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TuesdayMarch 6, 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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POLL:  No Matter Who Republian Nominee Is Latinos Prefer Obama 6-to-1

POLL:  No Matter Who Republian Nominee Is Latinos Prefer Obama 6-to-1

Photo: Poll: Latinos Prefer Obama 6-to-1

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Latino voters in the United States prefer President Barack Obama by a six-to-one margin over any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, even though the Democrat in the White House has not fulfilled his campaign promise to implement immigration reform, a new poll shows.

The national survey by Fox News among possible Latino voters shows that none of the four men seeking the GOP nomination garners more than 14 percent of the support of Hispanics when matched with Obama.

That figure represents a decline of 17 points from the 31 percent of the Hispanic vote that Republican then-presidential candidate John McCain managed to secure in the 2008 election.

The president is outdistancing Mitt Romney by 70 percent to 14 percent in terms of Hispanic support, and he is leading Newt Gingrich by 72 percent to 14 percent, according to the poll.

Seventy-three percent of those surveyed approve of Obama’s performance in office, while 66 percent support his handling of the debate on health care reform and 58 percent back his handling of the economy.

According to the survey, jobs and the economy, education, health care and immigration - in that order - are among the main concerns of Latino voters.

Although GOP opposition to immigration reform explains in part the lack of support among Latino voters for the Republican Party, the survey also reflects their discontent with Obama in that area.

More than 40 percent of those surveyed disapprove of the president’s handling of the immigration issue and the percentage rises to 56 percent among people from 35-44 years of age.

The poll also suggests that the Republicans still have time to gain ground among Latino voters if they choose a Latino as the running mate for the presidential nominee, whoever that ultimately proves to be.

Almost a third of those surveyed said that they would consider voting for the Republican candidate if there is a Latino in the vice presidential slot on the ticket.

The telephone survey was conducted among 1,200 possible Latino voters and has an error margin of 2.7 percent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter: Alleged Molester Dad Chokes Daughter During Supervised Visit

Latino Blotter: Alleged Molester Dad Chokes Daughter During Supervised Visit

Photo: Miami's Judge Maria Sampedro on Rafael Leao Case

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Rafael Leao of Miami-Dade is accused of choking his 4-year-old daughter during a supervised visit and after losing custody due to child molestation charges.

Leao, 30-year-old, was visiting his daughter inside a family services center with a social worker present, it was the social worker that heard the screams of the little girl “He’s choking me!”  Apparently the social worker went to answer a phone when the incident happened.

Leao had lost custody due to sexual abuse charges and was to undergo parenting classes, seek counseling and stay on his psychiatric medications according to a Miami Herald report. 

The little girl, after being interviewed by police that were called to investigate, also alleges her father tried to fondle her. 

The Department of Children & Families is asking Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia to reconsider her decision allowing Leao, who is bipolar, to visit with his daughter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira Says She Watches Every One of Boyfriend Gerard Pique’s Soccer Matches

Shakira Says She Watches Every One of Boyfriend Gerard Pique’s Soccer Matches

Photo: Shakira Says She Watches Every One of Boyfriend Gerard Pique's Soccer Matches

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Colombian singer Shakira said she never misses a match where her boyfriend, Spanish soccer star Gerard Pique, is playing.

Aware of the “dedication, commitment, discipline and teamwork” needed to play professional soccer, the vocalist said in an interview with the Web site FIFA.com that she gives Pique her support in every way he needs. “It can’t be easy having a performer as a partner either!” she laughed.

Pique plays professionally for FC Barcelona and is a member of Spain’s national team.

Associated with soccer through her performances at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals, the artist says that the sport, about which she is particularly impressed by the intelligence it requires, has won her over completely.

“(O)nce you start to understand football (soccer) you realize that it’s not just about the physical side of the game and chasing after a ball,” the “Waka Waka” songwriter said.

It was at the World Cup finals that she realized “the importance and impact this sport has on the lives of billions of people every day, on the dreams of the young people and children who devote so many hours of their lives to playing the game,” she said.

