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WednesdayJuly 6, 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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USDA Meets with Hispanic Farms to Discuss Discrimination Claims in Texas

As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations of past discrimination at USDA, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Fred Pfaeffle held a series of outreach meetings today and over the last week with farmers and ranchers in Texas to talk about the process that has been put in place to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.

“The Obama Administration is committed to resolving all claims of past discrimination at USDA, so we can close this sad chapter in the department’s history,” said Pfaeffle. “We want to make sure that any Hispanic or women farmer or rancher who alleges discrimination is aware of this option to come forward, to have his or her claims heard and to participate in a process to receive compensation.”

The program USDA announced earlier this year with the Department of Justice provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. This claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. Hispanic or women farmers who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can receive a $50,000 reward.

Today’s event is part of a series of outreach meetings that are being held across the country to let Hispanic and women farmers or ranchers know about this process.

Under the leadership of Secretary Vilsack, USDA is addressing civil rights complaints that go back decades and through these outreach meetings, we are taking steps towards achieving that goal. USDA is committed to resolving allegations of past discrimination and ushering in “a new era of civil rights” for the Department.

In February 2010, the Secretary announced the Pigford II settlement with African American farmers, and in October 2010, he announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Statement on U.S.-Mexico Cross Border Trucking Agreement Signed Today

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the agreement signed today by Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute:

“The agreement signed today between the governments of Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute is a major win for U.S. agriculture, American jobs and our nation’s economic prosperity. President Obama and President Calderon announced a path forward in March to resolve the dispute, and today the U.S. Department of Transportation—after months of hard work with Mexican counterparts—closed a deal that will provide tariff relief for numerous U.S. agricultural products and manufactured goods.

“This dispute has cost U.S. businesses more than $2 billion. For U.S. farm exports to Mexico, exports of affected commodities were reduced by 27 percent. But today, thanks to the persistent work of the Obama Administration, we have an agreement that not only will ultimately eliminate punitive tariffs, but it also provides opportunities to increase U.S. exports to Mexico and helps to expand jobs on both sides of the border. Moreover, the agreement puts the United States and Mexico on equal footing pertaining to our obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, by authorizing Mexican and U.S. long-haul carriers to engage in cross-border operations subject to certain requirements. Officials at the Department of Transportation say that the new long-haul cross-border trucking program with Mexico established by this agreement will begin a phased-in program built on the highest safety standards.

“The phase-ins begin on July 8, when Mexico reduces the existing tariffs on U.S. goods by 50 percent. The remaining 50 percent will be suspended within five business days from the date on which the first Mexican carrier receives authorization under the new program. Potentially, we’re looking at a total lifting of the punitive tariffs in as little as 45 days. Moreover, Mexican carriers participating in the program are subject to certain requirements which will not allow them to haul domestic cargo between points within the United States, which creates additional opportunities for American businesses and workers.

“For U.S. farmers and ranchers, the lifting of these tariffs means jobs and fiscal relief—lifting constraints on American products, removing barriers to trade with a key trading partner, and putting Americans back to work at a time when U.S. agriculture is setting record export figures. Mexico is U.S. agriculture’s third-ranked trading partner, buying $14.5 billion of U.S. farm goods last year. Already in 2011, exports to Mexico are up nearly 25 percent. Today’s agreement will allow America’s farmers and ranchers to continue to lead the way to American’s economic recovery. U.S. agricultural exports alone will support more than 1.1 million jobs in America this year. And strong U.S. farm exports will be a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro Doesn’t Plan on Leaving Office Anytime Soon

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro Doesn’t Plan on Leaving Office Anytime Soon

Photo: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro Doesn't Plan on Leaving Office Anytime Soon

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With his blasts of Gov. Rick Perry, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has quickly made both friends and enemies.

At a recent gathering of Hispanic leaders, Mayor Castro called the immigration agenda of Perry and other like-minded Republicans the most “anti-Latino” in a generation.

