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MondayAugust 20, 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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Violent Prison Gang Conflict Leaves 25 Dead and 43 Injured in Venezuela

A battle between heavily armed inmate gangs at the Yare I prison near Caracas left 25 people dead and 43 others injured, Venezuela’s minister of penitentiaries said Monday.

Among those killed in Sunday’s confrontation was an inmate’s relative present for visiting day, while the toll of the injured includes 14 other visiting family members, Iris Varela said.

Authorities suspect the fight began when someone fired a shot as leaders of the rival gangs were holding a discussion, the minister told reporters.

The initial investigation also points to culpability on the part of both uniformed and civilian prison personnel and some inmates’ relatives, Varela said.

“Those who put the guns here in the prison are just as responsible for the deaths as the people who pulled the triggers,” she said, promising a “good investigation.”

The Venezuelan government says the serious problem with weapons inside the country’s vastly overcrowded prisons will be addressed as part of a restructuring of the penal system.

Violence in the Andean nation’s prisons claimed 304 lives in the first half of the year, an increase of 15 percent over the same period in 2011, the independent Venezuelan Prisons Observatory said Monday.

Two days later, the Prisons Ministry reported that guards confiscated 22 firearms - including a submachine gun - and two tear-gas grenades from inmates at a penitentiary in the central state of Carabobo.

Also seized were more than 2,000 bullets, three knives, three computers, 98 cell phones and 98 packets of illegal drugs, ministry official Mary Pili Viera said.

The ministry was created a year ago after a month-long standoff between army troops and nearly 1,000 armed inmates at another prison on the outskirts of Caracas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba’s Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers Create Union

Cuba’s Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers Create Union

Photo: Cuba's Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers Create Union

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The Cuban government has authorized the founding of the first union section for drivers of horse-drawn carriages, with a membership of more than 30 independent workers, in the central province of Villa Clara, official media said Monday.

This is one of the country’s 14 union sections in the field of transportation, according to Fermin Umpierre, member of the national secretariat of the Transport Union, cited in the official weekly Trabajadores.

There are four union sections in Villa Clara for different trades made up of self-employed people.

Among the horse-drawn-carriage drivers in the union are both young people and retirees from the public sector.

Until April more than 250,000 self-employed workers had joined Cuba’s only legal union, according to official figures.

Cuba eliminated 140,000 state jobs in 2011 and plans to cut another 110,000 during 2012, the year when 50 percent of the labor reorganization undertaken on the Communist-ruled island is expected to be completed in an effort to scale down the bloated public labor forces.

According to the latest figures released, more than 390,000 Cubans have a license to exercise any of the 180 authorized types of self-employment.

The production and sale of food products and the transport of freight and passengers are the businesses that have attracted the most private-sector workers so far.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S.-Brazil Meet to Deal with Issue of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination

U.S.-Brazil Meet to Deal with Issue of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination

Photo: U.S. Brazil Relations

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The U.S. and Brazil will hold a technical meeting of the U.S.–Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality (Joint Action Plan) on August 21-22, 2012 in Brasilia.

The meeting will focus on accomplishments since the December 2011 Steering Group Meeting in Washington, DC. A seminar on “Equity in Education” will take place August 23 and 24 following the technical meeting.

Joint Action Plan government meetings include members of civil society and the private sector and allow Brazilian and American participants to address issues relating to the promotion of racial and ethnic equality in both countries. The primary goals of the meeting include sharing best practices and seeking greater opportunities to expand access to education for students of African descent; eliminating racial health disparities in both countries; mitigating environmental impacts in rural and urban communities of African descent; addressing challenges in the criminal justice systems; and guaranteeing equal access to economic opportunities ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pregnant Girl Dies-Doctors Waited on Cancer Treatment Citing Dominican Abortion Law

Pregnant Girl Dies-Doctors Waited on Cancer Treatment Citing Dominican Abortion Law

Photo: Pregnant Girl Dies-Doctors Waited on Cancer Treatment Citing Dominican Abortion Law

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A mother in the Dominican Republic is both heartbroken and furious after the loss of her daughter.

Earlier this year, Rosa Hernandez’s 16-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia. However, rather than start chemotherapy immediately, doctors at Santo Domingo’s Semma Hospital hesitated because the teen was pregnant.

