1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content



MondayJanuary 14, 2013

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.

Read More


Chile Saw 3.5 Million Tourists in 2012

Chile Saw 3.5 Million Tourists in 2012

Photo: Chile Saw 3.5 Million Tourists in 2012

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Chile received a total of 3.5 million foreign tourists in 2012, a 13 percent hike over the year before and an all-time record, according to an official report issued Monday.

The 13 percent gain far outpaced the 6 percent increase that Latin America scored as a whole last year, Chile’s deputy secretary for tourism, Jacqueline Plass, said.

“In two years we’ve gone from 2.7 million tourists to 3.5 million. The country hasn’t seen such a growth rate since the year 2005, when tourist arrivals increased by 13.4 percent,” she said.

According to the report, Argentina was the chief source of tourists visiting Chile in 2012, with a share of close to 40 percent, no less than a 23-percent increase over 2011.

Brazil had an 11-percent share and was up 14.3 percent, the report said, adding that the number of tourists from Colombia climbed 18.6 percent and from Australia, 37.3 percent.

One of this year’s projects, Plass said, will be to work at attracting vacationers from Canada and Mexico, to get them on the list of Chile’s leading sources of foreign tourists.

The goal, according to Plass, is to bring forward to 2013 the target of 4 million tourists, a number previously estimated for the end of 2014.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ibrahimovic Says Messi is Too Short and There are 10 Better than Ronaldo

Ibrahimovic Says Messi is Too Short and There are 10 Better than Ronaldo

Photo: Ibrahimovic Says Messi is Too Short and There are 10 Better than Ronaldo

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The always controversial Swedish footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has some unkind words for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Recently the hot-tempered striker told an Argentine news source, ‘Messi may have four [Ballon d’Ors], but I don’t have to get on a box to buy a chocolate bar in a vending machine.’

Though he is shorter than most, it clearly hasn’t been a very much of a disadvantage for Barca’s Messi, many believe to be one of, if not the greatest soccer player of all time.

Ibrahimovic’s trash talk did not end with Mess either, as the Swede took on Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, saying, ‘He’s a privileged spectator, who only watches how Messi receives all his awards. He doesn’t deserve to be in the top three, there are at least ten people better than him.’


In other Messi news:

Sunday, Barca set a new record for the best start to a Spanish soccer league season with its 3-1 win over Malaga. Messi scored for the 9th consecutive game. He currently has 28 points for this La Liga season. Last month, the soccer star broke Gerd Mueller’s long-standing scoring record, by ending the 2012 calendar year with 91 goals. Mueller’s record was 85.

On Monday, it was announced Messi’s football playing cousin, Maxi Biancucchi, had agreed to a one-year deal with Brazil’s Vitoria. The midfielder spent the last two years playing with the Paraguayan club Olimpia while on loan from Cruz Azul on Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Free College Alternative for Undocumented Georgia Students Opens Its Door

Free College Alternative for Undocumented Georgia Students Opens Its Door

Photo: Freedom University in Georgia Opens

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Freedom University, an initiative created by several professors from the University of Georgia to provide a free educational alternative to undocumented students, began a new class term this week.

The Winter 2013 course being offered is Ancient World Cultures.

“This is a university level course and this time we have 25 students,” UGA professor Dana Bultman, who will teach the course, told Efe.

Freedom University was founded in the autumn of 2011 in response to the fact that state authorities had denied access to public universities to undocumented students.

“At Freedom University, we’ve had great success in what we’ve done up to now because, besides excellent students, we’ve had very good professors and great volunteers who have seen to it that students from the whole state come to the classes,” Bultman said.

Several of the students who have taken courses at Freedom University have later applied to universities in other states and received scholarships to continue their studies.

“We believe that education must be within reach of whoever has the desire to study and our main objective is to make Freedom University unnecessary. We would like to see the prohibition reversed and to move toward the possibility of letting these students pay tuition as state residents,” Bultman said.

The measure that led to the creation of Freedom University was approved in 2011 by the Georgia Board of Regents in the face of pressure by those who said that undocumented immigrants were diminishing the available resources for citizens or legal residents.

Before the measure entered into force, public universities in Georgia let undocumented immigrants register for classes, although they were unable to receive federal or state aid and had to pay tuition at the much higher non-resident rate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Madrid Star Cristiano Ronalds Defends His Much-Criticized Coach Mourinho

Madrid Star Cristiano Ronalds Defends His Much-Criticized Coach Mourinho

Photo: Real Madrid News

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo spoke up in defense of the club’s much-criticized coach, Jose Mourinho, calling his Portuguese compatriot “the best in the world.”

“In soccer, nothing is impossible,” the forward said in an interview published Monday on the FIFA Web page.

Real Madrid is currently third in La Liga, trailing first-place Barcelona by 18 points.

“People can express themselves as they wish, and it’s respectable, though I believe they should have some patience,” Ronaldo said.

“It’s clear to me that Mourinho always wants what’s best for the club and I will defend him to the death,” Cristiano said. “In my opinion, he is the best coach in the world.”

The 27-year-old Portuguese international also said he intends to remain with Real Madrid for the duration of his contract, which runs through 2015.

And while the club is struggling in La Liga, Ronaldo prefers to focus on Real’s chances for a 10th Champions League title.

“The tenth (title) is what all Madridistas want,” he said. “Last year it was one step away, which was very frustrating. Luckily, we have the chance for revenge this year, with the added difficulty of facing Manchester United.”