After the gathering, Castro told the National Association of Latino and Elected Appointed Officials (NALEO), “That was me basically saying, `Look, you’re not going to do all these things and act as though everything’s fine.”

With comments and opinions like that, Castro, 36, has identified himself as one of America’s most prominent Latino politicians. He is currently just starting his second term as Mayor of San Antonio, and while butting heads with Gov. Perry, Castro is has gotten praise from pretty high places.

First Lady Michelle Obama has acknowledged Castro’s fitness initiatives in San Antonio, as the city is one of the nation’s most overweight, with two-thirds of the city’s population being obese or overweight.

With all the exposure, many have wondered if Castro has an eye out for the governor’s mansion or perhaps a seat in Congress.

However, Castro says he’s not likely to change offices anytime soon.

“This was a job I really did look forward to growing up, when I thought about politics,” Castro said. “So I’m not in a hurry to leave.”

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

Boob Wars:  Peru vs Paraguay for “Girlfriend of the Copa América” Title (VIDEO)

Boob Wars:  Peru vs Paraguay for  “Girlfriend of the Copa América” Title (VIDEO)

Photo: Peruvians Irina Grandez and Daysy Araújo and Paraguayan Model Larissa Riquelme

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Peruvians Irina Grandez and Daysy Araújo are the new competition for Larissa Riquelme for the Girlfriend of the Copa América title!

Do you remember Paraguayan Model Larissa Riquelme, the girlfriend of the World Cup? What about all those images of her cell phone, squeezed tightly between her uber-voluptuous bosoms? 

As hard to forget as the deafening sound of a vuvuzela, right?

But the World Cup is long over, and the romance of soccer aficionados with Riquelme seemed to have faded; that is until the Copa América kicked in and Larisa said if Paraguay won, she’d parade her naked body through the stadium.

The girlfriend of the World Cup appeared to have crowned herself Girlfriend of the Copa América with that statement, until two equally physically gifted Peruvian fans suggested two girlfriends might just be better than one.

“We don’t want to be like Larissa Riquelme” the pair said before emphasizing on the fact that the Copa América needs girlfriends with brains “We have careers behind us.”

Watch the Peruvians support their team (topless) and tell us who the girlfriend of the Copa should be!

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH: Paintball Pop-Art From Colombia (VIDEO)

WATCH: Paintball Pop-Art From Colombia (VIDEO)

Photo: Paintball Marilyin!

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Take a look at these Colombian paintball pros take aim and reproduce a giant portrait of Marilyn Monroe !

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nielsen Conference Shares Importance of Tapping into the Hispanic Market

Nielsen Conference Shares Importance of Tapping into the Hispanic Market

Photo: Nielsen Conference Shows Importance of Tapping into the Hispanic Market

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At the annual Nielsen Conference last month, multicultural advertising was at the forefront of many speakers’ speeches.

The Nielsen Conference is an event that brings the top researchers, marketers, and media companies together to better understand the American consumer. This year, those in attendance learned just how important the Hispanic market is to advertising.

Previously, specific discussions on the Hispanic market had been reserved for less general conferences and covered in ones like the Hispanic Retail Conference and/or the Multicultural ANA.

At the Nielsen Conference, a panel to discuss the multicultural market was held, and it was covered on both the main stage and the smaller forums.

In the conferences closing remarks, Nielsen CEO told the nearly 1,500 attendees that it would benefit them to spend 65 percent of their time “figuring out their Hispanic opportunity” because it has proven to be the biggest source of growth for every company in the United States in both the long and short term outlooks.

For businesses like McDonald’s that have tapped into their demographics, applying an overall rule of how to market to their consumers has proven successful. The fast food chain using a “30-40-50 rule” said Ad Age writer Chiqui Cartagena wrote. This reminds the marketing and research team that 30 percent of their customers are multicultural, and they account for 40 percent of the company’s sales, and the 50 reminds them that 50 percent of the multicultural population is under 18.

