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SaturdayAugust 27, 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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Puerto Rican Politician’s Peeled Pictures

Puerto Rican Politician’s Peeled Pictures

Photo: Roberto Arango

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

So I’m about to put away my thinking cap and start my Friday night when the news breaks of the latest sex scandal involving yet another Republican senator.

Normally I wouldn’t bother commenting on it, but this time it involves a Puerto Rican politician, meaning from the actual island of Puerto Rico. It appears as though the senator and estadista Roberto Arango has been caught with his pants down and in a compromising position – literally.

Now the issue here isn’t whether Sen. Arango is gay (he is) or whether he takes nude pictures of himself (he does) or whether he posted pictures on the gay dating website Grindr (he did). What annoys me is his official response to the scandal:
“You know I’ve been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I’ve been taking pictures. I don’t remember taking this particular picture but I’m not gonna say I didn’t take it. I’d tell you if I remembered taking the picture but I don’t.”

Sen. Arango is a member of the Partido Nuevo Progresista, which is basically the island’s equivalent of the Republican Party. The gay men’s magazine Instinct claims that the senator is anti-gay, and if that’s true, then the photos are truly a scandal.

When will politicians, liberal and conservative, just admit to their sexual orientations? And more important, why is it any of the voters’ business what their elected officials do behind closed doors?

The best thing Sen. Arango can do is say, “I’m gay. So what?” Because it’s not a shame that he’s been taking nude photos of himself and putting them on a gay website; it’s a shame that he’s denying it.

Sen. Arango, pull your pants up and do the right thing. The people of Puerto Rico will forgive you.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Read more at Young Observers →

Colombian Superstar and Activist , Juanes to Receive Vision Award at 25th Hispanic Heritage Awards

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced today that Colombian rock superstar Juanes will receive the Vision award at the 25th Hispanic Heritage Awards; the annual celebration of Hispanic excellence and premier event of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. The Awards ceremony will take place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C, on September 15, 2011.

The Hispanic Heritage Awards (HHAs) were established in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and the White House as the official celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from September 15th to October 15th.  Over the last 25 years, the HHAs have grown into one of the most prestigious awards in the United States, honoring Hispanic excellence, leadership, and accomplishments in the fields of Arts, Education, Leadership, Vision, Business, Math & Science, Sports and Legend. These individuals have inspired, empowered and improved the lives of Hispanics in the United States and the world.

Hailing from Medellín Colombia, Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez better known as JUANES is a GRAMMY and multiple LATIN GRAMMY winner, with a record-setting seventeen awards making him the Latin Recording Academy’s most heralded artist. The chart-topping superstar has sold over 15 million albums and was hailed as Latin Music’s “Star of the Decade” by Billboard Magazine.

With numerous hits that have become cultural anthems championing Latin pride, the strength of eternal love, and respect for mankind through the elimination of violence, Juanes has also taken his advocacy well beyond music through his own Fundación Mi Sangre and as a co-founder and principal organizer of the historic Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) concerts.  Through his work for the Mi Sangre Foundation, Juanes has become an internationally recognized leader in the fight to ban landmines, as he and the foundation work to protect the children of Colombia from the dangers of armed conflict and give them a voice in building the country’s future.  Expanding beyond the borders of Colombia, Juanes has also become a global proponent that all people of the world are entitled to the basic right of a peace.

“Juanes is an artist in every sense of the word.  His talents extend far and beyond the stage and bright lights.  It’s refreshing to have an artist of Juanes’ caliber use his voice and platform as a vehicle for change, and most importantly, as an advocate for peace” said María-Esmeralda Paguaga, Executive Producer of the Hispanic Heritage Awards (HHAs).  “May we be able to understand the importance of turning hate into love, Juanes advises us in his song Odio Por Amor. This sentiment represents one of the many reasons that the Hispanic Heritage Awards is proud to honor this singer, musician, producer and philanthropist with the Vision Award.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Survival Tips After a Hurricane Strikes

Survival Tips After a Hurricane Strikes

Photo: Post Hurricane

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are warning residents in hurricane-impacted areas about the deadly dangers that can remain even after Hurricane Irene strikes.

