Friday, December 31, 2004

Jeb's Success in Florida

Jeb Bush toots his own horn on education and minority enrollment:

In Florida, we don't push unprepared children forward. Nor do we separate them by racial classification. We maintain that the best way to ensure minority participation in higher education is to provide the same opportunities and support to all students and to hold all students to the same standards.

Gangster or Terrorist

Yahoo News has the story of Edgar Morales, a gang member who is being tried for murder under New York's new anti-terrorism law:

Morales faces the most serious charge of second-degree murder as a terrorist act. A New York grand jury returned the charges against him in connection with the shooting death of 10-year-old Melanie Mendez, who died from gunshot wounds two years earlier...

If the charges did not include the terrorism stipulation, he would face a sentence of 25 years to life if found guilty. With the stipulation, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It's hard for me to work up any feelings of sympathy for this character, but I also wonder whether this is what the legislature intended when they enacted the anti-terrorism criminal statute.

Growing Hispanic Influence

From Douglas MacKinnon, erstwhile press secretary to former Senator Bob Dole:

According to a just-released National Annenberg Election Survey, Mr. Bush's vote total among Hispanic males went from 34 percent in 2000 to 46 percent in 2004. His vote total among Hispanic women went from 35 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2004. Every friend that I speak with in the Democratic Party tells me privately that this is the one trend that strikes fear into their hearts. They worry that they are losing the confidence of the most powerful special-interest group in the nation. Worse, they are not sure of the steps needed to win back these heretofore traditionally Democratic voters.

Authoritarianism in Latin America

Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico, offers some insightful commentary on the state of Latin American politics and economics:

A recent UN study on the state of democracy in Latin America found that more than half the citizens of the region would support an authoritarian regime if it could solve their country's economic problems. This worrisome position, reflecting the cultural fragility of democracy in many parts of the Americas, is a consequence of the region's dismal economic results that have en-dured for many years, despite the political and economic reforms that have been undertaken since the late 1980s. In fact, many people subscribe to the idea that those reforms are the very cause of the poor performance of so many Latin American nations.

This belief is dangerous on two counts: It provides fertile ground for the revival of authoritarian governments, which were pervasive throughout the region not so long ago; and it helps resuscitate populist, interventionist and protectionist policies once thought to be totally discredited and defunct in these countries. If a return to the past were to occur, the biggest losers once again would be the large majority of Latin Americans, whose individual freedoms and chances to prosper in their own lands would be severely curtailed.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Two Cheers for Chile

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

Chile has begun a nationwide educational program to ensure that all graduating high school students are fluent in the globe's international language. "We know our lives are linked more than ever to an international presence, and if you can't speak English, you can't sell and you can't learn," Chile's minister of education told the New York Times this week.

Nationalists on the South American continent are already calling the plan an affront to culture. But market-friendly Chile seems to grasp the finer point: Speaking English will make Chile, already a world-class exporter, an even more daunting competitor in world trade. The result will be a richer Chile better able to define and defend Chilean culture. Poverty and isolation are not cultural protection.

Latino Race?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: There is no such thing as a Latino race!! I'm a big believer in the theory that there is a conspiracy "out there" to force people to fit into categories and groups, even when it doesn't make sense. This contributes to "groupthink" and it should be avoided at all costs. We should all be free to label ourselves any which way we want, but we should not let other people try to stuff us is some "group" like a square peg in a round hole.

Fight Over CAFTA

This is one story I will be keeping my eye on next year:

A proposal to bolster U.S. trade with a handful of nations in Central America and the Caribbean will face a tough battle in Congress next year.

The Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, would expand trade with Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The pact is seen as a step toward a broad free trade agreement throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

W Has Passion for Immigration Reform

An editorial in the New York Times is encouraging President Bush to move forward with immigration reform:

The president is in a singularly powerful position to untangle a system that he recognizes as inhumane, inefficient and dangerous to Americans and immigrants alike.

President Bush certainly has political capital, which includes the fact that many Hispanics voted for him this year. And his party also commands Congress, which needs to approve such a plan. Even with all that going for him, change won't come easy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Immigration and Nominations

From the Christian Science Monitor:

First Zoë Baird and Kimba Wood, then Linda Chavez, and now Bernard Kerik. And if these nominees - each so close to running the very agencies charged with regulating immigrants - cannot manage to abide by the rules, what hope is there for the immigrants themselves?