Read more at Ad Age →

New Documents Reveal FBI Role in Controversial Immigration Deportation Program

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic show that the controversial Secure Communities deportation program (S-Comm), designed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to target people for deportation, is also a key component of a little-known FBI project to accumulate a massive store of personal biometric information on citizens and non-citizens alike.

According to the documents, S-Comm is “only the first of a number of biometric interoperability systems being brought online by the FBI ‘Next Generation Identification’ (NGI) project.” NGI will expand the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to add iris scans, palm prints, and facial recognition information for a wide range of people.

Jessica Karp of NDLON explained: “NGI is the next generation Big Brother. It’s a backdoor route to a national ID, to be carried not in a wallet, but within the body itself. The FBI’s biometric-based project is vulnerable to hackers and national security breaches and carries serious risks of identity theft. If your biometric identity is stolen or corrupted in NGI, it will be hard to fix. Unlike an identity card or pin code, biometrics are forever.”

The misrepresentations ICE used to sell S-Comm to states have been well documented and are currently the subject of a DHS Office of the Inspector General investigation. But to date, the FBI’s role in S-Comm has not been scrutinized, although the FBI has come under fire recently for adopting new, generalized policies that permit intrusive, suspicionlesssurveillance without adequate oversight.

Said Bridget Kessler of the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic: “These documents provide a fascinating glimpse into the FBI’s role in forcing S-Comm on states and localities. The FBI’s desire to pave the way for the rest of the NGI project seems to have been a driving force in the policy decision to make S-Comm mandatory. But the documents also confirm that, both technologically and legally, S-Comm could have been voluntary.”

Although the documents obtained raise many more questions than answers about the FBI’s involvement in S-Comm and S-Comm’s place in the broader NGI project, they do reveal the following key facts:

The CJIS Advisory Board, which oversees the FBI’s criminal databases, passed a motion in June 2009 to recommend that the FBI convert S-Comm from a voluntary to a mandatory program at the local level. At that time – and as much as one year later – ICE was still representing S-Comm as voluntary to state and local officials.

The FBI’s decision to support mandatory imposition of S-Comm was not driven by any legal mandate. In fact, the FBI considered making S-Comm voluntary, showing that it viewed opting out as both a technological possibility and a lawful option. The FBI chose the mandatory route not because of a statutory requirement, but for “record linking/maintenance purposes.” In focusing on mundane record-keeping issues, the agency failed to weigh any of the considerations that have driven states and localities across the country to withdraw from S-Comm, including the program’s impact on community policing, its association with an increased risk of racial profiling, and its failure to comply with its announced purpose of targeting dangerous criminals.

Both FBI and immigration officials have raised concerns internally that aspects of S-Comm may interfere with privacy and invade civil liberties. Notes from one meeting, for example, state that S-Comm “goes against privacy and civil liberties.” In another series of emails, FBI officials raised concerns that state and local users of the FBI databases would be surprised to learn that the FBI was using their data to perform searches that the users had neither requested nor authorized.

DHS may be using S-Comm to gather and store data about U.S. citizens, too. One of the newly obtained documents indicates that US-VISIT, a component of DHS may have considered storing certain information about individuals in violation of their own internal requirements and privacy laws. This may include the retention of data about the lawful activities of even natural-born U.S. citizens.

Said Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez, “These revelations should disturb us on multiple levels: the lies, the shadowy role of the FBI, the threats to citizens and non-citizens alike, and the rampant potential violations of civil liberties. This goes far beyond the irreparable S-Comm program and opens a window onto the dystopian future our government has planned. With so much at stake, this process must at all costs be transparent going forward.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Stay of Execution for Mexican National Denied by Texas Board, Despite Obama and UN Push for Stay

Stay of Execution for Mexican National Denied by Texas Board, Despite Obama and UN Push for Stay

Photo: Humberto Leal Garcia Jr. was convicted and sentenced to death for the May 24, 1994 murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda

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President Obama and the United Nations had been pushing for a stay of execution for a Mexican national denied access to Mexico’s consulate after he was arrested for the 1994 rape and murder of a San Antonio teen, but the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole rejected the request Tuesday.

Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., now 38, was convicted and sentenced to death for the May 24, 1994 murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda. The teenager’s naked body was found on a rural San Antonio road after being raped and murdered. Coroners concluded that she had been bludgeoned to death with a large piece of asphalt.

Tuesday’s decision comes after Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s friend-of-the-court brief, in which he stated the execution of Leal “would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international-law obligation to afford (Leal) review and reconsideration of his claim that his conviction and sentence were prejudiced by Texas authorities’ failure to provide consular notification and assistance under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.”

Also, in a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, asked that Leal’s sentence be commuted to life in prison, said spokesperson Rupert Colville.

“The lack of consular assistance and advice raises concerns about whether or not Mr. Leal Garcia’s right to a fair trial was fully upheld,” Colville said to CNN

ImageGov. Perry can still grant a 30-day stay without the recommendation of the board, but he rarely grants such requests.

If a reprieve is granted by the Supreme Court, Congress would possibly have time to act on a bill that would require for federal review of capital cases involving foreigners denied access to their consulate.

If the Thursday execution proceeds as scheduled, it will be the second time in four years that Texas has defied international demands that it follow the rules and laws set forth by the Vienna Convention. The other being in regards to the execution of Mexican citizen Jose Medellin in 2008. Medellin had been convicted of the 1993 strangulation of two Houston teens.

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

How Do You Stop Giovani Dos Santos? Clutch on His Dos Santos! (VIDEO)

How Do You Stop Giovani Dos Santos? Clutch on His Dos Santos! (VIDEO)

Photo: Gary Medel and Giovani dos Santos

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Chilean midfield holder Gary Medel held onto Mexico’s Giovani Dos Santos’ manhood through the midfield, in what we’re now calling the “Medel Tackle.”

During Monday evening’s Copa América game against México, Chilean Gary Medel showed Giovani Dos Santos just how effective the Medel Tackle is.

Watch the video below!  OUCH!!!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Energy Efficient Blue Jeans Key to Jobs in Ecuador

One of the oldest traditional textile manufacturers in Ecuador, La Internacional S.A., is not only looking for the latest trends in denim fashion, but also looking for ways to become more competitive and grow in a sustainable way.

In order to achieve this goal, the San Antonio de Pichincha, Ecuador-based company has teamed up with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to boost investments on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

With technical and financial support from IDB through a $25 million syndicated loan, La Internacional will buy new turbines to expand electricity production by 44 percent at a small run-of-river hydropower plant located on the Guallyabamba River. It will also install new denim production lines and modernize its equipment and machinery.

The project will pave the way for the company to add 120 jobs and expand output by as much as 80 percent by 2013. Most of this new production will be exported to other countries in the region. The acquisition of two new turbines is expected to lead to an emission reduction of approximately 10,000 tons of CO2 per year when compared to electricity generated from fossil fuels.

Furthermore, the company is expected to further boost energy savings following an energy audit financed by the IDB. The audit revealed that small adjustments such as upgrading steam boilers, pumps, a compressed air system, lighting and engines for the transportation of materials may enable the company to slash energy use by as much as 25 percent. This would also mean an additional emissions reduction of around 5,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Suspected University Professor’s Killer Was Beneficiary of Victim’s Ins. Policy

LATINO BLOTTER: Suspected University Professor’s Killer Was Beneficiary of Victim’s Ins. Policy

Photo: American University professor Sue Marcum was murdered in her Bethesda, MD home

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In October 2010, American University professor Sue Marcum was murdered in her Bethesda, MD home. It was initially believed that she was killed in a burglary gone wrong, but grew suspicious of her former yoga and Spanish instructor, Jorge Rueda Landeros.

Landeros’ DNA was discovered on what investigators believe to be the murder weapon, and he has been charged in an international arrest warrant in the murder.

