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WednesdaySeptember 5, 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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Mexican Marines Nab Top Gulf Cartel Boss “El Gordo”

Mexican Marines Nab Top Gulf Cartel Boss “El Gordo”

Photo: Mario Cardenas Guillen, aka "El Gordo"

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One of the Gulf drug cartel’s top bosses has been arrested, dealing a blow to the powerful Mexican criminal organization less than three months before President Felipe Calderon leaves office, officials said.

Mario Cardenas Guillen, known as “El Gordo” (The Fat Guy) and “M1,” was captured Monday by marines in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, one of the areas most affected by drug-related violence in recent years.

He is the brother of former Gulf cartel top capos Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who was extradited to the United States on Jan. 20, 2007, and Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, who died in a shootout with marines nearly two years ago.

The Gulf cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest drug trafficking organizations, was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s and was later led by Juan Garcia Abrego, who was arrested in 1996 and extradited to the United States.

Osiel Cardenas Guillen took over the cartel’s leadership in July 1999, but he was arrested in 2003. He continued running the Gulf cartel, one of the most violent criminal organizations in Mexico, until his extradition to the United States four years later.

He was succeeded by his brother, Antonio Ezequiel, known as “Tony Tormenta,” and Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, known as “El Coss.”

Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen was killed in a shootout with marines on Nov. 5, 2010, and it was believed that Costilla Sanchez had been running the cartel since his death.

Mario Cardenas Guillen was in charge of one of the two branches of the cartel, while Costilla Sanchez, who is still at large, ran the other, a navy spokesman said.

The nearly 70-year-old Cardenas Guillen was paraded before reporters on Tuesday wearing a bullet-proof vest, appearing somber and with a bruise on his face.

He was identified as “someone who says” he is Mario Cardenas Guillen, which is standard procedure until a full identification is made.

The cartel boss was arrested in 1995 on a variety of drug-related charges, but he was released from prison in 2007, navy spokesman Rear Adm. Jose Luis Vergara said.

Cardenas Guillen oversaw the smuggling of large shipments of cocaine and marijuana from his prison cell in Matamoros, a border city in Tamaulipas, prompting his transfer to the Puente Grande prison in the western state of Jalisco, where he stayed until his release, Vergara said.

Marines seized a rifle, three ammunition clips, two grenades, 129,700 pesos ($9,800) in cash, communications gear, a vehicle and some cocaine from the suspect.

The Gulf cartel is no longer as powerful as it was in the past, partly because of its break with Los Zetas, the criminal organization’s former armed wing, which severed ties with the cartel in 2010 and now runs its own narcotics trafficking business.

The Gulf organization, which mainly deals in cocaine, synthetic drugs and marijuana, mostly operates in northern Mexico and the country’s eastern coastal areas.

The cartel, like other Mexican criminal organizations, has expanded into kidnappings and extortion rackets, targeting businesses.

Mario Cardenas Guillen’s arrest comes as Mexico is entering the political transition that will end with the inauguration on Dec. 1 of Enrique Peña Nieto, who won the July 1 presidential election.

The cartel leader’s arrest was announced on Tuesday, the same day that Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, named his transition team, which will oversee the handover of power from Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN.

Calderon made fighting Mexico’s drug cartels the focus of his internal security policy after taking office on Dec. 1, 2006.

The president has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The use of the armed forces to fight drug traffickers, however, has failed to stem the violence.

Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest number since Calderon took office, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said in a report released last month.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at 70,000.

A military commander based in northern Mexico told Efe that Mario Cardenas Guillen’s arrest could lead to more violence in the region, which borders the United States.

“With the arrest of Cardenas Guillen, the situation will get difficult, there could be more violence,” the military officer told Efe on condition of anonymity.

The cartel boss’s arrest could lead to a “readjustment of the command” structure and the effort to dominate northern Mexico “will make the criminal organizations increase their clashes with greater violence,” the military commander said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Over 200 Million Sea Turtle Hatchlings Released by Mexico

Over 200 Million Sea Turtle Hatchlings Released by Mexico

Photo: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

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More than 200 million olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings have been released over the past six years on La Escobilla beach - in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca - as part of a government conservation program, Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said.

