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SaturdayMay 4, 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.

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Northern Mexican State Bans Bullfighting

Northern Mexican State Bans Bullfighting

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Sonora this week became the first Mexican state to ban bullfighting, passing a law against cruelty to animals, which, however, does not include the very popular spectacle of cockfighting, local legislative officials said Saturday.

“It has caused quite a stir because we are the first state of the republic to pass this law. I really didn’t expect, I say this with all the honesty in the world, I didn’t expect the repercussion this would have, nationally and internationally,” the local lawmaker of the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico, or PVEM, Vernon Perez Rubio, said.

In a statement on Formato 21 radio, Perez Rubio hailed the decision taken on May 2 by that northwestern border state’s legislature, which voted unanimously to pass the Animal Protection Law.

His party explained in a communique that the law “not only bans bullfighting” but “also protects other domestic animals.”

The PVEM said the new law in Sonora puts them “a step closer to achieving one of the goals the Green Party has fought for, which is the prohibition of bullfighting nationwide.”

The party believes that “clearly more than 70 percent of Mexicans are against the continuation” of bullfights in the country, on the basis of several public opinion polls.

In Sonora, citizens’ demand for an end to bullfighting began two years ago, when a crowd of 18,200 came out before a bullfight was to start to ask that the spectacle by banned, Perez Rubio said.

“I’m against cockfighting. However, if we included a discussion on that subject, the law would never have passed,” he said.

“Now with the law in place, it’s very easy to launch a movement to end cockfighting if that’s what people want,” Perez Rubio said.

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Constitutional Court Suspends Genocide Trial of Ex-Dictator in Guatemala

Constitutional Court Suspends Genocide Trial of Ex-Dictator in Guatemala

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Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has ordered the temporary suspension of the genocide trial of former strongman Efrain Rios Montt and co-defendant Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for the tribunal said Saturday.

The justices ordered the trial be put on hold pending a final ruling on an injunction request filed by Rios Montt’s chief counsel, Francisco Garcia Gudiel, the spokesman told reporters.

That definitive ruling is expected to be issued next week.

The trial resumed on April 30 after Guatemala’s Constitutional Court said the case could proceed.

It began in March, but on April 18 magistrate Carol Patricia Flores ordered the proceedings halted, citing a Supreme Court ruling that mandated the correction of ostensible judicial errors at an earlier stage of the process.

The Constitutional Court lifted Flores’ order, while also reinstating Garcia Gudiel as Rios Montt’s attorney and excluding testimony from four witnesses who appeared during the first few sessions.

The April 30 hearing began with a re-reading of the charges against Rios Montt and Rodriguez, the former dictator’s intelligence director.

Presiding Judge Jazmin Barrios then granted a week’s recess to give Rodriguez’s new counsel time to review the file.

Rios Montt, 86, and the 67-year-old Rodriguez, are accused in the deaths of 1,771 Ixil Indians between March 1982 and August 1983.

The trial marks the first time any Guatemalan ruler has been called to account for the massacres and atrocities of the country’s 1960-1996 civil war.

Rios Montt presided over the bloodiest phase of a conflict that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Most of the dead were Indian peasants slaughtered by the army and its paramilitary allies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Amazon Nations Organize Observation Center to Protect Rainforest

Amazon Nations Organize Observation Center to Protect Rainforest

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Countries that share the Amazon basin resolved in the Ecuadorian city of Coca to create an observation center charged with promoting studies and coordinating actions to protect the rain forest, considered the lung of the planet.

That was one of the conclusions of the 12th foreign ministers’ meeting of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, or OTCA.

Taking part in the meeting at Coca in the Ecuadorian Amazon were representatives of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

The statement said that the Amazon Regional Observation Center,” to be created by OTCA, will be a “permanent forum” uniting “institutions and authorities engaged in studying the Amazon, as a reference center for regional information on biodiversity, natural resources and social diversity.”

A set of regulations for the center will be reviewed by a special working group on June 25-26 in Quito.

On those same dates, delegates of member countries will also meet in the Ecuadorian capital to perfect a plan for the “Network of Amazon Research Centers,” starting with a proposal presented by Ecuador that seeks to intensify and exchange knowledge and research results.

OTCA also seeks to “protect and preserve, within the framework of national and international law, the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.”

