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MondayAugust 23, 2010

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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“From Chocolate City to Enchilada Village” the Untold Tale of Who Rebuilt New Orleans

Five years to the date that Hurricane Katrina formed over Bahamian waters the rebuilding of New Orleans continues.  The rebuild is bringing back the Big Easy to its former glory but has resulted some say in the ‘Chocolate City’, a name coined by former Mayor Ray Nagin, evolving to an ‘Enchilada Village’ a term coined by native performance artist Jose Torres-Tama. 

Hispanics laborers starting arriving in New Orleans soon after Katrina left looking for work and they found it.  Some left when fewer construction jobs were available but many others became enchanted with the city and decided to stay.  Many are lured with the mild tropical-like weather, new job opportunities created by the Gulf oil spill and the Big Easy way of life full of music and food.  The Hispanic population in the city has surged to 6.6% of the total 1.1 million population.  This has made many locals unhappy and fearful. 

The city’s large African-American population was the hardest hit by Katrina with many relocating to other cities leaving many others enmeshed in poverty and unemployment. So when the Hispanic labor force starting putting down roots, working and bringing their Latino culture, many saw this as their way of life being permanently erased.  The reaction has been subtle, banning of roving taco trucks, to overt – state legislators considering allowing police to check immigration status. 

Torres-Tama documentary “From Chocolate City to an Enchilada Village” has only added to the controversy.  In his film he feels the Hispanic labor force is owed a debt of gratitude for their labor.  He views their work as New Orleans “little secret of reconstruction” who helped rebuild the city while 80% of them were cheated out of their rightful wages a contention that is supported by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 


Read more at Washington Post

Shakira Shakin’ Up Spain and Getting in Trouble for It (VIDEO)

Clearly Spanish officials are not as crazy as everyone is of the fun-loving, free-spirited Shakira.  The singer was in Spain preparing for her upcoming ‘Sale El Sol’ tour (mid-September) and album release (early November).  She was shooting a video in Barcelona and decided to dance in a public fountain and invite locals to join her.  If that didn’t get the attention of Spanish officials her barely there outfits did since they disrupted traffic in the congested city.

Spanish officials are considering whether to fine the sexy songstress or kindly ask her not to return.  Officials are investigating if Shakira obtained all the necessary permits to sing and dance on their streets and fountains and film her video.  HS-News fave part is when Shakira is dancing in the fountain oblivious to all the males chanting “kiss me” “kiss me” while listening to a radio where no music is heard coming out, she-wolf Shakira definitely dances to her own music even if its only in her head.


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Read more by HS News Staff →

Real Femme Fatales Become Part of Juarez Cartel (VIDEO)

The investigation of five men arrested for the early August ambush of federal police officers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico has turned up some interesting information, according to Mexican security officials.  In a taped interview with detainee Rogelio Amaya Martinez, he calmly discloses that the Juarez cartel is now using paid female assassins or ‘sicarias’ to work along side their male counterparts.

The enforcement division of the Juarez cartel, La Linea who are considered some of the most ruthless cartel members, are in charge of recruiting attractive, seductive types age 18 to 30 to lure their intended targets to a certain death.  In the past women cartel members were thought to be only used as lookouts or drug mules.  It is believed, through the testimony of Martinez, that there are 30 femme fatale assassins working for the Juarez cartel.  All remain unidentified.

In this spanish-language video mild-manner Martinez describes in detail the role of women in the Juarez cartel and without blinking confirms the female assassins have already carried out various executions on behalf of the cartel.  It is not clear why Mexican security officials opened up this line of questioning with Martinez or if they already suspect female assassins are part of the cartels. 

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Read more at El Paso Times →

Border Patrol Not Only Securing our Borders but our Brands

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport discovered merchandise which led to a joint operation between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Los Angeles Police Department detectives, last Friday, seizing counterfeit “True Religion” jeans with a manufacturer’s suggested retail value of more than $6.2 million.