The number of olive ridley hatchlings on La Escobilla has increased from less than 200,000 in 1973 to 1.5 million in 2012, an indication that species is making a strong recovery, the federal official said.

The La Escobilla sanctuary is considered the place with the world’s highest number of olive ridley hatchlings, and it serves as the nesting spot for 95 percent of all sea turtles of that species that nest in Mexico, Elvira Quesada said.

After conducting a tour of that area to supervise conservation work, Elvira Quesada said that under the administration of outgoing President Felipe Calderon, who took office on Dec. 1, 2006, more than 200 million olive ridley hatchlings have been released, many of which will return to the same beach in three decades to deposit their eggs.

Efforts to protect female turtles and their nests and release hatchlings are carried out under the National Sea Turtle Conservation Program, Elvira Quesada said.

Ten of the nesting beaches are natural protected areas, or ANPs, that hold the category of sanctuary, three of them located inside another ANP such as a biosphere reserve, and 15 of them are included on the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance.

Mexico’s government has spent more than 143 million pesos (nearly $11 million) to support projects that combat threats to sea turtles, as well as to cover the operating costs of mobile camps, equipment and salaries, the environment secretary said.

Other funds support communities that help protect the turtles, including 47.5 million pesos and 23.7 million pesos ($3.6 million and $1.8 million), respectively, allocated through the Temporary Employment and Conservation for Sustainable Development programs.

Turtle egg extraction has been illegal in Mexico since 1927, while a total, permanent ban on the capture and sale of sea turtles and their products throughout Mexico has been in place since 1990.

Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST IN: Court Says Arizona Police Can Check Immigration Status

JUST IN: Court Says Arizona Police Can Check Immigration Status

Photo: Arizona Court Approves "Show Me Your Papers" Law

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In a late ruling today, an Arizona federal judge approved the state’s “Show Me Your Papers” law whereby police can check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally and while the police are enforcing other laws. 

Arizona’s immigration law known as SB1070 is considered one of the toughest in the country and has been under legal scrutiny since it passed in 2010.  The two-year legal battle reached the Supreme Court where the court held “Show Me Your Papers” or Section 2(b) of SB 1070 could be enforced.  Opponents filed lawsuits to block the law believing it would lead to racial profiling of Latinos.

The ruling by U.S. Judge Susan Bolton was based in great part on the blessing it received from the Supreme Court.  Judge Bolton noted to AP that she could not ignore the “clear direction from the Supreme Court.”

The President and his administration have fought since the laws inception to have it nulled and have SB1070 labeled an overreach of Arizona believing issues of immigration are the preview of the federal government only.

Section 2(b) requires law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop for another reason when there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is undocumented.  Governor Jan Brewer has vowed to start enforcing “Show Me Your Papers” immediately.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Iker Casillas, Xavier Hernandez Win Prince of Asturias Award for Sports

Spain’s Iker Casillas, Xavier Hernandez Win Prince of Asturias Award for Sports

Photo: Spain's Iker Casillas, Xavier Hernandez Win Prince of Asturias Award for Sports

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Spanish soccer players Iker Casillas and Xavier Hernandez on Wednesday were named the recipients of this year’s Prince of Asturias Award for Sports in recognition of their outstanding play on the field and admirable sportsmanship.

Casillas, the Real Madrid goalkeeper, and Xavi, midfielder for FC Barcelona, beat out the International Paralympic Committee in the final voting by 11 votes to seven.

The jury, presided over by Spanish ex-tennis great Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, said the two players “symbolize the values of friendship and companionship that go beyond the all-out rivalry of their respective teams. Their sportsmanship is a model for young people.”

In the 32-year history of the Prince of Asturias Awards, which are given out in eight categories, Casillas and Xavi are the first repeat winners. Both also garnered the sports prize in 2010 as members of the Spanish soccer team that won their nation’s first-ever World Cup that year.

The minutes of the jury added that “both players, who have achieved the most important titles with their clubs and the Spanish (national soccer team), are an example of fair play that is admired by all.”

“They have jointly shown a conciliatory attitude that has smoothed out traditional differences between players and supporters.”