Consumers need to be especially careful during a loss of electrical power, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire increases at that time.

In order to power lights, to keep food cold or to cook, consumers often use gas-powered generators. CPSC and USFA warn consumers NEVER to use portable generators indoors or in garages, basements or sheds. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) that can quickly incapacitate and kill. 

“Don’t create your own disaster in the aftermath of a storm,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Never run a generator in or right next to a home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. CO is odorless and colorless and it can kill you and your family in minutes.”

From 1999-2010, nearly 600 generator-related CO deaths have been reported to CPSC. CPSC is aware of an annual average of 81 deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators in recent years. The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of using a generator inside a home’s living space, in the basement or in the garage.

“We know from experience as victims try to recover from disasters, they will take unnecessary risks with candles, cooking and generators.  These risks often result in additional and tragic life safety consequences,” said Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn A. Gaines.  “When you consider the challenges faced by firefighters and their departments to also recover from the same disasters, it is important that all of us remember even the simplest of fire safety behaviors following disasters of any type.”
Do not put your family at risk. Follow these important safety tips from CPSC and USFA in the aftermath of a storm.

Portable Generators

Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner’s manual and follow the instructions. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.
Charcoal Grills and Camp Stoves
Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Burning charcoal or a camp stove in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide. There were at least seven CO-related deaths from charcoal or charcoal grills in 2007.

CO Alarms

Install carbon monoxide alarms immediately outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home to protect against CO poisoning. Change the alarms’ batteries every year.

Electrical and Gas Safety

Stay away from any downed wires, including cable TV feeds. They may be live with deadly voltage. If you are standing in water, do not handle or operate electrical appliances. Electrical components, including circuit breakers, wiring in the walls and outlets that have been under water should not be turned on. They should be replaced unless properly inspected and tested by a qualified electrician.
Natural gas or propane valves that have been under water should be replaced. Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave the door(s) open. Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion. Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.


Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bolivian Mennonites Jailed for Serial Rapes Using Sedation

Bolivian Mennonites Jailed for Serial Rapes Using Sedation

Photo: Mennonite Women

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Seven members of a Protestant sect in Bolivia have been sentenced to 25 years each in prison for raping some 100 women in an agrarian commune, the judge and prosecutors told the press.

An eighth man was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for providing a narcotic that the men sprayed to render the women unconscious before raping them in their dormitories, said Judge Luis Enrique Perez.

“The victims were raped in a repeated manner. Among them, there were adults, children and elderly women,” prosecutor Freddy Perez was quoted as saying by El Dia newspaper. Records indicate that the men sprayed a substance derived from the belladonna plant normally used to anaesthetize cows through bedroom windows at night, sedating entire families.

They then raped the women and girls. The youngest victim was nine years old.

The eight Mennonite men, aged between 18 and 45, were sentenced during a closed hearing this week at Palmasola prison in the Santa Cruz region.

They were arrested in June 2009 when an investigation was launched after one of the victims awoke while being attacked.

The prosecutor said a ninth alleged accomplice was still at large.

Mennonites are orthodox Protestants who reject wealth and power and adhere to a pacifist philosophy. They live, like the Amish, in isolated communities that accept varying degrees of integration with modern society. Its members move around by horse-drawn buggy and dress in traditional Mennonite dress.

After fleeing religious persecution in Europe in the 19th century, they settled first in the United States but spread to South America, where up to 40,000 Mennonites live today in agrarian colonies in Paraguay and Bolivia.

Short documentary on Monnonites sect in Santa Cruz, Bolivia


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Read more at BBC →

My First Time Facing the Anti-Immigrant Crowd

My First Time Facing the Anti-Immigrant Crowd

Photo: Stop Secure Communities

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The Secure Communities Task Force hearing in Arlington, Virginia Wednesday night was not my first protest, but it was my first exposure to what we call “antis”—people from the anti-immigrant crowd.  Some were reasonable, and some were not. Some were people I felt I could have a conversation with, and some were so unbelievable in their comments and beliefs that I thought they must be joking.

