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MondayJanuary 2, 2012

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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Are Latino Students Better Off, 44 Years After California School Walkouts?

Are Latino Students Better Off, 44 Years After California School Walkouts?

Photo: 44th Anniversary of East LA School Walkouts

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The first time I got to listen to Sal Castro speak was four years ago at UC Santa Barbara during my freshman year of college. Last month, I had the opportunity to hear him lecture again at Cal State Bakersfield, on the topic of education reform, along with professor Mario T. Garcia from UCSB.

Castro, an educator and lifelong Chicano activist, is most well known for his role in the East Los Angeles high school walkouts of 1968. Those historic walkouts were a defining moment of the Chicano movement. At its height, 15,000 mostly Latino students from schools throughout LAUSD left their classrooms to protest social discrimination and educational inequality between white and Latino students in the public school system.

The students back then had a long list of demands, which included: The establishment of bi-lingual and bi-cultural education programs in Latino majority schools; new textbooks and curriculum that would offer a more complete history of Latino contributions to society and injustices they’ve suffered; adequate representation of Latino staff and faculty at Latino majority schools; and the creation of review boards that would hold teachers accountable who have “a particularly high percentage of the total school dropouts” in their classrooms.

But how much has really changed for Latino students since those politically charged days in 1968? Maybe not as much as we’d like to believe.

Dropping out of high school, in particular, is still a big problem in the Latino community. Last year in California, the Latino high school graduation rate (67.7 percent) was far behind that of white (83.4 percent) and Asian (89.4 percent) students. In Southern Kern Unified, where Latinos make up the majority of students, that graduation rate drops down to a mere 52.1 percent.

Read more at New America Media →

Deported from Chicago Hospital, Undocumented Quadriplegic Dies in Mexico

Deported from Chicago Hospital, Undocumented Quadriplegic Dies in Mexico

Photo: Immigrant Christ Medical Center Deports Dies in Mexico

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An undocumented immigrant who was paralyzed in a construction accident and deported in 2010 against his will to Mexico because he could not pay his Illinois hospital bill died over the weekend, activists confirmed to Efe on Monday.

Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, 24, died at 2:00 a.m. Sunday at a hospital in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, said Jesus Vargas, an immigrants’ rights activist in Chicago.

On Sunday, in Chicago a Mass was celebrated for the immigrant at Our Lady of the Americas Episcopal Church in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

“We ask for the eternal rest of Quelino Ojeda Jimenez,” said Vargas at the religious service, which was attended by activists and Mexican Consul Joaquin Pastrana.

On Monday, several representatives of pro-immigrant groups sought to communicate with Ojeda’s relatives in Oaxaca to inform them of the funeral service and to offer to help the family from Chicago.

Ojeda was injured in August 2010 when he fell from the roof of a home.

He was taken to the emergency room at Advocate Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois, where he received $650,000 worth of care over four months.

When he could not pay for his medical expenses, the hospital began procedures to transfer the patient to Mexico.

According to the Mexican consulate in Chicago, Ojeda said he did not want to return to Mexico, while his mother and other relatives in Oaxaca said they preferred that he recover in Oak Lawn because the local hospital in far southern Mexico was not able to treat him.

However, on Dec. 22, 2010, Advocate Christ decided to transfer him to Mexico, ignoring the wishes of their patient and his family and without advising the consulate.

“All his rights were trampled upon,” said Carlos Arango, a member of the United Front for Immigrants in Chicago, adding that the governments of the United States and Mexico should establish humanitarian rules to deal with similar cases in the future.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salma Hayek Knighted in France, Named to Legion of Honor

Salma Hayek Knighted in France, Named to Legion of Honor

Photo: Slama Hayek Honored in France

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Mexican actress Salma Hayek, the wife of French magnate Francois-Henri Pinault, was named a Knight of France’s Legion of Honor, the government said Monday.

The 45-year-old actress was nominated for an Oscar for her work in the film “Frida,” directed by Julie Taymor, in which she portrayed the celebrated Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Hayek, who is often seen in France in the celebrity box at the Roland Garros stadium or on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, recently portrayed “Kitty Softpaws” in the Dreamworks animation “Puss in Boots,” in which Spain’s Antonio Banderas provides the voice of the title character.

