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SundayOctober 7, 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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Spaniards Protest Across 50 Cities Against Social Program Cutbacks

Spaniards Protest Across 50 Cities Against Social Program Cutbacks

Photo: Thousands Protest in Spain

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Thousands of people took to the streets in more than 50 Spanish cities on Sunday on the urging of the Cumbre Social, which groups more than 150 organization, among them the country’s main unions, the CCO and UGT, to protest against the social cuts approved by the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The protesters said that it is up to the government whether or not a general strike is called in November to demand that the adopted adjustment measures be submitted to a popular referendum.

The marches were held all over the country to protest against the conservative government’s economic policy and against the state’s general budget for 2013, which - the organization says - “is in the service of banking.”

The Madrid demonstration was attended by some 72,000 people, according to the protesters, but the government did not provide an estimate as to the number of people who turned out.

At a press conference before the march, the general secretaries of the CCOO and UGT, Ignacio Fernandez Toxo and Candido Mendez, respectively, emphasized that the calling of a general strike would depend on the government’s response.

Mendez said that the unions “will insist ad nauseum” that the citizenry be consulted about the path chosen to get out of the current crisis which, in his opinion, is “a road to perdition.”

Meanwhile, Toxo demanded that a referendum be held regarding the cuts before the social situation becomes “explosive and unsustainable.”

The demonstrations on Sunday coincided with the World Day for Decent Work, which this year had the theme “Youth without employment, society without a future.”

Spain is suffering from an unemployment rate of more than 23 percent of the active population, although youth unemployment exceeds 50 percent.

In Barcelona, 1,500 people - police said - and some 20,000, according to organizers, demonstrated throughout the city against the government’s austerity policies.

In Castile and Leon, thousands of people mobilized in the province’s eight district capitals against the government cutbacks, and in Murcia some 5,000 people hit the streets to make their sentiments known.

In Vitoria and Bilbao in the Basque Country, hundreds of people marched chanting slogans such as “General strike against the cutbacks” and “Where are they? You don’t see the Popular Party’s (promised) jobs.”

In Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, some 400 people marched through the center of town denouncing “unfair” budgets that contribute to “more ... cuts and less social protection,” while in the Canary Islands some 800 people demonstrated.

There were also marches in Gijon and Galicia in the north, and in Andalusia, in the far southern part of the country.

The government has said that it is not planning to modify the law and that the Penal Code includes increased sanctions against those who display violent attitudes in popular protests.

The Spanish Penal Code sets forth prison terms of from six months to a year for those found guilty of promoting, leading or presiding over demonstrations or other gatherings before Parliament, the Senate or the regional parliaments when such protests disrupt the normal functioning of those bodies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

2 Die in Shootout between Drug Traffickers, Police in Bolivia

2 Die in Shootout between Drug Traffickers, Police in Bolivia

Photo: Shootout

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Two people were killed in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz region, which borders Brazil and Paraguay, in a shootout involving suspected drug traffickers and police officers who allegedly kidnapped one of the criminals, officials said.

The incident occurred Friday in Warnes, a town about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the city of Santa Cruz, FELCN drug enforcement agency regional chief Col. Miguel Gonzalez said.

Walter Torrez Tejerina, a suspected drug trafficker, and Mario Alejandro Rojas Flores, a former drug enforcement agent, died in the shootout, which is under investigation, media reports said.

Four officers from a special FELCN intelligence unit were arrested for their alleged involvement in Torrez’s kidnapping, Government Minister Carlos Romero said.

The officers tried to extort money from a family “independent of whether it had or did not have links to drug trafficking,” Romero said.

Investigators should make every effort to move the probe forward quickly, the minister said.

The officers kidnapped Torrez to get a $20,000 ransom, family attorney Denver Pedraza told Efe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST IN:  Hugo Chavez Wins Re-election in Venezuela Defeating Henrique Capriles

JUST IN:  Hugo Chavez Wins Re-election in Venezuela Defeating Henrique Capriles

Photo: Hugo Chavez Wins Reelection in Venezuela

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UPDATE:  Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has been declared the winner of the Presidential election by the country’s electoral council.  Chavez won a third term defeating Henrique Capriles in an election that saw record turn out.  Currently 90 percent of the votes have been tallied and Chavez has garnered more than 54 percent of those vote counted. 


ORIGINAL STORYVenezuelans went to the polls both here and abroad on Sunday in reportedly massive numbers to decide who will govern Venezuela for the next six years on a sunny day marked by both calm and expectation, given that President Hugo Chavez, a leftist firebrand who has been in office for 14 years, was facing a stiff challenge from Henrique Capriles.