We met up at St. Charles Barromeo Catholic Church before the hearing, and attendance there was very good.  Many activists were there, including people from Casa de Maryland, who introduced us to two working mothers who shared very similar stories.  Maria Bolanos and Florinda Lorenzo are single mothers facing deportation due to local law enforcement turning over their information to ICE.  In Maria’s case, she had been arrested after calling the police during a fight with her partner.  Now she’s afraid she’ll be deported away from her daughter.

Afterwards we marched from the church to the site of the hearing at George Mason University.  The march was lively and earnest, featuring familiar faces from previous rallies.  There was the usual United We Dream crew and even familiar reporters.  It was almost like a family reunion of sorts.  After marching around the entrance for almost half hour, we made our way into the hearing.  It felt good seeing such a large turnout against Secure Communities.

The hearing began smoothly and cordially as the task force introduced themselves.  The mood changed immensely after the first person spoke.  He was an “anti,” and it was my first time witnessing someone directly speaking against immigrants.  It was riveting, the way he spoke about his personal experience with an undocumented immigrant.  He had memorized the person’s name, including middle name and both last names.  He spoke about the person as if he was not human…as if he was naming a species of animal.

At first, he seemed earnest and frank about Secure Communities being the best policy for Virginia.  But as he continued, he began to use offensive terms, speculating that a murderer in his neighborhood had been “an illegal.”  He lost even more respect when he brought up 9/11, which prompted our immigrant supporters in the crowd to yell that “we are not terrorists!”

I could not believe my ears.  I was incredulous that someone could blame immigrants for as much as he did.  I thought it some twisted joke gone wrong.  But I checked myself, and realized this was not a game. This was not acting. This was not funny. This was as real as it got.

To this man, I was no different from a murderer—we were all just “illegal immigrants” to him. Seeing someone blame so much on me—calling us all “illegal immigrants”—was unnerving.  He was so misinformed, and ignorant of the fact that we are not the danger he visualizes.  He was concerned for his own safety and that of his neighbors, and did not care to understand that the rest of us in the audience—his immigrant neighbors—just want the same thing as he and most other Americans do: A chance to live peacefully with our neighbors, pursuing the opportunity that only this great country can provide.

Written by Mariano Cardoso

Read more at Americas Voice Online →

Mexican Charged in US Consulate Murders Extradited to US

Mexican Charged in US Consulate Murders Extradited to US

Photo: US Consulate Juarez

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The U.S. Justice Department says one of the accused killers in the March 2010 killings of three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico has been extradited to the United States.

U.S. authorities say Miguel Angel Nevarez appeared before a U.S. judge Friday in El Paso, in the southwestern U.S. state of Texas - just across the border from Juarez.

Nevarez, a member of the Barrio Azteca gang, is accused of taking part in the killings of a consular officer, Leslie Enriquez Catton, and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Alberto Salcido, the husband of a consulate worker.

Nevarez also faces drug and money laundering charges, as well as conspiracy to commit racketeering and federal firearm charges.

In 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led crackdown on the country’s drug gangs. Since then, more than 41,000 people have died in violence linked to the drug cartels.

Read more at Voice of America →

Brazilian Beef Barons Hold Paraguay’s Government Ransom (VIDEO)

Brazilian Beef Barons Hold Paraguay’s Government Ransom (VIDEO)

Photo: Ayoreo Indians

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Brazilian beef barons are holding Paraguay’s government to ransom over land inhabited by uncontacted tribes.

Ayoreo Indians were granted legal title to the land last year, but ranchers have refused to hand it over unless the state allows them to deforest a large area of adjacent land that the ranchers also own.

BBC S.A and River Plate S.A, the two beef companies involved, have been caught illegally clearing land for cattle farming twice in 2011 alone.

The ranchers were charged in June following Survival’s release of satellite images that revealed 4,000 hectares of forest had been destroyed.

However, new images have emerged this week that reveal the companies’ devastating work continues.

Ayoreo Indians are being rapidly forced from their ancestral lands as the spread of cattle farming destroys their forests.
Any contact with the Indians could be fatal, and the loss of their forest home would be disastrous.

