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SaturdayJune 2, 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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Bolivia Destroyed 250 Cocaine Labs This Week

Bolivia Destroyed 250 Cocaine Labs This Week

Photo: El De­ber

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Bolivian police dismantled nearly 250 cocaine laboratories in recent days in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, the FELCN drug enforcement agency said.

The operation was carried out in the hamlets of San German, Nuevo Horizonte, Kilometro 35 and Kilometro 40, located in the western portion of the province, the agency said in a statement.

On Thursday, authorities destroyed 91 laboratories in San German, a hamlet 154 kilometers (95 miles) northwest of the city of Santa Cruz, the provincial capital, while on Friday 158 others were dismantled in the other three villages, the statement said.

Authorities seized 30 kilos (66 pounds) of drugs; 25 vehicles; more than 10,000 liters (2,640 gallons) of gasoline, bicarbonate and sulfuric acid; bags of coca leaves, the source of cocaine; and two homes.

Drug enforcement agents on Wednesday destroyed a clandestine runway that drug traffickers were likely using to send up to 300 kilos of drugs every 20 days to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Authorities also arrested 18 people, 13 of whom have since been released due to lack of evidence of ties to drug trafficking, local media reported.

The area where the labs were destroyed borders the central region of Chapare, the Andean nation’s main coca-producing region.

Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of coca and cocaine after Colombia and Peru and the largest supplier of these drugs to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and other Southern Cone countries, the United Nations says.

The representative in Bolivia of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Peru’s Cesar Guedes, on Friday hailed the police operation in Santa Cruz and urged authorities “not to rest on their laurels” and allow a resurgence of drug trafficking in that region.

“The problem hasn’t gone away because a large amount of laboratories was destroyed in one place ... The important thing is to have the direct intervention, but also to follow up on it to prevent this from continuing,” he said.

Bolivia, like neighboring Peru, allows cultivation of coca in limited amounts for legal uses in cooking, folk medicine and Andean religious rites.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who came to prominence as the leader of coca growers in Chapare, has largely moved away from forced eradication of coca while stepping up efforts against drug traffickers, with record seizures of cocaine.

He has also sought to promote additional legal applications for coca, which in its unadulterated form is a mild stimulant comparable to caffeine.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Agrees to Visit By U.N. Rapporteur on Torture

Cuba pledged Friday to allow a visit by the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, whose predecessor tried unsuccessfully to obtain authorization to visit the Caribbean island.

The jurist and member of the U.N. Committee against Torture, Fernando Mariño, told Efe that the Cuban delegates who took part in the session in which the situation in his country was reviewed, “committed themselves to arranging a visit” by Juan Mendez, though he gave no specific date.

If that is done, “there would be an independent, competent international agency able to travel everywhere prisoners are held and would report autonomously on what goes on there,” he said.

For Cuba it would mean showing “that it has no political fear of a checkup by foreign organizations.”

The U.N. Committee against Torture also said in its report Friday that it was concerned about the continued complaints of arbitrary arrests for brief periods in Cuba, practiced against members of the political opposition, defenders of human rights and independent journalists.

Cuba has denied any such increase in this kind of arrests without a court order and moreover maintains that there are no political prisoners on the Communist-ruled island, instead referring to these individuals as “mercenaries” at the service of the United States.

Cuba has come under heavy criticism from the United States and Europe in recent years for locking up dissidents, most notably a group of 75 political opponents who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2003.

London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International had adopted all of the Group of 75 as prisoners of conscience and Havana came under international pressure to release them after one member, Orlando Zapata, died following a lengthy hunger strike in February 2010.

After Spanish-backed talks between the Castro regime and the island’s Catholic hierarchy, all of the Group of 75 members still behind bars were released last year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. and Peru Hold Environment Meetings

U.S. and Peru Hold Environment Meetings

Photo: Peru's vast wildlife population is threatened

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The Governments of the United States and Peru convened a series of environmental meetings related to the U.S. - Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) from in Washington, D.C.

Peru and the U.S. reviewed the progress that has been made to ensure effective implementation of, and compliance with, the obligations under the Environment Chapter of the PTPA. They highlighted key steps each country has undertaken in the past year to strengthen efforts to provide for high levels of environmental protection and discussed details of an independent secretariat called for under the PTPA to receive and consider submissions claiming that a party is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws.

