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The average life expectancy in Latin America has risen from 29 years in 1900 to 74 years in 2010, according to a study presented by the Pan American Health Organization, or PAHO.
The report, presented at this week’s 28th Pan American Health Conference in Washington, analyzes the advances made in - and challenges facing - the countries of the region in improving the health of their citizens.
Among the main achievements, PAHO emphasizes that 98 percent of children in the region live beyond the age of 1 whereas 100 years ago just 75 percent did so.
Despite the improvements made over the past century, the report warns that in some countries inequalities persist that could threaten those advances.
PAHO acknowledges that in recent years public spending on health care rose, but there are still 274 million citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean - 46 percent of the region’s population - who, in effect, don’t have health insurance.
There are notable differences between the richest and the poorest countries in Latin America, as well as among the rural population, which has greater difficulty getting access to health services.
PAHO says that, for example, life expectancy in Chile is 79.2 years, while in Bolivia it is 66.8 years.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the population of the Americas was 194 million and in 2010 it exceeded 940 million, and estimates are that in 2020 it will total 1.03 billion, equivalent to 13.4 percent of the world population.
The Americas are the most urbanized region in the world, according to the report, and it is anticipated that by 2025 the region will be home to nine of the world’s most populous 30 cities: Sao Paulo, Mexico City, New York, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Lima and Chicago.
With seven weeks until the election Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s potential gender gap with women faces a new hurdle in the Latino community as reported by impreMedia/Latino Decisions poll.
According to the fourth week of this tracking poll Latina voters plan to vote for President Obama by a margin of 74% to 21% for Romney – a 53 point gap.
Among Latino men, 61% plan to vote for Obama and 32% for Romney. The September 17 polling data suggest the President continues to solidify his lead among Latinos, and there are no signs of cracks in the Obama coalition among Latino voters. Overall Obama holds 68% of the Latino vote to 26% for Romney, erasing the small bump Romney received in the September 3 (week 2) poll release following the RNC convention.
But it is among Latina voters that Romney and the Republican party fare the worst. The data show very clearly that Hispanic women are very opposed to Mitt Romney and the Republican party image right now. Romney’s favorability is 27% among Latino men and just 22% among Latinas, while Republicans in Congress are seen favorably by 29% of men, but just 20% of women in the Latino community.
Miss Puerto Rico 1985, Iris Matias, is suffering from terminal pulmonary hypertension which has her bedridden and dependent on a machine connected to her heart that provides the necessary medications to keep her alive.
The daily El Nuevo Dia recounted Wednesday the story of the former beauty queen, who was diagnosed with the disease in the summer of 2009, when she was completely healthy and a person who exercised regularly.
Matias had to sell her home in San Juan to get together the necessary funds to buy the machine on which her life has depended since then.
She is the mother of a 22-year-old daughter who is studying graphic design and who has remained by Matias’s side since she was diagnosed.
Matias cannot be disconnected from the machine and said that every day she asks God to keep it from being damaged, since without it she would soon die.
Despite the critical nature of the situation, Matias said that she intends to keep herself looking good to keep her spirits up.
She said that her doctors warned that given her critical situation, a new health crisis could be fatal, since she is getting weaker every day due to the pulmonary hypertension, a disease that results in abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.
Brazil is planning an auction of new oil and gas exploration and production blocks for May 2013, although that long-delayed round will depend on prior approval of a new regulatory framework, Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao said.
He said the idea is for 174 new blocks - roughly half onshore and half offshore - to be placed on offer that month in the so-called “11th Round” auction, while another auction for rights to drill in the ultra-deep “pre-salt” region is being planned for November 2013.
The “pre-salt” frontier, discovered in recent years and so-named because the reserves are located far below the ocean floor under a shifting layer of salt, holds tens of billions of barrels of crude and could transform Brazil into a major oil exporter.
Lobao said the National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, will provide the concrete dates of the bidding process and details about the areas that will be on offer in the coming days.