Survival Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘It is an embarrassing state of affairs when a national government allows itself to be held to ransom by a small group of unscrupulous businessmen. The Paraguay administration should reassert its authority by recognising and upholding the Ayoreo’s right to the ownership of their land and resources.’


Read more at Survival International →

Blue Jays Slugger Jose Bautista Tosses Bat etc After Being Thrown Out (VIDEO)

Blue Jays Slugger Jose Bautista Tosses Bat etc After Being Thrown Out (VIDEO)

Photo: Jose Bautista

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Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista didn’t go quietly after being ejected from Friday’s game against Tampa Bay in the sixth inning.

Baseball’s reigning home run king tossed his bat, helmet, padding and a water bottle onto the field before leaving the dugout.

Bautista, who hit 54 homers last season and leads baseball with 37 this year, argued with home plate umpire Bill Welke after being called out on strikes in the first. He struck out swinging in the third, and lost his temper after going down swinging again in the sixth.

After walking back to the dugout, Bautista slammed the back wall with his bat, causing a scene , yelled something to Welke and was tossed.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Juárez Demographer says 40,000 Fled Juarez to the U.S. as a Result of Drug-War Violence Since 08

Juárez Demographer says 40,000  Fled Juarez to the U.S. as a Result of Drug-War Violence Since 08

Photo: Juarez Drug Violence

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Rodolfo Rubio Salas is a professor and researcher at the Juárez City campus of Colegio de la Frontera Norte where he has been for 16 years. He specializes in border migration studies and affirms that behind all the numbers about the violence-propelled exodus of people from Juárez into El Paso there is a lot of politics and little research.

P:  What do you think about all that’s said about border migration in this region?

R: “Look, I’m a persona non grata in many places around here. There was a time at the beginning of 2009 when many meetings were held with the federal government present where you would attend seriously because research is a serious matter. Suddenly somebody would shout out ‘Well, 500,000 people have left here.’ But when you asked that person where they got that figure they didn’t know. For 500,000 people to have left you would also need for all the buses, planes and cars up the yazoo to go. Besides, this person also said that this number of people had left during the last six months! I have been studying this many years and it seems to me very serious to throw out numbers without verification. People think they can toss out some figure and I as a demographer have to accept it. They throw out some statistic to show the federal government our dire situation. But I already know the federal government. I have been present in meetings with Secretary of Foreign Relations (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) and the Labor Secretary (Secretaría de Trabajo) where they laugh at Juárez residents, not at what they want, but because when the government asks them to justify what they are asking for, they begin to use this type of information. When the Secretary of Foreign Relations calls me and says: ‘Look, the Americans say this, the mayor tells me this other thing to triple the budget. What’s your analysis?’ It is my serious opinion that for the last 10 years Juárez has been a stagnant city. But that is not the outrageousness we were talking about. The conclusions are either excessively pessimistic or excessively optimistic for political motives; in Mexico’s case it’s to try and get more resources using unrealistic numbers.”

P:  Recently several different statistics have been stated about the exact number of people who have come to live in El Paso. El Paso Police Department said 30,000, while the Autonomous University of Juárez (Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez-UACJ) conducted a poll and stated possibly 120,000 people may have moved from the southern side of the border to the northern side of the border. Exactly what’s with these numbers?

R: “After the police issued its data I called them several times but they were never able to tell me what method they used to gather their data. It’s quite complicated. It seems to me what is lacking is a comparison of U.S. data with Mexican data. I believe that when we are able to use the databases and see how the information relates we will have a much clearer idea of how many people left or not. Then there is another detail that as a demographer I was particularly interested in that Juárez appeared as the Mexican city that had the largest number, proportionately, of what was categorized as temporary use housing. What does temporary use mean? That people are living on both sides of the border! Evidently here we have a style of bi-national life where people easily move from one place to the other. We would have to see how many of those who apparently abandoned the city and went to El Paso are people who continuously move between both environments and are a factor that will not ever permit knowing with any certainty how many have left. To leave means leaving one place to go live in another. Those figures then cannot be counted in the strict sense as having left. Perhaps they are renting or bought a house over there but have not necessarily abandoned this city.