For that reason, Shakira said she would love to be present at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. “I’m not sure in what capacity, but I’ll definitely be there.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuela’s ex-Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza Donates $20,000 From “Celebrity Apprentice"to Fight AIDS

Venezuela’s ex-Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza Donates $20,000 From “Celebrity Apprentice

Photo: Dayana Mendoza on Celebrity Apprentice

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Venezuela’s ex-Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza donated to the Latino Commission on AIDS the $20,000 she won for her triumph in this week’s challenge on the reality TV show presented by billionaire Donald Trump.

Mendoza has been taking part since Feb. 12 in the new season of “The Celebrity Apprentice” that airs Sundays on the NBC network. Every week the contestants face a new challenge, and whoever wins garners points and money.

“We are extremely grateful and honored to count on Dayana Mendoza’s support since 2008,” Guillermo Chacon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS (www.latinoaids.org), said.

He said that the money won by Mendoza, who was Miss Universe 2008, will “support our HIV testing program, prevention and education of HIV/AIDS and enhance our National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.”

“Dayana is a beacon of hope for a future without AIDS,” Chacon said.

As Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza was named “madrina” (godmother) of the commission, a non-profit organization founded in 1990 and dedicated to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Latino communities.

The “madrinas” and “padrinos” of the organization are individuals who personally commit themselves to promoting and supporting the prevention and education related to HIV/AIDS, Chacon said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Blotter: 10-Yr Prison Sentence for Two Latinos Possessing Machine Gun & Selling Grenades

Latino Blotter: 10-Yr Prison Sentence for Two Latinos Possessing Machine Gun & Selling Grenades

Photo: Latino sentenced for machine gun & grenades

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Jose Eduardo Munoz, 28, and Alfredo Israel Zendejo Jr., 22, both Laredo residents and convicted felons, have each been sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison for illegal possession of a machine gun, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Munoz pleaded guilty on November 17, 2011, while Zendejo pleaded guilty on December 17, 2011. At their respective plea hearings, both admitted that on or about July 13, 2011, they delivered and sold a fully automatic Cobry M‐11, 9mm submachine gun to undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents for $1,000 and a silencer for an additional $200. The payment was made in cash at the time Munoz and Zendejo handed agents the machine gun and silencer.

Zendejo also negotiated delivering four hand grenades for sale to the undercover agents, which were to be delivered by Munoz. Munoz, however, was in an automobile accident on the way to meet Zendejo and the undercover agent to purportedly deliver the four grenades.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Has the Chupacabras Now Grown Wings? Mexican Man Says He Saw Winged Beast Near Site of 35 Dead Sheep

Has the Chupacabras Now Grown Wings? Mexican Man Says He Saw Winged Beast Near Site of 35 Dead Sheep

Photo: Another chupacabras sighting?

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Some local citizens of the Mexican town of Paracuaro believe that the legendary chupacabras has not only grown wings, but is also responsible for the deaths of 35 sheep.

The sheep were reportedly killed over night on March , their bodies allegedly brandishing claw and tooth marks near the neck.

For years, the legend of the chupacabras and similar beasts have been swirling throughout Latin America and even southern U.S. states. Sightings of the chupacabras began in 1994 (some say 1995) and tell of an evil beast that sucks the blood of goats and other animals.

In many cases, tests reveal that animals thought to have been the legendary beast and have shot are simply coyotes with severe cases of mange.

Still, according to the most recent report in Paracuaro, the chupacabras has now grown wings, making the idea of such an animal all the more frightening.


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Read more at Huffington Post →

Was it Latin Lovin’ Gone Wrong or Just a WTF Moment? California Man Kills Wife with a Cannonball

Was it Latin Lovin’ Gone Wrong or Just a WTF Moment? California Man Kills Wife with a Cannonball

Photo: California Man Kills Wife with a Cannonball

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Authorities were called to a California mobile home park after a woman was killed and man was injured when he fired a cannonball into a home.

The unidentified man reportedly told police that he ignited the makeshift cannon, firing the cannonball in Potrero, CA. Though he was injured by the firing, a woman said to be his wife was killed after the cannonball slammed in through the side of the mobile home.

Other reports state that the husband was with another man and they were working on the cannon when it fired.