ImageThe affidavit filed in June states, “In recent electronic mail between Marcum and Landeros, it was clear that Marcum, a university professor who may have had an intimate relationship with Landeros, was increasingly uncomfortable with the fashion in which Landeros was handling and spending the account funds.”

Landeros, a dual citizen of Mexico and America, is currently in his native Juarez, Mexico, and has reportedly taunted an El Paso detective, The Washington Postreports.

The Post reported that Landeros wrote, “Of course you are cordially invited to cross the same bridge, in the opposite direction and meet me at Sandborn’s… We can talk shop all you want. It’s best if you come on a Sunday. We can have brunch. It will of course be my treat, yours Jorge.”

Before her death, Marcum, 52, had listed Landeros ,41, as the beneficiary of her $500,000 life insurance policy.

Landeros claims he had not seen Marcum since September 2010, and that he was already in Juarez at the time of her death.

Read more at The Washington Post →

Netflix is Coming to Latin América, Stock Surges on News

Netflix is Coming to Latin América, Stock Surges on News

Photo: Netflix is Coming to Latin América!

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The provider of on-demand internet streaming video in the US and Canada is expanding it’s capabilities to Spain and Latin América!

Netflix stock prices skyrocketed to an all-time high on Tuesday after the news that the company will expand its video-streaming service to 43 countries in Spain, Latin America and the Carribean later this year and thru 2012.

After starting the week at $260.00, the company’s shares went up to an all-time high of $282.49 as of Wednesday at noon.

“Members in the region will be able to accessNetflix.com in Spanish, Portuguese or English, depending on their preference, and will be able to enjoy entertainment on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix,” wrote Jessie Becker, Netflix’s VP of Marketing.

Consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix include Windows and Mac computers, gaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii and Xbox, hand held devices like iPhones and iPads and services like Apple TV and Tivo.



Read more by HS News Staff →

HS News Introduces Its Newest Contributor, Dr. Charley Ferrer, Only Latina Doctor of Human Sexuality

HS News Introduces Its Newest Contributor, Dr. Charley Ferrer, Only Latina Doctor of Human Sexuality

Photo: Dr. Charley Ferrer, HS-News Newest Contributor

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ImageHS News would like to introduce you to our newest contributor, Dr. Charley Ferrer, who will be talking to us about love, relationship and all those naughty taboo topics in between.

Dr. Charley has made a name for herself in the field of sexology both in the US and Latin America being hailed as one of the 16 Groundbreaking Latina Leaders in 2006 by the National Association of Latina Leaders for her work in Sexology & Sexual Health.  Now she is at the top of her field and is the ONLY Latina Doctor of Human Sexuality in the U.S.

“At the moment,” Dr. Charley is quick to assert as she shares her goal to educate as many men and women in the Latino community as possible in hopes they’ll join the ranks of Clinical Sexologist and help bring education to Latinos about love, relationships and sex.

In addition, she is an award winning author of The Latina Kama Sutra, The W.I.S.E. Journal for the Sensual Woman, and The Passionate Latina: In our own words.

Her TV Talk Show, Pleasure is the FIRST bi-lingual show on relationships and sexuality. Dr. Charley conducts several radio talk shows in both English and Spanish called, LA Hora del Placer – The Pleasure Hour. Her shows can be heard on Radio Cumbre, LA X, and RCN Satellite radio. Dr. Charley is highly sought after as the Sex Expert on several syndicated Radio & TV shows including Kiss FM, Univision, Azteca America and the new MioTV network.

Her articles have appeared in various local and international newspapers, magazines and websites including El Diario La Prensa, Latina Magazine, Fox News Latino and now HS-News.  You can send your questions and comments to her at Questions@doctorcharley.com and learn more about this engaging woman at her Institute of Pleasure. 

Welcome Dr. Charley Ferrer.

