Salas offers some useful background.
Although many reviewers of Salas' most recent book find him to be too sympathetic to Maduro, he puts the current crisis in the appropriate context of other interventions in the region. One need not support Maduro to oppose his forced ouster.

In a recent editorial statement, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs makes much the same case, in more detail. It is from the COHA statement on Venezuela that I lifted the title of this post. In a world full of legitimate causes of indignation, it is instructive to notice which human-rights crises lead to interventions, and which do not. Oil is not the only cause -- the Obama administration had other reasons for supporting a right-wing coup in Honduras -- but it very often is.

If the United States gets involved in Venezuela militarily -- which seems very likely -- it will have been optional, and it will have been under the leadership of two of the architects of the worst policies of the 1980s, one convicted and one unindicted.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Mexico Contrasts, In Black & White

“Mujer Ángel, Desierto de Sonora, México (Angel Woman, Sonora Desert, Mexico),”
1979. Graciela Iturbide / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston & New York Times
In her recent article Graciela Iturbide's Photos of Mexico Make 'Visible What, To Many, Is Invisible' is an treasure in the form of a very unusual photo essay. All of the images are by a renowned photographer who continues to interpret her cultural landscape five decades after taking up her profession. All of the text is by Evelyn Nieves, a journalist who clearly delights in introducing Iturbide's work to (mostly) new viewers.

That work informs viewers of a rich tapestry of unexpected contrasts captured in many places throughout Mexico. Those of us in the Boston area are -- for now -- very fortunate that we can begin our exploration in this Times article and continue it in an exhibition of Iturbide's work at the Museum of Fine Arts this January 19 to May 12. Some of the work -- including the arresting image of a prosthetic leg and boot -- will be part of a separate exhibition of works about the great artist Frida Kahlo, February 27 to June 16. I will be visiting some time in the overlap between the two.

Lagniappe

I look forward to exploring more work under the byline of Evelyn Nieves, much of which celebrates the work of photographers.

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