Acknowledging the prowess of his former club, now leading the Premier League, Cristiano said he feels good about Real Madrid’s odds in the knockout stage clash with Man United.

“But if we play at our level, we can beat them,” he said of the English powerhouse.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Thousands of Teachers in Mexico Protest Pending Education Reform Initiatives

Thousands of Teachers in Mexico Protest Pending Education Reform Initiatives

Photo: Mexico's Education Reform Protests

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Thousands of Mexican teachers took part in protests Monday against an overhaul of labor law and a pending education initiative that would substantially change the terms of their employment.

Around 2,000 members of the CNTE education workers association gathered in Mexico City for a march to the Supreme Court, where they delivered some 140,000 legal motions challenging the labor legislation approved last November in the final days of conservative President Felipe Calderon’s government.

The new law allows temporary employment and probation periods for new hires, among other changes.

The CNTE militants also denounced “the false education reform” being pushed by new President Enrique Peña Nieto, which, if implemented, would vastly diminish the clout of teachers unions.

While Congress approved the schools initiative last month, because the plan requires amending the constitution, it must also be ratified by the legislatures of at least 17 of Mexico’s 32 states.
Several of Monday’s protests were aimed at influencing state lawmakers.

In the southern state of Oaxaca, thousands of members of Section 22 of the powerful SNTE teachers union staged a sit-in outside the legislature.

Around 10,000 teachers blocked roads on Monday in the neighboring state of Chiapas.

The head of the more-than-1-million-strong SNTE, Elba Esther Gordillo, has announced a program of peaceful resistance to the education overhaul, contending that it threatens teachers’ job security.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pres. Obama Receives Letter with Over 50,000 Signatures from Mexicans Asking to Stop Flow of Guns

Pres. Obama Receives Letter with Over 50,000 Signatures from Mexicans Asking to Stop Flow of Guns

Photo: Mexican Ask for U.S. Gun Control

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Mexican activists Javier Sicilia and Sergio Aguayo on Monday delivered to the U.S. Embassy in this capital a letter signed by more than 50,000 people in which they ask Washington for concrete measures to halt the “illegal and immoral” flow of weapons to Mexico.
In the letter, addressed to President Barack Obama, they expressed their condolences for “the frequent murders of innocents in your country” and said they are “deeply” moved by the recent massacre of children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

However, they also expressed their bewilderment and indignation at “the indifference of the U.S. government toward the massacres that plunge Mexico into mourning,” where more than 70,000 people died in conflicts involving rival criminal outfits and the security forces during the six-year term of President Felipe Calderon, which ended on Nov. 30.

Just in December, the first month of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term, “755 people were executed,” most of them with firearms obtained in the United States, from where 70 percent of the arms seized in Mexico in the last three years come, according to U.S. government figures.

The concrete measures the activists and their supporters are asking Washington undertake include banning the importation of assault rifles manufactured abroad, among them the AK-47, the weapon of choice for Mexican gangsters.

At a press conference, Obama on Monday said that he will study possible executive action to try and put a damper on violence using firearms, basing it on the recommendations presented to him by Vice President Joe Biden in response to the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown.

Read more by HS News Staff →

What Do Latino Students Think About Smoking? (VIDEO)

What Do Latino Students Think About Smoking? (VIDEO)

Photo: What Do Latino Students Think about Smoking?

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

From SaludToday:

A new video highlights Latino students and their views on not smoking.

The videos, available in English and Spanish, were done by a Latino group, Manantial de Salud, a federally funded grassroots health network sponsored by the Latino Healthcare Forum in the Dove Springs neighborhood of Austin, Texas.


So what do you think? Do you smoke? What do you think about those who do?

English

Spanish

Read more by HS News Staff →

Vanessa Bryant Withdraws Petition for Divorce from Kobe

Vanessa Bryant Withdraws Petition for Divorce from Kobe

Photo: Vanessa Bryant Withdraws Petition for Divorce from Kobe

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

According to TMZ, Vanessa Bryant has withdrawn her petition for divorce from her basketball-playing husband Kobe.

In December of 2010, Vanessa Bryant (born Vanessa Cornejo Ubrieta) filed for divorce from the Lakers player after nearly a decade of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. Many speculated the divorce was a result of years of infidelity of Kobe’s part.

However, just a few months later, rumors began that the two were calling off the divorce, as Vanessa was spotted at her husband’s side at a game against the Atlanta Hawks on Valentine’s Day.

The divorce petition remained even as they seemed to be reconciling, but nearly a year later the divorce petition has been dropped.

The couple have been married for ten years, but have been a couple since 1999. They have two daughters, Natalia Diamante Bryan and Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant.

Both Kobe and Vanessa announced via Twitter that they had called off their divorce.

The two were recently spotted together and attended the Hurricane Sandy relief concert on December 12. The couple had reportedly be inseparable since.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  State Dept Plans Diplomatic Visit to Honduras

Latin America News:  State Dept Plans Diplomatic Visit to Honduras

Photo: U.S.-Honduran Relations

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Rick Barton will travel to Tegucigalpa, Honduras January 15-18.

Assistant Secretary Barton will meet with members of the Honduran Government including the Foreign Minister, Minister of Security, and Minister of Communications. The Assistant Secretary will meet with members of the Honduran legislature and civil society to discuss bilateral cooperation on citizen security and to encourage Honduran officials to continue their support for public security reform efforts.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News: Mexico Set to Buy Fertilizer from Ukraine

Latin America News: Mexico Set to Buy Fertilizer from Ukraine

Photo: Mexico Buying Excess Fertlizer

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Negotiations are taking place for Mexico to “purchase up to 500,000 tons annually” of fertilizer from Ukraine, the National Peasants Confederation, or CNC, said.