One of the largest impediments to immigration reform is the fact that the only people able to change the law - US citizens - are those least governed by them. Foreigners, on the other hand, can't vote. But now that citizens are confronted with the quadrennial demonstration of just how unsavory the immigration process can be - even for would-be cabinet secretaries - perhaps they might exercise their democratic privilege to sort things out.

War on Immigrants?

From the Miami Herald:

A report by an immigrant rights group accused federal officials of intimidating refugees and undocumented migrants in Florida. Officials denied the allegation.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Whims of a Tyrant

Marcela Sanchez gives us two examples of life under Cuba's dictatorship:

Hilda Molina was one of Cuba's leading brain surgeons when she turned against the Cuban government in 1995, accusing it of trying to make a business of selling fetal brain tissue to foreigners suffering from Parkinson's disease. Molina resigned her seat in parliament and her membership in the Communist Party in protest. For nearly a decade, she has vainly requested permission to visit her son and his family in Argentina, which has no travel restrictions to and from the island.

Gloria Amaya is the mother of Miguel, Ariel and Guido Sigler Amaya, three of the now famous 75 peaceful pro-democracy activists whose arrest and sentencing 20 months ago by the Castro government provoked the ire of the world. The brothers were charged with undermining "the Cuban socio-political project" by running an independent medical facility out of one of their homes. Because they dared treat the poor of a small town in Cuba with drugs manufactured in the United Sates, Fidel Castro keeps them in jail and their families apart...

There has been no lack of international solidarity shown to those like the Molina and Amaya families. And both the hard-line and what is sometimes called soft diplomatic strategies employed by the international community have elicited responses from Castro -- but not the kind that have significantly mitigated the plight of Cuban dissidents.

Republicans Divided on Immigration

From CBS News:

President Bush faces a major rebellion within his own party if he follows through on a promise to push legislation that would offer millions of illegal immigrants a path to U.S. citizenship.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow, has a nice primer on the issue.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Latino Legislators Mad at the Democratic Party

It appears that Hispanic members of Congress are getting tired of the Democratic Party ignoring latinos and taking them for granted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Hombres for Bush

I'm one of these Hispanic men who voted for Bush in the last election:

President Bush made increasing his support among Hispanic voters a leading goal in 2004 and he apparently achieved that aim largely because of gains among Hispanic men, a tracking poll suggests...

The National Annenberg Election Survey found Bush's overall support among Hispanics was 35 percent in 2000, but grew to 41 percent in 2004. Exit polls of voters indicated a similar shift...

The Annenberg study found Bush's support among Hispanic men nationally grew from 34 percent in 2000 to 46 percent this year.

Cuba Is Falling Apart

It is utterly depressing to read about the deplorable condition of the Cuban economy and all the suffering the Cuban people are experiencing because of their idiotic dictator.

With increasing economic problems at home and little prospect of a mellowing relationship with newly reelected President Bush, Castro has been turning to the European Union for help. He would dearly like to tap a $30 billion EU foreign aid fund and get favorable duty-free treatment from Europe for Cuban exports. But there is this problem of disaffection in some European countries with Castro's deplorable human rights record.

This terrible situation is compounded by the fact that U.S. travel restrictions are having the desired effect: less people (and fewer dollars) are traveling from the U.S. to Cuba.

Fortress America?

The BBC reports from the U.S. - Mexico border:

Illegal immigration has become a major problem in much of the developed world. The US believes a million and a half immigrants cross its borders illegally every year. The majority of them do not come through its tightly-controlled airports - they wander in across the long and porous border which separates the US from its southern neighbour, Mexico.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bolivia Disaster

When are poor Latin American countries going to learn that nationalization of entire industries does not work? The Socialists in Bolivia have just proposed taking over the country's natural gas reserves from the private companies that developed the fuel. This is going to drive out all investment from the country, and the poor will be poorer as a result. Arrrgggghhhhh !!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Rafael Peralta & Pablo Paredes

The contrast between these two young men could not be more stark. In my humble opinion, one is a great hero, the other is a yellow-belly coward. What do you think?

