Women all over Latin America are redefining what “family” means. For the majority of them, it means being an unwed mother. In fact, in Colombia, 84 percent of kids are born out of wedlock, and the numbers are similar in Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
“Things have really changed,” says María Mercedes Vittar, a human resources manager and single mother of two, to NPR. “Today, we women are a lot freer. We decide what we like and don’t like. We work. We are independent. And that gives us a lot of strength. We can do it alone if we have to.”
Her daughters, Azul, 3, and Lupita, 7 months, are from different fathers. Vittar is not romantically involved with either of them, but they’re both involved in their daughters’ lives. They even spend special occasions together, for example at Azul’s birthday, her dad attended with his ex-wife and their children, Azul’s half siblings.
Vittar says that her family is a lot more than just her immediate relatives, it also includes her friends, fellow single mothers, Paola Fiorita, mother of 3-year-old Lucio, and Ana Zappella, mother of 2-year-old Ambar. The good thing is that this dynamic is so prevalent that it’s now accepted.
“Things have changed so radically that now there is a huge diversity that is deemed acceptable, and it is valued. You don’t have to get married like before to have a place in society,” says Maria Esther de Palma, president of the Argentine Society for Family Therapy to NPR.
Hmmm, maybe that’s why some will pay to attend a fake wedding in South America.
Read more about the new family dynamic in Latin America from NPR here.
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A family from Arizona has tragically been without a home since New Year’s Day. Fortunately, however, thanks to the swift efforts of a neighbor, they still have each other.
On New Year’s Day, the Salgado family was asleep in their home in Avondale, Arizona when they heard a frantic knock at their door. Nicole Salgado’s husband, who lived in the home with their children, opened the front door to find her neighbor shouting at her to get her family out of the house. It was on fire.
The Salgado family woke up New Year’s Day to find their house in flames.
“We were all asleep,” Salgado explained to CNN in an interview. “Then all of the sudden around 7:30 in the morning, we hear banging on our door and our doorbell is going off and we kind of get scared.”
Their neighbor, Carolyn Palisch, was there telling them to get out of the house. Footage from the family’s home security video shows their neighbor running past flames to get to the home.
“He opened the door and all I heard was our neighbor Carolyn saying your house is on fire you have to get out,” said Salgado.
Salgado, who is a mother to four children, hurried to gather her children. Together, all of them escaped the burning home safely. “It was just kind of frantic at first, making sure we got everyone out and the dogs out,” she explained. “Then once we realized the full extent of it we were just in shock as we watched our home burn.”
Sadly, the Salgado family lost all their belongings in the fire
Salgado explained that the roof of her house collapsed moments after they escaped. According to CNN, firefighters at the scene claimed that if the family had still been sleeping at the time the roof had collapsed they would have inhaled the smoke and likely passed out immediately.
We are so thankful to just be alive,” Salgado explained in a post to her TikTook page. She also included doorbell camera footage of the moment their neighbor came to the rescue.
Salgado’s video has been liked nearly 7 million times on TikTok.
“Never did we think it was going to blow up the way it did. But we are so grateful,” Salgado explained. “We are so glad it did for Carol, to show how amazing she is. If it wasn’t for her it’d be a totally different story. We feel so thankful to her. We’re always going to consider her family. She not only saved us, she saved our kids.”
Salgado says that the cause of the fire is still under investigation and shared that her family has created a Go Fund Me account to help them rebuild their lives.
2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.
However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.
Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.
Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.
Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.
After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.
Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.
Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.
Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.
Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.
Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.
Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.
The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.
In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.
From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.
Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.
Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.
Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.
A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.
Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.
Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.