The woman’s body was find at around 12:15 a.m. at the Twin Lakes Resort mobile home park, sheriff’s Sgt. David Martinez told UT San Diego

It was also reported that at the time of the incident, the now-deceased woman, her 4-year-old child, and possibly more people were inside though no one else was injured.

The man was take to the hospital with leg injuries, and homicide detectives are still investigating the death of the woman, indentified only as being 33 years old.

Read more by HS News Staff →

VIDEO Courtroom Brawl Leaves Latino Family Jailed for Assaulting Daughter’s Killer

VIDEO Courtroom Brawl Leaves Latino Family Jailed for Assaulting Daughter’s Killer

Photo: Courtroom Brawl at Jose Santiago Hearing

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The family of Jessica Rojas is not only grieving her violent end but also the two family members that were arrested by Springfield, Massachusetts court authorities after inciting a brawl at her alleged killers trial.

Yesterday, boyfriend and alleged killer, 30-year-old, Jose Santiago appeared in court for an arraignment.  While abc40 cameras were running Rojas’ father, 45-year-old Edwin Rojas, and her stepfather, 42-year-old Kenneth Soto assaulted Santiago and the guards protecting him.

Now the two family members are facing charges of assault, battery and disrupting a court proceeding.  They are currently out of jail on a personal recognizance bond

Rojas was allegedly stabbed and killed early Saturday morning.  Hours earlier the mother of four had celebrated her 25th birthday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Louis C.K. and ‘Modern Family’ Nominated for Comedy Awards Airing May 6

Louis C.K. and ‘Modern Family’ Nominated for Comedy Awards Airing May 6

Photo: Louis C.K. and 'Modern Family' Nominated for Comedy Awards Airing May 6

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Television Event To Honor The Best In Comedy Tapes At New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom On Saturday, April 28 And Premieres On COMEDY CENTRAL On Sunday, May 6
Nominees Chosen By Prestigious Board of Directors
Beginning Today, Fans Can Vote For “Breakout Performer of the Year” At www.thecomedyawards.com

Nominations for the second annual “The Comedy Awards” were announced today with “Modern Family,” “Bridesmaids,” “30 Rock,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” and Louis C.K. leading the way with the most nominations.  The annual event dedicated to honoring and celebrating the world of comedy will be taped at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Saturday, April 28 and will premiere on COMEDY CENTRAL on Sunday, May 6, 2012.

The nominees for the second annual event reflect an extensive range of comedic talent in film, television, stand-up and animation.  “Modern Family,” recipient of the “Comedy Series” award during last year’s inaugural show, is once again nominated in the “Comedy Series” category, one of its five total nominations.  Other nominees for “Comedy Series” include “30 Rock” (five total nominations), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (four total nominations), “Parks and Recreation” (three total nominations) and “Happy Endings.”

Leading the way in the “Comedy Film” category are “Bridesmaids” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” with five total nominations each.  Rounding out the “Comedy Film” nominees are “Midnight in Paris” and “Horrible Bosses” (four total nominations each) and the Academy Award-winning “The Artist,” which received three total nominations.  The recipients for the “Johnny Carson Award,” the “Comedy Icon Award” and The Comedy Awards Digital / Best Viral Original nominees will be announced in the coming weeks. A full list of nominations for The Comedy Awards 2012 can be found at the end of this release.

Reactions from The Comedy Awards nominees include:

“I want to thank everyone connected to the award and I want ’30 Rock’ to win.” – Alec Baldwin, nominated for “Performance by an Actor – TV”

“Does this mean I have to go?” – Larry David, nominated for “Performance by an Actor – TV”

“I’m hyped because I can finally wear my tuxedo.” – Kevin Hart, nominated for “Stand-up Tour”

Nominees were selected by the “The Comedy Awards” Board of Directors, which include such luminaries as: Carol Burnett, James Burrows, Greg Cavic, Stephen Colbert, James Dixon, Budd Friedman, Jim Gosnell, Rick Greenstein, Brad Grey, Caroline Hirsch, Sharon Jackson, Blair Kohan, Martin Lesak, Steve Levine, Jamie Masada, Adam McKay, Jimmy Miller, Conan O’Brien, Peter Principato, Joan Rivers, Jay Roach, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Rory Rosegarten, Michael Rotenberg, George Schlatter, Mitzi Shore, David Steinberg, Jon Stewart, Lily Tomlin, Sandy Wernick and Geof Wills.

