Things That Matter

US Ambassador Insults Mexican Icon Frida Kahlo And Mexicans Clapped Back

Relations between the US and Mexico haven’t exactly been super warm over the last few years. Thanks, in part, to Trump’s often inhumane (and likely illegal) policies targeting migrants, many Mexicans don’t have the greatest impression of the US right now.

Although the working relationship between Trump and his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, hasn’t suffered too much – at least not publicly – that could all change after a recent gaffe by the recently appointed US Ambassador to Mexico.

The ambassador was touring the famous Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s longtime home, when he shared some choice words about the iconic Mexican artist.

The newly appointed United States ambassador to Mexico has caused a fierce social media debate after taking aim at iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo for her “passion for Marxism”.

Following a visit on Sunday to Kahlo’s house, which has been turned into a museum after her death in 1954, Cristopher Landau sent out a tweet asking if the acclaimed artist had not been aware of atrocities committed in the name of that ideology.

“I admire her free and bohemian spirit, and she rightly became an icon of Mexico around the whole world,” the US ambassador, who assumed office last month, wrote in Spanish. He then added “What I do not understand is her obvious passion for Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism. Didn’t she know about the horrors committed in the name of that ideology?”

The ambassador basically tried to mansplain the politics of Marxism and Leninism.

In a now viral tweet, the ambassador questioned her political views and whether she truly understood the meaning behind them. Many Mexicans, and people around the world, rightfully took offense to that.

Frida Kahlo was a very political person who was very engaged in the Mexican political scene. She was well tuned in to the inner workings of Communism and Marxism, so for this man to question this powerful woman’s understanding of politics rubbed many people the wrong way.

So what were Frida Kahlo’s political beliefs?

Frida was both a feminist and a socialist. She was a trailblazer not just for women, but for LGBTI people and people with disabilities. After a tram accident changed the course of her life, she struggled with and embraced her multiple identities, which can be seen in her self-portraits, making up the bulk of her work.

Frida joined the Mexican Communist Party when she was in her 20s but left when her husband Diego Rivera, also a famous artist, was expelled. After the expulsion, Frida and Diego went to the US, and it was here that they began associating with the Left Opposition headed by Leon Trotsky.

Mexicans flooded Twitter with some pretty savage responses to the ambassador’s insult.

His tweet prompted fury from Mexicans online.

Many criticised the US or its long history of interfering in the internal affairs of Latin America and other countries around the globe, often to counter socialist governments.

“In the name of fighting that ideology, the US killed children in Vietnam by bombing entire villages and supporting dictatorships throughout Latin America,” said one Twitter user.

Many Mexicans blasted the US for its long history of interfering in the internal affairs of Latin America and other countries around the globe, often to counter socialist governments.

“How many deaths have caused by US interventions? Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, Vietnam, Korea, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Operation Condor … and we don’t talk about the extermination of Native Americans or the economy of slavery,” A Fuertes wrote on Twitter. 

Another user on Twitter wrote: “In the name of fighting that ideology, the US killed children in Vietnam by bombing entire villages and supporting dictatorships throughout Latin America,” said user @Quetzalcoaltl1.

Even the Mexican Communist party got in on the debate.

The Mexican Communist Party weighed into the debate, saying: “Ambassador Landau, Comrade Frida was consistent with humanism, the search for democracy and freedom of Mexico’s workers and people, and therefore she was a Marxist-Leninist, and of course Stalin’s admirer. Don’t show your ignorance any more, imitating Trump.”

While some shared her works paired with her quotes showing what she really thought when it came to politics and life.

For many, simply holding Marxist and Leninist views doesn’t equal negative politics. For many, those political views offer hope and signify community, respect, and society.

These Mayan Women Are Reclaiming Their Heritage And Designing The Coolest Products Ever

Things That Matter

These Mayan Women Are Reclaiming Their Heritage And Designing The Coolest Products Ever

Amir Rodrigues / Unsplash

Much has been said about the vulnerable position that indigenous populations in general, and indigenous women in particular, are in when it comes to protecting the intellectual property derived from their traditional designs.

