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SaturdayJanuary 21, 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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2.7 Million Tourists Visited Cuba in 2011

2.7 Million Tourists Visited Cuba in 2011

Photo: Tourism in Cuba

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Cuba greeted more than 2.7 million tourists in 2011, a figure confirmed by official media and said to set a record for the sector, the island’s second biggest source of revenue in foreign currencies.

Cuba’s National Statistics Office, or ONE, said that 2,716,317 foreign visitors landed on the island last year.

The official AIN news agency on Friday cited Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero as saying this week at the FITUR Tourism Fair in Madrid that the island closed 2011 with a 7.3 percent increase in foreign visitors over 2010.

The minister also said that several countries posted records for the number of their nationals who vacationed in Cuba, led by Canada with more than 1 million, and including Britain, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Russia.

Tourism, the second biggest source of foreign-currency revenues for the Cuban economy after technical and professional services, has taken in more than $2.1 billion annually over the last few years.

The Caribbean island for the first time topped the number of 2.5 million foreign tourists last year, while official projections point to almost 3 million in 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s David Ferrer routs Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela to Advance at Australian Open

Spain’s David Ferrer routs Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela to Advance at Australian Open

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Spain’s David Ferrer overcame a slow start to rout Juan Ignacio Chela 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 Saturday and join three of his countrymen in the round of 16 of the Australian Open.

Chela’s defeat, meanwhile, left fellow Argentine Juan Martin del Potro as the only Latin American left in the first Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season.

The early part of the match, in which Chela raced off to a 4-0 lead thanks to his strong returning and erratic play by the Spaniard, provided no inkling of what was to come later.

From the fifth game of the first set onward, Ferrer brought his unforced errors down to a minimum and began dictating the baseline rallies with his forehand, reeling off five straight games and even holding a set point with Chela serving at 4-5.

Chela managed to get out of trouble on that occasion, but he dropped his serve for a third time two games later to cede the set to the Spaniard.

Ferrer had managed to turn the match around completely by getting more depth on his forehands and backhands, creating angles and racking up numerous clean winners.

His relentless return game also was a constant source of frustration for Chela, a player with solid ground strokes but an unimposing serve that doesn’t win him many easy points.

In the second set, the Argentine found himself behind early after dropping serve at love in the fourth game and he could find no way to reverse the momentum.

Chela’s woes then continued in the third set when he was unable to hold his serve a single time.

Ferrer told reporters that after a shaky start his performance against Chela was an improvement over his first- and second-round matches, when he defeated Portugal’s Rui Machado and American Ryan Sweeting, respectively.

“I don’t start really good. I start a little bit nervous. He ... play very, very good the first games. And after, when I won the first set, it was more easy ... I play better with my shots. I play with more confidence,” Ferrer said.

“The first two matches here I don’t play really good. I don’t need my best game. But today in third round, the last two sets, I feel good.”

With the win, Ferrer joined countrymen Rafael Nadal, Feliciano Lopez and Nicolas Almagro in the round of 16 and on Monday will square off against talented Frenchman Richard Gasquet, a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 winner over Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic.

In other men’s third-round action Saturday, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia crushed France’s Nicolas Mahut 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 to set up a match with Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt, who thrilled the home crowd with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

Scotland’s Andy Murray cruised to an easy 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 win over France’s Michael Llodra to set up a match with Kazakhstan’ Mikhail Kukushkin, who upset France’s Gael Monfils 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 1-6, 6-4.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet in another round of 16 encounter on Monday after recording respective wins over France’s Julien Benneteau and Portugal’s Frederico Gil.

Men’s fourth-round singles action will kick off on Sunday, with Nadal, Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Del Potro the headliners.

The Australian Open is regarded as the fourth-most prestigious tournament on the tennis calendar after Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the French Open.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Singer Reinaldo Alvarez Sees Ballads in his Future and Moves to Miami

Singer Reinaldo Alvarez Sees Ballads in his Future and Moves to Miami

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Venezuelan singer-songwriter Reinaldo Alvarez is seeking a spot in the romantic ballad category with his disc “Conexiones,” a hit in his own country and now being promoted in the United States.

