#17IACC Panama City Hosts Global Anti-Corruption Conference

PUBLISHED DECEMBER 1, 2016
TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL IACC NEWS

BY ANDREA ARZABA

Ambrosio Soto, a mayor from the Mexican state of Guerrero, was killed on a highway in Mexico. Mr. Soto had received various death threats from the local organized crime, and he was assassinated for refusing to give them a part of his municipality’s budget. His resistance to corruption cost him his life.

This and many more names of anti-corruption heroes from all around the world were mentioned during the opening ceremony of the 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), which commenced today in Panama City. With more than a thousand participants from over 135 countries, the event brings together heads of state, civil society, the private sector, and journalists to tackle the wide range of challenges posed by corruption.

The speakers during the opening ceremony were Mr. Juan Carlos Varela, President of the Republic of Panama; Mr. Jose Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International; Leonard McCarthy, Integrity Vice President at the World Bank; and Mr. Akere Muna, Chairperson of the IACC Council.

Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, welcomed the conference attendees and stated that by hosting this conference Panama indicates its commitment to becoming a global leader in the fight against corruption. While Varela lamented the fact that the Panama Papers scandal has tarnished his country’s image, the president thanked the journalists that led the investigations, and added that fighting corruption has actually saved Panama around US$128 million, funds which have been directed to anti-corruption efforts.

During the speech delivered by the President, two protesters silently held a banner demanding that Panamanian government free Dutch journalist Okke Ornstein, who is currently imprisoned in Panama following charges of criminal libel for statements made on his blog Bananama Republic. The protesters, translator Andre Dumoulin and writer Lilia Mendoza, also seek to modify Panama’s defamation regime that they say has been used to silence journalists. They urged conference attendees to visit their website, www.freeokkeornstein.org.

Jose Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International, also made welcoming remarks and stated that it is vital to fight corruption, especially in the Global South, because “corruption kills the vulnerable ones, it affects people’s health, generates malnutrition, denies education to many, and those that generate corruption, usually live ostentatious lives where they feel free to abuse power.” Ugaz also mentioned that the Latin America region does not only export football players or corrupt officials, but also “sophisticated anti-corruption models.” As an example, he mentioned Guatemala’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and Brazil’s prosecutors and judiciary.

The 17th IACC is organized by the IACC Council and Transparency International in partnership with the Government of Panama. During the conference, other major events centered on anti-corruption are happening in Panama City, including the Anti-Corruption Film Festival, and COLPIN – the Latin American Investigative Journalism Conference, where reporters from Latin America discuss their experiences tackling corruption through journalism.

Elecciones en los Estados Unidos

Esta noche se cierran las urnas en la primera economía del mundo. El mundo espera, para saber quién será el próximo presidente de los Estados Unidos. Los estadounidenses, algunos nerviosos, otros confiados, todos atentos. Cientos de figuras mediáticas, del espectáculo y de la política,  piden a la gente que salga a votar. “Don’t boo, vote”, dice Obama. Cada voto cuenta. Los últimos meses han sido difíciles, las campañas parecieron eternas. Mensajes de odio, ignorancia, misoginia y xenofobia día con día, por la radio y por la televisión. Algunos denuncian estos mensajes, otros se hacen de oídos sordos. La gente quiere un cambio. Los jóvenes buscan oportunidades. Las mujeres buscan equidad. Los hombres buscan cordura. Vivo en una burbuja, en donde, a mi alrededor, el voto es sensato. Sin embargo, esta noche sabré si lo que para mi es sensatez, es lo contrario para la mayoría de los ciudadanos de esta nación.

Unlocking Silent Histories in Guatemala

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian highlighted the diversity of the Guatemalan Mayan cultures last weekend. During the celebration, I was inspired by a very original project called Unlocking Silent Histories. The goal of the project is to support indigenous youth to craft creative and free media expression.  I was lucky enough to see some of the short clips that Guatemalan indigenous youth created. Some of the screened videos were the following:

After screening the videos in the museum, three Guatemalan filmmakers talked about their experience creating these media pieces. One of the documentaries that served as an inspiration to Carmen, one of the young Mayan filmmakers, was When the Mountains Tremble. She mentioned she felt really inspired by the fact that a foreigner went to Guatemala to gather stories about the civil war in the country. She said that she wants to be a visual storyteller for her own community.

Another great talk was given by Carlos, a young filmmaker from the town of Sololá, near the beautiful lake Atitlán. He mentioned that he wants to become a more professional filmmaker because in his community many people do not feel proud of their indigenous heritage, and he wants to change that with media.

To me, it was really inspiring to see movies that were made in some of the mother tongues of these talented filmmakers (K’iche’, Kaqchikel, etc). I also enjoyed to learn how this project has inspired the young filmakers to get involved more professionally into making documentaries. I recommend you to keep an eye on these talented youth!

I would also love to see these type of empowering projects being replicated all across Latin America❤


(Andrea Arzaba, Washington DC, September 2016).

*The image used for this post was taken from mayatraditions.com. The woman in the left is Carmen, one of the indigenous filmmakers that participated at the event in the Smithsonian.

