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SaturdayNovember 12, 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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Early Indications in Mexico Helicopter Crash Point to Weather Not Blast as Cause

Early Indications in Mexico Helicopter Crash Point to Weather Not Blast as Cause

Photo: Helicopter Crash Killing MX Interior Minister

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The helicopter crash that killed Government Secretary Jose Francisco Blake and seven other people earlier this weekend was not due to “some type of damage caused by an explosion or fire,” Mexican Communications and Transportation Secretary Dionisio Perez Jacome said.

Experts drew this conclusion from “visual inspections” conducted at the accident scene, the secretary said.

The helicopter’s wreckage was found scattered in a relatively small area in Chalco, a city in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, Perez Jacome said.

There are no indications that Friday’s crash was anything other than an accident, the secretary said.

It is “very probable that the pilot (Lt. Col. Felipe Bacio Cortes, who died in the crash) penetrated” a fog bank and hit the ground for unknown reasons, Airport and Allied Services Administration director Gilberto Lopez Meyer said.

A state funeral was held in Mexico City on Saturday for Blake and the other seven victims of the chopper crash.

“The best way to honor the memory of such brave Mexicans as those we are bidding farewell to today is to continue working together, to continue fighting and with an even greater conviction for the things they fought for ... to transform Mexico into the country they wanted,” President Felipe Calderon said.

Blake was “a great human being” and an “honest, hard-working, loyal, patriotic and committed” public servant, Calderon said.

The president presented the families of each of the victims with the flags that had been draped over the caskets.

Three Cabinet secretaries have now died in aviation accidents in Mexico since 2005.

Many of those in attendance were reminded of the funeral of former Government Secretary Juan Camilo Mouriño, who died in an aviation accident three years ago.

The 37-year-old Mouriño died in the crash of a small plane in Mexico City on Nov. 4, 2008.

Security Secretary Ramon Martin Huerta died in a helicopter crash in Mexico state on Sept. 21, 2005.

The 48-year-old Martin Huerta had joined President Vicente Fox’s Cabinet on Aug. 13, 2004.

Martin Huerta was in charge of implementing the government’s strategy to combat drug cartels and other organized crime groups, a responsibility that later fell to Blake and Mouriño when they took office.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Why is the Catholic Mass Having a New Translation?

Why is the Catholic Mass Having a New Translation?

Photo: Latin Translation

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As Catholics in the United States get accustomed to new responses and prayers at Sunday Mass, many will probably ask: Why did the Mass change? The answers have to do with changes to the Latin text upon which the English translation is based and on the rules according to which the translations are made.

When the bishops at the Second Vatican Council decided that at least parts of the liturgy should be in the language of the people, they determined that national groups (“conferences”) of bishops should prepare translations of the Latin texts in the vernacular. Because English is widely used throughout the world, bishops from English-speaking countries created one translation group, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which gathered translators, poets, biblical scholars, and others to produce the English texts of the Mass and other sacraments.

ICEL was guided by a 1969 instruction from the Consilium, the Vatican commission in charge of implementing the liturgical reform. This document, Comme le prevoit, gave translators the freedom to adapt the translation of the Latin text so that its meaning would be clearer in the vernacular. So, for example, the response of the people to the priest, “Et cum spiritu tuo,” which literally means “And with your spirit,” became “And also with you,” which has the same meaning as the Latin (if not the exact wording) but is more straightforward in modern English.

The first full revised Latin texts of the Mass after the Second Vatican Council were released in 1969. ICEL released its first full English translation in 1970; that English text was used with minor changes until November of this year. In 1983 ICEL began work on a second English translation of the Mass, based on a 1975 second edition of the Latin texts, in the hopes of producing a more poetic English translation. That version was approved by all the English-speaking conferences of bishops and sent to Rome in 1998.

In 2001, however, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship issued a new instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam, which called for a strict literal translation of the Latin text and a more elevated tone. Pope John Paul II then created a small group of bishops called Vox Clara to oversee English translations. Based on the new translation rules, the Vatican rejected the 1998 translation of the Mass. ICEL was disbanded and then recreated with new translators, who began work on a new English translation of the Mass.

