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MondayMarch 17, 2014

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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Tougher Oversight of Border Patrol Agents Urged by Some Legislators

A pair of congressmen representing districts on the Mexican border are promoting a bill that would subject Department of Homeland Security agencies, including the Border Patrol, to greater oversight and accountability.

The Border Accountability and Stakeholder Engagement Act will be introduced late this week or early next week by Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke and Republican Steve Pearce of New Mexico.

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Brazil Reduces Extreme Poverty by Nearly 90 Percent in a Decade

Brazil reduced the number of its citizens living in extreme poverty by 89 percent in the 10 years that the assistance program known as Bolsa Familia has been in existence, the minister of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger said Monday.

The figure was announced by Tereza Campello in a speech at the South-South Learning Forum 2014: Designing and Delivering Social Protection and Labor Systems, which got under way Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

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$4 Billion Money-Laundering Scheme Discovered in Brazil

Brazil’s Federal Police on Monday broke up a band accused of laundering some 10 billion reais (about $4.35 billion) in illegally-earned funds in an operation that mobilized some 400 agents in seven different Brazilian states, authorities said.

The operation, dubbed “Lava-jato,” was aimed at capturing 28 members of the group, the majority of whom were arrested Monday morning, charged with being part of a money-laundering network, tax evasion, corruption, smuggling precious stones and drug trafficking, among other crimes.

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In Argentine Shanties, Priests Live Like the Sheep They Shepherd

In Argentine Shanties, Priests Live Like the Sheep They Shepherd

Photo: Father Jose Maria di Paola, well-known in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as "Padre Pepe," poses for a photo March 12.

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The doors used to stay shuttered on Our Lady of the Miracle chapel in a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, opening only on Saturdays for catechism classes and Sundays for a single, sparsely attended service.

Nowadays, the chapel opens early and stays late, offering everything from a safe place for kids to play soccer to packed Sunday services. It also provides a community center and spiritual home for often-stigmatized shanty dwellers, whose neighborhoods are known as “Las Villas de Miseria,” or “Misery Villages.”

“It embarrassed me to go to church,” said Sebastiana Solabarrieta, who volunteers in the chapel’s Caritas clothing bank. “Now, everyone is here.”

Churchgoers like Solabarrieta credit Father Jose Maria di Paola, pastor at the chapel, with bringing people back to Catholicism over the past year in Villa La Carcova, where evangelical groups had gained ground and problems like poverty and drugs persist.

But Father di Paola—famous in Buenos Aires as “Padre Pepe” for his work with the downtrodden and drug addicts—and his fellow “curas villeros” (shanty priests) provide an example of the “poor church” of which Pope Francis speaks, in which priests leave their parishes to provide pastoral attention to people on the periphery.

The priests have become an institution in metropolitan Buenos Aires, where former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio made them his foot soldiers in implementing his vision of a church serving society and priests being “shepherds living with the smell of sheep.”

Father di Paola identifies with the pope’s description of pastors being close to the people: He, like others in the area, lives in a wooden home with no water.

“Previously, those working in the villas came from outside. You were in a parish and you would go to the nearby villas for a visit. Now, we live in the villas,” said Father di Paola.

“The reality is that you share experiences with the people like just another neighbor. You do all the church’s work from inside the barrio, not from the outside.”

He attributes his closeness to the community as the reason for renewal at Our Lady of the Miracle, where, during a recent visit, youth goofed off while waiting for their group to gather, catechism instructors sipped mate and lawyers from nearby Buenos Aires offered pro bono legal advice.

Church members seemed to agree with Father di Paola.

“This to me was ...” said Angelica Benitez, who gestured, unable to express her amazement that a priest would live in a house like hers, but without steel security bars.

“People feel more included with Pepe. Previously they felt a little neglected,” said Romina Ledesma, a catechism instructor.

“People have been coming back to church”—including, Ledesma insisted, evangelicals—“since Pope Francis was elected and because of the priest. ... We can’t forget Pepe’s part.”

Priests have been in the villas since the first shanties were formed by people from the provinces seeking opportunities in the capital, although they weren’t always well seen by the government, in part because their presence was seen as legitimizing squatters’ activities. In 1974 Father Carlos Mugica, whom Father di Paola considers an inspiration, was murdered, presumably by an anti-communist group, after celebrating Mass.

Pope Francis acted out of genuine concern for the poor, although the presence of priests in the villas has achieved other objectives, such as slowing the growth of evangelical groups, Father di Paola said.

