Things That Matter

Tech Giant Amazon Won Legal Battle For Its Domain Name But What Does That Mean For South America

Online retail giant Amazon has prevailed in a controversial domain name legal battle with Amazon, the geographic region in South America. This past month, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) sided with Amazon to win the rights to the “.amazon” domain name.

The decision comes after a seven year dispute with more than a half dozen countries including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia. The countries argue that Amazon should not have the rights to the name as it is also an important geographic region in their continent. They are also backed by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO), a group promoting the development of the Amazon Basin.

While Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer, it’s also the name of the world’s largest rain forest.

The presidents of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia- Martin Vizcarra, Ivan Duque, Lenin Moreno and Evo Morales , have called the decision “inadequate governance of the internet.” The core of their argument is a cultural and symbolic stance on what the term “amazon” represents.

The countries objecting Amazon’s move worry that a corporation symbolically taking control of a name associated with their heritage sets a precedent for future similar scenarios. They also worry they would lose tourism revenue and opportunities to use trip.amazon, hotels.amazon and other domain names.

The case sets “a grave precedent by prioritizing private commercial interests above the considerations of state public policies, the rights on indigenous people and the preservation of the Amazon,” Vizcarra, Duque, Moreno and Morales said in a joint statement.

Amazon had tried to get the countries to drop their challenge for years.

Amazon has had multiple attempts to get the ACTO to drop their complaint. One of these attempts included offering $5 million in gift cards to Brazil and Peru, the ACTO member states who originally filed the complaint. But the offers were declined.

Fahim Naim, a former category manager at Amazon, told Retail Dive that while this legal case might not be a big deal to some outside the U.S., it’s important in South America.

“I’m not sure the average U.S. customer is going to care enough, but from a South American perspective, Amazon is fighting with these seven or eight South American countries, you have the foreign minister of Brazil publicly objecting, and Amazon, by the way, just launched in Brazil,” Naim said. “I can imagine that, if you’re a Brazilian, throw in the whole angle that they are demeaning the rainforest, you’re less likely to consider shopping there.”

Many are criticizing the decision because of what the name represents to the various regions in South America.

Many are upset that an online retail giant like Amazon has continued to take over many properties, and now the name of a region. One user called the decision “colonial” and a “a slap in the face to early internet promises of global representation + shared power.”

The next move in the dispute will be a 30-day period of public comment.

ICAAN said that it “remained hopeful that additional time could lead to a mutually acceptable solution regarding those applications. But at this time the ACTO and Amazon “were unable to come to a mutually acceptable solution or agree on an extension of time for continued discussions.”

As part of Amazon’s agreement terms with the domain, the retailer will not register any .amazon domain names with “a primary and well-recognized significance to the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region.” It will also provide up to nine domain names for countries to use for non-commercial purposes to “highlight the region’s culture and heritage.”

While there have been disputes over domain names in the past. Rarely has a company faced off against multiple countries for a name.

“It’s not the classic issue of two different parties applying for the same name,” Rodrigo de la Parra, the regional vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean at Icann, told the New York Times. “The governments didn’t apply for .amazon — they only have concerns about its usage by a private company given its cultural and natural heritage for the region.”

READ: Here’s Why Housing Advocates Are Warning Against Amazon’s Impact On Affordable Housing

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People Have A Lot Of Opinions About The Argentina Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Street Food: Latin America’

Culture

People Have A Lot Of Opinions About The Argentina Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Street Food: Latin America’

Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images

Netflix has a new food show out and it has everyone buzzing. “Street Food: Latin America” is bringing everyone the sabor of Latin America to their living room. However, reviews are mixed because of Argentina and the lack of Central American representation.

Netflix has a new show and it is all about Latin American street food.

Some of the best food in the world comes from Latin America. That is just a fact and it isn’t because our families and community come for Latin America. Okay, maybe just a little. The food of Latin America comes with history and stories that have shaped our childhood. For many of us, it is the only thing we have that connects us to the lands our families have left.

The show is highlighting the contributions of women to street food.

“Street Food: Latin America” focuses mainly on the women that are leading the street food cultures in different countries in Latin America. For some of them, it was a chance to bring themselves out of poverty and care for their children. For others, it was a rebellion against the male-dominated culture of cooking in Latin America.

However, some people have some strong opinions about the show and they aren’t good.

There is a lot of attention to native communities in the Latino community culturally right now. The Argentina episode where someone claims that Argentina is more European is rubbing people the wrong way right now. While the native population of Argentina is small, it is still important to highlight and honor native communities who are indigenous to the lands.

