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MondayOctober 22, 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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Machine Guns, Grenades and Explosives Found in Venezuelan Prison

Machine Guns, Grenades and Explosives Found in Venezuelan Prison

Photo: Venezuela Prison Problems

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Authorities found a well-stocked arsenal at a prison in the central state of Falcon that was evacuated last week for renovations, the minister responsible for Venezuela’s penitentiary system said Monday.

Hidden inside a tunnel dug by inmates, the arms cache included machine guns, grenades, C4 plastic explosives and more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition, Iris Varela told a televised press conference.

The weapons and ordnance, some of it military issue, were carefully packed to prevent damage from the high humidity underground, she said.

The arsenal was discovered after the roughly 1,000 inmates at the prison in Coro, the state capital, were removed last Friday as part of an initiative to renovate Venezuela’s vastly overcrowded penitentiaries.

Two inmates died and 13 were injured when some elements in the prison population resisted the removal.

Varela blamed the violence on a “minority of negative leaders” who control trafficking in arms, drugs and other contraband inside the prison and were unwilling “to lose the business they have there.”

Found along with the arms cache were receipts for bank deposits and both the account-holders and the depositors are being investigated, the minister said.

She acknowledged the involvement of some “civilian and military” officials in supplying guns and drugs to inmates.

The government embarked last week on an emergency program to renovate Venezuela’s 30-odd existing prisons and to build 20 more.

Violence in Venezuelan penitentiaries claimed 304 lives in the first half of the year, an increase of 15 percent over the same period in 2011.

The system is also holding more than 45,000 people, three times its official capacity.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban-American Republican Ted Cruz Wide Lead in Texas Senate Seat

Cuban-American Republican Ted Cruz Wide Lead in Texas Senate Seat

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Cuban-American Republican Ted Cruz has a commanding lead in the polls over Democrat Paul Sadler in the race for one of Texas’ two seats in the U.S. Senate.

Cruz, 41, had to beat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a GOP primary runoff and now looks to do the same with Sadler, who has not held public office since 2003.

According to a poll by The Texas Lyceum, Cruz, a former state solicitor general, was leading with 50 percent of voter preference against just 24 percent for Sadler.

Cruz’s lead, according to Dallas-based political analyst Gustavo Bujanda, is due to the number of backers he has won in the Tea Party movement, which has “taken over” important leadership positions within the state Republican Party.

“We’re talking about an extreme polarization in the Republican Party, both at the state and national levels. It is this wing (the Tea Party) and its leaders that have managed to pass anti-immigrant measures in a number of states,” Bujanda told Efe in an interview.

Cruz has said that he will not support any kind of immigration reform without first improving border security, not even the legalization of undocumented students.

According to Bujanda, it’s logical that Cruz lines up with those ideals when it’s obvious he would never get very far with Hispanic voters in Texas.

“Texas is a demographic sample of what is happening in the rest of the United States - the growth in importance and influence of the Hispanic electorate, and the continued fragmentation of the Anglo electorate,” he said.

Sadler, for his part, has often repeated his commitment to immigration reform.

Linda Vega, founder of the Latinos Ready to Vote organization in Houston, said that Cruz’s lead over Sadler is not only because they are at odds on immigration, but also on the economy.

“Sadler is a conservative Democrat who understands reforms, but finds himself in a Republican state with a rigid Tea Party administration that identifies him with the liberal politics of President Barack Obama,” Vega said.

“On immigration matters, I believe that once he’s elected to the Senate, Cruz will try to move to the center and work with the other senators to find a practical solution to the broken immigration system that loses us a work force,” Vega said.

Cruz, who graduated from Harvard Law School with honors, was the state’s first Hispanic solicitor general as well as the youngest attorney to hold the post.

Sadler, also an attorney, was a state representative in Texas from 1991 to 2003, and during that time was named on several occasions by the press as one of the best lawmakers in the state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood Honors Vicente Fernandez

Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood Honors Vicente Fernandez

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Beloved ranchero singer Vicente Fernandez received a tribute Monday from Chicago’s Mexican community, which named in his honor a stretch of the main shopping street in the city’s Little Village/La Villita neighborhood.

“Come on and sing, Chente, sing” shouted the more than 300 people gathered at noon around the Little Village Arch at the corner of 26th Street, and the “Idol of Mexico” responded with an a capella version of “El Hijo del Pueblo” (Son of the Village).

