200 governments in Peru for a major UN ‘climate change’ summit – 2014

The meeting of nearly 200 governments in Peru later this year for a major UN climate change summit must produce the first draft of a global deal to cut emissions, the country’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, says.

Huaytapallana, Peru

Due to the slow progress at the last round of talks in Warsaw, Poland, the Lima summit means that real progress is needed in key areas including climate finance and solutions on how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. This meeting in Lima (December 2014) is a preliminary encounter leading up to a further summit in Paris (2015) where it is expected that global leaders will finally agree the terms for cutting emissions in rich and poor countries. Being discussed shall be the ‘Green Climate Fund’ (the transference of money from the developed to the developing world), the issue of  environmental justice – that rich consumerist-based countries should repay poor countries for the damage caused by climate change, and a UN scheme to tackle emissions caused by forests being cleared.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said he hoped the Lima summit would leave a legacy in his rapidly industrializing country by aiming for “green growth with clean technologies and low emissions … these options are fundamental for a nation such as ours which wants to continue growing. That’s our climate commitment.”

Peru has everything to loose from climate change – it is predicted to be the 3rd worst affected country in the world. Peruvians throughout Peru’s diverse geographies (desert Coast, Andes, Montana and Amazon Rainforests) are already said to be ‘living’ with the impact of raising temperatures and their consequences. It should be noted that Peru is home to some of the most concentrated and rare biodiversity on Earth – the Amazon River alone has 2,500 fish species, being ten times more than the whole of the Atlantic Ocean.

Glaciers Huaytaypallana, PeruInside Huaytapallana’s collapsing glaciers, 2010

‘10,000,000 hectares of forestlands have been deforested by Andean migrations; forest clearance by fire, indiscriminate felling of trees, narcotics and other causes’. (IIAP, 2006). Dr Antonio Brack-Egg, former Environment Minister (2010) said, ‘Where ecosystems remain almost intact, future politics should be directed toward the development of alternatives means of protection (Protected Zones), and of a use of resources that is innovative and by no means imply any further deforestation’. ‘Pobreza y manejo’.

Peru also has the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers, but has already lost 39% of them due to a 0.7C temperature rise in the Andes between 1939 and 2006. Collapsing glaciers have claimed over 40,000 lives in Peru.

Tropical Glaciers  are located in low tropical latitudes, but higher than those of temperate and Polar regions.

– South America  has 99% of the World’s tropical glaciers. Peru has 70% of this total glacial surface area.

– 1970s – 2006  glaciers in Peru and Bolivia have decreased by 30%.

– Scientific fact  lower elevation glaciers do not recover. Only glaciers higher than 5, 400 metres might recover their masses.

– Cordillera Blanca  here is Peru’s highest mountain, Huascarán at 6, 768 metres. The region contains a glacial coverage of 600 km², a quarter of the World’s total. The Pastoruri glacier at 5, 240 metres is radically reduced, and has approximately 20 years left as a glacier. Melt-water is forming lakes.

– Cordillera Vilcanota  at 5, 670 metres, the Quelccaya ice-cap, the World’s largest tropical ice-cap, has reduced in size by 30% since the 1970s when 6 metres was lost annually, today this figure is over 60 metres.

Historias-Insolitas PeruHistorias Insolitas, Andes, Peru

Peru has the world’s fourth largest area of rainforest and deforestation accounts for more than 40% of the country’s carbon emissions. Approximately 20% of emissions are generated by ranching and farming, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal has said. His ministry is working with the Carnegie Institution for Science in order to map the rainforest and measure carbon emissions and stocks.

In line with the Prime Minister of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, Pulgar-Vidal said, “People must understand that the standing forest has value and rewarding ecosystem services can lead to a change in behaviour, the issues are complex but we have clear strategies to tackle them.” An example would be financial compensation for Indigenous communities who work to conserve the Rainforest and engaging the private sector in forest preservation.

Environmental lawlessness – mafia-based logging and extensive gold mining throughout the Amazon, markedly since the Putumayo Rubber boom (1900s), present the biggest threats to Peru’s forest cover. Pulgar-Vidal says an action plan to ban illicit materials and regulate miners are in place, but changes will take time.


