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TuesdayMarch 15, 2011

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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Humbled De La Hoya Returns Home After Lifting Spirits of Thousands of Troops on USO Tour

Humbled De La Hoya Returns Home After Lifting Spirits of Thousands of Troops on USO Tour

Photo: USO photo by Steve Manuel

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Olympic Gold Medalist and former Ten-Time World Champion in six weight divisions who turned USO veteran, Oscar de la Hoya touched down stateside today following a whirlwind seven-day USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour to Kuwait and Iraq.  Accompanied by up-and-coming fighters Adrien Broner, Danny Jacobs and Seth Mitchell, De La Hoya led the group to the Middle East on March 8, where they went on to extend their thanks to troops and visit eight military bases.  Among some of the installations visited were Camp Arifjan, COB Basra, Camp Victory, Camp Liberty, JSS Loyalty and JSS Justice.

Having lifted the spirits of thousands of servicemen and servicewomen, the group held a series of boxing clinics as well as signed hundreds of autographs and delivered an infinite number of smiles.  Most telling of the group’s popularity among troops was seen at Camp Victory, where more than 600 troops turned out to attend a USO boxing demonstration featuring the fighters.  Despite the tour coming to a close, its impact on De La Hoya and the others were felt once they returned home.

De La Hoya saw this as a life changing experience,

“Hearing their stories and seeing what they go through on a daily basis has changed my life.  The opportunity to see how our troops live and understand their ability to be ready for anything at a moment’s notice showed me what it means to be truly brave.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

AeroMexico Pilot and Co-Pilot Drunk, Stopped by Cabin Crew from Flying 101 Passengers

Two pilots from AeroMexico attempting to fly 101 passengers from Costa Rica to Mexico were stopped by concerned cabin crew members suspecting both pilots had been drinking.

Alvaro Vargas, deputy director for Civil Aviation for AeroMexico working out of Costa Rica has confirmed reports of this incident that took place Saturday.  He stated: “The situation (...) Saturday was that one of them, the co-pilot, took a [breathalyzer test] and tested positive for alcohol, while the captain objected.”

The Boeing 737 was scheduled to leave Saturday afternoon and was delayed nearly 24 hours due to the incident and until a new crew could be flown in.  The pilot and co-pilot implicated in this situation have been relieved of their duties pending an investigation. 

Some media reports in Mexico are reporting the pilots were partying seven hours before their flight time which is in violation of civil aviation rules. 

Read more at Gadling →

Anti-Mexican Racism - Is This What American Teens Learn from Their Government?  (VIDEO)

Anti-Mexican Racism - Is This What American Teens Learn from Their Government?  (VIDEO)

Photo: Outrageous Teenage rant against Illegal Immigrants in Arizona

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Listen to this EXPLICIT rant about illegal immigration issues come out of the filthy mouth of some Arizona teenage girls.

If you know them, or can put us in contact with any of them, we would certainly like to have a word with them. If their opinions on the Education system that spawned them are half as explosive as their foreign policy and immigration views, we want to go viral with that video.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Tries to Keep Their Students Healthy and Reduce High Obesity Rates

At the beginning of the year, Mexico put its schoolchildren on a diet, but with a variety of loopholes that didn’t exactly have the ideal effect.

Though the schools were trying to combat childhood obesity, lollipops, potato and corn chips, and cookies were allowed for sale. However, there are now helpful changes being made. The chips sold are baked, not fried. While the sweets available have limited sugar, and the soft drinks are strictly banned in schools.

One hefty 14-year-old says his doctor told him to drink more water to be healthier. “More water,” he said. “That’s better.”

Mexico is considered one of the most overweight countries in the world, and with this new initiative, they’re hoping to curb future obesity by starting early. Last year, Mexico’s officials stepped in to limit what could be sold on school grounds, since Mexico’s schools do not provide lunch.