Since 2009, when Article 37 of the Dominican Constitution was passed, it was declared that life begins at conception. On the overwhelmingly Catholic island, abortions are illegal, meaning doctors face serious consequences should they perform one, or cause one. Under Article 37, abortion is prohibited no matter the circumstances – rape, malformation of the fetus, incest, or even imminent death of the mother. The girl’s doctors feared the consequences should chemotherapy terminate the pregnancy.

Hernandez pleaded with both the government and the hospital, but to no avail. At 13 weeks her daughter was definitely pregnant, and even though she was facing death, she would have to stay pregnant.

The girl, who was not identified due to her age, was in the hospital for 20 days when doctors finally agreed to begin chemotherapy. However, the girl’s body rejected a blood transfusion and did not respond to the chemo.

On Friday, the teen suffered a miscarriage, went into cardiac arrest, and died.
Her mother told CNN, ‘They have killed me, I’m dead, dead. I’m nothing. She was the reason for my existence. I no longer live. Rosa has died. Let the world know that Rosa is dead.’

Upon hearing of the story before the girl’s death, Dominican Minister of Health Bautista Rojas Gomez stated he was in favor of chemotherapy over protection of the fetus.

The death of the girl dubbed “Esperancita” by the press has renewed debate over the abortion ban, with some politicians asking the island nation’s government to rethink their ban on abortion.

Despite Dominican courts having interpreted Article 37 as a strict mandate against abortion under any circumstance, one of the bill’s sponsors, Pelegrin Castillo, argues it does not bar doctors from administering cancer treatment, but rather bars them from administering the treatment to induce an abortion.

No matter the arguments and choice of words from either side, Rosa Hernandez is still without her daughter – a reality she wholeheartedly believes could have been avoided.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Diana Nyad, 62, Once Again Attempting Swim from Cuba to Florida

Diana Nyad, 62, Once Again Attempting Swim from Cuba to Florida

Photo: Diana Nyad, 62, Once Again Attempting Swim from Cuba to Florida

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Last year, Diana Nyad’s attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida was cut short after multiple jellyfish stings resulted in a build up of toxins in her body.

However, after making it through storms and jellyfish stings on Sunday, it looks like the 62-year-old swimmer may make it this time.

Nyad, who turns 63 on Wednesday, is looking to become the first person to swim across the Straits of Florida without a shark cage, but this is not the long-distance swimmer’s first big swim.

In 1975, she swam around the entire island of Manhattan and four years later swam the 102 miles from the Bahamas to Florida.

Her current swim, which is expected to be completed on Tuesday, is 103 miles.

As for those sharks - kayaks and a diver are on the look out for any trouble. One of the kayaks is equipped with an electric device designed to emit a faint electric field undetectable by humans, a sort of shark repellant.

On Monday, at 3:24pm EDT 47:41, Diana was about 75 miles from Key West.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Perceptions About Latin American Immigrants Closely Tied to Views on Immigration

STUDY:  Perceptions About Latin American Immigrants Closely Tied to Views on Immigration

Photo: Perceptions of Latin American Immigrants

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A new study led by the University of Cincinnati examines stereotypes of immigrants from four global regions and measures opinions of the impact of immigration on U.S. society.

The researchers say their findings provide the most solid evidence yet that perceptions of the characteristics of Latin American immigrants in particular are strongly linked to beliefs about the impact of immigration, especially on unemployment, schools, and crime.

Respondents were randomly assigned a group of immigrants—either from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, or Europe—and asked to evaluate that group on commonly used racial and ethnic stereotypes.

Without mention of any particular group of immigrants, respondents were also asked questions about the likelihood of five outcomes resulting from immigration:

• Higher levels of unemployment
• Lower quality schools
• Difficulty in keeping the country united
• Higher levels of crime
• A terrorist attack in the U.S.

The researchers report that Ohioans do not strongly link their beliefs about the traits of Asian, Middle Eastern, or European immigrants to views of the impact of immigration.

In contrast, according to the researchers, effects of stereotypes of Latin American immigrants are “large and robust, especially regarding attitudes about the impact of immigration on unemployment, school quality, and crime.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Accused of 1993 Murder in Mexico, Man Deported After Being Found in California

Accused of 1993 Murder in Mexico, Man Deported After Being Found in California

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A Mexican national, murder suspect captured in northern California last month was turned over to Mexican law enforcement personnel Friday at the San Ysidro border crossing by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations.

Alvaro Hernandez-Fuentes, 38, was transferred to the custody of representatives from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office. Hernandez-Fuentes is wanted in his native country for fatally shooting an acquaintance in the Mexican state of Colima Dec. 1, 1993.

