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FridayJanuary 13, 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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Chile Believes an Integrated Power Grid Could be in Latin America’s Future

Chile Believes an Integrated Power Grid Could be in Latin America’s Future

Photo: Chile Believes an Integrated Power Grid Could be in Latin America's Future

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President Sebastian Piñera said his government’s efforts to promote a more transparent and competitive electricity market will make it possible for Chile to connect its power grid with those of other Latin American countries.

Both aims are part of his administration’s “eight-pillar” strategy to promote the development of Chile’s electricity industry over the next 20 years, the president said in a speech on energy policy Thursday at a convention center in this capital.

Piñera also stressed the importance of achieving electricity interconnection with neighboring countries, such as Argentina, under a legal framework that offers guarantees to Chile.

The right-wing billionaire, who took office in March 2010, said the eight pillars also include promoting non-conventional renewable energy and energy efficiency and increasing hydroelectric power production.

He said the other goals are to establish new air-quality standards for thermoelectric plants, build a previously announced “public electric highway” (a proposed national trunk network) and improve environmental legislation.

Implementing the eight pillars will imply important changes “because there was no strategy, no road map, before,” Piñera said in the speech.

“This is a path worth taking and will allow us to stay ahead of the game,” said Piñera, who at no point referred to staunch opposition from environmental groups to the construction of new hydroelectric power stations and transmission towers in Patagonia.

In early December, the HidroAysen joint venture unveiled its proposed route for a transmission line that would be used to transport electricity from hydroelectric dams in Chile’s far south to the heavily populated central region, a project that will involve construction of as many as 1,700 high-voltage towers at a cost of $3.8 billion.

The environmental-impact study for the dam complex was approved in May amid fierce protests from people who oppose the flooding of those lands in the Aysen region. The transmission line, however, has not yet been approved.

Dozens of environmental groups filed complaints with the environmental commission in Aysen that approved the study and demanded it reverse its decision.

The five hydroelectric dams to be constructed by the joint venture, owned by Endesa Chile and Chile’s Colbum, are to be built on the Baker and Pascua rivers in a pristine, sparsely inhabited area that is not connected to Chile’s main power grid.

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ABC Pressed to Apologize for Joke about Puerto Rican Drug Dealers

ABC Pressed to Apologize for Joke about Puerto Rican Drug Dealers

Photo: Work It on ABC

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A crowd of angry Puerto Ricans gathered in front of ABC’s corporate offices in New York to demand an apology for a quip on a primetime comedy that suggested all Puerto Ricans are drug dealers.

“We want respect now!” at least 100 people shouted indignantly during the second protest at the network’s headquarters over the line uttered during the Jan. 3 debut episode of the sit-com “Work It.”

In one scene, a character portrayed by Puerto Rican actor Amaury Nolasco says: “I’m Puerto Rican… I’d be great at selling drugs.”

“That wasn’t a joke, that was an insult and we want an apology,” activist Julio Pabon, one of the organizers of the protest called Thursday by Boricuas for a Positive Image, told Efe.

“We’re also asking to meet with network executives to discuss problems like this since there’s no use staging protests every year because they keep on insulting the Puerto Rican community,” Pabon said.

The activist also noted that well-known Puerto Rican politicians in New York have asked the network for an apology and regretted that ABC “still has not had the courtesy to reply.”

Jaime Estades, another of the organizers, said for his part that the protest began 15 minutes earlier than planned because more than 100 people had already showed up in front of the network studios.

Marta Garcia, New York representative of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, or NHMC, and sociologist Angelo Falcon, also among the demonstrators, said they were surprised at the way ABC was ignoring their complaints.

“I’m a public school teacher and I also work as a construction worker and I don’t sell drugs. We Puerto Ricans are citizens of this country, we’re workers and they’ve got to respect us,” 59-year-old Aliabol Villanueva told Efe.

“ABC is attacking Puerto Ricans - we can’t have a network that knows nothing of our culture calling us drug dealers. We work hard to support our families, we’re citizens of this country and we pay our taxes. I’m a veteran and I spent four years in the U.S. Marines,” he said.

Meanwhile the actor Nolasco, who has not apologized for the controversy he sparked in his community, tweeted on his Twitter account that he understands how his compatriots might have felt a little “uncomfortable,” but justified what he said on TV by saying that the show “is a comedy and is meant to be viewed in that context.”

“Soy Boricua de pura sepa. I am proud of our culture and I’ve always strived to uphold the positive image of my beautiful island and our people in both my career and personal lives. Pa’lante mi gente,” the actor wrote.

The Puerto Ricans wrapped up the protest singing the island’s anthem and shouting “Volveremos” (We’ll be back).