As hard as it’s been for the schools to try to keep their kids healthier, one school principal found a simple solution. When the snack food salesmen “come knocking at the door…we just say no.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Ever Youtube Exclusive Feature-Length Film “Girl Walks Into a Bar” Directed By Latino (VIDEO)

First Ever Youtube Exclusive Feature-Length Film “Girl Walks Into a Bar” Directed By Latino (VIDEO)

Photo: Gutierez's Online Only Movie "Girl Walks Into a Bar"

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Produced and directed by Sebastián Gutierrez “Girl Walks Into A Bar” is the first feature length film made exclusively for Internet distribution via the YouTube channel.

“It’s so hard for independent movies to get bought and put out,” Says Sebastián Gutierrez, who in contrast with that statement is releasing two independent movies this Friday through regular channels. “And there’s so many of them - 2,000, maybe, last year, and only one of them was `Winter’s Bone.’ And the ones that do get released only play in two theaters, five theaters.”

Image“Girl Walks Into a Bar” is a comic noir mystery featuring Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito, Josh Harnett, Rosario Dawson, and Rober Forster, among others.  It is composed of ten 10-minute segments, separated by commercial breaks from the sponsor, Lexus. “It’s not much different from the network TV model,” says Gutierrez. 

The actors seem even more excited than the director is about the new distribution model “Girl” is testing.

“I think it’s awesome,” Says Emanuelle Chriqui. “We could really open up things for ourselves if it works. We’re in an unprecedented time in our industry right now. Good work is hard to come by. There’s just a lot of angst, a lot of people with stifled creative energy, and we need to get it out.  If this works and people actually tune in, it could really open things up for filmmakers and actors alike to just do stuff.”

Gutierrez new effort will be substantially less raunchy than the rest of his body of work.  “We made the movie for the Internet, where everybody can see it,” Gutierrez explains. “I didn’t want to have a scandal based on showing inappropriate stuff to children.”

ImageAnd the risks don’t stop there; “Girl Walks Into a Bar” is definitely an experiment, designed to test whether putting the film out there for free, available to the entire world to see, download, share and re-cut will mar future revenue streams like DVD and PPV sales, and whether enough sponsors will be enticed by the idea, and support future similar efforts.

“I don’t know exactly how it will work,” Gutierrez admits. “I think conversations are being held - Netflix is streaming, iTunes is doing it - and it’s simply a matter of figuring out what the amount of money to make new movies is that would make sense.”
“You know what? It’s the Wild West,” says Carla Gugino. “`Girl Walks Into a Bar’ is the first one, and I’m really excited to be a part of it. I’m sure mistakes will be made; this is a really new venture for YouTube as well.  The entire project had a $1 million budget.

“Hopefully, though, this will become a new place where auteurs can make movies for less money and yet they can be seen by a lot of people,” Gugino added. “It’s hard to get small releases of independent films seen. This definitely has the potential for that.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Japan Tsunami Damage Expected to Supercede in Cost the Chile and New Zealand Disasters

Insurers and reinsurers worldwide have the financial strength to pay the claims that will emerge after today’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami in Japan but these events, coupled with the severe quakes that recently struck New Zealand and Chile, have placed extraordinary demands on the industry, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). 

“The insurance industry will fulfill its traditional role as an economic first-responder, helping Japan recover from today’s devastating quake, just as it has done in New Zealand and Chile,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the I.I.I. “What makes today’s natural disaster so extraordinary is that four of the five costliest earthquakes and tsunamis in the past 30 years have occurred within the past 13 months, once you include what happened on March 11 in Japan.” Prior to today’s earthquake, insured earthquake losses worldwide dating back to February 2010 totaled an estimated $23 billon. 

