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SaturdayFebruary 25, 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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Five-Day Sting Operation in Loiza, Puerto Rico Seizes Guns, Drugs with Multiple Arrests

Five-Day Sting Operation in Loiza, Puerto Rico Seizes Guns, Drugs with Multiple Arrests

Photo: Loiza, Puerto Rico Drug Bust

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The San Juan-based, multi-agency Border Enforcement Security Task Force arrested eight individuals and seized illegal guns and drugs during a five-day operation in the municipality of Loiza, Puerto Rico.

From Feb. 13 through Feb. 17, San Juan BEST, in conjunction with federal, state and local partners, conducted “Operation Night Creepers,” a simultaneous air, sea and land operation in an effort to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations operating in the Loiza, Puerto Rico area.

The operation included road blocks by the Puerto Rico Police Department and air and sea vectoring by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard in an effort to intercept any smuggling vessels, and subsequently seize contraband and apprehend violators. This resulted in the arrests of seven individuals for possession of illegal weapons and narcotics such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine; and the interception of a vessel and the arrest of one of its occupants who was later identified as a federal fugitive with an outstanding arrest warrant for weapons violations and who is an alleged member of a violent drug trafficking organization.

The San Juan BEST incorporates law enforcement and intelligence resources from HSI, CBP, PRPD, Coast Guard, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, San Juan Police Department, Colombian National Police, Puerto Rico Ports Authority and Puerto Rico’s Department of Treasury.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Top 10 Things You Should Know About Arizona’s Latinos and Immigrants

The Top 10 Things You Should Know About Arizona’s Latinos and Immigrants

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Since Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature and governor passed the harsh anti-immigrant law S.B. 1070 in 2010, the state has been ground zero for the nation’s increasingly acrimonious immigration debate. The policies enacted in S.B. 1070 and the rhetoric used to justify the law have angered and alienated Arizona’s Latino population—the fourth-largest in the nation. If the state’s rapidly increasing number of eligible Latino voters tilts away from the party that enacted and continues to defend the law, Arizona could turn from “red” to “blue” in November.

In advance of Arizona’s Republican caucus on February 28, we have compiled a list of important facts about Latinos and immigrants in the state.

1. Arizona has a substantial Latino population. 29.6 percent of Arizona’s 6.5 million residents are Latino, the fourth-highest population share in the nation. This population has grown by 46 percent over the past decade, helping the state gain an extra congressional seat after the 2010 census.

2. There were 766,000 eligible Hispanic voters in Arizona in 2010. That’s 18 percent of all eligible voters in the state.

3. Immigration is the top concern for Latino voters. In a 2010 poll of Latino voters in Arizona, 59 percent cited immigration as their top concern, well above the economy, health care, and education. The same poll found that Latino voters overwhelmingly oppose S.B. 1070, 81 percent to 16 percent.

4. State Sen. Russell Pearce (R), the Arizona Senate president and S.B. 1070 sponsor, became the first legislator in state history to be recalled in 2011. He lost his seat largely because of his virulent support for anti-immigrant bills. As SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina pointed out, “Latino voters made the difference in the outcome,” turning out in droves to help moderate Republican Jerry Lewis defeat Pearce.

5. Latino voting preferences prior to S.B. 1070 slightly favored Democrats but have strongly favored them since.
Latino support for Democratic candidates remained steady in Arizona between 2004 and 2008. In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) won the state’s Latino vote 53 percent to 44 percent against President George W. Bush. And in the 2008 presidential election, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) won the state’s Latino vote 56 percent to 41 percent against Arizona Sen. John McCain (R). After S.B. 1070, however, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard (D) won the state’s Latino vote 85 percent to 14 percent against Jan Brewer in 2010. That same year Arizona Senate candidate Rodney Glassman (D) won the state’s Latino vote 78 percent to 22 percent against Sen. McCain, who tacked sharply to the right on immigration during the race and declared his support for S.B. 1070.

6. President Obama and Mitt Romney are now tied in the state among all voters.
Polling released by Public Policy Polling, or PPP, on February 22 showed President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) tied at 47 percent, reflecting a seven-point swing in the president’s favor since November and evidencing the potential for the Latino vote to be decisive.