Read more by HS News Staff →

8 California Car Washes to Pay $1M for Underpaying, Denying Benefits to Workers, Many of them Latino

8 California Car Washes to Pay $1M for Underpaying, Denying Benefits to Workers, Many of them Latino

Photo: California Car Washes to Pay $1 M for Underpaying, Denying Benefits to Workers, Many of them Latino

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that her office secured more than $1 million from eight Northern and Southern California car washes that underpaid workers, denied rest and meal breaks, and created false records of time worked.

“Workers at these car washes were taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers who illegally denied them the pay and benefits they earned,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am pleased that the resolution of this case will allow workers to receive the pay they are owed.”

In October 2010, the Attorney General’s office filed a civil lawsuit against eight car washes in Fair Oaks, Folsom, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Santa Monica, San Ramon and Venice.

Investigators interviewed more than 80 workers and found the car washes routinely denied workers minimum wage and overtime, failed to pay wages owed to those who quit or were terminated, denied rest and meal breaks, and created false records of time worked.

The car washes required employees to report to work several hours in advance and be available, unpaid, until business picked up. When workers were paid, many received paychecks that could not be cashed because of insufficient company funds. Additionally, the car washes operated for years without licenses from the Labor Commissioner, which are required under California law.

The lawsuit was filed against eight car washes and Dipu Haque Sikder, who spearheaded the business. The suit alleged that the car washes violated California Business & Professions Code section 17200 and Labor Code sections 203 and 203.1, sought lost wages and civil penalties, and an injunction to prevent the defendants from committing similar violations in the future.

Sergio Diaz-Esquivel and Juvenal Diaz-Esquivel worked for the Wash & Go Hand Wash in Irvine during 2005 and 2006 and quit because of the poor working conditions. They worked seven days a week and were not paid for all the hours they worked, nor paid the overtime wages due to them. After they quit, Wash & Go Hand Wash continued to refuse to pay them, which forced the workers to go to the Labor Commissioner. In August 2007, they obtained judgments totaling $14,708.24, including penalties for the car wash’s willful failure to pay them their wages.

Along with more than $1 million in restitution of unpaid wages and civil penalties, the car washes are required to pay $50,000 in employment taxes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

HISPANIC STANDOUT: NY Teen Samantha Garvey Goes From Homeless to National Science Award Contender

HISPANIC STANDOUT: NY Teen Samantha Garvey Goes From Homeless to National Science Award Contender

Photo: Samantha Garvey (right) with her science research teacher Rebecca Grella

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Not one to let her family’s homelessness keep her form reaching for her dreams, New York teen Samantha Garvey was named as a semifinalist for the National Intel Science Competition, and the good news keeps coming.

After hearing the young scientist was living in a homeless shelter with her family, donations came flooding in, but what makes her story even more heartwarming is the fact that Friday morning, it was announced that the Samantha and her family received a rent-subsidized three-bedroom home in Long Island.

Just two days ago, Samantha was over the moon after learning she has a shot at the science competition’s $100,000 prize.

News of her story spread quickly, as many learned the story of the Brentwood High School senior who had been living with her family at a homeless shelter since January 1.

ImageThursday, Samantha told radio station WCBS-AM that being homeless motivated her “to do better.” Adding, “I do well, and I pursue my passion because it’s what I have, and it’s a way out, you know, and it’ll lead to better things.”

The project that made her a semifinalist has been two years in the making and focuses on predators’ effects on ribbed mussels.

The teen says she hopes to pursue a career as a marine biologists after attending Brown or Yale.

The finalists for the competition will be announced later this month, but in the mean time, she, along with her two siblings, parents and pets, will be able to move into their new apartment in just 10 days.

“This is just the most amazing thing you could ask for.”


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HORRIFYING: Martin Lara Decapitated in Freak Wood Chipper Accident

HORRIFYING: Martin Lara Decapitated in Freak Wood Chipper Accident

Photo: Martin Lara, 50, dies in tragic freak wood chipper accident

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Like the gruesome scene in the dark comedy “Fargo,” a man was killed after a freak accident sent him into a wood chipper while working. Sadly however, this was no movie.

Martin Lara, 50, was working at a rural home outside Nevada City clearing brush when he was pulled head first into a large industrial wood chipper after a rope became wrapped around his neck while he was feeding wood into it.

Once something is pulled into the machine, it is nearly impossible to pull it out, and the chipper can only be stopped when someone hits the shut-off switch.

The Applegate, California resident is said to had been decapitated by a rope that was going into the machine and not the actual blades of the machine, something that likely makes no difference to his family and friends.