The Mexican beauty now is part of the list of film stars and figures who have been honored by French state, including Michael Caine, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and Clint Eastwood.

Also honored for the New Year by France was Hayek’s father-in-law Francois Pinault, the 75-year-old founder of the Pinault-Printemps-Redoute line of luxury products, who was designated a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mario Vargas Llosa Honored in Dominican Republican, Praises Country’s ‘Hold’ on Democracy

Mario Vargas Llosa Honored in Dominican Republican, Praises Country’s ‘Hold’ on Democracy

Photo: Mario Vargas Llosa in Dominican Republic

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Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa said on Wednesday, December 28, 2010 upon receiving an honorary degree from Universidad Accion Pro Educacion y Cultural (UNSPEC), that the Dominican Republic has become an example for Latin America after the fall of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in 1960. “I have seen how this society has been transformed, how it has opened to the world and above all how freedom has gotten a hold of Dominican life, both in the political as well as the economic aspect. It is one of the most stimulating experiences, the happiest, most encouraging in the region,” he said.

Vargas Llosa said that the Dominican Republic could boast the luxury of showing achievements in democracy. He said that Dominicans had suffered through one of the most ferocious dictatorships in Latin America.

He said that while there are no causes for complacency, because there are serious problems and the same inequalities as other Latin American countries, but it is an undeniable fact that there have been enormous advances and this is an example for Latin America.

He received the honor for his achievements in literature, freedom and human rights. During his address he gave thanks and spoke of his ties with the country after the experience of researching and writing his book, The Feast of the Goat book on the dictator.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Wife is Sole Suspect After Argentine Governor Dies From Gunshot to the Face

Wife is Sole Suspect After Argentine Governor Dies From Gunshot to the Face

Photo: Rio Negro, Argentina Governor Soria Shot and Killed

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Susana Freydoz is the sole suspect being investigated in connection with the death of her husband, Rio Negro Gov. Carlos Soria, who was shot in the face after a New Year’s Eve party, an Argentine prosecutor said Monday.

Freydoz “was the only person” with Soria when he was shot “in the middle of a family argument,” prosecutor Miguel Fernandez Jahde, who is handling the investigation, said.

The 61-year-old Soria died early Sunday “from a single shot” to the left side of his face in the bedroom of his ranch in a rural area outside General Roca, a city located about 1,350 kilometers (838 miles) from Buenos Aires, Fernandez said.

The governor was spending the New Year’s holiday at the property near General Roca, one of the largest cities in Rio Negro, which is in southern Argentina.

Police found the governor’s .38-caliber revolver, which was used to fire the fatal shot, the prosecutor said.

There is not yet enough evidence to charge Freydoz with her husband’s killing, Fernandez said.

The Rio Negro government said in a statement released Sunday that Soria’s death occurred in “a household accident with a firearm.”

Freydoz “was quite affected and did not speak” when police tried to question her on Sunday, the prosecutor said.

Investigators checked Freydoz to see if she handled the weapon and a doctor examined her, Fernandez said.

One of the couple’s daughters and her boyfriend, the only other people in the house when the shooting occurred, were also examined.

The governor was buried Sunday at a private cemetery in General Roca in a service attended only by relatives and a few Peronist Party officials.

Soria, a leader of President Cristina Fernandez’s governing Peronist Party, took office on Dec. 10 after winning 50 percent of the vote in the September elections.

He became the first Peronist to win Rio Negro’s governorship since the restoration of democracy in 1983 by beating the Radical Civic Union candidate.

President Fernandez, who is scheduled to return to Buenos Aires on Monday after spending the holiday weekend at her vacation house in El Calafate, called Soria’s family to express her condolences, officials said.

Rio Negro, which is in Patagonia and borders Chile, will now be led by Alberto Weretilneck, who until now served as lieutenant governor and belongs to the center-left Broad Front, an ally of the Peronist Party.