“Sustainable management of the Amazon jungle” was another of the priorities agreed upon at the Coca meeting.

“Promoting the image worldwide of the Amazon as a tourist geodestination” is another of the organization’s challenges, as are fighting the jungle’s endemic diseases and developing a “common strategy against illegal mining in the Amazon.”

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Canadian Mining Companies Under Fire in Latin America

Canadian Mining Companies Under Fire in Latin America

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Canadian mining and oil companies have rapidly expanded their investments in Latin America in recent years, but they also face serious allegations of human rights abuses as well as legal disputes with regional governments over their labor, social and environmental practices.

In Chile, a court has halted Canadian mining major Barrick Gold’s Pascua-Lama open-pit gold, silver and copper megaproject straddling Argentina and Chile due to environmental concerns.

In Bolivia, Canada’s South American Silver Corporation commenced international arbitration proceedings against the Bolivian government after La Paz revoked its concession for a silver and indium mine in the Andean region of Potosi.

In Peru, Canadian oil company Talisman Energy withdrew from the country’s Amazon region after years of protests and run-ins with Achuar Indians who oppose the drilling of oil wells on its traditional lands.

Troubles related to their Latin American operations even dog Canadian firms in their homeland.

In March, a Toronto court held a hearing to determine whether lawsuits filed against Canadian miner HudBay Minerals for alleged human rights violations in Guatemala should be heard in the North American country.

And Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina’s administration said Thursday it had imposed a state of siege on four municipalities in the eastern part of the country to rein in violence stemming from protests over the government’s decision to authorize the San Rafael mining project, which is operated by Canada-based Tahoe Resources.

According to the spokesman for the non-profit organization Mining Watch, Jamie Kneen, who has followed Canadian mining activities abroad since 1999, these cases are just the tip of the iceberg of these companies’ bad practices.

“The situation is much worse. This is what we know, but there’s much more that we don’t hear about. And we have to be very careful about what we say,” Kneen told Efe.

Kneen said the Canadian mining sector is backed by a very powerful lobby that includes nearly all of the country’s former prime ministers, “who work as lawyers or advisers for the mining companies.”

Canada, a country known for its natural resources, has become one of the world’s leading foreign investors in the mining and energy sectors.

According to the latest data published in January of this year by Canada’s Natural Resources Ministry, Canadian mining companies had $213.1 billion in assets in 2011, 15 percent more than the previous year.

Most significantly, 70 percent of the total, or $146.2 billion, were located in 106 foreign countries worldwide, demonstrating the extent of Canadian investment in the global mining sector.

The countries that account for most of the Canadian mining companies’ assets are Mexico ($20 billion), Chile ($19 billion) and the United States ($17 billion).

Mining Watch and other organizations such as Rights Action and Amazon Watch, which have denounced Canadian mining companies’ activities in recent years, say Canadian embassies in Latin America act as representatives of those firms’ commercial interests.

After the coup that ousted leftist Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, Rights Action noted that Canadian companies’ interests were served by the putsch.

At the time, Canada criticized the coup that ousted Zelaya but it did not demand he be returned to power and urged only that “a peaceful solution” be found to the crisis.

Kneen told Efe that it is “difficult” to ignore a series of coincidences.

“The Canadian government was very quick to recognize the government that came to power (as a result of) the coup. CIDA, Canada’s international development agency, was involved in last year’s overhaul of Honduras’ mining code. The mining companies had problems with Zelaya,” Kneen said.

And the coup occurred shortly after Zelaya had imposed a moratorium (on new mining concessions) in the Honduran mining sector. It’s very difficult not to draw conclusions,” Kneen said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Don Omar Brings “Hecho en Puerto Rico” Concert Home

Don Omar Brings “Hecho en Puerto Rico” Concert Home

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Puerto Rico reggaeton star Don Omar was back in his homeland to give his “Hecho en Puerto Rico” (Made in Puerto Rico) concert, in which he showed once more that he is “the king” of urban music, and in which he was accompanied by colleagues Daddy Yankee, Yandel, Arcangel and Natti Natasha.

The show kicked off with the entry into the Jose M. Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan of 40 individuals constumed as Taino Indians, considered the first indigenous tribe on the Caribbean island.

Don Omar, 35, came onstage accompanied by 20 dancers in the role of Spanish conquistadors and singing snatches of the songs “Reportense,” “Puedo con Todos,” “El Rey,” “Conteo” and “Virtual Diva.”

