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TuesdayJanuary 31, 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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Peruvian President Says Earthquake Caused “No Irreparable Losses”

Peruvian President Says Earthquake Caused “No Irreparable Losses”

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Peruvian President Ollanta Humala visited Tuesday the southern city of Ica and said that “there are no irreparable losses” from the magnitude-6.2 earthquake that struck the area the day before.

“People in Ica are ready for earthquakes - the proof is that not one person died,” Humala, accompanied by first lady Nadine Heredia, said.

The ministers of defense, Alberto Otarola, and of women’s affairs, Ana Jara, who visited the area on Monday, told a press conference that the quake damaged 732 houses and injured around 150 people.

In 2007, a magnitude-7.9 temblor left close to 600 people dead in the Ica region, largely due to the fragile construction of the buildings there.

Humala acknowledged Tuesday that a “debt” remains from the earlier quake because the reconstruction of the region has not yet been finished, though he said the removal of ruins and rubble was almost complete in affected cities like Pisco and Chincha.

The 2006-2011 administration of President Alan Garcia gave vouchers to those left homeless in 2007 to rebuild their homes, and created a recovery fund of more than $1 billion, which was later deactivated amid complaints of corruption.

Ica regional authorities organized protests to denounce Garcia’s government for the poor management of funds intended for the clearing away the wreckage.

In September Humala sent an army mission to remove some 283,000 cubic meters (10 million cubic feet) of rubble from the region.

Read more by HS News Staff →

J. Lo and Marc Anthony’s “Q’Viva! The Chosen” Debuts to Huge Audience

J. Lo and Marc Anthony’s  “Q’Viva! The Chosen” Debuts to Huge Audience

Photo: Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony reality show.

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The debut broadcast of the Univision television program “Q’Viva! The Chosen,” produced by singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony to find musical talent in Latin America, attracted an audience of 2.2 million, the network announced.

During the one-hour broadcast, Univision registered a 37 percent increase in its audience compared with the past three Saturdays.

The broadcast, Univision said, garnered a larger audience than the local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX combined in Miami and in New York among viewers in the key 18-49 and 18-34 demographics.

The program also generated strong interest on the social networks with more than 55 million mentions on Twitter, according to Radian6.

In the first show, Lopez, Anthony and choreographer Jamie King detailed their efforts to search for artists in Latin America.

Lopez and ex-husband Anthony have been scouring the hemisphere for months seeking outstanding singers, dancers, musicians and artists to be part of the program, which was created by “American Idol” producer XIX Entertainment.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil’s President Rousseff in Cuba Chatting with Raul Castro

Brazil’s President Rousseff in Cuba Chatting with Raul Castro

Photo: Brazil and Cuba in Diplomatic Talks

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Cuban President Raul Castro received Tuesday his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff at the Palace of the Revolution, where they discussed the bilateral agenda as well as the founding of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, Cuba’s official media said.

As for CELAC, a new hemispheric body that excludes the United States and Canada, Rousseff told reporters before her meeting with Castro that the founding summit held last month in Caracas was one of the “most important” ever to be convened in the region.

Rousseff, on her first official visit to Cuba, opened the official activities Tuesday morning by placing a floral tribute before the monument to Cuban independence leader Jose Marti in the Plaza de la Revolucion.

Later came the official reception and the meeting with Castro.

While Rousseff’s 48-hour visit to the island will focus on economic and trade issues, human rights remain a constant presence in the background, though the Brazilian president is not expected to discuss the matter in Havana, according to Brazilian sources.

The issue has been an uncomfortable element on Rousseff’s trip since Brazil several days ago granted a tourist visa to dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez.

The prominent blogger asked Rousseff to intercede with Havana authorities to get her a permit to leave the country so Sanchez could attend the premiere of a documentary in Brazil.

Asked about that on Tuesday, Rousseff would only say that “Brazil gave the blogger her visa, but the rest is not within the jurisdiction of the Brazilian government.”

