Friday, May 7, 2010

TPS extended for Central Americans

On Wednesday the U.S. government extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for thousands of Nicaraguans and Hondurans covered by the plan. The program was scheduled to cease on July 5th but the move announced by the Department of Homeland Security stretches it for an additional eighteen months. Those eligible for TPS have until July 6th to reapply for the extension.

TPS for Nicaraguans and Hondurans was originally granted in 1999 and since then has helped an estimated 69,000 people from those countries. One critic of the extension deemed it “the immigration version of the Brezhnev Doctrine” yet DHS head Janet Napolitano said that it was needed since both countries “continue to recover from Hurricane Mitch preventing them from adequately handling the return of their citizens.”

In the meantime the number of Haitians applying for TPS in the months since last January’s deadly earthquake has been lower than expected. Roughly 47,000 Haitian expats have applied for TPS, far below the initial government estimate of 200,000. Despite aggressive campaigning from Haitian community groups it’s anticipated that there will not be a boost in applicants before the July 20th deadline.

As we wrote in March several reasons have been attributed to the low application rate including the cost of paperwork and “fear and mistrust of government in the consequences.” Prospective candidates may be spooked by scam artists according to the New York Attorney General's office:
(Attorney Alphonso) David says one woman told his office she had paid several thousand dollars to a company that promised to help but couldn’t deliver.

“She recently received notification from the federal government that the application was rejected because they failed to complete the paperwork properly. And they have refused to provide her with a refund,” David says.
Image- BBC News (Thousands of Hondurans and other Central Americans were killed by Hurricane Mitch in 1999).
Online Sources- LAHT, The Latin Americanist, Dorchester Reporter, WNYC, Palm Beach Post, National Review Online, AP

¿Por qué no te callas?: Archbishop Dadeus Grings

The Catholic Church has been rocked this year by allegations of child abuse across world and Latin America has been no exception. From Mexico to Chile the Vatican has come under intense scrutiny not only over accusations of abuse but also purportedly trying to cover-up accused clerics. The Pope’s recent takeover of the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ was a small step in repairing the deepening distrust by Catholics against the Vatican. Yet some Church officials unfortunately prefer to play the blame game and issue wild and shameful statements.

Brazilian Archbishop Dadeus Grings is no stranger to making terrible remarks; as we mentioned in March 2009, he came under fire for trying to downplay the millions of Jews killed during the Holocaust. This month Grings made his way back in the headlines with his comments at a Brazilian bishops' annual conference to O Globo:
"We know that the adolescent is spontaneously homosexual. Boys play with boys, girls play with girls," he said. "If there is no proper guidance, this sticks. The question is — how are we going to educate our children to use a sexuality that is human and suitable?"

Grings also said the acceptance of homosexuality in society could pave the way for the acceptance of pedophilia.

"When sexuality is trivialized, it's clear that this is going to affect all cases. Homosexuality is such a case. Before, the homosexual wasn't spoken of. He was discriminated against.

"When we begin to say they have rights, rights to demonstrate publicly, pretty soon, we'll find the rights of pedophiles," he said.
Though Grings would also condemn abuse by priests, his slippery slope-style logic does nothing to repair the deep wounds within the Church. Reform is needed and the Vatican must be more transparent in the investigation of alleged wrongdoings. Grings’ search for scapegoats is an unwanted distraction and a slap in the face not only to the gay community but to Catholics worldwide.

Why don’t you just shut up Archbishop Grings?

Online Sources- PRESS TV, AP, MSNBC, ABC Online, The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: May 7, 2010

* U.S.: According to Border Patrol data the number of migrant deaths rose last year to 417; thus marking the first increase in four years.

* Honduras: The U.S. government’s push towards international recognition of a post-Zelaya regime includes backing a “truth commission” and advocating that Honduras be readmitted to the Organization of American States.

* Bolivia: Standard & Poor’s raised Bolivia’s debt ratings due to “the country’s resilient economy and prudent fiscal policy.”

* Argentina: An Argentine pilot accused of participating in “Dirty War” murders has returned to his native land after being extradited from Spain.

Image – (“An obelisk and a barbed wire fence mark the border between the United States and Mexico on at Montezuma Pass, Arizona.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Reuters, BBC News, AP, BusinessWeek

Thursday, May 6, 2010

World Watch: Panic in the streets of Athens

* Greece: The Greek government signed off on an austerity plan yet at least 50,000 people went on strike and there have been violent protests in Athens.

