Marcela Valdes is the books editor of The Washington Examiner and a specialist in Latin American literature and culture.
For more than 40 years, the most important book prize in South America has been bankrolled by the region's most famous petro-nation: Venezuela. Yet Venezuelan novelists themselves rank among the least read and translated writers in the entire continent. Over and over again as I worked on this article, I stumped editors and translators with a simple question: Who are Venezuela's best novelists?
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 10:15 pm
It took more than 60 years, but an Army chaplain who died as a prisoner during the Korean War will be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama on Thursday.
Capt. Emil Kapaun was a Catholic priest serving with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division who died at age 35 in 1951. And he's not only a war hero — the Catholic Church is also looking into whether he should be made a saint.
In the days before elevators, there was no such thing as a penthouse on the top floor. The highest floors of a building had cheaper rents because the stairs were hard to climb.
Caracas, Venezuela, is organized roughly the same way, with many poor neighborhoods climbing up the sides of a mountain valley. Some of the poorest homes are among the most remote, accessible not by any road but by alleyways and long flights of stairs.
As Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez thought in grandiose terms, and his country's vast oil riches enabled him to act on his vision. But Chavez died before he had to deal with the flaws in his model, and some hard choices await his successor.
Key to Chavez's notion of "21st Century Socialism" was the redistribution of Venezuela's oil earnings. The country's oil reserves — estimated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to be the largest in the world — are worth tens of billions of dollars a year in potential revenue.
Scientists reported Wednesday that they had developed a way to measure how much pain people are experiencing by scanning their brains.
The researchers hope the technique will help doctors treat pain better, but the work is also raising concerns about whether the technique might interfere with doctors simply listening to their patients.
Now, when someone is in pain, a doctor has no way to judge its severity except to ask questions, a method that often is inadequate.
Researchers in California described Wednesday their new method for mass-producing the key ingredient for the herbal drug artemisinin, the most powerful antimalarial on the market. Already, the French drugmaker Sanofi is ramping up production at a plant in Italy to manufacture the ingredient and the drug.
Global health advocates say they expect this new method of producing artemisinin will at last provide a stable supply of the drug and cut the overall cost of malaria treatment.