Culture

Afro-Latinos Continue To Make Huge Impacts On Global Politics

World history books do not always include large sections to detail the accomplishments of Afro-Latinos across North America, South America, and the Caribbean. So many Afro-Latinos have thrown their hats in the rings and led their countries through difficult moments and elevated the political discourse needed to push contries forward.

Cecilia Tait

Olympic silver medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, Cecilia Tait became a champion off the volleyball court as well in her native Peru when she entered politics 10 years later. After dipping her toes in local politics, she eventually became the first Afro-Peruvian elected to the country’s Congress.

María Isabel Urrutia

Another Afro-Latina Olympic medalist from South America who went into politics once retiring from sports is Colombian María Isabel Urrutia. She won her country’s first Olympic gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games and then transferred into politics, holding a seat in the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia.

Julio Pinedo

In 2007, Julio Pinedo, a direct descendant of African slaves in Bolivia, was officially recognized by La Paz as ceremonious king of his Afro-Bolivian community. 

“He is a symbolic figure,” Spanish photographer Susana Giron told the New York Times in 2015. “For the Afro-Bolivians, he is important because he gives them a cultural identity. It shows they are a people descended from Africa. It is about their history and culture.”

Benedita da Silva

After Brazil’s military dictatorship ended, black Brazilians started to gain prominence in politics. One such example is Benedita da Silva, Brazil’s first female senator. Her resilient attitude was honed throughout her life, including when she received her high school diploma at the age of 40 and went to college at the same time her daughter was studying.

Her political resume includes becoming a senator, as well as the first Afro-Brazilian governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and Minister of the Secretary of State. 

She is also a fierce advocate for women’s rights in Latin America.

Paula Marcela Moreno Zapat

Paula Marcela Moreno Zapat is a Colombian politician, engineer and college professor. She was appointed in 2007 to serve as Colombia’s Minister of Culture, thus becoming the first Afro-Colombian woman to hold a cabinet position in her country, also the youngest. As part of her work as Minister of Culture, she has put Colombia’s name on the map, literally. She has acquired spots for her home country to exhibit at book fairs, film festivals, concerts, and conferences around the world.

Luis Gilberto Murillo

Another Afro-Colombian engineer who had a successful career in politics is Luis Gilberto Murillo. 

In 1998, Murrillo won the governorship for the state of Chocó, becoming one of the youngest people to do so. However, he was stripped from his governorship in 1999 due to what some newspapers and residents called a controversial court ruling.

Murrillo was kidnapped in 2000 in Colombia and after being released a few hours later, he fled the country with his family. He returned in 2011 after mostly working in Washington D.C. and continued to work in politics, most recently as the former minister of Environment and Sustainable Development in Colombia. 

He continues to be outspoken for issues on environmental sustainability and has not let the bumps along the road deter him from fighting for causes he is passionate about.

Pío Pico

Alta California’s final governor under Mexican rule was Afro-Mexican rancher and politician Pío de Jesús Pico. He served twice as governor and once he gained U.S. citizenship, was asked to be part of the Los Angeles Common Council, although he did not assume the office. If you’re in Los Angeles, you might recognize him as the namesake of Pico Boulevard. 

READ: Latino Politicians Sound Off Over Tom Brokaw Saying Latinos Need To Be Better At Assimilating In The US

The Top 12 Salsas From Across Latin America, Ranked

Culture

The Top 12 Salsas From Across Latin America, Ranked

Jackie_testet / Instagram

Hot sauce has been a kitchen table staple for Latinos for thousands of years. The Aztecs pretty much invented it. We put it on eggs, on snacks, on meat….you probably have that person in your life who would put it on their finest cardboard and eat it up, the stuff is so popular. Anything that brings vegans and carnivores together at the dinner table deserves to be celebrated. Enjoy this roundup of hot sauces from all over Latin America to try out with your next meal.

1. Mexico: Cholula

Credit: cholulahotsauce/ Instagram

Made in Chapala, Jalisco, the sauce is made with a blend of piquín and arbol chiles. It’s often put up against Tapatio on American restaurant tables in a Coke vs. Pepsi level battle of the condiments. But we know there’s room for both. However, if you’re really dedicated, you might be able to join the Order of Cholula for exclusive offers.

2. Belize: Marie Sharp

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Made in Stann Creek, Belize, Marie Sharp started her line of hot sauces in her kitchen where she experimented with blends of Habanero peppers and jams and jellies made from fruits and vegetables picked from her farm. The brand has long outgrown the kitchen and went international. We stan an entrepeneurial queen.

3. Costa Rica: Banquete Chilero

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This thicker sauce from Costa Rica gets its flavor from habanero peppers and carrots. Some might compare it to an asian sweet and sour sauce.