The suspect shipping containers coming from China held 20,000 pairs of counterfeit True Religion designer jeans.  The faux True Religion label was covered with another faux label “Tough-Made in the USA.”  Border Patrol agents suspect that the Tough-Made label would be removed and the jeans sold as True Religion originals.  True Religion zealously guards its brand and provides warning to consumers on its website on how to look out for fakes.

Border Patrol’s strategic approach to enforcement is multi-layered and includes seizing fake goods at the nation’s borders, pushing the border outward through audits of infringing importers and cooperation with international trading partners, and partnering with industry and other government agencies to enhance these efforts.

A Chinese national was arrested for trademark infringement. 

Read more at CBP.Gov →

UPDATE:  Bankrupt Mexicana Bought by Mexican Investor Group

TODAY:  A group of Mexican investors, known as Tenedora K, has purchased controlling shares of the bankrupt airline.  The remaining shares approximately 5% will be owned by the Mexicana pilots union.  The investors goal is “rescuing them from the critical financial and operating situation they are in,” viewing the acquisition as the first step in turning the struggling airline around.  Next week the consortium will release its ‘100 day plan’ outlining the amount of capital they will pledge to restructure the company.

UPDATE: Mexicana is gradually reducing its flight operations as a result of its bankruptcy filing last week cutting 40% of pilot and flight attendant jobs in the process.  Routes from Mexico to Costa Rica, Madrid, London, Colombia and Brazil will be suspended effective today.  Flights to the U.S. are in the processing of being eliminated.  Flights to San Antonio, San Francisco, Chicago and Fresno have been identified as the most likely to be effected by the reduction in operations.

UPDATE:  As of Wednesday night Mexicana has suspended ticket sales but will honor tickets for flights already sold.  The airline is flying approximately 28 flights to and from the U.S. and thus far has canceled three flights since the bankruptcy filing. 

ORIGINAL: Grupo Mexicana de Aviacion, (Mexicana) filed for bankruptcy protection, in Mexico and the U.S., from its creditors after it failed to obtain new labor agreements from its pilots and flight attendants to lower operating costs.  The company has approximately $796million in debt and has had some of its aircraft seized by creditors due to lack of payment.  The filing will protect its assets while it reorganizes it finances.

The company had been struggling financially as a result of higher fuel prices and declining tourism as the result of the global recession and Mexico’s swine flu epidemic.  It has significant assets in the U.S. and flies more than 17,000 flights annually between the U.S. and Mexico. The 87 year old company was sold by the Mexican government in 2005 to Grupo Posadas SAB

Mexicana had hoped to attract new investors with a better performing balance sheet and lower operating costs.  It has one of the highest operating costs for an airline in the country.  The filing will not affect any flights or routes maintained by Mexicana. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama Designa a la Embajadora en El Salvador

El presidente de EE.UU., Barack Obama, designó, en medio del receso del Congreso, a María del Carmen Aponte como embajadora en El Salvador, pese a la oposición republicana en el Senado que bloqueó durante meses su nombramiento.  Aponte, nacida en Puerto Rico, fue postulada por Obama en diciembre de 2009, pero en marzo en su audiencia de confirmación en el Senado tuvo que afrontar preguntas sobre una relación sentimental que mantuvo con el cubano-estadounidense Roberto Tamayo.

Los presuntos lazos de Tamayo con la misión diplomática de Cuba en Washington y, por ende, sus presuntos vínculos con los servicios de inteligencia de Cuba, habían llamado la atención de la Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (FBI).  En su comparecencia ante el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, Aponte afirmó que mantuvo una relación con Tamayo, quien tenía “algunos contactos” con la misión cubana y que ellos acudían “en ocasiones” a reuniones sociales con funcionarios cubanos, según los medios de comunicación estadounidenses.

