Keeping the Flame: Media and Government in Latin America

Keeping the Flame: Media and Government in Latin America

Keeping the Flame: Media and Government in Latin America

Keeping the Flame: Media and Government in Latin America

Excerpt

The Haitian diplomat and his North American guest were picking their way through one of the seedier areas of downtown Port-au-Prince, hurrying to a business engagement. Throngs of poor people milled on the broken sidewalks and streets, their clothes and status setting them off from the elegantly dressed diplomat, his bearing molded by a classical education and years of service in the world's sophisticated capitals.

Abruptly the two men came upon a huge pile of rotting, reeking garbage in the street; it obviously had been there a long time. The diplomat, without once commenting or glancing at the pile, drew out a snowy handkerchief and clapped it to his nose. He sailed past the garbage as if it did not exist. The visitor glared poisonously at it, carefully sidestepped it, mused on who was responsible and calculated what should be done to get rid of it.

Although Haiti is Latin America's poorest country and most of the streets in the region are clean enough, the two men's different reactions symbolize the relationship between Latin America and the European-North American cultural region. Both have garbage problems and the smell is offensive to both, but the two cope with it in different ways, both as communities and individuals. To the North American visitor, muffling his nose would have been cowardly; to the Haitian diplomat, it was a rational expedient. Nothing he could do had any relevance to garbage collection, so why should he carry on about it?

The North American, facing a similar problem at home, would demand action from the mayor, badger the local editor to print a picture, organize neighborhood action -- in short, make himself miserable until the problem were overcome. The Haitian knew these options were not open to him, and he could avoid the misery besides.

So careful analysis reveals both men's actions as part of a larger complex. This book is written in hope that such analysis will help everyone, perhaps even Latin Americans, understand why the region's mass media are so similar to but so different from those in the rest of the Western world.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.