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Who Benefits From a Continent Divided?
A Brazilian couple's perspective on relationships between citizens of Latin American countries
Antonio Carlos Rix (carlosrix)     Print Article 
Published 2008-12-16 11:30 (KST)   
Renato and Marianna enjoyed Patagonia and the people they met on their journey
©2008 Marianna Galani
Latin America as we know it today is composed of 29 different countries. In most of these countries Spanish is the major language spoken. In only one of those countries -- the biggest of the region -- Portuguese is the official language. Brazil represents about 34 percent of the entire population of Latin America.

Portuguese has been the major unifying factor of the Brazilian people on the one hand while dividing the rest of the region on the other; so much so that it is still easy to find Brazilians who will never refer to themselves as Latin Americans.

"So what are you?" you may ask. My answer is that without a shadow of a doubt I am Brazilian.

Recently the Brazilian government took steps to better integrate Brazil into Latin America culturally, economically and politically. In the southern region of Brazil (Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul ) schools are teaching Spanish as a second language.

These sorts of exchanges are also taking place in the music industry. Many Brazilian artists find success in Spanish-speaking countries and some Spanish-speaking artists are selling their work in Brazil, too.

We benefit more from getting to know each other than from being apart. I remember when I was in Korea for the OhmyNews International Citizen Reporters' Forum that the same thing was and is happening between Korea and Japan.

And yet while Latin America remains divided, Europe is united, as is the US, Canada and Mexico. It is time we ask who benefits from our separations, divisions and misunderstandings -- of any kind?

The Brazilians and Argentineans aren't the best of friends. Many claim this is due to soccer disputes, but I think it goes somewhat deeper into the international politics of colonial times. Back then these divisions were instruments used by colonizers for their own benefit.

The couple I interviewed below -- Mr. and Ms. Galani -- offer real examples of how good it is to cross boundaries and reach out to our neighbors. Instead of spending their vacation in the US or Europe, they decided to go and visit the Argentinean and Chilean areas of Patagonia. The experience they brought home was enriching and a beam of light to all who dream of world peace.

Yes, we can make it happen!

Below, Mr. and Ms. Galani share with us some of their pictures taken during the trip.

©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Antonio Carlos Rix

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