U.S. Department of State Debars 168 Persons for Violating or Conspiring To Violate the Arms Export Control Act

On April 25, 2018, the U.S. Department of State published a Federal Register notice of 168 persons and entities who have been statutorily debarred for convictions of violating, or conspiring to violate, the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751, et seq.). This action, as required by section 127.7(b) of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 CFR parts 120-130), highlights the Department’s responsibility to protect U.S. defense articles, including technical data, and defense services from unauthorized exports and brokering.

This notice is provided for purposes of making the public aware that these statutorily debarred persons are prohibited from participating directly or indirectly in activities regulated by the ITAR. This includes any brokering activities and any export from or temporary import into the United States of defense articles, related technical data, or defense services in any situation covered by the ITAR.

The Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, working in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations, identified the persons subject to statutory debarment based on their criminal conviction by a court of the United States.

Under the terms of the statutory debarment, these individuals and entities are prohibited from participating directly or indirectly in any activities that are subject to the ITAR. Each individual and entity on this list will remain debarred until the Department approves an application request for reinstatement. All persons engaged in activities subject to the ITAR should be vigilant in their compliance with all export control regulations and ensure that their activities do not involve debarred persons.

The notice of statutory debarment listing the names of the debarred individuals and entities was published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2018. A full list of all persons subject to statutory debarment is available on the website of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).


Pursuant to Section 38(g)(4) of the AECA and Section 127.7(c) of the ITAR, the following persons, having been convicted in a U.S. District Court, are statutorily debarred as of the date of this notice (Name; Date of Judgment; Judicial District; Case No.; Month/Year of Birth):

(1) Edwin Acety; November 10, 2016; Southern District of New York; 1:15-cr-00369; November 1975.

(2) Jesus Alberto Acosta; September 28, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00543; September 1968.

(3) William Ali; July 27, 2017; Western District of Washington; 2:16-cr-00142; August 1978.

(4) AMA United Group; January 13, 2017; Eastern District of New York; 1:13-cr-00612.

(5) Syed Vaqar Ashraf (aka Vaqar A Jaffery; Vaqar-A-Jaffery); September 2, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:15-cr-01431; January 1945.

(6) Mahmoud Abdel-Ghani Mohammad Assaf; February 2, 2016; Middle District of Florida; 8:14-cr-00307.

(7) Alexandre Astakhov; May 11, 2015; Eastern District of Pennsylvania; 2:12-cr-00572; February 1985.

(8) Omar Alejandro Avilez-Mancinas; April 13, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:16-cr-02272; August 1995.

(9) Oguzhan Aydin; April 5, 2016; Northern District of Georgia; 1:12-cr-00221; June 1975.

(10) Jose Abraham Benavides-Cira; June 1, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:15-cr-00281; July 1984.

(11) Jose Luis Benavides-Cira; December 11, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:15-cr-00281; August 1982.

(12) Marcelo Bettim; May 31, 2017; Southern District of Flordia; 1:17-cr-20134; October 1970.

(13) Su Bin; July 18, 2016; Central District of California; 8:14-cr-00131; February 1960.

(14) Sergey Boltutskiy (aka Siarhei Baltutski); December 19, 2013; Eastern District of Pennsylvania; 2:11-cr-00553.

(15) Oliver Bouzas-Delie; December 11, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:15-cr-00281; October 1983.

(16) Alhaji Boye; March 29, 2017; Eastern District of North Carolina; 5:16-cr-00146; December 1970.

(17) Louis Joseph Brothers; March 2, 2016; Eastern District of Kentucky; 2:14-cr-00035; May 1952.

(18) Steven Paul Browning; April 4, 2016; Eastern District of North Carolina; 7:15-cr-00059; June 1986.

(19) Alex Bryukhov; April 8, 2016; Southern District of New York; 1:15-cr-00369; August 1969.

(20) Pheerayuth Burden (aka Siriwongs Burden; Pheerayuth Chan; Tony Burden); March 8, 2017; District of Columbia; 1:14-cr-00069; December 1969.

(21) Mike Mangao Cabatingan; April 13, 2015; Central District of California; 2:10-cr-00184; September 1953.

(22) Bo Cai; April 23, 2015; District of New Mexico; 1:13-cr-04044; August 1985.

(23) Wentong Cai; April 28, 2015; District of New Mexico; 1:13-cr-04044; December 1984.

(24) Cassandra Camacho; October 10, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00421; August 1989.

(25) Benjamin James Cance; January 15, 2016; Western District of Michigan; 1:15-cr-00141; December 1984.

(26) Kurt Carter; December 16, 2008; District of Maine; 1:07-cr-00054; March, 1965.

(27) Jose Roberto Celaya-Mendez; June 16, 2014; District of Arizona; 4:14-cr-00036; May 1962.

(28) Juan Jose Cesena-Espericueta; May 19, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-01805; October 1982.

(29) Huan Ling Chang (aka Alice Chang); January 6, 2015; District of New Jersey; 2:14-cr-00548; December 1970.

(30) Kan Chen; June 30, 2016; District of Delaware; 1:16-cr-00011; March 1990.

(31) Rodrigo Chico-Rodriguez; April 21, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-01618; August 1988.

(32) Carlos Alberto Dominguez Chicote (aka Carlos Alberto Dominguez-Chicote); May 9, 2016; District of Arizona; 2:14-cr-01632; August 1967.

(33) See Kee Chin; November 10, 2014; Western District of Washington; 2:14-cr-00043; December 1957.

(34) Wei Jiun Chu; August 25, 2014; District of Arizona; 2:13-cr-01524; September 1961.

(35) Jose Orence Cocchiola; August 20, 2014; Southern District of Florida; 1:14-cr-20216; January 1986.

(36) Luis Armando Collins-Avila; September 25, 2014; District of Arizona; 4:13-cr-01376; July 1971.

(37) Demetrio Sebastian Cortez-Ordaz; March 28, 2014; Eastern District of California; 1:11-cr-00376.

(38) Michael Curlett; August 19, 2016; Middle District of Tennessee; 3:11-cr-00015; March 1967.

(39) Irina Cvetkovic; April 26, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:14-cr-01362; March 1959.

(40) Jian Dai; September 25, 2014; Central District of California; 2:14-cr-00184; October 1985.

(41) Joseph Debose; October 29, 2013; Eastern District of New York; 1:12-cr-00271; July 1982.

(42) Heriberto Del Fierro-Moreno; February 28, 2017; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00712; May 1980.

(43) Dane Francisco Delgado; December 5, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:14-cr-00008. February 1976.

(44) Ronald Alexander Dobek; September 10, 2014; Eastern District of Wisconsin; 2:13-cr-00231; May 1975.

(45) Salatiel Duran-Reyes; June 18, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-01800; January 1971.

(46) Gilbert Oscar Elian; November, 3, 2016; Western District of Michigan; 1:15-cr-00149; November 1960.

(47) Everardo Abraham Escamilla-Salas; May 24, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 1:15-cr-00913; September 1987.

(48) Juan Jose Estrada; August 5, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-01584; December 1968.

(49) Papa Faal; May 13, 2016; District of Minnesota; 0:15-cr-00028; July 1968.

(50) Eyad Farah; December 15, 2015; Middle District of Florida; 8:14-cr-00382; September 1973.

(51) Alexander Fishenko; August 29, 2016; Eastern District of New York; 1:12-cr-00626; March 1966.

(52) Robert Herman Fleischer; August 4, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:16-cr-02273; October 1995.

