Entertainment

Four New Shows From Latin America Will Soon Be On HBO And Here Are The Ones We’re Most Excited About

HBO has decided to expand its Latin American catalog by adding four new shows aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences. The new programs all seem to vary in subject matter with some focusing on LGBTQ issues and others on criminal underbellies or counter-terrorism. The slate will launch in conjunction with six new English-speaking series on the network. 

 “[2020] will be a year in which we will concentrate even more on subscribers’ experiences with the brand, especially in the digital environment,” Gustavo Grossman, vice president of HBO Latin America, told the Digital Weekly

According to Variety, the company decided to continue to broaden the scope of their Latin American content due to a hit Colombian documentary it produced called Guerras Ajenas, along with a recent International Emmy winner for the scripted series Sr. Avila

So here’s what you can look forward to in the new year. 

Entre Hombres

Entre Hombres is a 4-episode mini-series based on the novel by Argentinian author Germán Maggiori. The story takes place in 1996 in Buenos Aires and will center around a senator who covers up a murder during a time of great social division. The show will star Gabriel ‘El Puma’ Goity, Nicolás Furtado, Diego Velázquez, Diego Cremonesi and Claudio Rissi.

“At HBO we continue betting on good stories. In this sense, Argentina has always been a source of talent and inspiration for our productions. Entre Hombres is a visceral piece and we are very proud with this new project that will enable us to take this magnificent cult novel to a big audience on the screen of HBO,” said Roberto Ríos, VP Corporate Original Production at HBO Latin America.

The production will be made in collaboration with Pol-ka and the series will be directed by Pablo Fendrik who previously directed El Jardin de Bronce. Author Maggiori will adapt the book for television. 

Mil Colmillos

HBO will launch its first show in Colombia Mil Colmillos in partnership with Rhayuela Films. The series will focus on a military mission to thwart a rogue squad roaming the Colombian jungles. The popular director of suspense thrillers, like El Paramo and Siete Cabezas will co-direct with Pablo Gonzale. 

They will film eight one-hour episodes in various locations in Colombia including Bogota and the Amazon jungle, according to Variety. The series will have a high production value, indicating HBO is willing to invest in Latin American content to broaden its audience. 

Todxs Nosotrxs

The new HBO series set in Brazil will follow Rafa, an 18-year-old non-binary person who is pansexual. Rafa decides to leave their family and move to Sao Paulo. Claro Gallo will portray Rafa and star alongside Kelner Macedo, Juliana Gerais, and Golda Nomacce. 

Patria

The series adapted from Spanish author Fernando Aramburu’s novel Patria is technically an HBO Europe production, but is still aimed at Spanish-speaking audience nonetheless. The series will be eight parts and written by Aitor Gabilondo and directed by Venice-winning Pablo Trapero and Goya-winning Félix Viscarret.

Set in Spanish Basque County the story will span over thirty years, following two families divided by the separatist terrorism of ETA. It will center around Bittori whose husband is murdered by ETA and her friendship with Miren, whose son is a member of the ETA. 

“I’ve dedicated almost a year to adapt Patria for TV. Now, it’s time to bring these characters to life and recreate the painful past reflected in this work of fiction. That the wounds of this recent history are still open in the Basque Country fuels my commitment and forces me to sharpen my sensibility,” said writer Gabilondo.

Antony Root, EVP of Original Programming and Production, HBO Europe told Deadline that he believed that while the story may take place during a specific political backdrop it is largely a universal one. 

“A personal, human story that unfolds against the backdrop of political violence in the Basque country, and which explores themes of grief, community and forgiveness, Patria is at once acutely local and affectingly universal,” Root said. “That we have such an outstanding creative team to bring it to life is testament to our ambition for the series, and its appeal to both Spanish and international audiences.  It is the perfect project to kick-off HBO Europe’s drama slate in Spain.”

The series began shooting in Northern Span this year and like the other series will premiere in 2020, though no premiere dates have been set yet. 

“Luckily, HBO has enabled me to be surrounded by an exceptional technical and artistic crew who share the same commitment. To me, Patria is not only the challenge of adapting a powerful and moving novel that has reached readers all over the world. It’s also a personal journey which, through these characters, takes me back to the toughest years of ETA that made such an impact on my youth,” Gabilondo. 

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct

Culture

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct

Pixabay

Two of Latin America’s most important ingredients – staples of cuisines across the region – are in danger of possible extinction thanks to climate change. Tomatoes and chilies both make up a huge part of traditional recipes from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina to Cuba – and they’re close to disappearing from grocery stores everywhere.

We know that tomato and chili are two fundamental ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Due to the threats suffered by its main pollinator, the bumblebee, these basic ingredients could disappear forever.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet. But one of the most at-risk species is the humble bumble bee. These often feared insects are a vital source of pollination for thousands of plant and flower species around the world – if they disappear so too do the species of plants that depend on them.

Pollinators are species of great importance for a healthy environment. They are responsible for the the diversity and health of various biomes. Across Latin America, the bumble bee is largely responsible for the pollination of modern agriculture and this could have a major impact on the production of tomatoes and chilis.

