Things That Matter

11 Latina Revolutionaries You Must Know About

There are two undeniable facts about how history is written. One: it is written by the winners. Two: it is mostly written by, for and about men. The role of women in social and political change is only now being acknowledged and properly recorded and commented upon. However, for centuries women have lived in the shadows of history, while at the same time being key actors of historical events.

Here’s a list of 11 women who have rebelled against injustice, the patriarchy and those who oppress their people. As always happens, some of these figures are controversial. 

1. Marichuy

“But it’s precisely because we are the ones who feel the deepest pain, because we [experience] the greatest oppressions, that we women are also capable of feeling the deepest rage”

Credit: 1508971902830-Reportaje-Marichuy_Zapatistas-131-e1511293964532. Digital image. Feministing.


This nahua indigenous woman attempted to run for the presidency of her native Mexico in early 2018, but she could not get the necessary signatures to guarantee her run. Nevertheless, she ignited the hearts and  minds of students, activists and intellectuals. 

Credit: marichuy-2-780×450. Digital image. Chispa OC.


One of her main supporters was the writer and essayist Juan Villoro, who mobilized his influence in political and literary circles. He saw in Marichuy hope in balancing the deep inequalities faced by women, particularly of indigenous origin, in Mexico. 

2. Gioconda Belli

“It had never crossed my mind that a man could think he had the right to stop me from being who I was”

Credit: El-pais-de-las-mujeres.jpg Digital image. Havana Times


This Nicaraguan poet is a symbol of fierce political convictions and a refreshing look at the role of women in society. Belli expresses her femininity through verses that sometimes verge on the erotic. Throughout her life she has spoken out against injustice, whoever the perpetrator is. 

Credit: gioconda_beli. Digital image. Literal magazine


In her novels, Belli writes about the struggles of the indigenous populations under Spanish rule, and about everyday mechanisms of repression. 

3. Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez a.k.a La Corregidora

Credit: josefa-ortiz-de-domingo. Digital image. Mexico desconocido.


She is considered to be one of the precursors of the Mexican independence, which is quite a feat given that Latin American independence wars have been told as “the men who liberated us” narratives. 

Credit: DXS8eMKWAAg2JCH. Digital image. Mexico 21.


She was a wealthy woman whose husband ruled over the city of Queretaro (there are numerous stadiums and streets named after her today). Like other Mexican freedom fighters of the time (the war for independence started in 1810), she basically saw no reason why the then New Spain should keep paying taxes to the debilitated Spanish Crown.

4. Comandanta Ramona

“Our hope is that one day our situation will change, that we women will be treated with respect, justice and democracy”

Credit: a7c2076279be5526946186ed04f7f900. Digital image. Pinterest.


When the Zapatista movement got the international spotlight in 1994 one of the most recognizable profiles was that of Comandanta Ramona, who died in 2006. What she lacked in physical height she made up in dignity, courage and compassion for her fellow dispossessed.

Credit: unnamed_1-678×380 _. Digital image. Voices in Movement.


Ramona was not her real name, but a moniker. She was of tzotzil mayan heritage. The Zapatistas wore masks to hide their identity because, they claimed, they did not want to be protagonists but rather just representatives of the faceless and voiceless. 

5. Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo)

Credit: 40-años-de-la-primera-ronda-madres-plaza-mayo-foto-pablo-ernesto-piovano-copia . Digital image. Desinformemonos.


Between 1976 and 1983 Argentina suffered from one of the most severe and ruthless dictatorships of the twentieth century. Hundreds of political activists, most of them young, disappeared and were most likely killed. In 1977 a group of mothers whose children were unaccounted for marched in Buenos Aires downtown, in defiance of the right State laws. 

Credit: Madres old photo. Digital image. openDemocracy.


These courageous women marched every week for years, until they announced their final march in 2006. They became a symbol of quiet and peaceful resistance around the world. 

6.Eva Perón

“I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with”

Credit: eva-peron-1951-1150×862. Digital image. Remezcla.


One of the most famous symbols of early female power in politics. She was the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón and as First Lady she became a symbol of all those who support labor rights and implement public policies that benefit the most vulnerable. 

Credit: 3422584. Digital image. Mental floss


One of her biggest challenges was advocating for the right of women to vote. Universal suffrage was the firs, but not the last, battle that Latina women have faced in order to truly be heard in politics. 

7. Celia Sánchez

Credit: Sanchez. Digital image. Roberto Landori.


Like all Cuban revolutionaries, her legacy is controversial: some see her as a hero who helped Castro overthrow a tyrannical regime; others see her and the leaders of the Revolución Cubana as tyrants themselves. Truth is that Sánchez embodied a role often taken up only by men: guerrilla fighter. 

Credit: celia-sanchez. Digital image. Radio Bayamo.


She was a close friend of Fidel Castro and once the Batista government was overthrown she was named Secretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, an important role through which Castro entrusted State affairs to one of his oldest and more loyal comrades. 

8. Soldaderas

Credit: 0cbc268db5f98f30e0bf4d29549b8d08. Digital image. Inmense hotels.


The Mexican Revolution was a conflict full of enigmatic characters like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. But perhaps none are as intriguing as a group of women who not only took on domestic chores and tended for the soldiers, but took up on arms themselves. 

Credit: soldaderas-640454381. Digital image. History.

Soldaderas, as they are commonly known, were mostly of indigenous origin. Their fierce nature and gender-stereotype-breaking has been immortalized in photographs, pieces of silent cinema and corridos, popular songs that persist even today.  

9. Rigoberta Menchú Tum

“Peace cannot exist without justice”

Credit: tum-13442-portrait-medium. Digital image. Nobel Prize.


Along with thousands of indigenous women in Central America, Rigoberta suffered the atrocities of civil wars and iron-fisted governments. Contrary to most, however, she said “enough is enough”. The soft-spoken K’iche’ Maya feminist has organized not only women, but the indigenous population in general, and built bridges with other indigenous groups in the continent. 

Credit: portada-96-724×400. Digital image. Infinite Fire.

She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples”. Her recent political views have been quite controversial, as she has defended the rule of Bolivian president Evo Morales, who is seen by some as a populist. 

10. Paulina Luisi

Credit: DraPaulinaLuisi[1]. Digital image. Great Thoughts Treasury.


One of the founders of modern Uruguay. She was a revolutionary for many reasons. In 1909 she became the first woman to get a medical degree in her country, an almost impossible feat considering the gender power dynamics of the time. She was also the first Latin American woman to represent her country in the League of Nations (the predecessor to the United Nations). But her biggest achievement was… 

Credit: 231px-Paulina_Luisi_-_1929_-_Planisferio. Digital image. Wikipedia


… getting women to vote! Yes, she was a restless advocate for the right of women to be involved in political life and Uruguay became the first country in America to set things right. 

11. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén

“Don’t take under consideration stereotypes, prejudice or anything apart from reason”

Credit: ana-irma-bn-1. Digital image. 80 grados


It is not easy to be a black girl in a Latin American country, more so if you identify as gay. But Ana Irma Rivera Lassén is an awesome Puerto Rican powerhouse who became the first black woman to head the Bar Association of Puerto Rico. She is an amazing lawyer and unapologetic feminist. 

Credit: Ana. Digital image. 80 grados.


Talk about a power move: she was once forbidden to enter the court in pants instead of a skirt. She sued the judge… and won! Burn!

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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