“This is working out above all expectations. This is what it’s all about,” Don Omar said, moving on with “Sexy Robotica” to further arouse the audience of more than 11,000 attending the concert in the U.S. commonwealth.

The artist, who last week was honored with 10 Billboard Latin Music Awards out of the 18 nominations he secured, went on with the show vocalizing “Salio el Sol,” “Belly Danza,” “Salvaje,” “Candela,” “Mi Nena” and “Angelito.”

And when Don Omar, Yandel, Arcangel and Daddy Yankee joined forces to sing “Mayor que Yo,” the audience went wild with excitement.

Daddy Yankee then stayed onstage for duets with Don Omar of “Hasta Abajo” and “Desafio.” The artists, considered the top two stars of reggaeton, were at daggers drawn for several years but eventually made their peace.

The concert reached its climax with the number “Yo Soy de Aqui” (I’m From Here), with the combined voices of Don Omar, Yandel, Arcangel and Daddy Yankee, who now call themselves “the super insuperables” of reggaeton.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Human Rights Group Concerned by Violent Deaths in Mexican Prison

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern over the violent death of at least 13 persons at the Center for Social Re-adaptation for Adults (CERESO) No. 1 of the city San Luis Potosí, capital of the State of the same name, in Mexico.

The IACHR urges the State of Mexico to implement the necessary measures to prevent the repetition of similar incidents, and to investigate and punish the perpetrators.

According to information of the Attorney General’s Office of the State, 13 inmates died and 65 were injured in a violent confrontation at the CERESO No. 1 (“La Pila”) of San Luis Potosí.

According to Government sources, the fight took place when a group of inmates, tired of the harassment from another group, violently entered in the areas where these were sleeping.

According to journalistic reports, the authorities allegedly had knowldege of the existence of tensions between both groups.

In view of these facts, the IACHR reiterates that States, as guarantors of the rights of persons deprived of liberty, have the fundamental obligation to ensure the control and internal security of prisons.

Proper control by the authorities of internal order inside prisons is an essential condition in order to guarantee the human rights of persons deprived of liberty.

Likewise, States have the obligation to investigate, on its own initiative and with due diligence, all deaths of persons under its custody.

These investigations must not only aim to establish the material perpetrators of the crimes, but also the possible intellectual authors, and any degree of responsibility that the authorities might have, either by action or omission.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Education System to Receive $200 Million Loan

Brazilian Education System to Receive $200 Million Loan

Photo: Education in Brazil (Borgen Project)

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The Brazilian state of Pará will receive significant support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to improve access to quality basic education, the IDB announced today.

The Bank has approved a loan of over $200 million that will fund school construction, remedial education, teacher training, evaluation and monitoring systems among other projects.

Hundreds of thousands of students living in Brazil’s second largest state are expected to benefit from the program financed by this loan.

The Program is the backbone of the recently launched Para Education Compact (PEC), a state’s initiative that brings together municipalities, civil society and private sector to support the long term effort needed to improve the quality of basic education in the state.

Only 31 percent of 19-year-olds in Pará have completed secondary school, a figure that is far inferior to the decidedly low national average of 50 percent. Academic underachievement precipitated by poor quality education is the leading cause of school dropout in Brazil.

The IDB, in partnership with the Secretariat of Education of the State of Pará (SEDUC), aims to increase statewide graduation rates by increasing the availability and quality of secondary and vocational education.

Dangerous and insufficient school infrastructure has also influenced dropout rates in Pará with 40 percent of educational facilities urgently requiring improvements.

The new IDB loan will finance the construction of 30 secondary schools and 2 vocational schools, and the renovation of another 350 schools, opening up quality educational opportunities to over 42,000 underserved students in the state.

Learning acceleration and educational reinforcement programs for students, as well as professional development for teachers, will be implemented to reduce failure and dropout rates. In addition to the academic performance goals set for students, the program is designed to improve young beneficiaries’ self-esteem and socioemotional skills.

