Delaware Review of Latin American Studies


Editorial Notes

Vol. 11 No. 1    June 30, 2010

PRIMERO DIOS
Gladys Ilarregui, Editor

It is Saturday afternoon and we are carrying old things to my place in Delaware. He has not been to Delaware before and his first reaction is surprise to see a long line of trees with orange leaves by the side of the road. For the purpose of these comments I will call my fellow travelers MA and F.

MA is a young man from Guatemala. F is even younger and has come from Mexico to work hard washing dishes, cleaning houses, and doing janitorial work. She proudly tells me that she started below the minimum wage but she worked so hard that she got promoted quickly. MA confesses to me that he could never have come to the United States as his life consists of going from one place to the next, in a never ending stream of odd jobs: repairing toilets in a restaurant, helping movers, painting old houses, fixing damaged kitchens. At thirty five, he has three kids abroad and he can only think of their education. Suddenly, he takes a small digital camera out of a bag and shoots through the window of the car: “I have to send these pictures to my kids. I have to tell them about Delaware”. He smiles constantly as if this were indeed a vacation, not the numerous hours of filling boxes with books with strange titles.

As the rain starts, they both help me to carry an old sofa and several boxes
of books to the place I occupy in Kirkwood Highway, ten minutes from the university. F is truly beautiful, and when she looks at the distance it is as if she had crossed several ages, including this one in the present, to be who she is: a young married woman working in the worst places to make a living.

She is happy this afternoon as we chat in Spanish and we think of Mexico. After carrying my things, MA proposes we stop at a McDonald’s (the obligatory rendevouz of all immigrant workers) and, at the same time, he greets and waves a hand through the car window to a little “perrito”. He then turns to me and says: “I love puppies. We were so poor in Guatemala, but my little dog was there always waiting for me. A dog is a great companion, I cannot imagine life without a dog, but these days I have hardly time for myself”.

As he is very correct, handles a range of vocabulary that is truly exceptional, and can converse about almost any topic, I enjoy listening to the stories of his family and his poverty. I can go back with him in my mind’s eye to Guatemala, as he suddenly, smiling with his eyes, points at a field of crops and says: “Los maizales! I would be so happy in Delaware! They have plantations!” Then he tells me how he loves being awakened by the rays of the sun (not the alarm clock!), and how wonderful it is to just wake up with the serene rhythm of nature. He cannot, he says, for he is working seven days a week, to make a decent living and send things back to Guatemala. By phone his children are asking for American regalia; they want to have it all!

Any time we talk about his future plans he answers “Primero Dios”, pointing out the radical factor that we recognize in Latin American religious upbringing: You may think you can do this or that, but life will tell, God will decide. On our way back, still in the process of cleaning old things, another immigrant worker greets me with a cheerful expression. We discuss how to do this or that (moving more boxes) and he again says: “Primero Dios”, confessing that he has given testimony of how he entered a fast life, after emigrating to the United States, and then abandoned it for the sake of his wife and his morals. He thinks I need to go to his church and pray with them. He moves his damaged fingers full of dust and paint and tells me: “There is so much power in prayer”, and as he leaves, after telling me the hardships of his own life, he greets another young worker–handsome, very slim--who will finish his work by six thirty pm so that he can go to a ceremony at his church.

In the middle of a few gallons of paint, and a ride to move furniture and
boxes, all I have heard about is the sacred nature of life and intentions. At moments, as they converse among themselves, I feel as if I were in a church.
And, looking at them, I see that they are exhausted. They have worked non-stop. Their week has been endless, with little rest and fast food meals to avoid delays, as I am one in a chain of small jobs to make their living; trying to deal with the economic crisis and struggling to feed their families here or abroad. No one has complained for a moment, as if life, despite their great sacrifices, were a radiant street to walk with open eyes. In rare moments of respite, as they look through a car window, they reflect on life and families, and on dreams to come, because for them--as for no one else--this is still the American Dream.