Winners will be chosen by The Comedy Awards Voting Body, comprised of professionals from the comedy community including writers, producers, performers, directors and stand-ups.  And starting today, fans can vote for their pick for “Breakout Performer of the Year” at www.thecomedyawards.com.

“The Comedy Awards” will air on COMEDY CENTRAL as well as COMEDY CENTRAL’s international channels across Europe, New Zealand, India and Israel.  Click here to view a highlight reel from last year’s show.  Follow “The Comedy Awards” on Twitter @thecomedyawards.

Last year, “The Comedy Awards” first annual show honored the biggest names in comedy with appearances by Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Ty Burrell, Tracy Morgan and Andy Samberg, among others.  David Letterman was awarded “The Comedy Awards” most prestigious honor, the “Johnny Carson Award” and Eddie Murphy received the “Comedy Icon Award” for his extraordinary contribution to the world of comedy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: NM Man Tries to “Dine & Dash” Police Officers Serving at Diner for Charity

LATINO BLOTTER: NM Man Tries to “Dine & Dash” Police Officers Serving at Diner for Charity

Photo: Alan Golden, 22, Tries to Dine & Dash during police fundraiser at Applebee's

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After eating at a Las Cruces, New Mexico Applebee’s a man a two females decided that they weren’t going to pay for the food and attempted to leave. However, they did not seem to realize that the restaurant was full of cops working as servers that day.

On March 1, Alan Golden, 22, was part of a group eating at an Applebee’s. Trying to avoid paying the less-than-$30 bill, the group tried to sneak out, but what they failed to realize was that the restaurant was currently filled with local police officers serving as wait staff to raise money for charity.

The officers were working at the Applebee’s during the “Tip-A-Cop” fundraiser to raise money for the New Mexico Special Olympics.

After the group’s dine-and-dash attempt failed, Golden was arrested and charged with obtaining services less than $100. He was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center on a $250 surety bond.

Despite the group’s despicable actions, the event managed to raise just under $3,500 for Special Olympics.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama’s 1st Press Conference of the Year: “We can Still be a Nation of Laws and Immigrants”

Obama’s 1st Press Conference of the Year: “We can Still be a Nation of Laws and Immigrants”

Photo: Obama and Immigration Reform at 1st Press Conference

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President Obama presided over his first press conference in close to seven months and the first press conference of 2012 which included comments on immigration reform.

The President answered questions on topics ranging from the Middle East to the economy to tonight’s Super Tuesday primary.  He even justified his reach out to Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and “prostitute”. 

The President fielded the most questions around the Middle East and gas prices.  Specifically on Syria and potential U.S. intervention and the recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

He also unveiled a new initiative for homeowners allowing them to refinance to lower rates if their mortgages are insured by the FHA.

It was not until Telemundo’s Lori Montenegro asked about immigration did the President reassert his commitment to immigration reform and once again invited the Republicans in Congress to join him. 

“Speaking substantively, every American should want immigration reform. We have a system that is broken,” he said. “We can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”

The President also noted that immigration reform is not only a “Latino issue, it’s an American issue.”  He also made sure to promote his accomplishments on border security. 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Gabo! Colombian Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez Turns 85

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Gabo! Colombian Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez Turns 85

Photo: Feliz Cumpleaños Gabo! Colombian Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez Turns 85

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Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1928 in the small town of Aracataca, Colombia. He grew up with his maternal grandparent - his grandfather was a pensioned colonel from the civil war at the beginning of the century. He went to a Jesuit college and began to read law, but his studies were soon broken off for his work as a journalist. In 1954 he was sent to Rome* on an assignment for his newspaper, and since then he has mostly lived abroad - in Paris, New York, Barcelona and Mexico - in a more or less compulsory exile. Besides his large output of fiction he has written screenplays and has continued to work as a journalist.