The “big commitment” that Brazil can make to Cuba is “to help develop the whole economic process” on the island, where the Communist government is promoting a plan of reforms that includes a timid opening to the private sector and a massive reduction of state work forces, Rousseff told reporters earlier.

Questioned about human rights, she said that the subject was a matter that should be dealt with from a “multilateral perspective.”

“The world in general needs to commit itself, and it’s not possible to make the policy of human rights into nothing more than a weapon of ideological politics - the world should understand that all countries have to take responsibility, including our own,” she said.

With regard to joint Brazil-Cuba projects, Rousseff said that her country is taking part in several “important” initiatives in Cuba, such as the construction of the port at Mariel, 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Havana.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nearly $2 Million in Cash Seized on Mexican State Government Plane

Nearly $2 Million in Cash Seized on Mexican State Government Plane

Photo: Veracruz Mexico

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Investigators are trying to determine whether a crime was committed when two officials moved 25 million pesos ($1.9 million) in a plane belonging to the Veracruz state government, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

The two officials of the Veracruz state government, which is in the hands of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, were arrested last Friday at the international airport in Toluca, the capital of Mexico state, the AG’s office said.

Federal Police officers found “a suitcase and a backpack containing 25 million pesos” during an inspection and arrested a Veracruz Finance Secretariat official, the AG’s office said.

A second state official was arrested when he showed up at a police station “requesting the release of the money and his colleague,” the AG’s office said.

State officials Said Zepeda and Miguel Morales Robles told police the money was to be used to pay artists performing at the La Candelaria festival, the Veracruz Carnival and the Cumbre Tajin festival.

“Based on the statements given by those arrested and a document that supposedly authorized the transportation of the money, it is presumed that it is the property of the government of Veracruz,” the AG’s office said.

Information has been requested from “the National Banking and Securities Commission that will allow confirmation of the origin of the funds,” the AG’s office said.

Zepeda and Morales Robles were released “when the constitutional (holding) period expired and because no evidence was found to show that the crime of handling money from illicit proceeds had been committed,” the AG’s office said.

The money will be held in safekeeping until “it is confirmed in an incontrovertible manner that it is the property of the government of Veracruz,” the AG’s office said.

State officials have started the process for “the return of the cash” from the Attorney General’s Office, Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte’s administration said Monday.

A few hours later, the state government announced the resignation of Finance and Planning Secretariat treasurer Vicente Benitez, but the reasons for his departure were not given.

The investigation of the cash comes less than seven months before the July 1 general elections.

“We are with all certainty dealing with a diversion of funds from the state government to the presidential candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Enrique Peña Nieto,” the chairman of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, Jesus Zambrano, said.

The governing National Action Party, or PAN, said it was suspicious that the money was seized in Toluca, where Peña Nieto lives, and announced plans to file a criminal complaint against the Duarte administration for embezzlement and diversion of public funds.

The state government violated the Public Bidding Law and spending regulations by trying to supposedly turn the cash over to festival organizers, the PAN’s director of legal affairs in Veracruz, Victor Salas, said.

Veracruz state officials, however, denied any wrongdoing, insisted there was full transparency in the transaction and contended the money was flown to Toluca to pay a contractor who was in a hurry to collect his fee.

“There was never any intent to hide anything. Money was being transported, but it was done above the table,” Veracruz Finance Secretary Tomas Ruiz Gonzalez told Radio Formula.

Some 99.5 percent of the state government’s bills are paid via transfers or checks, but cash was being used in this case because the payment had to be made “immediately,” Ruiz Gonzalez said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Popularity of Tequila Bottles Shaped Like Guns Increasing in Rio Grande Valley

Popularity of Tequila Bottles Shaped Like Guns Increasing in Rio Grande Valley

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Last year, interesting bottle designs began popping up in the Rio Grande Valley, and some worry they promote the image of a violent Mexico.

ImageThough they’ve been available in Mexico for quite some time, weapon-shaped bottles of tequila are now being found in liquor stores in U.S. border towns of the Rio Grande Valley.

