Global News Blog: Drug Cartels Move into Guatemalan National Park

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Lauren Macias
SAN BENITO, Guatemala— Unarmed park rangers now live in fear of their lives in the lush rainforest of Laguna del Tigre park. It isn’t the presence of jaguars and crocodiles but the invasion of drug traffickers that rangers fear.

The 1,120-square-mile Laguna del Tigre park now is patrolled by the Guatemalan Army and police and is a refuge more for outlaws than for wildlife. Here, Guatemalan migrants in league with Mexican drug traffickers have carved out ranches with jungle airstrips.

In theory, some of Guatemala’s strictest laws protect Laguna del Tigre. In fact, the park, which abuts the Mexican state of Tabasco, serves as an opening for cocaine smugglers.

The human population in the park has doubled to about 35,000 scattered around some three dozen hamlets, said Edin OrlandoLopez Tejada, the technical director of the Guatemala National Park Service’s branch in the northern Peten region.

“This year alone, 109,000 hectares” — 420 square miles — “of the Maya biosphere were recuperated from the hands of well-armed and organized gangs,” Roan Balas McNab, the Guatemala country director for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said to the New York Times. In some cases, drug gangs were “using needy communities that recently arrived to the reserve as cover, and as cheap labor.”

Drug gangs, such as the well-armed Zetas from Mexico, are even harder to challenge.

“It is no secret that these people are much better armed than our security forces. This is the reality,” Lopez Tejada said.

Global News Blog: We are better than this

October 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Lauren Macias

Is it any wonder why other countries hate us? In America, we think so highly of ourselves and of our dedication to the rights of man but in reality we’re the terrorist that other countries make us out to be.

If I were to tell you  that Nazi’s secretly infected Guatemalan soldiers, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis, without their consent, you would have no problem believing me. We are programmed to know that Nazi’s are the greatest criminals against humanity the world has ever seen.

But what about us?

As you may have read, Americans were the ones in the late 1940′s to infect these unwilling participants with syphilis and other STDs. We are the monsters that paid infected prostitutes to sleep with prisoners,  put scrapes on their private parts, faces and hands or even injecting these diseases into their spines all in the name of “medicine”.

All of this occurred while we were  punishing Nazi Doctors for similar “crimes against humanity” and unethical medical experiments during the Nuremburg trials. We punished Nazi’s for the same crime we were committing back home.

The hypocrisy literally makes me sick to my stomach.

According to the New York Times, I am not alone. Guatemalan citizens are now demanding payments of indemnity for what we’ve done, and our apologies mean nothing to them.

And American’s wonder why the rest of the world hates us? It’s time for us to wake up and realize what our actions have done for our reputation. We have to demand our government and businesses act in the way that we believe America should, and the way that America sees itself. We see ourselves as the torch for freedom; the leaders of human rights and justice and we have to start reflecting that. No more using China and Guatemalan people as our slave-labor factories, no more supporting oppressive regimes because they are economically convenient to us at this moment. We are better than this, and it’s time our actions follow.

Campus News Blog: International Students

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kathryn Sharkey

I don’t know if it’s because I recently returned from studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, that I’m just more aware now, or if this is actually the case, but it seems like there are more and more international students on campus.

When I walk to class, I always end up near students speaking Spanish, Italian, or with thick Eastern European accents. This didn’t happen three years ago when I was a first year student.

I decided to look and see what SMU’s statistics are for international students. The SMU website states that “more than 850 international students from 90 countries attend SMU.”

The top countries that undergraduate students came from in the fall of 2009 were: India, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Republic of South Korea, United Kingdom, El Salvador, South Africa, Canada, Pakistan, Panama, and Sweden, according to the office of institutional research.

What does SMU do to help these students mix with and meet Americans? It can be overwhelming to live and study in a country so drastically different from your own.

In Denmark, we had the choice to participate in a program where we were matched with a Dane and we would meet at least once a week to just do whatever. The students who participated all enjoyed it, saying it was cool to see the country with a guide who knew where to go and what was worth seeing.

I don’t know if that kind of program would work at SMU, but it might help international students cope with the culture shock.

Global News Blog: Guatemala Prepares for Swine Flu

April 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Ashley Warmack

In the past few days there have been multiple deaths and illnesses around the world due to the Swine Flu. The world seems to be taking this flu very serious. According to the Guatemala Times, the Government of Guatemala is implementing the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) recommendations. So far no cases have been reported in Guatemala.

According to Reuters, “Nearly a week after the threat first emerged in Mexico, Spain reported the first case in Europe of swine flu in a person who had not been to Mexico, underscoring the threat of person-to-person transmission. With Germany and Austria reporting cases, bringing the number of affected countries to 9, Fukuda said the W.H.O. was moving loser to raising its pandemic alert to phase five, the second highest level possible.”

People should be very careful with their hygiene and keeping clean. This flu is known to be deadly if contacted. The swine flu is “a highly contagious acute disease of pigs, caused by one of the several influenza A viruses. The disease is considered endemic in the United States. Outbreaks in pigs are also known to have occurred in North America, South America, Europe (including the UK, Sweden, and Italy), Africa (Kenya), and in parts of eastern Asia including China and Japan.”

Being aware of what’s going on in the world is very critical especially in a time like this when disease is killing people all of the world. If it weren’t for technology and the Internet then the public from all over the world wouldn’t be able to keep up up to the minute updates to prevent people from catching it.

Not only does the news update people on such a health scare but it protects people because it guides us to safety and gives us the information we need to keep our communities as clean and as disease free as possible.