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WednesdayJuly 11, 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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HSN Narco News: Five High Ranking Members of El Chap’s Cartel Arrested

HSN Narco News: Five High Ranking Members of El Chap’s Cartel Arrested

Photo: Drug Cartels in Mexico

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Five enforcers for the Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested this week in the central state of Durango, Mexico’s federal Public Safety Department said Wednesday.

Juan David Alejandro Mendez Arizpe, 25, and Sergio Gael Rosales Palacios, 18, are accused of organizing kidnappings and murders on behalf of the cartel.

The other three suspects: Juan Manuel Hernandez Reyes, Miguel Angel Contreras Carrillo and Paulino Najera Valadez, are charged as accomplices, the department said in a statement.

The group targeted members of rival drug trafficking organizations, according to the statement.

The five men were apprehended near Ciudad Lerdo, Durango, and police also seized three assault rifles, ammunition and four vehicles, the Public Safety Department said.

Conflict among rival cartels and between criminals and the security forces has claimed more than 50,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon - whose term ends in December - militarized the struggle against drug trafficking.

To Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco click here.

To See More Narco Stories - Blog del Narco at HS NewsImageImageImage

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Indians Boo President Santos as he Arrived in Cauca -“We Don’t Want Any More Army”

Colombian Indians Boo President Santos as he Arrived in Cauca -“We Don’t Want Any More Army”

Photo: Colombian Indians Boo President Santos as he Arrived in Cauca -"We Don't Want Any More Army"

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Dozens of Colombian Indians greeted President Juan Manuel Santos with boos Wednesday in the southwestern province of Cauca and demanded he withdraw security forces from that violence-wracked region, which has been battered since last week by guerrilla attacks and army bombardments.

A preliminary casualty count indicated one boy was killed and 15 people were wounded in the incidents, which prompted Santos to hold a Cabinet meeting Wednesday in Toribio.

“We don’t want any more army or guerrillas here,” indigenous leader Carlos Andres Alfonso told Efe from the town, one of the hardest hit by fighting in that region.

The president arrived in Toribio even as a large-scale operation involving military helicopters, including airstrikes, was being carried out against Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, positions.

Santos held a closed-door meeting with his ministers to analyze the situation in the region, whose population is mostly indigenous.

Alfonso told Efe that two organizations representing Indians in Cauca, Acin and Cric, had planned to make their demands to Santos in a meeting but their request for a face-to-face was denied.

The government instead offered to maintain contacts via mid-level officials but the Indians refused, the Acin council member said.

Alfonso said that under Colombia’s constitution indigenous people are autonomous and have the right to exercise control over their territories.

“We have full legitimacy to exercise territorial control,” said Alfonso, who vowed that the Indigenous Guard will continue to dismantle military and police posts and encampments and destroy barricades.

That process began in recent days when the Indians started taking apart security force posts in Toribio and said they would enter the jungles and destroy FARC camps.

“We’ll continue asserting territorial control without asking anyone’s permission,” Alfonso said, adding that the Indians’ goal is “to live in peace and be an example of coexistence.”

Military officials said last Saturday that civilians, mostly Nasa and Paez Indians, were forced from their homes last weekend in Toribio after FARC guerrillas hid in the fields around the town and attacked officers, using snipers positioned in abandoned houses to pin down police.

Toribio Mayor Ezequiel Vitonas told Efe by telephone that same day that the FARC attacked Toribio 10 times during the first six months of this year.

Four people were killed last year in the town - one of several in Cauca frequently assaulted by the FARC - when the rebels detonated a truck packed with explosives.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC guerrilla group, which has fought a decades-old armed struggle against a succession of Colombian governments, is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups.

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Heroin Found in Shipment of Flowers from Colombia

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Heroin Found in Shipment of Flowers from Colombia

Photo: Heroin Found in Carnation Shipment

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Last week U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Miami International Airport seized .25 Kg of Heroin found in a cargo of flowers. The seizure took place during a routine examination of cargo coming from Bogota, Colombia.

The drug was found during a routine examination of flower boxes when CBP officers spotted a cylinder shaped object hidden amongst the carnations. A CBP K-9 onsite also alerted to the box.

A closer examination of the cylinder by CBP officers revealed the presence of a brown powdering substance which later tested positive for Heroin.