Unfortunately, bumblebees are currently threatened, resulting in the possible extinction of different vegetables, including tomatoes and chili.

But why does the tiny bumble bee matter at all?

The bumble bee belongs to the insect family Apidae, which includes hundeds of different species of bumblebees. In fact, the bumble bee can be found on every continent except Antarctica and plays an outsized role in agriculture. The insects are often larger than honey bees, come in black and white varieties and often feature white, yellow, or orange stripes. This genus belongs to the Apidae family that includes different species commonly known as bumblebees. They’re almost entirely covered by very silky hairs. An adult bumblebee reaches 20 millimeters or more and feeds primarily on nectar from flowering plants. A curious fact is that females have the ability to sting, while males do not.

Bumblebees are epic pollinators of the tomato and chili plantS. Together with different species, the bumblebee helps produce many staple foods that are part of healthy diets around the world. If these become extinct the eating habits of all Latinos would suffer drastic changes as several vegetables would disappear.

So why are bumblebees in danger?

The main threat of these insects is the pesticides used in modern agriculture. That is why it is necessary to avoid consuming food produced in this way. We can all help the bumblebee planting plants, protecting native species and especially not damaging their natural environment.

But climate change is also wreaking havoc on the breeding patters of bumblebees – leading to colony collapse. With fewer colonies there is less breeding and therefore fewer bees around the world to pollinate our global crops.

Can you imagine a world without tomatoes or chilies?

Salsa. Moles. Pico de gallo. Ketchup. Chiles rellenos. Picadillo. All of these iconic Latin American dishes would be in danger of going extinct along with the bumblebee – because what’s a mole without the rich, complex flavors of dried chilies?

Several groups are already working hard to help fund programs that would work to conserve the dwindling bumblebee populations. While others are working out solutions that could perhaps allow tomatoes and chilies to self-pollinate – much as other plants already do.

Using Social Media, Russia Is Accused Of Being Behind The Massive Protests Across Latin America

Things That Matter

Using Social Media, Russia Is Accused Of Being Behind The Massive Protests Across Latin America

Marcelo Hernandez

For months now, Latin America has been facing a political crisis as country after country has seen massive populist protest movements that have destabilized the region. From Chile to Puerto Rico, Bolivia to Ecuador, governments have struggled to respond to growing inequality – which has forced millions of Latinos to take to the street.

Many of these protest movements lack obvious leadership but they do share a few common threads. For one, they want to see more government accountability and actions against corruption. They also share a desire to fight growing income inequality which has stifled economic development for the region’s most vulnerable populations.

Now, a new report has tied many of these massive protest movements to Russian bots – which are seen as instigating and magnifying the region’s unrest.

The US has reportedly tied Russian bots to increased protest movements across Latin America.

Although the protest movements across Latin America share a few common threads, the majority of them are overwhelmingly different. In Chile, protests started over a planned increase in public transport fares. In Bolivia, it was against alleged voter fraud by then-President Evo Morales. In Puerto Rico, it was to fight back against alleged corruption and to hold leaders accountable for homophobic and misogynistic texts.

According to the US State Department, however, they’ve identified one theme they all seem to have in common: Russian interference.

In Chile, nearly 10 percent of all tweets supporting protests in late October originated with Twitter accounts that had a high certainty of being linked to Russia. While in Bolivia, tweets associated with Russian-backed accounts spiked to more than 1,000 per day – up from fewer than five.

And in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile over one 30-day period, Russia-linked accounts posted strikingly similar messages within 90 minutes of one another.

Senior diplomats from the US believe that Russia’s goal may be to increase dissent in countries that don’t support Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela.

Russia’s alleged campaign to help tap support for Maduro’s regime has resulted in mixed reviews. It’s not obvious how successful the campaign has been.

With the support of more than 50 other countries, the Trump administration has imposed bruising economic sanctions against Mr. Maduro’s government in Venezuela over the last year. The coalition is backing Juan Guaidó, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, whom most of Latin America and the rest of the West views as the country’s legitimate president.

Russia is working to expand its presence in Latin America, largely at Washington’s expense.

The US State Department frequently keeps tabs on Twitter traffic worldwide to monitor for potentially dangerous activities, like the proliferation of fake pages and user accounts or content that targets the public with divisive messages

“We are noting a thumb on the scales,” said Kevin O’Reilly, the deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing issues in the Western Hemisphere. “It has made the normal dispute resolutions of a democratic society more contentious and more difficult.”

Souring attitudes toward the United States throughout the region over trade and immigration issues, the rise of populist candidates, and the deepening internal economic and social challenges facing many Latin American countries create favorable circumstances for Russia to advance its interests.

About a decade ago, it became obvious that Russia was launching an online campaign to destabilize the region using new technology and social media.

There are Spanish-language arms of two Russian-backed news organizations that have been found to spread disinformation, conspiracy theories and, in some cases, obvious lies to undermine liberal democratic governments.

According to one state-financed group, RT Español, they’ve reached 18 million people each week across ten Latin American counties and have more than a billion views on YouTube. This is huge liability for the truth.