As I am taking the editorship (with my colleague América Martínez) of this electronic journal that she helped to found ten years ago, I can only think of the impressive resistance of Latin American workers in this country. I think of their eyes, their skin, and their feet and hands devoted only to work. I think of the money that comes through their tired bodies only to be sent to others overseas. I think of the impressive will to overcome poverty, to tell their children stories of success as they buy new shoes or a T-shirt with a slogan that would be really “hot” in a country among mountains.

I hope, in the most modest and underserved way, that as we speak of Latin America in Academia we keep in mind the scope of our studies and the dimension of our people. Latin America is its people, the resistance, the turbulence of those who could not stay in their homeland because of staggering poverty, or the profound political or social exiles. It is also the time to remember Mercedes Sosa, who passed away at the age of seventy five some months ago in Buenos Aires, after a legacy of political songs that were heard in the midst of the struggle or in the nice apartment in Madrid during her exile where she confessed she wanted to kill herself out of solitude. I am sure she would have smiled at these exchanges with real people in real struggles, and that her songs depicting absence and sadness, excesses and injustices, would have made room for my new friends. It is in this brief editorial that we celebrate her passing through our lives, for songwriters and singers have contributed to sustain and spread political rebellion in Latin America as effective cultural agents from the villages to the auditoriums of the big cities. They sang for freedom and hope, as all immigrants in this country are singing the song of production with their radiant hearts and bodies. Ready to manufacture, pick up and paint a new America, the dream is alive in them, as in no other place in this world.

Vol. 8 No. 2    January 30, 2008

The three articles and one book review which comprise this issue study such topics as poverty and inequality in the post-NAFTA years, the fiction of Perla Suez, fiscal rules in Brazil, and the alliance between Argentina and the United States.

Contributors hail from Florida Atlantic University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil.

We invite comments as well as new submissions via e-mail to editors-derlas@udel.edu

Vol. 5 No. 1    August 15, 2004

Vol. 5 No. 1 includes four articles, an interview with Rigoberta Menchú, and two book reviews, all dealing with the issue of identity and the effect of national and racial parameters upon its formation. Given this emphasis, the DeRLAS editors concluded that a more lengthy identification of the authors themselves would interest our readers and consequently we offer the following biographical portraits.

Florencia Ruth Carlino earned her doctorate at McGill University in 2003 and now is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. In her native Argentina she taught Spanish as a second language and served as International Consultant in the program assessment of Spanish Language Arts for the Argentine Ministry of Education/International Development Bank as well as in projects of the Canadian Embassy in Argentina. She has edited and published the collection of scholarly articles: Evaluación educacional: historia, problemas y propuestas (Buenos Aires: Aique, 1999) and draws upon her knowledge of the Argentine educational establishment to disclose many contradictions in its agenda.

Paul Cohen is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of English at Texas State University. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, including NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities (1996-99) and a Fulbright Fellowship for work in Ireland, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University. In his article he relates Carlos Fuentes’ Terra Nostra to numerous works in the European and American literary traditions.

Nicole Roberts is Lecturer in Spanish in the Department of Liberal Arts, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She introduces readers to several Caribbean poets and emphasizes the impact of racial identity upon their work.

Marta R. Zabaleta is a political refugee, given asylum in England after imprisonment in both Argentina and Chile. A senior lecturer and researcher, now retired from Middlesex University, Marta continues her social activism, insisting that readers recognize and protest the abuse of civil rights not only in Latin America but in the world over. In her account she provides a vivid description of how human memory functions in its assimilation of traumatic experience, especially the physical and psychological torture inflicted by government agents in Latin American dictatorships. Marta serves on the Editorial Board of Revista del Cesla (Center of Latin American Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland) and is the author of Feminine Stereotypes and Roles in Theory and Practice in Argentina Before and After the First Lady Eva Perón (Lewiston, N.Y.: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2000).