ImageGuadalupe Correa-Cabrera, assistant professor of government at the University of Texas-Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, The Brownsville Herald, ‘It’s about alcohol. It’s about business. It’s about consumption. It’s about marketing, supply and demand. hen you think of tequila you think of Mexico, and right now you associate the image of Mexico to violence. It’s a marketing tool, I think, more than anything else. It has brought a specific shape as to what is happening in Mexico.’

Whether they promote a positive or negative image of Mexico, these bottles appear to be very popular, as more and more liquor stores are carrying them, with some costing around $50.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chilean Man Steals 11,453 Pounds of Glacier Ice with Plans to Sell to Local Bars

Chilean Man Steals 11,453 Pounds of Glacier Ice with Plans to Sell to Local Bars

Photo: Jorge Montt Glacier theft

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Chilean police surprised a man who was transporting in a refrigerated truck 5,200 kilograms (11,453 pounds) of ice that had removed from the Jorge Montt glacier, the cargo apparently destined for bars and restaurants here in the capital.

“It’s the first time that a situation with these characteristics has been reported,” the chief prosecutor in the southern region of Aysen, Jose Moris, told Efe on Tuesday.

Last Friday, rangers noticed the man transporting the ice from the glacier located in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, the provincial chief of the Conaf forest service, Piero Caviglio, told Efe.

The glacier can only be accessed by water after a four-hour trip from Caleta Tortel, a remove village linked to the town of Cochrane by 128 kilometers (79 miles) of dirt road.

Upon being informed that the ice had been loaded into a truck in Caleta Tortel, police from Cochrane, 2,040 kilometers (1,265 miles) south of Santiago, set up a roadblock outside that town to enable them to stop and examine the vehicle, where they found the stolen ice.

A police spokesman told Efe that the cargo was contained in large plastic sacks.

Apparently, a Santiago company had hired the driver to transport the ice on the long journey to the capital.

Therefore, prosecutors have already asked the police to interview the legal representatives of that firm, Moris said, although he refused to provide the name of the company.

Authorities also identified six other people who allegedly went to the face of the glacier in three boats to chip off the ice.

Moris said that given the normal price of ice, the cargo of glacier ice had a value of 3.5 million pesos ($7,000), although it is presumed that the going rate for 1,000-year-old ice from a glacier could be double the normal price.

While authorities are investigating the matter, the glacier ice, rather than cooling drinks in the capital, will now be dumped into the pools of a farmers association in Cochrane, which will use it to irrigate local crops that are being affected by the drought that prevails in parts of Chile.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sofia Vergara Voted #1 on AskMen “Top 99 Most Desirable Women”, List Includes Many Latinas

Sofia Vergara Voted #1 on AskMen “Top 99 Most Desirable Women”, List Includes Many Latinas

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Though Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara was ranked No. 1 on AskMen’s 2012 “Top 99 Most Desirable Women” poll, but she was far from the only Latina to make the cut.


Among the Latinas on the list were:

1.  Sofia Vergara
14. Selena Gomez
19. Lea Michele
24. Jessica Alba
49. Penelope Cruz
52. Jordana Brewster
53. Gisele Bundchen
54. Eva Mendes
64. Leryn Franco
66. Aubrey Plaza
68. Arianny Celeste
71. Adriana Lima
81. Elsa Pataky
83. Zoe Saldana
84. Camilla Belle
91. Alessandra Ambrosio
93. Jennifer Lopez
99. Paz De La Huerta

Vergara dethroned Blake Lively from the top slot on the list. Lively dropped down to #32 this year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Our Favorite “Little Mexican” Comedian Louis C.K. Working on Sitcom for CBS

Our Favorite “Little Mexican” Comedian Louis C.K. Working on Sitcom for CBS

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Our favorite red-haired comedian Louis C.K. has reportedly begun work on a new sitcom for CBS about 20-somethings trying to survive in today’s economy.

C.K. will be working with former Seinfeld and Simpsons writer Spike Feresten on the half-hour, multi-camera comedy.

