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TuesdayMarch 27, 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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U.S. Government Sued for $1 Million by Widow of Migrant Who Died in Immigration Detention

U.S. Government Sued for $1 Million by Widow of Migrant Who Died in Immigration Detention

Photo: Govt Sued for Death at Stewart Detention Center

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The widow of an undocumented Mexican immigrant who died in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a lawsuit against the federal government for negligence on Tuesday.

Roberto Medina-Martinez, 39, died March 11, 2009, of acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the muscular wall of the heart.

The immigrant, who fell ill while being held at the Stewart Detention Center, was eventually taken to St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, but doctors there were unable to save him.

“The records obtained by the ACLU show that Roberto Medina-Martinez was the victim of systemic negligence on the part of the medical staff at the Stewart Detention Center resulting in his unnecessary death,” Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.

According to the man’s widow, Sara Hernandez-Gonzalez, the lack of medical attention on the part of the authorities was what caused the death of her husband, for which she is seeking an indemnity of $1 million.

Among the failures cited in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, is the fact that no physician signed the physical exam report that must be filled out for every detainee, a situation that is a violation of the policies of the Department of Homeland Security.

The plaintiffs assert that a proper medical exam would have permitted doctors to diagnose the problem.

The suit was brought on Hernandez-Gonzalez’s behalf by the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, Sutherland and Attorney Brian Spears.

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VIRAL: Girl at Miami Music Festival Gets WAY too Friendly With Tree (VIDEO)

VIRAL: Girl at Miami Music Festival Gets WAY too Friendly With Tree (VIDEO)

Photo: Girl at Miami Music Festival Gets WAY too Friendly With Tree

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CAUTION: This is video is not suitable for work (NSFW).

We’re not exactly sure if this girl was drunk, high, or just VERY friendly at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival over the weekend, but one thing is certain. She and that tree had a very special moment that will live on forever thanks to onlookers and the creation of YouTube.

The Ultra Music Festival is an annual outdoor electronic music festival that occurs in March in the city of Miami, Florida, United States. Previously, the festival coincided with the annual Winter Music Conference, which is also held in Miami, however, as of 2011, the two are held on separate weeks.

Ultra is held in Downtown Miami in Bayfront Park. From 1999–2006, Ultra was a 1-day festival, before a 2-day festival from 2007–2010, and was a 3-day festival in 2011-2012. Second only to the Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra is one of North America’s largest electronic music festival. This year, a record 165,000 people attended the festival.


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10K of Guatemala’s Indigenous People March to Capital City

10K of Guatemala’s Indigenous People March to Capital City

Photo: 10K of Guatemala's Indigenous People March to Capital City

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A massive march of indigenous people arrived Tuesday in the Guatemalan capital after walking more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) to demand a government settlement of a conflict over land.

Tired and sweating, with bags slung over their shoulders and waving red pennants, the thousands of Indians and peasants, who were joined Tuesday by social organizations, students and labor unions, marched through the historic downtown area before meeting with President Otto Perez Molina.

The director of the Committee for Peasant Unity who called the march that set out March 19 from the northern city of Coban, Daniel Pascual, told Efe that the Indians “are pretty tired now, but in hopes” of finding an satisfactory answer to their demands.

A number of women carrying toddlers on their backs and with their feet cracked from walking so far, Efe observed, were visibly exhausted.

“It’s not easy to walk more than 200 kilometers (120 miles), but we have hopes that the march will end with some concrete proposals by the government,” Pascual said.

The leader said their principal demands include an end to the evictions and criminal prosecution of Indians, a pardon for farm debts of more than 300 million quetzales ($38.96 million) affecting more than 10,000 families, access to land and the end of mining in the region.

“We don’t expect the government to resolve the ancestral land rights problem in two or three days, but today we want concrete answers to the demands we made on March 19,” he said.

According to Pascual, more than 10,000 Indians and peasants from the provinces of Alta and Baja Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Quiche, San Marcos, Jalapa, Zacapa and Chiquimula joined the march that arrived Tuesday in the capital.