“Look, I do believe that the number of people who left, not so much to El Paso but to the U.S., could be more or less around 30,000 to 50,000 during the last three years in total terms. And, I insist, I say they went to the U.S. because we have studies that tell us that people went to Nevada, Colorado, and to New Mexico. They didn’t all go to El Paso. In demographic terms the number from 30,000 to 50,000 people that left to the U.S. seems to me to be a safe logical number.”

P:  What are your indicators to validate safe this figure of between 30,000 to 50,000 people?

R: “I just looked at the overall data of El Paso’s population growth. According to U.S. census data there was no exceptional nor extraordinary (growth), in fact the State of Texas grew more than El Paso County. It seems to me those who said 120,000 people had left exaggerated. For 120,000 people to go to El Paso implies that its population would have increased by 20 percent, that’s only the ones that left here. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. The natural growth of Juárez during the entire decade was approximately 240,000 and the data that we are seeing is that most of those that left the city really didn’t go to the U.S. Therefore, with the study we have is that approximately 150,000 left back to the interior of the country. The comparison with U.S. data and ours here of the people that returned, and a little with the study done by UACJ it is within that 30,000 to 50,000 range.

“With respect to that other type of flow that comes into the border cities with intention to cross into the U.S., in Juárez it’s quite low. Because barely one percent of the total of immigrants that come to the border to cross without documents into the US try to cross through Juárez. American authorities attribute it to the clear border enforcement policy, we have found that is not the real reason. The real explanation is that there is no work in the U.S.”

P:  What do those numbers and patterns tell you about the short, medium and long-term future for the socioeconomic infrastructure, migration and the barrios of Juárez?

R: “I believe that these two crises of the last 10 years will continue to hit Juárez. If the city continues to depend on twin-plant work it will face recurring crises. I am not the only one who says this. Those who do economic studies state that the city must take a course toward more economic diversification, that the twin-plant cannot be the only economic engine for the labor market. But on the other hand reading the slow demographic growth of the last decade therein is also a positive note. Even as the demographic growth was increasing rapidly during the 80s, that growth generated some brutal infrastructure deficiencies. I believe this slow population growth will diminish those infrastructure deficiencies the city has suffered and somehow will permit the city to put on a new face in spite of all the insecurity issues. And I don’t know it is difficult to measure, you don’t know when it’s going to decrease, how much those of us who stay here can take it. That’s very difficult to predict.

“When the census data is available for us to see we will be able to extrapolate some things. When the information is in the books we will be able to offer some hypothesis. What are those hypotheses? One: The newest barrios in the city are the ones most uninhabited, especially those of low socioeconomic level as well as those of a high socioeconomic level where you find the housing that could be categorized as temporary. The other thing that’s happening in the city is the barrios that were not gated but are becoming gated. They are building walls and installing securities that are disrupting normal urban activity. These are the changes that in large part I believe are going to be reflected in the census.”

P:  What about border immigration to El Paso?

R: “With respect to flight into the U.S., I believe eventually there will be new restrictions by the authorities. It seems to me that quite a few people have left here to go to El Paso but don’t necessarily have documents to live there. I believe there will come a time when the authorities will implement stronger measures to detect those people. I think they are already doing it but not in a very clear or tangible way but they have begun to do it. Then we have all these kids that historically have been born in El Paso but live here or study here, as they reach working age absolutely all of them will go live in the U.S. That has been the historical pattern, but (now) there are more of them. In other words, each generation is bigger each time, so that will increase the number of people who will leave here to go there.

Read more at Mexodus Borderzine →

President Rousseff Adds Two Blondes To Her Troubles

President Rousseff Adds Two Blondes To Her Troubles

Photo: Fernanda, Vice president Temer’s sister in law will be posing nude for Brazil’s October Playboy edition

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In Rousseff’s eight months of government, she has seen four ministers and two deputy ministers step down under serious suspicions of corruption. Now two blondes are being accused of “hanky panky.”