There were no arrests in connection with this seizure as CBP did not find a link between the shipper or the importer and the drugs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Giant Fish Created with Discarded Plastic Bottles on Brazil Beach

Giant Fish Created with Discarded Plastic Bottles on Brazil Beach

Photo: Giant Fish Created with Discarded Plastic Bottles on Brazil Beach

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Last month, beachgoers at Botafogo Beach in Rio de Janerio, Brazil received a pleasant addition to their beach experience.

As the 2012 Rio 20+ U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development was underway an artist (or perhaps a group, we don’t know) created large fish installations on the beach using discarded plastic water bottles.

Check out the impressive out in the photos below. (See more photos from Ascom Riotur’s Rio+20 album.)


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Read more by HS News Staff →

German Tourist Arrested for Trying to Smuggle Endangered Iguanas From Galapagos Islands

German Tourist Arrested for Trying to Smuggle Endangered Iguanas From Galapagos Islands

Photo: German Tourist Arrested for Trying to Smuggle Endangered Iguanas From Galapagos Islands

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The Galapagos Land Iguanas that inspired Charles Darwin during his evolution research have been endangered for a number of years, but that didn’t stop one man from trying to smuggle a few out.

A German tourist was arrested on Monday after security guards at the Baltrai airport on the Galapagos Islands. He reportedly had four of the often three-foot-long iguanas in his luggage. They yellowish lizards were found wrapped in canvas.

If convicted, the German citizen, identified only as Dirk B., could face three years in prison for environmental crimes.

Male Galapagos Land Iguanas can weight up to 30 pounds and have been seen raising themselves up to allow finches to eat ticks off their bellies.

Though there are believed to be between 5 and 10 thousand of these lizards on the Galapagos, the introduction of feral animals to the islands once caused entire populations to be wiped out.

By 1954, the Land Iguanas became extinct on Baltra Island, some claim because soldiers stationed at Baltra would shoot the lizards for fun. It was not until the 1990s that a reintroduction project was begun to bring them back to the island using the few iguanas Captain G. Allan Hancock had moved to North Seymour Island.

The translocated iguanas would become the breeding stock for the Charles Darwin Research Station captive breeding program which has successfully reintroduced the species to Baltra and a number of other areas. In 1997, scientists counted 97 Galapagos Land Iguanas on Baltra, with 13 having actually been born on the island.

Read more by HS News Staff →

DEA Installs License-Plate Recognition Devices to Deter Illegal Immigration

DEA Installs License-Plate Recognition Devices to Deter Illegal Immigration

Photo: License Plate Patrols at Border

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In their unending battle to deter illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorism, U.S. authorities already have beefed up border security with drug-sniffing dogs, aircraft and thousands more agents manning interior checkpoints.

Now, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has decided it wants more, and the Justice Department agency doesn’t care whether someone has even set foot in Mexico.

Clusters of what at first appear to be surveillance cameras have begun turning up in recent months on the Southwest border, and while some of the machines are merely surveillance cameras, others are specialized recognition devices that automatically capture license-plate numbers and the geographic location of everyone who passes by, plus the date and time.

The DEA confirms that the devices have been deployed in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico. It has plans to introduce them farther inside the United States.

Special Agent Ramona Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the DEA’s Phoenix division, said the information collected by the devices is stored for up to two years and can be shared with other federal agencies and local police. She declined to say how many have been installed or where, citing safety concerns.

Read more at G.W. Schulz for California Watch →

Dubbed “Vodka Mom” by Nancy Grace After Killing Infant Son, Woman Lights Self on Fire, Dies

Dubbed “Vodka Mom” by Nancy Grace After Killing Infant Son, Woman Lights Self on Fire, Dies

Photo: Dubbed "Vodka Mom" by Nancy Grace After Killing Infant Son, Woman Lights Self on Fire, Dies

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In November, a Minnesota mother killed her infant son when she slept on him while drunk, and made national news. The story caught the eye of HLN TV show host Nancy Grace, who dubbed her the “vodka mom,” a name picked up by numerous media outlets.

On June 8, Toni Medrano, 29, of Cottage Grove, Minnesota was charged with second-degree manslaughter for the suffocation death of her three-week-old son, Adrian on November 22.

Police say Medrano passed out on top of Adrian after drinking a fifth of vodka.