Most readers of this column probably haven't heard about Rafael Peralta. With the exception of the Los Angeles Times, most of our mainstream media haven't bothered to write about him. The next time you log onto the Internet, do a Google search on Rafael Peralta. As of this writing, the Internet's most used search engine will provide you with only 26 citations from news sources that have bothered to write about this heroic young man. Then, just for giggles, do a Google search on Pablo Paredes. Hundreds of media outlets have written about him. The wire services have blasted his story to thousands of newspapers. Television and radio debate programs gladly provide the public with talking heads that can speak eloquently on the actions of Pablo Paredes.

Please read the whole article by Oliver North.

The NCLR and the NAACP

Interesting article from the Washington Post about the differences between the National Council of La Raza and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

At year's end, the leaders of the nation's largest African American and Hispanic civil rights organizations will step down on the same day -- a first. But despite the common timing, the transitions highlight differences in the two organizations' outlooks and agendas.

Janet Murguia, the incoming president of NCLR, says that she wants better relations with the White House and will make integration of immigrants a top priority. Those are both good steps in the right direction.

Is Chávez the Next Castro?

Chavez certainly seems to be following in Castro's footsteps:

When staffers at the National Endowment for Democracy opened a letter asking about their programs in Venezuela last year, they never expected their response to trigger the persecution of democratic activists in that troubled country. Yet that's exactly what has happened, as Latin America's most ambitious strongman, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, has joined forces with American leftists to crack down on grassroots organizations that merely seek to promote free elections.

Licenses for Illegals in NY

The Empire State is considering legislation that would grant driver's licenses to legal and illegal immigrants. Commentator Albor Ruiz is all for it.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pinochet and Castro

According to Victor Davis Hanson, the moral outrage of the Left is often misdirected:

So it is also time to take a hard look at the heroes and villains of Hollywood, liberal Democrats, and the Euro elites. Many are as obsessed with damning the senile dictator of Chile as they are with excusing the unelected President for Life Fidel Castro. But let us be frank. A murderous Pinochet probably killed fewer of his own than did a mass-murdering Castro, and left Chile in better shape than contemporary Cuba is in. And the former is long gone, while the latter is still long in power.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Pedro is a Met!

It's a good day to be a Mets fan. Posted by Hello

Fidel Must Be Fuming!

From the Miami Herald:

In an ironic twist to the always tense U.S.-Cuban relations, a granddaughter of one of America's perennial enemies pledged allegiance to the United States at a giant citizenship ceremony in Miami Beach on Wednesday.

Alina ''Mumín'' Salgado, 26, daughter of Alina Fernández, one of Fidel Castro's daughters in exile, was among the 6,000 people who became U.S. citizens at one of two mass naturalization ceremonies at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The Naturalized President Debate

From Knight Ridder Newspapers (via the Columbia Daily Tribune):

Mario Diaz-Balart can be president, but his older brother Lincoln cannot. The U.S. Constitution says so.

That’s because there’s an important difference in where the two Miami congressmen were born: Lincoln Diaz-Balart in Havana, Cuba; his brother in Fort Lauderdale, after the family fled the Castro revolution.

The Constitution bars foreign-born citizens from becoming president, which also rules out two governors of large states: Democrat Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, born in Canada, and Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, a California Republican.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Socialists Hate Free Trade

Latin America's two most socialist nations take one more step toward irrelevancy:

Cuba and Venezuela on Wednesday rejected US efforts to forge a free trade area of the two Americas and endorsed a Chavez alternative plan for Latin American and Caribbean integration.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Lessons for Democrats

From Agencia EFE via

Debate continues over the extent of the role Hispanic voters played in November's election, but Democrats acknowledge they lost ground in that sector and are looking at how to halt the erosion.

The re-election of President George W. Bush, due partly to the Hispanic vote, handed Democrats a lesson on the need to consolidate the support of this growing minority.

Cuban Commies and the ACLU

What does the Fidel Castro regime have in common with the ACLU? They both hate Christmas displays:

Cuba's most senior US diplomat says he has been warned by the government of serious consequences unless he takes down Christmas decorations in Havana.