(53) Aurel Fratila; September 16, 2013; Southern District of California; 3:06-cr-02255; October 1971.Start Printed Page 18114

(54) Cruz Moises Garcia; July 1, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:13-cr-00897.

(55) Hector De Jesus Garcia; November 19, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-01801; December 1993.

(56) Edgar Garza-Sanchez; April 3, 2017; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00708; June 1997.

(57) Ellias Abdl Halim Ghandi; August 4, 2016; Eastern District of Virginia; 1:16-cr-00117; September 1988.

(58) Sam Rafic Ghanem; August 14, 2015; District of Maryland; 8:14-cr-00008; February 1970.

(59) Joseph Esequiel Gonzalez; September 16, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00150.

(60) Ramon Gonzalez-Azuara; May 30, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00322.

(61) Javier Gonzalez; June 11, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:13-cr-00768.

(62) Josafat Gonzalez-Rodriguez; December 14, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:15-cr-01591; May 1986.

(63) Jose Luis Gonzalez-Salinas; October 3, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-00004; November 1972.

(64) Christopher M. Gray; October 15, 2013; District of Columbia; 1:13-cr-00107.

(65) Yhoshua Guzman; May 21, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-01322; September 1995.

(66) Dennis Haag; October 2, 2014; Eastern District of Michigan; 2:14-cr-20089; June 1955.

(67) Mark Anthony Hammond; October 3, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:15-cr-01284; April 1980.

(68) Roberto Carlo Hasbun-Villarreal; October 5, 2013; Southern District of Texas; 7:11-cr-01581; October 1973.

(69) Philip Chaohui He (aka Philip Hope; Philip Chaohui); December 20, 2013; District of Colorado; 1:11-cr-00519; December 1969.

(70) Mark Henry; November 23, 2015; Eastern District of New York; 1:13-cr-00091; December 1963.

(71) Adrian Manuel Hernandez; October 13, 2015; District of Arizona; 2:15-cr-00189.

(72) Ernesto Hernandez; March 2, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00757.

(73) Adam Al Herz; October 18, 2016; Northern District of Iowa; 1:15-cr-00054; January 1985.

(74) Ali Afif Al Herz; November 1, 2016; Northern District of Iowa; 1:15-cr-00054; February 1965.

(75) Bassem Afif Herz; December 12, 2016; Northern District of Iowa; 1:15-cr-00054; January 1985.

(76) Elmer Hill; August 19, 2016; Middle District of Tennessee; 3:11-cr-00015; July 1947.

(77) Justin Gage Jangraw; November, 21, 2014; District of Columbia; 1:14-cr-00174; January 1980.

(78) Gregory Allen Justice; September 19, 2017; Central District of California; 2:16-cr-00499; October 1966.

(79) David Ray Kelley; February 10, 2015; District of Maryland; 1:13-cr-00588; January 1969.

(80) Amanullah Khan (aka Anthony Fernandez; Steven Joseph; Robert Joseph; Gerald Jousuf; Solomon Jousuf; Amanullah Kahn; Aman Khan; Aman Ullah Khan; Amanulla Khan; Amanullah J. Khan; Armand Khan; George Paal; Joseph Salmon; Jousuf Solomon; Yousuf Solomon; Joseph Sulman; Solomon Yousef); December 1, 2005; Central District of California; 8:04-cr-00152.

(81) Mozaffar Khazaee (aka Mozzaffar Khazaee; Arash Khazaie); October 27, 2015; District of Connecticut; 3:14-cr-00009; August 1954.

(82) Song Il Kim; February 29, 2016; District of Utah; 2:15-cr-00417.

(83) Jean Baptiste Kingery; September 20, 2016; District of Arizona; 2:13-cr-01607; October 1970.

(84) Siripong Klongsirithaworn; February 10, 2015; Western District of Washington; 2:14-cr-00220; January 1986.

(85) Hamza Kolsuz; October 7, 2016; Eastern District of Virginia; 1:16-cr-00053; January 1973.

(86) Roman Georgiyevich Kvinikadze; January 21, 2014; District of Wyoming; 1:13-cr-00178; December 1981.

(87) Nestor Leal-Cedillo; October 10, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00421; July 1990.

(88) Nares Lekhakul; January 24, 2014; Western District of Washington; 2:13-cr-00030; May 1977.

(89) Naris Lekhakul; January 24, 2014; Western District of Washington; 2:13-cr-00032; October 1970.

(90) Zhifu Lin; March 11, 2014; Eastern District of New York; 1:12-cr-00271; September 1986.

(91) Yu Long; June 27, 2017; District of Connecticut; 3:16-cr-00229; October 1977.

(92) Robert Luba; April 25, 2016; District of New Jersey; 3:13-cr-00693; July 1966.

(93) Guadalupe Edgar Lucio-Amador; October 27, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:14-cr-00097; June 1978.

(94) Kamran Ashfaq Malik; July 8, 2015; District of Maryland; 8:14-cr-00075; November 1978.

(95) Wenxia Man; August 19, 2016; Southern District of Florida; 0:14-cr-60195; December 1970.

(96) Rex Gene Maralit; March 27, 2015; Eastern District of New York; 1:13-cr-00534; March 1979.

(97) Wilfredo Maralit; March 27, 2015; Eastern District of New York; 1:13-cr-00534; March 1965.

(98) David L. Maricola; September 2, 2016; District of Massachusetts; 4:15-cr-40023; October 1955.

(99) Enrique Medina; December 9, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:14-cr-00008; November 1978.

(100) Genaro Mejia; April 28, 2017; Southern District of Florida; 1:16-cr-20224.

(101) Rosa Maria Melendez-Jimenez; December 1, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 1:15-cr-00168; August 1962.

(102) Guiseppe Luciano Menegazzo-Carrasquel; August 20, 2013; District of Arizona; 2:10-cr-01462; May 1964.

(103) Daniel Miranda-Mendoza; September 1, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-01405; March 1994.

(104) Ambar Esthela Morales; March 23, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:15-cr-00996; April 1992.

(105) Manuel Morales; June 1, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:15-cr-00593.

(106) Jesus Morales-Reyes; May 24, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 1:15-cr-00913; December 1980.

(107) Jose Ricardo Nacif Cury; November 24, 2014; Southern District of Florida; 1:14-cr-20501; April 1971.

(108) Luis Alberto Najera-Citalan; June 23, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-01805; March 1986.

(109) Netria Corporation; January 13, 2015; District of New Hampshire; 1:14-cr-00059.

(110) Thach Hoang Nguyen; May 14, 2015; Eastern District of Virginia; 1:14-cr-00426; June 1956.

(111) Solomon Benson Nkwocha; November 3, 2016; District of South Carolina; 2:14-cr-00860; April 1960.

(112) Yasser Ahmad Obeid; December 22, 2014; Middle District of Florida; 8:14-cr-00307; September 1994.

(113) Jose Antonio Ortiz-Lopez; May 30, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00322.

(114) Yahor Osin (aka Egor Osin); March 7, 2014; Eastern District of Pennsylvania; 2:11-cr-00449; October 1982.

(115) Jung Shic Park (aka Alex Park); November 30, 2015; District of New Jersey; 2:14-cr-00441; July 1984.

(116) Paweena Pechner; July 18, 2014; District of New Hampshire; 1:13-cr-00116; August 1979..

(117) Miguel Angel Perez; January 22, 2014; Western District of Texas; 4:13-cr-00432.