The earthquake that struck Northridge, California, in January 1994 remains at the top of the list, which goes back to 1980, having caused $15.3 billion in insured losses at the time, or $22.5 billion in 2010 dollars. The February 2011 quake in New Zealand (up to $10 billion in insured losses), the February 2010 earthquake and tsunami in Chile ($8 billion), and the September 2010 quake in New Zealand ($5 billion), rank second, third, and fourth, respectively, on the list of costliest earthquakes, according to loss estimates compiled by Munich Re and released earlier today. The fifth-costliest earthquake worldwide since 1980 also occurred in Japan, in January 1995, causing $3 billion in insured losses at the time ($4.3 billion in 2010 dollars). 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, today’s 8.9-magnitude quake was centered approximately 230 miles northeast of Tokyo at a depth of approximately 17 miles. The quake is being reported as one of the largest in a century, with the broadcaster NHK describing it as the worst ever recorded in Japan.


Read more at Insurance Information Institute →

Catholic Church in Mexico Denounces U.S. Lack of Commitment on Curtailing Gun Trafficking

The Archdiocese of Mexico has denounced the “cynicism” of certain authorities in the U.S.A. With regards to arms trading and the lack of commitment to halting this phenomenon, directly linked to the bloody violence throughout the Country.

“Unfortunately these arms are responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000 Mexicans in four years. Thousands of them were criminal, undoubtedly, but many of them were citizens, some innocent children,” says an editorial on the website of the Archdiocese of Mexico, the largest in the Country.

The article sustains that the authorities in the U.S. are “concerned with the situation in Mexico”, only when an American official is involved in arms trading themselves, without concern for the lives of the many thousands of men and women who are victims of their irresponsible attitude in this nefarious trade.”

The Archdiocese deems responsible for this situation states such as Arizona, on the border with Mexico, “where it allows the passage of illegal arms that come into the hands of Mexican criminals,” but also Texas, Colorado and California.

The editorial appears at the end of a week marked by tension between Mexico and the United States, after the revelation that thanks to the ‘Fast and Furious’ regulation, agents from the Office for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) of the U.S. Justice Department, have allowed the passage of some 2,000 weapons into Mexico.

Read more at Agenzia Fides

Minority Real Estate Leaders Say Govt Efforts are Failing to Meet Needs of Multicultural Homebuyers

Saying millions of Americans are being left out of the American dream of homeownership, the nation’s three largest organizations representing multicultural real estate professionals, Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), and National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), today called upon policy makers to do more for minority homebuyers.

This call to action comes after AREAA, NAHREP, and NAREB met in Washington, D.C., to discuss regulatory and policy changes to preserve access to homeownership for people of color.

“Overwhelmingly, the members of our three organizations agree that the lack of mortgage financing is the single biggest challenge facing minorities who want to buy homes,” said Kenneth Li, AREAA chairman. “The government’s housing recovery efforts have not gone far enough to improve the situation facing minority homeowners.”

According to the survey results, nearly 80 percent of the attendees responded they “believe that the current policy efforts have done little to improve the situation facing minority homebuyers.”  Attendees also felt strongly that an active secondary market role is needed by the government to ensure that all homebuyers have access to the American dream of homeownership.

In the survey of attendees, “mortgage financing availability” was cited as the single greatest factor facing the multicultural real estate community. Additionally, respondents cited “tight underwriting requirements” as the greatest challenge facing prospective homebuyers looking to obtain financing.

To stabilize the home-buying market for minorities, the organizations issued a joint report entitled “The Five Point Plan: Refocusing the Future of Minority Homeownership.”

The Five-Point Plan focuses on sustainability, accountability and responsibility on the part of all parties in a real estate transaction. It calls for more diverse solutions to meet the future housing needs, and demands more preparation and responsibility on part of consumers and the industry alike. It also calls on the industry to develop unique and innovative solutions to the housing challenges facing the multicultural communities today and in the future.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America Looks to the Future as President Obama Prepares for a Visit

Latin America Looks to the Future as President Obama Prepares for a Visit

Photo: President Obama prepares for trip to Latin America

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As President Obama prepares to visit our neighbors to the south at the end of this week, the region is likely preparing to display the changes that Latin America has made in recent years and work on building with the U.S. with their new found strength as a region.