The polls were open from 6 a.m. (1030 GMT) to 6 p.m. (2230 GMT), although the National Elections Council, or CNE, said that Venezuelans in line at that later hour who had not yet cast their ballots would be allowed to do so.

Some 19 million people are eligible to vote in the election.

Nearly 100 percent of polling places opened on time and were operating normally, CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena said around midday.

“We are opening the precincts, ready for the voters to begin this wonderful day, which is a celebration of democracy,” Lucena told the official VTV network.

The CNE plans to begin releasing results once a clear trend exists as the vote count proceeds, but there is no timeframe for reporting figures.

The release of poll results or exit poll numbers is prohibited until the CNE makes its official announcement.

By all accounts, there was a massive turnout of voters in Caracas and some people had to wait in line for hours to cast their ballots, bringing bottles of water, newspapers to pass the time and even folding chairs to give themselves a more comfortable way to wait their turn to vote.

The good weather - sunny and with a nice breeze in the capital - favored the turnout, and there had been no reports by midday of any violent incidents connected with the balloting and only a few arrests for isolated and relatively minor disorderly acts.

Gen. Willmer Barrientos, in charge of the 139,000 soldiers deployed to guard polling places under the “Plan Republica,” said that three people had been killed in isolated incidents “that have nothing to do with the electoral process.”

In some capital municipalities delays in voting were reported because of problems with the fingerprinting system or faulty voting machines.

Capriles, a 40-year-old attorney, cast his ballot in mid-afternoon in the Caracas municipality of Baruta, where he held the office of mayor on two occasions, surrounded by his supporters.

“The first person I’m going to call upon learning the results is the president of the republic. We Venezuelans are setting an example, and we leaders also have to set an example,” said Capriles at a press conference after casting his ballot, adding that he felt “very moved ... (and) very content.”

And Chavez, 58 and running for reelection for the third time, promised to accept the results of the election “whatever they may be.”

“Don’t you have the slightest doubt that we will recognize the results, whatever they may be, and for that there are precedents,” the president emphasized in remarks to reporters after voting in the western Caracas neighborhood of 23 de Enero.

He also said that “In this world, there are people who believe that I’m a tyrant, that there are no elections here, that all this is a lie,” but he defended the exercise of democracy in Venezuela and invited “whoever wants to see it” to “walk through the streets” of the country.

Chavez, who has undergone several operations and extensive treatment for cancer, is seeking to hold on to power until 2020 and has an approval rating of more than 50 percent with most polls giving him a strong chance of winning.

Under Chavez, Venezuela has gone on a nationalization spree and he has slammed U.S. foreign policy while forging alliances with communist Cuba and Iran, as well as bolstering Venezuela’s ties with Russia and China.

Capriles, known for being conciliatory and a moderate, has been president of the defunct Chamber of Deputies, a mayor and governor of Miranda state, and he has laid out a platform that attempts to distance himself from both radicals of the opposition and the ruling party.

Some 100,495 people are registered to vote abroad, with the largest numbers in the United States and Spain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Search Teams Continue to Scour Southern Colombia for Mudslide Victims

Search Teams Continue to Scour Southern Colombia for Mudslide Victims

Photo: Mudslide in Colombia

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Search teams resumed looking Sunday for 11 people reported missing after a mudslide in Villas del Prado, a hamlet outside the southwestern Colombian city of Isnos, with the official death toll from the disaster at four, officials said.

The mudslide buried the hamlet on Saturday, the National Risk Assessment Unit, or UNGRD, said.

The number of missing has been revised upward by two to 11, the disaster management agency said.

Rescue teams also revised the death toll down to four from the five reported on Saturday, UNGRD spokeswoman Sandra Calvo told Efe by telephone.

“They told us that they thought they had spotted another body, but they did not find it,” the UNGRD spokeswoman said.

Six people were injured in the mudslide, which destroyed 13 houses, damaged 20 other dwellings and affected at least 165 people in the hamlet, which is in Huila province, the UNGRD said.

Firefighters from Isnos and the neighboring town of Pitalito, located more than 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of Neiva, the capital of Huila, are working to find the missing people.

National Police, army, emergency management office and Red Cross personnel are also taking part in the search and recovery operation, the UNGRD said in a statement.

More than 150 rescue workers and security forces members are involved in the operation, the UNGRD said.

The mudslide in Villa del Prado was caused when the La Chorrera stream overflowed its banks.

Heavy rains made the stream overflow, causing the mudslide around 6:00 a.m. Saturday that hit Villa del Prado and other rural areas outside Isnos.

