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Soccer-for-peace hacked to pieces
A freelance report for Newsday said eight—and possibly more—had been killed by criminals recruited by Haitian police to seek activists in Aristide's Lavalas party (Reed Lindsay, " 'Play for Peace' Soccer Match Turns into Massacre," 28 August). "Lavalas" is Creole for "torrent" or flood." "These killings set a dangerous precedent," said Anne Sosin, a human-rights observer for the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. "How can you explain police accompanied by individuals armed with machetes massacring spectators at a soccer match with UN troops standing by literally across the street?" The same "red shirts," according to witnesses, entered the Martissant neighborhood the following day and burned four houses alleged to house Lavalas supporters.REFUGEES
'I know soccer can bring good'
West Palm Beach, Fla., and Merger, Haiti, 9 June 2005 | Deadly loyalties infecting top-flight football in Haiti come to light through the story of Fabrice Noel,
Haitians love the Brazilian team, as they demonstrate following a victory in the 2002 World Cup finals. (AP)
As for Copa América, and some of the sides involved, hosts Peru advanced to the quarterfinals, losing to Argentina. Peru last hosted the competition in 1957, and the 2004 edition marked something of a turning point following some 20 years of armed resistance led by Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Tupac Amaru guerrillas. (See also the website of Peru's Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación and of the related photo exhibition, "Yuyanapaq: Para recordar.") This year's event was spiced by a one-day nationwide strike called midway through the event by the Confederación General de Trabajadores del Peru (CGTP), the country's largest labor organization. Protesting the free-market policies of the continent's least-popular leader, President Alejandro Toledo, the action resulted in 76 arrests, although the Associated Press characterized the strike's impact as minimal (Monte Hayes, "Peruvians Largely Ignore Call for Strike," 14 July). The government mobilized 93,000 police to make its views clear; former president and opposition Aprista Party leader Alan Garcia, however, supported the strike. More disruptive was the shutdown of Aero Continente, one of Peru's two major air carriers, when its insurance contract was not renewed. At least one journalist—the BBC's Tim Vickery—had to change his travel plans.Football spectacles in Latin America always seem to raise the specter of the past,
ReVista magazine spotlights Chile and the Chilean national stadium in its spring issue.
The National Stadium . . . is clearly a cultural icon of the nation. As a site of traumatic memory, the Stadium thus poses unique opportunities as well as challenges. With its 80,000-seat capacity, the Stadium is the site of the most important soccer matches in the country (and a World Cup site in 1962), immensely popular musical concerts, and other athletic and cultural events. It is extremely "inhabited." Tens of thousands constantly come and go through the stadium's gates. The fate of the Stadium as monument does not risk the physical, social and cultural relegation common to many conventional historic monuments.
Nor will the monument assume the quality of some static, impenetrable granite object commemorating fallen heroes. Too often, writes Chilean cultural scholar and critic Nelly Richard, a monument represents "the nostalgic contemplation of the heroic; the reification of the past in a commemorative block that petrifies the memorial as inert material." In the stadium, citizens will travel in and through the monument, making relegation, distance, and inertia far more difficult. Locating the accounts of victims and their families within the monument necessarily engages the representations of the past atrocities with the vibrant, emotional lived experiences of the present.
Mexico's ignominy occurred on 2 October 1968 when, 10 days before the start of the Olympic Games, government forces opened fire on student protesters in the La Plaza de las Tres Culturas at Tlatelolco in Mexico City, killing several hundred (see Tim Weiner, "When the Olympic Games Turned Political," New York Times, 24 July). Luis Echeverría, the interior minister in 1968 and later Mexico's president, was indicted on 23 July for his alleged role in authorizing additional murders of demonstrators in 1971. In between, of course, Mexico hosted the World Cup finals. But, according to Weiner's article in the Times, some historians date the end of Mexico's one-party rule to the events of 1968. The change culminated in 2000 with the election of current president Vincente Fox, who has his own problems.Colombia, which finished fourth in Copa América, nearly had to surrender the tournament in
Yet another photo of besparkled South American terraces, this time from Once Caldas. (www.oncecaldas.com.co)
Finally, ties between the United States—which turned down a Copa América place to concentrate on CONCACAF World Cup qualifying—and its Latin neighbors have been in focus. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl concluded the magazine's four-part series on globalization in sports by contrasting the efforts of the National Football League and Major League Soccer to win over non-American fans ("Football vs. Fútbol," 5 July). MLS, of course, has accepted Jose Vergara's proposal for Chivas USA, to be based outside Los Angeles. Wahl writes:
The plan is rich in irony: MLS will be creating its own regional type of globalization by harnessing the power of globalism's supposed bugbear, fervent nationalism. In the most multinational of sports, Chivas's appeal is simple: It has never signed a non-Mexican player in its 97-year history. "We want to spread the passion of being all [Mexican] nationals," Vergara says, "and, of course, of always giving everything you have. That's how Mexicans play—and how Chivas USA is going to play."