“For the first time, the CNC will participate in the importation and marketing of chemical fertilizers under a new arrangement to promote production in the countryside without intermediaries to regain Mexico’s food security,” Mexico’s main peasant organization said in a statement.

CNC president and Sen. Gerardo Sanchez, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, met with industry representatives and “informed them that the purchasing potential exists ... at prices 30 percent lower, compared to those in effect on the international market,” the agricultural organization said.

Ukraine is “the top country producing and exporting chemical fertilizers in the world,” and the European country “has an interest in expanded cooperation with Mexico in agricultural matters,” the CNC said.

Mexico produces 42 percent of the 2.6 million tons of fertilizer it uses annually, with imports accounting for the rest, the CNC said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Easier Travel Rules for Cubans Go Into Effect Today

Easier Travel Rules for Cubans Go Into Effect Today

Photo: Cuba Eases Travel Restrictions

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Cubans are informing themselves - amid hope and disbelief - about the aspects of the immigration reform that enters into force on Monday on the Communist-ruled island, where the measure simplifying the procedures to travel abroad is still causing confusion.

At the immigration office in the central Havana neighborhood of Vedado, dozens of people calmly waited in line to begin the procedures and to ask if they required authorization from the government to travel.

One of the earliest arrivals was opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez, who came to that office to begin the procedures for obtaining a new passport, she said via Twitter.

The writer of the blog Generacion Y explained that a clerk at the office assured her that once she has the passport, which is supposed to arrive within 15 working days, she will be able to travel abroad.

“I still don’t believe it,” added Sanchez, who said that after 20 negative responses from the government to her requests to travel abroad over the past five years “the ‘yes’ now seems to be close.”

After decades of travel restrictions, many Cubans still express disbelief at the immigration adjustment undertaken by President Raul Castro.

“This is too simple. There has to be something more to it. I still don’t believe it can be this way,” Armando Beguerie, who has a passport with a visa to travel to Italy, told Efe at the same office after an official assured him that he did not need any additional documents to leave the country.

The immigration offices have placed on their information boards “to avoid problems” a list of the cases that would require specific authorization.

The list includes Cubans who have yet to fulfill their military service obligation.

In addition, it refers the public to the portion of the law discussing special treatment for travel abroad for administrators, health professionals and others with skills deemed “vital.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Artist-Turned-Spy Tony Mendez Presents “Argo” at Golden Globes

Artist-Turned-Spy Tony Mendez Presents “Argo” at Golden Globes

Photo: Tony Mendez (left) presents 'Argo' - Ben Affleck Wins Best Director for Film

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Over the weekend, Ben Affleck won the Golden Globe for Best Director for his work on Argo, but all the buzz around the film has not just been good for Affleck and the film’s other stars.

Argo’s premise:

In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.

Prior to the “Canadian Caper” Mendez was an artist, and after retiring from the spy game he returned to this love. Thanks in large part to the film, Mendez and his wife, Jonna, a 27-year veteran of the CIA herself, have seen the foot traffic to their Washington County studios and gallery in Maryland double.

Since retiring from the CIA in 1990, Mendez and Jonna have served on the Board of Directors for the International Spy Museum.

On Sunday, Mendez joined actor John Goodman on the Golden Globes stage to introduce a clip of Argo.

By the end of the night, Argo took home two awards: Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director (Ben Affleck).

Next month, the film based on Mendez’s story will once again go up against front-runners Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty at the Academy Awards.

As for Mendez, the soft-spoken artist is likely looking forward to returning to his more quiet life in Maryland, but appreciates the increase in the sale of his artwork as a result of the film.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Government Looks for Cost-Cutting in Its Diplomatic Offices

Spanish Government Looks for Cost-Cutting in Its Diplomatic Offices

Photo: Spanish Foreign Minister Manuel Garcia-Margallo

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spain’s foreign minister said Monday that he is open to sharing diplomatic, trade and cultural offices abroad with Latin American countries under certain circumstances.

At a ceremony in Madrid, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo propounded the idea as a way to make “worthwhile savings,” have a greater presence overseas and promote cooperation among the Ibero-American community.

“Wherever an Ibero-American country or Spain doesn’t see any justification for having its own representation, we will try to enter into collaboration agreements,” he said.

Madrid has already begun collaborating that way within the European Union, and, as a first step, has closed its embassy in Yemen, moving Spanish diplomatic personnel to the EU mission in Sanaa.

Spain is the “pioneer” of this approach and other countries are studying whether to follow its example, according to Garcia-Margallo.

He noted the accord signed with Mexico, which will allow Spain to make use of the more-extensive Mexican network of consulates in the United States.

The minister said the accord comes in a perfect year because it is the quincentennial of the discovery of Florida, and the Spanish government wants to make use of the occasion to boost its relations with the United States, where Spanish is the first language for some 50 million people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Justice Sotomayor on ‘Today’: Each Decision Comes at a Cost to Someone

Justice Sotomayor on ‘Today’: Each Decision Comes at a Cost to Someone

Photo: Justice Sotomayor on 'Today': Each Decision Comes at a Price

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

During an appearance on ABC’s Today show, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke with Savannah Guthrie about the tough decisions made each day and about how each decision the justices make “comes at a cost to someone.”