Based on my environmental research in Peru – these are very weak words from an Environment Minister and show a complete denial of the true facts. The ‘Peruvian Institute for Natural Resources’, INRENA, has asked for a crack unit – meaning a specialist division with professional training and legal back-ups to tackle mafia-based operations. The latter being armed and murderous. The premio reportaje sobre biodiversidad travel/scientific writers and Amazonian intellectuals such as Róger Rumrrill, are in agreement that environmental lawlessness is in the high 90% range. Nearly all timber leaving Peru is illegal and practically never sourced in a sustainable manner.

The following table, compiled by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (2010) and taken from my doctoral thesis, acknowledges the outstanding capacity of Peru’s informal gold market in securing international attention and distribution networks, based on the capitalistic dynamics of supply and demand:

Great Informal Production of Gold
Peru legally produces 170 tons of gold per year. However, there are a further 44 tons
(US$ 1. 300 million) that are extracted by illegal gold mining within four zones:

US$600 millones*
por 16 toneladas˚ de oro
US$300 millones
por 12 toneladas de oro
US$204 millones
por 8 toneladas de oro
US$200 millones
por 8 toneladas de oro

* = million        ˚ = ton


Michael Jacobs, 1952 – 2014, amante of Latin America, travel writer & historian


Michael Jacobs, booksOn March 21st 2013, Michael Jacobs came to ‘Latin America in Bristol’ to give a book reading on his travels in 2011 along the Río Magdalena – a majestic river that carves through the heart of Colombia & is emblematic of the fascination & tragedy of South America. In his talk and book, he conveyed the intricacies of the river’s voices & history, describing exploration, memory, a chance meeting with Gabriel García Márquez, environmental decline & political violence.

I conducted a small and fun interview with him for this website (see ‘Radio Continente’ link) before he jumped on a train to London, flying out the following morning to his home amid olive-groves in Andalucia. Sadly, he passed away in January 2014.

Dr Matthew Brown of Bristol University’s Hispanic Department purchased a signed copy of his book, The robber of memories, that evening and since informed me of this tragedy saying, ‘Very sad, he was a lovely man, wonderful writer’. His death provoked a lot of commentary on his writing – mostly from Latin American people. Respectfully, the Spanish and Americas wing of the Hay literary festival is to launch a special bursary in Michael’s memory to fund travel writing in Latin America.

Full article by Ed Vulliamy here:

Cultural Engagement Fund Showcase, University of Liverpool

Arts and Humanities Research Council logo                     


Cultural Engagement Fund Showcase

Co-hosted by the AHRC and the University of Liverpool

Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool, 30th January 2014, 9.30-18.30

The AHRC and the University of Liverpool are delighted to announce this one-day event to showcase, review and learn from the 120 AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund projects that took place throughout the UK during Spring 2013. Drawing on the research findings and knowledge-exchange experiences of the Associates and their partners in the cultural sector, this will be an opportunity to share research and best practice, reflect on the challenges and opportunities for cultural engagement in the UK and form networks for future collaborative work.

Plenary Speakers

Deborah Bull

Director, Cultural Institute, KCL; Member, AHRC Council; former Creative Director, Royal Opera House

Charles Forsdick

James Barrow Professor of French, University of Liverpool; AHRC Theme Leadership Fellow, ‘Translating Cultures’

Dominic Gray

Projects Director, Opera North; AHRC Advisory Board

Mark Llewellyn

Director of Research, AHRC

The showcase event will include reports and posters from Associates as well as panel discussions and four plenary talks. Through this mix of formats, the showcase will inform and enrich the diverse partnerships with the cultural sector being fostered throughout the UK. We encourage not only Associates from the Cultural Engagement projects, but also their cultural partners and senior academics interested in cultural engagement to attend – a call for participation follows below.