Gleisi Hoffman was named by Rousseff as her cabinet chief and the other is the sister in law of Vice President Michel Temer.

Ms Hoffman who also happens to be the wife of President Rousseff’s Communications minister Paulo Bernardo, has been accused of claiming redundancy compensation ($33,000) after she left her post at the board of the huge Itaipú hydroelectric complex, which supplies Brazil with 20% of its power.

Ms Hoffman is considered one of the closets ministers to President Rousseff and became cabinet chief when Antonio Palocci had to leave after admitting to have received 10 million dollars from private corporations for ‘consultancy contracts’.

It was announced that the sister in law of Vice President Michel Temer, will be the front page of Brazil’s Playboy next edition and most probably October’s bunny.

Fernanda Tedeschi, 28, a former air stewardess has signed the contract for nude pictures for the October edition, which is already anticipated will be considered a “collection edition”.

Read more at Merco Press →

Letter from Survivor of Casino Massacre-  HS News Narco Blog

Letter from Survivor of Casino Massacre-  HS News Narco Blog

Photo: Casino Massacre

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Blog del Narco received a letter by mail where a woman tells what she experienced yesterday afternoon inside the Casino Royale, located in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The woman said the Government of Nuevo Leon is lying about details of the attack and calls on the Federal Government to intervene to resolve the wave of violence that affects thousands of innocent people. A full text below:

” My husband and I arrived at the Casino at 3 pm. We were on the first floor of the casino when 5 or 6-armed men came in and began shouting for us to throw ourselves on the ground because they were going to kill all of us.  One of them started firing his rifle, and then the others also started firing and screaming insults. People began to scream that we should try to run upstairs and we did. Another group ran toward the bathroom. One of the casino employees led a group of us upstairs. Many people fell and were stepped on by the stampede of people who were all hysterical. We were all desperately trying to save our lives. Some people were not able to climb the stairs because they were seniors or disabled.  We did help two pregnant women to get upstairs; while we were heading upstairs we heard grenades going off. From there on, black smoke engulfed us and prevented us from seeing anything. The people’s screams were deafening. We finally reached the emergency exit door but it was locked. The quick thinking casino employee guided us to yet another exit but sadly not all of us made it. Many were trampled during the process of escape. Once we reached outside I realized the magnitude of the massacre.

I will never forget the many dead people I saw. I especially will remember the faces of those who did not reach safety with us. I beg the federal government to intervene. The state government has not been able to handle the violence.  We are at the mercy of these criminals who have taken over our state.

MR. PRESIDENT HELP US, PLEASE NO MORE DEATHS. Local authorities are unable or unwilling to stop these criminals who have become terrorists. 

The local authorities deny that there were gunfire and hand grenade detonations before the fire, this is a lie. I lived through it- I know the truth. I beg of you to publish my letter in it entirety. These criminals are a real cancer for Nuevo Leon. SR. PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON do not be swayed by what our governor is telling you. Nuevo Leon is under the control of unscrupulous criminals, who laugh at the authorities, we are living in a government less state. WE ARE ALONE MR PRESIDENT.  I am a witness, who lived through the massacre in the Casino Royale in Monterrey.

Read in Spanish Here


Read more by HS News Staff →

Music Legend Gilberto Santa Rosa to Perform at CHCI’s 34th Annual Awards Gala

Music Legend Gilberto Santa Rosa to Perform at CHCI’s 34th Annual Awards Gala

Photo: Gilberto Santa Rosa

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Billboard Magazine’s Tropical Artist of the Decade and GRAMMY®-award winning Gilberto Santa Rosa will take center stage to perform an amazing tribute to Latin music legends during CHCI’s 2nd Annual Post-Gala Concert on Wednesday, September 14, 2011.  The post-gala concert is the culmination of CHCI’s Hispanic Heritage Month Events as part of its 34th Annual Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention in Washington, D.C.

CHCI’s 34th Annual Awards Gala also features Latin music stars Prince Royce and Luis Miguel to provide an evening of dynamic entertainment.  Renowned singer and philanthropist Vikki Carr and former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez will receive CHCI’s 2011 Medallions of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service while CHCI Chair Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez will present the 2011 Chair’s Award to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.  Univision television anchor Teresa Rodriguez is the celebrity host.