Boycott for Licenses

This tactic strikes me as ineffective and even counterproductive:

Hispanic activists in California this week launched a campaign of "black Monday" boycotts of gasoline purchases that they vow to continue until the state makes it possible for immigrants without Green Cards to get a driver's license.

The boycotts are aimed particularly at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who refused to sign a bill that would grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Until these advocates can address the security issues associated with issuing licenses to illegal immigrants, they will not find a sympathetic reception to their demands.

Deportation Fight

Read the incredible story of an 11-year old girl who traveled by herself from El Salvador to Durham, North Carolina to find her father. She is now fighting deportation and hoping that she will be allowed to stay in the U.S.

Chávez Packing the Courts

From the Miami Herald:

Any lingering doubts over leftist President Hugo Chávez's stranglehold on the Venezuelan judiciary will disappear today with the swearing-in of 17 Chávez supporters as Supreme Court justices.

They include two congressmen from Chávez's party, a national guard colonel and the president of the National Electoral Council, accused by the opposition of rigging this year's recall referendum in favor of the president.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Cuban Dissidents "Bugged"

From the Miami Herald:

Three Cuban dissidents say they have found tiny listening devices in their homes in the past week, underlining and to some degree embarrassing the communist government's efforts to monitor the affairs of its critics.

The Invasion of the Mexican Nannies

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

As for immigration law, the Bush Administration is headed down the right path with its guest-worker program. That proposal acknowledges that immigrants fill vital jobs, that movement across borders is inevitable as long as there is the lure of opportunity, and that merely adding more border guards won't stop migrants in any case.

The Bush plan would provide a legal means -- a three-year work visa -- for new immigrants to enter the country and take jobs Americans don't want. Some of them could even be nannies. That system would make it easier to track all foreigners, freeing up our homeland security forces to concentrate on terror threats, rather than rounding up the usual nanny suspects.

Perhaps if this system had been in place, Mr. Kerik wouldn't have had to make a choice between, say, a nanny his children loved and a chance to be confirmed to the Cabinet. If it really wants to pass its immigration reform, maybe someone in the Bush Administration will even point this out.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Chile's Private Social Security System

From the AP via Forbes:

Instead of paying social security taxes and wondering whether the government will ever deliver promised retirement benefits, Chilean workers bankroll their own retirements and manage their nest eggs.

In visits to modern customer service offices as common as bank branches in this city of 5.5 million, they move money from one stock and bond fund to another and use ATM-like machines to make sure that monthly salary deductions go into pension savings.

Two decades after Chile's military dictatorship scrapped the country's broken and bankrupt government-run social security system and replaced it with privatization, forced retirement savings by everyone who gets a regular paycheck is a way of life.


James Cason of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, Cuba has done it again. Kudos!

Pinochet Indicted (again)

From the BBC:

The former military ruler was indicted over the disappearance of nine opposition activists and the killing of one of them during his 17-year regime.

The order was issued by Judge Juan Guzman, who has been investigating Gen Pinochet for abuses committed between 1973 and 1990.

The judge also ruled that the general was mentally fit to stand trial.

What To Do About Cuba?

Carlos Alberto Montaner has some suggestions:

It is very important that the pressure against the dictatorship should continue. Even if there were not a single prisoner of conscience, the Cuban political model would be just as censurable because of the total absence of freedoms Cuban society has endured for almost half a century.

Hillary Is Against Immigrants

From the Washington Times:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is staking out a position on illegal immigration that is more conservative than President Bush, a strategy that supporters and detractors alike see as a way for the New York Democrat to shake the "liberal" label and appeal to traditionally Republican states.

Mrs. Clinton — who is tagged as a liberal because of her plan for nationalized health care and various remarks during her husband's presidency — is taking an increasingly vocal and hard-line stance on an issue that ranks among the highest concerns for voters, particularly Republicans.

Chile's Past and Future

From Rafael Gumucio, as it appears in the New York Times:

After 15 years of uncomfortable, incomplete democracy, at last Chile has found the courage to examine and judge the past without lies or revisions.

Race-Blind Admissions

From the Wall Street Journal:

You wouldn't know it from reading the papers. But the U.S. Office of Civil Rights scored an important victory recently when Wisconsin agreed to restructure a scholarship program that discriminates based on race and ethnicity. It's the latest sign of a welcome trend away from racially exclusive programs in higher education.