(118) Erik Antonio Perez-Bazan; October 10, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-01011; December 1985.

(119) Hunter Perry; July 28, 2016; Western District of Kentucky; 3:15-cr-00142; March 1982.

(120) Luis Donaldo Pina; February 13, 2017; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00070; April 1995.

(121) Peter Steve Plesinger; April 26, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:14-cr-01362; December 1961.

(122) Volodomyr Ponomarenko; May 21, 2013; Eastern District of New York; 1:12-cr-00254.

(123) Alexander Posobilov; March 22, 2017; Eastern District of New York; 1:12-cr-00626.

(124) Joel Prado, Jr.; February 23, 2017; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00712; August 1980.

(125) Precision Image Corporation, (aka Precision Industries, Inc.; CK Enterprises, Inc.); October 28, 2013; Western District of Washington; 2:13-cr-00226.

(126) Kolar Rahman Anees Ur Rahman; January 31, 2017; District of Utah; 2:15-cr-00714; May 1971.

(127) Armando Ramirez-Vazquez; July 13, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 1:15-cr-00167; July 1983.

(128) Javier Nenos Rea; January 13, 2015; Southern District of Florida; 1:14-cr-Start Printed Page 1811520646; March 1982.

(129) Romulo Arca Reclusado; December 31, 2013; Central District of California; 2:10-cr-00184; September 1950.

(130) Ismael Reta; June 19, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-01618; July 1986.

(131) Arjyl Revereza; March 4, 2014; Central District of California; 2:12-cr-00037; October 1985.

(132) Earl Henry Richmond; December 2, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:14-cr-01362.

(133) Hannah Robert; April 15, 2016; District of New Jersey; 3:13-cr-00671; July 1965.

(134) Tul Robroo (aka Tul Robrhoo); November 10, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 4:14-cr-00015; October 1974.

(135) Roy Wayne Roby; April 28, 2014; District of Arizona; 2:10-cr-01462; March 1958.

(136) Marleen Rochin; November 16, 2015; District of Arizona; 2:15-cr-00189; November 1986.

(137) Juan Ivan Rodriguez; October 10, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00421; August 1981.

(138) Gregorio Rodriguez-Aranda; February 18, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-01441; November 1988.

(139) Edgar Alejandro Salazar; November 6, 2013; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-00170.

(140) Ernesto Salgado-Guzman; May 7, 2014; Eastern District of California; 1:11-cr-00376; November 1967.

(141) Maria Luisa Sanchez-Lopez; February 18, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 7:13-cr-01441; August 1989.

(142) Jorge Santana, Jr.; May 15, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:13-cr-00768; October 1978.

(143) Kirby C. Santos; November 2, 2016; District of New Jersey; 1:15-cr-00525; March 1977.

(144) Arnold See, Jr.; August 19, 2016; Middle District of Tennessee; 3:11-cr-00015; August 1957.

(145) Charles Shearon; August 19, 2016; Middle District of Tennessee; 3:11-cr-00015; July 1956.

(146) Hui Sheng Shen (aka Charlie Shen); January 9, 2015; District of New Jersey; 2:14-cr-00549; December 1966.

(147) Robert J. Shubert, Sr.; October 22, 2014; Middle District of Georgia; 5:13-cr-00050; April 1965.

(148) Norma Angelica Rodriguez Silvestre; October 5, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:15-cr-02066; May 1991.

(149) Nutveena Sirirojnananont; August 26, 2014; District of New Hampshire; 1:13-cr-00115; August 1973.

(150) Stephen Edward Smith; April 14, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:14-cr-01362; January 1954.

(151) Julio Cesar Solis-Castilleja; July 1, 2014; Southern District of Texas; 1:13-cr-00897; October 1969.

(152) John Francis Stribling; July 6, 2016; Eastern District of Virginia; 2:16-cr-00007; July 1960.

(153) Sergio Santiago de Leon Syjuco; February 27, 2014; Central District of California; 2:12-cr-00037; November 1986.

(154) Daniel Tijerina-Salinas; May 30, 2015; Southern District of Texas; 7:14-cr-00322; June 1991.

(155) Gerardo Trevino-Moncivais; November 17, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:16-cr-00802; November 1967.

(156) Veronica Trujillo; August 11, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:16-cr-01851; November 1973.

(157) Cesar Paolo Ubaldo; February 27, 2014; Central District of California; 2:12-cr-00037; July 1985.

(158) Luis Antonio Urdaneta Pozo; June 27, 2017; Southern District of Florida; 1:17-cr-20126.

(159) Dmitry Ustinov; October 10, 2014; District of Delaware; 1:13-cr-00034; June 1966.

(160) Manuel Valencia-Hermosillo; October 13, 2017; District of Arizona; 4:16-cr-01972; August 1995.

(161) Ricardo Humberto Varela; February 16, 2016; Southern District of Texas; 7:15-cr-00281; September 1983.

(162) Alberto Veroneze; November 24, 2014; Southern District of Florida; 1:14-cr-20501; September 1974.

(163) Jose Edmundo Villa-Bon; January 15, 2016; District of Arizona; 4:15-cr-01383; June 1969.

(164) Wing-On LLC; July 11, 2017; District of Columbia; 1:14-cr-00069.

(165) Yue Wu; August 25, 2015; Western District of Washington; 2:14-cr-00306; August 1973.

(166) Bin Yang, (aka Raymond Yang); November 19, 2013; Southern District of California; 3:12-cr-00165; January 1981.

(167) Kitibordee Yindeear-Rom (aka Kitibordee Yindeer-Rom); April 2, 2015; District of Columbia; 1:14-cr-00069; March 1986.

(168) Sarah Majid Zeaiter; October 17, 2016; Northern District of Iowa; 1:15-cr-00054; February 1991.

As noted above, at the end of the three-year period following the date of this notice, the above named persons/entities remain debarred unless export privileges are reinstated.

Debarred persons are generally ineligible to participate in activity regulated under the ITAR (see e.g., sections 120.1(c) and (d), and 127.11(a)). Also, under Section 127.1(d) of the ITAR, any person who has knowledge that another person is subject to debarment or is otherwise ineligible may not, without disclosure to and written approval from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, participate, directly or indirectly, in any ITAR-controlled transaction where such ineligible person may obtain benefit therefrom or have a direct or indirect interest therein.

This notice is provided for purposes of making the public aware that the persons listed above are prohibited from participating directly or indirectly in activities regulated by the ITAR, including any brokering activities and any export from or temporary import into the United States of defense articles, technical data, or defense services in all situations covered by the ITAR. Specific case information may be obtained from the Office of the Clerk for the U.S. District Courts mentioned above and by citing the court case number where provided.

Tina S. Kaidanow,

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Department of State.

Nicaragua: Travel Advisory Remains Level 3 – Reconsider Travel –

On April 23, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of U.S. government family members and authorized the departure of U.S. government personnel.

Political rallies and demonstrations are occurring daily, often with little notice or predictability. Some protests result in injuries and deaths. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong response that has in the past included includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and live ammunition against participants and occasionally have devolved into looting, vandalism, and acts of arson.” . Ability to purchase food and fuel may be limited, and access to the Sandino airport in Managua may be blocked. Both the Government of Nicaragua and the U.S. Embassy in Managua are limited in the assistance they can provide.

Violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common. Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited outside of major urban areas. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public buses and mototaxis and from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to crime. U.S. government personnel require special authorization to travel to the Northern and Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions due to crime and transportation safety concerns.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Nicaragua:

  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Restrict travel except in an emergency or to depart the country.
  • Shelter in place if your surrounding area is affected by demonstrations or move to a safer location if your current location is unsafe.
  • Consider arrangements to depart the country if you feel unsafe in Nicaragua.
  • Maintain adequate supplies of food, potable water, and fuel if sheltering in place.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Nicaragua.
  • S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist


File 20171027 13340 27cnqe.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Hugh Masekela performing during the 16th Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Esa Alexander/The Times

Gwen Ansell, University of Pretoria

Trumpeter, flugelhorn-player, singer, composer and activist Hugh Ramapolo Masekela has passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer.

When he cancelled his appearance last year at the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival, taking time out to deal with his serious health issues, fans were forced to return to his recorded opus for reminders of his unique work. Listening through that half-century of disks, the nature and scope of the trumpeter’s achievement becomes clear.

Masekela had two early horn heroes.

The first was part-mythical: the life of jazz great Bix Biederbecke filtered through Kirk Douglas’s acting and Harry James’s trumpet, in the 1950 movie “Young Man With A Horn”. Masekela saw the film as a schoolboy at the Harlem Bioscope in Johannesburg’s Sophiatown. The erstwhile chorister resolved “then and there to become a trumpet player”.

The second horn hero, unsurprisingly, was Miles Davis. And while Masekela’s accessible, storytelling style and lyrical instrumental tone are very different, he shared one important characteristic with the American: his life and music were marked by constant reinvention. As Davis reportedly said:

I don’t want to be yesterday’s guy.

Much has already been written about Masekela’s life and its landmarks: playing in the Huddleston Jazz Band in the 1950s on a horn donated by Louis Armstrong; performing in the musical “King Kong” in the 1960s and at the Guildhall and then Manhattan schools of music with singer Miriam Makeba; US pop successes in the 1970s and then touring Paul Simon’s “Graceland” in the 80s and 90s.

What is less discussed is the music, and the innovative imagination he has periodically applied to draw it fresh from the flames.

Breaking new ground

The Huddleston band, plus time as sideman and in stage shows, were the traditional career path for a young musician. But then Masekela broke his first new ground. With fellow originals, including saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, as The Jazz Epistles they cut the first LP of modern African jazz in South Africa.

“Jazz Epistle: Verse One” (1960) featured band compositions marked by challenging improvisation – “a cross between mbaqanga and bebop”. Mbaqanga is form of South African township jive and bebop an American jazz style developed in the 1940s.

Masekela had also joined the pit band and worked as a copyist for South Africa’s first black musical, “King Kong”.

This exposure attracted attention to his talent from potential patrons at home and abroad. Pushed by the horrors of the Sharpeville massacre when the South African police shot and killed 69 people on 21 March 1960, and pulled by donated air-tickets and scholarships, Masekela left for London, and then New York.

In the next two decades, Masekela’s re-visioning of his music took many forms. He found America hard, but with wife Miriam Makeba (the marriage lasted from 1964 – 1966), the production skills of Gwangwa, and the support of American singer Harry Belafonte he proactively introduced audiences to South African music and the destruction of apartheid.

On the ironically titled 1966 live “Americanisation of Ooga Booga”, he demonstrated the creative possibilities of “township bop”. Masekela did this by mashing up repertoire and playing styles from the South Africa he had left and the America he had landed in.

But he was also looking in other directions: in collaborations with other African musicians; towards fusion (with The Crusaders), rock (with The Byrds) and even pop at the Monterey Pop, festival.

That list captures only a fraction of his projects in the 1960s. Some bore instant fruit: his 1968 single, “Grazin’ In the Grass”, topped the Billboard Hot 100 list and sold four million copies; the previous year’s “Up Up and Away” became an instant standard.

In 1971, he teamed up with Gwangwa and Caiphus Semenya for another pan-African vision: The Union of South Africa. In 1972 he explored a stronger jazz orientation on “Home is Where The Music Is” with, among others, sax player Dudu Pukwana, bassist Eddie Gomez, keyboardist Larry Willis and Semenya.

Sixties counterculture

But as the title of “Grazin’ In the Grass” suggests, Masekela was also bewitched by other aspects of Sixties counterculture. He dated his addiction back to the alcohol-focused social climate of his early playing years in South Africa, but by the early Seventies he admitted:

I had destroyed my life with drugs and alcohol and could not get a gig or a band together. No recording company was interested in me…

That depression inspired the song that achieved genuinely iconic status back home in South Africa: the 1974 reflection on migrant labour, “Stimela/Coal Train”.

Foreign critics have handed that status to other Masekela songs, such as “Soweto Blues”, “Gold” or the much later “Bring Him Back Home”. Yet powerful though those are, it is Stimela, with its slow-burning steam-piston rhythm that captured the hearts of South Africans in struggle back home, and still does today. And of course the lyrics:

There’s a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi /there’s a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe/ from Angola and Mozambique…

Masekela said:

For me songs come like a tidal wave … At this low point, for some reason, the tidal wave that whooshed in on me came all the way from the other side of the Atlantic: from Africa; from home.

Shortly afterwards, Masekela headed off to Ghana, hooked up with Hedzoleh Soundz, and was soon back in the charts. “Stimela” received its first outing on the album “I Am Not Afraid”, with West African and American co-players including pianist Joe Sample.

By the mid ‘80s, the hornman was back in southern Africa, recording “Technobush” at the mobile Shifty Studio in Botswana, and performing for the Medu Arts Ensemble with a Botswanan/South African band, Kalahari. His music shifted again: roots mbaqanga came strongly to the fore to speak simply and directly to people now openly battling the apartheid regime just across the border.

Returning home

After liberation and his return home, Masekela once more chose fresh directions. In 1997 he banished his addictions and began to showcase the virtuoso player he could have been 30 years earlier without the distractions of the West Coast. He fronted big European jazz bands, and benchmarked a long musical friendship with Larry Willis with the magisterial Friends.

But his shrewd ear for the music of today, rather than yesterday, also took him into younger company. He collaborated with current stars – including singer Thandiswa Mazwai – often encouraging them to take centre stage. Just before the recurrence of his cancer, he was planning a festival collaboration with rapper Riky Rick.

To cap the transformation, the individualistic rebel of the 60s and 70s became an elder statesman of social activism. In 2001, he established a foundation to help other musicians escape addiction. Once more he foregrounded the music of continental Africa, to campaign against xenophobia. And the return of his own illness became the cue to exhort other men to get checked for prostate cancer.

Other South African musicians have succeeded overseas; many have made one mid-career image switch – but few have shown us, in only one person but more than 30 albums, so many of the faces and possibilities of South African jazz.

Hugh Masekela, musician, activist. Born: 4 April 1939; Died: 23 January 2018

The ConversationMasekela Playlist:

‘Blues for Hughie’ from the album, Jazz Epistle Verse One.
‘Unhlanhla (Lucky Boy)’ from The Americanization of Ooga Booga.
The major Masekela hit, ‘Grazin in the Grass’.
Hugh Masekela with ‘Up Up & Away’.
‘Shebeen’ from The Union of South Africa.
‘The Big Apple’ from Home is Where The Music Is.
‘Stimela’, a South African classic.
‘Motlalepula’ from Technobush.
Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis live.
‘African Sunset’ with Thandiswa Mazwai.
Masekela in conversation with the rapper Riky Rick.

Gwen Ansell, Associate of the Gordon Institute for Business Science, University of Pretoria

This article was originally published on The Conversation.