According to the Mexican arrest warrant issued in January 1994, Hernandez-Fuentes’ girlfriend lured the victim, Alejandro Gomez Garcia, to a location with the promise that marijuana would soon be available. When Gomez Garcia arrived, Hernandez-Fuentes was waiting, and proceeded to fire three shots with a .380 caliber pistol. When Hernandez-Fuentes realized the victim was still alive, he fired three additional shots. Hernandez-Fuentes’s girlfriend eventually surrendered to police, telling them that Hernandez-Fuentes was attempting to force her to burglarize a store to fund his escape to the United States.

Hernandez-Fuentes’ repatriation to Mexico follows his arrest July 12, at a residence in Watsonville, Calif., by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Santa Cruz Anti-Crime Team (SCCACT). The multi-agency law enforcement team was able to locate Hernandez-Fuentes after receiving a lead from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office that the fugitive might be living in the Watsonville area. On August 9, an immigration judge cleared the way for the fugitive’s repatriation to Mexico after Hernandez-Fuentes admitted he was, in fact, the same person wanted for the homicide in Colima.

“Criminals who seek to escape responsibility for their actions by fleeing to the United States will find no sanctuary in our communities” said Joseph Vincent, assistant special agent in charge for HSI San Jose. “As this case makes clear, U.S. law enforcement agencies are working closely together to promote public safety and hold criminals accountable – no matter where they commit their crimes.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Demi Lovato! My How She’s Grown - Star Turns 20

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Demi Lovato! My How She’s Grown - Star Turns 20

Photo: ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Dem Lovato! My How She's Grown - Star Turns 20

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It may be hard to believe, but former Disney teen queen Demi Lovato is now 20 years old.

Lovato entered her 20s Monday a stronger woman than she was even 2 years ago. After battling depression, drugs, eating disorder, and self harm, Ms. Lovato is one heck of a fighter.

With a new album, new job – judge on Fox’s The X Factor – and a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Video With a Message for “Skyscraper”.

Feliz Cumpleaños, Demi and good luck next month.

The 2012 VMAs will air live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on September 6 at 8 p.m.

At the end of September, Demi will continue her tour in Brazil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Zoe Saldana to Play Nina Simone in Upcoming Biopic

Zoe Saldana to Play Nina Simone in Upcoming Biopic

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Actress Zoe Saldana has reportedly signed on to star as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic.

Throughout her 70-year career, Simone, who was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, recorded nearly 50 albums (live and studio) and drew her earliest and arguably biggest success from her cover of Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy” from Porgy and Bess in 1959. She would go on to be a musical voice of the civil rights era, beginning with “Mississippi Goddam”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saldana is taking over for Mary J. Blige who is said to have moved on after the film ran into funding issues.

Simone died in France in 2003 at the age of 70 following a years-long battle with breast cancer. Her daughter Lisa Celeste Stroud has seen her own success with appearances on Broadway.

Saldana and the rest of the cast and crew are scheduled to begin shooting October 16 in Los Angeles.

The script was written by Cynthia Mort, who is also said to be the director. Her manager, Clifton Henderson, will be played by David Oyelowo.

Before the biopic is released however, Saldana will appear in the upcoming Star Trek sequel and the thriller Out of the Furnace alongside Casey Affleck and Christian Bale.

News of Saldana as Simone has already caused a bit of controversy as some have claimed she is too pretty and/or too light-skinned. Others simply pictured Brooklyn’s Adepero Oduye in the role.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Some Aurora Colorado Shooting Victims Hire Casey Anthony Lawyer Jose Baez

Some Aurora Colorado Shooting Victims Hire Casey Anthony Lawyer Jose Baez

Photo: Jose Baez to Represent Aurora, Colorado Victims

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The mother of Aurora Colorado shooting victim, Rebecca Wingo, and another victim have hired attorney Jose Baez to represent the family in possible lawsuits against parties to blame for the deadly shooting.

32-year-old Wingo was one of twelve shooting victims killed at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” inside the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20.

Wingo’s mother, Shirley Wygal hired Baez who made a name for himself when his client Casey Anthony was acquitted of killing her two-year old daughter Caylee Anthony. 

Baez will also be representing Marcus Weaver who was with Wingo at the movie and was injured. 

The Cuban-American jurist has been attaching himself to headline-making cases.  Last year he was working on the defense team of Gary Giordano who is a suspect in the missing case of Robyn Gardner.