The pilot is currently untitled, but the pair may finally strike gold with this one as C.K. has seen great success over the last few years.

Feresten is responsible for one of American television’s most notable characters, known as the “Soup Nazi,” who is still quoted years later. (No soup for you!) Last month, he sold a single-camera comedy to the Fox network.

C.K. and Feresten previously worked together on Saturday Night Live, em>Late Show With David Letterman, and the Dana Carvey Show.

Louis C.K.’s FX comedy Louie has encountered great success since premiering in 2010.

Watch C.K. appearance on Conan where he talks about being a “little Mexican boy.” (See 8:30 in the video below)

Read more by HS News Staff →

Actress Jessica Alba Enters the E-Commerce World with The Honest Company

Actress Jessica Alba Enters the E-Commerce World with The Honest Company

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After learning that a number of products she and parents everywhere were use are full of toxic chemicals, Hollywood actress Jessica Alba along with author and environmentalist Christopher Gavigan worked with ShoeDazzle founder Brian Lee and PriceGrabber.com executive Sean Kane to create an online eco friendly, non-toxic baby product company.

Honest.com – named after Alba’s first daughter Honor – was created after the “Fantastic Four” actress gave birth to her second daughter Haven in 2011.

Alba, 30, recently told the Associated Press, ‘I would buy what I thought was like an eco-brand and pay out the wazoo for it and then find out that it’s made with the same ingredients as any other brand.’

On the company website, Alba says she “feels an intense responsibility to give her children the best possible start.”

“When I became a mom, I finally became the person I am, that I always should have been,” she says. “It’s the most satisfying job in the world. But, it can also be overwhelming and confusing. I created The Honest Company to help moms and to give all children a better, safer start.”

ImageProducts available from the site include diapers, wipes, shampoo and conditioner, hand soap, laundry detergent, and surface cleaner.

Honest Co. has also partnered with Baby2Baby, which supplies Los Angeles families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for newborns to 4-year-olds, with the promise to work with additional charities as the company grows.

With each product purchased, The Honest Company donates products, money, time and effort to addressing critical health and social issues important to families and their children.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gallup: Hispanics Most Likely to be Uninsured

Gallup: Hispanics Most Likely to be Uninsured

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According to a new Gallup report, Hispanic Americans continue to be the most likely to be uninsured, with more than 40% going without health coverage in 2011, the highest Gallup has found for any key group since it began tracking in 2008.

High-income Americans and seniors—two groups among the least likely to be uninsured—have not seen an increase in the percentage uninsured over time.

Image

Overall, more American adults lacked health insurance coverage last year than in any year since Gallup and Healthways started tracking it in 2008. The uninsured rate has been increasing since 2008, climbing to 17.1% in 2011.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index asks 1,000 American adults each day about their healthcare coverage and reports monthly, quarterly, and annual averages. The monthly percentage of uninsured adults increased to 17.7% in December 2011, tying July for the highest on record. The uninsured rate was 17% or higher in most months in 2011.

Gallup first documented an increase in the monthly percentage of uninsured adults in November 2008, rising above 16% for the first time in February 2009 and above 17% for the first time December 2010.

The U.S. health insurance system is undergoing great upheaval, which combined with the troubled economy of the past several years is clearly affecting health insurance coverage in the country. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data reveal that more Americans lack healthcare today than did four years ago. Groups that were already among the least likely to have coverage—Hispanics, low-income Americans, and blacks—have become even more likely to be uninsured. Meanwhile, seniors, most of whom qualify for Medicare, and high-income Americans not only remain among the least likely to lack coverage, but also have not seen their access decline in recent years.

Read more at Gallup Wellbeing →

Venezuela Receives Last 14 Tons of Its Gold - Repatriation Complete

Venezuela Receives Last 14 Tons of Its Gold - Repatriation Complete

Photo: Venezuela Completes Gold Repatriation

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The Venezuelan government received the last 14 tons of gold of a total of 160 tons that were deposited in banks in other countries, and which arrived at Caracas’ Maiquetia international airport amid an impressive military deployment that included tanks and some 300 soldiers posted along the route.