7. The Republican presidential candidates are deeply unpopular with the state’s Hispanic population. In a PPP poll released on February 22, Romney had just a 27 percent favorable rating among Hispanics, compared with a 66 percent unfavorable rating. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum fared only marginally better, with a 29 percent to 60 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul (TX) also did badly, with a 23 percent to 64 percent and 31 percent to 54 percent favorable/unfavorable rating respectively.

8. Democratic candidates such as Daniel Valenzuela, now serving on Phoenix’s City Council, have already harnessed the Latino vote to defeat Republican favorites. By increasing off-year turnout among the Latino community by 480 percent, Valenzuela ultimately crushed his favored opponent by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin.

9. Arizona’s Latinos contribute significantly to the state’s economic well-being. The 2009 purchasing power of Arizona’s Latinos totaled $33.9 billion—an increase of 428.7 percent since 1990.

10. Arizona’s undocumented immigrants also help fuel the state’s economy. In 2010 undocumented immigrants paid $443.2 million in state and local taxes. And according to a study by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda and Marshall Fitz, if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $48.8 billion in economic activity, decrease total employment by 17.2 percent, and eliminate 581,000 million jobs. Alternatively, if unauthorized immigrants in Arizona were legalized, it would add 261,000 jobs to the economy, increase labor income by $5.6 billion, and increase tax revenues by $1.6 billion.

Angela Maria Kelley is Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy, Marshall Fitz is Director of Immigration Policy, and Jonathan Goldenberg is an intern with American Progress.

Read more at Center for American Progress →

Gloria Estefan - Hotel Nacional Official Music Video

Gloria Estefan - Hotel Nacional Official Music Video

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Gloria Estefan’s New HIT Video “Hotel Nacional” is a tribute to cult film favorites such as “Rocky Horror Picture” “The Birdcage” “Some Like It Hot” and many more… It also features special guest Susan Lucci!!

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Read more by HS News Staff →

The Arizona “Model”: Failed Immigration Policy, Successful Voter Mobilization

The Arizona “Model”: Failed Immigration Policy, Successful Voter Mobilization

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In order to win over the most conservative, extremist voters in the Arizona Republican primary (which will be held Tuesday, February 28th), presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the state’s immigration policy a “model” for others to follow.

But reality says otherwise.

As “ground zero” for anti-immigrant state laws, Arizona—with not only SB 1070, but the abuses of Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer—has become a laboratory for failed immigration policies, with negative humanitarian and economic effects.

The only “model” worth following in Arizona is the activism and voter mobilization, especially among Hispanics, to fight back against the anti-immigrant tsunami and its awful consequences.

While it’s not expected that a large percentage of Latinos will vote in next week’s primary, they are expected to help make Arizona a battleground state in November’s general election.

In the 2008 presidential election, then-candidate John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, won his own state by only 9 percentage points—54% to Democrat Barack Obama’s 45%. This year, leaving nothing to chance, the Obama campaign has opened multiple offices across the country—including four (as of this writing) in Arizona. They didn’t even contest the state in 2008, but they plan to battle for it this time around.

And many anticipate that the anti-immigrant policies that started with SB 1070 and their effects—especially the depressed economy, a tarnished state image and the target they’ve placed on the back of all Hispanics, regardless of immigration status—will make for powerful motivation for voters, especially Latinos, in this November’s election. In Arizona, Latinos represent 30% of the state’s population and 16% of its registered voters, according to the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials (NALEO).

Already, we can see tangible effects of how anti-immigrant rhetoric and its consequences mobilize voters—and not just Hispanic voters, either.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Black Eyed Peas’  Jaime Gomez, aka Taboo Honored for Latino Advocacy

Black Eyed Peas’  Jaime Gomez, aka Taboo Honored for Latino Advocacy

Photo: The Black Eyed Peas' Jaime Gomez

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The Black Eyed Peas’ Jaime Gomez, known as Taboo, is the 2012 recipient of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Outstanding Advocate for the Latino Community Impact Award.

“For many years people thought I was Asian, others thought I was the Filipino of the Black Eyed Peas,” Gomez told Efe.

“And now it’s like I’ve taken a step forward and have my own community embracing me and telling me, hey! we’re happy about all the hits you’ve had with the group but now we want to see you do the same for yourself - and we’re here to support you, to embrace you, you’re one of us,” he said.