Festival de Cine Latinoamericano de Georgetown 2016 (GLAFF)

La semana pasada fui parte del equipo organizador del Festival de Cine Latinoamericano de la Universidad de Georgetown 2016 (GLAFF). En este post voy a hacer un análisis corto de las 3 películas que presentamos durante el festival. Espero que estas pequeñas reseñas los animen a ver las películas, o a expresar su opinión sobre los filmes que ya han visto!


La primera película del festival fue la boliviana: OLVIDADOS (2008)

Descrita en una frase: Una historia explícita de la criminalidad y violencia sucedida durante la dictaduras en Sudamérica, con un enfoque en Bolivia.

Reseña: Filme que trata sobre la Operación Cóndor, la cual fue terrorismo de Estado organizado contra opositores de las dictaduras sudamericanas. En el film, la mayoría de las víctimas fueron intelectuales, estudiantes, periodistas y aquellos que apoyaban movimientos de izquierda política. El hilo conductor de esta historia es la vida de un general boliviano llamado José Mendieta, cuyos recuerdos sobre la represión militar lo siguen por el resto de su vida.

Te va a gustar sí…te interesa saber más sobre la historia de la represión militar en Latinoamérica.



La segunda película fue la “brasileira”: ESTOMAGO (2007)

Descrita en una frase: hambre de poder, prestigio y reconocimiento social

Reseña: Estómago es un relato de supervivencia social en la ciudad de San Pablo, Brasil. Raimundo Nonato, un hombre ingenuo y sencillo, llega del campo a la gran ciudad. Sin dinero ni amigos, comienza a trabajar en una pequeña cafetería y desarrolla un talento por la gastronomía. Nonato adquiere prestigio mediante los platillos que cocina. Curiosa e inesperada, esta película muestra relaciones de poder en las calles de San Pablo, en el sistema carcelario, y en las relaciones personales del personaje principal.

Te va a gustar si… eres un entusiasta de las historias crudas, originales, de bajo presupuesto.



Y cerramos el festival de cine con el film colombiano: EL ABRAZO DE LA SERPIENTE (2015)

Descrita en una frase: Relaciones de amistad, explotación, y traición entre foráneos y  pueblos originarios en la Amazonia durante el siglo 20.

Reseña: Un relato de búsqueda intrapersonal y geográfica en el Amazonas. Karamakate, un chamán y último superviviente de su pueblo, vive en aislamiento, lo que lo han convertido en chullachaqui, que para el es ser “una cáscara vacía, un hombre sin memoria, sin canción”. Theodor, un explorador alemán busca una extraña flor que le ayudaría a superar una terrible enfermedad, pide a Karamakate recordar en donde se encuentra dicha flor. Cuarenta años después, Evan, un etnobotánico busca la poderosa planta oculta. Ambos le piden ayuda a Karamakate para encontrarla. La película trata de la travesía de los dos exploradores con Karamakate, en distintas décadas.

Te va a gustar si…  disfrutas los filmes lentos, con silencios largos, con imágenes y planos de estética profunda.


Algunas imágenes del festival (tomadas con un celular, disculpen la calidad).

 

Andrea Arzaba. Washington DC. Abril 2016.

Transformaciones: Ya un año de nuestro proyecto periodístico

¡Saludos desde Guatemala!

Escribo esta pequeña nota agradeciendo a mis compañeros de la maestría de Estudios Latinoamericanos en la Universidad de Georgetown. Agradezco su apoyo, cariño, y todas las contribuciones voluntarias que nos han dado desde el año pasado. Gracias a todos ya cumplimos un año de haber comenzado el proyecto de periodismo ciudadano Transformaciones. Y lo hemos cumplido muy bien, con muchos logros y gran expectativa de lo que viene. Los invito a visitar la página web de nuestro blog, y disfrutar nuestros textos sobre América Latina.

Un abrazo especial a Mary, Ana Sofía, Denisse Garcia, Rachel y Kandya. Un equipo muy entusiasta. Chicas, son unas guerreras. Sin ustedes, el proyecto no sería posible.

Welcome backEntradas de bienvenida al nuevo semestre escolar. Para leer los últimos artículos de nuestro blog, haz click aquí. 

transformaciones web clas  Espacio en la página web de la maestría de Estudios Latinoamericanos de la Universidad de Georgetown.

(Andrea Arzaba, febrero 2016)

The Unexpected Storm Jonas (Images)

My classes got cancelled last Friday, and today (Monday). Snow days! Growing up in Mexico, this was a completely new experience for me. And to be honest, I was very excited.

The following pictures were taken on Sunday January 24. In the morning, after being locked in the apartment for days, we decided to take the camera with us, and explore the neighborhood while enjoying the scenery – and refreshing cold air.

While walking, I observed people digging out the snow from the record-setting snowstorm. They tried to remove it from their front doors, and their cars. People were trying to clean the main avenues too, but the parks looked intact – and beautiful.

In this post you will find some pictures from the neighborhoods of Glover Park and Georgetown in the DC area.

Enjoy!

Andrea

Ps. If you would like to use some of the following images for personal or commercial purposes, please send me an email. Thank you!