In 1967, García Márquez achieved international success with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. With the recognition he earned with the publication, he was able to act as a facilitator in several negotiations between the Colombian government and the guerrillas, including the former 19th of April Movement (M-19), and the current FARC and ELN organizations.

In 1982, García Márquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature and he became the first Colombian and fourth Latin American to win the prize. He is also the earliest recipient of the prize still living.

Today, at the age of 85, Gabriel García Márquez has dozens of works to his name. And while a 2009 announcement from his agent stated that he was not likely to write anymore, a Random House Mondadori editor revealed in 2010 that García Márquez was working on a novel titled En agosto nos vemos (We’ll Meet in August).

Feliz Cumpleaños, Señor García Márquez.

(It should also be noted that this year also marks the 30th anniversary of his Nobel Prize for Literature.)

Read more by HS News Staff →

Top Facts About Latino Voters in Super Tuesday States

Top Facts About Latino Voters in Super Tuesday States

Photo: Super Tuesday Latino Voter Outllook

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The Hispanic Leadership Network released its “Top Facts about Hispanics in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia” for today’s Super Tuesday primary elections. 

Below are some selected facts about Hispanics in some of today’s Super Tuesday States. 

Top Facts about Hispanics in Alaska
• Alaska’s total Hispanic population is 39,249 or 6% of the state’s population (U.S Census Bureau, 2010).
• Alaska has 22,000 Hispanic eligible voters, which constitute 4% of all eligible voters in the state (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).
• From 2000 to 2010, Alaska’s Hispanic population grew by 13,397, representing more than a 50% growth rate (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
• Hispanics with Mexican roots make up a majority of the Latino population in Alaska; their numbers grew from 13,300 in 2000 to 21,600 in 2010 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

Facts about Hispanics in Georgia
• Georgia’s total Hispanic population is 853,689 or 9% of the state’s population (U.S Census Bureau, 2010).
• Georgia has the 23rd largest Hispanic population nationwide (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).
• Georgia has 178,000 eligible Hispanic voters, which constitute 3% of all eligible voters in the state (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).
• Approximately one-quarter (23%) of Hispanics in Georgia are eligible to vote, whereas 76% of the state’s White population is eligible to vote (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).

Facts about Hispanics in Ohio
• Ohio’s total Hispanic population is 354,674 or approximately 3% of the state’s population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
• Ohio has the 23rd largest Hispanic population nationwide (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).
• Ohio has 140,000 eligible Hispanic voters, which constitute approximately 2% of all eligible voters in the state (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).
• Less than half (47%) of Hispanics in Ohio are eligible to vote, whereas 77% of the state’s White population is eligible to vote (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010).

Please visit the Hispanic Leadership Network for complete details and information on the other Super Tuesday states.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LISTEN: First Single “La Señal” From ‘Juanes: MTV Unplugged’

LISTEN: First Single “La Señal” From ‘Juanes: MTV Unplugged’

Photo: First Single "La Señal" From 'Juanes: MTV Unplugged' Now Available

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Monday, Colombian singer Juanes released the first single from his upcoming album “Juanes: MTV Unplugged”.

Produced by Juan Luis Guerra, the first single is titled, “La Señal”.

Though the full album, which includes duets with Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes as well as Joaquin Sabina, won’t be available until May 12, the single went on sale on iTunes on Monday, March 5.

Check out the single below.

La Señal - JUANES: MTV Unplugged from LunitadeJuanes on Vimeo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fidel Castro Plans to Visit Fukushima

Fidel Castro Plans to Visit Fukushima

Photo: Fidel Castro to Fukushima

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After attending the Global Hibakusha Forum in Havana on March 1st, former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro said he plans to visit Fukushima’s disaster area in 2013.  The 85 year old former president attended the forum along with 750 Japanese delegates and hundreds of fellow Cubans. 

During the forum, Castro met with a researcher at Fukushima University as well as survivors of the 1945 bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Many Japanese encouraged Castro to help the campaign against nuclear power.  Castro, well known for his interest in nuclear issues stated to AJW Asahi, “I want to assist Japan because situations where kids suffer should be avoided by all means.”  He then verbally committed to visiting the devastated area next year. 