On June 11, Nancy Grace, outraged over the story, theorized the infant was found purple because Medrano had been sleeping on him for hours. To give viewers an idea of how much a vodka Medrano had consumed the night the infant suffocated, Grace poured out a fifth of vodka into glasses. When the bottle was empty, she had poured about 9 glasses.

Adding to the nation’s anger was the fact that the mother’s husband, Jason Medrano, had come home the night before to find his wife drunk and sleeping on the couch with the baby. He warned her that doing that was dangerous for the baby. The next morning, she woke her husband up saying, “The baby is dead.”

Grace’s recent coverage of the “vodka mom” came 3 days after Medrano was charged with second-degree manslaughter.

“Why no murder one charges?” Grace asked angrily.

Medrano’s sister told the Star Tribune the mother was “shaking and couldn’t take a breath” as they watched Grace’s show.

‘She got depressed and said life wasn’t worth living. She said she couldn’t live with herself.”

Following Grace’s show, Medrano was seeing a number of hateful comments online, many calling her a terrible person and mother.

On July 2, at around 4:01 a.m., Medrano went into her mother’s backyard, doused herself in a flammable liquid and lit herself on fire. On July 7, Medrano died as a result of her injuries at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.


Watch Nancy Grace’s segment about “Vodka Mom” below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Humanitarian Aid Shipment in Fifty Years Leaves U.S. to Cuba

First Humanitarian Aid Shipment in Fifty Years Leaves U.S. to Cuba

Photo: Humanitarian Aid to Cuba from U.S.

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The first direct maritime shipment of merchandise between Miami and Havana in more than five decades is being made on Wednesday, with the cargo ship Ana Cecilia due to set sail for Cuba loaded with humanitarian aid items.

“This is about the first direct shipment that’s going to go there in 50 years,” a spokesman for International Port Corp., the company in charge of the shipment, told Efe.

According to shipment organizers, this is the first time in the 50 years that the U.S. embargo has been in effect against Cuba that a U.S.-flagged ship has departed for the island loaded with merchandise, but they hastened to add that the humanitarian items are not going to be resold in Cuba.

Up to now, only agricultural products bought by the Cuban government have been shipped by sea to Havana from the United States.

The vessel was scheduled to set sail at noon from the cargo terminal on the Miami River for the port of Havana, some 370 kilometers (229 miles) away.

IPC, which is based in Miami, has obtained the appropriate licenses required for such a shipment from the U.S. Commerce Department and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.

The start of this service is a sign of a certain flexibility in relations between Cuba and the United States after, in recent years, restrictions on remittances and travel to the island have been eased by Washington.

According to IPC, the Ana Cecilia is scheduled to arrive in Havana on Thursday at 7 a.m. and thereafter to make a weekly Miami-Havana run.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Army Finds Drug Tunnel With Electricty Leading to Arizona (VIDEO)

Mexican Army Finds Drug Tunnel With Electricty Leading to Arizona (VIDEO)

Photo: Mexican Army Finds Drug Tunnel With Electricty Leading to Arizona

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Another tunnel used for smuggling drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border has been discovered, this one by Mexico’s Ministry of National Defence.

The tunnel, which stretches about 755 feet and goes as far as 59 feet under the surface, ran from the Mexican state of Sonora to San Luis, Arizona.

On the Arizona end, the tunnel opened up in an unopened business. On the other end, the tunnel opened in San Luis Rio Colorado, in Sonora.

With a height of just over four feet, the tunnel had electricity for lights, ventilation, and was wide enough to push drug-filled carts under the border.

Authorities are still trying to determine who was using and who constructed the tunnel.

This is the 22 tunnel of this kind found in the last three years. Underground passages have become increasingly popular in recent years as border security has become much tighter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Soccer Team Asks Fans to Show Support in ‘Blood’

Brazilian Soccer Team Asks Fans to Show Support in ‘Blood’

Photo: RC Victoria Team Jerseys

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EC Vitória, the Brazilian soccer team famous for their red and black jerseys are making some changes and asking their fans for help.  In an effort to raise awareness as well as blood donations, the team has eliminated the color red from their jerseys and begun a campaign entitled, ‘Meu Sange é Rubro-Negro’ (My Blood is Red and Black.) 

They hope to slowly increase the red in their jerseys as their fans show their own support and donate blood.  When the team’s donation goal has been met, the color red will be fully restored on the jersey. 