Floodwaters from La Chorrera also affected the neighboring hamlet of Remolinos, officials said.

The government is preparing to send a Health Ministry team to assist the people affected by the mudslide.

The stream that caused the mudslide is a tributary of the Magdalena River, Colombia’s largest waterway.

The Villas del Prado disaster is the first registered during Colombia’s second annual rainy season, which lasts from October through December.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bolivian Miners Fighting Each Other Over Control of Colquiri Mine

Bolivian Miners Fighting Each Other Over Control of Colquiri Mine

Photo: Bolivian miners

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The Bolivian mining groups that are facing off over control of the Andean Colquiri mine came to blows and hurled stones at one another when those working for private cooperatives returned to the same-named town, officials said.

About 200 cooperative-miners returned Saturday to the town of Colquiri, 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of La Paz, after remaining away for several weeks because their rival group working for the state was preventing them from reentering the area, Government Minister Carlos Romero said.

The problem arose when some cooperative members detonated dynamite charges and firecrackers and gathered in the town square, which - Romero said - was taken over by the union miners in a “provocative act.”

“About 60 of the (government miners) organized themselves, moved to a hill and also detonated dynamite. Then, there were some physical confrontations and an exchange of stones and blunt materials,” Romero said.

The clash left 10 people injured, of whom - Romero said - the most serious cases are one person who was hit in the head by a stone and a pregnant woman who injured her hand when she fell to the ground in the struggle.

There have been no overt confrontations since then because both groups are entrenched in the area, but dynamite charge explosions can still be heard around town, the minister said.

The 140 police officers that were stationed in Colquiri have been joined by 210 more to prevent new fights during the night, Romero said.

The Colquiri tin and zinc mine was expropriated in June by President Evo Morales from Swiss firm Glencore and since then it has been the site of a confrontation between the two groups of miners, a struggle that worsened in September with several violent incidents.

The most serious such incident occurred more than two weeks ago when cooperative members staging a demonstration threw dynamite charges at the union headquarters of their rivals in La Paz, killing one miner and injuring several others.

The state workers demanded that the national government take charge of the entire mine, while the cooperative members insisted that La Paz comply with a decree to turn over the mine’s richest vein of ore to them to exploit.

Finally, both groups gave in and signed an agreement to end their clashes and share the exploitation of the disputed vein.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Names Spanish St. John of Avila a Doctor of the Church

Pope Names Spanish St. John of Avila a Doctor of the Church

Photo: St. John of Avila and Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday proclaimed Spanish St. John of Avila (1499-1569) and German St. Hildegarde of Bingen (1098-1179) “doctors” of the church, one of the Catholic Church’s highest honors.

The proclamation of the two new doctors of the church was made by the pontiff before several tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for the opening of the two-week synod of the world’s bishops to chart the church’s new evangelization mission.

The two saints join the small number - just 35 proclaimed over the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history - of doctors of the church.

St. John of Avila is the patron of the Spanish clergy and joins other great doctors of the church who were born in Spain: St. Isidoro of Sevilla (560-636), St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and St. John of the Cross (1542-1591).

Other doctors of the church include St. Catherine of Siena and St. Therese de Lisieux.

The proclamation was made in St. Peter’s Square at 10 a.m. and afterwards the thousands of people present broke into sustained applause lasting several minutes and holy music was played.

The gaze of all present was directed to the main facade of St. Peter’s Basilica, where huge pictures of the two new doctors of the church had been hung.

The proclamation had been requested by Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

After the reading of brief biographies of the new doctors, the pope performed the proclamation rite in Latin.

“St. John of Avila lived in the 16th century. Deeply knowledgeable about the Holy Scriptures, he possessed an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how to deeply penetrate the mysteries of the redemption performed by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he combined constant prayer with apostolic action,” the pope said.

Pope Benedict XVI added in his homily at the associated Mass that the Spaniard devoted himself to preaching and increasing the practice of the sacraments, “concentrating his efforts on improving the training of candidates for the priesthood and laypersons, with an eye toward an enriching reform of the Church.”

Attending the proclamations was a large official Spanish delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria and the president of the Junta of Communities of Castile-La Mancha, Maria Dolores de Cospredal Garcia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Authorities Investigating Conspiracy Theory in Murder of Politician’s Son

Mexican Authorities Investigating Conspiracy Theory in Murder of Politician’s Son

Photo: Jose Eduardo Moreira Rodriguez

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The theory that an organized crime group and public officials may have conspired to kill the son of a prominent Mexican politician is gaining ground among investigators, the government of the northern state of Coahuila said.