To get the word out, next week the artist will launch on U.S. radio the single “Te Quiero de Veras” (I Love You Truly), which, Alvarez told Efe at his home in Miami, “is a great ballad” because it respects the concept of the genre.

“It has a lot of emotion, a lot of romanticism. It’s a story about a couple of friends who, somehow, when I started thinking about them, I saw the complete scene of a movie,” the 31-year-old singer said.

With “Conexiones,” his second album, Alvarez decided to stay in the United States, where opportunities are unfolding to expand his musical career.

For the fourth time, for example, a song of his has made it onto a telenovela, the number “Libres Como el Viento” (Free as the Wind) for the Telemundo production “Mi Corazon Insiste” (My Heart Insists).

Alvarez began singing in public at the age of 3, but won fame in Venezuela in the television contest “Fama, Sudor y Lagrimas” (Fame, Sweat and Tears).

Following that success he recorded his first disc, “No Soy el Unico” (I’m Not the Only One) in 2008. Such was its impact that it got a double platinum disc and his compositions provided the soundtracks for a number of telenovelas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago Lawsuit: U.S. Immigration Policy Unfair to Religious Workers

Chicago Lawsuit: U.S. Immigration Policy Unfair to Religious Workers

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A handful of religious organizations, including two based in the Chicago region, have joined efforts in challenging a national immigration policy that discriminates against religious workers, according to a new federal lawsuit.

According to the complaint, filed Jan. 3 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the government is unlawfully restricting the amount of time foreign priests, nuns, ministers and other missionaries carry out religious services in the United States.

Under current U.S. policy, nonimmigrant religious workers with an R-1 visa are granted a five-year maximum stay in the U.S. If a religious worker under R-1 status leaves the country at any point, whether for a personal or business trip, the time spent outside the U.S. is still calculated into their five-year limit.

However, other temporary workers, such as those with an H-1B or L-1 visa, are allowed to “recapture” time spent outside the country and extend their stay in the U.S. accordingly.

Even though the language governing R-1, H-1B and L-1 visas is nearly identical, “religious workers are treated differently for some reason,” said Scott D. Pollock, the attorney representing the religious groups.

The suit claims the policy prevents sponsors from employing religious workers for the full five-year period that they are entitled. As a result, some religious workers are being forced to leave the U.S. before they have fulfilled their assignments.

“That takes away a minister from a needed post in the United States and deprives the religious organizations, the sponsors, of that minister’s services,” Pollock said. “And to us, that restricts the religious organizations’ and the religious workers’ freedom to provide service here.”

The Society of the Divine Word Chicago Province, a Roman Catholic order of missionary priests and religious brothers based in the northern suburb Techny, and the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, a Catholic congregation headquartered in Northfield, are among the plaintiffs. Also included are Maryland-based Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

The suit, filed against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is seeking to ensure that future R-1 applicants will not have time spent outside of the U.S. count towards their five-year stay. There are approximately 20,000 individuals with R-1 status in the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is representing the defendants, declined to comment.

Read more at Chicago Catholic News →

Colombian Gregorio Uribe, A Rising Star in NYC’s Latin Music Scene, Releases His Debut Album

Colombian Gregorio Uribe, A Rising Star in NYC’s Latin Music Scene, Releases His Debut Album

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Colombian singer-songwriter Gregorio Uribe has quickly established himself as a rising force in NYC’s Latin music scene and now presents his much anticipated debut album, Pluma y Vino, literally translated as Pen and Wine.

He offers up a contemplative and sometimes playful collection of songs that speak of love and romance and shed light on social injustice rooted in his homeland. His poetic lyrics and simple melodies are at once nostalgic and sweet, and are nested beautifully in the traditional Colombian rhythms of Cumbia, Currulao and Bolero, to name a few.

Pluma y Vino, driven by Gregorio’s soothing vocals and his warm guitar sound, takes the listener through a range of colors and human emotion, accentuated with accordion melodies, cello arrangements, sinuous percussion and soaring clarinet solos. Gregorio’s lyrics evoke profound images that are buoyed by his remarkable musical compositions, showcasing his strength as both poet and a musician, that come together to create and extraordinary musical experience. This album was made possible through contributions from Gregorio’s loyal fans.