Watch the clip below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Read more by HS News Staff →

Benjamin Bratt to Narrate the PBS series “Latino Americans”

Benjamin Bratt to Narrate the PBS series “Latino Americans”

Photo: Benjamin Bratt

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The meeting of the Television Critics ASSOCIATION, PBS announced that Benjamin Bratt to narrate ctor LATINO AMERICANS, a landmark six-hour documentary in three parts which will be broadcast nationally on PBS in the fall of 2013. It is the first major television documentary series recounting the experiences and the rich and varied history of Latinos, who have contributed to the transformation of the United States for over 500 years and have become, with over 50 million people , the largest minority in the U.S.

Bratt, of Peruvian mother and a German father and English, and recognized with numerous awards for his work on the television series “Law & Order” and in films like Traffic and Pinero, narrate LATINO AMERICANS. The project, led by the producer of the series and winning an Emmy, Adriana Bosch, has a team of more than a dozen award-winning filmmakers to document the evolution of a new identity “Latino” in the U.S. from 1500 to our days, with interviews with about 100 Latinos in the world of politics, business and popular culture, along with personal portraits of Latinos who lived some of the key moments in the history of this country.

“It’s time to tell the story of Latinos in the United States,” said Bosch, Cuba-born filmmaker, whose previous projects include LATIN MUSIC USA PBS documentaries and series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. “Latinos are an integral part of the United States, and this series shares the stories of a wide range of people from different countries and different fields. It is the story of Latinos, and American history. “
LATINO AMERICANS includes interviews with a variety of individuals, including the artist include Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican star of West Side Story and winner of Academy Awards, Tony, Grammy and Emmy, activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, awarded in 2012 with the Medal of Freedom from President and co-founder in the 60s, along with Cesar Chavez of the National Association of Rural Workers (NFWA) which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW), the author and Mexican-American commentator Linda Chavez, who became the highest-ranking woman at the White House during the Reagan era, and singer and businesswoman Gloria Estefan, who has sold over 100 million albums solo and with Miami Sound Machine.

Among respondents also included the journalist Maria Elena Salinas, co-anchor of “Noticiero Univision” the most watched news program for Hispanics in the U.S., the columnist Juan Gonzalez, author of Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America and co-founder of Young Lords Organization, a Puerto Rican nationalist movement, Rep. Charles Gonzalez, a retired Texas congressman who served in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2012 for the district that his father, Henry B. Gonzalez, accounted for nearly four decades, and Herman Badillo, the Bronx politician who, in 1970, became the first Puerto Rican to be elected to the House of Representatives and presented six times his candidacy for mayor of New York.
The diversity of experience is reflected in both the interviewees who appear on camera, and the computer of cinematographers working on the series. The production team, composed mostly of Latinos, including members of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran and Dominican, among others. In addition to the narrative by Bratt, songwriter and guitarist Joseph Julian Gonzalez is responsible for composing the soundtrack to LATINO AMERICANS, and the celebrated singer-songwriter Lila Downs will be the guest artist and will play the final issue of the series LATINO AMERICANS.

Gonzalez has composed soundtracks for films and television programs for over 20 years. Coming from a family of Mexican farm workers in Bakersfield, California, Gonzalez has worked with symphonies around the world and with artists as diverse as Quentin Tarantino, Britney Spears and Slash, and has conducted orchestras at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. “I am delighted to create the soundtrack for this series,” said Gonzalez. “This is an important project and be a part of it allows me to combine and intertwine various musical heritages of many cultures, similar to the story told in LATINO AMERICANS.”

Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, Downs began his musical career playing traditional rancheras and singing with mariachis. He has traveled the world with his music and released seven studio albums with songs in English, Spanish and several native Mexican languages, and has won two Latin Grammy awards and honored with other industry accolades. “We can not underestimate the importance of music for Latinos as a form of expression,” said Downs. “It is a privilege to participate with our music in this series and contribute to this rich tradition.”

LATINO AMERICANS relies on historical events and personal experiences to tell the stories of early settlement, conquest and immigration and reinvention of tradition, of anguish and celebration, and construction of a new American identity from arrivals from Mexico , Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and other Central and South American countries.

The series is divided into six chronological segments ranging from the sixteenth century to the present day:
1.    “Strangers in Their Own Land / Strangers in their own land” (wt) covers the period between 1500 to 1880, when the first Spanish explorers come to America, the United States is expanding into territories in the Southwest that had housed people and native English and Spanish colonies, and, by the year 1848, the U.S. intervention in Mexico was stripped of half its territory.
2.    “The Pull and the Push / The tug of war” (wt) documents how the U.S. population begins to take a different way through the waves of immigration that commenced in 1880, continued in the 40s, when Cuban Mexicans and Puerto Ricans come to the U.S. and begin to build Latin American communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York.
3.    “War and Peace / War and Peace” (wt) enters the era of World War II and the years that follow, when hundreds of thousands of Latinos serve their new country, but still suffer discrimination and fighting for the civil rights.
4.    “The New Latino / Latin New” (wt) highlights the extensive immigration from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic that extends from the years following World War II until the early ‘60s, when the newcomers seeking economic opportunities.
5.    “Pride and Prejudice / Pride and Prejudice” (wt) details the creation of Chicano identity, when organized labor leaders to field workers in California, and when activists struggle to have better educational opportunities for Latinos, by inclusion of Latino studies and training in the political process.
6.    “Peril and Promise / Peril and Promise” (wt) takes a journey through the last 30 years, with a second wave of Cubans arriving in Miami during the Mariel boatlift and hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans fleeing civil war, death squads and riots, traveling northward to a new land, transforming the United States in its wake. Surge debate about undocumented immigrants, with reactions that border reinforcements, English only laws and efforts to criminalize illegal immigrants. Simultaneously, the influence of Latinos is flourishing in music, sports, media, politics and entertainment. Latinos, the largest sector while younger U.S. population, will determine the success of the United States in the twenty-first century.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News: Unidentified Gunman Opens Fire at Brazil Carnival, 2 Dead, 10 Wounded

