Friday, June 13, 2008

De Musica Ligera: Big Apple summer concerts, 2008 version

Last year we gave a list of six great free concerts that took place over the summer in New York City. This year promises to be no different as there are dozens of free gigs all over the Big Apple over the next three months and some of them feature Latin American and Spanish artists.

Here are six more free summer concerts that have caught our attention:

* June 15: Victor Manuelle

Award-winning salsero Victor Manuelle will be performing as part of the Central Park Summerstage series and to promote his latest album released last week.

* June 26: Sofia Tosello, Sabrina Lastman

El Museo del Barrio’s “Women on the Verge” series, will featured two Southern Cone singers representing numerous musical styles.

* July 10: Si*Sé, Yerba Buena

Pier 54 along the Hudson River will host several concerts with one of them showcasing the groovy Latintronica of Si*Sé and the funky sounds of Yerba Buena.

* July 15: Julieta Venegas, Plastilina Mosh

Mexican songstress (and personal favorite) Julieta Venegas will be at Summerstage accompanied by the master funkers of Plastilina Mosh.

* July 25: Atlas Sound, El Guincho

The music of Spain’s El Guincho is hard to easily categorize; let’s just say he’s a modern-day Esquivel.

* August 8: Lila Downs, Villa-Lobos Brothers, Grupo Norteño

A trio of Mexican musicians will be highlighted in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park including the chanteuse Downs and the regional style of the Villa-Lobos Brothers.

The aforementioned artists and others like Brazilian Girls, Folklore Urbano, and Maria Rita represent the great cornucopia of Latin American music that will be performing soon. So if you’re in la Gran Manzana this summer be sure check out at least one of these great concerts. (Perhaps we’ll see you there)!

Sources- The Latin Americanist, El Museo del Barrio, Central Park Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn, YouTube, YouSendIt, River to River,

Image- New York Press (Si*Sé performing on Governor’s Island in 2007)

Carla Bruni hits sour note with Colombia

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: model, first lady, and singer. The thirty-year-old has an album coming out next month and in it she sings of her love to her recently-wed hubby:

Among the 14 tracks is a song called Ma Came (My Junk) – equating her intense love to a class A drug. Written two years ago, before she met Mr. Sarkozy, it is nevertheless dedicated to her husband.

“You are my junk. More deadly than Afghan heroin. More dangerous than Colombian white (powder),” she sings, adding: “My guy, I roll him up and smoke him.”

With so many important problems to tackle (e.g. conflict with guerillas, corruption allegations, free trade) one would assume that Colombian officials would ignore Bruni’s little metaphor. In the grand scheme things, her silly love song is of no importance. Right?

Guess again:

"Since this is coming from the mouth of the president's wife, we consider this statement very hurtful to Colombia," said Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo. "These kinds of things happen when you mix politics with art; we deeply regret it"…

"Instead of offering an apology for consuming, we hope that the whole world joins us in the fight against drugs," Araujo said.

Afghani officials have yet to respond to Bruni’s quip on heroin, probably because they have bigger fish to fry.

Sources- Wonkette, AFP, Xinhua, International Herald Tribune, Reuters, Reuters UK, Bloomberg

Image- CBC

Argentina ponders decriminalizing possession

Argentinean judges continue to take steps toward decriminalize drug possession after federal courts judges threw out drug possession charges in April.

Last week, a group of judges enforced that opinion, ruling on a case of a young man arrested for marijuana possession.

The judges said criminalization will apply "where the possession of narcotics for personal consumption represents a danger for the public health of others."

Argentina's minister of justice, security and health, Anibal Fernandez, said the country's drug laws are a "catastrophe."

Source and Photo: Drug War Chronicle, Photo "Million Marijuana March" in Rosario, Argentina

Chilean President Bachelet and Gov. Schwarzenegger Meet

Yesterday in California, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met and signed a number of bilateral scientific, agricultural and educational agreements.

But what was really interesting, was listening to Schwarzenegger describing Bachelet's biography as being right out of a "blockbuster" except "It is all true". Of course he didn't mention the real life horror Bachelet endured during the Pinochet rule.

TV Nacional de Chile's coverage focused on the Hollywood side of Schwarzenegger, citing that he keeps Conan's (as in the Barbarian) sword in his office to remind him that he needs to cut costs.