Officials discussed Peru’s efforts to develop regulations to implement its new Forestry and Wildlife Law and processes to audit and verify timber producers and exporters.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Panama to Reduce Vulnerability to Natural Disasters with $100 Million Investment

Panama to Reduce Vulnerability to Natural Disasters with $100 Million Investment

Photo: Flooding aftermath in Panama

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan for $100 million to help Panama reduce its vulnerability to natural disasters and the effects of climate change.

The program is designed to improve risk management, reduce potential economic losses caused by natural events, and strengthen the country’s capacity to adapt to climate change.

Panama could incur losses from natural events equivalent to an estimated 5.4 percent to 9.0 percent of its GDP, according to the Disaster Deficit Index, which analyzes a country’s economic capacity to deal with catastrophic events every 100 years. As such, Panama lacks sufficient resources to cope with significant losses and reconstruct affected infrastructure.

Panama’s vulnerability to natural events has been increasing as a result of rapid urban growth, infrastructure development in areas at risk, intensive land use changes, and environmental degradation of watersheds. Economically vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and tourism, as well as the Panama Canal watershed, face particularly high risks.

In the last decade, the Panamanian government has declared a state of emergency on eight occasions. The most recent was in December 2010, when heavy and prolonged rains forced the closing of the Panama Canal (for only the fourth time in the canal’s 96 years of operation) and also left much of Panama City without drinking water for several weeks.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Messi, Forlan to Play World Soccer Masters Tour in Miami

Messi, Forlan to Play World Soccer Masters Tour in Miami

Photo: World Soccer Masters Tour

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Many of the biggest names soccer, including Lionel Messi, who is arguably the best player in the game today, come together for one of 2012’s most memorable matches. The World Soccer Masters Tour will take place at Sun Life Stadium on June 23 at 7 p.m.

Joining Messi, three-time winner of Balloon D’Or, will be Diego Forlan, best player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Didier Drogba, Dani Alvez and Javier Mascherano and many more.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and are available as low as $25.

Sun Life Stadium will also host Chelsea vs. AC Milan on July 28. The game will be the final leg of a four game tour for Chelsea. Sun Life Stadium has become one of the premier locations for international soccer having hosted FC Barcelona against Chivas Guadalajara last August, drawing 70,080 fans; and last February, 51,615 saw Colombia take on Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Help Immigrants Taken an Important Step on Path to Citizenship

Help Immigrants Taken an Important Step on Path to Citizenship

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed an important change to its regulations which would help alleviate the family separation and financial hardship currently encountered by some immigrants who are seeking legal permanent residence (LPR) and have U.S. citizen relatives.  The proposed rule would enable these immigrants to apply for a waiver they may need to obtain their LPR status while living in the United States.  Under current procedures, they must return to their home countries before beginning the waiver process, which can last up to a year or longer. Thus, the proposed rule will encourage eligible immigrants who are fearful about lengthy absences from their families to regularize their status.  While the proposed rule is a positive step toward improving these procedures, it could go further, and extend relief to thousands more of our friends, families, colleagues, and clients. 

As civic leaders and elected officials with firsthand knowledge of the concerns of Latino immigrants and their American families, your input is influential and critical to improving the rule. NALEO have provided you with a sample comment letter and instructions for submitting the comments .  If you represent an organization that works with immigrants seeking LPR status, NALEO encourages you to add to the letter stories of your clients and stakeholders who might benefit from this proposed rule change. 

Additional Background

    Under current immigration law, certain immigrants can obtain LPR status through petitions filed by U.S. citizen relatives. However, when these immigrants are in the United States without authorization, they must return to their countries of origin in order to regularize their status. If these immigrants have been in the United States without authorization for at least six months, they will be subject to a 3- or 10-year bar on re-entering the United States.  The only way around the prohibition is to seek a waiver by showing that U.S.-based family members of the immigrants will suffer extreme hardship during their absence.
    Under present procedures, waiver applicants are required to return to their home countries before beginning the waiver process, which can last up to a year or longer.
    USCIS proposes allowing certain applicants to submit waiver requests and await decisions in the United States.  This change would eliminate an unnecessary and painful period of family separation for many.  It would also encourage more individuals to pursue LPR status: at present, a significant number decide not to follow up on approved visa applications for fear of the extended separation they will be forced to undergo in the interim.
    The proposed rule is a step in the right direction, but would exclude many immigrants who are eligible for waivers and who should benefit from this common-sense procedural change.  In addition, the proposed rule does not allow immigrants to appeal denied waiver requests, and declines to define “extreme hardship,” which has been interpreted narrowly and inconsistently by USCIS employees.
    It is critical that USCIS hear from as many stakeholders as possible that expanding the scope of the proposed rule will not only benefit immigrant communities but also increase the efficiency of Department of Homeland Security operations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

No-Han: Santana Pitches the Mets First No-Hitter!