The forum, held in the Cuban capital, was organized by a non governmental group called Peace Boat.  The mission of this organization is to encourage international dialogue during their Global Peace Voyage. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

New $744,000 Soccer Field at Guantanamo for Inmates Not Being Well Received

New $744,000 Soccer Field at Guantanamo for Inmates Not Being Well Received

Photo: Guantanamo Soccer Field under Fire

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Surrounded by surveillance cameras and numerous guard towers lies the brand new, nearly complete, $744,000 soccer field unveiled on Thursday during a visit by reporters to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The new field, named ‘Super Rec’ by many troops will be open for inmates in April after latrines and goals are installed.  The intent of the field is to improve relations between inmates and guards while also provide activities and physical outlets for the inmates. 

Yet, the unveiling of this new commodity has caused quite a stir among members of Congress.  Representative Gus Bilirakas (R) of Florida sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressing his criticism of the soccer field while fellow Florida Republican Representative, Dennis Ross introduced the ‘No Field Act’ also known as the ‘None of our Funds for the Interest, Exercise, Leisure of Detainees Act.’  He later stated, “Gitmo should not be a place of comfort.  It should house the worst of the worst of the world’s terrorists, not be a training ground for the World Cup.”

Supporters of the new 28,000 square feet field argue that costs are automatically higher at Guantanamo due to the fact that all supplies must be imported to the area.  The United States is not permitted to do business with Cuba and therefore has to ship everything to the base.  As a result of the base’s isolated location, many personnel argue that keeping the inmates active both physically and mentally is of extreme importance.  As a result, military psychologists teach weekly classes which help prisoners deal with their indefinite time at the base.  Each cellblock is also equipped with flat screen televisions and many have exercise equipment. 

It has already been estimated that the government spends $800,000 annually per inmate at Guantanamo, while only $26,000 per year on mainland inmates. Yet even with these high costs per prisoner, in 2010 opponents of the new field, such as Bilirakas and Ross, voted in separate instances to prohibit the Obama administration from transferring Guantanamo inmates to American soil or their native countries.

Texas Representative Ted Poe, a Republican and former judge, also opposes the new soccer field and openly ridiculed it during a speech on Thursday.  “Our government has no business building this tropical Caribbean recreation facility for terrorists.  What’s next at this terrorist playground? A Tiki hut and bar on the beach?”

Read more at McClathy DC →

Dear Pope Benedict XVI:  Please Don’t Visit Cuba!

Dear Pope Benedict XVI:  Please Don’t Visit Cuba!

Photo: Pope Benedict Urged Not to Visit Cuba

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Martha Beatriz Roque along with close to 750 other Cuban activists just sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI urging him to reconsider his planned March visit to Cuba.  Since announcing the March 26-28th Papal visit to Havana and Santiago de Cuba, abuses have increased against Catholics in the communist country.  Activists believe that a visit by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church later this month would only cause more injustices against Cuban Catholics.

The letter states, “We would be very happy to receive you in our country, if the message of faith, love and hope that you could bring us also would serve to halt the repression against those who want to go to church.  May the Holy Trinity illuminate your mind so that you can make a correct decision.”  Guillermo Fariñas, Sara Martha Fonseca, Vladimiro Roca, Jorge Luis “Antunez” García Pérez and his wife, Iris Tamara Perez Aguilar along with Roque and many other opponents of the visit signed the letter.

Such abuses occurring recently in Cuba have caused many loyal Catholics to reconsider their Sunday mass tradition.  Government officials have harassed and threatened people gathering in churches, stating that many go to church for the sole purpose of ‘politicking.’  Many faithful Catholics are warned on Friday and Saturday that they should not attend Sunday mass and then are later arrested on Sunday. 

Yoani Sanchez, a popular blogger, wrote in Thursday’s edition of El País, that while the Cuban’s welcomed the previous pontiff, Pope John Paul to Cuba in 1988, their sentiment of religious passion has changed to skepticism. 

Read more at Miami Herald →

New Starz Show “Magic City” Depicts 1950s Miami

New Starz Show “Magic City” Depicts 1950s Miami

Photo: New Starz Show "Magic City" Depicts 1950s Miami

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The Starz cable channel on April 6 will begin broadcasting “Magic City,” a series about Miami in the late 1950s.