Jose Eduardo Moreira Rodriguez, son of former Coahuila Gov. and Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, chairman Humberto Moreira, was shot and killed last Wednesday on a rural road near the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Coordinated actions between state and federal security and intelligence agencies bolster the lines of investigation based on the prior investigations” conducted by federal and state prosecutors, the Coahuila state government said in a statement.

“It is very probable that organized crime members participated in the murder of Jose Eduardo Moreira Rodriguez, in which, based on the facts and statements obtained by prosecutors, collusion by authorities or public servants is presumed,” the state government said.

“All the possibilities that technical and investigative methods allow for reaching a resolution to the case will be exhausted,” the state government said.

“More than 16 investigative tests have been made, 21 statements have been taken and different actions have been taken to try to clear up the incident,” the Coahuila state government said.

The state Attorney General’s Office “reiterates its commitment to working together with the authorities of the federal government, which we are sure will lead to handing over those responsible to the appropriate judges,” the statement said.

Four municipal police officers in Acuña, where Moreira was murdered, are in preventive detention for their suspected involvement in the killing, Coahuila Attorney General Homero Ramos Gloria said in a radio interview on Friday.

The Coahuila AG said two lines of investigation were being pursued, one of which was opened Thursday after a conversation with Humberto Moreira following his son’s funeral.

He said municipal officials in Ciudad Acuña were implicated in the murder but refused to provide further information that might interfere with the investigation.

Ramos also referred to the possibility that Moreira Rodriguez’s murder was an act of revenge for the killing of the nephew of the Los Zetas drug cartel’s No. 2, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z40,” in a shootout with state police Wednesday in the border city of Piedras Negras.

The clash erupted when members of an elite state police unit were conducting a search for 131 inmates who escaped from the Piedras Negras prison in mid-September. Five people were killed, one of whom was identified by his wife as Treviño Morales’s nephew

“That’s the version that’s been circulating in the state’s north region, but as an attorney general I don’t have the evidence to say that’s what happened. However, it could be a hypothesis in the sense that (the two deaths occurred) on the same day,” Ramos said.

What is clear, he added, is that the murder was premeditated. “It’s clear that they knew who he was. It was done in cold blood.”

The 25-year-old victim was regional coordinator of social development programs for the violence-wracked state of Coahuila, whose governor, Ruben Moreira, is Moreira Rodriguez’s uncle.

Humberto Moreira, who served as Coahuila’s governor from 2005 to 2011, became PRI chairman after leaving office.

He resigned on Dec. 2 amid a scandal over allegedly improper contracting during his time as governor of that state.

Moreira’s resignation was prompted by statements made a day earlier by President-elect and then-candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, a member of the PRI, that the controversy over the surge in Coahuila’s public debt had hurt the party.

Read more by HS News Staff →

7 Shipwrecked Brazilian Fisherman Reach Land After Swimming For 3 Days

Seven Brazilian fishermen were rescued alive Saturday after swimming for almost three days in the ocean following their shipwreck on Wednesday night, from which another two are still missing, officials said.

The fishermen were found on two beaches in the northeastern Brazilian state of Paraiba and taken to the Trauma Hospital in the regional capital of João Pessoa, according to the port authority in a communique.

Three rescue teams are taking part in searching for the two men who are still missing, one from the port authority of Paraiba, another from the port authority of Pernambuco state, and the third a unit of firefighters.

The ship called Horizonte II went down in the Atlantic at around 10:00 p.m. local time (0100 GMT) on Wednesday, offshore from the border between the states of Pernambuco and Paraiba.

Ship’s Capt. Ramiro Freires Castro Junior said in an interview on the G1 portal that the fire broke out in the stern of the vessel, spread rapidly across the deck and caused a butane gas cylinder to explode.

The fishermen were unable to put on life jackets because the fire stopped them from reaching the lifeboats where they were stowed, so they jumped in the ocean without them.

The nine in the water tied themselves together with a rope and started swimming in the direction of land, though the rope eventually broke from damage by the fire, one of the fishermen said.

The first to arrive on shore was Freires Castro himself, who reached the beach at Tambaba Saturday morning in a state of exhaustion.

The other two fishermen arrived at Praia Bela beach in the municipality of Conde, some 25 kilometers (16 miles) south of João Pessoa.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Jose Luis Perales Performs His Greatest Hits in Chile

Jose Luis Perales Performs His Greatest Hits in Chile

Photo: Jose Luis Perales

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Spanish singer-songwriter Jose Luis Perales, who has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, delighted thousands of his Chilean fans who, despite the cold and rain, jammed the venue where he performed, urged him on and also sang along with him as he ran through his biggest hits.