Bachelet also took advantage of Schwarzenegger's Hollywood past by inviting him to Chile and saying "Hasta la Vista".

See the TVN story (in Castellano) here.

Sources : LA Times, You Tube, TV Nacional de Chile 24 Horas News Program

Daily Headlines: June 13, 2008

* Mexico: Are Viagra and condoms the most appropriate Father’s Day gift?

* Venezuela: The Associated Press admits that it was a little too harsh in their assessment of Hugo Chavez and Colombian rebels.

* Latin America: Spanish firm Telefonica said that it will sell the new 3G iPhone in twelve Latin American countries.

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet received praise from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during her visit to Ottawa on Tuesday.

Sources- MSNBC,,, The Latin Americanist, Associated Press

Image- Gawker

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today’s Video: “Nueva Musica” – Julieta Venegas

In anticipation of Friday’s free summer concerts in New York list our final video this week looks at one of my favorite musicians: Mexico’s Julieta Venegas.

The songstress’ latest album includes songs from her recently-televised MTV Unplugged appearance. In the special, she sang her repertoire of songs in an intimate setting and with guests including Mala Rodriguez and Gustavo Santaolalla. One of the tunes covered by Venegas was “El Presente” which can be viewed by clicking the link below. (Unfortunately the clip cannot be embedded).

Click here to watch Julieta Venegas - El Presente (MTV Unplugged Version)

Previous videos this week: Adriana Calcanhotto, Grupo Uranio, and Sergio Mendes.

Sources- The Latin Americanist,, Billboard, YouTube, Vivirlatino

Survey reveals global perspectives

The Pew Research Center published the results of a survey conducted in twenty-four countries including Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. Several media reports (i.e. this and this) have focused on how most respondents prefer Barack Obama over John McCain as the next president of the U.S. However, the poll also revealed several interesting perspectives from different regions such as Latin America. (An overview of the survey can be read here).

* China has been making serious inroads into Latin America’s economy and this was reflected by most respondents in the region. Still, an average of 76% of respondents feel that the U.S. continues to have lots of influence in the Americas.

* Like most of the world, a plurality of respondents in Latin America believed that the U.S. economy is hurting their national economies. Also, favorable views of the U.S. fell by 9% in Mexico. (It rose by 3% and 6% % in Brazil and Argentina, respectively).

* Majorities in 18 of the 24 countries surveyed describe current economic conditions in their country as bad. One of the countries where “good” ratings dropped the most was Argentina (23% “good” rating in 2008 vs. 46% in 2007).

* Do Latin Americans share the support for Obama that their vecinos in the U.S. have? The answer is yes, but by varying margins amongst those who are following the U.S. election in Brazil (23%) and Mexico (11%).

So what conclusions do you draw from the data?

Sources- Guardian UK, International Herald Tribune, Pew Research Center, AFP, Voice of America, Monsters & Critics, The Latin Americanist

Image- Mindbird Maps & Books

Cuba to introduce merit pay for state workers

In another surprising move, Raul Castro has announced that the old system of equal pay for government employees will be phased out as a new system of merit pay will be implemented. The Guardian UK's analysis posits that this move could bring "an end to the capped wages set up by Fidel Castro in 1959 could spark the beginnings of a new middle class in Cuba."

While the details of how this will affect each employment sector - such as school teachers and health workers - are unclear, the announcement is seen by some as another in a line of bold moves towards quasi-capitialism, including allowing the use of cellphones and the purchase of DVD players, computers and other imported electronics.

Sources: The Guardian UK, Granma, CNN, Miami Herald

Daily Headlines: June 12, 2008

* Cuba: More reforms in Cuba; this time, the government will scrap a system of equal pay for all and will allow workers to receive performance bonuses.

* Uruguay: Approximately a dozen dead penguins have landed on Uruguayan shores as a nearby oil spill continues to threaten the wildlife in that country and Argentina.

* Mexico: One girl was killed after she was used as a human shield in a shootout between rival drug gangs.

* Argentina: The country’s government has allowed farmers to export one million metric tons of wheat in order to calm simmering tensions.