In a 50% Hispanic Town, Can You Remain President After Calling People “Wetbacks” and “Spics”

In a 50% Hispanic Town, Can You Remain President After Calling People “Wetbacks” and “Spics”

Photo: Cicero Pres. Dominick allegedly illegally fired a man, and used racial slurs

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In Cicero, Illinois, town president Larry Dominick has come under serious scrutiny after a former town employee alleged he was fired due to his race and his wife’s occupation.

Merced Rojas is suing Dominick for alleging he was illegally fired. The lawsuit also claims Dominick referred to Latinos “spics,” “wetbacks” and “illegal fu*king immigrants”.

The lawsuit states Dominick possessed ill will towards Rojas because of his wife, Ana Maria Montes de Oca-Rojas, who is part of the family that runs El Dia, a weekly newspaper that has been critical of Dominick.

El Dia was closely aligned with former Cicero town President Betty Loren-Matese before she was arrested in 2002 then incarcerated for her role in a scheme that took $12 million from the city.

In early 2005, Dominick was elected and the writers at El Dia expressed their distaste for him, and shortly after, Rojas was fired from his position as a handy. He had worked for the city since 1995.

Cicero town spokesperson, Ray Hanania, told ABC 7 Chicago the Montes de Oca family-run paper “became one of the most vicious publications that was published in the town of Cicero.”

Rojas claims he was fired because of his close ties to El Dia, and because of Dominick’s prejudice against Latinos/Hispanics. However, Hanania says Rojas was fired for his work ethic, as he was caught doing a private job on town time.

“Town employees will be driving around and if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, Larry will follow them, pull them over, and then have them suspended.”

Rojas’ lawsuit is based on reported conversations and other evidence that the Dominick fired his because of the comments made in El Dia.

Dominick was also sued for alleged misconduct in 2009 when a town employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. She was the fourth to file a harassment lawsuit against Dominick and Cicero since 2007.

Read more at Huffington Post →

Perú President Elect Ollanta Humala Meets With Secretary Clinton & Other Washington Officials

Perú President Elect Ollanta Humala Meets With Secretary Clinton & Other Washington Officials

Photo: President Elect Ollanta Humala and Hillary Clinton

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The newly elected Peruvian leader arrived to Washington yesterday for a slew of meeting that are met to introduce him to Washington and President Obama’s key international representatives. President Ollanta Humala and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are due to meet today at 2:45pm.

President elect Ollanta Humala’s main objective is to reassure the US Secretary of State that his presidency will seek to maintain good relations with Peru’s largest trading partner.

Humala, a 49-year-old former army rebel, is expected to address concerns that his administration will restrict investment when he takes office July 28, 2011.

“Humala has become more moderate and more centrist, and this is an opportunity for him to tell the U.S. administration who he is and what his positions are,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy research group. “The U.S. won’t be a high priority for the Humala administration, but he’ll want to have good relations on trade, drugs and other issues.”

Humala shifted his almost “Chavist” political stance and now embraces more business friendly policies—like Brazil’s Lula, which eventually resulted in Brazil becoming the fastest-growing economy of the decade in Latin América.

Humala travels accompanied by his wife Nadine Heredia and by a group of close collaborators, possible members of his cabinet.

“The trip is an opportunity for Humala to recast his reputation in Washington, which is based on a lot of gossip,” said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based research group. “Ollanta will do what Brazil has done and say we feel we can have cordial relations with Venezuela and Cuba and the U.S. We don’t have to pick sides.”



Read more at Bloomberg News →

Mexico’s President Calderon:  “Every Life Lost is a Human Being Not a Statistic”

Mexico’s President Calderon:  “Every Life Lost is a Human Being Not a Statistic”

Photo: Fellipe Calderon Addresses National Public Safety Council

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Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon addressed the National Public Safety Council meeting, which he also heads, where he said: “Every one of those who have lost their lives must be seen as a human being and not as a statistic.”

The President’s message focused on the victims of the violence unleashed by criminal organizations, speaking in particular about the meeting held in Chapultepec with representatives of the Movement for Peace, which he described as victims three-fold: victims of crime, victims of impunity and, in many cases, also victims of the indifference of the institutions.