Read more by HS News Staff →

49 Kidnappings per day occurred in Mexico in 2011 up 32%

49 Kidnappings per day occurred in Mexico in 2011 up  32%

Photo: Mexican Kidnappings

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An average of 49 kidnappings per day occurred in Mexico in 2011, marking a significant increase from the prior year, the Council for Law and Human Rights, or CLDH, said.

A total of 17,889 kidnappings occurred in Mexico last year, up 32 percent from the 13,505 abductions registered in 2010, the non-governmental organization said.

“It is important to note that official complaints to the authorities have remained at a rate of one for every 10 cases,” CLDH president Fernando Ruiz told Efe in an e-mail.

The figures do not included “express kidnappings,” in which a victim is held for only a few hours, the CLDH said.

Hundreds of express kidnappings occur in Mexico City daily, with taxi drivers usually assisting the criminals, the NGO said.

Kidnapping gangs are increasingly using technology to target victims, and some criminals have negotiated the payment of ransom with victims’ relatives outside the country, the CLDH said.

“That is, some gangs of kidnappers have influence at the international level, making it impossible to obtain a partial identification of their members and capture them,” the NGO said.

The number of kidnapping cases in which police and soldiers were involved rose from 70 percent in the first half of 2011 to 80 percent in the second half of the year, the CLDH said.

“Their level of participation ranges from leaking information about a victim’s profile to providing protection during the actual kidnapping and directly carrying out the kidnapping,” Ruiz said.

About one-third of the kidnappers arrested by the Federal Police, according to official figures, have links to drug cartels.

The CLDH, which was founded in 1991, provides assistance to kidnapping and extortion victims, and works to root out corruption in the ranks of the police.

Read more by HS News Staff →

US and Mexico Deport 44,000 Hondurans in 2011

US and Mexico Deport 44,000 Hondurans in 2011

Photo: Honduran Deportations

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United States and Mexican authorities deported in 2011 some 44,000 Hondurans who had left their country to find work so they could help their families, officials said Saturday.

The director of the Returning Migrant Aid Center of Honduras, Valdette Willeman, told reporters that 22,832 were deported from the United States by air, while the rest were sent back from Mexico by land.

Of those deported from the U.S., 98 percent were men, Willeman said, adding that the total figure from that country was some 422 more than in 2010, when 22,410 were sent back.

The last Hondurans deported from the United States this year were the 63 who arrived Friday in a plane chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which generally has three flights a week, according to Willeman.

In 2010 the number deported from the United States and Mexico was around 46,000.

Human rights organizations estimate that some 100 Hondurans leave their country every day for the United States, though many never make it all the way through Mexico.

According to the Honduran foreign minister, slightly more than 1 million citizens from his country live in the United States, including legal residents and the undocumented, who together send remittances every year to their families of more than $2.3 billion.

A smaller number live in Mexico, Central America, Spain and Italy, among other countries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil has More Than One Million Child Workers, Plans to Eliminate Practice by 2020

Brazil has More Than One Million Child Workers, Plans to Eliminate Practice by 2020

Photo: Tackling Child Labor in Brazil

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According to the latest figures of the population census conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), over a million children aged between 10 and 14 continue to work in the country, despite government measures against child exploitation.

The study, released by the local newspaper “Folha de Sao Paulo”, shows that through the efforts of the government in the last decade, the percentage of children and adolescents who try to survive by working has decreased, falling from 6.6% in 2000 to 6.2% in 2010. The problem is particularly severe in the Brazilian Amazon, where child workers are 10%.

The eradication of the phenomenon by 2020 is one of the aims of Brazil, however, according to experts, more effort on behalf of the government is needed, since the current monitoring system fails to detect children who work as domestic servants or in small farms, particularly in the most difficult places to reach, where invisible child labor is most widespread. Another difficulty for the government is of a cultural nature, since it is a generally accepted practice in rural areas of Brazil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Hospital Welcomes Kids From both Sides of Border

Mexican Hospital Welcomes Kids From both Sides of Border

Photo: Hospital Infantil de las Californias

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Through the Hospital Infantil de las Californias, which she co-founded in 1994, Dr. Elizabeth G. Jones has helped thousands of children on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Located in the Mexican state of Baja California just a half-mile from San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing, the hospital serves children from low-income families.