Jayson Ty Gonzales Sae-Saue is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University in the Modern Thought and Literature Program, where he works with David Palumbo-Liu and Ramón Saldívar in ethnic third-world literary and cultural studies.  Supplying the background of his interview with Rigoberta Menchú, Jayson refers readers to DeRLAS, Vol. 2, No. 2 where Jorge Rogachevsky and David Stoll published articles about her.

Ana Cristina Ferreira Pinto-Bailey is Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas State University, San Marcos. Born and raised in Brazil, where she earned a B.A. in English at the University of Brasilia, she received her M.A. and her Ph.D. (1989) in Brazilian and Spanish-American literatures from Tulane University. She has published a book of poetry, Poemas da vida meia (2002) as well as several articles on modern Latin American writers, including Clarice Lispector, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Antonio Callado, Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo and Rubén Darío. This background and training serve her well in her perceptive review of Peter M. Beattie’s The Human Tradition in Modern Brazil.

América Martínez, founding editor of DeRLAS, is Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware, where she teaches courses both in Spanish language and literature and in world literature. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, América frequently leads groups of students in Delaware’s Study Abroad Programs, notably to Mérida, Mexico. She shares her extensive knowledge of Mexican culture and history with readers in her appreciative review of Aperture’s Mexico: The Revolution and Beyond: Photographs by Agustín Víctor Casasola 1900-1940.

We invite comments as well as new submissions via e-mail to braham@udel.edu


Vol. 4  No. 2   December 15, 2003

This number includes two articles and three book reviews. Dr. Hugo Hortiguera of Griffith University, Australia, analyzes the influence of popular fictional genres, such as the detective novel, upon Argentine journalism during the years of Dr. Carlos S. Menem’s government. Dr. Evelyn D. Ravuri, professor of Geography at Central Michigan University, assesses the impact of the creation of Ciudad Guayana on immigration to and from Bolívar State, Venezuela between 1950 and 1990. In a review of two books by Carlos Altamirano and one by Altamirano and Beatriz Sarlo, Flavia Fiorucci of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva,  places these texts within the context of sociological studies of Peronism. Vera Blinn Reber, Professor of History at Shippensburg University, reviews Robert Scheina’s study of Latin American Wars between 1791 and 1899. Mark Wasserman praises Jeffrey M. Pilcher for collecting well-written articles by young scholars on the cutting edge of their disciplines and for publishing them in The Human Tradition in Mexico (2003). Wasserman singles out the biographical articles about women from colonial to modern times as being especially useful for the new insights into Latin American history that their lives afford. Thus, this present volume examines Latin America within a vast continental context and within the most specific context of a single city.

We invite comments as well as new submissions via e-mail to jmcinnis@udel.edu or nbsanth@udel.edu.


Vol. 4  No. 1   February 15, 2003

Now in our fourth year of publication, we invite you to take a look at our latest number which includes articles on the problem of spousal and child abuse in Nuevo León, México, the deconstruction of the hero in works by Juan Rulfo and Carlos Fuentes, and a study of transculturation and acculturation in the “folletines gauchescos de Eduardo Gutiérrez”.  Book reviews include a look “Inside the Cuban Revolution” by Julia E. Sweig, and translations of works by budding Latinamerican authors Eduardo García Aguilar and Beatriz Escalante.

We invite comments as well as new submissions via e-mail to aml@udel.edu or nbsanth@udel.edu.


Vol. 3  No. 1   February 15, 2002

We, the editors of DeRLAS, are proud to be entering our third year of publication with an article from an up-and-coming economist from Costa Rica, Alexánder Castro-Reyes.  His article on the bankruptcy of the Banco Anglo Costarricense is an important contribution to the theme, offering new lines of investigation.

Also included in this issue are two reviews of books dealing with important contemporary themes. The first, Femenino plural: la locura, la enfermedad, el cuerpo en las escritoras hispanoamericanas, presents themes that, until recently, have been kept silent and not been the subject of literary investigation.  The second, Mexico Madness: Manifesto for a Disenchanted Generation, is an essay, written in the form of a diary, that goes beyond the author’s observations in Chiapas in December 1995, to present “a manifesto against the abuses of global capitalism inspired by the very hopeful Zapatista uprising.”