Obama is scheduled to visit El Salvador, Brazil, a Chile this week, though the U.S. budget crisis and possible partial government shutdown may delay the trip, the countries are still getting ready.

Recently, both Brazil and Chile have increased their investment contact with China, now making China a bigger trading party with the two countries than the United States.

Sergio Bitar, who has served at Chile’s mining minister under three different administrations, said, “South American, especially, feels more autonomous economically and politically now.”

In fact, a number of Latin American economies survived the global economic crisis better than the U.S. and even bounced back more quickly.

Bitar says the days of seeing the U.S. a economic parent are “over; it’s ended.”

This trip south will be the president’s first foreign trip of the year, and he will bring along the first lady and their two daughters.

Brazil’s new president Dilma Rousseff has indicated that she would like to form a tighter relationship with the U.S.

Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center said, “Brazil and the United States have to relearn how to relate to each other and this is an important step.”

This trip is also a promise fulfilled by President Obama, who in his State of the Union address, said that he would visit the three countries, and lawmakers are saying this trip must produce results.

Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar’s senior aide for Latin America and the Caribbean Cal Meacham said, “The trip will mean little if the president doesn’t get anything substantive… Just showing up isn’t enough. We have excellent U.S. ambassadors in the region; unfortunately, we have not seen the same quality from officials handling the region in the Obama administration.’’

Though there are no new policy initiatives expected in regards to Brazil and Chile, Obama could propose a Central America regional security plan in hopes of lending a hand in the fight against drugs and intimidation.

Bitar sees the message of thepresident’s Latin America trip to be empathy and a “vision for the future.”

Read more at Miami Herald →

Could The Lost City of Atlantis Be Buried in Spain? (VIDEO)

Could The Lost City of Atlantis Be Buried in Spain? (VIDEO)

Photo: Dr Richard Freund Claims To have Found Atlantis

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Dr. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford, thinks he might have found the lost city of Atlantis, buried deep within a swamp in the south of Spain.

Freund, who is the director of the university’s Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, worked hand in hand with a team of Spanish, American and Canadian scientists to analyze a mud-filled swamp in Spain.

A German scientist looking at satellite photos in 2003 first pointed out that the site could be a possible location for the lost city.Image

While observing satellite photos, the German scientist saw what looked like a circular structure with a straight line attached to it.

“Google Earth is one of the great archaeological tools today,” Freund said of the satellite image. Pointing to the circular structure, he said: “That doesn’t happen naturally.”

Other team members observed that the structures visible on the satellite images fitted the description of the island of three concentric circles with only one entrance in and out outlined by Plato in his writings about Atlantis from about 360 B.C.

Plato also wrote that Atlantis was located near the “Pillars of Hercules,” which we know today is the Strait of Gibraltar.

Since the mid-nineties, Freund has been using oil and gas exploration technologies to examine sites before excavation.

“We map the subsurface, it’s like an MRI for the ground.” he said.

“By shooting electricity into the ground, we’re able to distinguish between different types of material. This type of technology can map the entire subsurface instead of digging. ... It’s a form of non-invasive archaeology.”

A new National Geographic Channel film called “Finding Atlantis,” (premiering on March 13 at 9pm) documents Freund’s 2009 expedition and his team’s discoveries.

The National Geographic film also examines other sites around the world that claim to be the remnants of Atlantis, including one in Greece. But Freund believes that Atlantis would have to be near the Strait of Gibraltar because of Plato’s meticulous description.

“This quacks like a duck and looks like a duck,” he said, adding that National Geographic told him “you’ve got the best evidence.”


Read more by HS News Staff →

Colorado Latino Teen Suicides Increase After the Recession Hits Home

There are very few that have not felt the pressures of the U.S.’s recession, but it seems that Latino teens in Colorado have been hit hard, as the number of attempted suicides by this group has spiked.