The two players learned the news early Wednesday while the members of the national soccer team were gathered at Soccer City in Las Rozas, a town on the outskirts of Madrid.

Both men stressed that the prize was recognition not only of their achievements but of the entire current generation of Spanish soccer players, who also have won the past two European soccer championships - in 2008 and 2012.

“We have a relationship that goes back a long way. We’re the visible face but there also are a lot of players behind us who in their day were able to pave the way for things that happened,” Casillas said.

“The prize is a recognition of our work, of our generation of soccer players, our friendship. We’ve been playing together on the Spanish team for 15 years, both in lower levels and in the absolute highest,” Xavi said.

A total of 21 candidates were in the running for the award, including Spanish triathlete Javier Gomez Noya, the New York City Marathon, Kenyan former long-distance track and road runner Tegla Chepkite Loroupe, U.S. surfer Kelly Slater and Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner.

The sports prize is the seventh of the eight Prince of Asturias Awards to be conferred this year. The 2011 winner in the sports category was Ethiopian long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie.

Other Asturias award winners this year have included Spanish architect Rafael Moneo for achievement in the arts, American philosopher Martha Nussbaum in social sciences, Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto in communication and humanities, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in international cooperation.

British biochemist Gregory Winter and American research chemist Richard Lerner and American novelist Philip Roth were the recipients of the technical and scientific research and literature prizes, respectively.

The prize in the concord category will be awarded later this year.

The honors carry a cash prize of 50,000 euros (about $63,000), a sculpture by Joan Miro that represents and symbolizes the awards, a diploma and an insignia bearing the Prince of Asturias Foundation’s coat of arms.

The prizes, which Spain’s crown prince will hand out at a ceremony in the fall in the northern city of Oviedo, are regarded as the Ibero-American world’s equivalent of the Nobels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico to Host Homeless World Cup in October

Mexico to Host Homeless World Cup in October

Photo: Homeless World Cup

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Sixty-four men’s and women’s soccer teams from 52 countries will face off in the Homeless World Cup, to be played Oct. 6-14 in Mexico City’s gigantic Zocalo square, Telmex Foundation president Arturo Elias Ayub said.

The foundation, created by billionaire Carlos Slim, is organizing this year’s tourney.

Teams from Mexico finished second in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris.

Present at the lottery to determine the groups for this year’s contest was Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala.

In the women’s category, Group A includes Mexico, United States, Colombia, The Netherlands, Chile, Hungary and Paraguay, while Group B is made up of Brazil, England, Argentina, India, Canada, Nigeria and Kyrgyzstan.

In the men’s category are eight groups of six teams each.

Group A consists of Mexico, South Africa, Denmark, Croatia, Finland, Haiti; Group B includes Ireland, Costa Rica, Argentina, Norway, India, Cambodia; Group C includes Ukraine, Poland, The Philippines, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Group D includes Scotland, Lithuania, Indonesia, Canada, Sweden and Peru.

Group E contains Russia, England, France, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Bulgaria; Group F is made up of Chile, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea and Wales; Group G includes Portugal, Austria, United States, Romania, Greece and Zimbabwe and Group H includes Brazil, The Netherlands, Ghana, Namibia, Germany and Ivory Coast.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia, FARC Rebels to Begin Peace Talks Next Month in Norway

Colombia, FARC Rebels to Begin Peace Talks Next Month in Norway

Photo: President Juan Manuel Santos

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Representatives of the Colombian government and the Andean nation’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, will sit down next month in Oslo for talks aimed at ending their decades-long conflict.

The agreement to begin negotiations emerged from six months of exploratory discussions in Havana under the auspices of the Cuban and Norwegian governments, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday in a nationally broadcast address.

Venezuela and Chile will join Cuba and Norway in accompanying the nascent peace process, Santos said.

He said the preliminary conversations in Havana arose “from some channels the previous (Colombian) administration had established” with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The exploratory talks produced consensus on “the goal, the agenda and the rules of the game” for achieving peace, the president said.

“I have the conviction that we are facing a real opportunity to definitively end the internal armed conflict,” Santos told Colombians. “It’s a difficult path, but it’s a path we must explore.”