The Supreme Court's decision last year regarding the University of Michigan's race-conscious admissions policies has hastened the trend, but schools were coming around even before the ruling. Since 2002, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Williams, Indiana University and dozens of others have opened up scholarships, internships and summer programs to all students, regardless of race.


From the USAToday:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Television news coverage of Hispanics was more favorable in 2003 — largely because of reports on the wartime service of Hispanic troops — but America's largest and fastest-growing minority remains mostly ignored, according to an annual study being released Monday.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Abu Ghraib & SOA

This is kind of disturbing:

FOR many Latin American victims of torture, the infamous pictures of abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison brought back not only chilling recollections of their own experiences, but also confirmed what they have long maintained: that their torturers were following interrogation guidelines set by the US Army School of the Americas (SOA).

Bernard Kerik's Nanny Problem

From the Scotsman:

THE former New York City police chief picked by President George W Bush to oversee immigration policy has withdrawn from the job because of questions over the legal status of his nanny-housekeeper...

While assembling paperwork for his Senate confirmation, Kerik said he uncovered questions about the immigration status of a nanny-housekeeper that he employed. As homeland security secretary, Kerik would oversee the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Chávez and Nobel

As improbable as it might seem, it appears that Hugo Chávez wants to be awarded the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. This would be funny if it wasn't so demented, but I wouldn't put it past the Nobel Committee. After all, this is the same group of people that gave the award to Rigoberta Menchú and Yasser Arafat.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Dangerous Chávez

Stephen Johnson warns us about what's happening in Venezuela as the Chavistas continue to consolidate their power and intimidate their opponents:

If Chávez manages to extend his reach beyond Venezuela’s borders, the exodus could become a flood. Economies once poised to deliver prosperity could become basket cases, and U.S. exports to the region might fall as oil prices climb. Fortunately, few Latin leaders seem inclined to follow Chávez.

Hat Tip: A.J.

Justice David M. Medina

Here's another Hispanic Republican jurist to watch. Justice David M. Medina is the newest member of the Texas Supreme Court. His investiture is scheduled for December 16, 2004.

Democrats and Hispanics

From the AP via NY Newsday:

The Democratic Party has neglected Hispanic voters for a decade and risks severe election losses unless it changes course, Hispanic lawmakers wrote party leaders Thursday.

The problem with the Democrats is their ideas, not their neglect of Hispanic voters.

Immigration Reform Is Next

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Come January 2005, both Congress and President Bush are expected to start work on some unfinished business from the intelligence-reform law that was finally approved this week.

Left out of that sweeping measure, which was aimed primarily at consolidating the nation's spy work, were tough steps to block foreign terrorists from entering and operating in the US. Too many holes remain in the nation's immigration policies to keep terrorists out. Mr. Bush promised advocates of such measures that they would get a high priority in the new Congress.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

"Segregation Due to Negligence"

The Wall Street Journal (subscription) has a story on a new report by the Tomas River Policy Institute:

The U.S. Hispanic population is growing fastest in the South, and a report to be released today warns of a looming educational crisis that is breeding a new form of segregation...

"While communities generally acknowledge the economic value of Latino immigration, there has not been appropriate allocation of resources and commitment to immigrant education," the report says, and that lack of commitment is " facto educational segregation in the South."

The study is now available in PDF.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Intelligence Bill

From Voice of America:

A compromise between the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington has cleared the way for passage of a sweeping intelligence reform bill. As part of the compromise, controversial sections to restrict illegal aliens from obtaining driver's licenses were dropped. But the debate over this issues is likely to continue.

Interestingly, Human Events Online somehow got a hold of a letter from the President to the Congressional Conferees promising to take up the immigrant license issue early in the next Congress.

Hispanic Voters and Conservatives

Richard Nadler offers an excellent and thorough analysis of the Hispanic vote in the last election before reaching this conclusion:

The complaint conservatives lodge against open immigration is that it fosters the balkanization of our nation, creating enclaves of “hyphenated Americans” ideologically isolated from our values, but parasitically attached to our pocketbooks. But whether our borders are thrown wide open or slammed tightly shut, it is hard to see how conservatives, by ignoring 7.5 million Hispanic voters, will make them less balkanized, or less liberal.