The Mexican Congress recently passed a law through which companies that steal designs from indigenous communities will be subject to hefty fines. The culprits are generally big international brands such as Zara and Carolina Herrera, which should know better when it comes to presenting designs as their own when they are clearly very “heavily inspired” by the work of craftspeople who earn a small fraction of what they should, only to see their designs being sold in hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

So it comes as a welcome surprise to find out some indigenous Mayan women have gotten together to profit from their millenary wisdom and dexterous hands to launch a startup that promises to become a way of living for many of them. 

An entrepreneur, una jefa de jefas, named Nancy Zavala launched a small company, Zavy, that employs Mayan women.

The company’s mission is to help women achieve financial independence through their work. Zavala knows that the key in a small company is specialization and they have focused on a particular product: camera straps. So far 20 women have joined Zavy. As Zavala told El Universal, these women feel a sense of accomplishment as their children see them work and their husbands, who previously “did not allow them” to do so, now also want to help. Women from other Mayan communities have approached Zavala, wanting to join in.

This is a great step for many Mayan women who not only live in an environment with very clearly and strictly demarcated gender roles, but are also part of an indigenous group in Mexico that has historically been discriminated against. Zavala put her heart, soul and money in this enterprise: the first straps were produced entirely with her savings.

Their camera straps are garnering attention among semi professional and professional circles.

The craftswomen receive 50% of the profits and the rest is reinvested in the company to buy materials and strengthen their web presence. They have been able to sell to Mexico. the United States and some Latin American countries. These camera straps are seriously cool and we can see any professional photojournalist use them…. Pero por supuesto.

We did a search on Etsy and found that plenty of pages not run my Mayans are selling “Mayan camera straps.” They either copy the design or “repurpose” other artefacts such as belts or clothing with traditional Mayan embroidery. This is like adding insult to injury: they are reselling objects that took hours for someone to make and sell for a fraction of what these repurposed straps sell on Etsy. This is why initiatives such as Zavala’s are so important. 

Nancy founded Zavy to honor her Mayan heritage.

Nancy was born in the small community of Saye and she grew up watching her grandmother make blouses, shirts and other products in the traditional Mayan style. But she knew that in order to achieve financial independence she had to study. And so she went to university and became one of the members of the 1% of indigenous Mexicans who finish a graduate degree. She got a Bachelors in Project Development, a huge achievement in and of itself. But her journey did not end there and she wanted to inspire other women and get them to be independent as well. And so Zavy was born.

Nancy is 28 years old now and she is doing her Master’s degree in Merida, the capital of her home state of Yucatan. We are sure she will keep using her knowledge to empower indigenous women. 

And Zany is just one among other initiatives that aim to help Mayan communities.

With some classmates, Nancy established a foundation that helps communities develop through applying their traditional knowledge into businesses. In addition to Zany, Nancy and her friends helped Mayan communities establish Biozano, a company that produces natural, organic makeup. 

Some of the women had to drastically change their careers due to unfortunate accidents.

Such is the case of Cecilia Dzul Tuyb, who used to be a police officer before a car crash prevented her from walking for several months. She was risking depression but found solace in traditional knitting. She was contacted by Nancy Zavala and the rest, as they say, is history: Cecilia has found a community of fellow women who do not want to depend economically on anyone else and who value their independence.

Kobe Bryant’s Death Has Fans Mourning A Huge Loss: From Bad Bunny To Ricky Martin, Here’s How Latinos Are Reacting

Entertainment

Kobe Bryant’s Death Has Fans Mourning A Huge Loss: From Bad Bunny To Ricky Martin, Here’s How Latinos Are Reacting

The Recording Academy

The news sent shockwaves around the world when it was announced that a basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, died on Sunday in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles.