The campaign’s promotional ads can be seen on Facebook and other social media outlets.  In the ads, fans are asked to take pictures of themselves donating blood while reminding them that their team, Vitória, has always bled for them, now it’s their turn to show their support and give back. 

Beginning such a positive campaign is a big move in the soccer world where sponsors pay top dollar for the opportunity to advertise their names on the players’ jerseys.  Real Estate Company, OAS Imóveis, will enjoy the spotlight on Vitória’s jersey during this campaign.

Read more at Good Company →

LATINO BLOTTER: Inmate Holds 2 Hostage With Plastic Spoon…Yes, Really

LATINO BLOTTER: Inmate Holds 2 Hostage With Plastic Spoon…Yes, Really

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Inmate Holds 2 Hostage With Plastic Spoon...Yes, Really

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An inmate at a New Mexico jail has been transferred to another facility after he used an eating utensil to hold to fellow inmates hostage.

Officials say 21-year-old Joshua Martinez, who was being held at Doña Ana County Detention Center while he testified in a criminal case, used a plastic spoon to hold two inmates hostage, one who had his hands tied with a t-shirt.

ImagePersonnel managed to talk Martinez down and convinced him to let his captives go. No one was injured and officials say force was not needed. Martinez has since been transferred to the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility.

The incident occurred on July 4 and Martinez is being charged two second-degree felonies – kidnapping and false imprisonment.


A spoon? Luckily it wasn’t a spork. Things could have gotten out of hand if he’d had a spork.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Spanish Austerity Unveiled – Low Pay & Higher Taxes – Received with Protests

New Spanish Austerity Unveiled – Low Pay & Higher Taxes – Received with Protests

Photo: Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy Announces More Austerity

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The new conservative government of Spain has announced further steps to reduce the deficit and new austerity measures in order to obtain a Euro bailout, all of which was met with protests.

The new measures are defined by lower pay and higher taxes.  The Value Added Tax (VAT) for goods and services will go up by 3 points to 21 percent.  The austerity plan is also proposing cuts in unemployment benefits and cuts in civil servants paychecks. 

This news was not been received well with thousands protesting the proposed measures today. CNN is reporting more than 70 people were injured in clashes with police today. 

The country’s unemployment rate stands at almost 25 percent while thousands of families have been evicted from their homes after falling behind on their mortgages.

For now pensions were not touched by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.  Overall, there is fear that these measures will put Spain into a further economic recession.

The up to 100 billion euros ($122.7 billion) in aid the Eurogroup has approved for Spain’s troubled banks will be disbursed over the next 18 months, with the first installment due by the end of July, the Spanish economy minister announce this week. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sofia Vergara Engaged?

Sofia Vergara Engaged?

Photo: Is Sofa Vergara Engaged?

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Multiple entertainment sources are reporting that Colombian hottie, Sofia Vergara on her 40th birthday got engaged to long-time beau Nick Loeb, 37, in Mexico.

However, spokesmen from the ‘Modern Family’ actresses pr office have denied the engagement to Peopleenespanol.com.  Vergara, Loeb, family and friends were with the actress celebrating her birthday in Chichen Itza, when news of an engagement went viral.

The rumors started when Vergara and Fernando Fiore, her former co-host on the Univision travel show ‘Fuera de Serie’, were photographed during the vacation, with the actress donning a large ring on her left hand.  Then Fiore wrote “Hoy hubo otra GRAN sorpresa pero NO voy a contar”. (Today there was a great surprise but I am not going to say what it was.)

The couple has been dating on and off since 2010 and most recently off, when they split in May.  Meanwhile, millionaire Loeb has been busy fighting off rumors of drug-fueled parties with prostitutes. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sugar Cane Liquor with Methanol Kills 24 in Honduras

Sugar Cane Liquor with Methanol Kills 24 in Honduras

Photo: 24 Killed in Honduras Alcohol Poisoning

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Honduran health authorities confirmed Tuesday that 24 people died over the past two weeks in this Central American country from drinking aguardiente, a liquor distilled from sugar cane, that had been adulterated with methanol.

The head of epidemicological security for the Health Secretariat, Tomas Guevara, told Efe that another 24 people were poisoned by the bad booze.