This new peace process differs from earlier failed attempts, he said, in that it will unfold outside Colombia, initially in Oslo and then in Havana.

The most recent negotiations, during the 1998-2002 government of President Andres Pastrana, took place in a demilitarized area of southern Colombia - dubbed “Farclandia” - and collapsed amid mutual recriminations.

This time, the government is not ceding any territory, Santos said, adding that security forces will react decisively to any violent action by the FARC.

He said the forthcoming negotiations will focus on rural development and improved access to land; security guarantees for the political opposition and activists; an end to armed conflict and the full demobilization of the guerrillas; the problem of drug trafficking; and the rights of victims of both the rebels and the security forces.

Santos’ decision to talk peace with the FARC is supported by 60 percent of Colombians, according to a Gallup poll released Sunday, while the smaller ELN insurgency has expressed an interest in joining the process.

The loudest criticism of the venture has come from Santos’ predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who called the peace process “a slap in the face to democracy.”

About the same time that Santos was addressing Colombians, six members of the FARC held a rare press conference in Havana to hail the accord on peace talks and present a video message about the negotiations from the group’s leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias “Timochenko.”

The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since 1964. The insurgency swelled to nearly 20,000 fighters in the early 2000s, but now numbers around 8,500 combatants.

Colombia’s armed forces, bolstered by billions of dollars of aid from the United States, have scored dramatic successes against the FARC in recent years, but the rebels remain capable of inflicting significant damage on the military and on vulnerable infrastructure.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Girlfriend Cuts of Boyfriend’s Penis, Flushes It Down Toilet

LATINO BLOTTER: Girlfriend Cuts of Boyfriend’s Penis, Flushes It Down Toilet

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Girlfriend Cuts of Boyfriend's Penis, Flushes It Down Toilet

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A Peruvian woman was so angry when she discovered her boyfriend was cheating on her that she did the unthinkable.

Julia Muñoz Huaman, 41, and her boyfriend Ramon Arias Apaico, 46, were staying in a Brena hostel when an enraged Huaman grabbed a knife and severed Apaico’s penis while he slept.

The angry girlfriend then flushed the member down the toilet and attempted to leave.

Before she could escape however, the hostel’s staff heard Apaico’s pain-filled screams, stopped Huaman and called police.

Though the penis was not recovered, doctors at Loayza hospital in Lima say he remains “partially intact”. He is expected to remain hospitalized for another week, but will likely need psychological treatment for quite awhile.

When Huaman was questioned by police she admitted to mutilating Apaico’s genitalia after growing enraged at the news of his infidelity.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SPAIN: Nigerian Woman Gives Birth on Bus

SPAIN: Nigerian Woman Gives Birth on Bus

Photo: SPAIN: Nigerian Woman Gives Birth on Bus

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A bus full of passengers in Spain received quite the surprise when a Nigerian woman went into labor on the bus.

Monday night, the woman reportedly cried for help when her water broke and she went into labor.

At the time, the bus was passing through a tollbooth just southwest of Barcelona. The bus driver was able to get the attention of nearby police officers who had been assisting with a broken down bus.

Before an ambulance arrived, the Nigerian woman gave birth to a baby boy with the help of the officers.

The 34-year-old mother and her son were taken to the hospital and are said to be doing well.

You don’t see that on your every day commute!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Uruguay to Combat Violent Crime with $5 Million IDB Loan

A $5 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will help Uruguay deploy a program based on a comprehensive approach to reduce violent crime in its capital city, Montevideo.

The program is aimed at increasing police effectiveness in preventing and solving crimes as well as at fostering the social reinsertion of at-risk youth.

The Integrated Local Management Program for Citizen Security will focus on three Montevideo police precincts with high crime rates. This methodology will be tested before it is implemented in the rest of the country.

Under the program, 750 police personnel will be trained in crime-solving and community policing techniques. The best performers will have opportunities for further training abroad.

The National Police Academy’s technological infrastructure will be upgraded and its faculty strengthened; crime analysis units will be established and equipped at three police stations; and a new police code of ethics will be developed and put in practice.