Vergara certainly seems forward-thinking, attracted in the near-term by the 9.5 million people in Los Angeles County, of whom 45 percent are Latinos. Vergara also has been cited for uplifting women in the Mexican workplace, having created business and self-empowerment training centers solely for women. "In Latin American countries we have wasted women in the workforce because of our macho education," Vergara tells Wahl ("Have Ambition, Will Travel," SI.com, 30 June). Certainly Chivas will encounter cultural differences in its new venture. An interesting distinction likely will come in the area of branding. As the Financial Times noted recently (John Authers, "Why Mexicans Mix Cement with Football," 8 July), Chivas currently wears the logo of Cemento Tolteca. Other Mexican clubs, too, are endorsed by cement makers, well aware that "in Mexico, and in much of the rest of the developing world, people buy cement one bag at a time, usually from small hardware stores. That means it must be sold and marketed as a consumer product, not in bulk from business to business, as it is in developed economies." Women sometimes decide what cement to buy, showing again that preconceived notions often mislead.
Anti-Aristide marchers gather in Port-au-Prince (Miami Herald)
Beneath the language and culture barriers lies the issue of society's acceptance of Haitians . . . , who point to the U.S. immigration policies toward Haitians as an example. Unlike Cubans who are greeted by an immigration law that allows them to apply for permanent residency, Haitians trying to seek refuge in the United States are put in detention or sent back to Haiti. (Kelly Brewington, "Struggles Follow Haitian Students to School in Orlando," Orlando Sentinel, 21 February; registration required)
Other recent features on Haiti
Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune ("Political Fallout," 10 March) and the New York Times's George Vecsey ("Haitian Players Watch the Ball and the Tube," 4 March) write in particular about Clavijo. The football team featured on 28 February on the radio program Only a Game (WBUR-FM, Boston) and also in the Miami Herald (Michelle Kaufman, "With Worried Eyes on Home, Soccer Team Seeks to Inspire," 27 February).
Fernando Clavijo, a former U.S. international, born in Uruguay, took over as coach of the national team in October 2003 and moved the training camp to Florida (Michelle Kaufman, "Haiti Shows New Life in the Soccer World," Knight Ridder Newspapers, 15 November 2003).
In the recent qualifier's first leg, Haiti's Johnny Descollines recalled the exploits of Haitian star Emmanuel Sanon (two goals in the 1974 World Cup finals, in which Haiti became the first finals entrant from the Caribbean) with a hat trick inside a seven-minute interval ("Hot Haiti's Hat-Trick Hero," FIFAWorldCup.com). Nono Baptiste, former Haiti coach, effused afterward:
No puedo describir la emoción que produce esta victoria en la comunidad haitiana. Siempre cuando escucho la radio, veo la televisión y leo los periódicos, encuentro sólo malas noticias sobre Haití. La victoria del domingo produjo una noticia positiva, como un rayo de esperanza que demuestra el potencial de nuestra gente. ("I can't describe the emotion that this victory provides the Haitian community. When I listen to the radio, watch television and read newspapers I only see bad news about Haiti. Sunday's victory gives us some good news, like a ray of hope demonstrating the potential of our people.") (Luis F. Sanchez, "Baptiste, timón de oro de la Selección Haití," El Nuevo Herald [Miami])
The U.S. women's national team faces Haiti on Friday in a CONCACAF Olympic qualifier in Costa Rica. The men play the Haitians in Miami on March 13. (To keep up to date on political events, refer to the Miami Herald's Haiti page.) | back to top