Things That Matter

11 Latin American Rivalries That Have People Heated

Many people describe Latin America as a collection of brotherly countries that share a sibling-like relationship, and they might very well be right. No group of siblings gets along perfectly, and Latin America is no exception. We’re always arguing about who plays the best fútbal, who makes the best tamalés, and who overthrew Spain best (okay that last one isn’t too hard to figure out – we all did!). Today we’ll go over our favorite and most infamous Latin American rivalries and let you decide: who actually is right?

1. Colombia vs Venezuela

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Imagine two sisters who just happened to love making and eating the exact same food. That, my friends, is what it’s like watching Colombia and Venezuela argue over who invented the arepa. These delicious little corn cakes are a staple of both countries cuisines, and anyone who has eaten one can attest they are in fact worth arguing over. So who actually is responsible for this gift to our mouths?

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Turns out they both are, sort of. Well, more accurately, they’re ancestrally both related to the inventors of the arepa. The arepa as we know it evolved from the native cuisine of the Timoto-cuicas, an indigenous group that lived in the northern Andes. The corn snacks are not-so-distant relatives of other bread eaten in the area.

2. Brazil vs Argentina

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Ah yes, the two jock brothers of Latin America: Brazil and Argentina. CNN has ranked this soccer rivalry second on their top ten list of international back-and-forths, behind the infamous but objectively less talented England-Scotland rivalry. No other battle on this list is as enjoyable to watch, and consequently, no battle on this list ends with more discord.

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Since 1914, the neighboring national teams have played 105 matches against each other. Through friendly matches and world cup faceoffs, the two have learned to love each other and how to improve their skills by keeping each other on the cutting edge of the sports world. And just in case you’re counting: Brazil boasts 41 wins while Argentina holds 38. Between them both they’ve arrived at a whopping 26 draws.

3. The Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico

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Take a little trip to the Caribbean and there is no doubt you will run into Dominicans and Puertoricans roasting each other. The two island peoples have a lot in common, with many people knowing someone from either place in their own neighborhood. So why the constant dunking? Probably because to can’t get enough of each other. They both love to dance and claim they have the best sancocho stew. They both play incredible baseball.  And because they are, to many other Spanish speakers, totally incomprehensible.

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Consider these two the funny kids in the back of the class. Yes, they might be a little rowdy but you better hope they don’t join forces to start roasting you because they’re going to definitely hurt your feelings.

4. Peru vs Mexico

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This is the grand battle for best ancient American empire – and best Latin American cuisine. Mexicans pride themselves on their Aztec and Mayan history, while Peru boasts the heart of the Incan empire. Both countries are home to amazing ancient architecture, pyramids that continue to fascinate historians and tourists alike, and delicious cuisine that harkens to their native roots.

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While Mexican cuisine is known for its spice and heat, Peruvian food is known for its seafood and variety of flavors and textures. Both countries are known to make top 10 lists of world cuisines, but it all depends on what you’re willing to try. In the Andes, for example, Peruvians have been known to eat guinea pigs and alpacas. On the coasts, their delicate seafood has been melting food critics’ hearts for decades. Mexico has been melting tastebuds with hot chiles and scoring crispy, limey, salty delicacies on their coastal dishes for just as long. This battle might never truly be sorted out.

5. Cuba vs Cuban exiles

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Cuba: home to Castro, one of the most successful communist revolutions in history, and a ton of classic cars. Unfortunately, not everyone has appreciated the lack of McDonald’s and flashy new phones. Though the American-backed embargo is behind that big last part, it has affected people on every corner of the island. Many Cubans left the island, but not all the exiles left with great rhetoric after everything was said and done. Wealthy landowners were dispossessed of their riches often joined and lead reactionary right-wing movements in other countries, and since then there’s been a huge fallout between the voting and political patterns of Cubans abroad and every other Latino diaspora group. In the U.S., for example, Cubans are much more likely to vote Republican and support Trump compared to all other Latino groups.

Read: 25 Odd Facts About Cuba To Know Before You Visit

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Now, Cubans may have reasons for leaving the island that can be very valid, but the resulting shock between the communities has made Cubans vs Cuban exiles a heated feud for the better part of a century. For all the back and forth, there are still some gains Cuba has at the end of the day: for example, they have free higher education, a 99.8% literacy rate (one of the highest in the world), and boasts the highest doctor-to-patient ratio anywhere on the planet along with universal healthcare. The good news is that as of 2015, the U.S. and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations, allowing for the long feud to finally start coming to an end.