World Economic Forum Congress Centre
Davos, Switzerland
January 26. 2018

2:02 P.M. CET

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you, Klaus, very much.  It’s a privilege to be here at this forum where leaders in business, science, art, diplomacy, and world affairs have gathered for many, many years to discuss how we can advance prosperity, security, and peace.

I’m here today to represent the interests of the American people and to affirm America’s friendship and partnership in building a better world.

Like all nations represented at this great forum, America hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper, and every child can grow up free from violence, poverty, and fear.

Over the past year, we have made extraordinary strides in the U.S.  We’re lifting up forgotten communities, creating exciting new opportunities, and helping every American find their path to the American Dream — the dream of a great job, a safe home, and a better life for their children.

After years of stagnation, the United States is once again experiencing strong economic growth.  The stock market is smashing one record after another, and has added more than $7 trillion in new wealth since my election.  Consumer confidence, business confidence, and manufacturing confidence are the highest they have been in many decades.

Since my election, we’ve created 2.4 million jobs, and that number is going up very, very substantially.  Small-business optimism is at an all-time high.  New unemployment claims are near the lowest we’ve seen in almost half a century.  African American unemployment has reached the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States, and so has unemployment among Hispanic Americans.

The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America.  I’m here to deliver a simple message:  There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States.  America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.

The American economy is by far the largest in the world, and we’ve just enacted the most significant tax cuts and reform in American history.  We’ve massively cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses to let working families keep more of their hard-earned money.  We lowered our corporate tax rate from 35 percent, all the way down to 21 percent.  As a result, millions of workers have received tax cut bonuses from their employers in amounts as large as $3,000.

The tax cut bill is expected to raise the average American’s household income by more than $4,000.  The world’s largest company, Apple, announced plans to bring $245 billion in overseas profits home to America.  Their total investment into the United States economy will be more than $350 billion over the next five years.

Now is the perfect time to bring your business, your jobs, and your investments to the United States.  This is especially true because we have undertaken the most extensive regulatory reduction ever conceived.  Regulation is stealth taxation.  The U.S., like many other countries, unelected bureaucrats — and we have — believe me, we have them all over the place — and they’ve imposed crushing and anti-business and anti-worker regulations on our citizens with no vote, no legislative debate, and no real accountability.

In America, those days are over.  I pledged to eliminate two unnecessary regulations for every one new regulation.  We have succeeded beyond our highest expectations.  Instead of 2 for 1, we have cut 22 burdensome regulations for every 1 new rule.  We are freeing our businesses and workers so they can thrive and flourish as never before.  We are creating an environment that attracts capital, invites investment, and rewards production.

America is the place to do business.  So come to America, where you can innovate, create, and build.  I believe in America.  As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also.

But America first does not mean America alone.  When the United States grows, so does the world.  American prosperity has created countless jobs all around the globe, and the drive for excellence, creativity, and innovation in the U.S. has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and far healthier lives.

As the United States pursues domestic reforms to unleash jobs and growth, we are also working to reform the international trading system so that it promotes broadly shared prosperity and rewards to those who play by the rules.

We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others.  We support free trade, but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal.  Because, in the end, unfair trade undermines us all.

The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive state-led economic planning.  These and other predatory behaviors are distorting the global markets and harming businesses and workers, not just in the U.S., but around the globe.

Just like we expect the leaders of other countries to protect their interests, as President of the United States, I will always protect the interests of our country, our companies, and our workers.

We will enforce our trade laws and restore integrity to our trading system.  Only by insisting on fair and reciprocal trade can we create a system that works not just for the U.S. but for all nations.

As I have said, the United States is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries.  This will include the countries in TPP, which are very important.  We have agreements with several of them already. We would consider negotiating with the rest, either individually, or perhaps as a group, if it is in the interests of all.

My administration is also taking swift action in other ways to restore American confidence and independence.  We are lifting self-imposed restrictions on energy production to provide affordable power to our citizens and businesses, and to promote energy security for our friends all around the world.  No country should be held hostage to a single provider of energy.

America is roaring back, and now is the time to invest in the future of America.  We have dramatically cut taxes to make America competitive.  We are eliminating burdensome regulations at a record pace.  We are reforming the bureaucracy to make it lean, responsive, and accountable.  And we are ensuring our laws are enforced fairly.

We have the best colleges and universities in the world, and we have the best workers in the world.  Energy is abundant and affordable.  There has never been a better time to come to America.

We are also making historic investments in the American military because we cannot have prosperity without security.  To make the world safer from rogue regimes, terrorism, and revisionist powers, we are asking our friends and allies to invest in their own defenses and to meet their financial obligations.  Our common security requires everyone to contribute their fair share.

My administration is proud to have led historic efforts, at the United Nations Security Council and all around the world, to unite all civilized nations in our campaign of maximum pressure to de-nuke the Korean Peninsula.  We continue to call on partners to confront Iran’s support for terrorists and block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

We’re also working with allies and partners to destroy jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS, and very successfully so.  The United States is leading a very broad coalition to deny terrorists control of their territory and populations, to cut off their funding, and to discredit their wicked ideology.

I am pleased to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has retaken almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria.  There is still more fighting and work to be done and to consolidate our gains.  We are committed to ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists who want to commit mass murder to our civilian populations.  I want to thank those nations represented here today that have joined in these crucial efforts.  You are not just securing your own citizens, but saving lives and restoring hope for millions and millions of people.

When it comes to terrorism, we will do whatever is necessary to protect our nation.  We will defend our citizens and our borders.  We are also securing our immigration system, as a matter of both national and economic security.

America is a cutting-edge economy, but our immigration system is stuck in the past.  We must replace our current system of extended-family chain migration with a merit-based system of admissions that selects new arrivals based on their ability to contribute to our economy, to support themselves financially, and to strengthen our country.

In rebuilding America, we are also fully committed to developing our workforce.  We are lifting people from dependence to independence, because we know the single best anti-poverty program is a very simple and very beautiful paycheck.

To be successful, it is not enough to invest in our economy.  We must invest in our people.  When people are forgotten, the world becomes fractured.  Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all.

The nation’s greatness is more than the sum of its production.  A nation’s greatness is the sum of its citizens:  the values, pride, love, devotion, and character of the people who call that nation home.

From my first international G7 Summit, to the G20, to the U.N. General Assembly, to APEC, to the World Trade Organization, and today at the World Economic Forum, my administration has not only been present, but has driven our message that we are all stronger when free, sovereign nations cooperate toward shared goals and they cooperate toward shared dreams.

Represented in this room are some of the remarkable citizens from all over the world.  You are national leaders, business titans, industry giants, and many of the brightest minds in many fields.

Each of you has the power to change hearts, transform lives, and shape your countries’ destinies.  With this power comes an obligation, however — a duty of loyalty to the people, workers, and customers who have made you who you are.

So together, let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people — to lift their burdens, to raise their hopes, and to empower their dreams; to protect their families, their communities, their histories, and their futures.

That’s what we’re doing in America, and the results are totally unmistakable.  It’s why new businesses and investment are flooding in.  It’s why our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in so many decades.  It’s why America’s future has never been brighter.

Today, I am inviting all of you to become part of this incredible future we are building together.

Thank you to our hosts, thank you to the leaders and innovators in the audience.  But most importantly, thank you to all of the hardworking men and women who do their duty each and every day, making this a better world for everyone.  Together, let us send our love and our gratitude to make them, because they really make our countries run.  They make our countries great.