With banners, posters and Mexican flags, the crowd cheered and applauded under the falling rain as the 72-year-old vocalist intoned the verses that speak proudly of being born in “the poorest community, far from the hubbub and hypocrisy of society.”

“I’ll always have Chicago in my heart because it was here I began my first tour 47 years ago,” Fernandez said. “It’s an honor that a street of this neighborhood will bear the name of a humble servant, it is worth more than I could ever pay.”

The ceremony was hurried along by the rain, but there was time nonetheless for state Sen. Antonio Muñoz to read a statement proclaiming Vicente Fernandez Week in Illinois, and for Chicago Alderman George Cardenas - born in Jalisco state like Fernandez - to present him with the key to the city.

“Chente” announced the end of a career during which he received all the showbiz prizes and honors imaginable, and bid farewell to his fans in Chicago this weekend with two concerts accompanied by his eldest son, Vicente Jr.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Decisions Poll:  Latino Voters Highly Engaged in Upcoming Elections

Latino Decisions Poll:  Latino Voters Highly Engaged in Upcoming Elections

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The impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll latest results reveal a high level of interest and engagement by Latino voters in the upcoming congressional and presidential elections.

More than three-fourths of all respondents said they have talked with friends or family members about candidates, issues or other election topics in the last few months and 45% have actively tried to persuade friends or family on their election decision. According to the 2008 American National Election study, 45% of all voters said they tried to influence how others voters, suggesting on this measure Latinos are as engaged in 2012 as all voters were in 2008.  When asked if they had tried to help people register or volunteered for any campaign or voter outreach effort 14% of all Latino voters said yes.  In 2008 the ANES found 4% of all voters had worked on a campaign, 13% gave money to a campaign, and 9% attended a political meeting.

Those who said they were very enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming elections climbed from 51% last week to 56% this.

“This week’s survey indicates that Latino voters are one of the most highly engaged groups in the election,” said Monica Lozano, CEO of impreMedia. “This has implications for both candidates, but is an especially positive force for President Obama who is still highly favored by Latinos.”

Among Latinos, those age 45-65 years old reported the highest level of electoral engagement on every dimension.  For example, within this age group 89% are certain to vote, and 68% say they are very enthusiastic. 59% say they have tried to persuade people on political issues, and 28% have volunteered for a campaign or worked on voter registration.

Read more at Latino Decisions →

LATINO BLOTTER: Teen Takes Little Brother to Rob a Florida Walmart

LATINO BLOTTER: Teen Takes Little Brother to Rob a Florida Walmart

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A teenage girl in Florida reportedly brought her 6-year-old brother along with her as she and another man attempted to rob a store.

A 14-year-old girl was arrested after she and 24-year-old Saul Castillo Gutierrez attempted to rob a Walmart in Bradenton Friday afternoon. The unidentified girl was in charge of watching her younger brother at the time so brought him along.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s office says Gutierrez and the girl loaded a shopping cart full of nearly $700 worth of merchandise and then tried to leave the store. When the two were stopped near the door, the teenaged girl took off on foot and ran into nearby woods, leaving her younger brother behind.

Police were called and a K-9 unit was able to track and catch the girl who was hiding in a retention pound. She was bitten by the police dog and was said to have been taken into custody without further incident.

She was charged with child neglect, resisting arrest without violence, and felony retail theft.

Gutierrez has been charged with felony retail theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was arrested without incident.

The girl told police that she always runs, “but normally I get away.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Another Guatemalan Courier Package Found to be Loaded with Cocaine, 5th in Five Weeks

Another Guatemalan Courier Package Found to be Loaded with Cocaine, 5th in Five Weeks

Photo: Cocaine Parcel from Guatemala

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After nearly a three-week break, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers recorded another cocaine seizure from parcels that a Guatemalan courier brought to Washington Dulles International Airport Thursday night.

CBP officers discovered the cocaine concealed inside five large belt-like items. Officers couldn’t immediately separate the cocaine from the belts. Total combined weight of the leather and cocaine was 3,662 grams or a little more than eight pounds.

After extensive interviews, authorities released the man to return home to Guatemala. CBP officers barred him from returning to the U.S. for a minimum of five years.

This is the fifth cocaine interception of Guatemalan courier parcels in five weeks.

The courier arrived from Guatemala about 9 p.m. Thursday. Couriers are routinely referred for a secondary examination so that CBP officers can ensure the manifest matches the products the courier is bringing to the U.S., and to ensure that the products comply with all applicable customs, agriculture and other federal regulations.