No-Han: Santana Pitches the Mets First No-Hitter!

Photo: Franciney Horodyski

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Coming into Friday night’s game the New York Mets played 8,019 games without a no hitter. That all changed on game 8,020.

During spring training Santana and the Mets didn’t even know if the lefty would even pitch Opening Day. Santana the ace of the New York Mets underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder in September of 2010. It’s the kind of injury known to ruin pitchers’ careers. Santana would miss all of the 2011 season.

Santana has been on a pitch count of about 110 all season, so with six outs to go Mets manager Terry Collins had to make a tough decision with Santana’s pitch count at 119. 

According to Santana during the bottom of the seventh inning, as the Mets opened an 8-0 lead, Collins found Santana at the end of the dugout. “How are you doing?” Collins asked him. “I feel great,” Santana said. Collins was overcome with emotion. “You’re my hero,” he told Santana. Collins was in the hot seat.  Do you keep your ace in the game or take him out?

Top of the eighth inning came and Santana headed to the mound. 27,069 fans stood on their feet and when the eighth was over you could hear the hearts of the fans beating. During the ninth Santana had to face the heart of the Cardinals line-up. Matt Holliday lined out to center field. Two outs to go. Allen Craig flied out to left field. One to go. Last batter David Freese, Santana fell behind 3-0 and came back to strike out Freeze swinging.

Written by HS News Sports Writer: Tim Horodyski

Read more by HS News Staff →

Salsa Icon Celia Cruz Wins “Iconic American” Contest At The Smithsonian

Salsa Icon Celia Cruz Wins “Iconic American” Contest At The Smithsonian

Photo: Celia Cruz

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Late Cuban-American salsa icon Celia Cruz was voted the winner of the Smithsonian’s Frame an Iconic American contest and will be the subject of a biographical portrait to be exhibited at that institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington.

The museum gave Internet users the chance to choose one of five historical figures to be memorialized in the portrait, which will be created by acclaimed photographic artist Robert Weingarten and unveiled in the fall.

Cruz beat out Audie Murphy (1925-1971), a highly decorated World War II soldier and movie star; Alice Paul (1885-1977), a key figure in the women’s suffrage movement; Samuel Morse (1791-1872), co-inventor of the Morse code; and Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an escaped slave who became a social reformer and leader of the abolitionist movement.

Cruz (1925-2003), born in Havana and known internationally as the “Queen of Salsa,” was the winner with 11,000 votes, according to the museum, which highlighted her “multifaceted story of immigration, music, and entertainment.”

Weingarten constructs his works by creating a collage of images that represent the essence of his subject, according to the museum, which is asking the general public to assist in the project by indicate what words must be used in describing the life of the salsa legend.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rare Event Caught in Argentina as Glacier Flips (VIDEO)

Rare Event Caught in Argentina as Glacier Flips (VIDEO)

Photo: Argentina Glacier

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In a stroke of luck a tourist caught a rare event in Argentina and posted the results on YouTube. The Glacier flip It took place near the Upsala Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, notes the Daily Mail.

About 15 seconds into the clip, the top of the iceberg begins to sink into the water.

As it disappears beneath the surface, previously-unseen ice from the bottom rises out of the water, creating waves and spray.

The glacier, which stretches for 60 kilometres, was once the biggest in South America, but scientific tests suggest it is disappearing at a rate of 200 metres per year.

Excursions to the area are popular among holidaymakers visiting the south of Argentina.


Related Videos

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Florida Congressman Introduces His Complicated, Onerous Alternative To The DREAM Act

Florida Congressman Introduces His Complicated, Onerous Alternative To The DREAM Act

Photo: Rep. David Rivera (R-FL)

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Immigration remains a divisive issue for Republicans, with a faction of the party backing anti-immigrant laws while others are more moderate. On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney tried to straddle the divide. He first promised to veto the DREAM Act to win over hard right primary voters, before saying in April that he would be OK with the legislation for people who serve in the military. And Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who endorsed Romney, has promised to introduce his own version of the DREAM Act by the end of the summer, but that puts him at odds with another Romney supporter, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who dismissed the bill as a gimmick.