President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign (CCC) Chris Watney, said that “while economists proclaimed the end of the Great Recession more than a year ago, the end was nowhere in sight for many Colorado families.”

Of Colorado’s 1.2 million children, 30 percent are of Hispanic origin, and among them, 34 percent are of families with yearly incomes of less than $22,000. According to the CCC, there was a 17-percent increase in the number of poor Hispanic children between 2008 and 2009.

However, Watney says that low income and poverty are not the only factors to consider for the increase in the suicide rates. The CCC reports that the recession has affected the eating habits of young people as well. Lower income tends to go hand in hand with fewer healthy food choices, and those in low income neighborhoods have less of a chance to do physical activity.

According to the CCC, about 41 percent of minors in Hispanic and African American families are overweight or obese, compared to the national average of all children 27 percent.

Mixing the pressures of lower income and obesity, the suicide and attempted suicides rates have jumped in the last few years. The CCC also reported that the number of homeless youth in Colorado has increased.

“Because poverty negatively influences almost every other aspect of a child’s well-being, this has substantial implications for our state’s children and our future – challenges that as a result of the Great Recession have affected more Colorado children from a wide range of circumstances,” said Watney.

Read more at LAHT →

Hugo Chavez New Enemy of the State:  Fake Boobs (VIDEO)

With little good economic news in Venezuela you would think that the fact that Venezuela is the world’s leading market for breast augmentation would please President Hugo Chavez.

Not so.  The fact that some 30,000 to 40,000 Venezuelan women every year undergo breast surgery has irritated the very easily irritated Hugo Chavez.  He feels plastic surgeons are convincing women to have the surgery when they can’t afford it or don’t need it.  He laments the poor use of money when there is little resources in some households. 

Boob jobs have become so prevalent in the culture and economy of the country that it is routine to see bank finance ads for surgery or have political candidates offer breast lifts for votes.

In an interview over the weekend Chavez rattled off on state TV his many reasons for disliking breast surgeries with all of it boiling down to the fact that boob jobs don’t enhance his revolutionary priorities in anyway.  Describing the surgery as the path to other vices like teen pregnancy and drug addiction.

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Read more at NY Times →

Guatemalans File Lawsuit Against U.S. for Experimenting on Them With Syphilis Bacteria

Some 700 prisoners, soldiers, mental patients and orphans are seeking monetary compensation for numerous health problems stemming from the syphilis bacteria subjected on them by U.S. researchers.

Hundreds of Guatemalans subjected to experiments with syphilis by the United States in the 40’s, have filed a lawsuit in Washington against the US government; the collective lawsuit, according to the legal firms representing them (Conrad And Sherer and Parker, Waichman and Alonso) was filed after the U.S. failed to establish a settlement process outside of the courts.

According to judicial documents, between 1948 and 1964, American scientists persuaded prison and orphanage authorities in Guatemala, to allow them to deliberately infect hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis in order to test the efficacy of penicillin, in exchange for medical equipment like refrigerators, and medication to treat epilepsy and malaria.

Only a few Guatemalans were informed they were being studied and infected; reportedly in some cases, doctors “paid” their “subjects” with cigarettes. Several prisoners were infected by prostitutes working with American scientists.

The lawsuit compares the Guatemalan case with the 1930s Tuskegee syphilis experiments in Alabama, where hundreds of African Americans were observed for about 40 years, without being told they had been infected. The same Public Health Service doctors from the Tuskegee case would have initially supervised the Guatemalan experiments, according to Piper Hendricks of Conrad & Scherer.