Immigrants' Kids Prefer English

From the New York Times:

English remains the language of choice among the children and grandchildren of Hispanic immigrants, despite continuing waves of migration from Latin America and concerns from some analysts that English may lose ground to Spanish in some parts of the United States, a new analysis of census data shows.

The study, conducted by researchers at the State University of New York at Albany, is the latest foray in a fierce debate about whether the stream of immigration from Latin America will challenge traditional assimilation patterns charted by the descendants of European migrants...

Richard Alba, director of the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at SUNY-Albany, says the study suggests that many people have underestimated the pressures of assimilation, which continue to drive immigrants and their descendants toward English as they seek success in the American mainstream.

Interestingly, according to the article, Professor Samuel Huntington agrees with the findings (sort of).

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ken Salazar Is No Poster Child

Ken Salazar, the newly-elected Senator from Colorado, has no interest in becoming the Democrats' spokesperson for Hispanic issues. I can't say that I blame him for not wanting to be pigeon-holed like that.

Hispanics for School Choice

HispanicPundit has a link to the website for the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (CREO). The organization is working on school choice for Hispanic children. Thanks to HispanicPundit for alerting us all to this organization. I've joined, and I hope everyone reading this post will consider doing the same.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Highly Qualified Hispanics

Ruben Navarrete:

I don't know why the people who run Fortune 500 companies, police departments, school districts, universities, newspapers and other American institutions keep insisting they can't find high-caliber Hispanics to fill high-profile positions.

President Bush sure seems to have a knack for it.

Jimmy Carter and Venezuela

Mary Anastasia O'Grady has another great piece on the Venezuela election and Jimmy Carter's role in legitimazing a fraudulent electoral process. This piece first appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Friday (subscription only).

Romina Ruiz

The Miami Herald has a story about Romina Ruiz and her documentary, Not Forgotten -- Through the Eyes of a Daughter, a film chronicling the stories of political prisoners in Cuba.

Re-appoint Miguel Estrada

I agree wholeheartedly with Jennifer Braceras: President Bush should not hesitate to re-nominate Miguel Estrada even if he has no prior judicial experience:

My first choice, however, remains Washington lawyer Miguel Estrada. The Honduran immigrant and former assistant solicitor general is widely viewed as one of America’s finest legal minds. Although Senate Democrats filibustered Estrada’s nomination to the D.C. circuit last year, this should not preclude Bush from appointing Estrada directly to the high court. The Dems got away with their discriminatory mistreatment of Estrada when they could keep their actions off the radar screens of most Americans. With all of America watching, and a smaller margin in the Senate, the Dems wouldn’t have the cojones to “Bork” the first Latino nominee to the Supreme Court.

Hispanics, Education & the GOP

From Gary Andres, writing for the National Review Online:

Hispanic voters, like other Americans, care deeply about family values, jobs, the economy, and fighting the war on terrorism. Yet survey data also demonstrates that Latino voters are disproportionately concerned about one issue above others: education.

House Education and Workforce chairman John Boehner of Ohio told me last week that he believes the Republican message resonated particularly well with Hispanics this election cycle. “Education is definitely a big part of that mix,” says Boehner.

The Pew study reinforces Boehner’s beliefs: “Hispanic registered voters are far more concerned about education than the general public, ranking it as their number one issue.”

So it should come as no surprise that greater Republican emphasis on education over the past four years has paid electoral dividends. President Bush’s leadership on the No Child Left Behind Act signaled to Hispanics that Republicans could not only talk a good game about education, but also deliver results that improved accountability, standards, and outcomes.

U.S. - Mexico Immigration Accord

Read Enrique Andrade Gonzalez on the immigration proposal before the U.S. Congress.

Hispanics and Race

From the Seattle Times:

In the United States, Latinos are an ethnic group made up of people of different races, often mixed, and from a variety of ancestral homelands. In the 2000 Census, they mainly selected two racial categories to describe themselves. Forty-eight percent identified themselves as white, and 42 percent chose "some other race."