A percentage of this album’s sales will go towards Fundacion Alma, a non-profit with which Gregorio works closely to promote arts education for disadvantaged children in Latin America. The album-release show will take place at Regattabar in Boston on January 20th and at Blue Note in NYC on January 22nd, one of the worlds most famous jazz clubs.

Website: www.GregorioUribe.com

Listen to Pluma y Vino: http://soundcloud.com/gregorio-uribe/sets

Buy Pluma y Vino: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pluma-y-vino/id484604112
FREE song download: goo.gl/g4wAf

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latina-led Movement Urges Democratic Latinos to Vote in “Open Primaries”- Anyone But Romney

Latina-led  Movement Urges Democratic Latinos to Vote in “Open Primaries”- Anyone But Romney

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Arizona-based National Tequila Party Movement is issuing an action alert to encourage Independent and Democratic Latinos to vote in the numerous state open primary races across the country.

National Tequila Party urges Latina/os to vote for “anyone but Romney” as he embraces xenophobia more than any other Presidential candidate when he decided to align himself with Kris Kobach who works for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). IRLI is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), recently listed as a nativist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  FAIR is part of the John Tanton network.  A retired Michigan ophthalmologist, Tanton has white nationalist beliefs and has written that to maintain American culture, “a European-American majority” is required.

Thus, let’s take our real shot for change and vote for “anyone but Romney” in the open primary states.

Beginning by voting in the next Open Primary Election next Saturday, on January 21, 2012 in South Carolina.

The Delegates numbers per state of the Open Republican Primary States are as follows:
Alabama (50)
Arizona (Semi-closed, with primaries open only to unaffiliated or unrepresented voters, except for the Libertarian primary) (57) Arkansas (36)
Georgia (75)
Hawaii (Open primary for state, local, and congressional races; caucus system for presidential races) (20)
Idaho (32)
Indiana (46)
Massachusetts (All races’ primaries open for “un-enrolled”/unaffiliated voters only) (41)
Michigan (59)
Mississippi (37)
Missouri (53)
South Carolina (50)
Tennessee (58)
Texas (152)
Vermont (17)
Virginia (49)
Wisconsin (42)

Total delegates for our taking in these Open Republican Primaries are a total 874 and it takes 1,212 needed to win.

This means we shall influence who is the 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pilot Program to Review Deportations is Positive Step but Still too Slow for Many

Pilot Program to Review Deportations is Positive Step but Still too Slow for Many

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Attorneys and activists involved in the recently completed pilot program in Denver and Baltimore to review deportation cases expressed their frustration Friday because, while this is a positive step forward, it’s not a real solution to the problem.

“It’s not a solution except in certain specific cases,” Laura Lichter, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said Friday in a conference call.

“I think they put really serious effort into this and for a lot of people this is going to be a serious reprieve,” she said. “But for other people it isn’t the solution because it doesn’t get them anywhere. They’re still in purgatory.”

President Barack Obama announced last Aug. 18 a change in how immigration law is to be applied, calling for a “case by case” review of the trials of some 300,000 undocumented immigrants facing deportation procedures, which would allow many of them not only to remain in the United States but also to apply for work permits.

The Department of Homeland Security launched Dec. 4 a six-week pilot program that had prosecutors examining all the cases accumulated in the Baltimore and Denver immigration courts.

Authorities are currently studying ways to expand the pilot program model to immigration courts nationwide.

Though the Obama announcement raised great hopes, up to now his program has only been applied in a few isolated cases, disheartening undocumented immigrants hoping to have their deportation orders rescinded.

For Anna Gallagher, a Washington attorney specializing in immigration cases, the government has not done its part in telling immigrants what they have to do.

“The pilot program has not provided essential information to the people affected, who are of course a very vulnerable social group, so if the program is to be extended to the rest of the country, it absolutely has to change,” she said.

“In Baltimore, our first worry is that people involved in this process don’t known what they have to do, they’re still afraid and they don’t know where they have to go to apply,” Gallagher said.

The director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Julie Gonzales, noted that her state has numerous cases of immigrants who could be deported and considered the measure to be “a gift after many years of restrictions.”