“Thousands of us have come, far more than we expected,” he said.

The secretary of agricultural affairs, Elmer Lopez, told reporters that this institution is processing more than 1,200 cases of agrarian conflict and that the government is prepared to discuss the demands of the indigenous people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Son of Brazil’s Richest Man Kills Cyclist With Sports Car

Son of Brazil’s Richest Man Kills Cyclist With Sports Car

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The son of Brazil’s richest man is being investigated on suspicion of manslaughter after his Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren sports car struck and killed a cyclist in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.

Thor Batista, the 20-year-old son of Eike Batista, does not deny that he was driving the sports car when it struck 30-year-old Wanderson Pereira da Silva on March 17. However, the young heir maintains that he is not culpable for the death of the laborer.

After striking da Silva, Batista called emergency personnel and attempted to administer aid to the man, but it was too late as da Silva likely died immediately upon impact with Batiste’s car.

ImageBatista has stated that while he regrets the death of da Silva, it was the cyclist’s who was at fault, as he was allegedly crossing the highway Batista was traveling on.

In a statement to Forbes on March 20, a spokesperson for Eike Batista’s EBX conglomerate said:

Regarding the accident that happened on March 17, Thor Batista deeply regrets the incident, indicating that he provided aid to the victim, who inadvertently crossed the southbound side of Highway BR-040 (Juiz de Fora to Rio) on his bike. Mr. Batista called the ambulance service of the Juiz de Fora-Rio Road Concession Company, which manages the highway, to provide treatment to Wanderson Pereira dos Santos. Thor was driving within the speed limit, took a breathalyzer test and signed a handwritten statement describing the accident at the Federal Highway Police (PRF) station. He will provide all possible assistance to Mr. Pereira dos Santos’ family and, within the week, will appear at Rio de Janeiro’s 61st Police Precinct to offer an account of events.

Despite Batista’s claim, da Silva’s aunt says her nephew would not have been crossing the highway and would have been moving along the shoulder at that point in his route. She also told Brazilian news sources that her nephew had been hit so hard his heart had actually ended up inside the Batista’s Mercedes, and his body had to be reconstructed for the funeral, which the Batista family reportedly offered to pay for.

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Jennifer Lopez Announces First Ever Concerts in Brazil

Jennifer Lopez Announces First Ever Concerts in Brazil

Photo: Jennifer Lopez Announces First Ever Concerts in Brazil

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On the actress-singer’s website, Jennifer Lopez writes:

Hello Brazil! I am coming back in June. For the first time ever I will be performing in Brazil at the Pop Music Festival by XYZ Live in Sao Paulo on June 23 and Rio de Janeiro on June 27. Eu Te Amo Brasil!

So look out, Brazil! Jenny from the block is soon to be Jenny on your block!

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EXCLUSIVE: Cessylia’s Road from Teotihuacan to Life in Fear in Alabama

EXCLUSIVE: Cessylia’s Road from Teotihuacan to Life in Fear in Alabama

Photo: Cessylia Journey by Anne Little

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This beautiful profile was created by one of our contributors Anne Little.  Ann is a freelance writer/photographer for over twenty years.  Her work can be found at http://www.annlittlephoto.com/.

Cessylia didn’t want to move from Mexico. “That wasn’t important to me.  I had work all the time,” she says.

In her early twenties, she was an administrative assistant at a Renault car dealership near Monterey, Mexico and lived with her parents.  “I never understood why people came here (to the U.S.).  I would watch the news and see that people had drowned trying to cross a river.  Why did they want to take that risk…to leave everything?” she says.

But, in 2006, because of a twist of fate, she found herself stranded and needing a job in Montgomery, Alabama, historically a place of brutal discrimination toward non-whites and ground-zero for some of the most frightening anti-immigration laws in the U.S.

