Monthly Archives: September 2015

Homework #4

From week four’s homework, I found the video of political science professor, Maxwell Cameron, quite informative. He focuses on the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, making connections with Venezuelan political and military leader of the late18th-early 19th century, Simón Bolivar. Cameron begins the interview by saying that “The tensions between continuity and change is one of the major themes in Latin America.” I really think that there is something to be said about his statement. When I think about present day Mexico, I cannot help but think about what Cameron says. I know that is a whole other subject, so I will veer away from going on a tangent.

Back to Chávez and Bolivar. Chávez seems to be an advocate of change versus continuity throughout his presidency. Being the one to plant Venezuela’s existing congress and rewrite its constitution, I support this notion. Though there are things that make me want to disagree. Although he did rewrite the constitution, it was mentioned that he did not change much and that it was actually very similar to the original. Chávez was afraid to be a leader because he did not want to be anything like the recent leaders, whom made no positive change for the people. In this sense, Chávez seemed to have been in the right mindset. It was also mentioned that once in power, he had a “remarkable ability” to talk to the Venezuelan people, allowing his people, some whom felt left out of politics, to feel as if they were being spoken to individually and included, rather than having to be a politician to understand. All of these things put Chávez on top, as he gathered more and more followers.

Chávez seems to have a goal in mind: to finish what he believes Simón Bolivar had started. Chávez looks back and believes that Bolivar began the start of an incomplete revolution and feels that he needs to finish what had begun. He may have the right idea in mind, although he seems to have the wrong understanding of who Bolivar actually was. Bolivar stood as the liberator of the creole group, rather than a representative of the Native American.

Homework #3

It is strange to think that it took centuries for October 12, 1492 to become a day of such significance. Maybe I am forgetting to remember how much longer it took for news to travel than as it does now.

Anyways, while listing to Week Three’s video lecture, I noticed that the Alhambra Decree was signed by Ferdinand and Isabella the same year Columbus landed in America. After doing a little research on the Alhambra Decree, I came to find out that it had been an attack against Jews, ordering the “expulsion” of them from the Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon by the end of July of that year. In the video lecture, I was told that, today, we would see this as an exercise of ethnic cleansing. It is sad to think that less than 7 decades ago, something extremely similar was taking place in Europe.

It is also sad to realize that within 50 years of Columbus’ first voyage, the population of the indigenous peoples of the Americas had dropped more than 50 percent, and then within a century, there was only a fifth of the original amount. This make me come to the conclusion that  Columbus was not much of a hero after all, stated in my earlier blog.

Due to the lack of these Native Americans, slaves were then imported from Africa. This increased the interracial relationships, like shown in Castas paintings. It is interesting to learn why some of us are made of so many ethnicities. Having a Dominican mother, who is part Spanish, African, and French, and an American father, who is part Irish, Scottish, Native American, and who knows what, it is interesting to see how having parents like this is capable.

I found Castas paintings very interesting, especially the ones where he showed multiple settings on a single painting, which seem to stand as story of the different ethnic identities.

Homework #2

In the beginning of the lecture for week two, Professor Murray questions Latin America’s existence, proposing that it may be only an idea rather than anything else. This seems to take me back to my geography class today, where Latin America was listed among other regions (Europe, USA, Canada, Asia, and Africa), showing its individual population. I wonder how both, my geography professor and fellow colleagues define Latin America.

Kind of a weird way to to start off my blog, but I could not stop thinking about this. Please bear with me!

Continuing with the video lecture, I have to admit that until now I was unaware that Columbus had no idea he was founding anything. I always thought that he had known he had landed on the present-day Bahamas. He assumed he had landed somewhere in East Asia, completely unaware of the new territory. He simply believed it was just a new route to Asia. I wonder how things would be different if he was aware of where he had sailed to. Any thoughts? Would he have been more of a hero? More or a villain? This brings me to the next subject in the video lecture.

Ignorant to much of Columbus until now (I wish I could say I remember more of what I learned throughout my childhood), I thought that we celebrated Columbus for his findings and I also just assumed that he was a friendly, genuine man, although it turns out that he was more of a villain than I ever would have thought. I always thought that he was friendly towards the native inhabitants, although it turns out that I am incorrect. He more so annihilated them. So in conclusion to a question asked by Professor Murray in the video lecture, I would have to say that my impression of Columbus did change after reading accounts. I almost find it strange as to why we celebrate him, not to mention that he did not technically “discover” America rather than raise European awareness.

2014 Video Review

After viewing last year’s student videos, I now have formulated different ideas and have a better understanding of what to do when the task is ours. I have stolen ideas that I believe will create a  nice video and have ditched some that I think will deter a video.

The two videos I found most successful are “The Terror” and “Signs of Crisis in the Gilded Age.” The reason I found “The Terror” appealing is because of its visuals. All of the images are directly related to the commentating, allowing a viewer to engage using another sense. For me at least, I find it much easier to grasp concepts by being able to view whatever is being told or explained, so this video did a great job of keeping me engaged. I also enjoyed “The Terror” due to how concise and specific it was. Focusing on only Peru, I never found myself confused. I found “Signs of Crisis in the Gilded Age” just as engaging as “The Terror” for many of the same reasons. One, being its appropriate use of visuals throughout the video. I also noticed that the video was done very thoroughly and I felt a sense of interest in the topic by the creators. Showing interest makes the video, obviously less boring, but a much better and engaging video overall.

On the other hand, the two most unsuccessful videos of 2014 I found were “Speaking Truth to Power” and “Cuadillos Versus and Nation State.” As opposed to my two favorite videos, these videos did not incorporate any visuals, making it difficult to follow along. Like I said before, visuals excel my ability to learn, so these videos didn’t do much for me. It was also very unfortunate during the end of “Speaking Truth to Power” when the audio did not match the visual, creating a glitch. This made the video difficult to understand and unwatchable. Sorry!


Hello class,

My name is Adan Barclay and I have just entered my second year of university. I was born and raised in Orange County, California and decided to come to Vancouver not only for university, but for change. I also can’t forgot to mention that Whistler was a huge influence on my decision.

I decided to enroll in LAST100 because my dad did a lot of studying in his day on Latin America and I figure he did for a good reason, so I now am deciding to give it a shot.

Goodluck all!