Nonetheless, she agreed with her colleagues that it is “a very slow process that leaves a lot of people in limbo.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco in New Telenovela about High School in the US

Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco in New Telenovela about High School in the US

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Mexican actor Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco, who plays one of the leading roles in the telenovela “Relaciones Peligrosas” (Dangerous Relations), is delighted with his part in this groundbreaking production and its study of burning social issues.

“This is a novela that entertains while dealing with subjects that are so important right now,” he told Efe during an interview in Miami, where he lives while filming the Telemundo series.

“We all know about children and teenagers who are viciously bullied by other students just because they’re different. We’ve heard about the suicides and everything else it can lead to,” Garcia Vivanco said.

“There’s also the problem of drugs, of parental irresponsibility. That’s why this novela is so relevant for the times we live in,” the actor, who co-stars with Sandra Echeverria and Ana Layevska, said.

But the social theme doesn’t exclude romance and drama.

“Relaciones Peligrosas,” based on the Spanish television series “Fisica o Quimica” (Physics or Chemistry), explores the complicated and explosive relations that arise among students, parents and teachers whose lives intertwine at a bilingual high school in the United States.

Garcia Vivanco plays Juan Pablo, the new physical education teacher entangled in a passionate love triangle.

Read more by HS News Staff →

ARGENTINA: 10 Police Officers Charged With Raping a Teen Boy

ARGENTINA: 10 Police Officers Charged With Raping a Teen Boy

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Ten police officers were arrested Friday in the southern Argentine province of Chubut on charges of raping a 16-year-boy, authorities said.

The arrests of the officers from the 2nd precinct in Trelew, the provincial capital, followed an extensive investigation spurred by a complaint from the mother of the alleged victim.

The purported rape occurred Wednesday, when the teen was held at the precinct for several hours after a street altercation with a female.

“It is an aberrant event that is being investigated by prosecutor Maria Tolomei,” provincial Attorney General Jorge Miquelarena told the official Telam news agency.

The incident prompted the firing of Chubut police chief Nestor Siri.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sen Dick Durbin, (D-Il )Seeks Release of American Jailed in Cuba

Sen Dick Durbin, (D-Il )Seeks Release of American Jailed in Cuba

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A high ranking member of the U.S. Senate is in Cuba trying to gain the release of an American accused of spying.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin arrived on the island Wednesday for high level talks with Cuban officials.

He is urging Cuba to release Alan Gross, a USAID contractor, who is serving a 15-year sentence.

Gross has been jailed since 2009 after he was found guilty of spying.

The U.S. says Gross is not a spy and that he was arranging Internet service for a small Jewish community on the island.

Before leaving Cuban, Durbin will also hold talks on Cuba’s plans for an off shore drilling project in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. concern has been elevated by last year’s British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the southwestern United States coast.

An explosion on a oil rig caused the subsequent spill, creating one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Following his meetings in Cuba, Senator Durbin will travel to Haiti for discussions with government leaders on the recovery efforts following last year’s devastating earthquake that left at least 300,000 dead.

Haitian officials say an estimated 550,000 people are still without homes, down from 1.5 million after the earthquake struck.

Read more at Voice of America →

GOP Spanish Language Ads in Florida: Romney Avoids Discussion of Immigration, Gingrich Leans In

GOP Spanish Language Ads in Florida: Romney Avoids Discussion of Immigration, Gingrich Leans In

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As Newt Gingrich seizes the momentum in the South Carolina primary and attention starts to turn toward the next primary battle in Florida, both the Gingrich and Mitt Romney campaigns are up with Spanish-language advertisements targeting Latino Republicans in Florida.  Notably, while the Romney television ad purposely avoids discussion of immigration, due to the candidate’s far right stance on the issue, the new Gingrich radio ad makes immigration a focal point, and calls Romney “anti-immigrant.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Mitt Romney’s run to the hard right on immigration, punctuated by his proud embrace of anti-immigrant leader Kris Kobach in the run-up to South Carolina’s vote, means that he has to avoid discussing immigration in his outreach to the Latino community in Florida.  Not only has the Romney immigration stance made life difficult for Romney endorsers and prominent Cuban-American leaders like Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all of whom support comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, but it also has given Gingrich fertile attack terrain and a chance to close the gap among Latino Republican primary voters in Florida.