But he said the auction will depend on congressional approval of a new regulatory framework proposed by President Dilma Rousseff’s administration.
The main obstacle thus far has been the contentious issue of how royalty payments will be distributed among Brazil’s 26 states and the federal district.
At present, most revenue from oil production goes to oil-producing states Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Espirito Santo, but the new framework - which has passed the Senate but been stalled in the lower house - would distribute royalties more equally among all the states.
Lobao said he is confident the new regulatory framework will be approved by year’s end and said the government is consulting with lawmakers to ensure that deadline is met.
“We’re counting on the approval of the ‘royalties’ measure this year because the next oil and gas auction should be held under the new law,” he said.
Separately, Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, which will hold a minimum 30 percent stake in all pre-salt projects, has reached an equipment deal with GE Oil & Gas.
That subsidiary of the U.S. multinational conglomerate announced the 2.3 billion reais ($1.1 billion) deal for the sale of approximately 380 subsea wellhead systems and installations tools required for crude exploration.
The agreement was signed at the 2012 Rio Oil & Gas event, which was held earlier this month.
More than 75 percent of the wellheads - components at the surface of oil and gas wells that help contain pressure, among other functions - will be made by GE Oil & Gas at its plant in the city of Jandira, in Sao Paulo state.
GE Oil & Gas said in a press release Tuesday that the deal was “the world’s biggest contract in subsea wellhead production” and noted that Petrobras plans to install those parts “in various oil and gas fields in Brazil,” including the highly promising pre-salt region.
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz said that becoming a mother has made her more “picky” in choosing her roles and helped her more deeply understand her latest character.
In an interview with British daily The Guardian, published Wednesday, Cruz said motherhood has helped her understand her role as Gemma in “Venuto al Mondo” (Twice Born), a Spanish-Italian co-production that premiered last week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“A woman that doesn’t want children obviously can be happy without children. But one that wants to have children that much ... it’s very difficult for her to be happy. Of course I understood all that before I became a mother. But after you give birth you understand in a much deeper way what Gemma was missing,” Cruz said.
Cruz is married to fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem and they have a one-year-old son, Leonardo.
“Venuto al Mondo” is directed by Italy’s Sergio Castellitto and based on a book written by his wife, Margaret Mazzantini, a couple with whom Cruz previously worked in the 2004 drama “Non ti muovere” (Don’t Move).
Gemma is an Italian woman who travels to Sarajevo with her teenage son, Pietro. They are in that Bosnian city so she can tell him about his deceased father, Diego (played by Emile Hirsch).
Through flashbacks, we learn Diego’s story and also discover that Pietro is not Gemma’s son.
In the interview, the actress said she was still breastfeeding Leonardo while shooting the film, which has some scenes with newborn children.
“Some of these babies were only a week old. And so they were smelling me and that made them want to eat. But I was playing a woman who couldn’t feed because she hadn’t given birth! That created a very strange but alive dynamic between me and those babies,” Cruz, winner of a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” said.
“You cannot learn something like that. And this film is full of moments that could not be planned.”
During the interview with the British daily, the Spanish actress also said she is saddened that more attention is not given in the media to the war in Syria.
“I’m always depressed that it doesn’t occupy more space in the newspapers. That should be the main story instead of elections. So many children are dying every day,” she said.
“It’s the same with so many areas in Africa that are in disastrous situations.”
Twenty-six workers were killed Tuesday in a explosion and subsequent fire at gas plant in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos said.
A company spokesperson told Efe that 27 people had been injured in the blast and fire.
The explosion occurred around 10:45 a.m. at the facility near Reynosa, a city just across the border from McAllen, Texas, Pemex said in a statement.
It took nearly two hours to put out the ensuing fire.
“Specialized technicians with Pemex Exploration and Production will proceed to carry out the analysis of the root cause of the accident, as well as the evaluation of the damage caused to the installation,” the state oil monopoly said.