In September, CBP officers intercepted four cocaine shipments that were concealed inside false second liners of plastic jars and in food products.

Sept. 15, CBP officers discovered cocaine secreted inside a false second lining of seven plastic containers that two Guatemalan couriers brought to Washington Dulles. The combined weight of plastic jars and cocaine measured about 5.7 kilograms, or 12 pounds, 10 ounces.

Sept. 22, CBP officers discovered cocaine inside two hard brown bricks labeled as “Dulce de Panela” which is a molasses-like, brown candy made of unrefined sugar, and in five packages of “Hilachas,” a beef soup in another courier’s packages. Total weight of the cocaine measured 2.6 kilograms, or 5 pounds, 13 ounces.

Sept. 29, CBP officers discovered cocaine inside the false inner lining of two white jars. The combined weight of the jars and the cocaine measured about 583 grams, or a little more than 1 pounds, 4 ounces.

These four men were also returned to Guatemala and barred for a minimum of five years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Inamtes Sue Florida Jail for Denying Them Dental Floss

Inamtes Sue Florida Jail for Denying Them Dental Floss

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Inmates in Florida are suing their jail for not providing them with dental floss.

Joel Flores, 23, and three fellow inmates at Palm Beach County jail have filed civil lawsuits over the last month against Sheriff Ric Bradshaw claiming the jail is not giving providing them with the tools for proper hygiene.

On October 1, Flores, who has been charged with 10 crimes in the past 12 months, filed his lawsuit claiming he suffers from discomfort, tooth decay, pain, and oral abscesses as a result of not being given floss.

Fellow inmate, 44-year-old Juan Perez has also filed a suit claiming his loose teeth are on the verge of falling out as a result of “extreme plaque.” Perez is in jail for selling cocaine.

Typically, inmates are not given floss because it can be used as rope or a turned into a weapon.

Sheriff Bradshaw responded to the lawsuits via the Sun Sentinel saying,  “I don’t care if they file 400 suits, they’re not getting it. This isn’t the Ritz-Carlton.” Adding, “We’re not going to give them something that could easily be turned into something else.”

Interestingly, October is National Dental Hygiene Month.

The other lawsuits were filed by Paul Lentvorski, who is in jail for assault with a deadly weapon, and Julius Rocker, who allegedly walked into a market in 2009 and opened fire.

R. Scott Chavez, vice president of National Commission on Correctional Health Care, says it is unlikely the men will get anything, pointing out that floss “is not a high priority need” and there is no law requiring jails to provide dental floss.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Christina Aguilera Offered $3 Million for Full-Figured Dating Site

Christina Aguilera Offered $3 Million for Full-Figured Dating Site

Photo: Christina Aguilera Reportedly Offered $3 Million for Full-Figured Dating Site

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TMZ is reporting Christina Aguilera’s management has received an offer of $3 million from a dating site for “women with curves” in exchange for her being the site’s spokesperson.

Whitney Thompson, the first and so far only plus-size model to have won America’s Next Top Model, is behind the website TheBigandTheBeautiful.com, a website targeted at larger women and those who love them.

In a letter sent to Tracy Brennan of Creative Artists Agency, Aguilera’s representation, Thompson states she is “extremely interested” in exploring the possibility of Aguilera becoming a spokesperson for the website.

The initial offer is $3 million in exchange for 1 television commercial, 1 radio commercial, two photo shoots, and 4 public appearances, and an original jingle to be incorporated into the ad campaign.

I hope she is interested in exploring this opportunity with us. I would welcome the chance to meet with you and further discuss our proposal. Thank you for you consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

So far, there is no word on whether The Voice judge is even considering the deal, though she has regularly expressed her love for her new, more curvy body.

The site describes itself:

...The fastest growing relationship service on the internet for sexy men and women of all shapes and sizes. On our dating site women no longer need to dear the word ‘fat’. Here, big women are sexy women. We a premier forum that the so-called chubby chasers use to meet local women like you for online dating. Join the best BBW dating site and experience the difference. BBW dating has never been easier!

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Wisconsin Man Steals Anniversary Ring from Terminally Ill Mother

LATINO BLOTTER: Wisconsin Man Steals Anniversary Ring from Terminally Ill Mother

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A terminally ill Wisconsin woman was not only the victim of theft, but was also on the receiving end of heartbreak after she realized the thief was likely her own son.

