Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Tulane alumnus elected president of Costa Rica

April 10th, 2014

This story originally appeared in Tulane’s New Wave.

By: Mary Sparacello
msparace@tulane.edu

A Tulane University alumnus was elected president of Costa Rica in a landslide victory on Sunday (April 6). Luis Guillermo Solís received his master's degree in Latin American studies in 1981 and, before his election, was a political science professor at the University of Costa Rica.

"His election is historic," says Ludovico Feoli, director of the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane.

Solís is the first third-party candidate to become president of the country. A member of the Citizen Action Party, Solís soundly defeated his opponent, a member of the country's ruling party. His challenger planned to drop out of the race because Solís had pulled ahead in the polls after a tight finish in the first round of the election. Law required his name stay on the ballot for the runoff. Despite this, Solís mobilized voters to the polls and drew a strong mandate.

"It's a remarkable story," Feoli says. Solís "enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a diplomat but never before held elected political office. He is articulate and likeable and connected with voters disenfranchised by the two ruling parties, both mired in corruption scandals."

Solís, who will start his four-year term in May, comes to power at a challenging time for the country, says Feoli. His party is a minority in Congress, income inequality is increasing and a high fiscal deficit is looming. Solís campaigned on a vow to fight that inequality and improve governance.

He has a strong connection to Tulane. Numerous Tulane students have taken Central American Politics from Solís at CIAPA, the Tulane-run campus in San José, Costa Rica.

Thomas Reese, executive director of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane, said future CIAPA students will be fortunate to have a close friend of Tulane heading the Costa Rican government.

"It's a great honor to have one of our own reach such a level of distinction," Reese says.

Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.

Photo: Luis Guillermo Solís celebrates with his supporters in San José, Costa Rica. Solís has a strong connection to Tulane. His Tulane master’s degree thesis, titled “The Dynasty of the Colonizers,” examined regional politics in Costa Rica. (Associated Press photo by Moises Castillo)

For the original story, click here.

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Noon-Time Talk on Behind Closed Doors, Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898 with Lucia Abramovic

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Join Lucia Abramovich, NOMA's curatorial fellow for Spanish colonial art for a Noontime Talk on the exhibition Behind Closed Doors, Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898.

Noontime Talks are brief, informative discussions on exhibitions and installations in NOMA's galleries. Wednesdays are free admission days for Louisiana residents. Please visit the NOMA website for more information.

MARI Brown Bag: Marcello Canuto, "The Tombs of La Corona: La Noblesse Oblige"

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Marcello Canuto, Director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University, will present about his recent investigations at La Corona. The talk will focus on tombs discovered during the 2014 field season and the information these tombs provides about the broader socio-political relationships at La Corona.

M.A.R.I.'s Brown Bag talk series is meant to provide a venue for students and faculty focusing on topics related to Mesoamerica to discuss their latest research in an informal and friendly setting. If you are interested in presenting, please email Marcello Canuto (mcanuto@tulane.edu) for more information. For the current speaker list of this talk series, please click here.

Please remember to bring your lunch!

Mining, Privilege, and Artistic Production in the Colonial Andes: Short Film and Roundtable Discussion

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This program includes a screening of Harun Farocki's film The Silver and the Cross (20 min), which examines a 1758 painting by Gaspar Miguel de Berrío that depicts the city and the surrounding silver mines of Potosí, Bolivia. A roundtable discussion featuring three local scholars of Colonial Latin America will follow the film. The discussion will employ the film's description of colonial Potosí as an anchor for a broader discussion about colonial Andean economics, history, and art, particularly as it relates to Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898.

The goal of this event is to better understand the mechanisms that created the level of wealth exhibited in Behind Closed Doors, and to shed light on an often overlooked city that was essential to the economic success of Spanish America for hundreds of years.

The roundtable discussants are Dr. Kris Lane, the France V. Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Department of History, Tulane University; Dr. John Charles, Associate Professor of Colonial Spanish American Literature and Director of Graduate Studies, Spanish and Portuguese Department, Tulane University; and Dr. Ari Zighelboim, Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese Department, Tulane University. Lucia Abramovich, NOMA's Curatorial Fellow for Spanish Colonial Art, will moderate the discussion.

About Dr. Kris Lane
Kris Lane holds the France V. Scholes Chair in Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University. His books include Quito 1599: City & Colony in Transition, Colour of Paradise: The Emerald in the Age of Gunpowder Empires, and Pillaging the Empire: Piracy in the Americas, 1500-1750. He is currently writing a history of the great Potosí mint scandal of 1649, along with an annotated translation of early writings on Potosí.

About Dr. John Charles
John Charles is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University. He is the author of numerous articles on colonial Andean literature and history, and the book Allies at Odds: The Andean Church and Its Indigenous Agents, 1583-1671 (University of New Mexico Press, 2010).

About Dr. Ari Zighelboim
Ari Zighelboim (Lima, 1960) studied in Peru, Israel and the United States, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in history and East Asian studies, an MA in cultural anthropology and a PhD in Spanish and Latin American literature. His masters paper dealt with scenes of human sacrifice on mountains in Moche iconography, and his PhD thesis with the surviving Inca nobility during the colonial period in Peru and its cultural and social strategies. He has written about Ruben Dario, Juan de Espinosa Medrano, the drama in Quechua Ollantay, Potosí and other topics. He has also published a volume of poetry. He is now senior lecturer in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane university.

Reimagining Race, Class, and Identity in the New World

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Assistant Professor Mia Bagneris will lecture on "Reimagining Race, Class, and Identity in the New World," on Friday, September 12 at 6pm at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The lecture will be held in conjunction with the exhibit, Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898.

Professor Bagneris teaches African American/Diaspora art history and studies of race in Western Art. Her own work concentrates on the construction of race in British and American art and visual culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Performance by Afro-Cuban band Sintesis

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The Cuban and Caribbean Institute presents: Sintesis

Afro-Cuban group Sintesis, founded in 1974 by Carlos Alfonso Valdes, is one of Cuba's musical emblems. The contemporary band has elements of ethno-fusion rhythms mixed with a core of jazz and rock and roll. In the 1980's, Sintesis grew in popularity, and by mid-late decade, the band was a staple of world music festivals. In 1989, they released their first album "Ancestros," and since then have released many more. Their album "Habana a Flor de Piel" was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Tropical Album in 2002.

All are welcome to attend.

Guantánamo Post-9/11: Human Rights & Constitutional Law in Modern America

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Guantánamo Post-9/11: Human Rights & Constitutional Law in Modern America

Guest speakers:
Jess Bravin: Wall Street Journal, author of Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantánamo Bay
Denny Leboeuf: ACLU, Tulane JD
Chaplain James Yee: Former U.S. Army Chaplain, author of For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire

The Guantánamo Public Memory Project is a traveling exhibit that examines the history of the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from multiple perspectives and raises questions about U.S.-Cuban relations, civil liberties, national security, and public memory in the past, present, and future. The guest speakers will be giving a talk on the titled event. All are welcome to attend.

For more information about the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, visit http://gitmomemory.org.