Latin America News: Unidentified Gunman Opens Fire at Brazil Carnival, 2 Dead, 10 Wounded

Photo: Nova Friburgo, Brazil Deadly Shooting

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

An unidentified gunman killed two people and wounded 10 others at a carnival in Nova Friburgo, a city near Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police said.

The shooting occurred during a street party Sunday night at which the Rastafari group was practicing outside a bar.

Hundreds of people had gathered to listen to the group’s performance, police said.

A 20-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman were killed in the incident, while the 10 wounded people remain hospitalized.

Investigators are trying to identify the gunman, who fled after opening fire, police said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco:  Young Man Found Tortured and Thrown into River

Blog del Narco:  Young Man Found Tortured and Thrown into River

Photo: Blog del Narco- Body found in Sinaloa

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A young man was found with his hands tied behind his back with a yellow rope floating in a pond on the banks of the River Tamazula, near the resort known as “The Currency”.

The latest victim has not been identified. He is an individual of about 25 to 30 years old.

The gruesome discovery took place at noon yesterday, reports the State Ministerial Police. The victim had been shot as well.


The victim was wearing a pair of blue denim, a white polo shirt with stripes, and wore Nike sneakers in white with blue.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco
Read more English Narco News here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News: Hugo Chavez Top Aides Meet with Raul and Fidel Castro in Cuba

Former President Fidel Castro and his successor, younger brother Raul, met here with top aides to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who remains in Havana recuperating from cancer surgery, Cuban official media said Monday.

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro expressed thanks for the “careful attention” that the Castro brothers and the medical team treating Chavez in Cuba have given the president while he is “in the process of recovering his health,” according to an article in Communist Party daily Granma.

Fidel and Raul Castro met Sunday with Maduro and other top Venezuelan officials, including Attorney General Cilia Flores, National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello and Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez.

Cuban and Venezuelan leaders reviewed the “successful results” of the special meeting held in Caracas on Jan. 10 by the foreign ministers of the Caracas-led Petrocaribe and ALBA regional initiatives, Granma said.

At that summit, the 18 associated countries of Petrocaribe and ALBA agreed that their energy and economy ministers would soon decide on the creation of an economic zone.

The Castro brothers and high-ranking Venezuelan officials also discussed “other aspects of the strategic alliance between the two countries.”

Chavez, 58, who won another six-year term in the Oct. 7 election, remains hospitalized in Cuba five weeks after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that Chavez could delay his swearing-in, set for last Thursday, without creating a constitutional vacuum and that Maduro may remain head of the government during the president’s absence.

In a bulletin issued Sunday night, the Venezuelan government said that Chavez is progressing favorably, though he still needs “specific measures” to cure the “respiratory insufficiency” that originated from an infection.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish is Second Most Used Language on Twitter

Spanish is Second Most Used Language on Twitter

Photo: Twitter in Spanish

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spanish is already the second-most-used language on Twitter, after English, the director of Spain’s Cervantes Institute said here Monday.

Victor Garcia de la Concha was joined by Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo at an event in Madrid to present the institute’s 2012 Yearbook, which provides an in-depth examination of the presence of the Spanish language throughout the world.

Spanish, with its 500 million speakers, is second only Chinese globally and is in third place on the Internet.

Despite this “spectacular” evolution, the growth potential for users of Spanish continues to be outstanding given that more than 60 percent of Latin Americans are still not on the Web.

Besides the growing presence of Spanish online, Garcia de la Concha emphasized the annual growth of 8 percent in the number of people learning Spanish as a second language.

If the current growth trend continues, he said, 10 percent of the world population will be able to get by in Spanish within three or four generations, and the United States will be the country with the largest Spanish-speaking population.

In addition to the United States, the Cervantes Institute also will focus its efforts on the booming Asia-Pacific area, where demand for Spanish instruction is advancing more and more quickly.

In China, 70 percent of the requests to study Spanish currently are rejected because of the limited access to teachers. Despite that, some 25,000 Chinese university students are learning the language, compared with 1,500 in 2000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Railway Opertor Eusko Tren Looking into Investments in Uruguay

Spanish Railway Opertor Eusko Tren Looking into Investments in Uruguay

Photo: Spanish Railway Opertor Eusko Tren Looking into Investments in Uruguay

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spanish railway operator Eusko Tren has confirmed its interest in investing in Uruguay and presented a plan to Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, the press reported Sunday, citing company executives.

The state-owned firm presented a proposal to the Office of the President that calls for creating a consortium of Spanish and Uruguayan companies for “investing in the country’s national freight network,” Eusko Tren CEO Javier Cruz told the Montevideo daily El Pais.

Eusko Tren offered Uruguay’s government “different alternatives” for the “modernization and revitalization of the national railway network, in accordance with the country’s preferences and possibilities,” Cruz said.