Gardner was last seen on August 2, 2011 at the Rum Reef Bar & Grill in the Baby Beach Area of Aruba. Giordana had told officials that Gardner was swept out to sea while they were snorkeling. However, when he was first picked up by police while attempting to leave the vacation destination, he said Gardner was taking a different flight.

According to TMZ who broke the story, Wygal feels lack of security at the Century Theater was partially to blame for the mass shooting.  James Holmes has been charged with the 12 killings and shooting of 58 other movie goers. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Wedding Day Ruined When Man Sics Friend’s Dog on Bride

LATINO BLOTTER: Wedding Day Ruined When Man Sics Friend’s Dog on Bride

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A couple’s big day was ruined when a disgruntled guest sent a friend’s dog on them at their reception.

Denver, Colorado authorities are now looking for 21-year-old Joel Nevarez after witnesses say he got into an argument with the DJ at the wedding reception for newlyweds Brittany Schult-Cortez and Jorge Cortez-Trinidad.

After the argument, Nevarez, who is said to have a history of mental illness and aggressive behavior, left the home where the reception was being held. He would later return with a friend’s dog at around 12:30 a.m.

Nevarez reportedly eyed Schult-Cortez and yelled to the dog, “Sic her, Skylo.”

The 22-year-old bride told a local FOX affiliate she could not understand how someone she considered to be a brother could do something like that to her.

ImageAt the time of the attack, Cortez-Trinidad, 21, was inside the home. When he heard the commotion outside, he looked out and saw the dog thrashing about with his bride’s hair in its mouth. When he ran outside to help he too was bitten, and suffered three wounds to his thigh.

While the dog was attacking the bride, Nevarez stood nearby laughing. Schult-Cortez also says her so-called friend punched her in the face with brass knuckles as the dog attacking her back.

The now-traumatized bride suffered multiple wounds to her shoulder and back, which are said to be infected. Thursday, she returned to the hospital for an IV treatment of antibiotics and was scheduled to return again the next day for the next treatment.

The groom’s brother-in-law was also injured, as he broke his arm when he jumped the fence trying to help Schult-Cortez.

Nevarez now faces a felony charge of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. After the attack, Nevarez, who fled the scene, posted on his Facebook page:

2 more stops then I hit my death bed…Yup it will be A SICK DEATH BUT I AIN’T GOING ALONE…

He also reportedly sent a message directly to Cortez-Trinidad saying he did it because the DJ made him mad, and that he was going to Boston to kill himself.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Entire Police Force at Mexico City International Airport Reassigned

Entire Police Force at Mexico City International Airport Reassigned

Photo: Mexico City Airport Police Reassigned

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The 348 Federal Police officers at the Mexico City airport have been reassigned in response to the killings two months ago of three officers when they tried to arrest fellow members of the force who were allegedly involved in drug trafficking, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

“In an effort to strengthen the security plan at the AICM (Mexico City International Airport), the Federal Police has executed a rotation with respect to the personnel that was assigned to that station,” the secretariat said in a statement.

Three Federal Police officers were murdered on June 25 at the Mexico City airport by fellow officers.

Officer Bogard Felipe Lugo was arrested last month and the Federal Police is still looking for officers Daniel Cruz Garcia and Zeferino Morales Franco, who also allegedly took part in the killings.

The shooting in Terminal 2 occurred during an operation to arrest three officers being investigated for having links to drug traffickers and the officers killed were going to make the arrests, the Federal Police said.

The three fugitive officers were involved with a ring that smuggled drugs from Peru into Mexico, officials said.

The slain officers were investigating the smuggling operation, which involved an arriving passenger throwing the drugs into a trash can and an airport worker later removing the drugs, the secretariat said.

The 348 Federal Police officers who had been stationed at the airport “were assigned to different states,” the Public Safety Secretariat said.

The reassignments were done in phases to avoid affecting security at the airport and all the officers are now at their new posts, the secretariat said.

The new officers assigned to the Mexico City International Airport have been vetted twice, the secretariat said.

The reward of 1.6 million pesos ($122,000) owed to the individual who provided the information that led to Lugo’s arrest has been paid out, the secretariat said.

Rewards are being offered for information leading to the capture of the other two fugitive officers, the secretariat said.

Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport is the country’s largest airport, handling more than 25 million passengers annually.