6. Argentina vs. Chile

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This family feud is more like two angry twins in the car fighting over who gets to choose the movie on the iPad, only instead of a movie its land and instead of an iPad its the border. Argentina and Chilé are literally right next to each other and have pulled a lot of the same shenanigans everyone else in Latin America resents them for: namely harboring Nazis after World War II. When they’re collaborating it’s a threat to everyone else on the South American continent, and when they’re at each other’s throats it’s an out-of-proportion war over things the rest of us wish they could just civilly work out.

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Argentina and Chilé joined forces back in 1836 to go up against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation simply because of the fear the northern neighbors might be too powerful as a cohesive block.  For years after that war came to an end, the two nations had a massive tug-of-war over Patagonia and every single river and lake on the border. That animosity has never really fully settled down and most of us hope the two keep each other occupied before attacking the rest of Latin America again or finding more Nazis to harbor.

Read: 25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

7. Bolivia vs Chile

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Poor Bolivia is landlocked, and its only route to sea has infamously been claimed by Chile who just wasn’t having it. You’d think Chilé would have been busier arguing with Argentina about literally everything, but sadly for Bolivia, the two were at peace just long enough to screw Bolivia out of a coastline. The War of the Pacific, as it was called, lead to Bolivia’s small coast being annexed by Chile.

Read: Bolivia Is One Of The Most Underrated Countries In Latin America And These Things To Do Prove It

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Bolivia has since been left as the poorest country in South America. Even in the 21st Century, as Bolivia has attempted to get access to the coast to build a pipeline, Chile shut down their idea. To be fair, it wasn’t an incredibly eco-friendly idea, and Evo Morales, the next Bolivian leader, admitted the idea wasn’t worth it anyway later on. Anyway, that little coastline with a handful of angry pelicans pooping everywhere has been the source of most of the strife between Bolivia and Chile as far back as we can tell.

8. Argentina vs Everyone Else

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Look, there are a lot of great things about Argentina. The birthplace of tango! Home to a bunch of really cute penguins! Some really delicious meat! But Argentina has historically been at odds with large swaths of Latin America for basically being just a tad bit stuck up. That and the whole harboring Nazis thing.

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Argentina has been known to consider itself more “European” than the rest of us, even nicknaming Buenos Aires the “Paris of South America.” It’s hard to say they aren’t a beautiful country, but that whole Pinochet thing should have humbled them a bit. Argentina, remember that time you had a fascist dictator? Remember how you casually use the term “negro” on people of any race to mean “ignorant”? They are prone to think they are more attractive than darker-skinned Latin Americans, but colorism isn’t unique to Argentina either. We might be a tad bit jealous of their gorgeous coastline though, I admit.

9. Honduras vs El Salvador

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Have you ever heard of the 100-hour Football War? Shorter than a Kardashian marriage, this little war between El Salvador and Honduras took place in 1969. Historians point to the nationalistic feelings stoked by a series of soccer matches between the two countries, along with a migration of 300,000 Salvadorans to Honduras in search of work during that time period.

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The good news is this feud is mostly in the past, and El Salvador and Honduras have more in common than they have to fight about. They are both one of each other’s most prominent trade partners, and since the U.S. has meddled in both countries elections and politics, they’ve got more reasons than ever before to stick together.

10. Mexico vs the rest of Central America

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Mexico is without a doubt the largest Central American country. Everything about Central America that has entered the mainstream has largely passed through Mexico. Sometimes this can leave the rest of Central America feeling a little left out, even wanting to distance itself from Mexico’s large presence. For example, if you’ve ever gone to school or work and introduced yourself as a Nicaraguan, a Honduran, or a Salvadoran, odds are someone has asked what part of Mexico that’s in.

Read: 21 Historical Facts About Mexico That Will Make You Sound Like A Genius

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In the past 40 years, as more and more immigrants have passed through Central America to the United States and Canada, Mexico has had more power and influence over refugees coming from south of their borders. While most Mexicans may have seen other Central Americans as their own people, others took advantage of refugees and kidnapped or trafficked them through drug cartels. Today, during the Trump administration, most of that seems to be in the past. The current caravans have said that the Mexican people have welcomed them with open arms.

11. Guatemala vs Belize

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Poor Belize can’t seem to catch a break. The United Kingdom has attempted to have claim over them since they were colonized as “British Honduras” back in 1862 after the Spanish just weren’t there long enough and the British got bored and seized it. When Belize finally gained its independence from the Queen back in 1981, Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation because of its longstanding territorial dispute with the British colony, claiming that the land belonged to Guatemala.