As we pointed out yesterday, prominent Spanish-language commentators and media outlets already have started to highlight the disconnect between Romney’s embrace of hardline immigration positions and leaders as he campaigns in South Carolina, while ignoring immigration issues in his direct outreach to Latino voters in Florida.  Romney’s Spanish-language television ad, geared to the South Florida Latino community and announced last week, features several of Romney’s Cuban-American congressional endorsers, as well as his Spanish-speaking son, Craig.  The ad, entitled “Nosotros,” avoids discussing immigration entirely, relying instead on references to Romney’s belief in liberty, opportunity, American values, and national security.

Meanwhile, Gingrich’s new Spanish radio ad shows that he is intent to make Romney’s positon on immigration known to Latino voters in Florida.  The Miami Herald translates the new Gingrich radio ad, which states in part:

Mitt Romney is a government liberal, from the state of and similar to Kennedy.  He is the most anti-immigrant candidate…In contrast, Newt Gingrich is a candidate that has committed himself to the Hispanic community.  A Republican similar to Ronald Reagan, with experience. (emphasis added)

Concluded Sharry:

Not only is the Kris Kobach endorsement failing to boost Romney in South Carolina, but it may end up hurting him in Florida—not to mention the damage it as done to his potential general election campaign.

Read more at America's Voice →

Singer Alejandro Fernandez has Surgery- Expects to be Back on Stage Soon

Singer Alejandro Fernandez has Surgery- Expects to be Back on Stage Soon

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Ranchera artist Alejandro Fernandez underwent knee surgery here to repair damage done last year in a skiing mishap in Colorado, his agents said.

His publicist said the two-hour procedure at a Guadalajara hospital was successful and that Fernandez “is very calm and is resting with his family around him.

The singer must undergo physical therapy for six weeks to strengthen his knee, but hopes to carry out the commitments for the performances he has scheduled for the Feb. 3-4 festivities in the city of Leon.

Alejandro Fernandez, son of ranchera legend Vicente Fernandez, thanked his fans for their expressions of affection and said he was sure of resuming his career in no time.

“For medical reasons I have to rest now and can’t put any weight on my leg. I’ll be doing my therapy so I can get back onstage as soon as possible,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peruvian Vice President Omar Chehade Resigns

Peruvian Vice President Omar Chehade Resigns

Photo: Peru's Vice President and Congressman Omar Chehade resigns

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Peruvian Vice President Omar Chehade resigned Tuesday due to corruption charges.  However, Chehade kept his congressional seat.

The resignation came just ahead of a vote on recommending moving forward with impeachment proceedings against him.

Chehade maintains his innocence and told members of congress he did not want to cause Peruvian President Ollanta Humala any harm with the corruption charges.

President Humala took office in July promising to fight political corruption. 

The Peruvian government has two vice presidential positions, both largely ceremonial.  Chehade had been vice president for three months.

The charges against Chehade include allegations that he asked the police to help remove workers from a cooperative sugar plantation to clear the way for a corporate takeover.

Peruvian law prohibited President Humala from firing Chehade from his administration.

Read more at Voice of America →

Meet Town Bankrupted By Private Prisons Intended for Detainees (VIDEO)

Meet Town Bankrupted By Private Prisons Intended for Detainees (VIDEO)

Photo: Littlefield Texas Detention Center

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The GEO Group, along with CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) are the two largest private prison and immigrant detention operators in the country. At an average rate of $200 per night/per inmate, private prison operators profit over $5 billion a year. How do they do it? Like con-artists, they lure town councils and local government officials with promises of easy money and increased revenue. However, what they don’t tell them is at what cost!

Littlefield, Texas found out the hard way. The GEO Group promised increased “product” (aka detained immigrants) and alleged prosperity for a town that was struggling with an economic crisis. Instead, what Littlefield got was a mega-complex private facility, an additional $10 million contractual debt, and a fleeing population.

CCA and the GEO Group have spent millions lobbying local, state and federal officials and in campaign contributions to candidates running for these offices. They do so to have more facilities built and to increase their already bloated profits—even if these immigrant detention centers are not needed.

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SaturdayJanuary 21, 2012