Since before the artist came onstage on Saturday evening, the women in the audience - most of them adults - were screaming for him, a steady roar that multiplied many times when his accompanying musicians first appeared and, after them, the singer of “Por que te vas” showed up, that song being one that more than 40 artists have recorded.

Perales led off with a number from his latest musical production “Calle Soledad,” not well known in Chile and thus his performance was able to be heard, but when he performed “Quisiera decir tu nombre” the Caupolican Theater erupted in thunderous cheers.

“Mijito rico,” “Idolo,” “Te amo,” “Te comeria” and “Estoy loca por ti” were among the songs that drove the female members of the audience wild.

Accompanied by eight young bandmembers, Perales clearly enjoyed performing several of his new numbers and, after those, a barrage of his older songs such as “Pequeño marinero,” “Amada mia,” “Por amor,” “Y te vas,” “A quien le importara” and “Le llamaban loca,” among others.

Perales, who has written more than 400 songs, was called back for an encore and had to reassemble his group onstage and perform two more of his favorites, including “Un velero llamado Libertad,” after which he literally had to tear himself away from the stage and his appreciative fans.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Short Film Depicts the Lives of Immigrant Women in the U.S. (VIDEO)

New Short Film Depicts the Lives of Immigrant Women in the U.S. (VIDEO)

Photo: "The Call" (Breakthrough)

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This week, global human rights organization Breakthrough announced the release of “The Call,” a short film that tells the story of millions of immigrant women forced by inhumane U.S. immigration policy to choose between keeping their children safe today and keeping their families together for good.

The film is the centerpiece of #ImHere, a high-impact, pop-driven campaign designed to put the human rights of immigrant women on the national agenda of the United States during this election season.

As the rights of women are increasingly under attack in the continuing “war on women,” an entire population deeply affected by this conversation continues to be largely ignored: immigrant women. The #ImHere campaign publicly mobilizes millions of people concerned with the current state of immigrant and women’s rights to publicly show their support for immigrant women and families.

Breakthrough is also taking the campaign on the road, partnering with popular band Los Lonely Boys in October for their #ImHereIVote concert series. The band’s support comes on the heels of a similar partnership in August, when the campaign traveled with indie rock star Conor Oberst and his Desaperacidos punk band for their West Coast tour. Other celebrities, including Margaret Cho, are also participating in the campaign.

The film, which is inspired by the stories of real-life undocumented immigrant women encountered by Breakthrough, shows the emotional struggles of an immigrant family as they grapple with the choice between seeking medical care when their daughter is violently attacked and the risk that doing so could trigger the mother’s deportation—and tear the family apart.  The mother and daughter in the film are played by real-life mother and daughter Zuleyma Guevara (Sonia) and Yadira Guevara (Teresa).

Federal immigration policies and state laws such as Arizona’s harsh SB 1070 are creating human rights crises in communities around the country. These laws legitimize racism, racial profiling, and the scapegoating of immigrants. They enforce cruel conditions that needlessly separate mothers from their children and restrict access to basic health care and education.

In the first six months of 2011, the U. S. deported more than 46,000 parents of U.S.-citizen children. Currently there are 5,100 U.S. children living in foster care who are unable to reunite with their detained or deported families.

The broken immigration system also forces women to choose between the threat of an abusive partner and the threat of deportation if they call the police. A critical mass of #ImHere change agents, acting as one voice, can compel the presidential candidates to publicly acknowledge the abuses faced by immigrant women.

View the short film here:

Read more by HS News Staff →

Election Day in Venezuela Sends People to the Polls

Election Day in Venezuela Sends People to the Polls

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Voters are heading to the polls Sunday to decide who will govern Venezuela for the next six years, with President Hugo Chavez, a leftist firebrand who has been in office for 14 years, facing a stiff challenge from Henrique Capriles.

Election precincts opened at 6:00 a.m. and will close at 6:00 p.m., although the National Elections Council, or CNE, said anyone in line when the polls close would be allowed to cast their ballot.

Some 19 million people are eligible to vote in the election.

Nearly 100 percent of polling places opened on time and are operating normally, CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena said.

“We are opening the precincts, ready for the voters to begin this wonderful day, which is a celebration of democracy,” Lucena told the official VTV network.

“At 6:00 a.m. practically 100 percent of CNE personnel were at their work places,” Lucena said.

Campaigning is prohibited on election day and voters should head to the polls early, the CNE chief said.

The polls may not close until 8:00 p.m. if many people are in line at the end of the official voting period, CNE officials said.

