Friday, August 20, 2010

Rapaz, Peru

High in the Andes, Keeping an Incan Mystery Alive
By Simon Romero

SAN CRISTÓBAL DE RAPAZ, Peru — The route to this village 13,000 feet above sea level runs from the desert coast up hairpin bends, delivering the mix of exhilaration and terror that Andean roads often provide. Condors soar above mist-shrouded crags. Quechua-speaking herders squint at strangers who arrive gasping in the thin air. CONTINUE READING

multimedia piece: Mysteries Woven Into Peru's Past

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

preserving papiamentu

A Language Thrives in Its Caribbean Home
By Simon Romero

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Thousands of languages spoken by small numbers of people, including many of the Creole languages born in the last centuries of human history, are facing extinction. But a little-known language spoken on a handful of islands near the coast of Venezuela may be an exception.

Papiamentu, a Creole language influenced over the centuries by African slaves, Sephardic merchants and Dutch colonists, is now spoken by only about 250,000 people on the islands of Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba. But compared with many of the world’s other Creoles, the hybrid languages that emerge in colonial settings, it shows rare signs of vibrancy and official acceptance. CONTINUE READING

NYT multimedia slideshow:
Preserving Papiamentu

world cup in the netherlands antilles

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Venezuela’s Military Ties With Cuba Stir Concerns

By Simon Romero

CARACAS, Venezuela — The ties between President Hugo Chávez and Cuba’s Communist leaders are plain enough: Cuba has thousands of doctors here, not to mention a smaller number of advisers who help on a breadth of issues, like agricultural engineering and even training Olympic athletes.
But the quiet expansion of Cuba’s military role here has raised a particular concern among critics of Mr. Chávez, who maintain that the military is being retooled — with Cuba’s help — into an institution that can be used to quell any domestic challenge to the president. CONTINUE READING

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bolívar's Bones

By Simon Romero
CARACAS, Venezuela — The clock had just struck midnight. Most of the country was asleep. But that did not stop President Hugo Chávez from announcing in the early hours of July 16 that the latest phase of his Bolivarian Revolution had been stirred into motion.
Marching to the national anthem, a team of soldiers, forensic specialists and presidential aides gathered around the sarcophagus of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century aristocrat who freed much of South America from Spain. A state television crew filmed the group, clad in white lab coats, hair nets and ventilation masks, attempt what seemed like an anemic half-goose step. CONTINUE READING