The Road to Alabama

Cessylia’s family traveled often when she was a child in San Nicholas de los Garza, Neuvo Leon.  Though money was tight, the family annually drove to Chapultepec Park, once home to pre-Hispanic civilizations.  There, she, her sister and cousins raced up the steps of the Teotihuacan pyramids, where ancient Toltec Indians once performed sacred ceremonies to their gods.  Some interpret the name, Teotihuacan, to mean, ‘place of those who have walked the road of the gods.’

“Every year, we went there to Teotihuacan,” says Cessylia.  “You have something, and you never see how much it is worth.”

As an adult, she often traveled across the U.S. border to shop, and once even took a bus to Canada just for a wedding.

So, when a friend who had a job in Montgomery asked her to come for a visit, Cessylia, then twenty-seven, went without hesitation.  She was on a college semester break and thought she had enough money for a vacation and a return trip to Mexico.  She would “tomar un tiempo parci mi,” meaning, “take awhile for myself,” she says.

But, once in Alabama, things were more expensive than she had expected, and her money soon ran out.  “Shopping,” she admits.

Without a work visa, she applied for a food preparation job at a nearby restaurant.

Into the Heat of Discrimination

“That was a very hard job,” she says. “I hurt so much.  My legs.  My hands.  Some days, my boss forgot to give me breaks.  I don’t think he cared.  It was horrible.”  She wasn’t accustomed to working quickly with knives and food slicing machines and frequently cut her hands.  “Almost every day, I had a new cut.”  She says the manager often told her, “You’re too slow.”
At that time, she knew almost no English.  She told herself, “I could do this.”  Her friend told her to quit.  Eventually, she did.  By then, Cessylia began to live in fear.

Then, in the ninety degree heat of a Montgomery summer, and with no car, she began the task of finding another job on foot.  She had heard of a Mexican restaurant next to Walmart.  She could go there and ask other Latinos if they knew of a job opening.  With a friend, she walked two hours on the treeless Southern ByPass.  Finally, they hitched a ride with some Latino men who they didn’t know.

After finding a job opening at a factory, she pleaded to the Hispanic manager to hire her.  He knew she was an undocumented worker and had no experience as a factory worker but hired her anyway.

Life in Montgomery quickly improved for Cessylia.  “That was when I met my husband.  Three weeks later, we started to go out,” she says.  His name was Cameron, and he was white.  “I never thought of a white guy with blonde hair,” she says.

He attempted to talk to her but didn’t know any Spanish.  By then, she could read some English.  To bridge the language barrier, they took pieces of paper at the printer station at work and wrote notes to each other in English.  He invited her for dinners at his house and cooked quesadillos and nachos.  She laughs that, after those two meals, he never cooked again.  “He tricked me,” she says with a grin.

Now married to Cameron, Cessylia now chooses to stay in Alabama, and, after a long, expensive process, she was granted permanent residency in the U.S. in 2011.

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Following Split From Penelope Cruz’s Brother, Eva Longoria Mending Broken Heart with New Dating Show

Following Split From Penelope Cruz’s Brother, Eva Longoria Mending Broken Heart with New Dating Show

Photo: Eva Longoria Working on Dating Show after Split With Eduardo Cruz

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Former “desperate housewife” Eva Longoria is said to be working on a new dating show for NBC.

A source recently confirmed with E! News that Longoria is developing a new dating show currently titled, All About Love about single people seeking the help of professional matchmakers like Tough Love’s Steve Ward and Amber Kellelher, who owns the top-notch dating company Kelleher International.

ImageOne question remains however, will Ms. Longoria, who recently split from Eduardo Cruz (Penelope’s little bro), be seeking the help of the matchmaker as well?

If rumors about a new relationship with Prison Break actor Amaury Nolasco are false, Longoria may also be be seeking the help of her new fragrance, EVAmour by Eva Longoria to entice the guys.