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Placido Domingo Delivers His 700th Performance at New York’s Met Opera House

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo celebrated his 700th performance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and the 3,700 performances he’s given worldwide during his career with a new interpretation of “The Enchanted Island.”

“I give thanks to God, to music and to the public for making this possible,” Domingo said in a Twitter posting.

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Lack of Personal Security: Number One Concern of Argentines

The head of the Argentine Cabinet, Jorge Capitanich, admitted on Sunday that the growing lack of security in the country has become “a problem,” although he added that an increase in resources for the security forces “is not the best way to fight it.”

In an interview with a local television station, Capitanich said that the increase in lack of security “is not resolved only with more patrol cars, police or cameras,” but rather by working on “social inclusion (and) ... distributive equity.”

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Blog del Narco: El Chapo Conglomeration of 288 Companies Begin to Unravel

Blog del Narco: El Chapo Conglomeration of 288 Companies Begin to Unravel

Photo: El Chapo

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The networks and connections of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman spread across the planet. His right arm in Colombia, Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa, alias ‘JJ’, had opened three companies in Colombia which allegedly were used for money laundering.
According to a US Dept of Treasury report , ‘JJ’ was the main partner of Guzman in Colombia. He was captured on November 8, 2012 in Venezuela and extradited to America last December.

‘Chapo’ Guzman was the most wanted drug trafficker in the world, and captured in Mexico on February 22. He was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel which, through other organized crime syndicates, used Ecuador routinely for smuggling cocaine into the U.S. says the indictment issued against him in the Court of the Southern District of New York.

The drug authorities have tracked ‘El Chapo’ connections and partners in several South American countries over the past decade. The newspaper The Republic of Peru, citing a report from the Drug Enforcement Administration United States (DEA) says that Guzman was in that country in June and July 2008.

The capture of the Mexican drug lord materialized, in part, thanks to the information provided by the Ecuadorian police about their activities and his alleged links with the country, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Companies in liquidation
An office in a building on the av. Shiri and UN, north of Quito, is the official address of three of the companies. The names are Andean Lincandisa Airlines, the consulting company gestorum Ecuador Managers and importing Business Marketer
Business Team.
The National Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) has confirmed in writing that Lincandisa hereby granted a concession freight permit, effective until February. However, never operated.

By resolution 010/2009, the Civil Aviation Council authorized the airline to fly to Latacunga, Quito, Manta, Guayaquil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Cuba, Venezuela, USA, Panama and Mexico.

They are also authorized to use Boeing 727-200 freighters. Its main base of operations would be in the Latacunga airport.

Prosecutors and police are investigating the connections of these and other companies and their financial operations. Dozens of suspects (especially Colombians, Venezuelans, Peruvians and Mexicans) are being investigated for alleged money laundering.
The swarm of companies that “Chapo” Guzman and his partners created covers several continents. They formed a conglomerate of 288 companies, the report said , several were US based.

In July 2013, a coordinated operation between Ecuador and the U.S. led to the capture of Captain (r) Telmo Castro Army, considered one of the priority targets of the DEA .
Castro was the main facilitator of shipments of drugs for the cartel Sinaloa (in fact he was considered the leader of that organization in Ecuador) and was captured by Ecuadorian police who foiled transporting 500 kilograms of cocaine from a clandestine airstrip in the Empalme, Guayas.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

Read more Narco News Here

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Brazil’s Paradise Fernando de Noronha Island Facing Worse Drought in 50 Years

Brazil’s Paradise Fernando de Noronha Island Facing Worse Drought in 50 Years

Photo: Fernando de Noronha.org

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Almost 340 kilometers (211 miles) out to sea, where one can no longer see the Brazilian coast, the island of Fernando de Noronha, a natural paradise protected by the country’s environmental laws, is suffering through its worse drought of the past 50 years, a dry spell that has virtually exhausted the island’s only fresh water spring.

With no rain since last June, the almost 3,000 residents of the island and the tourists who continuously fill the 1,400 available beds for visitors are putting up with water rationing and are surviving by using the the desalinization facilities on the island which, now, are no longer able to supply everyone.

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Venezuela’s President Continues to Blame U.S. for His Country’s Woes

President Nicolas Maduro proposed in a speech carried on national radio and television that the United States name an emissary to deal with his government and Unasur regarding the national crisis that has left at least 28 people dead over the past month in Venezuela.

The Venezuelan emissary will be the president of the Venezuelan legislature, Diosdado Cabello, and also participating in the dialogue will be the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, Maduro said before thousands of civilians and members of the military gathered Saturday at a military esplanade in Caracas.

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MondayMarch 17, 2014