Recent IDB research shows that these skills are crucial to preparing students for a successful transition from school to the workforce. In the coming years, domestic and foreign investments in mining, transportation and tourism are expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Pará but low education levels among workers threaten potential economic and development gains; only 56 percent of the workforce has completed primary school.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Artist’s Miami Mural Portrays Struggle of Undocumented Immigrants

Dominican Artist’s Miami Mural Portrays Struggle of Undocumented Immigrants

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The painful experiences of Hispanic immigrants inspired Dominican artist Ruben Ubiera to paint a mural with a message of sympathy and understanding for the undocumented and in favor of a just immigration reform in the United States.

The mural, 20 meters (65 ft.) wide and 6 meters (19 ft.) high, occupies the facade of a building in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood and will be inaugurated Saturday with Mayor Tomas Regalado, Congressman Joe Garcia and several community organizations in attendance.

Ubiera, 36, will use his colorful, powerful, interactive graffiti mural to introduce the public to seven tales of undocumented immigrants who “have suffered from the tough immigration policies” of the United States.

The artist said he wanted to paint in the mural “real immigrants who suffer, some of whom are fathers of a family and who are going to be deported.”

The basic idea of this mural is to raise people’s awareness about the need for the government to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Carolina Gonzalez, spokeswoman of the Florida ACLU, the organization responsible for the initiative, told Efe.

In an artistic setting of such vibrant activity as Miami, his idea expresses the solidarity of many millions who are with our immigrants all the way, and who worry every day about their ever-present threat of deportation.

“There are 1,001 true stories, but this wall doesn’t have the space for all of them or to reflect all the problems of immigration,” Ubiera said, adding that the interactive mural will allow those who come close to hear stories of the people represented in the graffiti “in their own words.”

To do so the public “will be able to use their cell phones to scan the code inscribed in the mural and hear the stories told directly” by the people who live them, the Dominican said.

 

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$61 Billion in Remittances Flows to Latin America

$61 Billion in Remittances Flows to Latin America

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Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) showed a slight increase in 2012 with respect to the previous year, according to the latest report on remittances by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group.

The report, “Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012: Differing Behavior among Sub-regions,” said that the region received a total of $61.3 billion in remittances last year.

This amount represents a year-on-year increase of $300 million, a 0.6 percent increase from 2011. After a historic high of nearly $65 billion in 2008, and a 15 percent drop due to the financial crisis in 2009, money transfers to the region have stabilized.

Remittances inflow trends varied among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. While remittances to South American countries and Mexico decreased by 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, the countries in the Caribbean displayed modest growth and Central American nations experienced a significant increase of 6.5 percent in the total remittances received. This increase helped offset decreases in bigger countries, allowing for the region as a whole to end the year with slight growth.

The economic uncertainty and sluggish labor market in Europe continue to affect the amount of money migrants in Spain are able to send back home, while the improvements in the labor market in the United States largely explain increases in remittances to certain countries, particularly in Central America.

Mexico remains the largest remittance recipient with $22.4 billion, followed by Guatemala, with $4.8 billion, and Colombia receiving $4 billion, while El Salvador and the Dominican Republic received $3.9 and $3.2 billion respectively.

Remittance flows continue to represent an important source of foreign inflows in many of the countries in the region, and constitute more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product in several countries, including Haiti, Guyana, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Guatemala.

These flows also represent an important source of income for the millions of families in the region that receive the transfers to cover basic needs and invest in education, health, housing, and small businesses.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Sportswriter Jhonny Gonzalez Killed in Venezuelan Robbery

Sportswriter Jhonny Gonzalez Killed in Venezuelan Robbery

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Venezuelan sportswriter Jhonny Gonzalez was shot and killed in the wee hours Friday while leaving the building where the sports daily Lider has its headquarters, apparently for resisting a robbery, the publication said.

Lider said on its Web site that Gonzalez was killed around 2:00 a.m. when leaving to work a night shift at the Cadena Capriles building in downtown Caracas.

Several individuals in a car and on a motorcycle apparently intercepted the journalist with intention to rob him and fired three shots. Gonzalez died in the car.

Journalists do not escape the situation of violence in Venezuela, a country with one of the highest murder rates in the region with 55 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.

The Public Space organization denounced a 50 percent increase in cases of attacks on freedom of expression in Venezuela so far this year, and a 20 percent increase in 2012 over 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Anheuser-Busch InBev Present Offer for 50% Stake in Mexico’s Grupo Modelo

Anheuser-Busch InBev Present Offer for 50% Stake in Mexico’s Grupo Modelo

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Anheuser-Busch InBev has launched a tender offer for the 50 percent stake it does not already own in Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo.