Pemex boss Juan Jose Suarez Coppel was expected to arrive in Reynosa by Tuesday evening, company sources told Efe.
Tamaulipas authorities temporarily evacuated residents living within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius of the plant, but there were no reports of injuries to anyone outside the Pemex facility.
At least 700 people were working at the time of the blast, a Pemex employee said while being treated by paramedics, who were attending to a dozen people with serious injuries.
Soldiers, firefighters and state workers supported the efforts of Pemex crews to bring the blaze under control.
Tuesday’s explosion was Pemex’s worst accident since Oct. 23, 2007, when 22 workers died on an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Though earlier this year, the White House announced that hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth in the U.S. would be allowed to remain in the country, many have only recently discovered that those eligible to stay are not eligible for health insurance under the President’s new health care law.
According to a White House Spokesperson, the deferred deportation policy was not intended to make undocumented youth eligible for Medicaid of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, calling the two separate matters.
Though the ineligibility was disclosed last month, immigrant and Hispanic American advocates are furious.
A health policy specialist with the National Council of La Raza recently told the New York Times, ‘We do not understand why the administration decided to do this. It’s providing immigration relief to children and young adults so they can be fully integrated into society. At the same time, it’s shutting them out of the health care system so they cannot become productive members of society.’
According to the Times:
Immigrants granted [reprieve from deportation] would ordinarily meet the definition of “lawfully present” residents, making them eligible for government subsidies to buy private insurance, a central part of the new health care law. But the administration issued a rule in late August that specifically excluded the young immigrants from the definition of “lawfully present.”
This move from the White House is likely an attempt to garner support from conservatives who saw June’s announcement as an invitation for undocumented immigrants to receive free healthcare by way of government assistance.
Obama’s June announcement…did not formally grant [the eligible undocumented] residency or permanent legal status, but allowed them to stay and work in the country.
That action, HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) decided, did not mean these immigrants were “lawfully present.” On Monday, it issued a 12-page amendment to the reform act regulations “so that the program does not inadvertently expand the scope” of the act.
Under the Affordable Care Act, state-federal programs such as Medicaid, the health insurance for the poor, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are only available to those “lawfully present” in the U.S.
Under CHIP qualifications is specifically states, “CHIP covers U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants. States have the option of covering children and pregnant women who are lawfully residing in the United States. Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for CHIP.”
The U.S Department of Justice reported Tuesday that it has found evidence “of discriminatory policing against Latinos” by the sheriff’s office in Alamance County, North Carolina.
The office, “under the leadership of Sheriff Terry S. Johnson, engages in a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law,” according to the findings of a two-year-long investigation.
The probe was begun in June 2010 after a series of complaints by members of the community who said that sheriff’s deputies used racial profiling to arrest Hispanic drivers more often than others.
Among the discriminatory practices that the Justice Department found in Alamance County were the setting up of checkpoints in Hispanic communities and a pronounced tendency to detain Latinos for offenses that would normally only warrant issuing a ticket.
In addition, the department found that there was motivation for deputies to arrest Latinos more frequently and foster a culture of prejudice, using anti-Latino epithets, for instance.
“Taken together, these practices undermine ACSO’s ability to serve and protect Alamance County’s Latino residents and the community at large,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
ACSO’s conduct “creates distrust between the police and the community and inhibits the reporting of crime and cooperation in criminal investigations,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said.
“We hope to resolve the concerns outlined in our findings by working collaboratively with ACSO, but we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action if ACSO chooses a different course,” he said.
Colombian singing sensation Shakira has confirmed via her website that she is indeed pregnant putting to rest alot of rumors and speculation. Her boyfriend, futbol player Gerard Pique also confirmed the pregnancy via twitter. The 35-year-old singer just signed up to be a judge on ‘The Voice’ temporarily replacing Christina Aguilera who is going on tour.