Sources- BBC News, Monsters & Critics, The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, MSNBC

Image- China Daily (“A Cuban waiter holds a three convertible Cuban Peso note, with an image of late guerrilla leader Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, in Havana, October 25, 2004.”)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today’s Video: “Nueva Musica” – Adriana Calcanhotto

We continue with our video theme of new albums coming out this summer with a video from Brazilian musician Adriana Calcanhotto. The singer/composer will come out with her latest album- Maré- next week. The following video shows off her dulcet voice and easygoing musical style.

Previous videos this week looked at Grupo Uranio and Sergio Mendes.

Sources- The Latin Americanist,, Billboard, YouTube

Telenovelas as birth control?

Often I am very dismissive of the Spanish-language TV soap operas known as “telenovelas” since I usually find them as a waste of time. The plots are trite, the music is cheap, and the acting is a few notches above a substandard adult film.

There are occasions, however, when telenovelas serve a greater purpose aside from being a simple distraction. In Argentina, one telenovela raised awareness of illegal “Dirty War” adoptions while a Cuban version broke taboos in its frank discussion of homosexuality. For Brazil, a recently released study hypothesized that telenovelas have helped lower fertility rates:

Using census data from 1970 to 1991 and data on the entry of Rede Globo [ed. Brazilian television network] into different markets, the researchers found that women living in areas that received Globo's broadcast signal had significantly lower fertility. (And yes, the study did control for all sorts of factors and addressed the concern that the entry of Globo might have been driven by trends that also contribute to fertility decline)…Additionally, people in areas with Globo's signal were more likely to name their children after novela characters, suggesting that it was the novelas specifically, and not TV in general, that influenced childbearing.

So perhaps I should not be as dismissive of telenovelas as I am (especially putting into account that my mother named me after a soap opera character)!

Image- New York Times (“A scene from "Alborada," which was broadcast on Univision.”)

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Foreign Policy Passport

Venezuela: Chavez to rework intelligence proposal

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez decided to remove his proposal to reform the country’s intelligence services. “We made a mistake” said Chavez after opposition grew against the edict which would have led to the creation of new intelligence agencies and punishments for those who did not “reveal information.”

Instead, the government has asked the country’s legislature to examine a possible reform:

Chavez, who revamped the country's intelligence structure by decree last month, said he scrapped the law and will ask the National Assembly to draw up a new proposal…

Lawmaker Cilia Flores, who is the president of the National Assembly, said there isn't a timeline for when the new intelligence law will be approved.

“This will be a new bill, with arguments, where we'll put together the President's observations,'' she said (on Tuesday) in comments broadcast by state television.

Numerous analysts have viewed Chavez as “flip-flopping” based not only on the intelligence issue but also his recent comments on Colombian guerillas. Several factors have been cited for this including a drop in his popularity and the need to avoid losing in this November’s local elections.

Image- BBC News

Sources- Voice of America, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist, Washington Post, Associated Press

Prosecutors seek jail for attack on Ecuadorian

Spanish prosecutors are seeking three years in jail for a man caught in the heinous and reprehensible assault of an Ecuadorian girl. According to a statement released by officials, twenty-one-year-old Sergi Xavier Martin will be tried for crimes “against moral integrity and other injuries” after he verbally and physically assaulted the minor in the Barcelona metro last October.

The prosecutor’s accusation goes on to further state that the judge:

Prohibit the accused from any type of communication with the victim…and that he should be forced to pay reparations…

The accusation noted that the minor…suffers from anxiety attacks similar to moderate posttraumatic stress. – [ed. personal translation]

Below is a Spanish TV report depicting the brutal, inexcusable attack (NSFW):

Sources (English)- The Latin Americanist, YouTube

Sources (Spanish)- El Comercio, El Telègrafo

John McCain Targets Cuban Exile Vote

Cross Posted at VivirLatino

Seeing that he's trailing in Latino votes compared to Barack Obama, John McCain is going after the Cuban exile vote by bringing up the big bad wolves of Castro and the fact that Obama has said that he would consider meeting with whatever Castro happens to be in power.

Wouldn't be interesting if John McCain made an ad aimed at an issue that all Latinos cared about, like um education or the economy maybe? Is this the best way to target the Latino vote?
Source : The Trail

Daily Headlines: June 11, 2008

* Caribbean: Say “goodbye” to the extinct Caribbean monk seal.

