Portal Latin America

Walt Disney and His Connection to Latin America

To understand the magical world of Disney, just explore the vision and dreams of a genius whose creativity, curiosity, talent, perseverance, and endless imagination changed the world of entertainment forever.

Walt Elias Disney was born in Chicago on December 5, 1901. He demonstrated his talent from a very young age by making cartoons, which he began selling to earn a little money. In his teens, he discovered his passion for cinema.

In 1923, together with his brother Roy O. Disney, they began to produce cartoons and later created one of the most famous animated characters in history, Mickey Mouse. During a visit to South America, this pioneer of animated films fell in love with Latin American culture. This visit sparked his creativity even more.


In 1941, on the eve of the United States’ entry into World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt sent Disney with 16 of his artists to Latin America to curb the influence of the Nazis and fascists on this continent. For Roosevelt, Disney embodied the American capitalist spirit. This mission led Walt and his artists to visit Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. During their adventure through all these Latin American countries, they met many local artists and learned about the folklore of the regions they visited. The group explored and searched for songs, places, dances, and personalities for their animations. From his experience, the character of José Carioca, a Brazilian parrot, was created. The adventure led to countless animations for movies and shorts with characters based on Latin American culture. Some examples were “Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros,” among others.

Did you know that Disney World could have ended up in New Orleans?

Disney had also eyed the Big Easy as a possible theme park location, and even began purchasing property in New Orleans, but ultimately chose Orlando after politicians in Louisiana demanded too much.

Today, Disney has countless movies inspired by Latin American countries, making Latinos everywhere proud to see their culture represented on the big screen. Films such as “Coco” (Mexico), “Up” (Venezuela), “The Emperor’s New Groove” (Peru), and, the most recent, “Encanto” (Colombia), released in November 2021, magically represent cultures that transport viewers to these places without having to leave home.


Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle at WDW. Photo Rebecca Green

The vision of this dreamer went beyond his animated films. That is why he created the Disney theme park in California for people of all ages to “enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” After Walt Disney’s death, the Walt Disney World theme park in Florida was born with the same vision of entertaining and making dreams come true for all who visit the park. In 2021, Walt Disney World celebrated its 50th anniversary.


Even as the business leader is no longer with us, his vision continues today thanks to the countless “imagineers” who create and bring the Disney magic to many homes, regardless of geographical location or language.


Everything Walt Disney represents is reflected within its parks and in its films that make us dream, laugh, and cry with their inspiring messages.

Doing Your Part Local Iniciative to build a school in Honduras

Doing Your Part

Local Iniciative to build a school in Honduras.

By Memo Perez Lara

Click aqui para español- >¡Haz tu parte! Iniciativa Local Construye Escuela en Honduras

Miriam Brown is a renowned accountant in New Orleans. A proud Honduran who has had professional success thanks to her effort and dedication. Miriam is not indifferent to the problems faced by Honduras and Central America, in general.

There is a serious humanitarian crisis, with minors in extreme poverty, with little chance of getting ahead based on education. Miriam, like several Hondurans based in the U.S., has decided to make a difference, and give back with resources to their Honduran brothers, so that they have a light of hope, and can access a decent education, in this case, through a school.

We spoke with her to find out about her initiative.

VN- How was the idea of a school in Honduras born?

MB- I saw a report on Facebook about these children, receiving class without desks, on the floor, with a building consisting of 4 posts and walls of black plastic bags. I asked myself...What do they do when it rains? So, I contacted Dariela Raquel Villalobos, a teacher at the Pueblo Nuevo school, and that's how it all began.

VN- How was it decided where to build it?

MB- The community of Pueblo Nuevo, in Comayagua, had already bought the land, and they were trying to do something with their own resources, after having requested financial help from the Department of Education, and not receiving any answers.

VN- What does it mean for you to lead this project?

MB- It is very gratifying for me to be able to do something for these children. Along with my friends Walter Andrés López, Germán Zelaya and Jose Sierra we realized that the only way to carry out the work was by requesting donations. The original plan was to build 3 classrooms, but we lacked funds. We are proud that 35 children will begin their school year in a new concrete building consisting of two classrooms. The company Recacel, from San Pedro Sula, donated 6 computers, Internet and a virtual library for children to do their homework and research.

VN- How has the sponsorship for the project been resolved?

MB- We opened a Gofundme account in August 2018 and were lucky that a good number of people responded and cooperated to purchase materials. Labor is being provided by the community itself.

VN- When and how is the inauguration planned?

MB- Work is still underway. The school year begins in February in Honduras, so we are wrapping up just before classes begin.

VN- What has been the response that the Honduran community of New Orleans has had for the project?

MB- Honestly, I expected more Hondurans to see how important it is to educate the youth in Honduras, and to join the work. But we wholeheartedly thank all those who contributed. I was surprised that several people, without any connection to Honduras, also cooperated. There are good people in the world.

VN- Do you think that the Honduran community of New Orleans should be more supportive of their countrymen back home?

MB- Definitely. We must work on creating more awareness and making education and health issues a priority in Honduras. If all Hondurans in the U.S. put our grain of sand, we could achieve much in our country. I admire our brothers in Costa Rica, because education is the first thing for them. Hopefully, the same can be achieved in Honduras. United we can!

VN- Is there any other project at the underway?

MB- Yes. We are talking about coming together in New Orleans and creating an organization to continue the task of supporting education. There is a lot to do in Honduras.

VN- A final message from you

MB- A million thanks to all the people who donated for this project. Without them, it would not have been possible. Let's continue working for the common good. May God multiply it! Thank you!