En 1993 fue contactada por el FBI sobre Tamayo y varios meses después le pidieron someterse a un polígrafo, algo a lo que se opuso, aunque accedió a fijar una reunión entre agentes de la Oficina Federal de Investigaciones y su pareja.  El encuentro tuvo lugar y poco después su relación con Tamayo terminó. Ella indicó, según la revista Foreign Policy, que nunca más volvió a verle ni a nadie de la Sección de Intereses de Cuba. Las sospechas se dirigían contra ella por alegaciones de que Cuba quería reclutarla. A finales de los años noventa, el FBI cerró el caso.

No obstante, el senador republicano Jim DeMint bloqueó su nombramiento, recordando las dudas que surgieron cuando fue nombrada por el ex presidente Bill Clinton embajadora en República Dominicana y pidió más tiempo para revisar su caso.

Read more at EFE News Service →

UPDATE:  33 Chilean Miners Found Alive after being Trapped for 17 Days

UPDATE Experts anticipate it may take up to four months to rescue the miners from the collapsed mine. Preparations have begun to secure a six-inch wide tunnel that will be used to transport necessities to the men. The first capsules will include water and food in the form of a high-energy glucose gel. Questionnaires will also be sent down so medical experts can assess the health of the individual miners. Hopefully within hours small microphones will be set up so that the miners can communicate with their family members over this long period.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich explained,” We need to urgently establish what psychological situation they are in. They need to understand what we know up here at the surface, that it will take many weeks for them to reach the light.”
A team of medical experts arrived on Monday and began to implement a plan to keep close tables on the men’s mental and physical health.

Chile’s President has just announced that all 33 of the miners trapped in a collapsed mine for the past 17 days are alive.  It is the San Esteban mine, near the city of Copiapo. The collapse occurred on August 4.

Initially a probe sent down 2257 feet (688 meters) into the collapsed gold and copper mine heard distant hammering noises.

Rescuers say another probe sent into the mine came back with a paper message written in red letters saying, “All 33 of us are fine in the shelter.” Officials warn it may take months to dig the miners out.

Read more at ABC News →

Call to Stop Staten Island Hate Crimes

Archbishop Timothy Dolan spoke out against a rash of hate crimes recently against Hispanics in New York .  Dolan made the remarks during a Spanish-language sermon at St. Mary’s of The Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Staten Island, a remote borough in the southwest part of the city off the lower tip of Manhattan.

“We will reclaim our streets,” he said in a sermon delivered in Spanish. “God lives in these streets. Fear, violence and hate do not live here.”

There have been 11 attacks on Mexican immigrants in Staten Island since April.

The attacks bring attention to the long simmering tensions between Hispanics immigrants and blacks. The attacks are being investigated as bias crimes.



Read more at The Daily Record →

New Opportunities for Minority Entrepreneurs

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the National Urban League have joined forces to expand opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. MBDA and NUL will pool their collective resources to support the growth of minority-owned firms located in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

“MBDA looks forward to working with the National Urban League to increase our reach to minority entrepreneurs and help them grow to size and capacity,” said MBDA National Director David A. Hinson. “Our 46 centers around the nation are working diligently to provide avenues for minority businesses to grow and compete. The League’s Entrepreneurship Center Program will help us reach minority-owned firms in areas where we currently don’t have a presence and service more minority entrepreneurs in communities where we do.”  Hinson adds, “MBDA and its network of business development specialists will also provide their subject matter expertise to Entrepreneurship Center Program staff to increase their capacity to help minority-owned firms succeed.”

Last year, MBDA helped minority-owned firms access almost $3.0 billion in contracts and financial packages resulting in the creation of more than 3,000 new jobs.

“Our Entrepreneurship Centers empower minority entrepreneurs to take advantage of new business opportunities and qualify for financing that will put them on the path towards professional success,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League.  Minority-owned firms continue to grow significantly in number, increasing from 4 million in 2002 to 5.8 million in 2007, yet gross receipts lag behind those of non-minority-owned firms. One of the reasons for this gap is that minority businesses are largely represented in low growth sectors and their owners rely on personal debt and family financing versus business loans, equity, and other forms of financing, to operate and grow their businesses. This results in a lack of size, scale and capabilities when compared to non-minority-owned businesses.