* Cuba: Leading dissident Hector Palacios said that he would return from exile and would even be willing to meet with President Raul Castro.

* Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez denied the allegations of a 31-year-old man claiming to be his illegitimate son.

* Brazil: A bad economic sign – Brazilian inflation has reached a three-year high.

Sources- TIME, Bloomberg, Associated Press, MSNBC

Image- La Plaza

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today’s Video: “Nueva Musica” – Grupo Uranio

We continue with our video theme of new albums coming out this summer with an offering from Grupo Uranio.

The band specializes in duranguense- a musical genre which according to Wikipedia:

Is closely related to the Mexican styles of banda and norteño. Duranguense has several differences…(it) focuses on el tamborazo, which is the bass drum. The tempo is noticeably faster than banda or norteño… People unfamiliar with duranguense occasionally say it sounds rather like traditional circus music.

Much like banda and norteño, duranguense songs typically focus on longing and love lost. Such is the case with “Dulce Veneno” (“Sweet Poison”), where the protagonist sings to his sweetheart and begs her not to leave him. The song comes from an album of the same name by Grupo Uranio which was released last week.

(Video link):

Sources- YouTube, Wikipedia, Billboard

Puerto Rican status examined at U.N.

The United Nations’ Decolonization Committee received testimony this week from numerous representatives with regards to the political status of Puerto Rico. Chief among these was the island’s governor- Anibal Acevedo Vila- who called for the island’s right to self-determination and blasted the White House for being “clumsy and partisan” in its behavior of the issue.

Acevedo Vila was indicted last March for violating federal campaign laws and he previously backed commonwealth status for the island.

Other petitioners who spoke in front of the committee varied in their opinions of Puerto Rico’s political future; yet in the end, the committee passed a resolution with several clauses:

The Special Committee on Decolonization today called upon the Government of the United States to expedite a process that would allow the Puerto Rican people fully to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

In a resolution adopted by consensus, the decolonization body…requested the President of the United States to release all Puerto Rican political prisoners serving sentences for cases relating to the Territory’s struggle for independence and to the Vieques Island “peace struggle”.

The Special Committee…urged the Government of the United States to complete the return of occupied land and installations on Vieques Island and in Ceiba; respect the fundamental human rights to health and economic development of their inhabitants; and expedite and cover the costs of decontaminating the areas previously used in military exercises.

Last year Congress passed the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007, which allows for a congressionally authorized referendum to be held by the end of 2009. In 2006, the Bush administration laid out a set of rules on how to decide Puerto Rico’s future status.

Sources-, The Latin Americanist, BBC News

Image- Fact Checker (Protestor holding sign in favor of Puerto Rican statehood)

Couple backpacks with baby

Ever tried backpacking? Ever tried it with a one-year-old baby strapped to your chest?

That's what photographers Ana Paula Paiva and Fernando Martinho did with their baby Joao for a year in Latin America.

They took photos everywhere from Bolivia to Colombia, and they are on display in Madrid beginning today.

Find out more about their adventure here.

Source and Photo: Travel.timesonline

Chavez says FARC reign is over

Hugo Chavez announced today that armed revolution in Latin America has no more place in the region's modern history.

Chavez said this pointedly to the FARC, whose guerrilla armies he said are now "out of place."

He also appealed for the guerrillas to release all hostages.

Read the entire story here.

Weekly Debate: Five months until Election Day

It’s no secret that political pundits have tapped the Latino vote as being crucial in the race to the White House between Barack Obama and John McCain. During the Democratic presidential primary what we heard from the media was a drumbeat of rhetoric boiling down to the alleged “black-brown divide”. While she certainly had some support among most Latinos and her primary victories were in several states with notable Hispanic populations, Obama did have some appeal within the Latino community.

Furthermore, several polls have shown that moist Latino voters would choose Obama over McCain by the time Election Day comes around in about five months:

A new Gallup Poll summary of surveys taken in May shows Obama winning 62 percent of Latino voters nationwide, compared with 29 percent for McCain. The pro-Democratic group Democracy Corps compiled surveys from March through May that showed Obama with a 19-point lead among Latinos. And a Los Angeles Times poll last month showed Obama leading McCain by 14 points among Latinos in California.