Uruguayan State Railroad Administration, or AFE, chief Jorge Setelich told Efe on Nov. 15 that Eusko Tren had “meetings with various Uruguayan officials” in recent months, and meetings were also held with union leaders, with a draft investment plan presented.

The proposal presented by the Basque company calls for a “strategic partnership” and includes an “initial important investment for infrastructure,” Setelich said, without providing details on the amount of money being discussed.

The AFE has also received proposals from companies based in China, South Korea and Brazil for partnerships or direct investments in the railway network.

Read more by HS News Staff →

621 lb of Pot Found After Driver Asks Patrol Border for Directions

621 lb of Pot Found After Driver Asks Patrol Border for Directions

Photo: Pile of Marijuana

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a suspected drug smuggler and seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana concealed in a false compartment after he stopped to ask for directions.

Last night, agents from the Sonoita Border Patrol Station were approached by a 21-year-old U.S. citizen male hauling what appeared to be a stack of lumber in the back of a pickup truck. The subject appeared lost and requested directions from the agents. Based on the discussion, agents became suspicious the driver may be involved in illegal activity and requested the assistance of a canine team.

Subsequently, agents discovered 621pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $310,500 hidden within the stack of 2’x4’ lumber covered with plywood.

The narcotics will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the subject faces possible prosecution.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pope Honors Immigrants as “Bearers of Faith and Hope”

Pope Honors Immigrants as “Bearers of Faith and Hope”

Photo: Pope Benedict on World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled that today marks the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and, in his annual message for the occasion, compared immigration to “a pilgrimage of faith and hope”.

“Those who leave their lands,” he emphasized, “do so because they hope for a better future, but also because they trust in God who guides the steps of the human being, as He did with Abraham. In this way immigrants are bearers of faith and hope to the world. Today I greet each one of them with a special prayer and blessing.”

In his greetings in French, the Pope repeated this theme, expressing the desire that immigrants and their families, wherever they gather, “be welcomed and assisted so that they might have a dignified existence. Like Jesus,” he urged, “we must be near to those who suffer and who have no voice of their own to make themselves heard.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Removals Remain the Starkest Measure of Immigration Enforcement

Removals Remain the Starkest Measure of Immigration Enforcement

Photo: Deportations in US

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

For more than a decade, the general thrust of U.S. immigration policy has been aimed at expanding the grounds of removal and the tools for facilitating deportations from the country. Not surprisingly, this has come at an enormous cost. Although the figure has been disputed by restrictionists, a report from the Migration Policy Institute recently found that the federal government spent $18 billion last year on immigration enforcement. Dollars are not the only way to measure immigration enforcement, however, as the number of removals has itself skyrocketed in recent years.

Beyond expelling an immigrant from the country, an order of deportation (or “removal”) carries significant legal penalties. Any deportee who later illegally re-enters the country is subject to felony charges and is permanently barred from obtaining legal status. As a new IPC fact sheet explains, the number of removals has risen dramatically over the past decade—from an average of 180,000 in the years immediately preceding the September 11 attacks, to nearly 400,000 during each year of the Obama administration.* To put these figures into historical perspective, there have been more removals in the past ten years than in the previous 110 years combined.
Image

While the past decade has also seen a rise in DHS’ budget, authorities’ ability to actually find and deport so many immigrants is primarily due to specific policy and legal changes. During the Bush administration, for example, DHS entered dozens of 287(g) agreements with law enforcement agencies around the country, giving thousands of state and local officers the same powers as federal immigration agents. More significantly, due to the nationwide expansion of the Secure Communities program, DHS can now cross-check the fingerprints of virtually all persons arrested by state or local police against their own immigration databases. While not everyone flagged by Secure Communities is eligible for removal (or even a noncitizen for that matter), recent figures show the program now resulting in more than 40,000 fingerprint matches per month.

To put these figures into historical perspective, there have been more removals in the past ten years than in the previous 110 years combined.

At the same time DHS has been able to detect more immigrants who are subject to deportation, amendments to the immigration laws enacted in 1996 have allowed authorities to obtain many orders of removal without holding a hearing before an immigration judge. Under the 1996 amendments, DHS officers can issue “expedited” removal orders or “reinstate” prior orders without further administrative or even judicial review. Indeed, for immigrants facing removal, having a hearing before an immigration judge is now the exception rather than the rule. In fiscal 2011, there were more than twice as many removals based on administrative orders from DHS officers (265,943) as there were based on orders from immigration judges (126,010).

Importantly, as the number of removals has steadily risen over the past decade, the number of “returns” has drastically fallen. (A return is a departure that is not accompanied by a formal removal order.) Why? For one thing, most returns involve immigrants caught trying to enter the country from Mexico, and Border Patrol apprehensions are now at their lowest point since the Nixon administration. Meanwhile, as part of a broader strategy to deter illegal entries, the Border Patrol now removes many immigrants who would have previously been returned, thereby subjecting them to felony charges if they attempt to unlawfully re-enter.

Taken together, these trends reflect a turning point in the enforcement of the immigration laws. Not only are removals at an all-time, but the number of annual deportations now exceeds the number of people caught trying to illegally enter in the first place. Thus, whether measured in dollars or in individual removals, the impact of an enforcement-driven culture is clearly staggering.

(* Last month, ICE announced that it carried out 409,849 “removals” in fiscal 2012. As we have previously explained, however, ICE misleadingly includes “returns” in its overall removal numbers. The number of actual removals carried out in fiscal 2012 will not be known until DHS releases its official figures later this year.)