Read more by HS News Staff →

POLL:  Majority Americans Opposed to Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Who Get Work Permits

POLL:  Majority Americans Opposed to Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Who Get Work Permits

Photo: No Drivers Licenses for Undocumentes, Poll Says

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Most voters still agree with President Obama’s new policy allowing some young illegal immigrants to get legal work permits, but they strongly oppose also making these young people eligible for driver’s licenses or taxpayer-funded benefits.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe someone brought to this country illegally when he or she was under 16 years old who has no criminal record, has graduated from high school or served in the military should be allowed to apply for a legal work permit. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% think someone like this should be deported.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on August 16-17, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports.

Read more at Rasmussen Report →

Ecuador to U.K. Stop ‘Threatening’ Us and Then We Can Talk

Ecuador to U.K. Stop ‘Threatening’ Us and Then We Can Talk

Photo: Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange and Ecuador Rafael Assange

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Ecuador said it is open to dialogue with Britain if it first withdraws the “threat” of storming the Andean nation’s embassy in London to arrest the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, to whom Quito granted political asylum last week.

“We’ve been talking with them (Britain) for two months and the final answer was a threat. We hope that the threat will be removed and, very willingly, we’re going to talk with them. We have no problem, this is what we wanted from the first, but with a threat hanging over one, one cannot talk,” Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said.

Quito is not “negotiating” with Britain, but rather Ecuador is making its decisions in a “sovereign” manner, Patiño said.

“We were talking to see if it was possible to obtain a declaration of guarantees for the life of Mr. Assange, that they would not extradite him to a third country,” Patiño said in a press conference Saturday in Guayaquil after the 9th policy council meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA.

Former Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzon, Assange’s attorney, said Sunday that his client had requested minimum guarantees in answering the Swedish authorities’ accusations of sexual crimes.

Assange wants to respond to Swedish authorities to prove the inconsistency of the charges, “but he’s asking for some minimum, but sufficient, guarantees that up to now they have not authorized,” Garzon told reporters outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

“Julian Assange has always fought for truth and justice and has defended human rights and will continue doing so so that the rights of WikiLeaks and ... those who are being investigated are respected,” Garzon said.

“Asylum has been granted and the Ecuadorian government has given us information that what we are defending is a persecution,” Garzon said.

Assange, for his part, said Sunday that the British police last Wednesday tried to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy, but they stopped given the presence of his supporters and the press.

“I heard a team of police officers who entered through the emergency exit, but they knew there were going to be witnesses,” Assange said, adding that thanks to the presence of the press “the world is watching.”

Assange thanked Ecuador, which he described as “that courageous Latin American country” for having “stood up” for justice, and he also thanked the Ecuadorian people for their courage, as well as President Rafael Correa for guaranteeing him political asylum.

Assange asked U.S. President Barack Obama to “do the right thing” and make a commitment before the world that there will be no persecution of him for leaking thousands of classified U.S. government documents and diplomatic cables via WikiLeaks.

The United States must give up its “witch hunt” against WikiLeaks and must promise that it will not bring to trial the employees and supporters of WikiLeaks, Assange said.

The 41-year-old WikiLeaks founder called for the release of U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, who is in prison for leaking military secrets, and he called him a “hero” and an “example for us all.”

London’s Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, told Efe Sunday that they “did not enter” and “did not try to enter” the Ecuadorian Embassy to arrest Assange, as the Australian alleged.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Did Chavela Vargas and Frida Kahlo Have Lesbian Relationship? Secrets from the Grave

Did Chavela Vargas and Frida Kahlo Have Lesbian Relationship? Secrets from the Grave

Photo: Chavela Vargas and Frida Kahlo, Mexico

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The secrets of Mexican singer Chavela Vargas for the past two weeks have been where she always wanted them to wind up - with her in singers’ paradise - and all that exists now is speculation about the secret that she shared with Frida Kahlo, with whom she was rumored to have had a lesbian affair, why she distanced herself from her family and how she haggled with “damned death” during her many years of excesses, which included heavy drinking, hard partying and cigar smoking.

Two of her closest Spanish friends, Isabel Preysler and Elena Benarroch, remembered her on Sunday in remarks to Efe saying that they shared part of their lives with someone who had come from “a strange world” and “had never cried.”

Preysler met her one day when Benarroch took her to eat lunch with with Vargas at the Students Residence in Madrid during the 1990s, and from that time on she enjoyed chatting with the singer in spots like Moncloa Palace, Benarroch’s house, in her own house and various restaurants and “elegant” nightclubs in the Spanish capital, as Vargas herself recalled in her memoirs.