A co-worker attempted to pull Lara out, but fighting the machine made to process full-size trees proved to be futile. The wood chipper was stopped before his body could be pulled all the way into the machine, but the rope had already decapitated and killed him.

The incident, which happened at around 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning, is being called just a freak and tragic accident.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Animated Napoleon Dynamite Airs Sunday. Efren Ramirez, Aaron Ruell, Jon Heder Return

Animated Napoleon Dynamite Airs Sunday. Efren Ramirez, Aaron Ruell, Jon Heder Return

Photo: Animated Napoleon Dynamite Airs Sunday. Efren Ramirez, Aaron Ruell, Jon Heder Return

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Returning to the characters that made many of them famous, the original cast of Napoleon Dynamite join together for the animated version of the low-budget film.

Jon Heder returns as the quirky Napoleon, Efren Ramirez as the loveable class president elect Pedro, and Aaron Ruell will voice Napoleon’s older brother Kip.

ImageLike most of the cast, Ramirez said he never imagined the movie would be such a hit, but when he saw he had celebrity fans, he knew they cast and crew had created something special.

He recently told the Fresno Bee, ‘There was the first time I saw Denzel Washington wearing a ‘Vote for Pedro’ T-shirt. Then there was the ‘War of the Worlds’ premiere and I met Sir Anthony Hopkins, and he was wearing a ‘Vote for Pedro’ button. It was cool to see he had that.”

It’s been nearly eight years since the movie’s release and only time will tell if “Napoleon Dynamite” the animated series can bring in as many fans as the original.

The new animated series will premier Sunday on Fox with a two-episode debut.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Super PAC to Support Latino Democratic Congressional Candidates in 15 Districts Across U.S.

Super PAC to Support Latino Democratic Congressional Candidates in 15 Districts Across U.S.

Photo: Super PAC The American Worker to support Latino Democratic Congressional candidates

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A Political Action Committee (PAC) known as The American Worker is getting ready to target a number of Congressional Districts across the United States in support of Democratic candidates running for Congress.

The 15 districts being targeted by the Super PAC are spread throughout 11 states, which include:

Arizona
California
Colorado
Florida
Illinois
New Mexico
Nevada
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Texas
Wisconsin

The Super PAC has said that it “will spend as much as $1 million per race on advertising, polling, media, phones, mail, research and new media,” with much of the money coming from progressive Latinos and organized laborers.”

The American Worker’s goal is to raise as much as $15 million this cycle, with its first ad campaign beginning this weekend with ads being run on San Antonio radio stations against Rep. Francisco Canseco (R-Texas) . The goal of the ads is to point out that like many GOP politicians, Canseco’s middle class agenda leaves something to be desired. His record on taxes and unemployment issues will also be highlighted.

To learn more about the Super PAC that is The American Worker, see the video below.

The American Worker PAC from American Worker on Vimeo.

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Latin America’s Renewable Energy Projects Get $30 Million in Funding

Latin America’s Renewable Energy Projects Get $30 Million in Funding

Photo: Renewable Energy in Latin America Gets a Boost

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $30 million loan for the Emerging Energy Latin America Fund II, designed to boost the private sector as a driving force in clean technologies and renewable energy in the region.

Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to see their energy demand increase by 75 percent by 2030, and renewable energy could account for half of that total demand, according to Andrés Ackermann, the IDB project team leader .

The new fund will invest in renewable energy projects including wind, solar, small hydropower and geothermal, and in energy services companies using clean technologies, including waste-management, biomass, energy efficiency and smart-grid projects. The IDB’s support of the fund fits in with the Bank’s commitment to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

The eventual size of the Emerging Energy Latin America Fund II is targeted at approximately $150 million. The Emerging Energy Latin America Fund II is the successor to a previous CleanTech Fund, an earlier stage $25.2 million fund that had a similar focus on renewable energy and clean technology and was supported by the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Natalee Holloway Suspect Joran Van der Sloot Gets 28-Years in Peruvian Prison

Natalee Holloway Suspect Joran Van der Sloot Gets 28-Years in Peruvian Prison

Photo: Van der Sloot Gets 28 Years Prison

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Joran Van der Sloot has been sentenced to 28-years in a Peruvian prison for the killing of 21-year-old Stephany Flores.  The sentence came after the leading suspect in Natalee Holloway’s disappearance pleaded guilty.

In 2010, a Peruvian woman named Stephany Flores was murdered after leaving a Lima casino. Van der Sloot, 24, confessed to killing Flores in May 2010, saying that she looked at his laptop and found information linking him to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.