Now, another Florida Republican has introduced another alternative to the DREAM Act in the House. Rep. David Rivera’s (R-FL) bill would offer undocumented immigrants the chance to receive conditional non-immigrant status. But under the Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status — or STARS — Act, only undocumented immigrants who are 18 or younger and meet a laundry list of requirements would be eligible:

“The STARS Act would allow undocumented students who arrived here at a young age, graduated from high school and are accepted into a university, to apply for a five-year conditional non-immigrant status,” Rivera said in floor remarks.

According to an aide, Rivera has had discussions with Rubio over their proposals.

“Congressman Rivera has had discussion about the STARS Act with Sen. Rubio, but the congressman recognizes that the House and Senate each have their own legislative process,” the aide said. “The STARS Act is meant to start the conversation in the House of Representatives in the hopes of achieving some sort of immigration reform in the 112th Congress.”

If they graduate from a four year college during that first five-year period, they can then apply for another five years after graduating college. Then, during the second five-year period and after thousands of dollars in fees, they could apply for legal permanent residence. Once granted, it would be another five years before they could apply for citizenship.

In other words, Rivera has proposed a complicated process for a very limited portion of the undocumented population living in the U.S. right now — and one that many of his fellow Republicans likely will not take seriously. House Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) has already said he would not hold a hearing on the DREAM Act in his committee, and Rivera said Smith has not said yes to his legislation.

Unlike Rubio, Rivera recognizes the importance of providing a clear path to permanent status and eventually citizenship. But if Rivera was serious about offering a path to citizenship for undocumented students, there’s already a plan for that — and it’s called the DREAM Act.

Read more about Rep. Rivera’s alternative to the DREAM Act on ThinkProgress’s website

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Shocks Bosnia Late

Mexico Shocks Bosnia Late

Photo: The Mexico v. Bosnia match took place 5/31/12

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A last gasp winner from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was the difference in Mexico’s 2-1 victory over Bosnia this week.

The match was played at Solider Field in Chicago and over 51,000 people braved the rain and cool temperature to watch the international friendly.

Hernandez scored the goal in the dying minutes after several defensive errors by Bosnia defenders. The ball ended up at the feet of the Manchester United forward and he beat goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Mexico drew first flood in the sixth minute through Aldo De Nigris. Bosnia replied just before the half-hour mark on a goal from Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko.

The atmosphere was electric at Solider Field. Typically when Mexico plays in Chicago there is an overwhelming majority of fans of El Tri. However, there was almost an equal moment of Bosnia supporters on Thursday. Throughout the match fans chanted to encourage their players, which demonstrated great pride toward their country.

This match proved that Solider Field is one of the premier destinations in America to host international soccer because of fans and atmosphere.

Written by HS News Sports Writer:  Nate Jacobson

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Law Professors Agree: Obama Has Executive Power To Provide Relief To Dreamers

Law Professors Agree: Obama Has Executive Power To Provide Relief To Dreamers

Photo: DREAM Act

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Since the DREAM Act was narrowly defeated in Congress in December 2010, DREAMers around the country have been calling on President Obama to provide executive relief to immigrant youth and their families.  However, the Obama Administration has repeatedly stalled, saying that they lack the legal authority to grant this type of relief.

Legal experts disagree.  On a press call Friday, legal experts in conjunction with DREAM leaders discussed the details of a newly released memo to the White House, in which nearly 100 law professors have outlined the legal mechanisms by which the President could grant executive relief.

“The water shouldn’t be muddled by doubt of executive authority,” said Hiroshi Motomura, the Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law at UCLA and one of the memo’s signers, during the call.  “There is definitely executive authority.  There is not just legal authority but historical authority.  Not only that, but there is a degree of surprise [among the law professors] that there could be any doubt about this question.”

The law professors’ memo is only the latest salvo in the ongoing campaign to prompt action from the President.  In April 2011, 22 US Senators sent a letter asking Obama to provide relief for DREAMers; a month later, a number of former INS officials weighed in on the authority of the executive branch.  Last month, the United We DREAM network launched the “Right to DREAM” campaign featuring rallies, marches, and protests around the country.  Leaders from United We DREAM have also in recent days met with senior White House officials and key Congressional offices, including five Republican Senators or their staff.  Their message is always the same: DREAMers and their families need relief from deportation, and they need it now.