As a boy, Puerto Rican recording artist Gilberto Santa Rosa was strongly influenced by 1960s salsa music, which awakened his lifelong passion for music.  He recorded his first album at 14, and has since gone on to have more than 20 albums and 14 number one hits on Billboard’s Latin Tropical Airplay charts. 

In the mid-1980s, his career flourished and a radio announcer nicknamed him “El Caballero de la Salsa” (Gentleman of Salsa).  In the 1990s, he joined the Sony label and earned 13 gold albums, 13 platinum albums, and three multi-platinum distinctions. 

The industry’s appreciation of his incredible talent continues as evidenced by several awards and accolades.  Gilberto Santa Rosa won Latin GRAMMY® awards in 2006 and 2009, and in 2007, he won a GRAMMY® award for best tropical production.  Also in 2009, he received five nominations for Premio lo Nuestro, making him the most nominated artist that year.  He has been nominated for three prestigious awards in 2011 as well.

With a fan base that stretches from Spain to Chile, Gilberto Santa Rosa’s latest album, “Irrepetible” (Unrepeatable) is aptly named—his remarkable career is certainly hard to replicate. 
CHCI Gala attendees are in for an “Irrepetible” experience on September 14 when the “Gentleman of Salsa” Gilberto Santa Rosa entertains the audience with his extraordinary tribute to Latin music legends including Celia Cruz and Tito Puente.

Each year, the CHCI Annual Awards Gala is the hallmark event that launches Hispanic Heritage Month in Washington, D.C., and serves as the unifying event for the Hispanic-American community.  Proceeds of the Gala benefit CHCI’s award-winning leadership development programs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Amid Allegations of Human Trafficking, Guatemala to Review Adoptions

Amid Allegations of Human Trafficking, Guatemala to Review Adoptions

Photo: Guatemalan Adoptions

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All it took was a moment. Loyda Rodriguez recalls carrying her groceries into her Guatemala City apartment before turning around to find her two-year-old daughter Anyeli gone from the patio.

“I said, ‘Where is she?’ I was very confused – why did they take my nena?” said Rodriguez of that afternoon in November 2006. As it turns out, her “nena” (Spanish slang for “baby girl”) was on a long journey to Liberty, Missouri, to be adopted by Jennifer and Timothy J. Monahan.

Last week, the Guatemalan government announced that it will begin reviewing adoption cases that were halted midway after the United States barred all adoptions from Guatamala in 2007, for the latter’s failure to comply with Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions regulations that aim to prevent child trafficking. All reviewed cases found to have established consent with the birth parent of the adopted child will be allowed to proceed, while those adoption cases opened after the U.S. decision will remain closed.

The decree marks an initial step toward repairing the nation’s battered adoption system, and follows a court decision reached on August 1 calling for the return of Anyeli, who now goes by the name “Karen Abigail Monahan.” The court decision was based largely on the fact that Anyeli had been kidnapped, by human traffickers.

After four years of living together, Anyeli’s adoptive parents are now being ordered to return the six-year-old to her birth mother, whose identity was confirmed through a DNA test. The Monahans have two months to comply with the order, or the International Police will intervene.

While the couple has declined to speak with the press, they issued a statement saying they will “continue to advocate for the safety and best interest of their legally adopted child.”

But for Rodriguez, justice means Anyeli coming home to Guatemala.

Once a highly popular source for adoptions, Guatemala in 2007 sent 4,726 children—the second highest number of children after China—to the United States, according to the U.S. Department of State, earning private Guatemalan attorneys about $35,000 per case.

Most other developed countries had already halted Guatemalan adoptions by 2002, in response to child trafficking allegations. Within the country, meanwhile, rumors of child theft incited large mobs to lynch several suspected traffickers.