Thank you, and God bless you all.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.

MR. SCHWAB:  Thank you, Mr. President, for this inspiring speech.  As it is tradition at the forum, I will ask you one or two questions.

And my first question is, why is the tax reform — why has it been of such a high priority for your administration?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, first of all, Klaus, I want to congratulate you.  This is an incredible group of people.  We had dinner last night with about 15 leaders of industry, none of whom I knew, but all of whom I’ve read about for years.  And it was truly an incredible group.  But I think I have 15 new friends.  So this has been really great what you’ve done and putting it together, the economic forum.

The tax reform was a dream of a lot of people over many years, but they weren’t able to get it done.  Many people tried, and Ronald Reagan was really the last to make a meaningful cut and reform.  And ours is cutting and reforming.  We emphasize cut, but the reform is probably almost as important.  We’ve wanted to do it.  It is very tough, politically, to do it.  Hard to believe that would be, but it is very, very tough.  That’s why it hasn’t been done in close to 40 years.

And once we got it going, it was going.  And the big — and I wouldn’t say a total surprise, but one of the big things that happened and took place is AT&T and some others came out very early and they said they were going to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to people that work for their companies.  And you have 300,000, 400,000, 500,000 people working for these companies, and all of a sudden it became like a big waterfall, a big, beautiful waterfall where so many companies are doing it.  And even today they just announced many more.  But every day they announce more and more.  And now it’s a fight for who’s going to give the most.  It started at 1,000, and now we have them up to 3,000.

This is something that we didn’t anticipate.  Oftentimes in business, things happen that you don’t anticipate.  Usually that’s a bad thing, but this was a good thing.  This came out of nowhere.  Nobody ever thought of this as a possibility even.  It wasn’t in the equation.  We waited — we said, wait until February 1st when the checks start coming in.  And people, Klaus, have a lot more money in their paycheck — because it’s not just a little money, this is a lot of money for people making a living doing whatever they may be doing.

And we really though February 1st it was going to kick in and everybody was going to be — well, we haven’t even gotten there yet and it’s kicked in.  And it’s had an incredible impact on the stock market and the stock prices.  We’ve set 84 records since my election — record stock market prices, meaning we hit new highs 84 different times out of a one-year period.  And that’s a great thing.  And in all fairness, that was done before we passed the tax cuts and tax reform.

So what happened is really something special.  Then, as you know, and as I just said, Apple came in with $350 billion.  And I tell you, I spoke with Tim Cook; I said, Tim, I will never consider this whole great run that we’ve made complete until you start building plants in the U.S.  And I will tell you, this moved up very substantially.  But when I heard 350, I thought he was talking — I thought they were talking $350 million.  And, by the way, that’s a nice-sized plant.  Not the greatest, but not bad.  And they said, “No, sir.  It’s $350 billion.”  I said, that is something.

Well, we have tremendous amounts of money, including my newfound friends from last night — great companies.  They’re all investing.  When one of the gentlemen said he’s putting in $2 billion because of the tax cuts, I said to myself, “Wow, he’s actually the cheap one in the group” — because they’re putting in massive numbers of billions of dollars.

So I think you have a brand-new United States.  You have a United States where people from all over the world are looking to come in and invest, and there’s just nothing like what’s happening.

And I just want to finish by — I have a group of people that have been so — I have a whole lot of them, so I won’t introduce because then I’ll insult at least half of them.  But I’ve had a group of people that worked so hard on this and other things.

And we’re really doing — we had a great first year — so successful in so many different ways.  And there’s a tremendous spirit.  When you look at all of the different charts and polls, and you see, as an example, African American unemployment at the historic low — it’s never had a period of time like this.  Same with Hispanic.  Women at a 17-year low.  It’s very heartwarming to see.  But there’s a tremendous spirit in the United States.  I would say it’s a spirit like I have never witnessed before.  I’ve been here for awhile.  I have never witnessed the spirit that our country has right now.

So I just want to thank you all, and all those that are pouring billions of dollars into our country, or ten dollars into our country, we thank you very much.  Thank you.

MR. SCHWAB:  Mr. President, I will ask you, maybe, a personal question.  But before doing so, I’d just like to —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Sounds very interesting.

MR. SCHWAB: — acknowledge that —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I didn’t know about this one.

MR. SCHWAB:  I would like to acknowledge the strong presence of your Cabinet members


MR. SCHWAB: — who tremendously contributed to the discussions the last (inaudible).

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Good, I would like to do that.  That’s very nice.

MR. SCHWAB:  Yeah.  Now —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Steven, Wilbur, Gary, Robert, even my General and my various other generals, you know.  We’re making our military protection a little bit better for us too.  So thank you very much.  Does everybody understand that?  I think so.  Thank you all for being here.

MR. SCHWAB:  Now my, maybe personal, question would be: What experience from your past have been most useful in preparing you for the Presidency?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, being a businessman has been a great experience for me.  I’ve loved it.  I’ve always loved business.  I’ve always been good at building things, and I’ve always been successful at making money.  I’d buy things that would fail –that would be failures — and I’d turn them around and try and get them for the right price, and then I’d turn them around and make them successful.  And I’ve been good at it.  And that takes a certain ability.

And, you know, historically, I guess, there’s never really been a businessman or businessperson elected President.  It’s always been a general or a politician.  Throughout history, it’s always been a general — you had to be a general — but mostly it was politicians.  You never have a businessman.

And then, in all fairness, I was saying to Klaus last night: Had the opposing party to me won — some of whom you backed, some of the people in the room — instead of being up almost 50 percent — the stock market is up since my election almost 50 percent — rather than that, I believe the stock market from that level, the initial level, would have been down close to 50 percent.  That’s where we were heading.  I really believe that — because they were going to put on massive new regulations.  You couldn’t breathe.  It was choking our country to death.  And I was able to see that, Klaus, as a businessperson.

The other thing is, I’ve always seemed to get, for whatever reason, a disproportionate amount of press or media.  (Laughter.)  Throughout my whole life — somebody will explain someday why — but I’ve always gotten a lot.  (Laughter.)  And as businessman I was always treated really well by the press.  The numbers speak and things happen, but I’ve always really had a very good press.  And it wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious, and how fake the press can be.  As the cameras start going off in the background.  (Laughter.)

But overall — I mean, the bottom line — somebody said, well, they couldn’t have been that bad because here we are — we’re President.  And I think we’re doing a really great job with my team.  I have a team of just tremendous people, and I think we’re doing a very special job.  And I really believe it was time, and it was time to do that job, because I don’t think the United States would have done very well if it went through four or eight more years of regulation and, really, a very anti-business group of people.

We have a very pro-business group.  We have regulations cut to a level — in the history of our country, Klaus — this was reported recently.  In one year we’ve cut more regulations in my administration than any other administration in four, eight, or sixteen years, in the one case.  We’ve cut more regulations in one year, and we have a ways to go.  I mean, we’re probably 50 percent done.

And we’re going to have regulation.  There’s nothing wrong with rules and regulations; you need them.  But we’ve cut more than any administration ever in the history of our country, and we still have a ways to go.  So I think between that and the tremendous tax cuts, we’ve really done something.

And one other thing I said — and I saw it last night with some of the leaders and the businesspeople — I think I’ve been a cheerleader for our country, and everybody representing a company or a country has to be a cheerleader, or no matter what you do, it’s just not going to work.  And the reason I’m a cheerleader is because it’s easy — because I love our country and I think we’re just doing really well.

