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Rising Voices Bloggers on Obama's Victory

Bloggers from around the world, including those trained in Rising Voices outreach projects, have been penning their reactions to President-Elect Barack Obama's victory in Tuesday's election in the United States.

From the HiperBarrio project in La Loma, Colombia, Nora Catalina asks “has change arrived?” She begins by emphasizing her disappointment with the broken promises of Colombian politicians, and then continues:

En Colombia, muchas personas han sido indiferentes con estas elecciones, recuerdo que hace poco les comenté a unos compañeros que Obama iba bastante bien y una compañera me preguntó ¿Qué es Obama?

¿Quién es Obama? Es la verdadera pregunta, y en la respuesta la palabra esperanza se repite en varias ocasiones: esperanza de mirar de frente el problema del racismo y superarlo, esperanza de que el “gigante” de la historia ahora mire de forma más humana a los otros países, esto implica, por ejemplo, un cambio en políticas armamentistas (incluyendo las nucleares), en ese frecuente intento de aplastar a los otros países de forma militar y económica, en reconsiderar las intenciones de acabar con los recursos de países como el nuestro y retirar las tropas que acaban con la vida de muchas personas en Irák y que de una u otra forma modifican esta cultura.

In Colombia, many people have been indifferent to the US elections. I remember recently commenting to some friends that Obama seemed to be doing well and one asked me, ‘what is Obama?’

Who is Obama? That's the real question, and in response the word ‘hope’ is frequently repeated; hope of facing the problem of racism and overcoming it, hope that the national “giant” of history can now look more humanely toward other countries. This would imply, for example, a change in armament policies (including nuclear), and changing the [United States'] history of crushing other countries both militarily and economically. It would mean reconsidering the exploitation of resources from countries like ours and the withdrawal of the troops that are destroying the lives and culture of many people in Iraq.

Catalina Restrepo, who represented HiperBarrio at this year's Global Voices Summit in Budapest, shows an overview of how the Colombian media reacted to Obama's victory with screenshots from the largest newspapers and YouTube videos of reactions by Latin American leaders.

Todos hablan de lo importante de que por primera vez en la historia Estados Unidos tenga un presidente “Negro”, de que ahora si abrá un cambio, que su oratoria es increíble; y un júbilo se percibe en sus seguidores cada que hablan de todas sus cualidades, mientras algunos de sus críticos afirman que “es un blanco con piel de negro”.

Everyone is talking about the importance of the fact that, for the first time in history, the United States will have a “Black” president, that now a change is really coming, and that he is an incredible public speaker. You can see the jubilation in each of his supporters when they speak of all of his qualities, while some of his critics insist he “is a White with black skin.”

ruben.jpgRuben Hilari, a Voces Bolivianas blogger who was recently featured by Eduardo Ávila on the Voces Bolivianas project blog, is currently visiting the U.S. in New York, where he watched on television as McCain conceded defeat and Obama declared victory.

Ayer en la noche miraba un canal latino, donde estaba reportando, el conteo de votos. Todas las personas estan sorprendidas de que haya ganado un afroamericano como es Obama. Todos hablan de que las personas afroamericanas no podian votar ni entrar en los mejores restaurantes aqui en los EEUU hace mas de 50 anos. Habia una discriminacion muy dura de aceptar.

Last night I watched a Latino news channel, which was reporting the vote count. Everyone is surprised that an African American like Obama has won. Everyone is talking about the fact that African Americans couldn't enter the best restaurants here in the U.S. just over 50 years ago. There had been a level of discrimination that is very hard to accept.

Ruben was also impressed with John McCain's concession speech, which congratulated Obama for his victory. He says he wishes the same level of respect was shown when conservative Bolivian ex-president, Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga lost to current president, Evo Morales in Bolivia's 2005 election.

Me hubiese gustado que Tuto Quiroga con la formacion americana que de felicitaciones a Evo cuando gano en Bolivia. Porque eso es lo que ha hecho McCain felicitar a Obama. Pero en Bolivia nunca quieren aceptar su derrota. Hace rato chateamos con mi hermano desde Bolivia y el me dice que en Bolivia esta alegre El Presidente Evo. Y hay que apoyar sigue para que continue haciendo por el pais.

Creo que el mundo esta cambiando a una velocidad maxima.

I would have liked it if Tuto Quiroga – with his American upbringing – had given congratulations to Evo Morales when he won in Bolivia. Because that is what happened here with McCain congratulating Obama. But in Bolivia they never want to accept defeat. Just a little bit ago I was chatting with my brother in Bolivia and he told me that in Bolivia President Evo is happy [with Obama's victory]. We must continue moving forward to change the country.

I believe that the world is changing at maximum velocity.

Finally, in Kenya – where US President-Elect Barack Obama traces his recent ancestry – Collins Oduoduor of the REPACTED project lamented the burglary of the house of Barack Obama's step-grandmother Sarah Obama in Kogelo. Here is a brief video about Sarah Obama and her community:

Collins, recalling the attack on the US Embassy in Kenya in 1998, is worried that anti-American terrorists in East Africa will target Obama's grandmother because of her link to who is now the United States’ most powerful person:

Terrorist attack is not a new thing to Kenya because of what happened to the US embassy in Kenya, but the bond between the two countries is renewed, the bond is even stronger because the grandma is in Kenya and the grandson in the US busy with is campaigns and innocently exposing the grandma to the enemy of America. 9/11 is still fresh to American people and the suspect is still at large. I hope that the enemy has not started getting ideas from the local attack. Alego ko Kogelo may be the next scene on the international and local news headlines. Ok the Kenyan government has set a police base in the home of grandma; my question is why after the local attack, what if the attack could have been from the American enemies?

As for Sarah Obama, it looks like the 84-year-old may soon be on her way to Washington D.C. to bring her grandson his favorite food as he is inaugurated president of the United States of America.

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