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FridayDecember 10, 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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Hispanic Health Leader Calls for End to Tobacco Pollution

“Today Surgeon General Benjamin made it crystal clear — there is no safe level of smoking, no safe cigarette, and no unharmful levels of second-hand smoke. Our nation owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Dr. Benjamin for bringing together the best science and reporting to the nation that damage from exposure to toxic tobacco smoke is immediate and a cause of death for 440,000 Americans every year,” said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation’s leading Hispanic health advocacy group.

In issuing her first Surgeon General’s Report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease, Dr. Regina Benjamin reported that there is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke. She reported that when you inhale cigarette smoke, either directly or secondhand, you are inhaling more than 7,000 chemicals and that the impact of inhaling those chemicals is immediate. The inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed and produce disease-causing cellular changes and impair the immune system. The report, with support from 64 contributing scientists, reviews 45 years of research since the first Surgeon General report on tobacco was released.

According to Dr. Delgado, “While Hispanics have traditionally been the group least likely to smoke, new data released this year shows that Hispanic eighth graders are now more likely to smoke than their peers. It is a recruitment of new smokers by the tobacco industry that must be shut down, but smoking prevention and cessation funding has been cut by states to their lowest levels. Defunding tobacco prevention and cessation is short sighted and puts the health of adults and youth at risk”

In releasing the Surgeon General’s report today, Dr. Benjamin noted that one of her key hopes was that people would learn what tobacco smoke means to their health and smokers quit and non-smokers avoid secondhand smoke. Along with the 2010 Surgeon General’s report, she released a consumer’s booklet that outlines the impact of tobacco smoke exposure and resources for quitting. To support Dr. Benjamin’s efforts, the Alliance announced that consumers could call the bilingual and toll-free Su Familia National Hispanic Family Health Helpline at 1-866-SU-FAMILIA (1-866-783-2645) for information and referral to free and low-cost health services in their community.

“Dr. Benjamin, who lost her mother to lung cancer, knows the tragedy of tobacco addiction in this country. We stand with her in her call to end tobacco addiction and exposure to toxic tobacco smoke. We ask along with her, if not now, when?” concluded Dr. Delgado.

Read more at National Alliance for Hispanic Health →

Report: Venezuela’s Violence Claims At Least 14,000 Lives

Though people are constantly being bombarding with news of violence in Mexico, news coverage of Venezuela’s violent struggles are comparatively unknown, but with nearly 14,000 murders last year, Venezuela has one of Latin America’s highest murder rates.

Human rights group Provea, in it’s yearly report, said that 13,985 people were killed over the last year, and that thousands more were likely dead.

Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, says that his government is doing everything possible to address the violence and make the country safer, but adds that non-government sources like the media are aggrandizing the problem, blowing the issue out of proportion.

Provea’s report says that incomplete statistics presented by the government leave out the number of Venezuelans killed during encounters with police. In 2009, that “left-out” number accounted for an additional 2,685 violent deaths.

Also, Provea’s leader, Marino Alvarado, says it is hard to get an exact number when Venezuelans are distrustful of police as they are a part of 15 – 20 percent of all crimes in the country.

“It’s very difficult to fight crime when police are involved in so many violations of human rights,” said Alvarado.

The group says its findings were reached police reports, media outlets, independent investigations and sources inside the federal police department who they do not wish to identify.

Read more at Fox News →

Catholic Bishops Oppose Ortega’s Reelection Bid in Nicaragua

President Daniel Ortega’s push to stay in power using a contested interpretation of the Constitution has many citizens crying foul. Mr. Ortega’s critics charge that he is disrespecting the constitution by having his supporter’s rule to make an exception to the presidential term requirements.  The Catholic Bishops of Nicaragua have officially opposed President Ortega’s bid for a third term.

The nations constitution clearly limits presidents to two terms. Late last year however, the Nicaraguan Supreme Court ruled that the Sandinista leader could legally seek a third term.

“We have said that all Nicaraguans have a constitution,” said Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano of Managua. “All Nicaraguans, regardless of their tendency, must take it as a reference point. It is like a traffic light: when you get a red light you have to stop.”

Ortega and his administration have been at odds with the church for decades. Ortega who supports abortion and has been known to harass Church leaders was voted out of power in the 1990 election but re-elected in 2007. Elections are scheduled for November in Nicaragua.