The 160 tons, valued at $8.94 billion, are part of the country’s gold reserves that in total “are more than 360 tons, which represents around $18 billion,” central bank chief Nelson Merentes told reporters.

Venezuela has international monetary reserves of around $30 billion.

Merentes recalled at the airport that one of the main reasons for the repatriation of the gold to Venezuela’s Central Bank, or BCV, “is that international markets are difficult” and that a period of “turmoil” is reported in Europe and the United States, where the gold was deposited.

In times of “global financial crisis and turmoil in the developed economic centers, gold becomes one of the principal safe assets, because it is the only means of intenational payment that has its own intrinsic value, in other words it is not a debt of other countries,” he said.

The gold ingots left Venezuela between 1989 and 1992 to “different banks in Europe and the United States, as a guarantee of payment providing access to loans from different international organizations,” Merentes said.

“A portion (of Venezuelan gold) has been left in world financial centers to enable certain operations,” he said, without giving any further details.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY: All-White Neighborhood Effectively Extinct

STUDY: All-White Neighborhood Effectively Extinct

Photo: White neighborhood extinct

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Today, the Manhattan Institute’s Center released a study titled “The End of the Segregated Century: Racial Separation in America’s Neighborhood: 1890-2010,” which concluded that all-white neighborhoods are effectively extinct.

The report was authored by Harvard professor Edward Glaeser and Duke University professor Jacob Vigdor and some of the key findings are:

• American cities are now more integrated than they’ve been since 1920.
• African-American residents can be found in 199 out of every 200 neighborhoods.
• Gentrification and immigration have made a dent in segregation.
• Ghetto neighborhoods continue to exist but numbers are declining.
• Access to credit has fostered mobility.

To read the entire report click here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jennifer Lopez: Oscar Presenter

Jennifer Lopez: Oscar Presenter

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Jennifer Lopez as always is super busy, adding Oscar 2012 presenter to her list of duties. 

Jennifer Lopez has been doing the media circuit in New York promoting ¡Q’Viva! The Chosen, her joint project with her ex-hubby Marc Anthony.  The 42-year old Puerto Rican entertainer is also busy with her American Idol judging gig and her new movie coming out this spring, ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’.

The 2012 Oscars will air on February 26, 2012 on ABC with Billy Crystal serving as host.  Other presenters announced by the Academy include the entire cast of ‘Bridesmaids’.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Over Last Seven Days 10 Tons of Pot Seized at Texas-Mexico Border

Over Last Seven Days 10 Tons of Pot Seized at Texas-Mexico Border

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CBP U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector seized more than 21,000 pounds of marijuana over the past seven days.

Agents seized one of the largest loads of marijuana in Havana, Texas, after they encountered a group of smugglers hiding bundles of marijuana in the brush near the Rio Grande. When the smugglers saw the agents they fled to Mexico. While thoroughly searching the area, agents found more than 1,300 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of more than $1.2 million.

Nearly 1,000 additional pounds of marijuana were confiscated in an unrelated seizure Wednesday in Sullivan City, Texas. The seizure occurred after agents received a call over the radio about a minivan that was possibly loaded with narcotics. Agents in the area saw a vehicle matching the description run a red light. Agents found the vehicle abandoned with the marijuana inside. The marijuana has an estimated value of more than $760,000.

Additional seizures from Friday through Thursday pushed the total estimated value of marijuana seized to more than $17 million.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Miss Mexico, Blanca Soto, Returns to Telenovelas

Former Miss Mexico, Blanca Soto, Returns to Telenovelas

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The television network Univision on Monday is debuting the primetime soap opera “El Talisman,” in which Mexican actress Blanca Soto is returning to TV after her success in the film “Eva Luna.”

In this production, a father loses everything in a poker game, a situation that will change forever the destiny of his daughter.