The partnership between MBDA and the National Urban League aims to rectify this gap and assist firms that show promise of growth and sustainability in today’s marketplace.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Regresan a Clases Más de 27 Millones de Estudiantes en Mexico

Más de 27 millones de estudiantes regresarán a clases este lunes para iniciar el ciclo escolar 2010-2011 en los más de 231 mil planteles de preescolar, primaria y secundaria públicos y privados del país.  De acuerdo con datos de la Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) también reanudarán sus labores más de un millón 300 mil maestros y directores de esos niveles de estudio.

La dependencia precisó que este mes 35 millones de alumnos de todos niveles y modalidades educativas iniciarán el ciclo lectivo.  Refirió que 14 mil planteles de bachillerato y profesional técnico, así como un poco más de cinco mil 500 instituciones de educación superior iniciaron clases en días pasados.

El calendario escolar prevé que el fin de cursos será el 8 de julio de 2011 y los alumnos tendrán dos periodos vacacionales: del 22 de diciembre de 2010 al 7 de enero de 2011 y luego del 18 al 30 de abril.

Read more at Notimex →

Venezuela is Deadlier than Mexico Yet Makes No Headlines

There were 16,047 homicides in Venezuela last year and 43,792 since 2007 versus 28,000 for the same time period in Mexico.  Venezuela’s homicide rate is also higher than one of the deadliest cities in the world Iraq.  Both country’s are about the same size and Iraq has been war torn escalating the violence in the country, yet that is not the case in Venezuela.  In Iraq there were 4,644 deaths in 2009 whereas Venezuela’s death rate was almost quadrupled at 16,047.  Why are there no world banner headlines?

The surge in homicides maybe unknown news to the world but has been a decade long reality in the country and started when President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999.  His government has stopped releasing official statistics making it difficult for outside news agency to report actual numbers.  Human rights organizations and Venezuelan anti-violence groups think the numbers they are reporting are much higher. 

Many reasons have been attributed to the staggering rate of homicide in the country starting with the Chavez administration itself and the economic tailspin the country has been in.  In addition, the police are underpaid; corruption overlooked and there is no crackdown on illegal firearms.  More disturbing is that 90% of murders are not solved and the judicial system now politicized – you don’t support Chavez you are removed from the bench. 

When violence is the result of poverty and a failed political system it tends not to be reported as often as when you can attribute violence to one source, like Mexican drug cartels or a terrorist guerrilla group like Colombia’s FARC.

Read more at Statesman →

Spain Makes Key Arrest in its Campaign to Stop Basque Terrorist Organization

Over the weekend, one of Spain’s most wanted terrorists, Luis Maria Zengotitabengoa, was arrested in Belgium.  Luis Maria is an alleged member of the terrorist group ETA a Basque separatist group. 

He was being sought for transporting explosives and operating a bomb-making factory in Portugal.  The ETA has been tied to several bombings throughout Spain.  Last year in July an ETA bombs ignited throughout the resort region of Palma killing two Spanish police and damaging several bars and a shopping centre.  The most horrific act of terrorism attributed to the ETA was six years ago when 200 people were killed and 2,000 injured when bombs hidden in backpacks exploded in several crowded rush-hour trains in Madrid.  It is alleged ETA worked with Islamic terrorism organizations to carry out the bombings.

The ETA has killed more than 850 people in its 50-year independence campaign seeking its own Basque state in northern Spain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guatemala Coastal Areas Flooding Due to Rains

13 communities near the Port of San Juan in the southern providence of Escuintia have suffered flooding from the torrential rains.

The flooding was caused when the Achiguate River overflowed its banks and also because the sugar refineries divert river water to supply their operations, San Jose councilman Aquilino Estrada told Guatemalan radio.

13 families had to be evacuated along Guatemala’s southern coast due to danger of mudslides, and the floods damaged at least 24 homes.

Heavy downpours continued Sunday.

Read more at Latin American Herald Tribune →

MondayAugust 23, 2010