Organisers:     Panayiota Vassilopoulou and Daniel Whistler (University of Liverpool)

email:   CEshowcase@liv.ac.uk

Ph. D: Black Carbon in Tropical River Basins in South America

Walter Wust’s ‘Amazon reflections’.

PhD Studentship: Large-scale Dynamics of Black Carbon in Tropical River Basins in South America

University of Exeter   http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/funding/award/?id=1359
Studentships will be awarded on the basis of merit and will commence in September 2014. For eligible students the award will cover UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend (in 2013/14 this was £13,726 for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students) for three and a half years.

Description of the project:
Black carbon (BC) is a product of the incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuel. Due to its recalcitrant characteristics, BC is thought to be an important sink in the short-term carbon cycle (Forbes et al. 2006). Also, the absorptive optical properties of BC aerosol result in a positive surface radiative forcing that is exceeded only by that caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (Bond et al. 2013). Quantifying the rates of BC production and transport (both as an aerosol and by river systems) therefore represents an opportunity to refine the terrestrial carbon budget whilst also building the foundations for higher-resolution analyses of its local and regional effects on climate. The contribution of black carbon to the carbon cycle is critical in tropical regions because biomass burning, which produces the majority of BC globally, is commonly employed for agricultural land management and for removing tropical forest cover. This PhD aims to apply a multidisciplinary approach combining remote sensing, atmospheric modelling and field-based surveys to quantify the atmospheric BC inputs, the BC stocks in soils and the export rates in the Paraíba do Sul River basin, Brazil. Specifically, the successful candidate will:

  1. Develop a spatially explicit approach to quantify emissions of BC aerosol by land management and fossil fuel burning and calibrate an atmospheric transport and deposition model using data from satellites and fieldwork.
  2. Quantify BC stocks in soils and map the spatial configuration of these stocks to understand the influences of recent atmospheric inputs and historical forest clearing.
  3. Quantify the export rates of dissolved and particulate BC along the river and analyse the links with stocks and river discharge.
  4. Produce a BC budget for the basin, identifying the major sources of BC to the Paraíba do Sul River and quantifying the magnitude of the carbon sink.

The ultimate goal of this PhD is to develop a detailed understanding of large scale dynamics of BC in tropical regions to produce a general spatial model of BC transport for application in other river basins, to include the Amazon. Published work that has applied a simple aerosol transport model provides indicative preliminary evidence that recent regional burning represents a significant contribution towards the BC stock present in the river basin and complements high-impact research into historical local sources. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with collaborators at the Met Office and in Brazil and Germany.

 Closing date: 10th January 2014

Fiction & new journalism: The arts of storytelling in the Spanish speaking world


Call for papers
International Conference:
Fiction, non-fiction and new journalism: The arts of storytelling in the Spanish speaking world
Newcastle University, 20 and 21 June 2014

In the past few decades, popular Anglo-Saxon genres such as the graphic novel and the so called new journalism or chronicle have had a very powerful development in the Spanish speaking world. This effervescence builds on a centuries-old tradition of chronicles, and matches a vibrant growth in other various fiction narrative formats in Spain, Latin America and the Hispanic USA. Thus, versatile chroniclers use gripping fiction-writing techniques to narrate the roughest realities, not concerning themselves with hard facts or statistics, but the way these worlds are lived by those immersed in them, with rich contextual descriptions and well developed characters. In turn, fiction writers introduce social commentary in their stories, aiming at informing and startling their audiences as well as to entertain them.  New formats are being tried out and independent publishing houses and vibrant online platforms are disseminating the work of writers from different countries, who have in turn attracted a wide and avid transnational audience, traversing North and South America and Europe.
This two day international conference invites papers examining any of the following issues or others relevant to this explosion of genres and narrative production:

–          Exploration of the different genres analysing one of several authors, one or several examples of graphic novels, chronicles, short or long stories.
–          The formats or platforms of choice supporting the circulation of this form of production; technical and financial aspects of these operations.
–          Social Media, collaborative story-telling and journalism as process.
–          Local chroniclers and community sustainability.
–          Storytelling and collective memory.
–          Giving a voice to the voiceless? Challenging dominant narratives.
–          Testimonial writing and new journalism.
–          Journalism and football: fact, fiction and fanaticism.
–          The tension/collaboration between social sciences and journalism, particularly on the reporting and analysing current violence and corruption in Latin America.
–          Formal and aesthetic borrowing between genres.
–          Contributions of literary analysis to the study of chronicles.
–          The importance of place paired with the global nature of themes, where migration, travelling, bi-nationality, or the experience of the other are central part of the stories.
–          Performative aspects of the relationship between writers and their audiences.
–          The arts of story-telling and the creation of spaces for critical reflection and denunciation of social and political issues.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Daniel Alarcón (1977) writer, journalist and radio producer is author of the story collection War by Candlelight, and Lost City Radio, named Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post. His fiction, journalism and translations have appeared in Granta, McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s, and in 2010 The New Yorker named him one of the best 20 Writers Under 40. Alarcón is co-founder of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish language storytelling podcast, and currently serves as a Fellow in the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He lives in San Francisco, California. His most recent novel, At Night We Walk in Circles, was published by Riverhead Books in October 2013.

Javier de Isusi  (1972) is author of comics or graphic novels. Among other series, he is the creator of the acclaimed Los viajes de Juan sin Tierra, the story of Vasco, a postmodern traveller in Latin America, where de Isusi reflects on his extensive travels sharing his observations of the complexities of life, hardships and hopes   of Latin Americans of all walks of life. Translations of his work have been published in Italy, France, Portugal and Finland.

Gabriela Wiener (1975) is a prolific, versatile and controversial writer, journalist, poet and performer who lives in Madrid. She contributes with the most renowned online platforms for the New Chronicle: Etiqueta Negra, Orsai, Anfibia and contributes with columns in  Esquire, Paula, El Pais, La Vanguardia, La Republica, among many others.  She is head editor of Marie Claire in Spain. Her chronicles have been published in collected editions of New Journalism Mejor que ficción. Crónicas ejemplares (Anagrama, 2012) y Antología de la crónica latinoamericana actual (Alfaguara, 2012).  She is the autor of Sexografias, Nueve Lunas and Mozart, la iguana con priapismo y otras historias all aclaimed examples of gonzo journalism.

Please send a 200 word abstract to Patricia.Oliart@ncl.ac.uk by 15 January 2014.

This conference is organised by theAmericas Research Group’, and is part of the ¡Vamos! Festival programme 2014.

Latin American TV Extras Required

Latin American TV Extras Required

Latin Americans urgently needed for paid film extras to a coming documentary, ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’, chronicling the life and travels of Leonardo DaVinci.

London’s ‘Casting Collective’ are looking for South American Men and Women,, to be Extra’s in a major new TV period drama filming in Swansea on 19th August to 6th September 2013 (but you wont be needed for all these days). People from Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guayana, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador or Mexico. We are also interested in people with a Hispanic look.

Filming days will be £120 per day, plus a paid costume fitting, dates to be confirmed. Applicants will need to be over 16 years old and must have a National Insurance number. Anyone interested, apply online at www.castingcollective.co.uk/south

You will need to upload a picture, contact details and vital statistics which takes about 5 minutes. If you have any questions, please contact Teddy Bick directly.

T: 020 8962 0099
E: teddy@castingcollective.co.uk

W: www.castingcollective.co.uk

Adriana Lisboa (Brasil) Book reading at Stanfords Bookshop, Bristol, 23 May 13 at 19.00

Adriana Lisboa (Brazil), Thursday 23rd May 2013.


AdrianaLisboaPosterEsteemed as an important contemporary Brazilian writer, Lisboa, has been awarded the prestigious ‘José Saramago Prize’ for her novel Symphony in White, a ‘Japan Foundation Fellowship’, a Brazilian ‘National Library Fellowship’, and the ‘Newcomer of the Year Award’ from the BraziIian section of the ‘International Board on Books for Young People’. Her other books include Hut of the Fallen Persimmons and Crow-Blue which will be published by Bloomsbury later this year.