Trapped amid a long-standing dispute between the families of two powerful estates, El Alcatraz and El Talisman, Camila Aceves (Soto) and Pedro Ibarra (Rafael Novoa) will be the victims of these unfortunate events.

Pedro is handsome and audacious and despite being cynical about love he cannot avoid opening his heart to Camila.

The attractive but arrogant Antonio Negrete (Aaron Diaz), will weave a web of secrets and lies that will envelop them, along with his sensual and manipulative sister Lorena (Lola Ponce). Together, they will do everything they can to win the game and gain what they most desire: to destroy the relationship between Camila and Pedro.

Before working with Univision, Soto, a former Miss Mexico, starred in several films, including the prizewinning short film “La Vida Blanca” and the 2010 box-office success “Dinner for Schmucks.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuelan National Guard Plane Crashes Killing all On Board

Venezuelan National Guard Plane Crashes Killing all On Board

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A Venezuelan National Guard plane went down in the Caribbean near Margarita Island, killing the four people aboard, officials said.

The bodies of Capt. Jose Vielma, Lt. Jhonatan Veroes and Lt. Jhoan Guillen were recovered after the accident on Monday.

Sgt. Francisco Hernandez’s body was recovered on Tuesday by armed forces rescue teams, the Strategic Operations Command said.

Hernandez’s body was found around 2:30 a.m., about 10 hours after the Cessna 172 went down, the command said in a posting on Twitter.

The small plane plunged into the sea while approaching the airport on the Caribbean island of Coche, located south of Margarita, after “a (military) training flight,” Defense Minister Gen. Henry Rangel said Monday night.

The armed forces accident investigations board will determine the cause of the accident, Rangel said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cesar Chavez Was No Saint New Book Reveals

Cesar Chavez Was No Saint New Book Reveals

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Retired teacher Frank Bardacke, who in his youth was a member of the United Farm Workers union, says that it’s a “mistake to idolize union leaders like Cesar Chavez,” a founder of the UFW.

“Cesar Chavez was no saint. I knew him and he made big mistakes within the union that wound up weakening that great movement of the (19)70s,” Bardacke told Efe.

“Cesar Chavez should be remembered as the spiritual father of the Chicanos, the first Mexican-American who played politics on the national level; but also as the leader who interested himself most in recruiting followers who supported him and therefore he lost the support of the people in the fields,” he said.

Bardacke’s 848-page history of the union, “Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers,” was published in November by Verso.

Chavez (1927-1993) and other activists in 1962 founded the National Farm Workers Association, which in 1966 joined with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to create the UFW, with which they organized a series of boycotts against grape producers to demand reforms in working conditions.

“The reason why the great union movement became diluted was because there were no internal elections. The leaders were people put in place by Chavez,” Bardacke said.

He said that one factor that contributed to the falloff in UFW membership was that there existed a division between members in Mexico and the U.S.-born Chicanos who monopolized the leadership posts in the union.

“It was an autocratic organization that was directed from above, with Chavez at the head, and so the unions did not keep themselves strong,” according to Bardacke, who spent six years as a farmworker in California’s Salinas Valley.

“My book is not a biography to discredit Cesar Chavez. My work tells a lot about Cesar Chavez, but it’s more a history of the UFW,” Bardacke said.

“The problem with the idea that everyone has of Chavez is that in his biographies they treat him as a saint. So, when I don’t express agreement with that, what I write in the book is perceived as a harsh criticism, and it’s not like that. I simply add an angle that many believe,” the writer said.

Bardacke remarked that his narrative covers the development of the UFW up until 1984, the years during which the union came to have more than 60,000 members; although nowadays it has only around 3,000.

“To write the book, I interviewed many people who were part of the UFW, (learned) the reasons why they stopped being members, what they thought at that time and what they’re doing now,” Bardacke said.

Cesar Chavez never saw himself as a saint. One time he told me that a lesson for living is never to take oneself very seriously,” UFW spokesman Marc Grossman told Efe when asked for comment on Bardacke’s book.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayJanuary 31, 2012