* Nigeria: Acting president Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Nigeria’s new leader after his predecessor, Umaru Yar'Adua, died on Wednesday.

* Thailand: Anti-government protests continued in Thailand though a reconciliation deal proposed by the country’s Prime Minister could ease tensions.

* U.S.: The man supposedly behind a failed bomb attack in Times Square has reportedly been cooperating with investigators but has yet to reveal his precise motive.

Image – Guardian UK
Online Sources- BBC News, Guardian UK, Reuters, MSNBC

Daily Headlines: May 6, 2010

* Bolivia: A nationwide strike took place yesterday as protesters demanded higher wages from the federal government.

* Haiti: A pair of Senators from each major party introduced a bill that would give $3.5 billion over five years to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

* Colombia: Antanas Mockus vowed that he would prevent a Venezuelan-style “revolution” if he were elected as Colombian president.

* Cuba: According to the Cuban press the country’s sugar harvest was the worst in over a century.

Image – AFP
Online Sources- Bloomberg, Washington Post, El Universal, MSNBC

Today's Video: Las Dos Erres Survivor Speaks

Moving report from Global Post with an interview with Ramiro Cristales, the lone survivor of the Dos Erres Masacre. Even more tragic, Cristales was taken from the village and raised for 15 years by one of the soliders who participated in killing his family.

Video Source: Global Post

Guatemalan Suspected in 1982 Massacre Arrested in Florida

Federal agents arrested Gilberto Jordán in Palm Beach County, Florida on Wednesday for suspicion of lying on citizenship paperwork processed years ago.

Normally that sort of charge wouldn't make headlines, but Jordán is no normal ICE case. It is suspected that he was one of the members of Guatemala's elite Kaibiles unit who massacred 217 civilians in the village of Las Dos Erres.

The massacre was one of the worst in the 35-year-long Guatemalan Civil War. From the Miami Herald article reporting details of his arrest:

In a chilling interview Tuesday with ICE special agents, Jordán, now 54, "readily admitted that he threw a baby into the well and participated in killing people at Dos Erres, as well as bringing them to the well where they were killed,'' according to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

Two other former Kaibiles who currently reside in the US, Jorge Vinicio Sosa-Orantes Pedro Pimentel-Rios, are also being sought on similar grounds.

The Kaibiles were and are a highly skilled jungle warfare group with a dubious human rights record. More recently, several Kaibiles have joined ranks with the violent Los Zetas organization - originally a force protection group for the Gulf Cartel who are now operating more independently in the Mexican drug arena.

It remains unclear whether there will be additional charges against Jordán besides the immigration violation - a charge that could lead to 10 years in prison and revocation of his naturalized US citizenship.

Image Source: Global Post - "The wood boxes that once contained the victims' remains decomposed long ago, leaving bundles of bones, boots and clothes."
Online Sources: Miami Herald, NY Times,, Wikipedia, Sun-Sentinel

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

World Watch: Eenie, meenie, miney, moe

* Britain: On the eve of British parliamentary elections it’s a toss-up in the polls as to who will become the next Prime Minister.

* Middle East: According to the U.S. State Department indirect peace talks between Israel and Palestine could take place “within days.”

* Greece: Three people died in protests in Athens that included one group of marchers trying to storm the Greek parliament.

* Somalia: A “veteran” broadcaster was shot dead on Tuesday in a nation a Committee to Protect Journalists official deemed as “the most dangerous country in Africa to be a journalist”.

Image – Sydney Morning Herald (“The latest YouGov poll has Labour, lead by Gordon Brown, left, behind the Tories, lead by David Campbell, right, with Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats in third spot.”)
Online Sources- MSNBC, Committee to Protect Journalists, BBC News, Reuters

Ahmadinejad: Iran backs Brazilian nuclear mediation

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has agreed "in principle" to meditation by Brazil in order to break an international deadlock over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. According to a testament on Ahmadinejad’s website he agreed to Brazilian intervention while talking on the phone with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

A spokesman for the Brazilian Foreign Ministry subsequently denied that the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has yet to make an official offer for mediation. Yet the spokesman added "this does not mean that Brazil would not do so if other countries requested it."