This new, more literal English translation must be used beginning with the First Sunday of Advent 2011. In addition to the response, “And with your spirit,” many of the people’s parts, along with all the prayers proclaimed by the priest, have changed significantly to follow Latin word order and grammar. Their more complex structure and vocabulary will require extra care and attention as English-speaking Catholics get used to a new style of praying together.

Read more at US Catholic →

Cuban Revolutionary Who Orchestrated 1958 Grand Prix Driver Kidnapping Dies

Cuban Revolutionary Who Orchestrated 1958 Grand Prix Driver Kidnapping Dies

Photo: Cuban Revolution Leaders

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Arnold Rodriguez Camps, an early follower of Fidel Castro who took part in the 1958 kidnapping of race-car driver Juan Manuel Fangio on the eve of Cuba’s Grand Prix, died in Havana of serious illness, state-run media said Friday. He was 80.

Rodriguez Camps entered the struggle against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in 1952, was a militant in the 26th of July Movement where he held local and national positions in propaganda activities, and directed the clandestine newspaper Revolucion.

In 1958 he collaborated in the kidnapping of Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio, the world champion race-car driver who was set to compete in the Cuba Grand Prix that year.

Fangio was freed unharmed after the race.

The kidnapping of the Argentine champion was an “incident aimed at getting the world to notice” to the fight against Batista, Cuba’s official Prensa Latina news agency said Friday.

The government Web site posted the news of Rodriguez Camps’ death illustrated with a photo of him and Fangio together in 1992, whose caption said that “the two maintained a great friendship only cut short by the driver’s death” in 1995.

After the victory of the revolution, Rodriguez Camps occupied several positions in the Cuban government, mainly in the ministries of foreign relations and trade.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Election Wins for Immigration, Women, and Workers This Week

Election Wins for Immigration, Women, and Workers This Week

Photo: Election Results

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Voters across the country defeated laws earlier that week that would have targeted reproductive rights, collective bargaining, and same-day voter registration. And in key state legislative races, the message of LGBT equality prevailed while the author of one of the nation’s strictest immigration laws was recalled.

Maine Restores Same-Day Registration

In Maine, 60 percent of poll-goers voted to repeal a law passed this summer by the state legislature that eliminated its 38-year tradition of same-day registration. The decision is a resounding victory for the grassroots coalition of Protect Maine Votes, which faced an extremely well-funded opposition and had to debunk false claims of voter fraud throughout the campaign.

Ohio’s Pro-Union Voice

It’s now clear why Ohio Gov. John Kasich and his allies in the state legislature tried to restrict early voting: His anti-union agenda is toxic among the voting public.

In a 61 percent to 39 percent landslide, with turnout rivaling the 2010 election, Ohioans overturned SB 5, the law which curtailed the collective bargaining rights of 350,000 unionized public workers. SB 5 opponents say their victory sends a message to other states considering anti-collective bargaining legislation.

No Personhood Amendment in Miss.

Anti-choice forces likely assumed a conservative Southern state like Mississippi would readily accept their agenda. But 58 percent of voters there said that Issue 26 went too far. The proposed amendment defined a fertilized egg as a person, thus granting it equal protection under the law.

As pro-Issue 26 advocates themselves openly said, this would have effectively defined abortion and birth control as murder. With similar measures being considered in several other states—including Michigan, Montana, and Wisconsin—Issue 26’s defeat should serve as an encouraging rallying cry for pro-choice advocates throughout the country.

Hope for Marriage Equality, Immigration Reform

State legislative elections also provided welcome news for marriage equality, and some hope for a change in rhetoric surrounding immigration reform.

In Iowa, control of the state senate was at stake following Democrat Swati Dandekar’s resignation to join Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration. The one-seat Democratic majority is a crucial obstacle against repeated efforts to eliminate marriage equality in Iowa. Democrat Liz Mathis, a supporter of same-sex marriage, was elected by a 12 percent margin, even though Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district.

Meanwhile, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce was recalled. Pearce is notorious as the author of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070. He will be succeeded by fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, who opposed SB 1070 and pledged to strike a more conciliatory tone on immigration.