In attendance were state governors and senior officials of institutions of justice.  The President urged them to respond to the demands of the victims rather than providing a politically motivated response. “We have an obligation to respond to victims, beyond self-interest or political calculations, we have to respond on our part to each.”

Speaking about his encounter in Chapultepec with representatives of civil society, the President mentioned that there were two highly repeated demands: to identify the victims of the violence unleashed by the criminals, stressing that they must end the anonymity of these victims, regardless of whether they are young people recruited by cartels or missing persons, and break the cycle of impunity.

On the issue of impunity, the President stated that they must all reflect, including himself, on whether everything is being done to combat ordinary crimes, which most affect the public and which are the 90% of the crimes committed in the country.

Read more at La Presidencia de la Republica →

Rhode Island Embraces Voter ID

Rhode Island Embraces Voter ID

Photo: Voter ID law Passes in Rhode Island

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The Rhode Island Tea Party is praising the Democratic-led General Assembly and Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, for requiring voters in future elections to show identification at the polls. While many states have passed similar legislation this year, Rhode Island is notable because it was Democrats — and not Republicans — who led the controversial effort.

Voter identification bills have been a top priority for the GOP at the state-level this year, as Stateline has noted. Republicans have used commanding new majorities to pass voter ID measures in Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and elsewhere — in all cases over the objections of Democrats, who contend that such laws will disenfranchise poor and minority voters who may not have proper identification. Republicans say the laws are necessary to prevent election fraud.

While the political lines over voter ID were drawn long ago, the decision by Rhode Island Democrats to press forward with their own legislation shows that the debate is not always a purely partisan one. The Providence Journal notes that Democrats teamed up with Republicans in Rhode Island’s House of Representatives before eventually sending the legislation to an independent governor for approval.

It is unclear, however, just how pleased Chafee actually is with the legislation he signed. As The Journal reports, he signed the voter ID bill over the long holiday weekend, but did not announce the signing on his website or by speaking with interested parties. Word of the signing leaked out only after the Rhode Island Tea Party — typically not the biggest ally of Democrats in the legislature — praised lawmakers and Chafee for enacting the new law.

The signing came as an unpleasant shock to several advocacy groups that had been urging the governor to veto the measure. “There is nothing, nothing on the [General Assembly] or governor’s website about this,” one advocate tells The Journal. “The GA website doesn’t even show it having been transmitted to the governor yet. How can they possibly not tell you whether he has signed it or not?’‘

This information was provided by Stateline.org that is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Center on the States that reports and analyzes trends in state policy.


Dominican Republic on High Alert for Disease Due to Continuous Rainfall

Dominican Republic on High Alert for Disease Due to Continuous Rainfall

Photo: Rain onslaught in Dominican Republic

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The Ministry of Public Health has once more ordered a maximum alert for the Dominican Republic and its National Epidemiological System in response to the increased rainfall that is affecting the entire country, which up to yesterday had caused the displacement of 45 people and cut off one area.

Diario Libre says that the Health authorities are trying to prevent the appearance and spread of contagious diseases. The Minister of Public Health, Bautista Rojas Gomez, said that the measure would be kept in place as long as the atmospheric conditions caused by the low-pressure trough are affecting the weather over the island of Hispaniola. “We have issued instructions to be on the highest alert in order to deal with any eventuality and prevent the occurrence of diseases and deaths due to lack of adequate prevention,” he said in a press release.

He said that the Regional Services and the Provincial Health Boards were concentrating their efforts on this preventive work and were watching out for any other health issues that might appear in each of their areas of responsibility.

Rojas Gomez said that the conditions are present for an increase in diseases due to the rainy season, factors that combine with other deficiencies, such as an inadequate garbage collection system, the existence of many empty lots with objects that collect water and the storage of water in homes.

Read more at DR1 →

WednesdayJuly 6, 2011