The Canadian-born Jones told Efe that she began her work in Mexico 35 years ago, after a Spanish class at the University of San Diego where a nun urged her to do volunteer work south of the border.

“I’ve never been able to say ‘no’ to a nun. I told her my Spanish wasn’t good enough, and she told me to look after my nutrition and the Spanish would take care of itself,” she laughed.

Jones says that life in Tijuana, the Mexican metropolis next door to San Diego, “is hard for families, especially those of single moms. A lot of kids have no access to medical care, and they need the chance to become full members of society.”

Since basic health care in Tijuana is chiefly provided by neighborhood clinics, according to the doctor, HIC specializes in the more intricate procedures.

The HIC’s final phase, whose inauguration is planned for mid-2012, will offer emergency care with additional operating rooms and short-term hospitalization, Mario Medina de la Torre, director of institutional development at the Foundation for the Children of the Californias, which administers the hospital, told Efe.

Jones said that HIC charges about half what Tijuana clinics do and that the poorest families pay nothing.

HIC currently treats close to 25,000 people per year, though it aims to double that number, according to Medina de la Torre.

The hospital offers dental services, a pharmacy, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and has a swimming pool for therapy, a laboratory, radiology department, and even an educational center.

Jones said that the hospital also has programs on preventive care and healthy living.

Alejandro Rivera received a free operation through the foundation when he was 17 that allowed him to stretch his tendons and lengthen his legs to remedy a congenital problem.

Rivera, now 31, told Efe that HIC promotes social unity, meaning that even though he did not pay anything to defray the expenses of his treatment, he has remained an active volunteer in fundraising campaigns and spreading the word about the hospital on both sides of the border.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Details Visit to Mexico in March, Obama and Calderon Both to Receive Pontiff

Pope Details Visit to Mexico in March, Obama and Calderon Both to Receive Pontiff

Photo: Pope's Visit to Mexico Detailed

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“On December 12, 2011, His Holiness Benedict XVI announced his intention to undertake an apostolic journey, before Easter, in Mexico and Cuba. After the consultations with the Government of the United States of Mexico and the Episcopal Conference which had invited him, and after a detailed study on behalf of those responsible for the Pope’s journey’s, in collaboration with federal authorities and members of the Government of Guanajuato, the Holy Father has approved the program that was presented to him”.

This is how the Episcopal Conference of Mexico statement begins (ECM), of which a copy was sent to the Fides Agenzia, about the program concerning the Papal visit in the country.

According to the text, the Holy Father will arrive at the Leon airport, Guanajuato, on the evening of Friday, March 23, 2012, and will be officially received by the President of the United States of Mexico, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, by the Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Leon. On Saturday evening, March 24, there will be the official meeting with President Calderon Hinojosa. The Holy Father will greet and bless the children and the faithful gathered in Plaza de la Paz, Guanajuato. On the morning of Sunday, March 25, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in the Bicentennial Park, in the town of Silao, on the foothills of Cubilete, on top of which the monument to Christ the King is found. On this occasion he will meet the faithful representatives of all the dioceses of Mexico.

In the afternoon on the same day, the Holy Father will visit the Cathedral of Leon for the Vespers Prayer and to deliver his message to all the Bishops of Mexico and the representatives of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean.

On March 26 in the morning, the Holy Father will continue his journey to Santiago de Cuba, after greeting the highest civil and religious authorities of Mexico. “Let us pray together to Our Lady of Guadalupe for Pope Benedict XVI’s first apostolic visit to Mexico, which is reason for hope and the confirmation of faith in the Lord,” concluded the statement signed by the President of ECM, Mgr. Carlos Aguiar Retes, Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, and the Secretary General ECM, Mgr. Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez, Auxiliary Bishop of Texcoco.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MondayJanuary 2, 2012