The Casa Armstrong Poventud was built in Ponce in 1899. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

The History of Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce’s rich cultural life gave birth in the mid-1800s to a unique form of romantic classical music called danza, and from there the good times kept rolling. By the turn of the 20th century, the tides began to turn for Ponce, leading to struggles that continue to today; lately, things are looking up. Learn about Ponce’s truly colorful history and the city’s revitalization.

A worker walks down a row in a Nicaraguan bean field.

The Economy of Nicaragua

Two successive governments have had to jump-start the Nicaraguan economy from a standstill, but despite their significant efforts, it remains the second poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. Learn about the problems the country still faces, from unemployment to massive debt, and continuing efforts to relieve them.

Author Michael Sommers. Photo © Michael Sommers.

Moon Brazil 4th Edition and Ch… Ch… Ch… Changes

When I was asked to contribute an article to accompany the recently launched 4th edition of Moon Brazil, my editor suggested an update of sorts to a piece I published four years ago upon the release of the 3rd edition. As I reread the former post, the refrain of Changes, David Bowie’s existential hit of 1971, popped up and began unspooling in my mind.

Man under palm trees on beach

Brazil’s Homegrown Tourism Boom

While prices for food, accommodations, and transportation have risen considerably in Brazil, at the same time, the emergence of a new lower-middle class with more disposable income has resulted in an unprecedented number of Brazilians traveling, both abroad and at home.

Travelers stand at a small kiosk to exchange money with a teller.

Peso Problems Precipitate PR Crisis

Argentina’s money scenario keeps getting stranger and more unpredictable. Concerned about capital flight and its ability to pay the bills, the government of president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is intensifying restrictions on foreign currency purchases, but it’s made some serious missteps.

A black and white propaganda poster in Japanese.

U.S. is the Number One Source of Immigrants to Brazil

Thinking of working abroad? Consider Brazil. More and more people are moving there as a result of Brazil’s growing economy, coupled with a severe lack of skilled workers and the economic crises wreaking havoc (and unemployment) in the United States and Europe.

Brazil Keeps its Cool as World Cup Deadlines Loom

Even though there are still two years to go before Brazil kicks off its much anticipated hosting duties of the 2014 World Cup, not a day goes by where the looming event is not mentioned in the press or comes up in the most innocuous and casual conversations.