Read more at Campus Progress →

Government Blocks Non-Citizens Eager to Serve in U.S. Military

Government Blocks Non-Citizens Eager to Serve in U.S. Military

Photo: Undocumented in the Military

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Yesterday on Veterans Day we celebrated those who have proudly served in the U.S. military, including immigrants.  Immigrants have long served in all branches of the U.S. military as infantry soldiers, medics, foreign-language translators, and in every other job open to them. At last count, foreign-born service members made up about 8% of the 1.4 million military personnel on active duty. However, some highly qualified non-citizens have been blocked from serving due to the Obama Administration’s suspension of a recruiting program called the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI). Frustrated by the government bureaucracy responsible for halting MAVNI, those non-citizen volunteers are petitioning the government in hopes of reopening the program.

Started under the Bush Administration in 2008, MAVNI was a highly successful military recruiting program open to certain legal aliens who were also U.S. licensed medical professionals or who spoke certain strategic languages.  Applicants were required to pass special immigration and security screening before being approved for enlistment and were put on an accelerated path to U.S. citizenship.  If they failed to serve honorably for five years, they could lose their U.S. citizenship.

Although MAVNI was highly successful and saved the Pentagon hundreds of thousands of dollars, the program came to an end in 2010 when newly confirmed Obama Administration political appointees failed to extend it, even though MAVNI was scheduled to continue for several more years. Many blame government inefficiencies at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Department of Defense, which is primarily responsibility for the program and has reportedly experienced turbulence in the last year.

In the meantime, hundreds of frustrated MAVNI applicants began a White House petition, asking family members, friends, and colleagues for their signatures in a quest to get the attention of the Obama Administration and get the MAVNI program re-opened. Under White House petition rules, the MAVNI applicants need 25,000 signatures on their petition to earn a response. At this point, they have about 700.

Unlike many White House petitions that ask for legal changes or budget appropriations, the MAVNI petition does not seek Congressional legislation or taxpayer money.  Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, can put the program back into operation immediately by signing a memo. One would hope that the White House petition process might get Secretary Panetta’s attention, as MAVNI applicants report that letters and Congressional inquiries have not yet resulted in any action.

There is no question that MAVNI is critical in filling military shortages of medical professionals and foreign language speakers. In fact, senior military leaders testified repeatedly before Congress about the value of the program. MAVNI recruits many highly educated people who would not normally find an easy path to serving America due to America’s dysfunctional legal immigration system.

Hopefully the administration will recognize the vital role immigrants have and continue to play in the U.S. military and makes a greater effort to reopen the MAVNI program.

Read more at Immigration Impact →

Mexico Asks US and France to Help in Helicopter Crash Investigation

Mexico Asks US and  France to Help in Helicopter Crash Investigation

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Mexican authorities have asked U.S. and French aviation crash experts to help investigate the helicopter crash that killed Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, a key figure in fighting the country’s illegal drug cartels.

Officials say Mora was killed Friday while traveling between Mexico City and the state of Morelos.

President Felipe Calderon said the helicopter crash happened in foggy conditions and was probably an accident. The president, however, said all possible causes are under investigation. 

Seven other people were on board the helicopter and were also killed.

Blake Mora was appointed as interior minister in July of last year. He was the second interior minister under President Calderon to die in an aviation incident.

In November 2008, Juan Camilo Mourino was killed in a plane crash. Despite widespread speculation that the crash was caused by sabotage, investigators blamed pilot error.

Read more at Voice of America →

DREAM Act Story: Karla Contreras as told by Dick Durbin on Senate Floor (VIDEO)

DREAM Act Story: Karla Contreras as told by Dick Durbin on Senate Floor (VIDEO)

Photo: Dick Durbin and Karla Contreras

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Senator Durbin tells the story of DREAMers on the floor of the United States Senate. See all 13 Videos here at the Senators Dream Act stories playlist on youtube and support it by checking out the videos and clicking the “like” button under the video and adding it to your favorites by clicking the “add to “button next to the like button.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Four Traffickers, Speedboat and 1 1/2 Tons of Cocaine Seized off Nicaragua

Four Traffickers, Speedboat  and 1 1/2 Tons of Cocaine Seized off Nicaragua

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Naval forces of the Nicaraguan army seized 1 1/2 tons of cocaine and killed four drug traffickers, two of them Colombians, during an operation in the country’s northern Caribbean region, military officials said Saturday.

A spokesman for the Nicaraguan army, Juan Ramon Morales, told Efe that the troops carried out the operation Friday at 45.3 kilometers (28 miles) from Bilwi in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, or RAAN.