Anyeli’s kidnapping is emblematic of Guatemala’s infamously corrupt adoption system, said Claudia Hernandez, assistant director of Fundacion Sobrevivientes (Survivors Foundation) in Guatemala City. She added that Rodriguez’s case marks the first tentative step toward delivering legal justice to victims of child trafficking in Guatemala.

“I feel like I have her! I’ve won!” exalted Rodriguez, from within the protective walls of the human rights organization. Her sense of elation comes on the heels of a grueling five-year search for her daughter, an experience Rodriguez, now 26, can recall with amazing clarity.

Immediately after Anyeli was stolen in 2006, Rodriguez said she called the police and asked neighbors if they’d seen her daughter, and the next morning she went out at dawn to search, to no avail. Her husband contacted the government, which led nowhere, so they decided to keep the search up on their own.

“I kept looking, putting out flyers, but nothing, nothing from the authorities,” she said. At a friend’s suggestion, she went to orphanages, to see if any had taken in her child. “But they said I couldn’t enter without a judge’s order, for the security of the kids there.”

Finally, Rodriguez went to Fundacion Sobrevivientes in 2008, and the organization helped her gain entrance to look at photos of found children in the Public Ministry of Guatemala’s archives. But there were no matches.

Rodriguez, upon learning of two other mothers with missing children, went on a hunger strike in May 2008 with the other women for eight days in front of the government palace, a tall historic building in Guatemala City’s center square.

Thanks to attention from that strike, Rodriguez said, the government began to help, bringing children from the orphanages to the National Attorney General’s office for the women to meet. But child after child entered, and none was Anyeli. Exhausted, she returned home to her two young sons, then being cared for by relatives. Her husband was in Canada, she said, where he works as a migrant farmer four months each year to help make ends meet.

At home she wouldn’t lose hope, but her anguish deepened as time passed and she heard nothing of her child. So she went with her brother to look, again, in November 2008, this time combing through thousands of photos of children in the National Council for Adoptions. Then her brother suddenly held one up.

“He looked at me and said–this is the nena!” Rodriguez recalled, gasping again at the memory. “We took it and looked, made it bigger on the computer to see–and it really was her! I have her, I found her!”

The Public Ministry in 2009 then began an investigation of the case, naming nine culprits including members of the Guatemalan national military (PNG) and a judge who helped change Anyeli’s identity to “Karen Abigail.” But after the discoveries, Rodriguez said she began receiving death threats.

“Many cars came to my house and asked if it was where I lived, and they took my sister but fortunately she escaped,” recalled Rodriguez. They even came to Fundacion Sobrevivientes seeking information on Rodriguez’s whereabouts. Terrified, she took her children out of school and fled Guatemala City, moving to a small town six hours away.

Rodriguez’s brother said the delay in finding Anyeli was due to government negligence.

“They [the government] didn’t listen for so long,” he said. “But yes, now we have justice–we’ll have full justice when all the guilty are in jail, so my sister can be safe… I don’t know how she’s been so brave.” Eight out of nine of the suspects have now been captured, and are in prison awaiting trials.

Though Rodriguez said she still fears people associated with her attackers–she wouldn’t walk three blocks outside to the market in Guatemala City– she still insists that her daughter should return home.

”I know she won’t recognize me because she was so small, so I’m going to have a lot of patience. When she comes it’s going to be different because I don’t know how she lives there. I don’t know how I’ll understand her,” admitted Rodriguez. “But I have faith that she’ll accept me because I’m going to tell her what happened. I’m going to tell her I’m her mama and I think she’ll feel good, to feel the love of her real mother.”

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TAKE IT EASY this weekend with a Latin American Natural Wonder

TAKE IT EASY this weekend with a Latin American natural wonder.  Guess What and Where this is?

Juan Laverde, Latin American Natural Wonder

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Remembering the Hurricane of 1938 (VIDEO)

Remembering the Hurricane of 1938 (VIDEO)

Photo: 1938 Hurricane Headline

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With Hurricane Irene’s imminent approach over the New York metropolitan area, Elaine Quijano takes a look back at one of the most devastating storms ever to strike the region, the infamous Hurricane of 1938, which became known as the Long Island Express.

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SaturdayAugust 27, 2011