The Alabama teen had been on vacation in Aruba when officials believe Van der Sloot killed her, though the case against him fell apart because prosecutors did not have enough evidence to lock him up.

Her 2005 disappearance remains unsolved and she was declared legally dead by a U.S. court this week.

Last week, Van der Sloot hinted that he was preparing to plead guilty to Flores’ murder, but said he did not accept the aggravated murder charges the prosecution was seeking. It is said that he admitted to killing Flores in a ferocious and cruel manner during a fit of rage. However, prosecutors have stated they believe he killed her to gain the money she had won at the casino.

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National Hispanic Media Coalition Documenting Clear Channel’s ‘Hate Radio’ Program

National Hispanic Media Coalition Documenting Clear Channel’s ‘Hate Radio’ Program

Photo: KFI 640 AM, Clear Channel

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The National Hispanic Coalition to the Media ( NHMC)  has just published “Hate American Radio: How a powerful vehicle for democratic discourse has deteriorated in hatred, racism and extremism. ” The report identifies the prevalence and dangers of hate speech on American radio. Revealing consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),  NHMC has discovered through the Freedom of Information Act , the report documents years of public complaints against KFI 640 AM hatred, a radio station Clear Channel.

I hate American Radio” explores how the numbers of hate groups and crimes motivated by racism have risen as the popularity and reach of radio programs that use racist rhetoric has increased. The report notes that radio is the primary means of communication reaching 93% percent of Americans every week. In the 1990s, the format of news heard on the radio was developed, and is now the dominant format with nearly 1,800 dedicated radio stations nationwide.

However, as revealed by the report, the quality of radio news programs varies widely. At the same time, the number of hate groups in the U.S. have doubled since 2000. The five states with more hate groups are California (68), Texas (59), Florida (49), New Jersey (47) and Mississippi (40).

To illustrate the type of hate-filled rhetoric that infects American radio, the report summarizes hundreds of consumer complaints to the FCC against KFI 640 AM, a radio station in Southern California. The full report is available by clicking here .

FCC records show that between 2008 and 2011, more than 240 consumers filed complaints about KFI AM 640 programs. 82% claim specifically alleged speech promoting hatred or violence. All but a handful of these complaints were against broadcasters who regularly follow pontificating on the airwaves of KFI.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Telemundo’s Sexy L.A. Weather Girl Getting Punked on Air (VIDEO)

WATCH Telemundo’s Sexy L.A. Weather Girl Getting Punked on Air (VIDEO)

Photo: Telemundo's Erica Pino Gets Punked

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Check out Teleumundo’s weather gal, Ericka Pino get punked or if she’s not getting punked she has a very incompetent tech crew.  At first poor Ericka, from Telemundo Channel 52 in Los Angeles, thinks the studio is experiencing lighting difficulties when she realized an corpulent sun bather has taken over her weather report.


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No Nukes for Guatemala,  Ratifies UN-Backed Treaty Banning Nuclear Testing

No Nukes for Guatemala,  Ratifies UN-Backed Treaty Banning Nuclear Testing

Photo: NO Nukes for Guatemala

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Guatemala has ratified the United Nations-backed international treaty banning nuclear tests, bringing the number of State parties to 156.

Out of a total listed number of 195 States, 182 have so far signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

For the treaty to enter into force ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States have yet to ratify it. The Indonesian parliament took the decision to ratify the treaty on 6 December 2011.

Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, Haroldo Rodas Melgar, handed over the instrument of his country’s ratification at a ceremony yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York.

Welcoming this move, Tibor Tóth, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said Guatemala’s ratification is an important building block towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

“It underlines Guatemala’s commitment to outlaw nuclear testing and to enhance non-proliferation and disarmament worldwide,” he stated.

Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region in the world to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone with the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1967.

“Guatemala’s ratification of the CTBT is a boost for the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which will soon celebrate 10 years of being the world’s first nuclear-weapon-free zone to include all countries in the region,” noted Mr. Tóth. “This bodes well for the CTBT.”

Among the 33 States in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, 31 have now ratified the CTBT, with Cuba and Dominica being the only countries that have not yet signed or ratified.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all remaining States to sign and ratify the CTBT, with the aim of bringing it into force by 2012.

“My message is clear: Do not wait for others to move first. Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed,” he told a high-level conference last September on facilitating the treaty’s entry into force. “We must make the most of existing – and potentially short-lived – opportunities.”

In the meantime, Mr. Ban has urged all States to honour all existing moratoria on nuclear-weapon-test explosions, and to refrain from acting in a manner that undermines the purpose of the treaty.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Reform Should be Humane say Catholic Bishops

Catholics should be politically active at both the local and national level to promote a humane reform of immigration law is the message coming out of a conference in Salt Lake City sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

“The USCCB doesn’t support any state immigration accord, though the dioceses and the state Catholic bishops conferences have done so,” Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs for the USCCB, told Efe from the Utah capital.