Kobe Bryant, a legendary shooting guard for the LA Lakers was just 41 years old and was one of nine victims to have died in the accident. His death has brought together people from a diverse range of backgrounds, but it’s especially painful for Latinos, who were among the first to embrace the Black Mamba and with whom Kobe had a major impact as a member of the Lakers. Fans around the world are left mourning a basketball legend and processing his complicated legacy.

Death of the 41-year-old basketball legend shook communities around the world.

News broke on Sunday that the 41-year-old had died, along with nine others, in a tragic helicopter crash in the hills outside of Los Angeles. The identity of all aboard are still undisclosed at this time, pending further investigation and conversation with next of kin, according to an LA County Sheriff at a press briefing earlier today.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant, and three other daughters – Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella and Capri Kobe, who is only 7 months old.

While it was unclear who else was with Bryant at the time of his death, TMZ Sports confirmed that his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore, was one of the passengers who died in the accident. Gianna and Kobe were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.

Preliminary investigations report that the helicopter went down in dense fog that had grounded most other aircraft in the region.

Credit: Mark Terrill / Getty

Bryant was known to use his helicopter to commute between his home in Newport Beach and the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. However, for this journey, he was commuting to a sports academy in the Valley.

Los Angeles is known for dense fog and this Sunday morning was no different. In fact, the dense fog had led to the temporary suspension of flights from LAX and most other civilian helicopter operations.

As news of the star’s death spread, so too did the heartfelt messages of loss and grief.

Credit: ABC 7 LA

“[This] is why I don’t wait for tomorrow,” J Balvin wrote. “So many surprises in life that the present escapes us.” Dozens of others weighed in as well.

AOC sent her condolences to the victims and their families in a tweet saying: “Deeply shocked at the news of Kobe Bryant and four others lost today. Sending all my thoughts to their families and loved ones in this devastating moment.“

Bad Bunny had a special message about the super star’s untimely passing.

Credit: BadBunnyPR / Instagram

“I never would have imagined this would hurt so much!” he said. “I still remember the first time I saw a game of basketball at 7 years old with my dad, and it was a game with this genius, and from that day forward he became my favorite player x100pre!! I’ve never mentioned it because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with music, but this man has been an inspiration in many aspects for me to be who I am today. RIP GOAT!!! Rest in PEACE!!!! Thank you for inspiring me so much!! Thanks for so many emotions!!! How sad I feel!!! A legend is gone!! Along with a beautiful child and basketball promise, Gianna… It breaks my soul too know that I was going to meet, and share time, with you soon…”

And Anuel AA shared his take on the tragedy, one that many people could relate to.

“Wow, my hero died,” he said. “This is unbelievable. I’m here crying as if I knew him, heartbroken. Rest in peace, legend, you left a mark on the world. May God continue blessing his family and fill them with strength. Wow what sadness. [Kobe Bryant] your name will live forever.”

Kobe Bryant shared a special kinship with his Latino fans, who he said were the first to embrace him.

Credit: KobeBryant / Instagram

As the tributes pour in, many are remembering the impact Kobe had on LA’s Latino community.

A few years ago, he thanked the Latino community for their support.

“Latino fans are important to me, because when I arrived [in Los Angeles] they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said. Bryant added that his Spanish was “not that good,” but this appeared to have been a modest assessment, as he routinely conducted full-length interviews in Spanish, which endeared him even more to Latino fans. He said that he was inspired to learn the language because of his wife and because his Latino fans “mean everything” to him. He told Univision in a separate interview that he learned Spanish through watching telenovelas with his family.

However, Bryant’s story wasn’t one without its blemishes. He was accused of sexual assault in 2003.

Credit: Jerome Nakagawa / Flickr

Bryant’s sexual assault case was another scandal that rocked the sport’s world and his own image. The charges brought against him were serious. He was accused of raping a hotel employee while at a Colorado resort – a claim that he denied saying the sexual encounter was consensual. The case was eventually settled out of court, according to The Guardian.

As much of the world is still in shock regarding the untimely loss of such an iconic man, his success as a basketball great will live on.