“She was a terrific woman who smiled from within herself ..., full of talent and sensitivity, intelligent and unconventional,” Preysler said, adding that all those who had “the good fortune to be near her at any time” are sad because of her passing and miss her.

The friend of both ladies, Elena Benarroch, had her first contact with Vargas when Manuel Arroyo, the founder of the Turner publishing house, brought her from Mexico to the Sala Caracol in 1993.

She was, she said, a very special and complicated person, “with a strong character but with certain brilliant ideas that were disarming. She was a person full of life, of truths and very pleasant,” said Benarroch, who was her hostess on several occasions when she visited Madrid.

On her last visit to the Spanish capital, when she heard Vargas perform at the recital she gave with flamenco singers Miguel Poveda and Martirio and dined with her and filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, Benarroch did not have the impression that it was any kind of farewell. “She was able to resuscitate herself as many times as she wanted,” she joked lovingly.

But, nevertheless, this enchanting person, this “shaman” who claimed she had divined the precise moment of her death, had a few secrets that have followed her to the grave.

Her niece Yisela Avila Vargas has said since her death that she is not certain that her aunt would have wanted her ashes scattered on Chalchi Hill, near where she lived, and in the Huichole Indian community but rather would have wanted them thrown into the sea, “half in Veracruz, Mexico, and half in Guanacaste, Costa Rica,” her native country.

Then, journalist Maria Cortina told her family that she “manipulated” Vargas to fly to Spain and, to cap it all off, the trip she made to Madrid from July 1-26 cost her her life.

Vargas had to be admitted to the La Princesa Hospital on July 10 for a cardiac arrhythmia caused by the “brutal weariness” brought about by her last concert on the 8th at the Students Residence.

She returned to Mexico on the 26th and four days later she had to be hospitalized in Cuernavaca for bronchial pneumonia, which she was unable to overcome.

Avila, who has questioned whether her doctor gave her permission to travel to Spain, had asked for a second autopsy but that exam could not be performed due to the “obstacle” of Cortina, Vargas’s co-author on “Dos vidas necesito: Las verdades de Chavela,” and because her remains had aleady been cremated.

Cortina responded publicly that it is not that she paid no attention to the demands of the family, but rather that the family did not contact her, adding that she is ready to satisfy them in what they are asking because the artist would have wanted it that way.

Amid the controversy, on Monday on her Web site the album entitled “La Chamana” will be made available, 43 songs performed by artists such as Miguel Poveda, Carla Morrison and Santiago Cruz.

On Sept. 1, most of them will pay tribute to the artist in Tepoztlan, in Morelos state, where she lived, and it is “likely” that at least a portion of her ashes will be scattered at the foot of Chalchi Hill.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Researchers Find Ways to Reduce Mother-Child AIDS Link

A treatment developed by researchers with Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, or Fiocruz, and tested in Argentina, Brazil, the United States and South Africa has managed to reduce the transmission of AIDS from infected mothers to their children, officials said.

The method, a new combination of medicines, was developed by scientists from Fiocruz, a medical research center linked to the Brazilian Health Ministry, and from the University of California, the foundation said.

The study lasted eight years and involved patients at 17 hospitals in the four countries, most of them - 70 percent - Brazilians.

The experiments showed that the combination of two or three medicines significantly reduces the risk that mothers carrying the virus that causes AIDS will infect their newborns.

The treatment currently recommended by the World Health Organization, or WHO, to avoid the so-called vertical transmission from mother to child consists of administering the antiretroviral AZT to the baby in the first 48 hours after birth.

That therapy reduces the risk of infection of the newborns to 5 percent.

The Brazilian method consists of administering a combination of AZT with nevirapina, another antiretroviral, and a mixture of AZT with nelfnavir and lamiduvine.

The combination of the two medicines reduces the risk to 2.2 percent and the combination of three medicines to 2.4 percent.

The treatment with three medicines, however, was the one that resulted in better collateral effects.

The method was tested in recently-born children of mothers who were only diagnosed as being carriers of the HIV virus causing AIDS shortly before giving birth and, for that reason, they had not been treated with AZT during their pregnancies.

Of the 1,684 babies in the study, 97 were infected with HIV during the pregnancy and 43 during birth.

The Health Ministry has already recommended the adoption of the two-medicine combination in Brazil’s public hospitals.

Read more by HS News Staff →



MondayAugust 20, 2012