EVAmour, her second fragrance, will launch exclusively on HSN.com and HSN on Wednesday, March 28.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salesman Fends off Robbers With Tequila Bottle

Salesman Fends off Robbers With Tequila Bottle

Photo: Salesman Fends off Robbers With Tequila Bottle

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If a group of young would-be robbers attacked a 71-year-old liquor salesman, many would fear the worst for the victim, but with the help of one of his products, that victim came out the victor.

In the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Englewood, salesman Willie Whitehead was leaving a sales call at a liquor store when a group of teens surrounded him and attempted to take his briefcase. Not willing to simply give in, the man pulled out a sample tequila bottle and stood in defensive position. With tequila-filled weapon in his hand, the salesman was able to get into his vehicle and call 911.

With their plan thwarted, the robbers fled on foot, but were still caught by police. Two were captured close to the scene of the crime, while the other three were apprehended after police officers gave chase on foot.

Only two names were released, Jesse Jackson, 18, and Demetrius Shields, 17. The others, which included an 11-year-old, were charged as juveniles and their names were not released.

Jackson and Shields were charged with felony attempted robbery of a senior, while the younger hooligans were charged with attempted robbery of a senior.

Aside from a torn suit, Whitehead made it through the incident overall unharmed. Asked how he felt when he was surrounded, Whitehead told the Chicago Tribune he “wasn’t really scared, because they were young,” but added that he was mostly just “pissed off” by the attack.

Salud, Señor Whitehead. Salud.

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‘Gang of Blondes’ Believed to Have Kidnapped Dozens in Brazil Have Been Arrested

‘Gang of Blondes’ Believed to Have Kidnapped Dozens in Brazil Have Been Arrested

Photo: 'Gang of Blondes' Believed to Have Kidnapped Dozens in Brazil Have Been Arrested

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Six women suspected of being be part of Brazil’s kidnapping “Gang of Blondes” have been identified by police thanks to information from the dozens of victims.

Over the weekend, three members of the gang were arrested with years worth of robbery and kidnapping charges reportedly filed against them.

The gang is accused of kidnapping 54 female shoppers since moving on from burglary into the people-snatching business.

Victims described the women as bilingual, well-educated, and of course, blonde, and it is believed that the gang’s crime spree began in 2008.

ImagePolice say that since its inception, Wagner Gonclaves and his wife Monique Awoki have been heading the gang, but the pair were finally caught while attempting to escape Brazil’s northeastern region after both changed their appearance.

The gang would allegedly follow their victims while they shopped and then kidnap them and withdraw money from their accounts and charge luxury items to their credit cards.

The Associated Press reported that in just one case alone, the “Gang of Blondes” bought about US$9,700 worth of items and took about $1,660 in cash.

Though six of the gang members were identified, only three were arrested over the weekend. The husband of one of the members was also arrested, but he has since been let go.

Of the estimated 54 victims, at least 21 spoke with authorities since police began their investigation.

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Precious Star Mo’Nique’s Legal Battles Evokes ‘Illegal Immigrant’ Profiling

Precious Star Mo’Nique’s Legal Battles Evokes ‘Illegal Immigrant’ Profiling

Photo: Mo'Nique and Illegal Immigrant Comments

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Don’t mess with Mo’Nique when she’s pissed and her landlords are learning just that.

TMZ broke the story and is reporting that Mo’Nique and her husband, Marvin Dawson, ditched their rental contract and stiffed the landlords for $370,000.  Now you ask how does a real estate tiff involve an ‘illegal immigrant’.

Apparently both sides are trading accusations.  Mo and her hubby say we didn’t pay because the house smelled like dog shit and accuses the landlord of being a pot head who uses ‘illegal immigrants’ to cut down the trees. 

Hold on there Mo’Nique how the hell do you know the tree trimmers are ‘illegal’?  What does it matter if they’re illegal and by the way the correct term is ‘undocumented’. 

The case is ongoing and sure to get nastier.  Let’s just see how Mo’Nique backs up the ‘illegal immigrant’ comments. 