We invite comments as well as new submissions via e-mail to aml@udel.edu or nbsanth@udel.edu.


Vol. 2  No. 2    July 15, 2001

This latest issue of DeRLAS looks at three lives of great interest to Latinamericanists--Ignacio Bizarro Ujpán (a pseudonym), Rigoberta Menchú and Eva Perón.

James D. Sexton and Ignacio Bizarro Ujpán have published a series of books based on a diary that Ignacio has been keeping for the last twenty-nine years at Sexton’s request.  Those who have read Son of Tecún Umán (1982), Campesino (1985) and Ignacio (1992) understand the terrible insight and immediacy that Ignacio’s diary offers as it presents, among other issues, the violence that pervades the daily lives of the Tzutuhil Mayas of the mid-western highlands of Guatemala.  We are proud to have the opportunity to publish this paper which begins with a short history of Sexton’s relationship with Ignacio, then gives us a more personal look at Ignacio’s backgound, and finally identifies and discusses prominent themes in Ignacio’s story.

Our second article is a critique by Jorge Rogachevsky of David Stoll’s scholarly book Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans followed by a response from Stoll and a rejoinder by Rogachevsky.  We believe that the controversy generated by Stoll’s book deserves further exploration of the issues it presents.  We would invite readers’ comments and would consider publishing them in further issues should there be sufficient interest.

Our final article is a review of Feminine Stereotypes and Roles in Theory and Practice in Argentina Before and After the First Lady Eva Perón, by Marta Raquel Zabaleta, a very thorough and interesting look at the true impact of the Peróns on women’s issues in Argentina.

We do not doubt that this issue will be of great interest to most.  We invite comments as well as new submissions via e-mail to aml@udel.edu or nbsanth@udel.edu.


Vol. 1  No. 2     August 30, 2000

This second issue of the Delaware Review of Latin American Studies consists of two articles of literary interest--one on anthropophagy and literary logophagy in Argentina by Dr. Hugo Hortiguera, and a second on German influence in Latin American Romanticism by Dr. Alfred Wedel--and an interview of Dr. Juan Carlos Martínez, a geneticist at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, whose work in identifying the mitochondrial DNA of Puerto Ricans has served to cast doubt on some traditional beliefs concerning the fate of the Amerindian population of Puerto Rico.

We hope that these three works expand current knowledge in these subjects, and we invite your comments on the journal and its contents.  We also invite Latin Americanists who work throughout the region to send us their work.  We look forward to your paticipation in this scholarly venture.


Vol. 1  No. 1     December 15, 1999

We, at The Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, welcome you to our new, interdisciplinary on-line journal.  As a refeered journal, it is dedicated to publishing scholarly works on Latin America from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  DeRLAS, as we are calling it, is the brainchild of two members of the Latin American Studies faculty, Norman Schwartz, Anthropology, and América Martínez, Foreign Languages and Literatures, both of whom are now serving as co-editors.  During the past several months, they have worked hard to make this idea a reality.  One of their most important tasks was to assemble a Board of Editors, and I am pleased to report that they have assembled an impressive group of scholars including:
Mitchell Seligson, University of Pittsburgh
Cynthia McClintock, George Washington University
Hortensia Morell, Temple University
James D. Sexton, Northern Arizona University
M. Tomás Gallareta-Negrón, INAH, Yucatan, Mexico
Julio Carrión, University of Delaware
Suzanne Austin Alchon, University of Delaware


The three articles included in this first issue all focus on the Maya area of southern Mexico and northern Guatemala; but we invite Latin Americanists who work throughout the region to send us their work.  We look forward to your participation in this scholarly venture.  And we invite your comments on the journal and its contents.

Last updated February 5, 2008

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