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Reviewing this current issue of Americas reminded me of the old saying, "if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." What Louis Werner's article about dogs in the New World makes clear, is that dogs as hangers-on in human society were man's faithful companions in both the Old and New World before 1492. However, dogs played different roles for Spaniards and Indian during the "Columbian exchange." The smaller dingo-derived canine of the New World was both a "beloved household pet ... and a tasty family meal" for the indigenous population. The Spanish, however, brought "dogs of war," greyhounds, and mastiffs to hunt down and dismember their Indian enemies. During the century of the conquest of the Americas, the human-inspired savagery of their dogs had a dehumanizing effect on the Spanish themselves.

Another article by Catherine Elton, draws our attention to how the Jivaro peoples, living along a long-contested and remote area of the Peru-Ecuador border, were affected by a fifty-year dispute between those two nations. However, now that peace accords have been signed and a line of demarcation agreed to, families have been reunited and common plans for development are emerging.

You the reader have the opportunity not only to consider the now-uncontested movement of the Jivaro people through the Amazon jungle, but also to trek across the peaks of Jamaica's Blues Mountains. While you may be familiar with the famed beaches of this country's northern coast, the verdant mountains above Kingston offer a different picture of the island. Consider a walking tour through Jamaica's highest mountain and find lush forest, sweet fruits, and birdsong; the pleasantness of rural life; and the rich taste of Blue Mountain coffee.

Artists and the arts enliven our pages. Joyce Gregory Wyels report on the opening of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center of Latin America Art in San Antonio, Texas which is considered the premier Latin America art facility in the United States. Caleb Bach introduces us to the haunting artistic vision Mexican painter Alfredo Castaneda, and Paula Durbin reviews the rich and varied career of Sergio Renan, actor, film and stage director, and Argentina's director of cultural affairs.

In our "Ojo" section, you will learn how the Jaguar sports car manufacturer is supporting efforts to save this feline. This reminds me again of how successful dogs have been at winning favor and accommodating themselves to human society. Of their cousins the wolf, there are only fifteen thousand worldwide, and the jaguar is an endangered species throughout the Americas. There are fifty million dogs in the United States alone!
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Author:Kiernan, James Patrick
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Sep 1, 1999
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