As Lorella Praeli, a United We DREAM leader, said during the call:

White House officials have repeatedly stated that ‘the only permanent solution is legislation in Congress,’ and that the ‘President is doing everything within his power.’ Let there be no mistake–we will continue to push Congress to pass a federal DREAM Act, but we must also hold President Obama to the same standards. The facts are clear: the President is not doing everything he can on this issue.  It’s high time that he deliver on empty promises and use his executive authority to bring much needed reprieve to all DREAMers.

President Obama’s term so far has seen more than one million deportations—more than any other president, including former President Bush.  The pain of these deportations could cause Obama significant trouble this year as he works to mobilize Latino voters for his reelection effort.  Short of comprehensive immigration reform and legislation like the DREAM Act, the DREAMers argue, the President needs to curb these deportations and provide relief for young immigrants and their families.

That’s something he definitely has the power to do, all speakers on today’s call stressed.  As Michael Olivas, Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center said, “It’s never been a question of legal authority.  It’s been about political will.”

Read more at Americas Voice Online →

LULAC Announces 2012 Voter Registration Campaign

LULAC announces the launch of its 2012 Voter Registration campaign, “The Future is in Your Hands: Vote”. LULAC is committed to ensuring that Latino issues are an integral part of the upcoming general election.

“The Latino community cannot afford to stand by and let issues like education, immigration and healthcare, be decided by leaders who fail to understand the issues critical to our community,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “Registering to vote and voting is the only way to ensure that we have elected officials who will advocate for the Latino community. I encourage all LULAC Councils to get involved with the LULAC campaign, The Future is in Your Hands: Vote!”

What does the “2012 The Future is in your Hands: Vote” campaign mean?

The goal is to educate and register 60,000 Latinos to vote in the 2012 elections by working directly with the LULAC membership and community based organizations which will provide capacity building, training resources, and educational tools. Education is a key component to ensuring that our community is well versed on the candidates and their positions on issues. Another integral component of our campaign is to ensure that all Latinos vote in an environment without fear of intimidation at the polls. To that end, LULAC is committed to training teams of advocates regarding the voter I.D. laws in their local areas.

Why is engaging Latinos to vote important?

We call on the LULAC membership at large to engage in a grassroot effort to register friends, family, co-workers, and community members, to vote in the upcoming election. By registering 60,000 members of the Latino community, the LULAC campaign will help ensure that the issues of concern for the Latino community are a key part of the political discussion leading up to the election. This can only happen if Latinos exercise their right to vote on Election Day in unprecedented numbers. To receive more information and enroll in the campaign please fill out the form.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hundreds of Brazilian Municipalities in Emergency Situations as Drought Continues

Hundreds of Brazilian Municipalities in Emergency Situations as Drought Continues

Photo: Hundreds of Brazilian Municipalities in Emergency Situations as Drought Continues

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A total of 800 municipalities in northeastern Brazil are in an emergency situation because of the drought, after the government announced Friday that 25 more cities in Pariaba state are in that plight.

When a city is declared in an emergency, the national emergency management agency must guarantee its population access to aid programs and must grant subsidies to farmers whose crops are damaged.

National Integration Minister Fernando Bezerra Coelho analyzed the situation this week at a meeting with regional lawmakers to formulate a plan of action capable of minimizing the effects of drought in the area.

The government made available to the municipalities an emergency line of credit worth a total of 1 billion reais (some $500 million) with subsidized interest, so that the money reaches the local economy.

In the state of Bahia, 2.7 million people have been affected by the lack of rain, according to Cordec, Bahia’s emergency management office.

The drought is also parching municipalities in the states of Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte.

In all these regions, local governments have had to contract cistern trucks to supply the hardest hit cities with water.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Castro Knew About JFK Assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald, New Book Claims

Castro Knew About JFK Assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald, New Book Claims

Photo: John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro

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Former Cuban President Fidel Castro knew that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was going to be shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, former CIA analyst Brian Latell says in his new book, “Castro’s Secrets. The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine.”

“There’s no doubt that Fidel Castro has lied for more than 49 years about what he knew regarding the assassination of President Kennedy,” Latell said during a presentation Thursday at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Latell, the retired chief of the CIA’s National Intelligence Office for Latin America between 1990-1994, has been observing Castro since the 1960s.