“If there was any question, which I don’t think there was, as to whether nonconsensual human medical experimentation was acceptable, [the] Nuremberg [Trials] answered that loud and clear. And here we were across the ocean continuing this type of experimentation,” says Hendricks.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira and Shakiro Together in Chile! (VIDEO)

Shakira and Shakiro Together in Chile! (VIDEO)

Photo: Shakira and Shakiro

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Shakira met with her Chilean double, moments before her concert in Chile.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Death and Maiming at the Border This Weekend

As the flow of illegal immigration subsides due to enforced border patrol and lack of opportunities on the U.S. side the hardships and dangers for those who dare to cross continues.

Two such incidents reported this weekend at the Arizona-Mexico border highlight the plight of immigrants. 

At 7:14 p.m. on Saturday the Santa Cruz County Sheriff found two people, who were carrying a young woman, running along the Union Pacific railroad tracks.  Upon further investigation police discovered that 18-year old Ines Flores-Melo’s foot had been severed as she tried to jump a northbound train.  She is from Oaxaca, Mexico.

She was airlifted to the University Medical Center in Tucson on advanced lift support.

Hours later, also in the Santa Cruz County of Arizona, U.S. Border Patrol found the body of a 39-year old Mexican national near the Rio Rico.  This is the fourth undocumented immigrant found deceased in the county since the beginning of the year.

Upon further investigation authorities determined he had been dead awhile and have tentatively identified him as Jacob Blanco-Mendoza of Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico.

It is unknown if the injured or deceased individual’s families have been or will be notified. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Was it a Hate Crime? Transgender Woman Shot in Head, Dragged by Car

Was it a Hate Crime? Transgender Woman Shot in Head, Dragged by Car

Photo: Marcal Camero Tye

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Police in Arkansas are investigating the death of Marcal Camero Tye, as a possible hate crime after a passerby found her body mangled in a ditch. The 25-year-old victim was shot in head

The 25-year-old victim was shot in head, and two 32 caliber casings were found at the scene. A black wig, was found near Tye, 25,  and clothes were strewn about. Tye’s friend Jennifer Bohannon said Tye was a transgender woman, and believes that her encounter with a man that may not have known Tye was born a male led to her friend’s death.

The GLBT community is outraged that Tye’s death has yet to be called a hate crime by Bobby May the St. Francis County sheriff. The FBI has not been so quick to say it was not however, and said they will continue to investigate the case as either a hate crime or a civil rights violation.

Preliminary autopsy results indicated that Tye had been shot in the head, and though it was originally thought that she had been intentionally dragged by a vehicle, the autopsy concluded that this was false. Instead, Tye’s body appears to have gotten caught beneath the suspect’s vehicle and dragged about 300 feet, and there is evidence that the suspect stopped the vehicle and backed up to try to dislodge her body.

Even more disgusting is the fact that Sheriff May seems to have already decided, without the conclusion of the case or the identification of the suspect, that this is not a hate crime. He believes it was a routine murder case and that he suspects that Tye was looking out for sexual encounters at 2:00 a.m., and got involved in a “liaison that somehow went bad.”

Though he admits that Tye had no criminal record, the sheriff claims that she got herself in trouble while out working the streets. It is unclear how he made the assumption that Tye was a prostitute.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Celebrates 90 Years of Astor Piazzolla (VIDEO)

Argentina Celebrates 90 Years of Astor Piazzolla (VIDEO)

Photo: Astor Piazzolla, playing one of his breathtaking melodies

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The brilliant Argentine composer would have been 90 years old this month. HS-News wishes to pay a small homage to the genius behind the New Tango.

There is a popular saying in Argentina that states, “In Argentina, everything may change—except for the Tango.“

ImageTango, more than a musical style, is a way of life, an integral part of the identity of every single Argentine. This is probably the reason why, a homesick Piazzolla senior living abroad with his family, ran like a mad man into a New York City pawn shop to pay a small fortune for an old bandoneón, hoping that young Astor—who already enjoyed the sound of the instrument in Gardel’s records, would one day pick it up, and play some tangos for his old man.

At the age of 13, young Astor had the privilege to meet Carlos Gardel, the living synonym of tango music who, impressed by the teenager’s skill with the instrument invited him to join him on tour.