As some of you may know, Gerard and I are very happy awaiting the arrival of our first baby! At this time we have decided to give priority to this unique moment in our lives and postpone all the promotional activities planned over the next few days.
This means I will not be able to be a part of the iHeartRadio Music Festival, but I’m sure this weekend in Las Vegas will be spectacular and I will be closely following everything that happens there!
I’d like to thank Clear Channel and my fans for their constant love and understanding.
And will see you very soon!
Consumers should not use a drug product called Intestinomicina—marketed as a treatment for infectious diarrhea and acute gastrointestinal infections—because it contains an ingredient that can cause serious and potentially deadly problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.
People who bought Intestinomicina should immediately stop taking it and consult with a health care provider, the FDA said in a safety alert issued Tuesday.
Intestinomicina, which is made in El Salvador, contains a prescription drug ingredient called chloramphenicol. Earlier this year, in July, oral forms of chloramphenicol were taken off the U.S. market due to the risk of serious health problems.
The most dangerous threat associated with oral chloramphenicol is bone marrow toxicity, which occurs when the body does not produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells and/or platelets, the FDA noted in a news release.
While some types of bone marrow toxicity are reversible, in certain rare cases it can lead to death. Those at greatest risk for serious injury or death are patients with anemia, low white or red blood cell count, or decreased blood platelets.
Intestinomicina’s label also lists antibacterial ingredients including neomycin, which is an antibiotic often found in topical medications, and sulfonamides (sulfa drugs). Neomycin and sulfa drugs can cause a variety of reactions, ranging from rashes and hives to severe and life-threatening reactions, the FDA said.
In addition, Intestinomicina may interact with other medications people may be taking, the FDA pointed out in the news release.
Intestinomicina—made by Laboratorios Lopez—is sold in tablet and liquid form by international grocery stores in the United States that feature South and Central American specialty foods and products.
A Chicano subculture which reached peak popularity in the U.S. between the 1940s and 1970s, has made its way to Japan.
There appears Japan has a growing community of “cholos” and “cholas”, a look now most commonly seen among Los Angeles street gangs.
Japanese rappers like MoNa aka Sad Girl have created careers with a mix of Spanish, English, and Japanese rapping.
The look includes baggy jeans (pants and shorts), over-sized knaki shorts, flannel shirts, white undershirts, bandanas, flat-brimmed baseball caps, dark lip liner for cholas, lowriders, jerseys, clearly visible tattoos, gold jewelry (often crosses), and knee-high socks. Interestingly, there is often also the presence or depiction of a Mexican flag.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Filipinos living in East Los Angeles also developed an affinity for the cholo culture.
But just as the Chicano culture has made its way to Japan, it has also allowed U.S. record labels a new market in which to promote their cholo/a artists.
Jaime Diaz, President and CEO of Urban Kings Music Group, recently told OC Weekly, ‘Japan has been more of an avenue for profit. We distribute to stores out there and it helps us out a lot. Japan will be the first place to buy product from independent artists.’
Japanese cholo artists have even taken on names like EL LATINO, GARCiA, and EL-REY.
Who knew East Asia would be the new home of the cholo? Or is it J-Cholo?
Check out some of the photos collected by the team over at POCHO below.
A report on the failed gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” was released today blaming insufficient supervision as the leading cause of this anti-gunrunning program.
Individuals from Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) were cited as having failed to send information up the chain of command and failing to ask enough questions about the tactics used in the operation.
The “Fast and Furious” program was run out of the ATF’s Phoenix field office in 2009 and 2010. As part of that undercover operation, ATF agents allowed thousands of guns illegally acquired from Arizona gun shops by straw purchasers to be smuggled into Mexico.
The idea behind letting the weapons “walk” across the border was to trace them to powerful drug cartels, but once the program was underway ATF agents realized they had no dependable way to monitor the firearms, ultimately losing track of some 2,000 guns.
