Woman in New Zealand

Being a Woman in New Zealand

There’s a lot of good news when it comes to being a woman in New Zealand. Generally, women are educated, well treated, and respected in New Zealand. But the picture isn’t all rosy. They face the same challenges as women in the US and Canada with compromises to their careers as primary caregivers and the pervasive danger of violence against women.

Thousands rally for action on climate change around New Zealand. Photo © Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf.

New Zealand’s Social Climate

New Zealanders are generally a good-natured bunch. They enjoy a climate of social tolerance and political stability, but they also enjoy a good debate and love to complain about their elected leaders as much as the rest of us. Kiwis see themselves as proud underdogs and good global citizens, generally lean left and liberal, and have a healthy sense of humor when it comes to their country and their culture.

Flags of Nicaragua and United States. Photo © rolfik/123rf.

U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua

The so-called Roosevelt Corollary was used to justify troop deployment to Latin America, and President William Howard Taft provided further rationalization for aggressively dominating Latin America with his Dollar Diplomacy, an unabashed strategy to advance and protect U.S. businesses. Nicaragua, which had been host to U.S. fruit, mining, and transportation interests since the 1850s, was a frequent recipient of such foreign policy. The following is a detailed list of interventions in Nicaragua.

A rusty barbed wire fence, overgrown with plants, marks the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border on the Rio Frio outside of Los Chiles, Costa Rica.

Nicaragua’s Rocky Relationship with Costa Rica

The tense relationship between these incongruous Central American neighbors loosely parallels the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Namely, a massive flood of immigrants crosses the border (pushed by neoliberal trade policies) into a more prosperous and stable nation and is subsequently accused of driving down wages, taking all the jobs, and straining social services without paying taxes. Rhetoric aside, the two neighbors desperately need each other.

Río San Juan near El Castillo. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Río San Juan: Whose River Is It?

Nicaragua has long disputed Costa Rica’s territorial rights to free use of the Río San Juan, while Costa Rica disputes Nicaragua’s claim that the river is entirely Nicaraguan territory. Despite both countries accepting a ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2009, the conflict continues.

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.

Carved in white stone, a male and female figure are seated opposite a bird with its wings upraised.

The Three-Day Best of Sacramento

Sacramento is an easy destination to visit in a long weekend. In this three-day itinerary, Christopher Arns points you toward all the must-see attractions. Get ready to immerse yourself in the capital’s exciting mix of history and political theater!

California State Capitol Building. Photo © John Painting/123rf.

Sacramento’s People Power: A Day in California’s State Capital

Pop into your state representative’s office inside the Capitol or start a rally outside on the steps. Get inspired by wandering through one of Sacramento’s most fascinating museums. Retrace a famous protest march. Author Christopher Arns proves that no matter how you experience Sacramento, California’s beating political heart, the result is more than memorable.