Maria Ramirez of Racine County told police she is on “a lot of medication” and had laid down to take a nap. When she awoke, Ramirez noticed the anniversary ring from her husband was missing.

Though she was not positive, she believed he son, 18-year-old Juan R. Ramirez, had taken her precious ring. Ramirez filed a complaint with Racine County and her son was arrested and charged with felony theft.

Though the son had sold the ring to Racine’s Jewelry Time store for $200, police were able to recover it. Ramirez’s anniversary ring was returned to her on Thursday.

For now, she is letting her son remain in jail to teach him a lesson.

Juan Ramirez, whose next court appearance is scheduled for November 15,  told police and his mother her stole the ring because he and his girlfriend are expecting a child in January and needed the money.

He was also charged with one count of felony bail jumping. If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison and $35,000 in fines.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: 3 Soviet Rockets Seized During Shooting in Piedras Negras Coahuila

Blog del Narco: 3 Soviet Rockets Seized During Shooting in Piedras Negras Coahuila

Photo: Blog del Narco- 3 rockets seized

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State police found an SUV containing “three rockets” that apparently belonged to a criminal organization in Piedras Negras, a border city in northern Mexico, Coahuila Public Safety Secretary Jorge Luis Moran Delgado said.

The live rockets and several grenades were found by Coahuila state police special operations unit officers Saturday in an SUV abandoned by criminals during a chase, Moran Delgado told Milenio Television.

The officers were attacked and the vehicle was damaged when it hit a house, forcing the four occupants to flee on foot, with other gunmen providing them with protection, the state official said.

An inspection of the abandoned vehicle turned up the weapons, Moran Delgado said.

The criminals “managed to recover” a launcher from the SUV, but they left the three rockets behind, the Coahuila public safety secretary said.

The weapons will be turned over to the army for destruction, Moran Delgado said.

Police also found portable radios and batteries in the abandoned SUV, the state official said.

“This is not the first time in Coahuila” that “rockets and rocket launchers” have been used, Moran Delgado said.

The state police’s special operations unit was attacked with two rockets in March, Moran Delgado said, adding that a police vehicle was damaged in the incident.

“We must investigate how it is possible that these types of weapons ended up in the hands of these criminals, how it is possible that they entered the country,” the public safety secretary said.

The Gulf cartel has been battling Los Zetas for control of Coahuila and smuggling routes into the United States.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, the top Los Zetas cartel boss, was killed in a shootout with marines in Coahuila state on Oct. 7.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bruno Mars Shows Off Comedy Chops on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (VIDEO)

Bruno Mars Shows Off Comedy Chops on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (VIDEO)

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On Saturday, Bruno Mars pulled double duty as both host and musical performer on Saturday Night Live.

Having already showed us his comedy chops in Funny or Die’s hilarious “Whatta Man” parody, Mars really delivered on SNL. In fact, Mars helped the show pick up its highest ratings of the season.

Mars, born Peter Gene Hernandez, impersonated the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, to whom is often compared, as well as Katy Perry, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

Interestingly, Mars had a little help (not that he needed it) from Tom Hanks, who made cameos throughout the night, even introducing Mars ahead of his first musical performance.

In between skits, Mars performed two songs off his upcoming album, Unorthodox Jukebox, “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Young Girls”.

Mars’ new album is scheduled for release on December 11.

Check out this funny crooner’s performance in the video below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian VP, Angelino Garzon, Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

Colombian VP, Angelino Garzon, Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

Photo: Colombia's VP Garzon has Prostate Cancer

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Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon said Monday that doctors overseeing his recovery from a stroke in June have detected a small cancer in his prostate gland.

It is a “microscopic, non-aggressive cancerous tumor” for which he must undergo radiation therapy, the 66-year-old vice president said in a statement.

“I can’t cling to the office of vice president and even less fall in love with it,” he said, adding that “I’m fully aware that I must leave up to the constitution and the law everything related to the present and future of the vice president of Colombia.”

Garzon announced that he has prostate cancer following a discussion with the Senate, which insisted that he have a medical examination to see if he is capable of replacing President Juan Manuel Santos, who recently underwent surgery for a tumor in his prostate.

The vice president said his cancer is not life-threatening and that he has begun a course of 39 radiation sessions.