While visiting Tehran last week Foreign Minister Celso Amorim backed intervention as the best way to resolve the impasse between Iran and Western powers. Assuming Ahmadinejad’s claims are true then Brazil’s possible mediation would be a major diplomatic victory for that South American country:
An emerging world player, Brazil has urged Western nations to negotiate a fair solution with Iran over its nuclear program. It has also called on Tehran to provide guarantees that its nuclear program has no military ambitions in return for enjoying its right to have peaceful nuclear technology.
Both Ahmadinejad and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged heated words in speeches this week at a conference on nuclear nonproliferation. In a TV interview last night, meanwhile, the Iranian leader said that his country will "definitely" continue its nuclear program despite the global opposition.

Image- Wall Street Journal (2009 image of the current Brazilian and Iranian presidents)
Online Sources- BBC News, AP, Voice of America, The Latin Americanist, Reuters

Argentine MPs pass gay marriage bill

Gay marriage in Argentina has moved one step closer to becoming a nationwide reality.

In a 125-109 vote the Argentine Chamber of Deputies approved bill that would legalize same-sex marriages nationwide. The measure would permit homosexuals not only to marry but also the right to adopt children, a clause that nearly railroaded the bill after twelve hours of debate. One legislator was adamant in his support of the gay marriage proposal over a compromise civil unions proposal:
“The civil unions bill was something in between. It was not the same as marriage, it was further stigmatization, continue saying: they are different, they can do to a point, the remainder is reserved for us.”

“Heterosexuals have to have the wisdom to integrate minorities. It is very unfair to have the power and say, with my power: you cannot, I do not want you to be equal to me,” (Agustin Rossi) added.
The next step for the bill is debate in the Senate though a time and date has yet to be decided.

Argentine Catholic bishops who viewed gay marriage as lacking the “biological and anthropological elements that are proper to marriage and family” criticized the proposal. Nevertheless, the bills promoters including some local LGBT rights groups are hoping that Argentina can become the first South American country to permit same-sex marriages.

Thus far five gay couples have wed in Argentina via special local decrees though their legality has been tested in the courts. On such union was annulled by one judge and subsequently overturned by a different justice.

Image- SBS (Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello were reportedly the first Argentine same-sex couple to marry last year).
Online Sources- Bay area Reporter, On Top Magazine, CNN,, Reuters

Should Radio, TV Marti be scrapped?

At a Congressional hearing yesterday several lawmakers argued that U.S. radio and TV broadcasts to Cuba ought to be cut or removed altogether.

"Radio and TV Marti have failed to make any discernable inroads into Cuban society or to influence the Cuban Government," according to a report by the Democratic majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. John Kerry wrote in the report that the broadcasts have “noble objectives” but that Radio and TV Marti be moved from Miami and folded into the Washington-based Voice of America network. The report added that the move would not only cut costs but also encourage higher “journalistic standards” and cut into alleged malfeasance at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).

The report was assailed by supporters of the Marti broadcasts and has emboldened one of its strongest detractors:
"(…) Kerry and his staff are out to kill the OCB," charged Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-born Florida Republican, in an interview with the Miami Herald. "They have always tried to kill it and they continue to try to kill it," he added. 

But, citing the report's finding's, Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Committee, called on President Barack Obama to eliminate all funding for both operations. 

"This programming is a relic of the Cold War, falls short of journalistic standards and is a prime example of wasteful government spending at a time when we should be reducing the deficit," he said in a letter to Obama.
According to a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report only 2% of Cubans have tuned in to either TV or Radio Marti. Part of the reason for such a small audience is because the Cuban government regularly jams signal from the U.S., said the GAO study.

Image- (2007 image of Radio Marti newscasters)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Washington Post, Broadcasting & Cable, IPS

Today’s Video: "Viva el Cinco de Mayo"

Today is Cinco de Mayo, an occasion to primarily celebrate Mexican heritage though some take advantage of the day for less historical means. Nonetheless, it's vital to note that today is not Mexican Independence Day but is instead the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The following video from Rocketboom explains why the battle was such an important military victory not only for Mexicans but for their neighbors north of the border:

As we mentioned last year, the Battle of Puebla was one of Latin America's most important military confrontations.

Online Sources - YouTube, Time, The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: May 5, 2010

* Latin America: Former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner was elected to head the twelve-nation UNASUR political bloc.

* U.S.: In an unanimous decision the Supreme Court ruled against the family of a Salvadoran-born immigrant who tried to sue government physicians for medical neglect.