Much to Piazzolla’s dismay, his father didn’t think that going on the road with Gardel was appropriate for his 13 year old son. After all, Tango at the time was almost exclusively played in nightclubs and cabarets, where patrons would engage in steamy (an understatement) dancing with the cabaret girls, drink heavily, curse, fight, and take the dancing up or downstairs, depending on the club… certainly not a very appropriate environment for the young Astor.

This early disappointment of being kept from playing Tango with Gardel, the icon, proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it was on the tour that Piazzolla missed that Gardel and his entire band perished in a plane crash. In later years, Piazzolla with his signature humor joked that had his father not been so careful, he wouldn’t be playing the bandoneón—he’d be playing the harp.

The thirties saw Piazzolla return to his native Argentina to study with Argentine composer Alberto Ginasterra, by suggestion of pianist Arthur Rubinstein, then living in Buenos Aires. Piazzolla would rise early every morning to study classic scores of composers like Igor Stravinski, Béla Bartók and Maurice Ravel, while continuing a gruelling performance schedule in the local Tango clubs at night.

Advised by Ginasterra, in 1953 Piazzolla entered his Buenos Aires Symphony in the “Fabián Sevitzky” composition contest, and won a grant from the French government to study in Paris with the legendary French composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. Also as part of the prize, his composition was performed at the Law School in Buenos Aires by the symphonic orchestra of “Radio del Estado” with the addition of two bandoneónes and under the direction of Sevitzky himself. It was a full-blown scandal; at the end of the concert there was a massive fist-fight due to the strong reaction of some members of the audience who considered it an indignity to include bandoneón in the “cult” setting of a symphonic orchestra.

ImageIn 1954 Piazzolla and his first wife, the artist Dedé Wolff, left Buenos Aires and their two children (Diana aged 11 and Daniel aged 10) behind and traveled to Paris to meet Boulanger, the person who peeled the layers off Piazzolla, revealing the genius at the core.

“When I met her,” wrote Piazzolla in his memoir “I showed her my kilos of symphonies and sonatas. She started to read them and suddenly came out with a horrible sentence: ‘It’s very well written.’ And stopped, with a big period, round like a soccer ball. After a long while, she said: “Here you are like Stravinsky, like Bartók, like Ravel, but you know what happens? I can’t find Piazzolla in this.” And she began to investigate my private life: what I did, what I did and did not play, if I was single, married, or living with someone, she was like an FBI agent! And I was very ashamed to tell her that I was a tango musician. Finally I said, “I play in a night club.” I didn’t want to say cabaret. And she answered, “Night club, mais oui, but that is a cabaret, isn’t it?” “Yes,” I answered, and thought, “I’ll hit this woman in the head with a radio….” It wasn’t easy to lie to her.

She kept asking: “You say that you are not pianist. What instrument do you play, then?” And I didn’t want to tell her that I was a bandoneón player, because I thought, “Then she will throw me from the fourth floor.” Finally, I confessed and she asked me to play some bars of a tango of my own. She suddenly opened her eyes, took my hand and told me: “You idiot, that’s Piazzolla!” And I took all the music I composed, ten years of my life, and sent it to hell in two seconds.”

Piazzolla returned to Argentina, where he formed the Buenos Aires Octet with Enrico Mario Francini and Hugo Baralis on violins, Atilio Stampone on piano, Leopoldo Federico as second bandoneon, Horacio Malvicino on electric guitar, José Bragato on cello and Juan Vasallo on double bass, the line-up that started the New Tango revolution.

During the period of Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983), Piazzolla lived in Italy, but returned many times to Argentina, recorded there, and at least once he had lunch with the dictator Jorge Rafael Videla.

However, his relationship with the dictator might have been less than friendly, as the artist himself remarked in an interview:

“One year before the Los Largartos issue you went to Videla’s house and had lunch with him, why did you accept that invitation?