He said that troops of the naval force pursued and killed four drug traffickers including two unidentified Colombians and the Nicaraguans Kyrf Fernandez Evans and Johnny Chow Kingsman, who were identified by their wives.

Also impounded in the anti-drug operation besides the 1 1/2 tons of cocaine, Morales said, were a speedboat, 8 barrels of fuel, 2 AK-47 assault rifles with ammunition clips and the magazine for an Uzi submachine gun.

The military spokesman said that the cocaine would be burned on Saturday.

According to the naval force, up to last October almost 3 1/2 tons of drugs had been confiscated, most of it cocaine, and 43 people linked to the illegal drug trade had been arrested.

Nicaragua is geographically square in middle of the “traffic zone” for drugs produced in South America and then transported to North America where the trade is mostly handled by Mexican cartels and where the vast market of U.S. consumers is located, according to military and police forces.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alfonso Herrera Turns to Acting in “El Diez”

Alfonso Herrera Turns to Acting in “El Diez”

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Former RBD lead singer Alfonso Herrera will play the soccer player at the center de “El Diez” (The Ten), the first original scripted series on Spanish-language sports cable network ESPN Deportes.

“Poncho,” as his fans call him, is a hopeless lover of the “most beautiful sport in the world.”

“I’m committed not only to the sport but also to the fans,” he told Efe during a telephone interview.

Filmed in Mexico City, “El Diez” tells the story of Salvador “Chava” Espinoza, a young soccer player from Jalisco state who becomes a star overnight.

The enticements of the world’s top soccer clubs, the adoration of fans and the temptations of fame are serious tests of Chava’s character.

“The story is really interesting and it’s what attracted me to this project, because Chava may be a simple guy, but the temptations he faces aren’t that simple. The fact that he’s good at soccer is both a blessing and a curse,” the 28-year-old actor said.

Herrera launched his career in 2002 with the film “Amar Te Duele” (Loving Hurts You) and that same year achieved stardom with a role in the teenage telenovela “Clase 406” (Class 406). A year later he joined the music group RBD.

“Fortunately, fame hasn’t muddled me, because I’m always surrounded by my family and my friends - and that helps me keep my feet on the ground. Fame is an illusion,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Selena’s Puppy Needs Surgery, and Bieber’s Pants Slip In Paris

Selena’s Puppy Needs Surgery, and Bieber’s Pants Slip In Paris

Photo: Selena with Baylor

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Selena Gomez just recently adopted a puppy, whom she named Baylor. But the husky mix isn’t in the best health, as he needs surgery.

Gomez adopted the puppy a few weeks ago at D’Arcy’s Animal Rescue Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. She tweeted her sadness about the surgery, and she even attached a picture of him.

E! Online reports that Gomez wrote, “My baby is sick :( praying for his surgery.”

Meanwhile, Gomez was with her boyfriend, Justin Bieber, in Paris while he is promoting his new holiday album Under the Mistletoe, where he almost fell victim to a wardrobe malfunction.

The singer was walking with his girlfriend to a lunch date with a bevy of security guards around him when his pants almost fell down. Bieber kept one arm around Gomez while his pants slid down, but thankfully did not fall off. Click for picture here

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

MX Considering Jail Time for Those who Glorify Drug Trafficking and Violence

MX Considering Jail Time for Those who Glorify Drug Trafficking and Violence

Photo: Promoting Violence and Drugs in Mexico

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Mexican lawmakers want to punish those who promote violence and drug trafficking in films, on the radio, on television and over the Internet, including composers of the “narcocorridos,” or ballads, that praise drug traffickers, with prison time, Congressman Oscar Arce told Efe.

The goal is to punish those convicted of glorifying the illegal drug trade with up to four-and-a-half years in prison, Arce, who is sponsoring the legislation, said.

The current punishment for a conviction is just a fine.

The Federal Criminal Code and the Federal Criminal Procedure Code will have to be overhauled to add prison time to the offense, Arce, a member of the conservative governing National Action Party, or PAN, said.

Praising drug trafficking leads people to become involved or indirectly approve of the criminal activity, the congressman said.

Those who publicly incite others to commit a crime would be punished with prison terms of one to three years, with the term rising to four-and-a-half years if a crime is actually committed, Arce said.