The CNE plans to begin releasing results once a clear trend exists, but there is no timeframe for reporting figures.

The release of poll results or exit poll numbers is prohibited until the CNE makes its official announcement.

Some 139,000 soldiers have been deployed to guard polling places under the “Plan Republica,” which covers Venezuela’s 13,810 election precincts.

Some 100,495 people are registered to vote abroad, with the largest numbers in the United States and Spain.

The 58-year-old Chavez, who is running for re-election for a third time, and the 40-year-old Capriles are the top favorites in the field.

Chavez, who has undergone several operations and extensive treatment for cancer, is seeking to hold on to power until 2020.

Idolized by some as a defender of democracy with a social conscience and accused by others of being just another populist dictator concerned only about himself, Chavez has an approval rating of more than 50 percent and most polls give him a strong chance of winning.

Under Chavez, Venezuela has gone on a nationalization spree, exerting state control over a vast swath of the economy, including the oil, cement, food, telecommunications, steel and power sectors, as part of a drive to usher in “socialism of the 21st century.”

Chavez, survivor of a 2002 coup attempt that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says took place with Washington’s advance knowledge if not active collusion, has also slammed U.S. foreign policy while forging alliances with communist Cuba and Iran, and bolstering Venezuela’s ties with Russia and China.

Capriles, an attorney, has been president of the defunct Chamber of Deputies, a mayor and governor.

A descendent of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto and great-grandson of victims of the Treblinka death camp, Capriles declares himself a practicing Catholic and laid out a platform that attempts to distance him from both radicals of the opposition and the ruling party.

Capriles, known for being conciliatory and a moderate, won an easy victory over his rivals in the primary election and has campaigned across Venezuela for three months to convince his countrymen that his vision for the country is one of reconciliation and national development.

Though his family names are associated with corporate power, Capriles has managed to shed the elitist image to attract even the most destitute.

Despite his youth, he has an impressive resume. He has been governor of Miranda, a state that includes part of Caracas and one of the most important in the country, after winning an election against Diosdado Cabello, one of Chavez’s leading supporters and current president of the National Assembly.

Read more by HS News Staff →

INFOGRAPHIC: U.S. Immigration Enforcement

INFOGRAPHIC: U.S. Immigration Enforcement

Photo: Hispanically Speaking News

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Immigration and immigration enforcement have been covered daily in the news as well as a hot topic for both parties’ 2012 platforms.  Many misconceptions and “statistics” have been thrown around.  Here are the facts.

Check out our infographic to learn more about “U.S. Immigration Enforcement.”

Image

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Widow of Dissident Killed in Car Crash Blasts Trial in Cuba

Widow of Dissident Killed in Car Crash Blasts Trial in Cuba

Photo: Ofelia Acevedo

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Ofelia Acevedo, late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya’s widow, said she has no confidence in the negligent homicide trial of Spanish political activist Angel Carromero, who was at the wheel for a July car crash near this eastern city that killed her husband and another government opponent.

“I don’t believe anything that happened (in the trial). There are lots of questions I’m asking myself and they never came up in court. I don’t know if one day I’ll know the exact truth of things,” Acevedo, who continues to insist on an independent investigation, told Efe here Saturday.

Accompanied by her three children - Rosa Maria, Oswaldo Jose and Reinaldo Isaias - Paya’s widow visited the site of the July 22 accident for the first time on Saturday.

“I think many other things happened here that perhaps I’ll never learn, because under Cuba’s civil code victims don’t have the right to anything,” Acevedo, who did not attend the trial, lamented.

Upon visiting the site, “I’m confirming that that (vehicle) never could have done those flips on this embankment. This isn’t slippery terrain. When I look at the tree ... I can’t imagine that the car could have hit the tree in that way,” she added.

“It was very painful for us to come here, but we had to do it.”

Paya’s family traveled to Bayamo, 750 kilometers (465 miles) east of Havana, a day before Carromero’s trial was held on Friday.

The 27-year-old leader of a youth group in Spain’s governing Popular Party testified in court that he was driving at a speed of between 80 and 90 kph (50 and 56 mph) and “unfortunately” lost control of the car upon entering a stretch of road full of potholes and road work.

Cuban authorities blame the accident on excessive speed and the driver’s failure to heed warning signs about road construction. They say the car was going 120 kph (nearly 75 mph) along a stretch of highway where the speed limit was 60 kph (around 37 mph).

Paya’s children tried to attend the trial but Cuban authorities prevented them and they stood for several hours behind the police cordon that blocked access to the Granma provincial court.