Maybe her nasty persona on ‘Precious’ wasn’t a stretch. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuelan Hunk Alejandro Chaban to Host Motivational Show on Hispanic YouTube Channel

Venezuelan Hunk Alejandro Chaban to Host Motivational Show on Hispanic YouTube Channel

Photo: Alejandro Cheban on YouTube NuevoOn

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Venezuelan actor Alejandro Chaban is one of the showbiz celebs who have joined YouTube’s new Hispanic-oriented NuevOn channel with the motivational talk show “Yes, You Can with Chaban”, his agents said Monday.

Under the proposition that losing weight and learning about health is fun, Chaban will use his experience in battling his own obesity problems to help a young audience change their lives.

In each episode the bilingual actor will entertain as he educates his audience in ways to lead a healthy life.

“This is my great dream, the mission of my life - bringing youthful viewers a message about health in my own way, by making my weekly show ‘Yes, You Can with Chaban!’ available to help them on YouTube 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Chaban said in a communique.

The actor has taken part in such English-language productions as the television series “Monk” and the feature film “The Notorious Bettie Page” as well as telenovelas for the Hispanic market like “Prisionera”, “Decisiones”, “El rostro de Analia” (The Face of Analia) and “Eva Luna.”

Also new to NuevOn is Chilean host Felipe Viel with “Feim Fix,” a weekly program of gossip about the rich and famous delivered with a seasoning of humor, and the son of Sofia Vergara, Manolo Gonzalez, with “Mi Vida con Toty” (My Life with Toty), about life with his famous mother.

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Pope Benedict in Cuba

Pope Benedict in Cuba

Photo: Pope in Cuba

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There still remain many areas” in which relations must move forward between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government, Pope Benedict XVI said here Monday as he began a three-day visit to the Communist-ruled island.

In the welcoming ceremony at the Santiago airport, the pontiff said that during his visit to the island he will ask the Virgin of Charity, the country’s patron saint, to guide the destiny of Cuba “along the roads of justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation.”

“I come to Cuba as a pilgrim of charity to support my brothers in the faith and encourage them in hope,” he said.

Benedict noted that the 1998 visit to the island of his predecessor, John Paul II, gave “new vigor” to Catholicism in Cuba and inaugurated a phase of “greater collaboration and confidence” in relations between church and state.

But, he added, “there still remain many areas in which advances can and must be made, especially insofar as the indispensable contribution of religion is called upon to make in the public realm of society.”

The pontiff said that he carries in his heart “the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans, wherever they may be.”

“I am convinced that Cuba, at this especially important time in its history, is already looking toward tomorrow and to do that is making efforts to renew and widen its horizons,” Benedict said.

“I beg the Lord to richly bless this land and its sons, in particular those who feel disadvantaged, the marginalized and those who suffer in body or in spirit,” the pope concluded.

“We are satisfied with the tight relations between the Holy See and Cuba, which have developed without interruption for 76 years, always based on mutual respect and on the agreement in matters vital for humanity,” Cuban President Raul Castro said in welcoming the pope.

Thousands of people greeted Benedict along his 8-kilometer (5-mile) route through the city of Santiago de Cuba after his arrival.

As several local residents told Efe, the gathering to receive the pope was organized at various “points” along the route of the Popemobile and there were groups of people who turned out en masse from workplaces, schools and government agencies.

“He’s a head of state and you have to receive him respectfully and to fulfill our duty,” Maritza, a 50-year-old teacher who is not Catholic, told Efe.

At the headquarters of the Catholic archdiocese, Benedict was greeted by more than 100 children and teenagers who sang songs to fete him.

After resting briefly there, the pope will celebrate his first Mass in Cuba in Santiago’s Plaza Antonio Maceo, which has the capacity to accommodate some 150,000 people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sanctuary Movement of Arizona Celebrates 30 Years Helping Migrants

Sanctuary Movement of Arizona Celebrates 30 Years Helping Migrants

Photo: The Sanctuary Movement Celebrates 30 years

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The Sanctuary Movement, which was started 30 years ago in southern Arizona to help a group of Central American immigrants, continues fighting for the dignity of families separated by immigration.