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The people of Guatemala claimed that they had ancestrally already lived and shared space with what is now Belize, and wanted to reunite the land and people free of the United Kingdom’s rule. Belizeans fought against Guatemalan rule, demanding their own independence. Finally, the United Nations ruled to affirm the sovereignty of Belize and called on the UK and Guatemala to find something else to do. Since then the countries have been peaceful neighbors, and many Belizeans and Guatemalans live side by side in each other’s countries, sans the British.

What You Need To Know About Luis Gerardo Mendez, The Mexican Actor Taking Hollywood By Storm

Entertainment

What You Need To Know About Luis Gerardo Mendez, The Mexican Actor Taking Hollywood By Storm

It has been more than a decade since Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna established themselves as power players in the Hollywood game. Other Mexican actors like Kuno Becker have also broken into the United States mainstream, but they are few and far apart. The new kid on the block is actor Luis Gerardo Mendez, an actor that has done it all in a few years: he has made indie films, a highly successful Netflix show, one of the most successful Mexican movies of all time and now films with Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and the new Charlie’s Angels team of kickass queens. 

He was born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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Contrary to what some might believe, not every Mexican actor comes from the capital Mexico City! Luis Gerardo was born in the city of Aguascalientes on March 8, 1982. 

Remember how Jude Law seemed to be on every single movie released in the early 2000s? Well, that is what the very prolific Luis Gerardo is for the Mexican film industry today.

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From the beginning of his career, he has been willing to work with anyone who wants to tell a story. He has collaborated with first-time directors such as Ivan Morales, whose film Sincronia is available on YouTube (it is a delightful film about love and loss). He has taken on peculiar projects such as Camino a Marte, where he plays an alien trapped in a human body. He doesn’t shy away from challenges, ever. 

BTW, you just can’t miss his Netflix film Time Share (Tiempo compartido).

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Time Share (2018) is a dark comedy that explores the sect-like practices of the tourism industry and how it lures clients to get lifelong commitments to spend holidays in particular all-inclusive resorts. Filmed in Acapulco, it starts as a comedy of errors and soon becomes a much darker film: a true indictment of capitalism and its deathly methods for controlling people through impossible dreams and promises of achieving a higher social status.

Fame and fortune no se la ha subido a la cabeza and he remains humble and con los pies bien puestos sobre la Tierra.

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We love his Instagram account, where you can follow his daily life (how cool is this shot from a nightclub toilet in grungy Berlin?), from his trips to life behind the sets of his movies and TV shows. 

He is a true supporter of Mexican cinema.

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Luis Gerardo had one of the leading roles in the super successful film Nosotros los Nobles (The Noble Family), which tells the story of an upper-class family that suddenly sees its fortune evaporate. Luis Gerardo often collaborates with new and emerging directors and often takes an active role in the production. He believes in and loves the industry which saw him become one of the most recognizable of Latino filmmaking. 

We will always remember his character in Club de Cuervos, Salvador Iglesias Jr, Chava pa los cuates.

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Some actors are always linked to certain characters, and that is the case of Luis Gerardo, who played the extravagant and frankly kinda dumb Chava Iglesias in the Netflix show Club de Cuervos, which explored the world of Mexican professional soccer. Mendez revealed himself as a comedic genius, navigating the thin line that separates slapstick and high-quality comedy. He gave an apparently shallow character multiple layers of both dramatic and comedic depth. 

We mean, no one has worn a vest better.

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Chava Iglesias was so ridiculously full of himself that it was uncomfortably fun to watch! He left us plenty of memorable moments, such as successfully hiring the best soccer player in the world out of pure necedad!

He is an animal lover.

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The actor collaborates with PETA Latino, particularly in a campaign to treat domestic pets as they deserve: with care and respect. He particularly cares about dogs that are left alone in rooftops all day, a common practice in Mexico. 

He has his own collectible figurine!

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Once you have a Funko POP! toy made a tu imagen y semejanza you know you have made it! 

You can’t miss Bayoneta either (it’s on Netflix).

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The outstanding boxing drama Bayoneta is also available on Netflix. It tells the sad story of a has-been fighter from Tijuana that makes a living in Finland by training young boxers. He gives a deep, challenging performance that was physically tough.  

His movie Murder Mystery has been one of the most watched Netflix originals.

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Yes, of course, it is mainly because of his costars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, but Mendez’ film was watched by more than 30 million people in the first three days after its release. That is much more than what many theatrical releases get. Streaming services are truly revolutionizing how movies are produced, distributed and watched, and are giving actors like Mendez a platform in which they can explore different genres. Netflix is very fond of Luis Gerardo, and we are sure we will see more of him in the years to come. 