“Fidel knew there would be a shooting in Texas,” Latell said.

Hours before the slaying, the young Cuban agent Florentino Aspillaga, in charge of intercepting from the island the radio communications of the CIA station in Miami and tracking the movements of CIA ships that could carry out clandestine operations against Castro, received a somewhat unusual order.

“Suspend all your efforts against the CIA and focus all your equipment, antennas and attention on Texas,” Latell said, citing conversations with Aspillaga, who defected in 1987 and agreed in 2007 to be interviewed by the former analyst to tell his story.

“They knew. Fidel knew about it,” Latell says Aspillaga, who was once head of Cuban secret services, told him.

He also said, according to Latell, that the regime had information about the killer Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald, a Communist sympathizer and supporter of the Cuban regime, visited Cuba in Sept. 1963 with the intention of fighting for “uncle Fidel,” as he called him.

There is no evidence that the assassin collaborated with Cuban intelligence services, but even so the authorities hid what they knew about Oswald “out of fear,” according to the author.

In the Kennedy era, the two presidents were sworn enemies and Castro thought that Washington would blame Havana and try to invade the island in reprisal for the assassination.

The author has compared Aspillaga’s revelations with interviews of more than 60 CIA officers and FBI agents along with some government officials, most of them retired, as well as close to 50,000 declassified documents available at the National Archives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Receives $400m To Benefit Forestry Programs

Mexico Receives $400m To Benefit Forestry Programs

Photo: The Sierra Madre Occidental

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Mexico received $392 million, of which $350 million are a loan from the World Bank and $42 million are from the Forest Investment Program, or FIP, for developing woodlands, officials said.

The Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat said Thursday that the funds will be channeled through the National Forestry Commission, or Conafor, to finance over the next few years a variety of forestry projects aimed at fighting climate change.

The $42 million granted by the FIP are a combined loan plus donation from that organization, which numbers Australia, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Spain, Britain and the United States among its members, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said.

The director of Conafor, Juan Manuel Torres Rojo, said that with these funds the Woodland and Climate Change Project will aid peasant communities that participate as volunteers in forestry activities.

The program also includes payment for environmental services, land-use planning, sustainable protection and management, as well as the processing and marketing of timber and non-timber assets.

He added that the project is expected to benefit more than 4,000 communities nationwide.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Brazilian President Lula Looking to Run Again If Rousseff Does Not Seek Re-election

Former Brazilian President Lula Looking to Run Again If Rousseff Does Not Seek Re-election

Photo: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a televisión interview that he will be a presidential candidate in 2014 if current President Dilma Rousseff does not stand for reelection.

“The only hypothesis under which I would run again is if she doesn’t. I’ll only be a candidate if she doesn’t want to be,” Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, said in response to a question about a possible third term.

“I’m not going to let some toucan (a nickname for members of the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party) be president of Brazil again,” Lula told SBT television.

The ex-president, in his first interview since doctors pronounced him cured of the cancer of the larynx for which he was diagnosed last year, admitted that the possibility is unlikely since Rousseff, with a popularity has high as his own, has everything it takes to be reelected.

“President Dilma Rousseff will be very strong at the end of her term in office,” Lula, who is considered the architect of his successor’s election, said.

Lula said that from now on, having recovered from his illness, he will spend his time promoting the candidacies of members of the Workers Party, or PT, in the October municipal elections.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Police Officers Who Burned Dogs Alive Will Be Fired, Says Colombian Mayor

Police Officers Who Burned Dogs Alive Will Be Fired, Says Colombian Mayor

Photo: Two dogs were killed

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The police officers who burned two dogs alive while clearing homeless people out of a camp in Colombia’s capital will be fired, Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro said.

The incident occurred in San Cristobal, a southern suburb of the capital, and outraged residents.

“Any member of the police who abuses his power as a public servant in Bogota will be fired by the commander of Bogota’s Metropolitan Police, Brigadier General Luis Eduardo Martinez,” Petro said in a posting on Twitter.

“The members of the police who incinerated animals in Bogota will be fired,” the mayor said.

Officers were sent to clear out two homeless men who had camped in a field under plastic tarps with their dogs.

The officers sprayed the make-shift camp with gasoline when the men refused to leave, eyewitnesses told Colombian television.

The two terrified men managed to get away when the shelter caught fire, but the dogs burned alive because they were tied down, eyewitnesses said.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SaturdayJune 2, 2012