It greatly bothers me how history books, history classes, and the daily news sources largely ignore Latin America. Car bombings and such in Iraq make headline news all the time because we’re involved and that somehow makes them more important than such things that have become commonplace in Colombia because of a more than 40-year civil war waged by terrorists. That magnificent rescue of Betancourt and the other hostages in July–how many people even heard about that, much less could carry on a conversation about it?
My students can, especially my Spanish 3 students. They could talk to you intelligently (well, most of them, lol) about who Betancourt was, when she was kidnapped, the events leading up to the rescue and the rescue itself. They can discuss the relationships among Bush, Uribe, and Chávez.
Ah, Chávez. One of our favorite topics. My Spanish 3 students call him Mr. Danger because of this video. PBS recently did a quite good, relatively unbiased documentary on him called the Chavez Show (for Frontline). And guess what– thank you PBS, it’s available free online, in Spanish! I got a catalog yesterday for documentaries related to the Spanish world, and most of them are between $800-2000, or at least $100 per episode, sometimes as short as 15 minutes each. I don’t know about you, but even if my school had that kind of money to throw around, I’d rather they spent it buying me a Smart board or more children’s books in Spanish. So go watch El Show de Chávez and show it to your students. Let’s do what the newspeople aren’t doing and equip them to face the ENTIRE world around them.