Next up, a crazy scientist in the girl-power action film Charlie’s Angels.

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He will play a minor role, but he will give comedic relief to the highly anticipated remake directed by Elizabeth Banks. We just can’t wait to see him in this! 

His next project deals with US-Mexico relationships: Half Brother sounds truly amazing.

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In an exclusive interview for Mitú, the film’s producer and writer, Eduardo Cisneros (one of the leading Latino voices in the industry), said about the actor: “When Jason Shuman and I started fleshing out this story, I immediately thought of Luis Gerardo, because there aren’t many people out there with all the qualities the role required. First of all, he’s a gifted actor, capable of giving a layered dramatic performance, but at the same time, he’s immensely adroit at comedy. We needed a redoubtable leading performer, the kind people come to expect from a Focus movie, but also someone who had a great appeal within the Mexican and Latinx moviegoers. We approached him at the early stages of the project, and little did we know he had a personal, almost autobiographical, connection to the story. So it was almost kismet. He came on board not only as a star but as an executive producer, so we are lucky to have his input and artistry in this movie”. 

Cisneros explains what this movie is all about: “Luis Gerardo Méndez stars as Renato, a successful Mexican private aviation entrepreneur based in San Miguel De Allende, who is shocked to discover he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher, played by Connor Del Rio. The two very different half-brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to the US.  The central idea of the movie is the need for learning how to see things from your neighbor’s perspective, which is kind of an allegory for what we’re going today in our global society.”

READ: 8 Times Netflix’s ‘Club De Cuervos’ Reminded Us How Intense Sibling Rivalry Is

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

Entertainment

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has brought sweeping changes to the country since he took office last year. Whether it’s crime reform, government overhaul or even cutting his own salary. But according to the Washington Post, Lopez Obrador has also slashed the budget of the Mexican Olympic Committee. The cuts are a huge blow to the day-to-day operations of the sports organization which will now no longer be able to offer food, lodging, and medical services at its central sports training complex.

The budget cut is just the latest to come from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration which has already cut back on other services such as government jobs, researchers and archaeologists.

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The call for more budget cuts comes as a surprise to some as Lopez-Obrador, a self-described leftist, has consciously spent less on government-funded efforts. In just the first seven months on the job, the administration has pushed efforts to reduce spending, which even includes Lopez-Obrador’s own salary and plans to sell off the presidential plane.

The Mexican Olympic Committee says it doesn’t have the $4.7 million needed to operate the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full resources due to these cuts. The sports complex has various track and pool facilities that include a gymnasium and velodrome. Just this year alone, government funding for sports is about 25 percent below last year’s spending.  

Critics of these budget cuts say the government is spending the same amount of money but instead reallocating it to different areas and needs. This has resulted in fears that the cuts will result in not having enough money to perform and essential tasks and duties. 

President Lopez Obrador has described his new financial plan as “republican austerity.” This is causing some concerns in Mexico. 

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Besides just athletics, there is increasing stress for other civic services. Researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History told the Washington Post that almost 200 employees have been cut since the year began. These latest announced cuts have renewed fears of more layoffs coming in the near future. 

“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute told the Washington Post. Many of these employees are scarcely paid and are on temporary contracts, which already places a big burden on their pay and livelihood. 

Throughout the government spectrum, there has been visible cuts and elimination of positions like consultancy and management positions. All while thousands of more public servants have resigned or quit altogether. 

Some of these funds being cut are essential to certain projects being worked on throughout Mexico. 

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While Mexico’s budget, $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion), may look similar to last year, it just means that Lopez Obrador is putting it to use in different areas. These decisions are well in his power and are following his budget plan that he crafted back in December. 

“There is money,” Valerie Moy, an economist told the Washington Post. “It’s just being redirected to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be almost whims that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.”

There are some concerns that these cuts are being made without proper consideration. Finance Minister Carlos Urzua left his position just last week due to what he says is the public policy decisions the administration is doing “without sufficient sustenance.”

“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” Moy said.

There is no say when or what will be cut next but it may have a huge effect on things bigger than sports. 

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Back in May, Mexico City was hit with severe smog that was caused by nearby wildfires. Experts say that the looming air pollution could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the budget cuts to environmental services that deal with this type of detection.

“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” Mexico’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum said in a statement this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”

READ: The Peso Plummets After Mexico’s Finance Minister Quits And Calls Out Corruption In AMLO’s Government

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