“The series is based on one of the most glamorous, exciting and dangerous periods in Miami,” Mitch Glazer, the creator and screenwriter of “Magic City” told Efe during the presentation of the new production with the cast.

The storyline revolves around businessmen Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who must deal with drug traffickers and mobsters who will do everything in their power to make life impossible for him and his family.

“They all look fantastic and the whole world is focused on this city. I wanted to write about that and also about the political situation at the time, with Fidel Castro and all the Cuban immigration that arrived in Miami,” Glazer said.

The show’s creator grew up in Miami with many Cuban-Americans in the 1960s, and that greatly helped him to write about his personal experiences.

Cast member Yul Vazquez added that “the mafia and politics form part of the show” given that the series recreates the years in which Cubans began to come in large numbers to Miami as a result of the January 1959 Cuban Revolution.

“It’s the story of my family. When I read the script I thought: This is my story!,” Vazquez said.

Also attending the presentation of the series was Dominik Garcia-Lorido, the daughter of Cuban-born actor Andy Garcia.

The 29-year-old actress said that her character in the series is a girl who was born in Cuba but grew up in Miami Beach.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Diplomat Travels to Brazil and Argentina to Discuss Children’s Issues

U.S. Diplomat Travels to Brazil and Argentina to Discuss Children’s Issues

Photo: Latin American Diplomacy

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Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for International Children’s Issues, is traveling to Brazil and Argentina March 5-9, 2012. While in Brazil, Ambassador Jacobs will participate in the second meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Working Group on Children’s Issues. The meetings will further conversations about ways to work together on intercountry adoption, resolving international parental child abduction cases, and collaborating to encourage other countries to join the Hague Conventions.

While in Argentina, she will meet with the Argentine Central Authority and judicial officials to discuss international parental child abduction.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ana Baiz-Torres: First Diversity Directory at U of C, San Diego Sues for Unjust Termination

Ana Baiz-Torres: First Diversity Directory at U of C, San Diego Sues for Unjust Termination

Photo: University of California, San Diego

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Ana Baiz-Torres is suing the University of California, San Diego for firing her when she was trying to increase the college’s diversity, which was her job as UCSD’s first director of development for Diversity Initiatives.

She told Efe that her chief duty was to collect funds for programs benefiting minorities, but she encountered resistance from colleagues in leadership positions on campus and was laid off after just eight months on the job.

Her position was created following the notorious “Compton Cookout” of February 2010, an off-campus party where UCSD students ridiculed Black History month and a poor, largely African-American neighborhood in Los Angeles.

In her lawsuit, Baiz-Torres said that in the University of California system, UCSD has the lowest percentage of minority students, with some 12.8 percent Hispanics, 1.6 percent African-Americans and 0.4 percent Native Americans.

In comparison, the figures at other UC campuses can reach 32.2 percent for Latino students, 7.9 percent for African-Americans and 0.9 percent for Native Americans .

Latino student organizations like MEChA have cited her dismissal in May 2011 as an example of what they call the administrators’ unwillingness to remedy UCSD’s lack of diversity.

Mar Velez, president of MEChA, told Efe that Baiz-Torres was one of the people who worked hardest for minorities on campus, and that the administration refuses to give any explanation about why she was let go.

According to Baiz-Torres, UCSD personnel in leadership positions told her that “minority students should not be complaining and should be thankful that they even made it to a UC campus.”

In September 2010, UCSD hired her after she collected more than $78 million in the state to restore homes, schools, day-care centers and community installations in low-income neighborhoods.

The school wanted her to work with traditional donors to support student activities, secondary specialties in Chicano and African-American studies, and summer programs that help first-generation students adapt to life on campus.

Baiz-Torres said that though she signed only a one-year contract, the authorities promised that unless there were budgetary cuts or a “justified cause” they would renew it since that was the standard practice.

“There was no ‘justified cause,’ as proved by the fact they gave me a pay raise, good reports about my work and I passed the 6-month trial period,” Baiz-Torres said.

UCSD refused to comment on the pending lawsuit.

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TuesdayMarch 6, 2012