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From the Committee to Protect Journalists
Killers of Journalists get away with murder
No one has been held to account in 81% of journalist murders during the last 10 years, CPJ’s 2021 Global Impunity Index has found.
By Jennifer Dunham/CPJ Deputy Editorial Director
The Facade of Freedom of Speech: The Rise of Government Censorship in Hollywood
July 24, 1903 New York - Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island (Restored with added sound)
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More Video on Ellis Island
Pablo Neruda, (born July 12, 1904, Parral, Chile—died September 23, 1973, Santiago), Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was perhaps the most important Latin American poet of the 20th century. Neruda was the son of José del Carmen Reyes, a railway worker, and Rosa Basoalto. His mother died within a month of Neruda’s birth. Encyclopaedia Britannica
Some Other Notable Figures in
Latin American Politics
Eva Perón, byname Evita, (born May 7, 1919, Los Toldos, Argentina—died July 26, 1952, Buenos Aires), second wife of Argentine Pres. Juan Perón, who, during her husband’s first term as president (1946–52), became a powerful though unofficial political leader, revered by the lower economic classes. Encyclopedia Britannica Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Efraín Ríos Montt, (born June 16, 1926, Huehuetenango, Guatemala—died April 1, 2018, Guatemala City), Guatemalan army general and politician who ruled Guatemala as the leader of a military junta and as dictator (1982–83). In 2013 he was tried by a Guatemalan court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, marking the first time that a former head of government was prosecuted for such crimes in a national, rather than international, court. His conviction and sentence of 80 years in prison were subsequently overturned by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court. Encyclopaedia Britannica Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Simón Bolívar, byname The Liberator or Spanish El Libertador, (born July 24, 1783, Caracas, Venezuela, New Granada [now in Venezuela]—died December 17, 1830, near Santa Marta, Colombia), Venezuelan soldier and statesman who led the revolutions against Spanish rule in the Viceroyalty of New Granada. He was president of Gran Colombia (1819–30) and dictator of Peru (1823–26). Encyclopaedia Britannica
Jacobo Arbenz, (born September 14, 1913, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala—died January 27, 1971, Mexico City, Mexico), soldier, politician, and president of Guatemala (1951–54) whose nationalistic economic and social reforms alienated conservative landowners, conservative elements in the army, and the U.S. government and led to his overthrow. Encyclopaedia Britannica Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Pablo Neruda, A Hero of the Americas
Book Review by Craig Rock
(In many ways, Pablo Neruda represents the "New West" of the Americas. Some think the political and social movements in South America are models for the future in the United States as well. I wrote a book review of his "Memoirs" in 1977 for the Daily Californian in Berkeley. Image created by Victoria Morgan.)
Pablo Neruda's Memoirs combines the life, poetry, and politics of a man who became poet of the Chilean people. Neruda's life is an adventure story, the story of a man who successfully used his words and wit to answer his critics and escape his enemies -- the repressive elements of Latin American society.
The book reads well for both the romantic and social idealist, who will be attracted to Neruda's philosophy and his approach to poetry. "In my poems I could not shut the door to the street (the poverty of the Chilean people) just as I could not shut the door to love, life, or sadness...." But the book offers much more than this. The reader will momentarily escape from the pessimism so ingrained in Western perspectives of the world and allow Neruda's message through.
"In my poems I could not shut the door to the street (the poverty of the Chilean people) just as I could not shut the door to love, life, or sadness...."
Neruda does an excellent job recording the identity of his people. Immigrants from around the world gathered on a narrow stretch of weather-beaten land. They developed from an economically dependent people to a politically conscious "popular unity" ready to develop the natural and human resources of Chile for the Chilean people. This unity would later express itself as the first socialist elected government of the continent.
The major influences on Neruda's life during the 1920s were his romantic poetry and the Chilean foreign service in which he served. After receiving a literary prize and some popularity from his first books, Neruda was appointed to a consulate position in Burma. He was later transferred to Ceylon where official duties occupied little of his time. He mainly wrote poetry while sharing the solitude with a dog, pet mongoose, and houseboy.
Neruda loved the outdoors probably as much as he loved women. He grew up in southern Chile, "under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest."
"under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest."
Hardly the makings for the communist he would later become. But amidst this natural beauty, Neruda remained conscious of the impoverished people in the region of the country. His father drove a ballast train that would replace gravel after heavy Chilean rains made the railroad tracks unusable. Other families around him --- the Irish, Poles and Spanish --- subsisted on the low wages paid by German industrialists who ran the nitrate and copper mines. U.S. industry would later replace the Germans.