Read more at Catholic Culture →

Bandits Arrested in Yesterday’s Gun Battle in Morelia Connect “El Ponchis” to 3 More Murders (VIDEO)

Three gunmen from the South Pacific drug cartel, the same outfit that allegedly employed 14-year-old Edgar Jimenez Lugo have implicated “El Ponchis” in the murders of three more men. Once arrested, they lead officers to the bodies, buried in clandestine graves near a highway south of the capital.

The bandits, arrested after intense gun battles with authorities in Morelos confessed to several killings and offered to show police where the victims were buried.

One of the three men told police that Edgar Jimenez Lugo, better known as “El Ponchis” (The Pudgy), took part in the crimes because he enjoyed it, not because he was forced or ‘drugged out’.

“El Ponchis,” a US citizen was arrested last Thursday when he and two of his sisters were trying to board a plane to Tijuana, and then to San Diego, where his motherliness. The mother, Yolanda Lugo has been arrested for unlawful re-entry to the US following a deportation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illegal Immigrant with Multiple Deporations Leads Texas Police on 30-mile Car Chase

After police in La Joya, Texas received a lead regarding a stolen vehicle, a miles-long chase began, and ended in a drug seizure.

La Joya Police Chief Jose Del Angel said police received a tip regarding a stolen truck out of San Juan. When police identified the vehicle heading north and attempted to pull the driver over, the 30 mile chase began, and only ended when the driver stopped under an overpass. The driver ran, but with the assistance of a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter, the police located the suspect.

Upon inspection of the vehicle, police discovered the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Arturo Alaniz from Michoacán, Mexico, had more than 400 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle’s trunk.

Del Angel said Alaniz, a Mexican national who has been deported a number of times, was charged with possession of marijuana and evading arrest. His bond was set at $1 million.

Read more at The Monitor →

Watch Mario Vargas Llosa Recieve The Literature Nobel Prize (VIDEO)

Peruvian writer and former presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa recieved the Literature Nobel Prize today in Stockholm, Sweden. Visit our related content section for the complete text, and videos of his emotional acceptance speech.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gallup has released a new poll -Americans would vote for the DREAM Act by Slight Majority

Gallup posed the question to Americans in early December-  Suppose that on Election Day you could vote on key issues as well as candidates. Please tell me whether you would vote for or against a law that would do each of the following. Would you vote for or against a law that would—


There is some question as to how familiar Americans are with the details of the DREAM Act. The legislation has not received as much attention as other issues Congress is dealing with, such as the extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The poll however does indicate that Americans immediate response to a proposal similar to the DREAM Act are more positive than negative.

The U.S. Senate delayed a scheduled vote Thursday on the bill because Senate leaders did not have the votes necessary to pass it. Its fate is now uncertain as the end of the lame-duck session nears.

Congressional supporters, including most Democrats, see the bill as an opportunity for young adults who have proven to be productive members of society to gain legal status. Opponents, including most Republicans, are concerned that the legislation would grant amnesty to those here illegally and may encourage more illegal immigration in the future.

In a November USA Today/Gallup poll show that Americans placed a lower priority on immigration legislation than other issues being considered for the lame duck session.

Read more at Gallup →

NARCO BLOG: Police in Morelia, Mexico Hunt Down “La Familia” Cartel Leaders (VIDEO)

The Mexican Federal Police have begun an operative to hunt down the top leaders of the terrorist drug cartel known as “La Familia” in Morelia, western Mexico.

5 people, including an 8-month-old baby, and the teenage daughter of a former Apatizangan mayor have died in the violent shootouts that actually begun Wednesday night, when police men came under fire from La Familia gunmen while investigating a call reporting the sight of armed men in Apatzingan in Michoacan state. The bandits fired on civilian cars and barricaded behind burning vehicles.

Federal police believe that at least one “La Familia” top leaders may have been among the several cartel members that have been gunned down so far. Alejandro Poire, government spokesman for security issues did not say who the leader may have been, but believes there might be more big honchos in the area.
“The way the criminals have tried to protect themselves as they fled from our operations yesterday and today suggests that we have located and are closely pursuing high-level leaders of La Familia Michoacana,” Poire said. “Similarly, preliminary unconfirmed information indicates that in their retreat, the organization has suffered significant causalities, including possibly the death of one of their leaders.”

