Looking directly into the lens of the camera, Ricardo Lagos condemned Augusto Pinochet, the dictator of Chile, in a cool impassioned speech on live national television during a time when the word ‘dictator’ was censored. Earlier in Chile people who spoke out against Pinochet were imprisoned, murdered and exiled – or in some cases exiled then murdered. Through relentless organizing, campaigning and planning, Ricardo Lagos helped Chileans overthrow Pinochet peaceful and democratically. A term afterwards, he served as President of Chile from 2000 to 2006.

A few weeks ago Professor Shaiken, Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies, hosted former President Lagos when he visited UC Berkeley.

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IMG_20120928_142318Some classes in Berkeley enroll everybody and their mothers. So on the first day of lecture you walk in and see every one of the seats filled in the enormous lecture hall, and in the aisles are the trusty GSIs ensuring that everyone takes turns breathing. So, how do you not fall asleep in such a big class? Or turn to Facebook? Or be enamored by all the attractive people?

Answer: By getting your Shakira on.

In the class, the Southern Border — a course on US-Mexico relations — movies, songs and pictures are worked into the lecture. One day we turned off the lights and listened to a song by American badass Liam  Neeson. Another day we watched the Presidential Campaign ads from  Mexico — pure comedy, like ours. On another we saw photos of the professors of the course, Harley Shaiken and Beatriz Manz advising Nancy Pelosi and Vicente Fox. Still, these things are super interesting, but how can such a crowded course possibly be cozy?

Answer: Cine Encore.

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5612169192_64005ff625Unlike the last movie star who showed his face ‘round these parts, Latin American actor and producer Diego Luna is probably not going to draw the same massive crowd of hysterical young women. Which in all honestly is probably a good thing, seeing as how some of you ladies (and gentleman, since we don’t want hate mail showering Eshleman) seem to be unaware that deafening, maniacal shrieking isn’t flattering … it’s weird. Very, very weird. And scary, quite frankly.

Luna – star of the classic Mexican coming of age film “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” co-star of the Oscar winning biographical film “Milk” and (more importantly) read more »