"The young writer," he later wrote, "cannot write without the shudder of loneliness, even when it is only imaginary, any more than the mature writer will be able to produce anything without a flavor of human companionship, of society."
Neruda was then stationed in Singapore and later Buenos Aires. It was there that his friendship began with the legendary Spanish poet, Frederico Garcia Lorca. Up to this time (1933), Neruda's life was annotated with the crazy, surreal life of his madcap poets and friends, like Rojas Gimenez and Omar Vignole. Gimenez, a well-known poet, was approached one day by an admirer who requested the privilege of honoring him by jumping over his grave at his burial. Sure enough, several years later in the midst of funeral services for Gimenez, a man entered the funeral home, jumped over his coffin and left just as mysteriously.
Vignole, an Argentine poet, led his pet cow everywhere he went. The poet, who is known for such works as "What My Cow Thinks" and "My Cow and I," once was the subject of a police stake-out that tried to keep him from taking his cow to a writers' conference in Buenos Aires. Vignole smuggled the cow in through police lines in a van.
From this carefree existence, Neruda moved to Spain where the civil war and Lorca's assassination changes his way of life. In the face of one million dead and another million exiled, Neruda's commitment against fascism became entrenched, as did his poetry, which was carried in the pockets of Republican soldiers. At the same time, Neruda decided that he must change the "brooding tone" of his poetry and strive to write to "serve our fellow man... a place in man's struggles...on the road to humanism."
he must change the "brooding tone" of his poetry and strive to write to "serve our fellow man... a place in man's struggles...on the road to humanism."
It was in Spain, with the communists organizing as the most effective force against Franco's fascism, that Neruda became a communist. He was forced out of his consulate position because of his open support for the then-falling republic. However, with the fall, he was recommissioned to France to prepare the way for Spanish refugees immigrating to Chile.
After brief service in Mexico, Neruda resigned from the diplomatic corps and returned to Chile. In 1945, he was elected to the Chilean Senate. His constituency: the copper and nitrate miners of Chile. Neruda was continually forced into a position of defending himself as a communist. He notes one Italian interviewer's remarks, "I am not a communist, but if I were a Chilean poet, I would be one, like Pablo Neruda. You have to take sides here, with the Cadillacs or with the people who have no schooling or shoes."
The new Chilean government did not see it this way. Neruda's arrest was ordered but he managed with the help of friends to cross the Andean mountains by horseback into the temporary safety of Argentina. With Argentine police alerted, he borrowed a Guatemalan friend's passport and flew to Paris via Uruguay. Once there, the surrealist movement came to his aid. Picasso, Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard used their influence with French authorities to arrange for his safety.
Neruda was deeply impressed with the course of the Russian revolution after visiting Moscow in 1949. Only later, after the purge of Stalin, did Neruda become disenchanted with what he described as personality-cult communism. At the request of the Lenin Peace Prize committee, Neruda delivered their award in 1951 to Sun Yatsen's widow in China. However, after his second visit there he wrote critically of "one man's (Mao"s) grip on the creation of a world that must belong to all. I could not swallow that bitter pill a second time."
Neruda spent some time writing and traveling before being appointed as ambassador to France by Salvador Allende (1970). A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Neruda's "Memoirs" go far beyond his interesting biographical material. His work is a fascinating self-analysis of the humanitarian communist. The reading should be that much more interesting in the United States, a country whose rigid definition of communism has always retained a good portion of McCarthy-era taint.
"the main thrust of North American poets
is to look at themselves as small gods..."
Neruda also includes his interpretations of capitalist society and its literature. He said that the middle classes here demand a poetry that is isolated from reality. Consequently, the main thrust of North American poets is to look at themselves as small gods. This kind of poet, he adds,"basks in his own divining isolation from reality, and there is no need," for the ruling classes, "to bribe or crush him. He has bribed himself by condemning himself to his heaven. Meanwhile, the earth trembles in his path, in his dazzling light."
Neruda believes the poet has an obligation to "take his place in the street and in the fight. Poetry is rebellion...Life transcends all structures, and there are new rules of conduct for the soul."
Neruda published his last work in 1973. It was an appeal to the intellectuals of Latin America and Europe to help prevent civil war in Chile. But others, behind the doors of ITT, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Chilean military had different plans. Those plans began several years earlier with the economic blockade of Chile and they ended in September, 1973, when President Allende and his supporters were killed or imprisoned.
Twelve days after the death of one of the few democratically elected governments in the Americas, Pablo Neruda, age 69, died.
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