The report recommends disciplinary or administrative action against the 14 individuals named but no criminal prosecution is recommended. The report does not implicate Attorney General Eric Holder and notes that he did not know about the failed operation until February, 2011 well after the shooting death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry with a “Fast and Furious” weapon.
The report also chides officials involved for not informing Mexico through the Attorney General when the guns were flowing over into its borders.
Resignation are now starting with Kenneth Nelson former acting director ATF “retiring” and Jason Weinstein deputy Attorney General at DOJ resigning today.
Last week, Florida police were called when someone witnessed 31-year-old Carlos Romero apparently having sex with an a miniature donkey.
On September 11, a witness delivering his horse to a bar he rents, said when he arrived, the lights were all off except one in a room being used by Romero as sleeping quarters.
When the witness, Gerald James, walked past the lit room, he told police he looked in the window and saw Romero standing behind is female miniature donkey, seemingly having sex with it.
Romero did not have a shirt on and his pants were down.
When Romero saw James he reportedly pulled away from the mini donkey, pulled up his pants, pushed the donkey out of the quarters, and closed the door.
Three days later, Detective Ollue Myers made contact with Romero. According to police reports, Romero stated he “uses his fingers and saliva to clean the donkey’s clitoris and checks for wood shaving and debris.” He went on to say he gets aroused whenever an animal is in heat (for the donkey, that’s every 21 days).
However, he claims he never actually puts his penis inside the donkey, but instead, puts his member against her withers and masturbates, claiming any semen found splattered inside the animal was purely accidental.
Romero went on to say he believes Florida “is backwards.. and people frown on zoophilia.” He also admitted to having masturbated with the animal five of six times.
He was arrested Monday and charged with misdemeanor sexual activity with an animal. The 31-year-old is being held in Marion County jail in lieu of $2000 bond.
Chicago’s 1st ward alderman Joe Moreno is now welcoming the fried chicken chain, Chick-fil-A and its artery choking sandwiches into his ward and for his constituents to enjoy. The change of heart has come in great part after the restaurant included a “statement of respect for all sexual orientations,” and only after much urging from Moreno himself. In addition Moreno is pleased that the company’s foundation, WinShape, has agreed according to a press release, not to contribute money to gay-bashing groups and those that oppose gay marriage.
Moreno who is Mexican-American, was elected to this very diverse ward in 2010 and in 2011 enjoyed 74% of his ward’s vote. Interestingly his city bio says he’s a vegetarian, so no fried chicken sandwiches for him.
The Georgia-based restaurant chain has faced a backlash and negative publicity over its founder’s, Dan Cathy’s vocal opposition to same-sex marriage. Certain legislators including Moreno did not want Chick-fil-A coming to their city espousing biased views.
In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”
Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to those anti-gay organizations.
Moreno, stated to the Chicago Tribune he feels affirmed of the company’s commitment to equal treatment for all, others may feel they were thrown a bone and a small one like a clavicle bone.
The second-in-command of the Latin Kings gang in Bryan, Texas, was arrested by fugitive operations officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Thursday.
Aldo Guadalupe Hernandez-Ramirez, 28, aka “Boss,” was arrested Sept. 13 at his residence without incident. He was previously removed from the U.S. on two occasions by ERO officers in August 2007 and August 2011. He remains in ERO custody while the U.S. government seeks criminal prosecution for illegal re-entry into the United States after deportation, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Hernandez-Ramirez has convictions for carrying an unlicensed concealed weapon and assault causing bodily injury.
“ERO is committed to making our communities safe. A priority for ERO is the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens who ignore their deportation orders or disregard our nation’s laws,” said David W. Jennings, field officer director for ERO Houston. “This arrest is yet another example of ERO’s commitment to keeping at-large criminal aliens out of our communities.”
Four individuals landing a boat in the southern coast of Puerto Rico were caught and arrested by Customs and Border Protection’s U.S. Border Patrol agents and the Puerto Rico Police Department yesterday after landing with a load of 918.7 kilos (2,025 pounds) of cocaine.