He added that of the fatalities, 11 died in the Tegucigalpa Teaching Hospital and 13 at their homes in the city of Siguatepeque, 113 kilometers (70 miles) north of the Honduran capital.

“The Attorney General’s Office found in the autopsies that there was methanol in the bodies of the victims,” Guevara said.

Some of the 24 survivors remain at Santa Teresa Hospital in Comayagua, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Tegucigalpa.

Health authorities are also investigating the death of a man on Monday, presumably from drinking aguardiente laced with methanol, in the western municipality of Jesus de Otoro.

The spokesperson for the AG’s office, Issa Alvarado, told Efe that authorities are “studying the alcohol that was seized in Siguatepeque and Comayagua to see if it is adulterated.”

Up to now, authorities have confiscated more than 600 liters (160 gallons) of aguardiente that will be destroyed Tuesday, according to media accounts.

Due to the proliferation of deaths from the sale of tainted alcohol, municipal authorities in Siguatepeque banned the sale of liquor for three days.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Missing Indians Involved in Land Dispute Turn Up Dead in Mexico

Missing Indians Involved in Land Dispute Turn Up Dead in Mexico

Photo: Purepecha Indians Killed in Mexico

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The two Indians who disappeared over the weekend in the western Mexican state of Michoacan were found dead in a rural area outside the city of Zacapu, members of the Purepecha community told Efe.

Guadalupe Jeronimo and Urbano Macias, who lived in the rebel city of Cheran, disappeared on Sunday in the forested Meseta Purepecha while herding cattle.

State police launched a land and air search for the two men after being notified by Indian leaders on Monday morning that they were missing.

The Purepecha community, the largest Indian group in Michoacan, called on the state government Tuesday to clear up the killings and threatened to take justice into its own hands if no arrests were made soon.

More than 100 Indians occupied the Legislative Palace in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, on Tuesday afternoon to pressure the state government to identify and arrest the murderers.

Michoacan Attorney General’s Office investigators are working on the theory that the two men may have been abducted by Purepecha Indians from the rival community of El Cerecito.

Macias’s family said he contacted them by telephone on Sunday night and told them he and his friend had been abducted by people from El Cerecito.

Cheran and El Cerecito have been fighting for more than 20 years over the forests of the Meseta Purepecha.

Eight Indians from the two communities died in a shootout triggered by the land dispute on April 18.

Cheran residents refuse to recognize the people of El Cerecito as Indians, contending they are illegal loggers working with drug traffickers.

Cheran, where some 4,500 Indians live, is located 123 kilometers (76 miles) from Morelia, the capital of Michoacan.

The community is in the heart of the Meseta Purepecha, where Indians announced last year that they would no longer recognize the federal, state and municipal governments because officials could not protect their forests from the illegal loggers who work with organized crime groups.

Cheran is governed by the Purepecha High Council under traditional law.

The community has been barricaded for more than a year to protect residents from organized crime groups.

The Indians have set up checkpoints at Cheran’s five entrances, even keeping out the police.

Cheran did not participate in Mexico’s July 1 general elections.

Read more by HS News Staff →

2012 L.A. Latino Film Festival Suspended Due to Lack of Funding

2012 L.A. Latino Film Festival Suspended Due to Lack of Funding

Photo: 2012 L.A. Latino Film Festival Suspended Due to Lack of Funding

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The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, which marked its 15th anniversary last year, will not be held in 2012 due to a lack of funding, the Los Angeles Times said.

“We don’t like to call it canceled. We are regrouping,” LALIFF co-founder and executive director Marlene Dermer said. “But we will still be trying to do some special anniversary screenings, a day of shorts, some membership and networking events to keep our audience happy.”

She said the decision to postpone LALIFF until 2013 was announced upon the advice of the festival’s management last week.

Over the years, Dermer said, “we had made some marketing cuts and programming cuts. It is an expensive venture. We are in Hollywood. If we were in Wisconsin, we’d be the big cheese and everyone would give us stuff for free.”

The festival was founded in 1997 by actor Edward James Olmos, along with Dermer, and each year it has been organized through the Los Angeles Film Institute.

The last edition of LALIFF featured films such as “Without Men,” “Chico y Rita” and “Hidalgo, la historia jamas contada” (Hidalgo, the Untold Story) among others.

Read more by HS News Staff →



WednesdayJuly 11, 2012