The disregard for the indigenous community is upsetting because indigenous Argentinians are fighting for their lives and land.

An A Jazeera report focused on an indigenous community in northern Argentina who were fighting to protect their land. After decades of discrimination and humiliation, members of the Wichi community fought to protect their land from the Argentinian government grabbing it in 2017. Early this year, before Covid, children of the tribe started to die at alarming rates of malnutrition.

Another pain point in the Latino community is the complete disregard of Central America.

Central America includes Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, and Panama. Central America’s exclusion is not sitting right with Netflix users with Central American heritage. Like, how can five whole countries be looked over during a Netflix show about street food in Latin America?

Seems like there is a chance for Netflix to revisit Latin America for more food content.

There are so many countries in Latin America that offer delicious foods to the world. There is more to Latin America than Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia.

READ: This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

Desperate For Work, Immigrant Workers Are Collecting The Bodies Of Covid-19 Victims

Things That Matter

Desperate For Work, Immigrant Workers Are Collecting The Bodies Of Covid-19 Victims

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Countries across Latin America are struggling to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, Latin America is now considered the epicenter of the global outbreak, as countries in the region are ravaged by the virus. From Brazil to Mexico, government responses have varied widely and adherence to social distancing guidelines has been difficult for communities with little in the way of a financial safety net.

Meanwhile, Latin America is still experiencing a refugee crisis as Venezuelans flee their country for better opportunities in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and even Mexico. This has led to many migrants being forced to take less than ideal jobs as ordinary work opportunity have dried up as the economies have been hit hard by the pandemic.

In Peru, migrants are collecting bodies of those who have died from Covid-19 in order to make a living.

Despite Peru’s early action to contain the pandemic, the coronavirus has spread like wildfire through the country. More than 390,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus so far. Meanwhile, the country is a destination for Venezuelan refugees, with at least 870,000 who have ended up in Peru, working low-wage jobs to make ends meet or to send funds home to impoverished loved ones.

One of the jobs these migrants are working is to collect the bodies of those who have died from Covid-19. It’s a grim job but they earn $500 a month for their efforts, nearly double the minimum wage in Peru. They work up to 19 hours a day, seven days a week.

Most of the bodies they collect are from poor neighborhoods, from homes where people can’t afford to hire a funeral director to handle the burial. There have been more than 13,000 deaths from Covid-19, and the public health system is collapsing under the weight of the grim toll. What’s left for the poor is a death with little dignity.

At the city’s El Angel Cemetery crematorium, many of the staff handling bodies also are Venezuelans.

“The Peruvians don’t do it. It’s tough,” said Orlando Arteaga, who works seven days a week, earning the money he needs to support three children in Venezuela and a 2-year-old daughter in Lima. He told CNN he never imagined he would see so much death, but that “somebody has to do it — and we need work.”

Peru has been hit hard by the outbreak and its death toll continues to rise.

As of July 28, Peru has seen more than 390,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and there have been 18,418 deaths related to the virus. These numbers have skyrocketed in recent weeks. In fact, at the beginning of the crisis, Peru appeared as a model for other countries in the region.

Peru was praised early on in the pandemic for its swift and decisive response, buffered by an enviable fiscal cushion. But four months later, the government’s disjointed execution of its strategy has made the country a cautionary tale for how not to fight Covid-19. Early on, Peru’s government imposed a strict lockdown that is only now being eased. A few days later, a fiscal package of more than 10% of GDP was announced, including cash transfers to the poorest third of the population, credit support for businesses and, most importantly, expanded funding to the health sector.

And yet, Peru’s record on dealing with the pandemic has not only been disappointing – it is among the worst in the world.

Venezuelan refugees have been pouring out of the country looking for better opportunities and ways to support their families.

Although Venezuela hasn’t been hit hard by the Coronavirus, compared to other countries – although this is beginning to change. However, it’s experiencing an economic catastrophe that has left millions in extreme poverty.

The country has recorded almost 16,000 cases of Covid-19 and less than 150 deaths. But the country is being ravaged by fuel and electricity shortages, a near worthless currency, and political strife that has rendered much of the government useless.

Countries in the region are being dramatically affected by the fallout. Neighboring Colombia, for instance, has absorbed some 1.6 million Venezuelan refugees to date in a migration wave that is severely straining government resources and adversely impacting the national economy. Peru has experienced much the same dynamic, as — to a lesser extent — have countries like Ecuador, Brazil and Chile. That’s because eight out of ten Venezuelan refugees have remained in Latin America and the Caribbean, so local governments have been forced to bear the brunt of Venezuela’s unfolding collapse.