Read more at immigration impact →

NY Times: Obama Immigration Reform to Include Path to Citizenship

NY Times: Obama Immigration Reform to Include Path to Citizenship

Photo: NY Times: Obama Immigration Reform to Include Path to Citizenship

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to present in the coming months an immigration reform package contained in a single law that will open up a pathway to citizenship for the majority of illegal immigrants, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Top White House officials and a group of senators from both parties have been working, separately, on a pair of immigration reform bills designed to resolve the situation of the 11 million undocumented foreigners living in the country, the paper said citing official sources.

Obama and Senate Democrats will oppose any measure that does not allow those immigrants who obtain legal status to eventually become U.S. citizens, according to the sources.

In addition, the president will propose the changes within a single comprehensive law, opposing the proposal of several Republican lawmakers, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, who are asking that the legislation be divided into smaller parts to deal separately with issues such as young undocumented people or qualified immigrants.

Obama will announce the outline of his plan in the coming weeks, perhaps in his annual State of the Union address before Congress on Feb. 12, the newspaper said.

The president will argue that his plan for undocumented immigrants is not an amnesty because it would include fines, the payment of outstanding taxes and other obstacles for the illegal immigrants who would obtain legal status.

His plan will also impose the requirement of verifying, on the national level, the legal status of all new employees, probably via programs similar to E-Verify, which is already in use in many states.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Property Taxes on ‘Luxury’ Homes in Costa Rica Increase 10-Fold

Property Taxes on ‘Luxury’ Homes in Costa Rica Increase 10-Fold

Photo: Luxury HOmes in Costa Rica Face Higher Taxes

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Ministry of Hacienda Tax in Costa Rica has readjusted the property values of ‘luxury’ homes therefore increasing real estate taxes ten-fold.

The Hacienda defines ‘luxury homes’ as any home valued at $234,000 and above.  The real effect on the property value adjustment will be to increase real estate taxes on those homes anywhere from 57 percent to 150 percent.

This was the first property readjustment in six-years in Costa Rica.  The 2010 real estate taxes on luxury homes was based on 2007 property values.  Many Americans and foreigners own these ‘luxury’ homes as their retirement residence and/or as investment property.

With the definition of ‘luxury’ home being expanded the list of homes and condominiums that were not paying property taxes has decreased. 

The inevitability of higher taxes is here - the luxury tax is due tomorrow in Costa Rica.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Underwear Flash Mob Converges on Mexico City Metro

Underwear Flash Mob Converges on Mexico City Metro

Photo: Flash Mob Mexico City

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Hundreds of people, the majority of them young people responding to a message from Flash Mob DF, rode the Mexico City Metro over the weekend in their underwear as part of a project by social-networking sites to get strangers to meet.

The mass event, which ended with a huge group photo Sunday around the Monument to the Revolution, was marked by a festive air from start to finish.

Many of the partially clothed riders gathered at the monument while others met at the Refineria station next to Parque Bicentenario to start their trips.

Metro employees acted respectfully toward the riders, who drew curious looks from some fellow riders, while other people appeared oblivious to what was going on.

Some of the young people wore wrestling masks, Mexican sombreros or painted their faces, and all of them appeared to be having a good time.

Participants posted photos and comments about the event on Twitter (#NoPantsMX).

The Mexico City Metro carries about 4 million people each day, but ridership tends to be much lower on Sundays.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Les Miserables” a Big Golden Globe Winner

“Les Miserables” a Big Golden Globe Winner

Photo: Les Miserables big Golden Globe Winner

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The musical “Les Miserables” and the thriller “Argo” were the big winners at the 70th annual Golden Globes at a ceremony in Los Angeles, where “Lincoln,” the film with the most nominations, was almost overlooked.

“Les Miserables,” the cinema adaptation of the renowned work by Victor Hugo, won three of the four Golden Globes for which it was nominated, including the one for the year’s Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.

Hugh Jackman took the prize for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for his starring role in that film, which brought Anne Hathaway the prize for Best Supporting Actress.

“Argo” scored the surprise of the night by beating out “Lincoln” twice, in the premium category of Best Motion picture - Drama, and for the title of Best Director, snagged by Ben Affleck despite the favoritism experts had bestowed on Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln” and on Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Two Golden Globes also went to “Django Unchained,” the latest production by Quentin Tarantino that won its director and author the award for Best Screenplay - against all predictions.

The scant Latino presence at the gala was made up of Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Jessica Alba, who presented some of the evening’s awards.

On the television side, “Homeland” won Best TV Series - Drama for the second year in a row, while “Girls” surprised by taking the title for Best TV Series - Comedy and “Game Change” came out tops in the Best Miniseries category.

“Homeland,” the story of a U.S. official rescued from captivity in Iraq eight years after being given up for dead, also saw its starring couple rewarded with the prizes for Best Actor (Damian Lewis) and Best Actress (Claire Danes) in a TV Series.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Relatives of Mexico’s ‘Disappeared’ Call for Special Prosecutor

Relatives of Mexico’s ‘Disappeared’ Call for Special Prosecutor

Photo: Mexico's Disappeared

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Relatives of people listed as disappeared in Mexico met with Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong over the weekend and called for the creation of a special prosecutor’s office to handle the cases, officials said.

“Osorio Chong said he would explore that possibility,” the secretariat said in a statement.

The Cabinet secretary agreed at Sunday’s meeting to “look for all” of those listed as missing and “make contact with the corresponding state agencies to make the investigations move forward in an effort to find the disappeared,” the secretariat said.