* Dominican Republic: Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is expected to finalize a deal today for 49% control of the lone Dominican oil refinery.

* Colombia: Could Canada’s free trade agreement with Colombia serve as an example for legislators in the U.S.?

Image – MercoPress
Online Sources-, Los Angeles Times, Dominican Today, Bloomberg

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Honduran truth commission to examine Zelaya coup

Could a truth commission be a positive step in healing Honduras’ political divisions since last year’s ouster of Manuel Zelaya? This is the hope that the panel’s domestic and international supporters have.

The truth commission was set up by President Porfirio Lobo and has the backing of several world leaders including US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The commissioners have a grave responsibility before them, but theirs is only one small part of the effort needed to heal the Honduran nation,” said Ban earlier today at the group’s inauguration.

Critics of the truth commission have doubts over the group’s effectiveness and point out that the panel’s members are “too loyal to the conservative faction in Honduras.” Hindering the commission’s efforts of political healing will be that the final report will be completed in 2011 and certain information will be kept away from the public for a decade.

Honduras has not had an easy road to recuperating international trust since Zelaya’s outer nearly a year ago:
Honduras was kicked out of the OAS after the coup. Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, who will attend the inauguration of the commission tomorrow, has said Honduras should allow Zelaya’s return from exile. Brazil and Argentina are among Latin America countries that have yet to recognize Lobo because he was elected last in a vote overseen by the coup- installed government.
Image- Guardian UK
Online Sources- BusinessWeek, United Nations, BBC News, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Washington Post

Argentina: More charges against ex-Dirty War strongman

Argentina’s justice system has been sending strong messages to former “Dirty War” officials: you can run but you can’t hide.

Ex-president Jorge Videla will face trial after a federal judge presented him with 49 charges of torture, kidnapping, and murder. Videla is currently serving a life sentence for human rights abuses yet new forensic evidence led to the widening of the case against him.

The new charges issued on Monday are on top of 32 charges of murder and torture of political prisoners as well as a court hearing in September over the illegal kidnappings of 33 babies.

Videla’s court appearances in Mendoza and Buenos Aires will be the first since he was originally convicted in 1985. That sentence had been quashed by a pardon from then-President Carlos Menem yet the Supreme Court last week overturned that decision.

The latest allegations against Videla could lead to him to be tried abroad:
The remains of most of the 40 victims were unearthed by forensic experts last year in Buenos Aires. Among them was Argentina-born German citizen Rolf Stawowiok, who was 20 at the time of his death in 1978…

After the remains were discovered, Germany issued an international arrest warrant for Videla, who is currently serving a life term at an Argentine barracks on multiple charges of human rights violations while at the head of the country's military junta from 1976 to 1981.
The new charges against Videla come weeks after another former “Dirty War” ruler- Gen. Reynaldo Bignone- was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Image- BBC Mundo
Online Sources- BBC News, AP, Sydney Morning Herald, New York Times

LatAm speaks out against Arizona immigration law

Last week we mentioned that the Mexican government expressed their disappointment with Arizona’s new law that requires immigrants to carry documents verifying their status. Mexican president Felipe Calderon described the measure as a gateway to “intolerance, hate, and discrimination” while a travel advisory was issued for Mexicans in Arizona.

Other governments and figures throughout Latin America have also criticized the Arizona decree. The Colombian government warned that "the mutual trust between citizens and authorities should not be damaged by exclusionary measures." The Brazilian Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming that the law violates the “rights of millions of foreigners who peacefully live and work in the United States.” In a declaration issued today by the UNASUR at their summit in Argentina, the bloc emphatically rejected the “criminalizing of immigrants” under the Arizonan law. Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza said that the law has caused a “terrifying affect among the Hispanic population and the rest of the U.S.”

Meanwhile, several Latino celebs have joined the backlash against the controversial measure. Comedian Carlos Mencia blasted the law as a potential “violation of civil rights” while Shakira called the law “unjust” and “inhuman”. Ricky Martin criticized the edict at last week’s Billboard Latin Music Awards and Gloria Estefan was one of the estimated 50,000 marchers at a Los Angeles May Day rally.