4. Guatemala: Picama’s Salsa Brava

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This mild, green sauce has a ketchup-like consistency and is made with serrano peppers. The color is straight up neon, but some people swear by it, stocking up on bottles when they visit Guatemala. Also, don’t you love when an abuela comes through like this?

5. Honduras: D’Olanchano

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This hot sauce uses Tabasco peppers grown in the Olancho valley and later aged in wooden barrels to acquire its taste.

6. Nicaragua: Chilango

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Chilango Chile sources their ingredients from all over the world to create unique flavors in their line of hot sauces. The Cabro Consteño is made with the Nicaraguan yellow “goat” pepper grown on the Atlantic coast. The Habanero Chocolate gets its name from the dark, brown pepper it uses for flavor. It doesn’t actually have chocolate in it – whether that relieves or distresses you.

7. Panama: D’Elidas

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This yellow is made with Habanero peppers, mustard, and vinegar. Hot sauce lovers report getting a lot of that mustard taste in the sauce, so adjust expectations accordingly. People are known to fill up their suitcases with bottles before leaving Panama.

8. Brazil: Mendez Hot Sauce

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Mendez Hot Sauce is a brand out of Central Brazil where creator, Rafael Mendez strives for sustainable business practices that help his community. The sauce uses the locally sourced Malagueta pepper which creates work for local farming families, lifting many of them out of poverty.

9. Chile: Diaguitas

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Diaguitas is the most popular hot sauce in Chile, coming in a few flavors. It’s light on ingredients, letting the peppers speak for themselves. It’s salty, so handle with care to balance that taste out on your food.

10. Colombia: Amazon Pepper Sauce

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This brand uses a variety of Amazon peppers that grow at the edge of the rainforest in the Andes Cauca Valley. They blend the chilis with other tropical ingredients. They have a mild flavor that stands out made with guava. 

11. Ecuador: Ole

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Ole carries a few different flavors, but it always goes back to the ingredients to make a hot sauce unique to the region it comes from. Ole uses the tena pepper which only grows in Ecuador. They have it on its own where you get the fruit taste with a lash of heat. They also put it in their Tamarillo sauce which couples the tena with the fruit from the pepper tomato tree.

12. Peru: Salsa de Aji Amarillo

Credit: PeruChef.com

What’s actually the most popular thing to do in Peru is to just make your own hot sauces. However, sometimes you can find bottled sauces that will satisfy the craving. The Peru Chef makes one with the aji amarillo pepper which has a subtle sweetness to it and is a cornerstone of Peruvian cuisine.

Of course, there are many hot sauces from all over Latin America that you’ll simply have to travel for if you want the best like Llajwa sauce from Bolivia. You could also probably stay home and get some bomb green sauce from King Taco.

Here Are Some Of The Craft Beers Coming From Latin America Worth Trying Out This Summer

Culture

Here Are Some Of The Craft Beers Coming From Latin America Worth Trying Out This Summer

greenhopsbeer / Instagram

Latin America is one of the best foodie paradises in the world. As we recently reported, Latin America houses some of the best restaurants and most creative chefs in the world. The foodie revolution in the region is not limited to restaurants but expands to artisanal products such as wines and beers. Yes, classics like Quilmes, XX and Corona still dominate the market in the region, but other smaller breweries are doing their best to bring some variety to the market. Yes, international brands such as Budweiser, which is the most valuable in the world and is going strong in key Latin American markets like Mexico and Colombia, still dominate the market, but cheleros are finding out that not all beer tastes the same. 

But cerveza is important in Latin America for economic reasons as well. In Mexico, for example, beer is one massive industry both locally and in terms of exports. According to C.E. NAFTA 2.0: “Mexican beer brands reach more than 180 countries. The United States received 72 percent of exports; the United Kingdom 3.3 percent, China 2.8 percent, Canada 2.8 percent and Chile 1.8 percent.” Mainstream Mexican beer labels are also leading the way in terms of sustainability. As reported by The Swazi Observer: “Green beer used to be a St. Patricks Day gimmick, but a sustainability movement seems to be taking off in the beer packaging industry. Diageo, the manufacturer of St. Patricks Day favorite, Guinness, announced in April that they will eliminate plastic from their beer packaging. In the two months since the Guinness announcement, the brewer of Mexican beer Corona has introduced a new can that doesn’t require plastic ring carriers”. Not bad at all! All these best practices filter down to smaller producers who are starting to make a mark. 

Here are some beers that are worth a taste and that showcase the renewed creativity and commitment of Latin American beer makers. You can find some of these in the United States, and you can try others when you travel to Latin America (it is always a good idea to get to know the region). 

Beer: Colimita
Country of origin: Mexico
Type of beer: lager
Pairings: seafood, particularly Sinaloa style mariscos (did anyone say taco gobernador?)