“The search for missing people, he said, is a matter of willingness, which the government has and has demonstrated with actions, with the enactment of the General Victims Law as proof,” the Government Secretariat said.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead in Mexico, the new administration says.

About 20,000 people are listed as disappeared in the country, the non-governmental Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity says.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rican Women Protest Want to be Able to Breastfeed in Public

Costa Rican Women Protest Want to be Able to Breastfeed in Public

Photo: Breastfeeding controversy Costa Rica

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

About 100 women on the weekend nursed their babies in public in this capital to protest the decision by a Costa Rican shopping center to prohibit one of their number from doing so last week.

The women staged their unusual protest in the food court area of the Lincoln Plaza shopping center in eastern San Jose, dubbing their protest a “mamaton” (nurse-in) after it was organized on the social media networks.

The situation arose last weekend when Patricia Barrantes began nursing her baby at the shopping center and a private security guard told her that doing so was prohibited in public but there was a special area set aside at the mall for that kind of activity.

Barrantes, whose story became public last Monday when her sister-in-law published a complaint in a local newspaper, told reporters on Saturday that the representatives of the mall apologized for what had occurred and thanked the women for coming together to support her with the nurse-in.

The mall’s representatives, who allowed the protest to take place, said in a communique that making use of the special lactation room at the commercial center is optional and it is intended to provide comfort for nursing mothers.

They also said that breastfeeding babies in public was never prohibited and that the security officer had made a mistake.

The state-run National Women’s Institute visited the mall this past week to inspect the lactation facility and to inform the management that mothers are allowed to nurse their babies anywhere they like.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration News:  4-Day Immigration Sting in Michigan Nets 97 Criminal Aliens

Immigration News:  4-Day Immigration Sting in Michigan Nets 97 Criminal Aliens

Photo: Michigan Nets Criminal Aliens

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ongoing efforts to focus agency resources on the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 97 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and other immigration violators were arrested during a four-day operation in West Michigan.

This operation concluded late Thursday and was conducted by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) teams from Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Of the 97 arrested, 60 had prior convictions for crimes such as: sex with a minor, assault, illegal firearm possession, drug possession and theft. Twenty three are immigration fugitives who had been previously ordered to leave the country but failed to depart; 11 others had been previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony. Three other immigration violators were arrested during the operation and placed in removal proceedings.

Following is the nationality breakdown of the 86 men and 11 women arrested: Mexico (66), Guatemala (18), Honduras (3), Laos (2), Dominican Republic (2), Canada (1), Romania (1), Cambodia (1), Vietnam (1), India (1) and Thailand (1). Arrests were made in the following 11 West Michigan communities: Grand Rapids, Holland, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Fennville, Grant, Niles, Kentwood, Newaygo and Pullman.

This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kidnapped Spaniards Found Safe in Mexico

Kidnapped Spaniards Found Safe in Mexico

Photo: Map of Michoacan, Mexico

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Mexican authorities have found alive two Spanish cousins who disappeared six days ago in the western state of Michoacan, the possible victims of a kidnaping, officials told Efe on Sunday.

The assistant prosecutor for Michoacan, Marco Vinicio Garibay, told Efe that the two Spaniards are receiving medical care at the Regional Hospital in Uriangato, in Guanajuato state, adding that they are both fully “conscious” and in “stable” condition.

“This concerns the (two) Spaniards, who are cousins, security for whom is being provided by the Guanajuato authorities and their wives, who are sisters. They already have the protection of the Michoacan State Prosecutor’s Office,” he said.

Garibay, who did not identify the pair so as not to violate Mexican law which prevents doing so in cases under investigation, said that the two men “have some injuries” but refused to specify exactly what kind.

“The hospital still has not given us the medical report,” he said.

It was not made clear exactly how, by whom or under what conditions the men were found.

When the case first arose, it was thought that the two Spaniards - ages 44 and 45 and from Cuenca - were brothers, but the official amended that initial report to reflect the fact that they are cousins.

The older of the two men has lived in Morelia since 2012 and apparently is involved in the retail garment and textile trade there.

On Jan. 7, the two men were reported missing by their relatives in Morelia, which is the capital of Michoacan.

Up through Saturday, Mexican authorities had not received any request for ransom for the two missing men.

Mexican authorities, as well as the Spanish Embassy and other diplomatic personnel, have been looking into the matter, according to what diplomatic sources told Efe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Family Tragedy in Guatemala, Drunk Father Opens Fire on Family

Family Tragedy in Guatemala, Drunk Father Opens Fire on Family

Photo: Map of Guatemala

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A man who was apparently drunk opened fire on his children, killing one of his sons and wounding two of his daughters in a rural town in northern Guatemala, police said.

Rolando Can entered his residence early Saturday and opened fire on his sleeping children for unknown reasons, a National Civilian Police, or PNC, spokesman in the northern city of Coban told reporters.

The 53-year-old man killed his eldest son, Oscar Can Gonzalez, 23, and wounded his daughters Desy Liseth Can Gonzalez, 16, and Ericka Beatriz Can Gonzalez, 20, who are listed in serious condition at a public hospital, the PNC spokesman said.

The shooting occurred in Cecilinda, a village outside the city of San Juan Chamelco in Alta Verapaz province, located about 270 kilometers (168 miles) north of Guatemala City.

Can was arrested and charged with homicide.

Read more by HS News Staff →



MondayJanuary 14, 2013