The debate over the law even led to a minor Twitter “spat” last week among Canadian rockers:
Montreal indie group Stars turned to Twitter to voice their alarm and threatened to boycott the state. Damian Abraham, the formidable lead singer for the Toronto punk outfit F---ed Up, responded by saying, "Don't get me wrong, I think the AZ immigration bill is horrible and must be repealed but I also think that indie bands boycotting the state is inane."
Image- CBS News (“Marchers for immigrants' and workers' rights pause in front of the Minneapolis Convention Center where the State Republican Party had their convention over the weekend, in Minneapolis Saturday, May 1, 2010.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Colombia Reports, Straits Times, Telam,,, Digital Spy, AP, LAHT, CBC

Today’s Video: Alex Reymundo on madres

I don't mean to sound like a shill but a tipster recently e-mailed me about Latino comedian Alex Reymundo:
Best known as one of the “Original Latin Kings of Comedy” alongside George Lopez, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez and Joey Medina, Reymundo has seen a whirlwind of success in the past few years. Alex Reymundo delivers his second one hour stand-up special before a live audience in the Heartland of America, St. Jo, MO. Rocking the house with his uniquely branded style of comedy (half-Latino, half-Hillbilly and all Hick-Spanic) Reymundo shares his perspective wit from growing up as an immigrant in a large Mexican family in Texas to marrying a blonde-haired, blue-eyed southern belle from Kentucky.
Reymundo's latest special- "Red-nexican" premieres tonight on Showtime. In the meantime (and with Mother's Day coming up) here's Reymundo's take on overprotective mamis:

Online Source- YouTube

Daily Headlines: May 4, 2010

* Latin America: Peru, Colombia, and Chile are three of the fourteen countries that will take part in this summer’s Rim of the Pacific military exercises.

* Cuba: With the help of the local Catholic Church dissident group the Ladies In White were permitted by officials to continue their weekly Sunday protests.

* Bolivia: The government nationalized four electricity firms to go along with the 2006 takeover of the hydrocarbon sector.

* Brazil: The Brazilian Supreme Court voted against modifying a 1979 amnesty law that has protected officials from the country’s previous military dictatorship.

Image – Guardian UK (Soldiers guard the streets of Talcahuano, in southern Chile, after (February’s) earthquake.”)
Online Sources- UPI, New York Times, Guardian UK, MSNBC

Monday, May 3, 2010

World Watch: Fool’s (black) gold

* U.S.: Several Gulf Coast states are preparing for the landfall of a growing oil slick caused by an offshore rig that exploded last week.

* World: Monday’s nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference at the U.N. was marked by harsh words between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

* India: A Pakistani militant accused of collaborating in 2008's deadly attacks in Mumbai was convicted by an Indian tribunal.

* Congo: According to the U.N. the Lord's Resistance Army rebels killed 100 villagers in northern Congo two months ago.

Image – CBS News (“Workers line up orange boom getting it ready to load on boats Sunday, May 2, 2010 on Dauphin Island, Ala.”)
Online Sources- Reuters, BBC News, Voice of America, MSNBC

Castro, cartels, criminals among press “predators”

In commemoration of World Press Freedom Day watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) identified forty global “predators” who are dangers against the media. "These predators of press freedom have the power to censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and, in the worst cases, murder journalists" according to an RSF statement. RSF named to its list of shame leaders such as China's Hu Jintao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as well as criminal organizations like the Italian mafia and Spain’s ETA.

The Americas were not spared of RSF’s anger; Cuban president Raul Castro “has behaved little better than his brother as regards human rights”. Mexican drug gangs were also blacklisted as RSF deemed Mexico as the “most dangerous country for journalists”. Further south, RSF signaled Colombia’s armed groups with threatening the country’s media:
According to RSF, The Black Eagles a paramilitary structure that "continues to spread terror, forcing journalists to self-censorship or exile, when they resort to murder"…

"The death threats directed at journalists, well-known and sometimes at odds with the government of Alvaro Uribe, often bear the signature of the Black Eagles," the group adds.

Regarding the FARC, the organization made the list of "predators" for several reasons including being “behind the abduction of fifty journalists since 1997 and (for making) it practically impossible to work the press in the regions they control. " – [ed. Translated text]
Image- Time (“Monterrey police investigating a 2009 attack on the local offices of Televisa).
Online Sources- AP,, BBC News, Reporters Without Borders, New York Daily News

LatAm states try to boost climate talks

Could Bolivia and Mexico be instrumental in jumpstarting stalled global climate negotiations?