Biography Adriana Lisboa was born in Rio de Janeiro. She has published eleven books, including six novels, a collection of short stories and prose poetry, and children’s books. Her work has been published in translation in several countries, including France, United States, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland. In 2007, the Hay Festival/Bogota World Book Capital selected her as one of the thirty-nine highest profile Latin American writers under the age of thirty-nine. She has a BA in Music from the Rio de Janeiro Federal State University (UniRio), an MA in Brazilian Literature and a PhD in Comparative Literature (Rio de Janeiro State University, UERJ). Lisboa has lived in France – where she performed as a jazz singer – and currently resides in the United States.

Listent to the interview here.

Copa Sandino

‘Copa Sandino 2013’ – ‘Vivir limpio, sano, bonito, seguro’.

Sunday 19th May, 2013 at Ashton Park Secondary School, Blackmoors Lane, Ashton, Bristol, BS3 2JL

Raising money through football for Bristol’s twin town, ‘Puerto Morazan’, Nicaragua…

CopaSandinoPlayers WorkingwithSchools EducationSandino

L to R: ‘Copa Sandino’ in action, Bristol/Educational programmes in ‘Puerto Morazan’, Nicaragua where a proportion of the funds are channelled…

Background: ‘Copa Sandino 2013’

Bristol’s twin town is ‘Puerto Morazan’ in Nicaragua and, since 1987, Bristol has held this yearly charity football tournament to raise money for a range of solidarity, educational, health and development projects for this community. Over 20,000 UK pounds have been raised during this period. The tournament is named after the famous hero of the Nicaraguan liberation struggle, ‘Augusto César Sandino’. To date, pre-schools have been built, women’s shrimp farming co-ops supported, mosquito breeding grounds eradicated, girl’s football teams founded and many more beneficial and inspiring projects.

Football teams from Bristol’s local Latin communities compete, including the University of Bristol’s ‘Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies’. Over 200 players participate whilst other members of the public enjoy Latin American food and music on soundsystems. In 2007, the ‘Copa Lucrecia Lindo’ for women’s teams was established and is attended by an envoy from the Nicaraguan Embassy. The ‘Copa Sandino’ is an initiative by ‘Bristol Link’ with Nicaragua (BLINC), who have been working in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua since 1985. BLINC manages the twinning agreement, signed in 1989.

FFI: Alix Hughes, tel: 0117 328 4450 e: alix.hughes@uwe.ac.uk
www.bristolnicaragua.wordpress.com & facebook.com/bristolnicaragua





Dr Matthew Brown fusing art and academics for the University’s HIPLA football team, ‘Deportivo WR’

Football photos: Gloria Lanci




Sporting success for students in Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
19 May 2013

“Deportivo Woodland Road 2” – a six-a-side football team made up of students from the ‘Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies’ – has won the 26th edition of the annual ‘Copa Sandino’.
Representatives of the Nicaraguan Embassy to the UK presented Captain Daniel Thacker (second year German and Spanish) with the trophy after his team displayed fine skills during the final of the tournament at Ashton Park school on May 19th 2013.
CopaSandioDeportivoEquipo2013This was the eighth time ‘Deportivo Woodland Road’ have entered the ‘Copa Sandino’ and the first time they had even reached the quarter-finals. This year, the students of ‘Deportivo Woodland Road 2’ took on their lecturers whose team, ‘Deportivo Woodland Road 1’, was captained by Dr Matthew Brown and Aris da Silva. The students defeated the staff 3-0 and went on to win the final on penalty kicks.  Aris da Silva said: “They were lucky to beat us, but at least our name is on the trophy.” Twenty teams took part, including those representing Latin American communities in Bristol.

A Gift Aid from an anonymous donor meant that the ‘Copa Sandino 2013’ raised £6,250 for education projects in Puerto Morazán. The plans now are to construct another pre-school as well as completing on-going community projects. The Nicaraguan Embassy diplomats enjoyed the day of football played in a Latin American spirit and also giving away bottles of Nicaraguan Rum, poetry books and singing ‘Nicaraguita’ before the women’s final.