The program will also strengthen a network of prevention programs designed to reduce juvenile participation in crime. Among other actions, the program will develop specialized support services for 680 young offenders in the three target police precincts.

The loan is for 25 years, with a 5 ½-year grace period and a variable interest rate. Local counterpart funds for the program will total $2.15 million.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Volunteers Give Dozens of Girls a Quinceañera in El Salvador

U.S. Volunteers Give Dozens of Girls a Quinceañera in El Salvador

Photo: U.S. Volunteers Give Dozens of Girls a Quinceañera in El Salvador

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An American woman named Jenni Ramsey gave a number of women in El Salvador a party to truly remember.

For her sixth trip to the Latin American country, Ramsey brought 19 volunteers with her to help plan and host an epic quinceañeras for girls an orphanage and massive wedding for a number of couples.

Ramsey is the aid and outreach director for All Blessing International, which works through the Kentucky Adoption Services. In July, she and the volunteers were able to give 43 girls from a government orphanage in San Salvador a large quince, complete with dresses.

Noticing the younger children tend to get the most attention from visitors, Ramsey wanted to give the older children attention in a big way.

Through fundraising, donations and help from El Salvador’s nonprofit group His Children, the girls not only had a party, they were given dresses, jewelry, and even makeovers. As they entered the party, each girl also arrived on the arm of a male escort.

One of the volunteers wrote on All Blessings’ blog:

Our day started at the government orphanage, where we finished pampering and transforming these precious girls.  Upon our arrival, ten of the girls in protective custody (recently rescued from trafficking), were dressed in their gowns, eagerly awaiting our arrival.  The minute I saw them I began to cry (it was more like blubbering, I completely lost it)!  I kept thinking that “I am so lucky!”

… As I brushed, braided, straightened, and curled, I not only felt their excitement, but also their gratitude. These girls have been abused, neglected, and abandoned. They never had a dad tell them how beautiful they are or a mother to nurture them or brush their hair. God used us to give them the attention and love they have always deserved, but never received.

Just a few days prior to the quince, Ramsey and the volunteers had also arranged a mass wedding for 14 couples at Cavalry Chapel in San Salvador. Though some had been together for decades, a few even having grandchildren, the couples had not gotten married. For many, cost was the main issue.

Read blog entries from Ramsey and the volunteers here.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Dish-Drying Rack Art Shines a Light on Border Crossers

Dish-Drying Rack Art Shines a Light on Border Crossers

Photo: Dish-Drying Rack Art Shines a Light on Border Crossers

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According to the U.S. Migratory Political Institute, from 2000 to 2005, 7,178,000 detentions were registered at the U.S.- Mexico border.

The border between Mexico and the United States is the place that this dish-drying rack, “Mojado” (“wet-back”), represents.

Mojado was created by artist Ariel Rojo, whose design firm is committed to improving the quality of life through design solutions.

ImageMojado has no intention of pointing blame. It simply represents a place with an often sad history. We can see the migrant trying to cross to the other side of the Bravo river, the soldier performing his duty, and the “coyote” that guides or abandons the border crossers.

Many migrants cross the border to fulfill their dreams of a better life – some as owners of their businesses and others simply washing dishes.

Rojo says he believes “design is a tool, not a goal.”

See more of Rojo’s work here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Infant Dies After Father Puts Drugs in His Bottle

LATINO BLOTTER: Infant Dies After Father Puts Drugs in His Bottle

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A Pennsylvania father will remain in jail while he faces charges of 3rd degree murder for allegedly fatally mixing drugs in his infant son’s bottle.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old Orlando Rosado was attempting to quiet his crying son when he mixed heroin and cocaine into his son’s bottle on May 11, 2012.

Just two days before his first birthday, baby Christopher died as a result of a drug-filled 3 a.m. feeding administered by his father.

Rosado reportedly told police he accidentally put the drugs in the bottle while he was high. He told police he bought 60 milligrams of heroin and put half into the baby’s bottle.

Four hours after the feeding, Rosado and the baby’s mother, Crystal Miller, found the child face down in vomit in his crib and was cold and limp. After Miller unsuccessfully attempted to revive her son, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A significant amount of heroin was found in both Christopher’s blood and the remaining contents of his bottle.