Michoacan’s Attorney General’s Office said that by Thursday evening, three civilians and two federal police officers had died and three other officers were severely injured. The Public Safety Department reported that a third group of gunmen ambushed another group federal police elements sent as back-up; the gunmen arrived at every road leading into Morelia and fired several rounds into the air, forcing civilians out of vehicles.Image

The gunmen torched several vehicles, and used them to block a highway leading into Apatzingan to prevent the police from advancing.

These blockades have become a common strategy of the Mexican insurgency.

“El Blog del Narco” reports that though it hasn’t been officially confirmed,

Criminals captured in this operative have already led police to narco-graves, and provided them with intelligence which we will publish as soon as it becomes available.


Latino Converting to Islam and Finding Terrorism on the Way

Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain, age 21, of Baltimore, a U.S. citizen, was charged by criminal complaint Wednesday with attempting to murder federal officers and employees and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against federal property in connection with a scheme to attack an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland. Martinez was arrested Wednesday morning after he attempted to remotely detonate what he believed to be explosives in a vehicle parked in the Armed Forces recruiting station parking lot.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “First, there was no actual danger because the people Mr. Martinez asked to help carry out his attack actually were working with the FBI. Second, every person Mr. Martinez asked to join in his scheme either declined to participate, tried to talk him out of it, or reported him to the FBI, and there is no evidence that Mr. Martinez received direction or support from any other person. Third, undercover investigations are pursued only when supervisory law enforcement agents and prosecutors conclude that there is a serious risk that cannot be ignored.”

“The danger posed by the defendant in this case was very real, [but] through a proactive investigative stance, the JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] was able to ensure the citizens of Maryland were never in actual danger as this device was inert and his activities were monitored very closely as the plot developed. We are confident we have eliminated the threat that Martinez posed since all evidence developed to date indicates he was acting alone.”

The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges* the following:

—Sept. 29, 2010, Martinez publicly posted on his Facebook account a statement calling for violence to stop the oppression of Muslims.

—Oct. 1, 2010, he publicly posted a message stating that he hates any person who opposes Allah and his prophet.

—Oct. 8, 2010, an FBI confidential source (CS) brought these public postings to the attention of the FBI. The affidavit alleges that on Oct. 10, 2010, in response to these postings, the CS began communicating with Martinez through Facebook. During Martinez’ discussions with the CS over Martinez’ Facebook page, Martinez wrote that he wanted to go to Pakistan or Afghanistan, that it was his dream to be among the ranks of the mujahideen, and that he hoped Allah would open a door for him because all he thinks about is jihad. The CS provided copies of the communications to the FBI.

After learning from the CS that Martinez was seeking to attack and kill military personnel, the FBI recorded a series of conversations between Martinez and the CS. During the conversations, Martinez identified his target as the Armed Forces recruiting station on Route 40 in Catonsville, Maryland.

During the undercover operation, Martinez told the CS about five persons he believed would join in the operation. Martinez allegedly attempted to recruit at least three of those people to join in the operation, including an individual whom he said had the ability to obtain weapons. All three of them declined, and one of them expressly attempted to dissuade Martinez from committing jihad. Thereafter, Martinez allegedly agreed to meet the CS’s “Afghani brother,” an undercover FBI agent (UC), whom the CS represented would be interested in assisting in the operation. Martinez’ conversations with the UC were also recorded, and the FBI continuously monitored Martinez’ activities up to the time of his arrest.

—Nov. 4, 2010, Martinez introduced the CS to another person whom Martinez described as a potential recruit for his operation. The affidavit alleges that Martinez spoke to the person about his plans and the person refused to participate, telling Martinez that what he wanted to do was wrong ideologically, would cause harm to Muslims.

—Nov. 16, 2010, the CS introduced Martinez to the UC. Martinez allegedly told the UC about his goal to become a martyr and his desire to attack the Armed Forces recruiting center on Route 40 soon. According to the affidavit, the UC and the CS repeatedly asked Martinez if he was sure that this was the right path for him and told Martinez it was OK if he did not want to go through with the operation. Each time, the affidavit alleges that Martinez stated his intention to go forward with the plan.

—Dec. 2, 2010, Martinez and the CS met again to look at the parking area around the recruiting center. Martinez allegedly drew a map detailing where the vehicle containing the bomb should be parked, which he gave to the CS for the UC.