Born on July 14, 1975, in Boyle Heights, California, Jaime Luis Gomez is the son of the Mexican Jimmy Gomez and Aurora Sifuentes, a member of the Shoshone people.

He studied at East Los Angeles public schools, graduating from Rosemead High in 1993.

For the last 15 years, NHMC has thrown a gala dinner to present its Impact Awards in honor of outstanding Hispanics and people of other ethnicities who work to the benefit of Latinos.

“Taboo is not only a sensational musician but also a tireless defender of the Latino community,” Alex Nogales, president and executive director of NHMC, told Efe.

“He has used his platform as a popular artist to raise awareness about the hard times Hispanics face and to increase respect for Latinos’ human rights across the United States,” Nogales said.

Other artists besides Gomez who will receive Impact Awards during the Friday night gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills include “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, actors Michelle Rodriguez, Aubrey Plaza, Efren Ramirez and Benjamin Bratt, as well as film director Chris Weitz.

“I only know about being creative and feeling something for people as a social being, never as a political person,” Gomez said at his studio in Altadena, California.

“When I create something, when I create a song, for me it’s all due to inspiration, it’s to express something I feel,” said the artist, who in 2010 after the SB 1070 law was passed in Arizona wrote a protest song in support of the state’s mostly Hispanic undocumented immigrants entitled: “One Heart One Beat.”

Gomez said that the Black Eyed Peas are currently on vacation and each member is devoting time to individual projects.

“Little by little I’m building bridges to the Latino community,” said Gomez, who is in the midst of recording his first solo album.

“And I’m feeling really accepted and really being taken seriously as an artist outside the Black Eyed Peas,” the singer, composer and arranger said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

US Senators Warn Latin America on Iran Ties

US Senators Warn Latin America on Iran Ties

Photo: Chavez in Iran

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U.S. senators are warning Latin American nations against deepening financial and military ties with Iran, pledging heightened U.S. vigilance of Iranian activities in the Western Hemisphere. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee took a close look Thursday at Tehran’s dealings with Latin America.

Iran’s increasingly isolated regime retains friends in Latin America, most notably Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez had a stern message for the region.

“Unfortunately, there are some countries in this hemisphere that, for political or financial gain, have courted Iranian overtures.  They proceed at their own risk: the risk of sanctions from the United States, and the risk of abetting a terrorist state,” he said.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio echoed that message. “The leaders of these [Latin American] countries are playing with fire,” Rubio said.

Researcher Douglas Farah said Iran’s intentions in Latin America are twofold. “To develop the capacity and capability to wreak havoc in Latin America and possibly the U.S. homeland, if the Iranian leadership views this as necessary to the survival of its nuclear program, and to develop and expand the ability to blunt international sanctions that are crippling the regime’s economic life,” Farah said.

Of particular concern: Iran’s quest for raw nuclear materials and what U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper recently described as Iran’s increasing willingness to mount attacks on U.S. soil. 

Former U.S. Ambassador Roger Noriega said, “Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are conspiring to wage an asymmetrical struggle against U.S. security, and to abet Iran’s illicit nuclear program.”

Noreiga noted that President Chavez has been stricken with cancer, and urged strong U.S. engagement with Venezuela in any post-Chavez era.

Iranian influence is but one of many topics requiring U.S. attention in Latin America, according to Latin America expert Cynthia Arnson, who had a recommendation for senators.

“That we not allow this issue [Iranian influence] to overshadow attention to the broader dynamics in the hemisphere, which are marked by economic growth, the fight against poverty and inequality, the emergence of Brazil,” Arnson said.

But Iranian plots in the hemisphere span decades and merit U.S. attention, according to Senator Rubio.

“Let us remember that it was senior Iranian officials that were linked to the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 30 people, a 1994 bombing at the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association that killed 85 people.  In October, we uncovered a plot by the Quds Force to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in the United States - in this very city,” Rubio said.

During a visit to Caracas last month, President Ahmadinejad described U.S. concern about Iran’s engagement with Latin America as “laughable.”  President Chavez said it is the United States—not Iran—that is a true threat to international security.

Read more at voice of america →

Kelly Clarkson Sings Demi Lovato’s ‘Skyscraper’ (Video)

Kelly Clarkson Sings Demi Lovato’s ‘Skyscraper’ (Video)

Photo: Kelly Clarkson sings Demi Lovato

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Kelly Clarkson isn’t just an American Idol, she’s also Demi Lovato’s idol. The 29-year-old “Stronger’ singer, who is currently on tour, performed Demi’s hit from Unbroken, “Skyscraper.”