And we look forward to seeing you in America — special place — and where you are is a special place also.

Thank you all very much.  I appreciate it.  (Applause.)

MR. SCHWAB:  Thank you.  Thank you very much, Mr. President, for being with us.

The World Economic Forum community, who is assembled here, will be certainly — and I quote you from the last piece of your remarks — will be certainly among “the hardworking men and women who do their duty each and every day making this world a better place for everyone.”

Thank you very much for being with us.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  Thank you very much everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.



Members of the 1937 American League All-Star team, Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg gather on the field for the fifth annual All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. Gehrig hit a two-run homer off National League ace Dizzy Dean as the American League went on to win, 8-3 .

A major exhibition opening in June at the Library of Congress will celebrate baseball as community, including the people, from amateur players to professionals, baseball diamonds from city lots to rural fields, and places across the globe from Mexico to Japan that have embraced the game. “Baseball Americana” will explore baseball’s gritty roots, its changing traditions and the game today. It is a story the nation’s library can uniquely tell, showcasing items that cannot be found anywhere else.

Featured artifacts will include the first handwritten and printed references to baseball in America; early rules of the game; historical baseball images, including a lithograph of prisoners of war playing baseball in captivity during the Civil War and photographs from baseball throughout the decades; familiar players from some of the great collections of early baseball cards; Branch Rickey’s scouting reports; beloved baseball movies and early flickering footage from the late 1800s; broadcasts of iconic baseball moments and rare interviews and clips of Hall of Fame players, including Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and others.

The exhibition is made possible by the Library of Congress Third Century Fund, the James Madison Council and Democracy Fund.

Original content developed in collaboration with ESPN will support the Library’s world-class collections. Statistical comparisons, game trends, video presentations and intriguing stories will explore the art and science of baseball, bridging the game’s storied past and exciting present.

Additional artifacts and video footage, borrowed from Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, and private collectors, have been selected to expand upon storylines developed from the Library’s baseball materials.

“Baseball has been part of our community from children playing in local ballparks to professional athletes playing in the country’s biggest stadiums – and the Library’s unique collection shows how the game and American society evolved together,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “My childhood dream was to play shortstop before I found my calling at the Library. We’re excited to offer visitors an immersive experience, exploring baseball in the past and now. I know I am.”

The yearlong exhibition “Baseball Americana” will open in late June, just before Washington’s Nationals Park hosts Major League Baseball’s 89th All-Star Game. The exhibition will tell the story of the game’s origins, its contemporary character, how the game has stayed true to its traditions and areas where it has diverged. It will also feature ongoing conversations and connections between baseball’s rugged past and its refined present, along with showing how baseball has long forged a sense of community.

The exhibition will be organized into five sections:

  • “Origins and Early Days” will feature the development of baseball from its early forms, when Massachusetts Town Ball and the New York Game battled for supremacy, to the game we know today.
  • “Who’s Playing?” will encompass the variety of participants and the diverse array of ball clubs that ruled the sandlot, barnstormed the country or occupied magnificent stadiums. An integral piece of this story will be that of the players who have fought for the right to play as equals regardless of their race, ethnicity or gender.
  • “At the Ballpark” will examine traditions and changes in the architecture and accoutrements of baseball, fan interaction, music and media coverage.
  • “The Promise of Baseball” will explore the many ways that the sport gave poor players a path out of poverty and new immigrants access and the ability to help shape American culture, as well as the economics and business of baseball and how the game has been used for diplomacy beyond U.S. borders.
  • “The Art and Science of Baseball” considers the constant and changing views of mastering the game, building a team, getting an edge, tracking statistics and the art of winning.

“Baseball Americana” will be on view in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library of Congress will develop a series of special programs including family activities, gallery talks, film screenings, panel discussions, educational materials and teacher workshops, docent-led tours and more.

Two books published in association with the Library of Congress will be released to coincide with the exhibition. In May, Harper Perennial will release an updated edition of “Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress,” which includes hundreds of historical images and numerous milestones of the national pastime. In October, Smithsonian Books will release “Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress,” which showcases rare and colorful baseball cards from the Library’s Benjamin K. Edwards Collection.



On behalf of the people of the United States, we congratulate the people of Australia as you celebrate Australia Day on January 26, 2018.

The United States and Australia share deep bonds of friendship that are truly unique. Our alliance is a stabilizing force in the region and beyond that has provided for our mutual security and prosperity. Our ties continue to strengthen as business, scientific, and cultural connections flourish. The United States remains committed to our unbreakable alliance and our powerful bonds of friendship and mateship, based on shared values and shared aspirations for the future.

As you celebrate Australia Day, know that the people of the United States celebrate with you as your friend, partner, and ally.

Beyond #MeToo, Brazilian Women Rise Up Against Racism and Sexism

Alvaro Jarrin, College of the Holy Cross and Kia Lilly Caldwell, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Women’s empowerment recently got a big boost at the Golden Globes, but the United States isn’t the only place having a feminist revival.

In 2015, two years before the #MeToo campaign got Americans talking about sexual harassment, Brazilian feminists launched #MeuPrimeiroAssedio, or #MyFirstHarrassment. In its first five days, the hashtag racked up 82,000 tweets detailing the chronic sexual harassment of women in this South American nation. It soon spread across Latin America in Spanish translation as #MiPrimerAcoso.

The viral success of #MeuPrimeiroAssedio spurred a spate of social media activism in Brazil, where despite decades of feminist efforts gender inequality remains deeply entrenched.

With #MeuAmigoSecreto – #MyAnonymousFriend – women documented misogyny on the streets and at work. Tagging #MeuQueridoProfessor – #MyDearTeacher – university students outed sexism in the classroom.

And when the weekly news magazine Veja described the wife of Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, as “beautiful, modest and a housewife” in April 2016, feminists transformed that stereotype into a meme showcasing empowered women.

Temer came to power following the impeachment of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff. Many saw Rousseff’s ouster as misogynistic. Feminists were determined that Brazilian sexism would no longer go unchecked.

Black Women’s Bodies

As race and gender researchers, we’ve been watching Brazil’s feminist resurgence closely to see whether it reflects the needs of Afro-Brazilian women, who make up 25 percent of the population.

Though the country has long considered itself colorblind, black and indigenous Brazilians are poorer than white Brazilians. Women of color in Brazil also experience sexual violence at much higher rates than white women.

For example, domestic workers, who are predominantly Afro-Brazilian, have been systematically harassed by their male employers. This centuries-old power play dates back to slavery.

Since both of us have recently published books – “The Biopolitics of Beauty” and “Health Equity in Brazil” – examining the impact of Brazilian medical practices on black women, we are particularly interested to see if Brazilian feminists will tackle two issues that particularly affect black women: health care and plastic surgery.

These may seem unrelated to each other and to black women’s rights, but in Brazil they are deeply intertwined. All Brazilian citizens get free medical care under the Sistema Único de Saúde, the national health care system.

Despite universal access to health services, black women do not always receive the best care. Though Brazil’s colorblind approach to health has resulted in scant documentation of differential health outcomes by race, one study found that black women are two and a half times more likely to die from an unsafe abortion than white women.

The startling discrepancy probably reflects a lack of high-quality prenatal and obstetric care for black women, which is a problem in U.S. hospitals as well. Discriminatory treatment by medical professionals, which includes a lack of attention to the specific health needs of black Brazilians, also factors in.