On Tuesday, Rosado waived his right to a preliminary hearing and now faces a number of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and drug delivery causing death.

The couple also have a 5-year-old child who has been placed in protective custody.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Dissident Ends Hunger Strike as Arrests Double in August

Cuban Dissident Ends Hunger Strike as Arrests Double in August

Photo: Jorge Cervantes

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Cuban dissident Jorge Cervantes, who has been in police custody since Aug. 22, ended the hunger strike he has been pursuing for 13 days to demand his release, his mother told Efe on Tuesday.

“The family asked him for the favor of suspending the (hunger) strike because he would be one more casualty,” Alba Verdecia said by telephone from her house in Las Tunas, 690 kilometers (428 miles) east of Havana.

Verdecia said she and Jorge’s wife, Kenia Leguen, met with her son on Tuesday morning at the provincial hospital in Las Tunas, where he was admitted last Wednesday.

“As a mother, I was very disturbed and nervous. He has done several (hunger) strikes and his organs are deteriorating. At our request, we insisted so much, and so he stopped it, although he didn’t want to do so,” she added.

“We saw him drink a juice about 10 in the morning, and we brought his children to him. Nobody (in the family) had seen him up to today,” she said.

Verdecia said authorities told her that “each day (Cervantes) could be visited by relatives and they told us that we would have to promise that other people besides ourselves would not visit him.”

Cervantes, 42, was arrested while participating in activities undertaken by the Patriotic Union of Cuba dissident group.

In a report released Tuesday, the opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation said it had registered at least 521 arbitrary arrests for political reasons during August, which is more than double the number documented during the same month last year.

The Cuban government takes the position that dissidents are counterrevolutionaries and “mercenaries” in the service of the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Rockers ‘Mana’ to be Inducted into Historic RockWalk

Mexican Rockers ‘Mana’ to be Inducted into Historic RockWalk

Photo: Mana to be Inducted RockWalk

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Latin pop stars, Mana, will be recognized with a place on the historic RockWalk.  The Mexican quartet will be inducted on Monday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. at Guitar Center’s Hollywood location on Sunset Boulevard.

“Mana has made a huge impression on the Latin rock scene over the years, that it’s only right they take their place on Guitar Center’s RockWalk,” said Dave Weiderman, Chairman of Guitar Center’s RockWalk.

Billboard magazine has heralded Mana as “the most widely sold and heard Latin band in the world.” Having formed in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1986, the quartet of Fher Olvera, Alex Gonzalez’ Sergio Vallín and Juan Calleros are the recipients of four Grammy’s and seven Latin Grammys.

As the newest RockWalk inductee, Mana’s handprints will reside alongside the handprints, signatures, and faces of other equally accomplished musicians and innovators such as Eric Clapton, George Martin, Jimmy Page, Iron Maiden, Carlos Santana, Johnny Cash, Van Halen, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Run-D.M.C. and Queen, among numerous others.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Listen to Raini Rodriguez in “Living Your Dreams” from ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3’

Listen to Raini Rodriguez in “Living Your Dreams” from ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3’

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Actress Raini Rodriguez, sister of Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez, has recorded a new song.

Known for roles in Disney’s Austin & Ally and Prom, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, 19-year-old Rodriguez has recorded a new song for the new film Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3.

Raini is the older sister of 14-year-old Rico, who is known for his role as Sofia Vergara’s son, Manny, on Modern Family.

In 2010, Rico and Raini announced they had created a clothing line, RAR-It Fitz Fashions.

Check out Rodriguez’s “Living Your Dreams,” which is here first music video.

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UN Wants a Call to Action for the 22 Million Latin American Children Not in School

UN Wants a Call to Action for the 22 Million Latin American Children Not in School

Photo: Latin American Children Need to be in School

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Over 22 million boys, girls and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are not in school or are at serious risk of dropping out, according to a new United Nations report, which calls for a joint effort across sectors to ensure that all children can complete their education.