“They didn’t let my children into the (courthouse). They wanted to come to the trial against my will, because I don’t believe in the trial and I don’t think Carromero needs to be tried or anything of the sort,” Acevedo said.

Paya’s relatives say they consider Carromero to be innocent and have not pressed charges.

Acevedo told Efe she traveled to Bayamo to pick up the reports on the autopsies performed on her husband and on Harold Cepero, who also died in the crash.

She said she spent nine hours being bounced from one office to another before finally being given the documents at the city’s hospital.

After his initial statement in the trial, Carromero was interrogated by the prosecutor, who asked for a seven-year prison sentence, and also by his defense counsel, Dorisbel Rojas Perez.

She insistently questioned witnesses about the visibility of signs warning about road construction and the reasons why those signs were relocated after the accident.

Several witnesses said the signs were moved to preserve the skid marks of Carromero’s car after he entered the stretch covered with gravel.

The court has six working days to hand down a verdict, although that deadline could be extended by Cuba’s judicial authorities.

Paya was the promoter of the so-called Varela Project, which he presented to Cuba’s legislature in 2002 along with some 11,000 signatures to propose a referendum on a democratic and peaceful transition on the Communist-ruled island.

The petition was rejected by the Castro regime, but Paya emerged as the leading advocate of peaceful democratic change in Cuba.

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Spanish Official Steps Down After “Rape” Comment

Spanish Official Steps Down After “Rape” Comment

Photo: Jose Manuel Castelao

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A Spanish official has stepped down after sparking outrage with comments that made light of the crime of rape.

Jose Manuel Castelao resigned Friday night from his post as president of the General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad after saying a few days earlier during a board meeting that “laws are like women; they’re there to be violated (raped).”

He used the Spanish verb “violar,” which when used to describe an action done to people clearly carries the meaning of sexual assault.

The comments by the 71-year-old official, who had been named to the post earlier in the week and cited only “personal reasons” for stepping down, drew a storm of criticism, especially from Spain’s main opposition Socialist Workers Party.

That party’s secretary-general, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, urged Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy’s administration to apologize for Castelao’s words.

“It’s not enough for him to resign,” Rubalcaba said during a political rally Saturday ahead of Oct. 20 elections in the northwestern region of Galicia. “The government needs to offer an explanation.”

“What must (politicians of the governing Popular Party) have in their heads ... to say such nonsense?”

Socialist lawmaker Laura Seara, meanwhile, called the remarks by the now-former official representative of Spaniards living abroad “disgusting” and “borderline criminal,” and said there is no way to excuse them away.

The Socialist candidate for the presidency of the northwestern autonomous community of Galicia, Pachi Vazquez, said for his part that the comment was “spectacularly stupid” and that “no one can be in public life with that phrase, no one.”

The current president of the Basque regional government, the PP’s Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, said on Twitter that Castelao’s statement was inadmissible and that he has done was he needed to do by resigning.

Castelao had been elected to his post on Monday after his name was proposed by Employment and Social Security Minister Fatima Bañez.

The General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad is a division of the Employment and Social Security Ministry that seeks to guarantee the rights of Spanish expatriates to participate in matters that concern them.

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Ecuador Ordered to Pay $1.7 Billion for Oil Contract Termination

Ecuador Ordered to Pay $1.7 Billion for Oil Contract Termination

Photo: Occidental Petroleum

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The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes has ordered Ecuador to pay more than $1.7 billion in damages to U.S. oil company Occidental Petroleum for terminating its contract in 2006.

The ruling, published Friday on the Washington-based World Bank arbitration tribunal’s Web site, said Ecuador’s decision to terminate Oxy’s contract for an oil block in the Amazon region was “tantamount to expropriation.”

According to the ICSID, the action carried out during the administration of former Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio also was in violation of the country’s bilateral investment treaty with the United States.

Ecuador canceled Oxy’s contract for Block 15 in May 2006 because the firm had allegedly sold a 40 percent stake to AEC, a unit of Canada’s Encana, without government authorization.

Ecuador said that Oxy illegally “created a consortium to operate the block in secret,” while the U.S. company maintains that AEC had no control over the block’s operations and merely provided financing.

AEC eventually sold its interest in Block 15 to China’s Andes Petroleum.

The block’s value was estimated at $3.4 billion by Oxy and $417 million by the Ecuadorian government, while an experts’ report commissioned by the ICSID put the value at $2.4 billion.

Ecuador’s government said it will appeal the ruling to the ICSID’s Annulment Committee.

“We’re used to confronting these abuses, these obstacles. We’ll continue defending the country’s interests,” Correa told reporters Friday at the presidential residence after receiving Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia.