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The new star of the Mexican beer landscape. It has an alcohol level of 3.6 percent so it is light and refreshing.
What critics say: “Bottle in CDMX. Clear gold with a small white head. The aroma is nice, grassy, hay, bread. The flavor is slightly sweet, crisp, slightly bitter. Medium-light body, crisp. Good for the style” nickd717 in Rate Beer. This beer is growing in popularity in Mexico City and top-notch restaurants such as Pujol often have it at hand. There are other notable small breweries in Mexico such as the now-classic Casta from Monterrey, but Colimita is leading the way in the integration of these small labels into the mainstream.

Beer: Lumpen (birra arte)
Country of origin: Argentina
Type of beer: Dude (oatmeal stout) and Quiroga (gose), Jaco (Belgian blonde) and Guaica (lager)
Pairings: Honestly, these are better enjoyed by themselves, as they offer very specific notes

Credit: lumpenbirraarte / Instagram

Argentina is one of the foodie epicenters of the region due to its many influences. Argentinians call beer “birra”, which is Italian rather than Spanish and shows how engrained European culture is in the country, particularly in the capital Buenos Aires. Rather than a brewery that fits the mold, they are a sort of beer laboratory where they experiment with European styles such as the Belgian wheat beer or the very heavy and honeyed oatmeal stout. Their branding is super fun and even le rinde honor to pop culture symbols such as The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Now, can you imagine yourself having one of these after a day walking under the blistering sun in the Rio de la Plata? We certainly can! 

Beer: Sarandi
Country of origin: Argentina
Type of beer: red, black and honey
Pairings: a good asado argentino, of course, pibe!

Credit: cervecerasarandi / Instagram

We love a good, chunky beer can. This boutique brewery in Buenos Aires has gotten a sort of cult reputation. Distribution is still limited, but they are favoring quality over quantity. They are not trying to be fancy or pretentious: it is a true cerveza de barrio that goes well with a traditional Argentinian asado (BBQ). The Argentinian craft beer industry is living a great moment. As reported by The Korea Times, some Argentinian beer labels are breaking into the Korean market: “’I am honored to see to premium Argentine beer imported to Korea for the first time,’ Argentine Ambassador Alfredo Carlos Bascou said during the campaign at E-mart headquarters in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, July 25. ‘I hope to see other Argentine beers in the very near future.’” Argentinian wine is loved all over the world, and beer might be the next big thing coming out of the South American country. 

Beer: Cerveza Guin, Vanushka
Country of origin: Guatemala
Type of beer: stout
Pairings: meat-based dishes (did anyone say tacos de arrachera?)

Credit: cervezaguin / Instagram

Guatemala is living a tourism renaissance thanks to the vibrancy and beauty of its population, its Mayan ruins and the ventures started by expats from the US and Europe. Out of Quetzaltenango comes this recently released stout that is chocolatey and light at the same time. Don’t be surprised if Guatemala becomes a small chelera powerhouse in the future. After years of social unrest, Guatemala is slowly but surely becoming a viable and interesting tourist destination, and it is important to support small local businesses. 

Beer: Cerveza Cuello Negro
Country of origin: Chile
Type of beer: Stout
Pairings: chocolate truffles, strong cheeses, beef pies

Credit: cervezacuellonegro / Instagram

Chile has had constant flows of German immigration, and that has transpired into the outstanding craft beers. This one has a nose and a taste of chocolate and coffee, like any good European-style stout. You can also get tinges of caramel that warm you up in a winter night. User Grumbo says in Rate Beer: “Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, sweet aniseed, coffee and black treacle with a hint of tamarind. Moderate sweetness with medium to heavy roasted bitterness”. We love a good dark beer on a rainy afternoon.

Beer: Green Hops
Country of origin: Colombia
Type of beer: pale ale, dark ale, red ale
Pairings: strong cheeses, charcuterie, a nice crusty loaf of sourdough bread

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The design in their bottles is as hipster as it gets but also reminds us of the great golden pieces that Colombian craftsmen have perfected since before colonization.  This Colombian craft brewery is located in Bogota. They specialize in ales, which is a type of beer brewed using a warm fermentation method. The result: a sweet, full-bodied and fruity taste. Yes, please.

Beer: Cusquena Roja
Country of origin: Peru
Type of beer: Amber lager
Pairings: salty and spicy food

Credit: bah_beer / Instagram

This Peruvian beer is a classic in the South American country. It is not fantastic, but it will do the trick if you are looking for something a bit more sophisticated than the average beer. User lutton says in Beer Rate: “Bottle in Lima. Small foam. Slightly richer red-orange body, slightly in the Vienna territory. Slightly richer, caramel malt. Not too sweet but much more than the regular Cusquenas.”

READ: This Mexican Beer — Made by Women Sommeliers and Cerveza Experts — Aims to Be The Best in the World

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