In a filing with the Mexican stock exchange, Grupo Modelo said a wholly owned subsidiary of AB InBev offered to pay $20.1 billion, or $9.15 per share.

The previously announced tender offer will expire on May 31 unless it is extended and “is not subject to any minimum tender condition or any financing condition,” the filing said.

Grupo Modelo added that the Belgium-Brazilian multinational will establish a trust that will accept further tenders of shares by Modelo shareholders for up to 25 months after the tender offer expires.

In March, a U.S. court gave the green light to a proposal to resolve the Justice Department’s concerns about the proposed merger.

AB InBev reached agreement with Grupo Modelo on the acquisition in June 2012.

Founded in 1925, Grupo Modelo is Mexico’s leading beer producer and exporter.

The company operates seven breweries in Mexico with the capacity to produce 71.5 million hectoliters (1.8 billion gallons) annually.

Grupo Modelo owns 14 brands, including Corona Extra, the beer with the largest market share in the world.

The Mexican brewer exports its products to 180 countries and is the exclusive importer of Budweiser and other Anheuser-Busch Inbev brands in Mexico.

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DEA: Mexican Cartels Working in the U.S. Pose Threat to Public Safety

The Mexican cartels that are the principal source of illicit drugs coming into the United States have managed to extend their tentacles to the U.S. heartland, where they represent a significant threat to public safety, a senior Drug Enforcement Administration agent told Efe Friday.

The battle against drug traffickers and organized crime was a major theme of President Barack Obama’s just-concluded visit to Mexico.

Mexican cartels have a presence in more than 1,000 U.S. cities, according to the Justice Department.

“Obviously those numbers present some issues ... in some sense, certainly that’s going to provide some security issues in places where they probably haven’t had to think about it yet, but on the strong side of that ... we’re in a much better position to share information and intelligence,” Jack Riley, the head of DEA operations in Chicago, told Efe.

“We’ve been able to attack those criminal Mexican organizations, stopping the way they operate here (Chicago) and that, in a very distinct way, has really made a difference in terms of the violence of the street gangs,” he said in a telephone interview.

The success, Riley said, is largely due “to great intelligence and information originating from the border region and in some cases from Mexico.”

Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel, led by fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, boasts such a strong presence in the Windy City that the Chicago Crime Commission has labeled him “Public Enemy No. 1,” an epithet first bestowed on Al Capone.

During a joint press conference Thursday with the visiting Obama, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced some changes in the mechanics of bilateral cooperation on crime.

“Everybody’s still waiting to see how that will play out,” Riley said Friday. “I’m personally very optimistic that we will be able to continue that great relationship we’ve developed” with Mexican authorities.

“The fundamental relationships that I think have evolved during the last years I think are going to be there and I’m optimistic we’re gonna continue to do the work that we’ve been doing,” the DEA veteran told Efe.

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Spy May Return to Cuba if he Renounces U.S. Citizenship

Spy May Return to Cuba if he Renounces U.S. Citizenship

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Rene Gonzalez, currently on probation after serving 13 years in a U.S. prison for espionage, may remain in Cuba - where he traveled last month with court approval - if he agrees to give up his U.S. citizenship, a federal judge said Friday.

“If defendant voluntarily renounces his United States citizenship ... (he) shall serve the remainder of his supervised-release term in Cuba on a non-reporting basis, and shall not return to the United States,” U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ruled.

Gonzalez, a Chicago native, approached federal authorities early in 2012 with the offer to abandon his U.S. citizenship in exchange for their allowing him to return to Cuba, where his wife and daughters live.

Prosecutors recently dropped their objections and Lenard agreed to the proposal.

With Lenard’s permission, the 56-year-old Cuban intelligence officer traveled to Cuba late last month to attend his father’s funeral. The judge had allowed him to fly to Havana in March 2012 to spend two weeks with his gravely ill brother.

Rene Gonzalez and four colleagues - Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez - were arrested in 1998 and convicted three years later by a federal jury in Miami.

The Cuban Five have always insisted they were spying on Miami’s Cuban exile community, not the U.S. government.

Cuba says the men were sent to Florida in the wake of several terror bombings in Havana allegedly masterminded by anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative.