What invitation!? They sent a couple of guys in black suits and a letter with my name on it that said that Videla expected me a particular day in a particular place.”


In 1990 he suffered thrombosis in Paris, and died two years later in Buenos Aires.

His opus, comprising more than 1000 works, continues to influence the best musicians in the world of all generations. Violinist Gidon Kremer, cellist Yo-Yo-Ma, the Kronos Quartet, pianists Emanuel Ax and Arthur Moreira Lima, guitar virtuoso Al Di Meola, all cite Piazzolla as a major influence.

Listen to some of his music, as we join Argentina in celebration of what would be the 90th birthday of Astor Piazzolla, one of the greatest Latin American composers of all time.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Pop in Arizona, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Wisconsin Grew by Double Digits

Hispanic Pop in Arizona, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Wisconsin Grew by Double Digits

Photo: Hispanic Population Growth

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Hispanic population nearly 39 million in the 33 states released, accounting for 58 percent of U.S. population growth.

The latest 2010 U.S. Census data reveals a steady growth momentum in the Hispanic population across the United States, according to statistics just released for Arizona, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Wisconsin. According to the figures:

• Hispanics contributed 48 percent of the population growth in Arizona. 1 out of every 2 individuals added to Arizona’s population in the last decade is of Hispanic origin.

• The Hispanic population in Connecticut grew nearly 50 percent in the last 10 years with Latinos accounting for 61 percent of the minority growth in the state.

• In Ohio, Hispanics are growing faster than any other demographic in the state. In fact, the Hispanic population grew 63 percent since Census 2000.

• The Hispanic population in Pennsylvania grew more than 82 percent in the last 10 years.

• In Idaho, the Hispanic population grew 73 percent since Census 2000.

• Hispanics contributed 44 percent of the overall growth in Wisconsin. The Hispanic population in the state grew 74 percent in the last decade.

“The latest state-by-state U.S. Census figures continue to show the incredible double-digit growth the Hispanic population is fueling in states across our country,” said Elizabeth Ellers, executive vice president, Corporate Research, Univision Communications Inc.

Based on the 33 states released thus far by Census:

• Hispanic population growth is exceeding the most recent Census estimates by four percent.

• Nearly 39 million Hispanics in the 33 states released as of 3-10-11.

• Hispanics contributed 58 percent of the overall population growth in those states.

• From Census 2000-2010 the Hispanic population in these states grew by nearly 43 percent.

• Hispanics are growing four times faster than the total population.

• The Hispanic population is less concentrated than a decade ago. In 2000, 65 percent of the Hispanic population residing in the 33 states released by Census resided either in California or Texas. By 2010, 61 percent of Hispanics reside either in Texas or California.

The U.S. Census is expected to release state by state information through March 2011. Univision will continue to provide insights focused on the Hispanic data.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Embassy Official in Dominican Republic Warns of Immigration Fraud Schemes

Bruce Kraft who heads the fraud unit at the United States embassy in Santo Domingo has warned that many Dominicans are being cheated with promises of getting a lottery visa to the U.S.

Kraft reaffirmed that the Dominican Republic is not included in the lottery visa program. Interviewed on a local television station (CDN), Kraft said a lot of Dominicans received e-mail messages asking for money in order to qualify for a chance to get a visa to come to the U.S.

This is the first evidence of fraud, he said, since the government “never asks for money to be sent by Western Union.” In addition, the Dominican Republic does not qualify for the visa lottery because this is a program for countries that have much fewer immigrants in the U.S.

The U.S. official also warned against the use of counterfeit documents to apply for legal immigration to the U.S. if a family member in the U.S. is sponsoring them here. Use of counterfeit documents such as wedding certificates or birth certificates containing false information, are criminal offenses that can lead to them being arrested in the Dominican Republic, he warned.

Read more at DR1 →

TuesdayMarch 15, 2011