The bill cites the increased air time given to ballads about drug lords, messages from drug cartels left alongside victims’ bodies and the posting of violent videos on Web sites.

A provision introduced by Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Congressman Armando Corona would prohibit the publication of images of murdered, mutilated or bloodied people to avoid helping criminals terrorize society.

The provision “does not seek to limit freedom of expression but to make the contents of the Law on Publishing Crimes more clear,” the lawmaker said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kidnapped Baseball Player Wilson Ramos Rescued in Venezuela

Kidnapped Baseball Player Wilson Ramos Rescued in Venezuela

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Officials in Venezuela say police have rescued Venezuelan national and U.S. Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos.

Venezuela’s Information Minister Andres Izarra said late Friday that Ramos, a 24-year-old catcher for the Washington Nationals, was found alive by security forces in the mountainous region of Montalban. No details of the rescue operation have been released to the public.

Ramos had been visiting with family at a private home Wednesday night in Valencia when several men entered the residence and snatched him. Ramos was in Venezuela to play with his winter league team, the Aragua Tigers. 

Relatives of major league players, but not players themselves up until now, have been kidnapped in recent years in Venezuela.

The mother of former player Ugueth Urbina spent more than five months in captivity until she was rescued in 2005.

In 2009, the son and brother-in-law of Major League Baseball catcher Yorvit Torrealba were kidnapped, but released a short time later.  Also that year, the mother of now-retired pitcher Victor Zambrano was rescued, three days after she was abducted.

Read more at Voice of America →

Cecilia Muñoz , White House Top Latino Faces Protest for Secure Communities Support

Cecilia Muñoz , White House Top Latino Faces Protest for Secure Communities Support

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Members of Arizona’s Hispanic community demonstrated Friday against a senior White House official for defending the controversial Secure Communities program in a television documentary.

Cecilia Muñoz, the White House director of Intergovernmental Affairs, made the statement on the PBS program “Lost in Detention” that aired late last month.

The S-COMM program, which requires state and local law enforcement to share all detainees’ fingerprints with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has driven deportations of undocumented immigrants to record levels.

“We ask that (Muñoz) explain her statement and tell the truth, since she insists on saying that the immigrants being deported are criminals, and that’s just not so,” Felipe Matos, an undocumented student and organizer of the group Presente.org, told Efe.

The advocacy group cites ICE statistics showing that a mere 22 percent of the nearly 400,000 people deported in the 2011 fiscal year had convictions for serious offenses.

It is only by redefining “criminal removal” to include people who committed minor infractions that authorities can claim criminals account for half of deportees, according to Presente.org.

Muñoz, a former vice president of the National Council of La Raza, was in Phoenix Thursday taking part in a convention, where a score of pro-immigrant activists tried fruitlessly to enter in order to give her a letter expressing their indignation about her comments.

Muñoz said during the program that half of the people deported in fiscal 2001 had committed crimes.

Former Arizona state legislator Alfredo Gutierrez said that S-COMM is the means by which President Barack Obama’s administration has deported a greater number of undocumented immigrants than any of his predecessors.

“It’s offensive that a woman like Muñoz, who used to be an activist, is trying to defend the indefensible,” Gutierrez said.

He said that the position of the current administration has been to defend S-COMM, whose stated purpose is to deport dangerous criminals, with figures indicating that most of the undocumented are in fact criminals.

“During his presidential campaign, Obama denied it was like that, he fought for the rights of the undocumented, but after being sworn-in as president he changed completely,” Gutierrez said.

He said that under the Obama administration the border has become more militarized, with the consequence that undocumented immigrants continue to be slain in remote areas of the Arizona desert.

He said that this policy began with federal program 287(g) and was expanded with S-COMM, under which more than 1 million immigrants have been deported since 2008.

Gutierrez fears the situation won’t get any better in the short term.

“If Obama is reelected, this will continue and maybe get worse. If the Republicans win, it will be the same,” the former lawmaker said

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Peoples Justice” ( Lynchings) up 500% in Guatemala since 2004

“Peoples Justice” ( Lynchings) up 500% in Guatemala since 2004

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The number of reported lynchings of suspected criminals in Guatemala has increased from 25 in 2004 to 147 in the first 10 months of this year, the national ombud’s office said Friday.

The 651 instances of “people’s justice” during the last seven years resulted in 216 deaths - 47 of them in 2011 - and left another 911 victims seriously injured, according to the report.