“They can’t deny that Oxy broke Ecuadorian law,” the leftist president said, adding that what they are arguing is that “it’s a very rigorous, very drastic, law.”

Correa said there were “unacceptable things” in the ruling, including a damages award for Andes Petroleum even though as a Chinese company it is not protected by the U.S.-Ecuador investment treaty that was the basis for Oxy’s request for arbitration.

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Soldiers Disband Kidnapping Operations in Mexico, Free 11 Migrants

Mexican army soldiers freed 11 abducted Central American migrants and seized an arsenal in two separate operations in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, military officials said.

The kidnap victims were freed in the city of Tampico thanks to an anonymous tip, the command headquarters of the 4th Military Region said in a statement.

Seven of the freed migrants are of Salvadoran origin, two are Honduran and two are Guatemalan, according to authorities, who said three purported kidnappers were arrested and a vehicle, a rifle, a handgun and a property were seized.

Tens of thousands of Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

Separately, soldiers found a safe house in the border town of Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, - located across the Rio Grande from Donna, Texas - that was being used by criminal gangs as a place to stash and repair weapons.

They seized 14 rifles, three handguns, three grenade launchers, eight rifle grenades, 1,859 ammunition clips, 13,660 rounds of ammunition and tactical and communications gear in the operation.

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4 Mexican Police in Custody for Murdering Former Governor’s Son

4 Mexican Police in Custody for Murdering Former Governor’s Son

Photo: Jose Eduardo Moreira Rodriguez's funeral

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Four Mexican municipal police have been detained for their alleged involvement in this week’s murder of the son of a prominent politician, officials said.

Jose Eduardo Moreira Rodriguez - son of Humberto Moreira, former governor of the northern state of Coahuila and erstwhile chairman of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, - was shot and killed Wednesday on a rural road in Coahuila near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Evidence shows that some municipal police participated in the crime and they are under investigation, Coahuila Attorney General Homero Ramos Gloria said Friday in a radio interview.

The four police from the border town of Ciudad Acuña, where Moreira Rodriguez was killed, are being held under “arraigo,” a legal instrument that allows suspects to be held for up to 80 days without formal charges.

Prior to being detained, they had been questioned by authorities into the wee hours of Friday, Ramos said.

Three other police were questioned in Saltillo, the state capital, but have not been arrested.

Ciudad Acuña Mayor Alberto Aguirre Villarreal told Efe that he ordered all police on shift at the time of Moreira Rodriguez’s death be placed at the disposition of prosecutors.

The decision to question a total of 48 police was made after witnesses, colleagues and friends who were with Moreira Rodriguez on the day he was killed told investigators that police may have been involved.

The 25-year-old victim was regional coordinator of social development programs for the violence-wracked state of Coahuila, whose governor, Ruben Moreira, is Moreira Rodriguez’s uncle.

The Coahuila AG said two lines of investigation are being pursued, one of which was opened Thursday after a conversation with Moreira following his son’s funeral.

He also said municipal officials in Ciudad Acuña are implicated in the murder but refused to provide further information that might interfere with the investigation.

Ramos also referred to the possibility that Moreira Rodriguez’s murder was an act of revenge for the killing of the nephew of the Los Zetas drug cartel’s No. 2, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z40,” in a shootout with state police Wednesday in the border city of Piedras Negras.

The clash erupted when members of an elite state police unit were conducting a search for 131 inmates who fled the Piedras Negras prison in mid-September. Five people were killed, one identified by his wife as Treviño Morales’s nephew

“That’s the version that’s been circulating in the state’s north region, but as an attorney general I don’t have the evidence to say that’s what happened. However, it could be a hypothesis in the sense that (the two deaths occurred) on the same day,” Ramos said.

What is clear, he added, is that the murder was premeditated. “It’s clear that they knew who he was. It was done in cold blood.”

State and federal authorities are working together and sharing information, the state AG said, adding that the investigation is “quite far along” and that results are expected soon.

President Felipe Calderon said in a statement that he deeply regretted the “cowardly murder” of Moreira Rodriguez, while President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, a member of the PRI, condemned the killing and said it “should not go unpunished.”

Humberto Moreira, who served as Coahuila’s governor from 2005 to 2011, became PRI chairman after leaving office.

He resigned on Dec. 2 amid a scandal over allegedly improper contracting during his time as governor of that state.

Moreira’s resignation was prompted by statements made a day earlier by Peña Nieto, who said the controversy over the surge in Coahuila’s public debt had hurt the PRI.

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SundayOctober 7, 2012