“It was incredible how a church in a Tucson neighborhood ... set the standard by raising its voice,” the Rev. John Fife, retired pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church and one of the movement’s founders, told Efe.

The Sanctuary Movement was started on March 24, 1982, when a group of members of the Southside Presbyterian church announced to the U.S. government that they were ready to violate the immigration laws by converting their church into a sanctuary for Central Americans fleeing death squads in their strife-torn homelands.

Those refugees were part of a group of 26 undocumented Salvadoran immigrants who were abandoned by a smuggler while trying to cross the Arizona border in July 1980.

Half the group died from the intense desert heat before they were found by the Border Patrol.

The 13 survivors were processed and because they were undocumented their deportation procedures were immediately begun.

Fife said that this action attracted the attention of several churches in Phoenix and Tucson who joined forces to provide aid to the refugees.

The movement grew until 500 Protestant, Catholic and Jewish congregations in 17 cities were participating.

The group of volunteers helped immigrants once they crossed the border, transporting them to Southside Presbyterian in Tucson or to the homes of certain volunteers who offered them not only lodging and food but also legal assistance so that they could file asylum petitions in the United States.

“It can’t be said with certainty how many people the movement helped, but I can say that I represented at least 3,000 cases in the courts,” Margo Cowan, an attorney and member of the Sanctuary Movement, told Efe.

In 1991, an agreement was reached with the federal government in a lawsuit filed in 1985 by churches and several organizations including the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild arguing that the U.S. government violated the law by denying political asylum to Salvadorans and Guatemalans who had fled political persecution.

Thanks to this agreement, hundreds of Central Americans could reopen their asylum cases and receive work permits.

“The Sanctuary Movement changed my life and that of my family,” said Patty Barcelo, a Guatemalan refugee with the members of Southside Presbyterian during the 30th anniversary celebration on Sunday.

She recounted how - together with her father, mother, grandmother and siblings - she crossed the Arizona border on Dec. 7, 1986.

“My father, who was a workers’ leader, was kidnapped for three months, was tortured and when they let him go was when we decided to leave,” Barcelo said.

“You all gave my family a second chance and me the opportunity to have my own family,” Barcelo said.

Cowan, who continues working in the fight for undocumented immigrants’ rights, said that the situation on the border has not changed in the past 30 years.

“This movement remains alive,” she said, “but the saddest thing is that we’re continuing to fight. The story of the undocumented immigrant continues to repeat over and over again. We see families separated, people who disappear and people who die in their attempt to cross the border.”

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United Farm Workers Union Supports Bill to Enforce Water & Shade Standards

The United Farm Workers union gave its support Monday to a bill in the California state legislature that would empower workers to enforce compliance with a law protecting them from excess heat on the job.

“At least 16 farm workers have died since 2005,” UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said, referring to the year when the original law was passed. “Since all of these deaths were preventable, it’s clear the regulation is not being enforced. Evidence exposed by our lawsuit shows the problem is in fact getting worse.”

The California Occupational Safety and Health Program, known as Cal/OSHA, is not applying the regulations for protecting workers from heat in the fields strictly enough, according to the union.

Bill AB 2346, introduced by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, a Democrat from Los Angeles, would allow farm workers “to enforce mandatory shade and drinking water requirements by taking delinquent employers to court in the tradition of a citizen’s arrest,” the UFW said.

In 2009 the UFW filed suit against the state of California proving that Cal/OSHA issued not a single summons in more than 140 cases in which its inspectors uncovered serious problems of noncompliance with laws governing the problem of excess heat.

In the summer of 2011 the UFW filed more than 75 complaints about serious illnesses caused by excess heat, but Cal/OSHA issued subpoenas in only three of those cases.

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TuesdayMarch 27, 2012