Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eva's thoughts- We did something wrong...

Hello, ladies.
I'm here to present you with my first translation ever. It is of a speech made by the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez.
I love this speech because it is short and powerful. I think it was a big slap in the face to all Latin American presidents.
I translated it myself because I couldn't find a translation anywhere on the web. If there are any mistakes, or grammar issues, please point them out and I'll fix 'em.

We did something wrong

Oscar Arias Sanchez

Words by the President of the Republic of Costa Rica at the V Summit of the Americas

Trinidad & Tobago, April 18 2009

I get the impression that every time the Caribbean and Latin American countries get together with the US President, it is to ask him for things or to complain. Usually, it is to blame the US about our past, present and future evils. I don’t think this is completely fair.

We can’t forget that Latin America had universities before the US created Harvard and William & Mary, which were the first universities in that country. We can’t forget that in this continent, like in the rest of world, at least until 1750, all Americans were more or less the same: all of them were poor.

When the Industrial Revolution appeared in England, other countries joined the industrial wagon: Germany, France, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand… and, just like that, the Industrial Revolution went over Latin America like a comet, and we didn’t realize it. We certainly missed our chance.

There’s also a big difference. Comparing Latin American history with US history, one can understand that Latin America didn’t have a Spanish or Portuguese John Winthrop, who came with a Bible in his hand ready to build “a City over a Hill;” a city that could shine, such was the intention of the missionaries who arrived to the US.

Fifty years ago, Mexico was richer than Portugal. In 1950, a country like Brazil had more income per capita than South Korea. Sixty years ago, Honduras had more money per capita than Singapore, and today, Singapore – in a matter of 35 or 40 years- is a country with an annual income per person of $40,000. Well, us Latin Americans obviously did something wrong.

What did we do wrong? I can’t even list all the things we have done wrong. Firstly, we only have seven years of schooling. That is the average schooling in Latin America, which is not the case in most Asian countries. This is certainly not the case in countries like the US and Canada, who have the best education in the world, similar to the one in European countries. Out of 10 students who start secondary school in Latin America, only one of them finishes it, in some countries. There’s countries that have a child mortality of 50 kids for every thousand who are born, when the average in the more advanced Asian countries is eight, nine, or 10.

We have countries where the tax burden is 12% of the GDP, and it is no one’s responsibility but ours that we don’t charge money to the richest people in our countries. No one is to blame, except for us.

In 1950, every North American citizen was four times richer than a Latin American citizen. Nowadays, North American citizens are 10, 15 or 20 times richer than a Latin American. This is not the US’s fault, it is ours.

In my address this morning, I referred to an occurrence that I find grotesque, and that the only thing it shows is that the system of values of the 20th century, which we seem to be putting in practice in the 21st century too, is the wrong set of values. Because it can’t be possible that the rich world devotes a hundred billion dollars to alleviate the poverty of 80% of the world’s population- in a world where 2.5 billion human beings have an income of $2 a day- and that they spend 13 times more money in guns and soldiers.

As I said this morning, it can’t be possible that Latin American countries spend 50 billion dollars in guns and soldiers. I ask myself: who is our enemy? Our enemy, President Correa, of that inequality you so reasonably point out, is the lack of education; it is illiteracy; it is that we don’t spend enough to keep our people healthy; it is that we don’t build the necessary infrastructure, the roads, the ports, the airports; it is that we don’t devote the necessary resources to stop the degradation of the environment; it is that inequality that really shames us; it is the product, among other things, of course, that we are not educating our sons and daughters.

You go to a Latin American university and it still feels like the 60s, 70s or 80s. It seems that we forgot that on November 9, 1989, something important happened, when the Berlin Wall fell, and the world changed. We have to accept that this world is different, and I frankly think that all academics, all the thinkers, all the economists, and all the historians, almost all agree that the 21st century is the Asian century, not the Latin American century. And I, sadly, agree with them. Because, while we keep discussing about ideologies, we keep arguing about all these “isms” (which one is better? Capitalism, socialism, communism, liberalism, neo-liberalism, social-christianism…), Asians found a very realistic “ism” for the 21st century and the end of the 20th century, which is pragmatism*. To cite one example, lets remember when Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore and South Korea. After realizing that his own neighbours where getting rich at a very fast pace, he went back to Beijing and told his Maoist colleagues who walked with him in the Long March, “To tell you the truth, my dear colleagues, I don’t care if the cat is white or black, it only matters if it can chase mice.” And if Mao had been alive, he would’ve died again when he said, “the truth is that getting rich is glorious.” And while the Chinese were doing this, and since ’79 until today they have grown 11%, 12% or 13%, and have freed 300 million citizens from poverty, yet we are still discussing ideologies that we should have buried a long time ago.

The good news is that Deng Xiaoping achieved this when he was 74 years old. Looking around, dear Presidents, I don’t see anyone close to being 74. That’s why I only ask that we should not wait until we reach that age to make the changes that we have to make.

Thank you very much.

Translated by Eva Colmenero.

Original source:

the philosophy of considering practical consequences or real effects to be vital components of meaning and truth. (source:

Tell me what you guys think about it.
I think it was simply beautiful.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Marina's Thoughts - how about we start a newspaper together?

So first post for me and I have a site to share. I'm not sure if either of you have heard of it before, but I just found it and it looks pretty interesting. They're also hiring freelance writers!!! Cha-ching!?

Anyways I have more thoughts. Today I was thinking about how hard it would be own and run a newspaper. I guess we'll find out next year what it's like to write for one, but how many different types of employees with different types of skills does it take?

I'm wondering this because today my dad mentioned on the drive home that Edson's newspaper is having money troubles and is going under. Apparently there's rumors that Sun Media, the owner of the Leader (which is Edson's newspaper), is planning on selling it. I'm not sure if my dad was serious or not when he said he might buy it if Sun does decide to sell, but if he does buy it he said I'd be in charge.. I'm pretty sure it's part of my dad's conniving plan to keep me in Edson for the rest of my life, but I don't even think that would be necessary...

Consider this ladies. We've all heard it before, but lemme say it again, print is dead and will soon be non-existant except for the big time papers like The New York Times, the Globe and Mail, etc, etc. Every other newspaper will be online, it's the only way they'll stay afloat. So hypothetically lets say the Leader goes online; printing costs are cut, office space renting is cut, the amount of employees are cut. That's a hell of a lot no?

The way I see it, every small town needs their news, no matter if it's pointless news like a high school getting a difibulator (lol this week's headline!), the question is, do you think towns folk and advertisers consider this as a good alternative to print? Would people pay to subscribe?

These are my thoughts for tonight. Time for bed!

Marina G

Friday, April 24, 2009


I have nothing to write, but I want to write the first post coz I feel like it.

I'll even put a picture!!!

Meet Kim YoungWoong JaeJoong. The most beautiful man in the worldMwahahaha!
Asian Obsession!