Huehuetenango, a province of mainly indigenous people located on Guatemala’s northwestern border with Mexico, has seen 36 lynchings this year, followed by Quetzaltenango, 34; Quiche, 26; and San Marcos, with 23 reported cases.

The Guatemala bureau of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights recently expressed concern about the “alarming” increase in lynchings in the Central American country.

Lynchings are “an atrocious practice that profoundly question the ethical foundations of the society,” U.N. officials said.

Vigilante justice as a widespread phenomenon in Guatemala dates from the 1996 signing of peace accords that ended the country’s 36-year civil war.

The absence of police in isolated communities and pervasive distrust of the judicial system are the main reasons for the rising number of lynchings in the Central American nation, analysts say.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pair of Diego Rivera sell for $709,000 in Mexico

Pair of Diego Rivera sell for $709,000 in Mexico

Photo: Diego Rivera Art

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Two paintings by Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera sold here at auction Friday for 9.6 million pesos ($709,000).

The pieces were part of a sale at the Morton auction house of 194 works by Latin American artists.

The Rivera painting knocked down for the highest price was the “Tehuana” portrait that the famed muralist created in 1929. It went for $406,000.

The second priciest was “Portrait of a Spanish Woman with Mantilla,” painted in 1908 after the artist went on a study trip to Spain, which sold for $302,000, while the other Rivera work, the watercolor “Sailor,” brought in $37,000.

Works by David Alfaro Siqueiros, another of Mexico’s great 20th-century muralists, also sparked some of the highest bidding: “Peasant and Slave” (1930) went for $88,700, “Bouquet of Flowers” (1962) for $47,000, and “Unfinished Self-Portrait” (1921) sold for $33,000.

Seldom seen at auction in Mexico are works by Maria Izquierdo, the first Mexican painter to exhibit her works outside the country - at New York’s Art Center in 1930 - since most are in the hands of private collectors and foreigners.

For that reason the bidding for her painting Friday, a self-portrait dated 1940, was one of the most hotly contested and was finally knocked down for $133,000, considerably more than expected.

Morton has held this auction of Latin American art twice a year for the last three years, in May and November.

Despite the massive attendance at Thursday night’s auction, not all the paintings on the block found buyers.

As the manager of the auction house, Luis C. Lopez Morton, told Efe several days ago, this is Mexico’s most important art auction and the most noteworthy in the world of Latin American art.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHILL OUT this weekend with a Latin American Natural Wonder

CHILL OUT this weekend with a Latin American natural wonder.  Guess What and Where this is?


Juan Laverde, Latin American Natural Wonder

Read more by HS News Staff →

370 Patients Dead in Mexico in Secret Medical Experimental Program

370 Patients Dead in Mexico in Secret Medical Experimental Program

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An experimental procedure carried out by doctors at Mexico’s National Neurology and Neurosurgery Institute on some 500 unwitting patients caused 370 deaths between 1994 and 2007, activists said.

Representatives of groups like Democratic Doctors and Victims of Crimes Against Humanity, among others, told a press conference in Mexico City that the procedure was practiced without patients’ consent.

The organizations said that a complaint has now been filed with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office.

The procedure consists of implanting a permanent inter cranial device in hydrocephalus patients that was “never approved by international health authorities” and that “has caused damaging side effects and even death,” Dr. Rodolfo Ordanza said.

The specialist said that what are used worldwide for such conditions are expensive valves and tubes, but “to save almost 90 percent of the material it is substituted with a few centimeters of an experimental material called Tygon that has no scientific worth or validity.”

Maria de Lourdes Walkup, whose body was left half-paralyzed by the procedure, demanded that authorities penalize those responsible and repair the damage done.

Hundreds of such implants have been done in this hospital, including to newborns, “without carrying a regular review of the research and without providing immediate information to those who suffer damaging complications.”

The procedure has systematically affected vulnerable types of patients, activist Maria Lopez said.

The groups filing the complaint recalled that under Mexican law, experimental treatments or surgeries require the patients’ previous consent.

The lower house of Mexico’s Congress approved on Thursday measures requiring public hospitals to give free medical attention to people suffering injury from scientific research studies.

The reforms also establish a basis for conducting research on human beings.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayNovember 12, 2011