The report referenced in the Seattle Times article is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website in PDF.

Smaller Families

From the New York Times:

Latina women are choosing to have smaller families, in some cases resisting the social pressures that shaped the Hispanic tradition of big families.

CAFTA Update

The sugar and textile industries are joining Democrats in trying to block passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Catholic Teaching on Immigration

The Acton Institute has an essay on Catholic social teaching on immigration:

Andrew Yuengert combines Catholic social teaching and economic analysis to examine the future of immigration policy. Catholic social teaching brings the seldom-used concept of “rights” to the policy conversation. This rights language immediately transforms the debate. Instead of evaluating immigration policy solely from the point of view of the host country, the situation of the immigrant is placed at the fore.

The right to migrate, according to Yuengert, has three component supports: the right of family to sustenance; the priority of the family over the state; and the right of economic initiative. Taken together, these lead us to a view of immigrants as creative persons with inherent dignity, rather than social burdens and economic drains.

The essay is also available in PDF.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Prop 200 On Hold

From CNS News:

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has filed suit in federal district court in Tucson, Ariz., and Judge David Bury has granted a temporary restraining order that keeps Gov. Janet Napolitano from signing Proposition 200 into law until after it passes constitutional muster...

On Nov. 2, nearly six in 10 Arizona voters said yes to Proposition 200. The measure would deny all public benefits to anyone who cannot prove legal residency and would force state workers to report any applicants who they feel may be here illegally.

Playing for Keeps

From CNN:

Election gains among Hispanic voters and two high-profile Cabinet appointments make it clear President Bush and the Republicans are playing for keeps with the nation's fastest growing minority group.

The long-term implications of the GOP's efforts to court Hispanics are significant for both major political parties, analysts and partisan strategists say, given that the Latin American immigrant community has become a powerful swing voting group.

If the Republican Party keep trying, they might actually get a greater percentage of the Hispanic vote the next time around:

Instant analysis of exit polls after the election suggested that Bush boosted his performance among Hispanics from 35 percent in 2000 to 44 or 45 percent this year. Political strategists seized on the figure as evidence of a political earthquake among the fastest-growing U.S. community.

That figure was based largely on exit-poll data collected for a consortium of TV networks. Now, one of the organizations sponsoring the poll has revised the figure down to 40 percent.

Laury Gordon Estrada

I just learned that Laury Gordon Estrada, the wife of Miguel Estrada passed away on November 28th. This must a shock to the family; she was only 48 years old.

Bad News from Bolivia

From the Financial Times of London:

The hardline leftwing party led by Latin America's most prominent indigenous leader is set to emerge as the biggest victor in Bolivia's municipal elections on Sunday chiefly because its discredited traditional rivals will see their support sink to new lows.

The CIA and Venezuela

From the USA Today:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency knew dissident military officers were planning a coup in 2002 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to purported U.S. intelligence documents posted on the Internet.

Citing the documents, Chavez lashed out at U.S. officials on Thursday, saying they knew a coup was brewing but failed to tip off Venezuela's government.

Personally, I'm a little disappointed that the CIA didn't do more to help the opposition.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Chile's Progress

Ricardo Lagos, the president of Chile, is very proud of the progress his country has made toward Democracy, freedom and respect for human rights. He has every right to be proud, but he also sounds a warning:

In Chile, we have understood that if we want never to repeat a dark chapter of our history, we must never again deny it.

Gutierrez and Cuba

According to the Las Vegas Sun:

As commerce secretary, Cuban-born Carlos Gutierrez would be expected to support President Bush's policies of blocking most trade with Fidel Castro's communist government.

Yet while Gutierrez was chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., the nation's largest cereal maker explored the possibility of doing business with Cuba, participating in a trade show in Havana in 2002.

It would be nice if our new Secretary of Commerce could convince the Bush Administration to abandon its misguided Cuba embargo policy. I'm not holding my breath. The same article cited above goes on to say that Gutierrez supports the embargo and anti-Castro legislators support Gutierrez.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


In some circles, President Bush is being accused of Hispandering, or pandering the Hispanics, because he is nominating Latinos to prominent positions in his administration. These critics fail to consider that these nominees are as good, if not better, than anyone else for the job.