—Dec. 4, 2010, Martinez and the CS spoke over the phone. The CS told Martinez that he wanted to make sure that Martinez was not doing this because he felt “like someone pushing you.” Martinez replied, “I came to you about this, brother.”

—Dec. 7, 2010, Martinez met with the UC and CS to finalize plans for using a vehicle bomb to attack the Armed Services recruiting center. The UC allegedly showed Martinez the device that would activate the bomb and explained to him how to use it. The UC also showed Martinez the components for the bomb that were in the back of the SUV. According to the affidavit, Martinez pulled out his map of the recruiting center and told the UC where he believed it was best to park the SUV the next morning. It was agreed that all three men would drive separate vehicles, and the CS would pick up Martinez after the SUV was parked at the center. Martinez and the CHS would then drive to a vantage point where Martinez would detonate the bomb. The parties agreed that after the operation was over, they would not meet until Friday to arrange their getaway.

—the morning of Dec. 8, 2010, Martinez met as planned with the UC and the CHS. Martinez was observed by surveillance agents inspecting the components of the bomb in the back of the SUV. It appeared that he was arming the device as instructed by the UC the day before. Martinez then drove the SUV to the recruiting center, parked in front of the building and left the area with the CS. Martinez and the CS drove to a vantage point near the recruiting center, where Martinez allegedly attempted to detonate the device, which was, in fact, an inert bomb. Martinez was immediately placed under arrest.

Martinez faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for attempting to murder federal officers and employees, and life in prison for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against federal property.

*A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

Read more at FBI/Dept. of Justice →

Brazil to Invest $150 Million to Improve Living Conditions in Favelas

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second biggest city, will get a $150 million loan financing to improve living conditions in low-income neighborhoods, known as favelas.

The country’s plan is to improve water and sewerage services, drainage systems, road surfacing, street lighting, the provision of green areas, sports fields, and recreational areas, and the construction and equipping of social service centers. The program will target 30 favelas and six unregulated settlements and it is expected to benefit 100,000 people.

The project will support social programs to reduce violence, drug use and improve job prospects, particularly for the most vulnerable families and young people. The project will support the regularization and control of urban development in the favelas.

The project will also support the implementation of a pilot project on citizen security, whose goal is to promote actions that reduce factors associated with violence and improve security conditions for community residents. The pilot project will eliminate dark and isolated areas, open public squares; promote campaigns to discourage drug use and domestic violence; as well as introduce community guards and activities to set up community networks.

The expected results of the project include:

  * Regularization of 18,000 domiciles and issuance of 3,000 property titles
  * Creation of 28 new child development centers serving as many as 3,360 children of up to six years of age
  * Construction and equipping of two fixed-site Social Welfare Referral Centers and 10mobile ones, that will provide social services to families living in vulnerable situations and provide access to municipal and federal assistance programs
  * Implementation of five new centers that will provide social services for as many as 2,500 at-risks youths of 17 to 25 years of age

Read more by HS News Staff →

A DREAMer Profile:  The Face of the DREAM Act

With all the controversy surrounding the DREAM Act, it’s sometimes easy to forget that people’s lives and futures are at stake. For young people like David Moreno, the DREAM Act means a future full of possibility.

While Moreno’s story is not uncommon, it still remains the emotional center of the DREAM Act. When he was five years old, Moreno came to the U.S. on a vacation visa with his family, and never left. Moreno always lived in fear that his family would be separated if their immigration status was discovered.

After being sponsored by his resident sister (a registered nurse) and brother (a medical assistant), Moreno now has a legal resident card and is attending University of Texas-Pan American, and pursuing a music education career.  Shortly after receiving his permanent resident card he traveled to Washington D.C. to perform for the President during the education bill signing.  He is a member of the school’s elite Mariachi Aztlan and is currently starring in the Houston’s Grand Mariachi Opera: To Cross the Face of the Moon

“My threat every day was ‘what if we got stopped?’…and if we got stopped, they would take him (my dad) away,” said the now 20-year-old college junior. Moreno’s story seems to have a happy ending, but nearly-identical stories are still unfolding and their endings hinge on the result of the DREAM Act vote.  Therefore he knows exactly what these DREAMers are fighting for, and why. 

As the DREAM Act has now been delayed until later in the month, DREAMers anxiously await the single vote whose outcome will change the entire direction of their future.

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

FridayDecember 10, 2010