The other four spies remain in prison and one of them, Hernandez, is serving two life sentences for Cuba’s downing of two small aircraft belonging to Miami-based exile group Brothers to the Rescue, which resulted in four deaths.

U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross, arrested in Cuba in December 2009 with communications gear he said he planned to distribute among the island’s Jewish community, is now at a military hospital in Havana serving a 15-year sentence for subversion.

The Cuban government has hinted that it would release Gross in exchange for the return of the four spies.

Washington, however, dismisses talk of a possible swap and insists that Cuba free Gross immediately and without conditions.

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Second Immigrant Commits Suicide at Detention Center Within a Week

Second Immigrant Commits Suicide at Detention Center Within a Week

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Activists described as alarming Friday the fact that two Guatemalan immigrants died in less than a week at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Arizona.

“I’m concerned that there is no way for independent groups to verify what is happening inside these detention centers. It’s terrifying there were two Guatemalan suicides in such a short time and in the same detention center,” Sebastian Quinac, representative of the Guatemalan Ixim Ulew Committee in southern Arizona, told Efe.

We have to know whether people guarding the detainees are paying them enough attention and supervision, or if they’re putting the detainees under some kind of pressure,” the activist said.

ICE reported Thursday the apparent suicide of Jorge Garcia Mejia, 40, who was found unconscious in his cell at the Eloy Detention Center.

Elsa Guadalupe Gonzalez, 24, was also found unconscious in her cell last Sunday by other Eloy inmates.

Both had been in ICE custody since late March.

ICE said it would investigate whether suicide-prevention measures are in effect at Eloy.

The executive director of the ACLU in Arizona, Alessandra Soler, said the main problem is the “punitive” conditions in which the undocumented live in detention centers.

“Immigrants must not be treated like criminals. They are detained for administrative violations of migration, but the policy is to jail them in subhuman conditions where they are treated like prisoners, and the practice of locking them up in isolation is common,” she said.

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Journalists Remain Targets of Violence in Mexico

Journalists Remain Targets of Violence in Mexico

Photo: Violence against Journalists protest (Knight Foundation)

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Aggression against the news media in Mexico rose 20 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2012, the watchdog group Article 19 said Friday.

The organization documented 50 attacks on individual journalists and three assaults on media outlets in the first quarter of 2012, Article 19 spokesman Omar Rabago told Efe on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

One news professional went missing during the period and remains unaccounted for, while another, Jaime Guadalupe Gonzalez, was murdered on March 3, Rabago said.

“Nothing has changed,” he said. “In reality, we are still waiting for the Mexican state in this new administration to comply with what it promised,” the activist said, referring to the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office Dec. 1.

More than 80 journalists have been slain in Mexico since 2000, according to figures from the country’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

Article 19, applying the narrower definition of “a clear link between the journalistic work and the murder,” puts the number at 73.

Mexico remains one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, with 16 reporters “disappeared” over the last decade and 46 bombings and shootings at media outlets, the group says.

The Mexican security forces have been responsible for a third of the documented instances of aggression against news gatherers, Article 19 says.

Broadcast journalist Jose Gerardo Padilla Blanquet went missing on April 30 in Saltillo, the northern city where newspaper photographer Daniel Alejandro Martinez was murdered six days earlier, the organization noted.

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Honda Announces Plans to Build Plant in Mexico

The Mexican unit of Japanese auto giant the Honda Motor Co. annonced plans to invest $470 million in the construction of a transmission plant in Celaya, in the central state of Guanajuato.

The president of Honda Mexico, Isamu Yamaki, and Tetsuo Iwaumura, COO of Honda North American regional operations, made an announcement before Mexico’s secretary of the economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, that the new plant joins the others that the company has in this country, the company said in a comunique.

The Mexican economy secretary said that Mexico is currently the eight-largest manufacturer of vehicles in the world and the fourth largest exporter of light vehicles.

The new plant will start up operations in the second half of 2015, wth a production capacity of 350,000 transmissions per year, with the plan to boost production to double that number over the coming years.

It will create 1,500 jobs by the time it reaches its maximum production of 700,000 units per year.

This is the third Honda plant in the Americas. It will make transmissions both for cars manufactured in Mexico as well as for the brand’s autmotive plants in other parts of North America.

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SaturdayMay 4, 2013