“At the same time, we believe that those accords are useful tools to defend immigrants’ rights and to change the characteristics of the immigration debate,” he said.

The 300 or so Catholic prelates and activists meeting this week in Salt Lake City are analyzing harsh anti-immigration measures enacted by states such as Arizona and Alabama.

Also on the agenda is a review of the impact on immigrant communities of programs such as Secure Communities, under which state and local law enforcement agencies are required to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

“Given that Congress has not been able to fix our broken immigration system, the front in the immigration debate has shifted to the states and local communities,” Appleby said.

“Recognizing that the solution must come at the federal level, the conference provides participants the knowledge and skills to respond at the local level,” he said.

The Salt Lake City gathering includes legal-services providers, leaders of pro-immigrant groups and church administrators from across the United States.

The keynote speaker at Wednesday’s opening session was Salt Lake City Bishop John C. Wester, who pointed to the Catholic Church’s role in promoting the Utah Compact and a similar agreement in Iowa, both attempts to moderate the tone of the immigration debate.

Indeed, he said, one reason why the USCCB decided to meet in Salt Lake City was the adoption in late 2010 of the Utah Compact.

That document, supported by a broad cross-section of business, civic and religious leaders, insisted that Utah lawmakers should take into account factors such as the welfare of families and the needs of the economy in any state laws on immigration.

What happened in Utah showed the potential for progress when people with “differing points of view” work together in good faith, Wester said.

“The respective parties came together and essentially said, ‘OK, we have a real issue here. What are we going to do about it? These are real human beings here. This isn’t some abstract political debate. These are real human beings who are suffering,’” the bishop recounted.

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Somos Republicans Will Not Endrose Romney in 2012, Urges Other Latino Republicans to Do Same

Somos Republicans Will Not Endrose Romney in 2012, Urges Other Latino Republicans to Do Same

Photo: Somos Repulicans Will Not Endorse Romney

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Recently 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney stated he will veto the DREAM Act, therefore, SOMOS REPUBLICANS will veto Romney at the polls, according to their latest announcement. 

According to Somos Republicans, a national watchdog group and the largest Hispanic Republic grassroots organization:

On January 11, Boston, MA Mitt Romney announced the support of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Unfortunately we believe Kobach has affiliations with hate groups and people who are anti-Semitic and anti-Latino via Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the John Tanton network.

SOMOS REPUBLICANS is calling for all Floridian Latino Republicans such as Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R- FL) and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R - FL) to denounce their support of Mitt Romney since Romney has received support from the architect of all anti-immigrant and anti-DREAM Act laws in the nation.  We didn’t support deporting Elian Gonzalez, and we are asking all Latino Republicans in Florida to stop supporting the GOP Presidential candidate who wants to deport our “Elian Gonzalez equivalents.”

The group is outraged at the betrayal of the Latino community at large, by these Florida Republican officials and their support of “the most anti-immigrant Republican presidential candidate.” 

Further they noted “Latinos are solidarian with Cuban Americans and the Amnesty policy towards them, and we expect reciprocity in their support for a reasonable and decent treatment of the current wave of immigrants. The current state of affairs denigrates all Latinos, including Cuban-Americans.”

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U.S. Visa Demand from Brazil, Already up 50% in 2012

U.S. Visa Demand from Brazil, Already up 50% in 2012

Photo: U.S. Visa Demand in Brazil Up in 2012

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Visa processing in Brazil and China jumped more than 50 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 from the same period in 2011. At the same time, our Missions in China and Brazil decreased the wait for visa interviews. In China, visa interview wait times are only two days at any of our five visa-processing posts. In Brazil, wait times are down to 15 days in Rio de Janeiro and six days in Brasilia.

To meet increasing demand, the Department of State is deploying additional personnel, expanding visa sections, and utilizing new systems and technologies to facilitate legitimate travel without compromising national security. These initiatives are getting results. In China, consular officers adjudicated nearly 260,000 visas in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, compared to 175,000 visas in 2011, an increase of 48 percent. In Brazil, consular officers adjudicated nearly 280,000 visas in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, compared to 171,000 visas in 2011, an increase of 63 percent.

This remarkable growth signals good news for the U.S. economy, when every additional 65 international visitors to the United States generate enough exports to support an additional travel and tourism-related job. Visitors from China and Brazil represent a growing market for travel and tourism to the United States.

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FridayJanuary 13, 2012