Clarkson has allowed fans to pick a song for her to cover while she’s on her Stronger Tour. According to PopCrush she sang Cee Lo, Coldplay and Etta James so far on her tour, and when she hit the stage in Universal Studios Orlando, she belted out Demi’s “beautiful” tune.

Kelly said that fans on every stop of her tour have been requesting that she cover “Skyscraper.”

“I think this song has been requested every show,” she said. “Anybody like Demi Lovato? She’s a Texas girl. We sang together. She’s a sweetheart.”

“Anyway, she sang my song before, so I thought it would be cool to sing one of my favorites of hers,” she added.

Kelly said she never sang the song in front of a crowd, but she did not disappoint. She gave a powerhouse acoustic performance that would definitely put a big smile on Demi’s face.

“I love that song,” she said after singing it.” I think Demi is such a fabulous vocalist. …I’m just a big fan.”

Watch Kelly’s performance below:

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Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Number of Hispanics with College Degrees Soars 80 pct

Number of Hispanics with College Degrees Soars 80 pct

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The number of U.S. Hispanics with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 80 percent between 2001 and 2011, from 2.1 million to 3.8 million, the Census Bureau said.

Just over 14 percent of the country’s 50.5 million Latinos had a bachelor’s degree in 2011, compared with 11.1 percent in 2001.

In general terms nationwide, 26.2 percent of Americans had a degree in 2001, compared with 30.4 percent a decade later, the first time in the history of the Census when more than 30 percent of people over age 25 have graduated from college.

“This is an important milestone in our history. For many people, education is a sure path to a prosperous life,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.

People with higher education have a lower unemployment rate than those who have not graduated from high school, according to Census data, as well as higher wages.

More than a third of the 56 million Americans with bachelor’s degrees have graduated in engineering or science.

For Hispanics, this increase in obtaining college degrees is a particularly important step because of the possibility that Congress might pass the DREAM Act, which would assure legal status for young immigrants who have grown up in this country and decide to attend university or enlist in the Armed Forces.

Read more by HS News Staff →

AntiSEC and Anonymous Hack Private Prison Corporation

Antisec and Anonymous have hacked and defaced the website to private prison corporation GEO Group. This is one of the biggest money makers in the immigration detention facilities business. . Below is a statement tweet from @antisec and Anonopss.

The website of an international prison contractor was defaced by hackers who on Friday replaced the company’s home page with a hip-hop homage devoted to former death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal.

Hackers allied to the loose-knit Anonymous movement claimed responsibility for vandalizing the site of Boca Raton, Florida-based GEO Group Inc., which manages some 60 custodial facilities in Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Nicaraguan Prison Inmates Hold Warden Hostage

Nicaraguan Prison Inmates Hold Warden Hostage

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The warden of La Esperanza prison in northern Nicaragua was taken hostage Friday amid a brawl between two groups of inmates, Deputy Interior Minister Carlos Najar said.

Several inmates and four prison personnel were hurt in the fight, which broke out around 9:00 a.m., Najar told Channel 4 television in Managua.

Warden Elias Rocha is being held by some of the 838 inmates, the official said.

“At this moment there is a situation of detention, but the situation is not that of a real conflict, it has calmed down,” according to Najar, who said authorities are trying to achieve a negotiated solution to the standoff.

Riot police have been sent to the prison in Esteli province, National Police spokesman Fernando Borge told the media.

The president of the independent human rights group Cenidh described the situation at La Esperanza as “alarming” and said many people were hurt in Friday’s disturbances.

Vilma Nuñez told Efe her information came from Cenidh’s delegate in Esteli, Alberto Rosales, who said on Channel 63 television that he heard the sound of gunfire from inside the prison.

The inmates are demanding better food and treatment, Rosales said, while Nuñez said Nicaragua’s prisons “are saturated” and complained that authorities have barred Cenidh from inspecting penitentiaries for the last three years.

Nicaragua’s national ombud, Omar Cabezas, said Thursday that the country’s prisons are like a “hotel” in comparison with penal institutions in other Central American nations.

