COMMENT: Fall 2011

Harley Shaiken and  Diego Luna walking on the Berkeley campus, December 2011. (Photo by Jim Block.)The legendary songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote his now-classic song “Deportee” to commemorate a plane filled with undocumented migrants that went down in flames over Los Gatos canyon just south of San Francisco in 1948. He was outraged that news reports referred to the victims “by no name except ‘deportees.’”

Noted journalist Alma Guillermoprieto may have felt the same sense of indignation and gloom over the horrific murders and subsequent anonymity of 72 migrants who were traversing Mexico on their way to the United States. We begin this issue with her article about, a moving website she created that seeks “to keep the memory of these victims alive, in the name of so many others.”

Alma Guillermoprieto taught a special seminar about being a journalist in Central America for the Center for Latin American Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism during February 2012.

On a very different note, the Latino vote promises to be important, possibly defining, for the 2012 U.S. elections. Cristina Mora looks at the forces that have shaped Hispanic panethnicity, from social movements to Univision, with an important role played by the U.S. Census.

Diego Luna, an exceptional film artist, presented an advanced screening of “Miss Bala,” a searing film he produced about the traumas and social corrosion associated with drug violence in Mexico. He discussed many of the issues raised by the film with an overflow Berkeley audience.

We also remember and reflect on the considerable achievements of a Brazilian economic visionary, Antônio Barros de Castro. Peter Evans, a close friend of the late economist, discusses the work and life of a fine scholar and unique public intellectual, pointing out the value of his work “for our understanding of the current global political economy.” Antônio Barros de Castro was also a special friend to many of us at Berkeley, who were saddened by his death.

CLAS inaugurates a new collaboration with Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica with “Michelle Bachelet: A Rendezvous With History,” an article by Beatriz Manz that first appeared in Spanish in that journal.

Finally, we conclude with a photo of Horacio Salinas, the internationally noted composer and musical director of Inti-Illimani, playing a Patricio Manns song at a CLAS-organized recital. To hear this wonderful music, visit our Facebook page

— Harley Shaiken