Wednesday, March 5, 2014

La Vuelta Podcast: CELAC and the Future of the OAS, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the life and legacy of photographer Frank Espada.

February came and went and we weren't able to put together a new episode of La Vuelta.

How can we make this up to our listeners? By launching a March episode that may be our best yet.

We start by speaking with Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue about the recent CELAC Summit in Havana and about the challenges facing the Organization of American States.  Anyone who follows Latin American policy debates knows Shifter is one of the nation's leading experts on the region and his insights on the current political landscape in Latin America are worth a listen.

Next, we turn to the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil.  Soccer (football, futebol, futbol--take your pick) fans across the globe are setting their sights on Brazil for what promises to be a fierce competition featuring some of the world's greatest soccer players.  But there is more to the games than what will happen on the pitch.  Debates and protests have been raging in Brazil about the costs of the games while many wonder whether the South American powerhouse will actually be ready to welcome soccer fans this summer.  We spoke with Marcos Peres, a U.S.-based blogger and journalist for Brazilian communications giant UOL, about how Brazil is gearing up for the games and what are some of the challenges it faces.  We also got him to tell us the teams to watch this year. (Spoiler: he didn't think much of the USMNT's chances.)

Finally, we interviewed New York Times columnist David Gonzalez about the life and legacy of celebrated photographer Frank Espada.  If, like us, you're a fan of his work as contributor to and co-editor of the Times' Lens Blog, you already know about Espada from Gonzalez's essays here and here. Beyond his personal recollections of Espada, however, Gonzalez also explained the Puerto Rican artist's work within the broad context of the history of social documentary photography in the United States.

This month's episode is exactly the sort of show we envisioned when we launched La Vuelta last year: conversations that are varied, timely and in-depth.  We hope you agree.

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