A fire last week at a vastly overcrowded prison in neighboring Honduras left 360 people dead.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Viña del Mar Festival in Chile Gets a Taste of Marc Anthony’s Steamy Salsa Moves

Viña del Mar Festival in Chile Gets a Taste of Marc Anthony’s Steamy Salsa Moves

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Marc Anthony spiced with salsa the second night of the Viña del Mar International Song Festival and set the evening on fire with a tremendous burst of Caribbean rhythms, wild dancing and an outreach to the crowd too warm, friendly and personal to be nothing but an act.

The New York-born salsa star, who came onstage at 1:27 a.m. Friday following the Mexican trio Camila, came down from the platform where his band took their place and in his dark aviator glasses posed looking very serious before the scenic background of the Quinta Vergara park, where the festival is being held.

But any hint of seriousness evaporated as he lifted his voice and launched a tsunami of hip-swinging dance moves and glances of “you-know-what-I-mean” complicity with the 15,000 spectators packed into the arena.

Leaving his dreamier songs for some other time and place, the artist, dressed in black and with his shirt slightly open, rolled out a repertoire seasoned with salsa for all tastes that got fans to their feet and made a cold night of the Southern Hemisphere summer hot.

“Hubo Alguien” (There Was Someone), “Tengo Tanto Miedo de Perderte” (I’m So Afraid of Losing You), “Hasta Ayer” (Until Yesterday) and the popular “Valio la Pena” (It Was Worth It) turned the show into a party with Marc Anthony as the master of ceremonies in perfect harmony with the audience and with his band.

But the most emotional moment of the night came with the singing of “Y Como Es El” (And the Way He Is) by Spain’s Jose Luis Perales, who was in the front row of the audience as a member of the festival’s International and Folk Music Jury.

Cheered on by the audience, Jose Luis Perales went up onstage and vocalized the number together with Marc Anthony.

The Spaniard, filled with pride, and an equally moved Marc Anthony hugged and bowed to one another, as fans went wild over the improvised duet.

After an hour and a half of the show, Marc Anthony chose “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien” (Your Love Does Me Good) to wind up his performance, take home the prizes he had been awarded in the competition, and leave the feeling that when something good is presented with devotion and dedication, it’s going to be twice as good.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Activists say Border Patrol Staking out Arizona Hospitals

Activists say Border Patrol Staking out Arizona Hospitals

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The Arizona Human Rights Coalition has asked for the cooperation of the immigrant community to report the presence of Border Patrol agents in hospitals.

Kat Rodriguez, the spokesperson for the coalition, told Efe that they had seen an increase in complaints about the presence of Border Patrol agents in the emergency rooms and even maternity wards of hospitals in cities like Tucson.

“We’ve heard many stories and I myself have seen Border Patrol agents inside hospitals, in the parking lots, people who tell us that they don’t want to go to the hospital because immigration (agents are) there,” the activist said.

She said that the coalition, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, wants to investigate and determine how serious and how frequent this problem is.

“We want our people to report it if they saw the Border Patrol inside the hospital, outside the hospital or if they saw a person being arrested inside the hospital or if they were handcuffed,” Rodriguez said.

The activist admitted that there is no law preventing the agents from entering a hospital, but she said that both the Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have an internal policy not to enter sites classified as “sensitive,” like schools and churches.

“We think that the hospitals should be within this same category,” she said, calling on hospitals to establish rules about the presence of the federal agents.

This is not the first time that reports of cooperation between hospitals and immigration authorities have surfaced.

“For me, it was a humiliating experience,” Miriam Aviles-Reyes, a mother of four, told Efe.

Five years ago, Aviles-Reyes experienced what she called the “worst experience” of her life when she had to endure having a Border Patrol agent at her side “as if he was her husband” while she gave birth in a Tucson hospital.

“The only thing I remember is that every little while the agent told me ‘Go for it, once you have your baby, he and you are going to go to Mexico,’” said the undocumented immigrant.

The woman was detained after committing an alleged traffic violation, along with her husband and her three children, by a Tucson police officer who, upon discovering that she did not have “papers,” called the Border Patrol.

Aviles-Reyes began to go into labor, and so she was transported to a hospital, while her husband and children were taken to a detention center despite the fact that the youngsters were U.S. citizens and had the documentation to prove it.

“It was a traumatic experience. My kids still can’t forget that they took them to ‘jail’ along with their dad,” she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayFebruary 25, 2012