The Visible and the Invisible

The Visible and the Invisible

By Memo Perez Lara

Click aqui para español- >Los visibles y los invisibles


For decades, Central Americans have crossed the border of Mexico on their way to the US.

With data from 2017, it is estimated that each year more than 450,000 people, mainly Central Americans, cross Mexico, according to Christopher Gascon, Mexican representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This means that more than 1,200 people cross through Mexico every day. This constitutes an incessant flow of Central Americans who grew tired of poverty, crime, few employment opportunities, or who simply want a dignified life that their countries cannot or do not make the effort to provide.

In recent days, the caravan of Central Americans that currently crosses Mexico has gained lots of attention. It is estimated that by the end of October, the caravan will have around 7,000 migrants, even though it started with a few hundred when it left San Pedro Sula, in Honduras.

This caravan has gotten media attention for weeks. Millions of words have been written about the specific circumstances of the origin, the route, the crossing of the border, and the details of this mobilization.

But ... What makes this caravan so visible, if in comparison to the annual flow of migrants, is actually tiny? We can pose a theory about it.

This caravan has raised visibility to a common problem. This group of people have organized themselves and have agreed that they had enough and were tired of the harassment. They decided to stop paying "coyotes" and traffickers during the difficult migration and decided to march together while protecting each other during a journey they were determined to make individually anyway.

Those who venture to migrate on their own must raise a lot of money and often use their lifelong savings or get in debt in many cases. Migrants must deal with "coyotes" and human traffickers who have created a million-dollar business from transfers. And these are only the dangers they face in the beginning of the journey.

After riding on the dangerous train known as “The Beast” and having made endless walks, many arrive to the USA, the promised land. Those are the ones that get a happy ending, while many others stay either stay in Mexico, or get caught and deported. There many others whose fate is unknown because they disappear, and no one finds about them ever again.

Mexico, as a country, has been unable to protect its Central American brothers. Migrants who dare to start the journey face economic hardships, robberies, rapes, human trafficking, kidnappings, and in the worst cases, murders.

The Honduran government is the latest example of a government that was unable to give its migrants a safe and prosperous place to live. During a political conflict of legitimacy, the government appears impotent and weak to even outline a solution to the problem.

If a person decides to put all their belongings in a suitcase, take his wife and children, and embark on an uncertain odyssey to a distant, hostile and unknown place, this is a window to the reality of their country of origin which clearly shows the failure of its public policies which have led to the expulsion of their own citizens.

Mexico, a bigger and more developed country in theory, undergoes the exact same situation. With public policies that have not contained corruption and increased poverty, they have expelled millions to fend for themselves in the United States.

Ironically, all those working brothers who have achieved prosperity in the U.S., by their own efforts, and by no one else’s, are now the second source of revenue back in Mexico. This important revenue for Mexico’s economy is not due to good government, it is in fact the result of bad government. Migrants, with their sense of solidarity with their families, have not forgotten to provide financially for them. The good hearts of the migrants make-up for the failed government’s policies. This now famous caravan of migrant is still going to face the intransigence of the U.S. President, Donald Trump, who will not hesitate to use the military to prevent them from entering U.S. territory, thus adding to the collective paranoia of some of the American citizens regarding immigrants. But there are these migrants, walking, little by little, with their goal in mind: Flee poverty and violence, the universal reasons for migration. And if a virtue can be attributed to this caravan, is that it has made visible the invisible, the people that we have gotten used to sweeping under the rug.



By Memo Perez Lara

Click aqui para español ->¡Gooooooool!

There are little things in life that produce as much satisfaction as a goal from your favorite team. When your team loses, it can ruin your whole week. But when your team wins, you feel like you're on cloud nine.

There are many reasons to choose a team. In some cases, your allegiance could be determined at birth. But once you pick your team, there is no going back! It may be easier to convert to a different religion.

That's just how we football fanatics are and we call it plainly as football - because for Latinos, there is no such thing as "soccer".

As football philosopher, player, and world champion, Jorge Valdano used to say, "football is the most important thing among the less important things."

I was trying to come up with a way to explain the emotion that watching your national selection enter the field during the World Cup produces, but I gave up before even trying. You just can't find an explanation to that feeling. It is like seeing the beach for the first time. You must experience it to know how it feels. It simply cannot be explained in words.

Even though 'soccer' has gained attention in the U.S., its popularity remains significantly below the top sports like American football, baseball, and basketball. It has yet to be embedded in the American culture.

There are many people who find football boring and don't comprehend that a single goal is in fact the result of huge sacrifice, a team-wide sacrifice. Americans are accustomed to games with hundreds of points, 15 plus home runs, and at least 25 touchdowns per game.

The high-scoring nature of these popular sports has desensitized Americans viewers because show business has dictated a norm for easier targets to achieve multiple-digit points on the scoreboard. Higher point totals perhaps correlate with higher entertainment, but at the same time, the crowd loses the sense of the spirit of achievement.

There are basic rules when my national team is playing in the World Cup: Do not talk to me, do not distract me, do not even look at me! I'm not working, and you are not going to get my attention.

If for any reason my team loses, don't be surprised if I punch a hole in the wall or hide in the bathroom and cry.

Not to be distasteful, but those who don't understand the passion for football, just don't get anything at all!

During the rage of the World Cup, we are all fraternal enemies of a world war where it may just be possible for third-world countries to beat the economic powers, and for millionaires to yell 'goal' with the same pitch and passion of the needy.

Could there be anything more democratic than the passion for football?


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