The report, “Finishing School. A Right for Children’s Development: A Joint Effort”, says there are some 117 million boys, girls and adolescents in the preschool, primary and basic secondary education age groups in the region, 6.5 million of whom do not attend school.

The report, presented by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), adds that 15.6 million of these young people attend school carrying the burden of failure and inequality expressed in either a lag of two years of more behind the normal age for their school grade or a record of grade repetition.

The report also stresses that boys, girls and adolescents from indigenous, Afro-descendant or disabled groups, or those living in rural areas,  are at greater risk of exclusion or grade repetition. The data showed that in some countries less than 50 per cent of the secondary school-age population in rural areas is attending school.

There is also a clear link between the element of child labor and school attendance – students aged between 12 and 14 years who are at work, many of whom are receiving schooling, showed lower rates of attendance than those who do not work.

Read more by HS News Staff →

7.9 Earthquake Strikes Costa Rica, Tsunami Warning for Most of the Americas

7.9 Earthquake Strikes Costa Rica, Tsunami Warning for Most of the Americas

Photo: 7.9 Earthquake Rattles Costa Rica

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A 7.9 earthquake has rattled Costa Rica, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this morning with the epicenter occurring some 5 miles from the Costa Rican coast line and some 95 miles west of the capital city of San Jose.

According to USGS reports the quake struck at 8:42 a.m. local time.

As a result of this massive earthquake most of the Americas are under a tsunami warning.  The following countries have been issued that warning:  Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru.  Chile is under a tsunami watch. 

Early reports have the earthquake occurring some 10-to-20 miles under the earth’s surface.  The western coastal city of Samara in Costa Rica is the closest inhabited area to the earthquake’s epicenter.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries. 


Read more by HS News Staff →

Another Deadly Accident on Bolivia’s “Highway of Death” Leaves 6 Dead, 30 Injured

Another Deadly Accident on Bolivia’s “Highway of Death” Leaves 6 Dead, 30 Injured

Photo: Bolivia's Highway of Death

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At least six people were killed and more than 30 others injured when a bus plunged into a ravine on the so-called “highway of death” in Bolivia’s Los Yungas region, police said.

The accident happened Tuesday morning near Hierbani, a town about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from La Paz, when the bus went off the road and into a 250-meter (820-foot) ravine, highway patrol chief Col. Gabriel Abella said.

The bus was carrying coca growers from La Asunta, a town in Los Yungas, to a meeting in La Paz.

The bodies of the dead - four men and two women - were taken to the hospital in Chulumani, a town between La Paz and La Asunta, while the injured were transported to hospitals in La Paz.

The “highway of death” winds through several towns in Los Yungas, descending from highlands valleys at about 4,000 meters (13,114 feet) above sea level into the Amazon region.

The government has been trying for years to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Bolivia.

President Evo Morales’s administration enacted a law in January 2010 that cracked down on bus drivers caught working drunk, inexperienced drivers and drivers who work excessive hours.

The law’s goal is to reduce accidents, which kill an average of 1,000 people and injure about 40,000 others annually in this Andean nation, according to International Automobile Federation figures.

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Immigration Reform Remains a Hot Topic At Both Parties’ Conventions

Immigration Reform Remains a Hot Topic At Both Parties’ Conventions

Photo: Democratic National Convention (DNC)

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Democrats gathered in Charlotte for their party convention will vote Tuesday for a platform that, in contrast to the one approved by the Republicans last week, renews their promise to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

The $1 million question is - once the election is behind them and presuming that President Barack Obama wins a second term - whether Congress at last will approve that elusive reform.

The Democratic and Republican platforms offer two very different visions for the future course of the United States on a wide range of economic and social issues.

Regarding undocumented immigrants, the Democratic platform renews the unfulfilled promise Obama made during his 2008 presidential campaign to get immigration reform under way to put an end to the desperation of thousands of immigrant families.

With the slogan “Strengthening the American Community,” the document that the 6,000 Democratic delegates will approve on the first day of their national convention reiterates that the party is “strongly committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that supports our economic goals and reflects our values as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”

The text says that the existing immigration system does not respond to the needs of the labor market, separates families, levies an additional cost on the police and, above all, leaves “millions of people working and living in the shadows.”

“Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows,” it says.

Instead of “promoting the national interest, Republicans have blocked immigration reform in Congress and used the issue as a political wedge,” the Democratic platform says.

The platform approved last week during the Republican convention in Tampa took a hard line against undocumented immigrants, supported the completion of a wall along the border with Mexico and an end to the “sanctuary” cities that welcome undocumented migrants and makes using the E-Verify program to prevent the hiring of undocumented foreigners mandatory.

Those ingredients, which are vital to the conservative recipe to combat illegal immigration, were proposed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Compared to the Republican platform for 1980, the move to the right in the platform approved in Tampa also included support for making English the official language of the United States.

In a nod to party conservatives, Romney maintained a hard line against undocumented immigrants during the primaries, pushing the idea of “self-deportation.” After that, in a move toward the center, he supported reform that would broaden the legal visas program.

Of special concern are the recent statements to the Miami Herald of Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: “Nobody should vote for Mitt Romney thinking that he will change his positions.”

The platforms, it is clear, are not binding documents, but they do delineate the goals set by both parties for the next four years.

Even so, immigration reform continues to be something that cannot wait, regardless of the future composition of Congress after the elections.

The occupant of the White House over the next four years, whether Obama or Romney, will have to invest political capital to push for some kind of reform.

The immigrant community, which is continuing to gain political clout, is waiting.

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Colombian Woman Killed After Being Accused of Withcraft

Colombian Woman Killed After Being Accused of Withcraft

Photo: Colombian Woman Killed After Being Accused of Withcraft

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A woman was slain and her body burned after being accused of casting spells against other women in the northwestern Colombian province of Antioquia.

The victim was Maria Verenice Martinez, 47, who was struck on the head with a blunt object and then set afire in the municipality of Santa Barbara.

Though details of the crime have not yet come to light, some of the victim’s neighbors told the media that the woman had her clothes ripped off, her hair torn out and was then burned.

In an interview on Caracol Radio, Martinez’s sister, who identified herself as Sandra, said that a witch doctor had set the town against Maria, whom some members of the community accused of “casting spells, appearing in people’s dreams and driving them mad.”

The first act of violence against Martinez occurred several months ago when someone struck her in front of her house.

The mayor of Santa Barbara, Jorge Hernan Ramirez, said that this was not the first such crime perpetrated in his municipality, in that six years ago another woman was also charged with witchcraft and was subsequently murdered.

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Reporters Without Borders Criticizes Censorship in Mexico

Reporters Without Borders Criticizes Censorship in Mexico

Photo: Zocalo magazine

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Reporters Without Borders said the refusal of a magazine wholesaler owned by Televisa to distribute the August issue of Zocalo magazine, which carried an article critical of the media giant, amounted to censorship.

“Distribution company Intermex failed to supply copies of issue 150 to more than 160 branches of the Sanborn’s chain of stores, a major magazine retailer. The apparent circulation boycott affected sales of an edition whose cover story focused on the political power of Televisa,” the Paris-based press rights group, known as RSF, said.

The press rights organization asked that Zocalo be given the undistributed issues and paid compensation for its lost sales.

“Failure to distribute is a form of censorship,” RSF said. “Unfortunately, this is not the first recent case.”

Two issues of the weekly Proceso magazine were were not distributed to newstands operated by the Soriana chain, “which had reportedly played a role in alleged electoral fraud on behalf of the Revolutionary Institutional Party - the PRI - whose candidate was declared the winner. Enrique Peña Nieto is scheduled to take office on 1 December,” RSF said.

“If Televisa is found definitively to have played a role, these actions would amount to a violation of the Mexican constitution,” RSF said. “Have we returned, even before 1 December, to the time of ‘perfect dictatorship,’ when the ruling party and its economic allies decided which publications could be distributed?”

The press rights group called for an independent investigation of the blocked magazine deliveries.

Zocalo editor Carlos Padilla said he had no doubt that the blocked distribution episodes were a response to critical coverage of the country’s television ‘duopoly’ of Televisa and TV Azteca,” RSF said.

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WednesdaySeptember 5, 2012