The above numbers indicate strong Latino support for the Illinois senator. Yet one representative for McCain’s campaign countered by saying that McCain will make inroads in the Latino community between now and November, and that the percentage of Latinos backing him was nearly as much as that won by President Bush in the last two elections.

  • So what do you think?
  • Will the numbers hold up between now and November?
  • Which candidate needs to campaign harder for the Latino vote?
  • For that matter, is there such a thing as a homogenous “Latino vote”?
  • Could blocs voting in the Latino community switch parties? (i.e. Cuban-Americans to Democrats or Mexican-Americans to Republicans).
  • Could third-party candidates like Bob Barr or Ralph Nader find widespread appeal among Latinos?

If you have an opinion on this topic then please leave a comment and/or vote in our poll.

Let your voice be heard!

Sources- CNN, The Latin Americanist, Reuters Los Angeles Times,

Image- current

Daily Headlines: June 10, 2008

* Peru: Just about everyone and their grandmother knows that Big Brown failed to win the Triple Crown, but did you know that the jockey of surprise Belmont Stakes winner Da’ Tara was a Peruvian named Alan Garcia? (No, not that Alan Garcia).

* Latin America: Could rising inflation throughout the region lead to a serious economic downturn?

* Nicaragua: U.S. diplomats aren’t too happy that a former Nicaragua foreign minister was elected to be the next U.N. General Assembly president.

* Bolivia: Thousands of marchers protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz over the alleged asylum given to a former right-wing minister and president.

Sources- Guardian UK, Press-Telegram, Living in Peru, Reuters, Monsters & Critics, MSNBC

Image- (“Winning jockey Alan Garcia salutes after crossing the Belmont finish line aboard Da'Tara.”)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Today’s Video: Nueva Musica – Sergio Mendes

Numerous musicians are releasing or have released new albums this summer and we will talk about some of them in this week’s featured videos.

Famed Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes will release his latest album- Encanto- on Tuesday. The album highlights the tropical rhythms of Brazil along with sounds from guest artists including Juanes, Herb Alpert, Carlinhos Brown, and Fergie. A brief North American tour follows the album’s release with stops in New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto.

The below video is a single from Encanto entitled “Funky Bahia.” We hope you enjoy it!

Click here to watch the music video for “Funky Bahia”

Sources- YouTube,

Cuba rejects U.S. human trafficking list

The Cuban government has expressed their displeasure at being named to a U.S. list of the world’s worst countries involved in human trafficking. In a communiqué issued today, the Cuba’s Foreign Relations Ministry accused Washington of hypocrisy and promoting a distorted view of life on the island:

"Cuba does not see any value in the State Department's report," the Foreign Ministry's statement said. "The government of the United States has a lot to do in its own country to combat the rampant phenomenon there of prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor and the trafficking of people."

"The government of the United States has a lot to learn about Cuba and is not in a position to judge anyone," it said.

According to one Cuban media source, the “Trafficking in Persons Report” makes “unfounded” accusations in naming Cuba as a center of sexual tourism and of not doing enough to prevent the trafficking of minors.

Sources- PRESS TV, Associated Press, Cuba News

Image- American Bar Association (Anti-trafficking sign in Ecuador)

Border agent nabbed on drug charges

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was arrested after authorities charged him with smuggling cocaine from Mexico. The officer was also arrested along with a pair of Mexicans, one of whom claimed that the agent had been involved in at least six previous drug or human smuggling actions.

Legal briefs filed by prosecutors mentioned how eleven bricks of cocaine were supposedly smuggled over the border:

According to a criminal complaint filed in their case, (agent Reynaldo) Zuniga picked up accused smuggler Jose Luis "El Bebe" Arteaga Echazarrete near the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge and drove him in his official vehicle to the Whataburger in Hidalgo, (Texas) just past the customs checkpoints.

From there, a relative - Luis Alfredo Cruz Hurtado - drove Arteaga to (a Wal-Mart parking lot in) Pharr.

Zuniga’s arrest seems to confirm the worry of Homeland Security officials over corrupt Border Patrol agents. Officials believe that security along the border could be seriously compromised by crooked agents.