Black activists have also pointed out for decades that Afro-Brazilian women have higher rates of sterilization and abortion, which in Brazil is mostly illegal – and thus very risky.

Overall maternal health is also markedly worse among black women. In Brazil’s impoverished northeast, which has the country’s highest concentration of African descendants, black women are 10 to 20 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

The ‘Negroid Nose’

Medical doctors may neglect black Brazilian women, but plastic surgeons pursue them. Since the 1960s, Brazilian cosmetic surgery has been included in Brazil’s national health care system.

In Brazil, white beauty standards remain the cultural ideal. That means many Brazilian plastic surgeons operate on the basis that more European features – facial features in particular – are better.

Specifically, our research has found, they tend to target black women’s noses, which they deem a “problem feature” in lectures, publications and websites.

In conversation, some doctors even expressed their belief that the “negroid nose” is a “mistake” caused by racial mixing. Fortunately, they would add, it’s nothing a nose job can’t fix.

This occurs within a broader culture, familiar to women worldwide, of bombarding all Brazilian women with opportunities to “improve” their imperfect bodies. Brazilians are among the top consumers of plastic surgery in the world. It is estimated that more than a million cosmetic procedures are carried out every year.

Some Brazilian plastic surgeons refer to their jobs as helping women achieve “the right to beauty.” When, in 2016, a famous plastic surgeon who promoted this idea died, his obituary read like that of a national hero.

And since most plastic surgery is covered under Brazil’s public health system, our research uncovered, surgeons have found it lucrative to develop procedures targeting the entire topography of the female body.

Treatments that aren’t paid by insurance come with long-term payment plans. For the poorest patients, doctors have made plastic surgery accessible by exchanging their professional services for permission to use these operations as a teaching exercise for young medical residents.

Taking Online To The Ground

Historically, feminist critiques of this industry were largely subdued. But plastic surgery is now in the spotlight of Brazil’s “Women’s Spring.”

In October 2017, one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers, Folha de São Paulo, ran an article extolling the “ideal vulva” and describing the surgical interventions necessary to attain it. Women lambasted the piece on social media, calling it “absurd,” “unacceptable” and “sad.”

The assumption that some vaginas are more desirable than others, feminist commentators pointed out, imposes the male gaze on the female body. Additionally, they argued, the article’s emphasis on “pink” vaginas and its suggested use of skin-whiteners was patently racist.

Black feminist bloggers likely started this particular line of critique. As early as 2014, they were denouncing Brazilian cosmetic surgery as “racism cloaked as science.” Plastic surgeons, wrote Gabi Porfírio in a June 2014 post on Blogueiras Negras, have become “experts at using demeaning terminology for the noses of black people.”

But in a country where only 63 percent of households have internet access, black feminists also have also used more traditional forms of protest to engage women of color.

A year before the hashtag #MeuPrimeiroAssedio would go viral, black feminists began working across Brazil to organize women who don’t generally participate in activism. Their efforts culminated in the Black Women’s March Against Racism and Violence and in Favor of Living Well in Brasilia, the capital.

There, 50,000 Afro-Brazilian women of all ages and backgrounds came together to denounce violence against black women – not just sexual violence but also deadly abortions, mass incarceration and medical neglect. It was the first ever national march of black Brazilian women.

The first-ever national march of black Brazilian women had ‘living well’ as a central demand. Brazilian Ministry of Culture

In a country that has long ignored inequality, the protest put race squarely on the feminist agenda. By contrasting the diverse forms of violence black women face with the idea of “living well,” the Black Women’s March voiced an alternative vision of racial and gender justice for Brazil.

The ConversationIn doing so, they join #MeToo, #MeuPrimeiroAssedio and a whole chorus of female voices around the globe. Online and on the ground, Brazilian feminists demand equity from the surgeon’s table to the office.

Alvaro Jarrin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross and Kia Lilly Caldwell, Associate Professor, African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Department of State’s New Travel Advisories Program


Michelle Bernier-Toth
Bureau of Consular Affairs Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary For Overseas Citizens Services

January 10, 2018

This is, in our world, a very exciting day, we are launching our new travel advisory program, this is a revamping of our Consular Information Program – which is the cornerstone of our efforts to keep U.S. citizens safe while they travel or live abroad. The purpose of the Consular Information Program does not change. It’s again, to provide information to people to make timely decisions about their travel plans and their activities while they’re overseas.

But over the years, we’ve come to recognize that sometimes our various documents were not readily understood. So about a year ago we began a very intensive analysis of our Consular Information Program and all the Travel Warnings, the Travel Alerts, how we conveyed information to the public, and we realized we needed to do a couple of things.

First, we needed to make it more accessible to people. And that’s why in November we went to a mobile-friendly design for our website. We also needed to make sure that the information was more easily understood, putting it into plain language, making it clearer why we were ranking countries, why we were citing them as a threat or a risk, and making that very obvious to people. And finally, making the information more actionable. We often got questions from people saying, “Well, I’ve read your Travel Warning, but what does it mean? What am I supposed to do?”

So in the new Travel Advisories, we’ve done away with Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. We’ve done away with emergency and security messages – because, again, that was something that people didn’t always understand the difference – and we have gone to a Travel Advisory for every country, including Antarctica. And within that Travel Advisory, we have gone to a four-level ranking system, starting with a Level 1, which is “Exercise normal precautions.” Level 2 is “Exercise increased caution,” Level 3 is “Reconsider travel,” and level four is “Do not travel.”

And for each country that has a Level 2 or above, we will specify what we think those risks or threats are, why is it that we’re telling people to consider – reconsider travel or to exercise caution or not to travel at all. And those risks and conditions and circumstances are going to be very clearly spelled out with icons – C for crime, T for terrorism, U for civil unrest, H for health issues, N for natural disasters, E for time-limited events such as elections or major sporting events, and O for other, which is our catch-all for the things that don’t fit into those other categories. So it’s going to be very obvious.

We have interactive maps that you can look at and sort of see where things are. The new Travel Advisories will continue to provide what we used to call the country-specific information about things like entry requirements, special circumstances, health issues perhaps, road safety issues and things like that. That’s still all there, but again, it’s laid out in a format that is much more readily accessible, much more easily understandable, and I think far more actionable than our old Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and other documents.

We issue a Travel Advisory for each country of the world. Travel Advisories follow a consistent format and use plain language to help U.S. citizens find and use important security information. Travel Advisories apply up to four standard levels of advice, give a description of the risks, and provide clear actions U.S. citizens should take to help ensure their safety.

To see a complete list of Travel Advisories for every country in the world, see travel.state.gov/traveladvisories.  Click on our color-coded world map for a global view.

Levels 1-4

The Travel Advisory appears at the top of each country page, with a color corresponding to each level:

Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.

Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution:  Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Departments of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 3 – Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 4 – Do Not Travel:  This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Varying Levels

We issue an overall Travel Advisory level for a country, but levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, we may advise U.S. citizens to “Exercise Increased Caution” (Level 2) in a country, but to “Reconsider Travel” (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.

Risk Indicators

Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 will contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators and specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there. These are:

  • C – Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
  • T – Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist.
  • U – Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks.
  • H – Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may also be a factor.
  • N – Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
  • E – Time-limited Event: Short-term event, such as elections, sporting events, or other incidents that may pose safety risks.
  •  O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s Travel Advisory for details.

Interactive Map

An interactive map is on each country page. Click on “View Larger Map” to see countries color coded with the Travel Advisory levels. Countries with varying levels of advice will be striped to indicate you should read the whole travel advisory for more details.