Border Patrol agents observed a 33-foot Eduardoño-type vessel with two outboard engines reaching the shores of Tuna Beach in the town of Maunabo.
Agents found 33 bales containing 811 bricks of cocaine as well as a Ford Expedition with 15 gasoline containers.
Three individuals claiming to be from the Dominican Republic were arrested; Cecilio Mercedes-De La Cruz, Jose Miguel Guzman-De Los Santos and Victor Manuel Carela.
The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $22,950,000.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa signed the U.S.-Mexico Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Promotion of Gender Equality, the Empowerment of Women and Women’s Human Rights prior to the Merida Initiative High-Level Consultative Group meeting.
This MOU demonstrates the U.S. and Mexican commitment to full integration of gender equality into our bilateral relationship. It recognizes the essential role women play as agents of change in society as well as their contributions to the economic development, democratic institutions, citizen security, and prosperity of both nations.
The United States and Mexico agreed to cooperate on gender equality efforts and initiatives in a number of key areas, including but not limited to:
1. Promoting economic empowerment and opportunity for women and girls;
2. Promoting social development that supports gender equality;
3. Strengthening citizen security, with a particular focus on women and girls;
4. Promoting increased access to justice.
The MOU reflects Secretary Clinton and the Department of State’s commitment to integrating the advancement of women and girls fully into the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
Cuban Yunel Escobar must have forgotten that Spanish is the most spoken foreign language in North America when he wrote a naughty on his eye-black.
The 29-year-old shortstop has been in MLB here in the States since 2005 and though he hasn’t mastered the English language he has stayed true to his native tongue and chose to remind us last weekend. Escobar wrote in Spanish “Tu eres maricon” on his eye-black which regardless of your Spanish be it Cuban Spanish or Spanish Royal Academy Spanish translates to “You are a faggot.”
The Toronto Blue Jay-er justified his words as a cultural tradition telling NBC Sports that is often “said among the Latino community” insisting “It’s a word without meaning.” Yunel, that might be correct but you were in Rogers Centre in Toronto some 1,500 due north of your peeps in Havana.
And who exactly were you calling a faggot so we can ask them if they think it is a word without meaning? The consensus amongst the Latino community especially among the gay and lesbian community will not be on your side.
After feeling the full wrath of the politically correct MLB, Yunel issued an apology and assured us he has gay friends all of them in service to his lifestyle, from his hairdresser to decorator. Who says Latinos aren’t assimilating.
The MLB wasn’t impressed they have suspended Escobar for three games giving him enough time to find more ‘gay’ friends and think before doing. He will also be required to participate in a sensitivity training program.
The apparent ineptitude of Republican candidate Mitt Romney in saying that he would have a better chance of winning the U.S. presidency if he were of Mexican descent might well cost him the Hispanic vote he is trying to win in November.
Romney has been in the headlines, not for his attacks on the President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, but for a self-inflicted wound - a video released Monday by the liberal online magazine Mother Jones shows him belittling those who support the president, accusing them of thinking of themselves as victims and wanting to be supported by the government.
In the video, shot secretly during a May 17 fundraising event in Boca Raton, Florida, Romney speaks with contempt about the 47 percent of voters who will choose Obama “no matter what.”
“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” the multimillionaire former Massachusetts governor said.
“These are people who pay no income tax,” he said, referring to the 47-percent group, though two-thirds of people in that category are employed and pay federal payroll taxes.
Behind closed doors, Romney also mentioned Hispanic voters, who in the United States have primarily backed the Democratic Party.
Romney jokes about his late father, auto executive and one-time Michigan Gov. George Romney, who was born in Mexico to U.S. expatriate parents.
“Had he been born of Mexican parents,” the Republican hopeful said, “I’d have a better shot of winning this.”
