What is Mardi Gras?

The Catholic festival Mardi Gras literally means "fat Tuesday" in French. Parades, dancing, and carnivals are all part of this pre-Ash Wednesday celebration. Known as Carnival, it is very popular in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The Brazilian festival is a significant source of tourism-related income for the country.

What makes Brazilian automobiles run?

Over half of Brazilian automobiles use alternatives to petroleum known as gasohol and ethanol. Gasohol is made from sugarcane and ethanol is made from alcohol. The two fuels are much less expensive than petroleum-based gasoline.

Who is Alberto Fujimori and what has he done for Peru?

Alberto Fujimori, who was president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, was credited with ending terrorism in Peru and turning around a devastated economy. Some believe, however, that he trampled on the rights of individuals and indigenous people during his oftentimes authoritarian rule. He later was convicted on charges of abuse of power in ordering the illegal search of the apartment of his security chief's spouse. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Where has one-third of the population of Suriname emigrated to since 1975?

Suriname was a Dutch colony until it gained independence in 1975. Since 1975, approximately 200,000 of its residents have emigrated to the Netherlands.

What is the world's highest capital city?

La Paz, Bolivia, is the world's highest capital city. La Paz is located high in the Andes mountains at an elevation of 12,507 feet (3,700 meters). It was founded in 1548 by Spanish explorers and is now home to approximately 711,000 people.

What port does landlocked Bolivia use?

Having no access to the sea itself, Bolivia made an agreement in 1992 with Peru to use its port at Ilo.

What is the actual name of Bogotá?

Bogotá, Colombia, was originally called Santa Fe. More recently, the name became Santa Fe de Bogotá. Today, the Colombian capital is known as Bogotá for short, and about eight million people live in its metropolitan area.

What is a cartel?

A cartel is an organization made up of businesses that band together to eliminate competition, collude to fix prices, and control supply and production of a product or service. In South America, the word refers to the drug cartels of Colombia, most notably the Medellin and Cali cartels, both which were crushed by the Colombian government. Later, government members and lieutenants of former cartel operatives stepped in and created their own cartels. Today, they are still manufacturing and distributing cocaine and its derivatives into the United States, which is the biggest consumer of cocaine in the world.

How long is Chile?

Chile stretches approximately 2,700 miles (4,344 kilometers) along the western coast of South America. At its widest it is only 100 miles (161 kilometers) across. Chile is a classic example of an elongated country, which makes governing difficult.

Who's fighting over the Falkland Islands?

The Falkland Islands (also known as Islas Malvinas), located near the southern tip of South America, have long been a source of conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina. Though the islands have been occupied by the British since 1833, Argentina has claimed the islands as its own since the eighteenth century. In 1982, Argentina invaded the islands, but the British regained possession within a matter of weeks. Argentina still claims the Islas Malvinas and is pursing its acquisition through diplomatic channels.

What is the world's southernmost city?

Ushuaia, in southern Argentina, is the world's southernmost city. Ushuaia sits on Tierra del Fuego Island, south of the Strait of Magellan.

What is the Pan-American Highway?

Begun in the 1930s, the Pan-American Highway is the result of an international effort to create a highway stretching from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1962 a bridge, known as the Bridge of the Americas, was built over the Panama Canal to continue the highway over the canal. A 100-mile (161-kilometer) stretch of the highway in eastern Panama still remains unfinished.

What is the primary religion throughout Latin America?

Due to Spanish and Portuguese colonization, most Latin Americans are Catholic, about 83 percent. Protestants make up about seven percent of the region, and the rest are atheists, nonreligious, animists, or other religions.

What is a plaza?

Most Latin American cities have an open public square at the center of the downtown called the plaza. The plaza is used for festivals and ceremonies and is surrounded by a cathedral and shopping areas.

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