Sources- The Latin Americanist,, KVEO, KRGV

Image- (“U.S. Border Patrol supervisor Dan Garibay scans the Rio Grande for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while overlooking the Laredo, Tx. International Bridge Number 3, which crosses into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. (AP Photo / August 8, 2001)”)

U.S., Colombians back Chavez gesture at FARC

The U.S. and Colombian governments backed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ request that the FARC end their armed struggle. “Those are certainly good words,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack though he also alluded to several media reports claiming close ties between Chavez and the Colombian rebels.

Meanwhile, Colombia’s government “welcomed” Chavez’ remarks though Interior minister Carlos Holguin added a dig at Chavez by claiming that his words were “surprising” since he’s a “great defender and ally” of the FARC.

Chavez used an interesting personal anecdote in calling for the FARC to lay down their weapons:

'Having a group of people, especially civilians but also members of the military, up a mountain is not the same as being in jail. I was in prison two-and-a-half years (for a failed coup attempt in 1992), but my wife came to see me everyday, and my parents on weekends,' Chavez said Sunday in his weekly television programme Alo Presidente.

'I think time has come for FARC to release all the hostages they have there in the mountains. It would be a great humanitarian gesture, in exchange for nothing,' Chavez insisted.

Sources- The Latin Americanist, AFP, BBC News,, Washington Post, Monsters & Critics, Reuters

Image- Wall Street Journal

Students caught in bind over free tuition pledge

Back in 2004 Denver, Colorado mayor John Hickenlooper promised to pay for the college tuition of students at Cole Middle School. The first group of those students is about to graduate and take advantage of Hickenlooper’s pledge. Yet the few students who are illegal immigrants are finding out that there is an extra obstacle to attending college:

The promise only pays in-state tuition, and state law requires illegal immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition.

So undocumented students must make up the difference…

Under Colorado state law undocumented students must pay out-of-state tuition no matter how long they've lived in the United States.

According to one source, the difference in tuition can be huge; $5,922 for in-state residents taking 12 credit hours at Colorado University-Boulder compared to $25,400 for out-of-state residents. Furthermore, federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from getting federal student aid and the mayor’s office.

Yet despite the disappointment of not having all their tuition covered by the promise, the graduating undocumented students are thankful of the opportunity to improve their lives:

"I was like, 'Yeah, right,' " said one student, now 18, who did not give her name for fear of deportation. "But as the years went by, I was like, 'Maybe this is true. I'm going to be able to go to college.' "

Sources- Denver Post, KMGH Denver, Los Angeles Times

Image- University of Alaska Southeast

Daily Headlines: June 9, 2008

* Venezuela: In separate statements this weekend, President Hugo Chavez said that he would amend a controversial intelligence law and urged Colombia's FARC guerillas to end their armed struggle.

* U.S.: California health officials suspect that illegally imported Mexican cheese has caused increasing number of Latino kids to be hit with a rare strain of tuberculosis.

* Puerto Rico: Thousands of boricuas lined Fifth Avenue in New York City yesterday and reveled during the 51st edition of the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

* Peru: Doctors removed a cancerous lesion from former President Alberto Fujimori’s tongue; he should soon return back to defending himself in a human rights trial.

Sources- BBC News,, NY1, KTLA, International Herald Tribune

Image- Al Jazeera English

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Central American leaders discuss farm labor in California

This weekend, top officials from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala traveled north to attend the Western Agriculture Labor Summit in Fresno, California. The leaders, including Honduras’ president, El Salvador’s vice president, and Guatemala’s foreign minister, were on hand to discuss the growing shortage of documented laborers. As reported in the Fresno Bee:

(Honduran President Manuel) Zelaya said Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala each have the potential of supplying 30,000 to 50,000 temporary workers to the United States. What is needed, participants agreed, is a system under which the workers can come to the United States legally, with a minimum of red tape, to work during peak harvest seasons and then return home.

Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, also in attendance, was quoted in the Sacramento Bee:

"The issue of farm labor and immigration reform is the defining issue of this generation," he said.
"…we're dealing with people – good, hard-working people who are willing to do work that, quite frankly, many Americans won't do."
One northern California farmer at the meeting noted that over 90% of his labor force is undocumented, though he has little choice if he wants to meet production goals. All the leaders and officials in attendance agreed to take measures to help facilitate a better flow of legal labor to the north on a temporary basis.

Sources: Fresno Bee, Sacramento Bee, Ali-Pac