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Uber, Didi And The Ride-Hailing World War

Thumb war
Thumb war

SAO PAULO — The hatchet has been dug up. No surprise there. The truce brought about in the ride-hailing war by Didi Chuxing's acquisition of Uber's Chinese operation in August was only ever going to be temporary. Instead, this hiatus allowed both competitors to pick a new battleground: Brazil.

São Paulo-based business magazine Exame reported last week that Didi Chuxing is investing as much as $100 million in 99, Uber's biggest competitor in Brazil. With 10 million users and 140,000 registered drivers across 550 Brazilian cities, 99 is the clear leader is an increasingly competitive market that, besides Uber, also includes Cabify and Easy. But for Didi and Uber, Brazil is just a stepping stone, albeit a massive one, into a much bigger and crucial market: Latin America. And the battle there is only just beginning.

Just a couple of months ago, Bloomberg wrote that despite the resentment and anger, the California-based Uber has attracted in Latin American, the company continues to view the continent as "the Promised Land," an area where it can "grow rapidly facing weak, under-funded competition." Now, Via Brazil's 99, Didi Chuxing is also well positioned to expand across Latin America and hopefully give its U.S. rival a run for its money.

Money, of course, is what the two companies are after in Latin America. Both Uber and Didi know, however, that they'll also need to invest heavily. Finding the right balance may be difficult, especially for Uber, which reportedly lost more than $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2016 alone. Still, with $11 billion from venture capital investors, the company has room to maneuver. But with the backing of Alibaba, Tencent and Apple, so does Didi.

It's too early to say who will win the ride-hailing war. One thing, though, is clear: It will require a huge war chest to stay in the fight. And with Uber also investing big in self-driving cars, human drivers might just be temporary pawns in a much longer game.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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