Garzon was hospitalized in June for a urinary infection, but suffered a stroke during the treatment that had him in a coma for several days and which he survived with certain difficulties of his motor functions.

In his statement the vice president admitted that he is going through “a very tough moment in my life” with his health issues and those of his wife, Monserrat Muñoz, who last month had a cancerous kidney removed.

Santos was operated for prostate cancer on Oct. 4 in Bogota, and three days later went home to the presidential residence.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Police Seize Narco ‘Rockets’ in Border City of Piedras Negras

Mexican Police Seize Narco ‘Rockets’ in Border City of Piedras Negras

Photo: Narco Rockets Found

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State police found an SUV containing “three rockets” that apparently belonged to a criminal organization in Piedras Negras, a border city in northern Mexico, Coahuila Public Safety Secretary Jorge Luis Moran Delgado said.

The live rockets and several grenades were found by Coahuila state police special operations unit officers Saturday in an SUV abandoned by criminals during a chase, Moran Delgado told Milenio Television.

The officers were attacked and the vehicle was damaged when it hit a house, forcing the four occupants to flee on foot, with other gunmen providing them with protection, the state official said.

An inspection of the abandoned vehicle turned up the weapons, Moran Delgado said.

The criminals “managed to recover” a launcher from the SUV, but they left the three rockets behind, the Coahuila public safety secretary said.

The weapons will be turned over to the army for destruction, Moran Delgado said.

Police also found portable radios and batteries in the abandoned SUV, the state official said.

“This is not the first time in Coahuila” that “rockets and rocket launchers” have been used, Moran Delgado said.

The state police’s special operations unit was attacked with two rockets in March, Moran Delgado said, adding that a police vehicle was damaged in the incident.

“We must investigate how it is possible that these types of weapons ended up in the hands of these criminals, how it is possible that they entered the country,” the public safety secretary said.

The Gulf cartel has been battling Los Zetas for control of Coahuila and smuggling routes into the United States.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, the top Los Zetas cartel boss, was killed in a shootout with marines in Coahuila state on Oct. 7.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pew States:  TX Challenges Part of Voting Rights Act

Pew States:  TX Challenges Part of Voting Rights Act

Photo: Texas Voter ID Law

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Texas is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate its recently tossed out redistricting map, its attorney general announced on Friday (October 19), likely setting up a case with major implications for the role of minorities in elections nationwide.

In appealing a lower court’s ruling that its once-per-decade redrawing of political boundaries discriminated against minorities, the state is challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the 1965 law requiring states with a history of voter discrimination to get the federal government’s approval before changing election laws.

The provision applies to eight other states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia — and select counties or townships in seven other states.

In challenges under Section 5, plaintiffs are not required to provide hard evidence — such as emails, letters or testimony among those carrying out redistricting — of a state’s intent to discriminate. The burden is on the state to prove there was no intent. Texas failed to do that, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in August. The state’s Congressional, House and Senate plans eroded the clout of the state’s soaring Latino population while removing the “economic guts” from black districts, the three-judge panel said.

Black and Hispanic members of Congress had testified that they were excluded completely from the redistricting process, while opinions from whites were sought and heeded.

Texas’ redistricting plans have been challenged in court in each of the past four decades, and the state has lost all of those battles, largely because of Section 5. Just two days after this year’s ruling, the same court struck down the state’s strict voter ID law under the same provision.

Now Texas is challenging Section 5, saying it intrudes upon state sovereignty and is unnecessary because minorities are protected under the Constitution as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Read more at Jim Malewitz for Pew Stateline →

At Least 5 Killed in Honduran Nightclub over Drug Dispute

At least five people were gunned down Sunday in a fight over drugs at a nightclub in San Pedro Sula, a city in northern Honduras, police said.

The shooting occurred in the early morning hours at the La Autopista club, a police spokesman said.

Three of the unidentified victims were pronounced dead at the scene and the other two died on arrival at Mario Catarino Rivas Hospital, the police spokesman said.

The shooting was caused by “a dispute over drugs” and investigators “found a certain amount of drugs” on one of the victims, the police spokesman said.

Two suspects carrying several firearms have been arrested in connection with the shooting, police said.

Honduras’s 2011 homicide rate of 92 per 100,000 people was one of the highest in the world, a recent U.N. report said.

About 15 violent deaths occur in the Central American country daily, figures compiled by the National Police and human rights groups show.

Read more by HS News Staff →



MondayOctober 22, 2012