In 2008, Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote, compared with 31 percent for his Republican rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Up to now, Romney has concentrated, with relative success, on attacking the economic policies of Obama, because the economy is the most pressing issue in the country for everyone including Hispanics, according to surveys.
In the video leaked by an anonymous source, Romney acknowledges the challenge of persuading the more than 12 million Latinos to go to the polls and vote Republican.
“If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, why, we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation,” he told the campaign donors.
The statement, however, shows that he little understands why Hispanics are skeptical about him: it’s not a problem of his last name, looks or accent, but of his policies, particularly to do with immigration.
During the primaries, Romney said he was opposed to the DREAM Act that would legalize undocumented students, praised Arizona’s harsh SB 1070 immigration law as a model for the rest of the country, and prescribed “self-deportation” for undocumented immigrants.
In June, Romney reversed his position and said he would support reform that extends visas to skilled foreigners and that includes a guest worker program, among other measures. This is the new message he is presenting to Latino groups, as he did Monday in a speech to the national convention of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.
Romney, who has been attacked for being too obscure about what he really believes, held an improvised press conference Monday night to defend himself after the appearance of the leaked video.
“It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way,” he said by way of explanation of his comments in Boca Raton. “I’m speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and I’m sure I can state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that and so I’m sure I’ll point that out as time goes on.”
“My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again, particularly those who don’t have work,” Romney said, while characterizing Obama’s approach as “His whole campaign is based on getting people jobs again, putting people back to work.”
“This is ultimately a question about direction for the country. Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits or do you believe instead in a free enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?,” the Republican candidate said.
But the damage is done and the video in circulation contradicts the image Romney wishes to cultivate of a charitable man in tune with the real lives of average people.
At only 48 days from the general elections, the video is electoral dynamite.
Romney’s comments on his father being born in Mexico:
The magnitude-7.6 earthquake that rocked Costa Rica on Sept. 5 caused damage estimated at $45 million, President Laura Chinchilla said Tuesday.
She told a press conference that the losses occurred mainly in the Pacific coast provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas and included homes, schools, hospitals, highways, electric infrastructure and aqueducts.
Chinchilla said that 50 percent of the losses were registered in health sector infrastructure, but she added that all the affected hospitals and clinics are covered by insurance, which is “a great relief” to the government.
The president said that no later than next week she will sign a national emergency decree with the aim of facilitating the transfer of funds for reconstruction in the affected areas and that help in that task will be received from China, although she did not put a figure on the value of that assistance.
She thanked the citizens who have cooperated with the so-called “Fuerza Costa Rica” campaign via which funds have been collected to help out those affected by the quake.
The temblor had its epicenter on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast and caused moderate damage to about 200 homes, public buildings, schools and health centers.
The only known fatality that could be linked to the quake was a 55-year-old woman who died of a heart attack.
Since the quake, authorities have registered about 2,000 aftershocks, the strongest of which was a magnitude-5.4 temblor on Sept. 8., but none of them have caused any damage.
U.S. supermajor Chevron will be fined $17 million for an offshore oil spill rather than the nearly $25 million announced in July, the head of Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, said Monday.
Chevron Corp. has been assessed a penalty of 35.1 million reais ($17 million) for 24 of the 25 infractions identified as contributing to the November 2011 accident, Magda Chambriard told reporters at the Rio Oil & Gas Fair.
She noted, however, that the fine could increase by 2 million reais ($1 million) depending on how the ANP evaluates the 25th infraction.
The ANP is still reviewing Chevron’s application to resume operations in Brazil and will make its decision without regard to a judge’s ruling that the California-based giant must abandon the South American country, Chambriard said.
The two companies are the subjects of legal proceedings over a spill of 3,700 barrels of crude last year off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
Petrobras is helping the companies because it has eight Transocean rigs under contract in deepwater areas, Formigli said.
A suspension of Transocean’s operations would harm Petrobras because it would not be able to operate the rigs, the executive said.