"We need to show the world how serious the threat is," Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared at the opening of a global climate change summit co-hosted with Germany. With Mexico as the site of a U.N.-sponsored conference on the environment in December, Calderon emphasized the need to break distrust between poor and wealthy nations. "A preparatory job before Cancun will be to find a basis of trust for all countries that will be present in Cancun so that no one feels left out," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue that will end tomorrow.

Last month, meanwhile, a “people’s conference” on climate change was held in Bolivia with the participation of over 20,000 people from around the world. Though the summit was overshadowed by Bolivian president Evo Morales’ juvenile remarks on chicken and gays the meeting sought solutions ahead of the aforementioned Mexican conference:
Participants in a conference on climate change are demanding 300 billion US dollars in annual compensation from wealthy countries and transnational companies to deal with the effects of global warming…

They proposed a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020 and the creation of an international climate court to penalize countries that do not reduce their emissions.
Image- Guardian UK (“Hundreds of delegations from different countries participate in the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia.”)
Online Sources- The Press Association,, AP, People’s Daily Online

Nationwide May Day marches urge immigration reform

From coast-to-coast tens of thousands of protesters rallied on Saturday in favor of immigrants’ rights. Marchers urged for federal immigration reform and against measures like the recently signed SB 1070 in Arizona.

At least 50,000 attended the Los Angeles rally while 34 people including Rep. Luis Gutierrez were arrested after sitting in front of the White House in protest. In the Arizonan city of Tucson an estimated 7000 people attended a protest where speakers extolled that the controversial law was discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Several counter protests where also held though their numbers paled in comparison to the multitude of rallies that also condemned federal authorities for being lax on immigration reform.

The backlash against the Arizona immigration law continues to grow and has even affected the world of sports. The World Boxing Council has excluded scheduling Mexican pugilists from fighting in Arizona while there have been protests outside of Arizona Diamondbacks games. Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres said that he would boycott going to the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix should he be selected.

Arizona universities have already felt the effects of the new law according to The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Some out-of-state students have already told the University of Arizona they are not coming because of the law, which asks local and state law-enforcement officers, including the campus police, to ask people whom they suspect are illegal immigrants to provide evidence of legal immigration status.

And although some scholars say the law might not survive constitutional challenges, college officials report that students and faculty and staff members are worried that the state policy will create an atmosphere of fear on campuses, particularly for Hispanic and international students, and may discourage some people from attending college at all.
Image- (“Marcia Molina, of Marietta, holds up a sign making a comparison of some laws cracking down on illegal immigrants to the old Jim Crow segregation laws of the South, during a pro-immigration rally Saturday in Atlanta.”)
Online Sources- Washington Post, Democracy Now, Tucson Weekly, Miami Herald, USA TODAY, New York Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Today’s Video: Fantastic voyage

Before getting to our series of news posts we would be remiss without recognizing that last week was the 63rd anniversary of the Kon-Tiki setting off from the Peruvian coast.

While most scientists at the time believed that Polynesia had been originally settled by migrants from Asia, Thor Heyerdal and his mostly Norwegian crew tried to prove that the first Polynesians came from South America. They traveled on a balsa wood raft akin to those used by pre-Columbian natives and they sailed over 4300 miles on the Pacific Ocean. Despite the length of the trip and enduring difficult conditions the Kon-Tiki crew arrived in Tahiti 101 days after departing from Peru.

Below is the award-winning documentary on the 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage including how Heyerdal's knowledge of artifacts helped him create the hypothesis he would successfully prove:

Online Sources - YouTube, Wikipedia

Daily Headlines: May 3, 2010

* U.S.: Several recent studies have concluded that Latinos suffer from eye disorders such as blindness and cataracts more than other U.S. ethnic groups.

* Brazil: Nearly three weeks after a Brazilian rancher was convicted in the 2006 murder of nun/activist Dorothy Stang a jury sentenced a second rancher to nearly thirty years in jail.

* Puerto Rico: In a sign of the island’s weakened economy federal regulators closed and sold three Puerto Rican banks over the weekend.

* Costa Rica: Star striker Bryan Ruiz’ 24 goals helped FC Twente win the Dutch first division soccer title for the second time in franchise history.

Image –
Online Sources- Los Angeles Times, The Latin Americanist, BBC News, MarketWatch, Guardian UK