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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Marketing to Hispanics

Advertisers and retailers are struggling to figure out the Hispanic market and how to tap into the growing purchasing power of Latino consumers.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Robert Vasquez

From the International Herald Tribune:

To hear people who call in to Idaho's leading conservative talk radio station, Robert Vasquez is a hero: one of the few politicians to tell it straight.

Vasquez, 55, a Republican county commissioner and Mexican-American in a part of the country where Hispanics are ascendant, has been on a crusade against illegal immigration - what he calls "an imminent invasion" from south of the border.

Bilingual Bloomberg

The New York Post is giving some grief to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for kicking off his re-election campaign with ads in the Spanish-language media:

There's nothing wrong with having a multilingual campaign. There's a political tradition of crafting campaigns catering to New York's many ethnic and racial varieties.

But the mayor should set an example of at least launching his campaign in what is still the primary tongue.

The overall goal is for immigrants to learn English, as that's the best way for them to become fully educated, assimilated and ultimately successful within the society.

Instead, city leaders are sending very different signals.

According to New York Newsday, Bloomberg is not the only one trying to appeal to the Hispanic community:

The competition for New York's Latino voters is so fierce among Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the four Democrats vying to unseat him that most of the candidates are stammering to speak Spanish on the campaign trail, even though some had never spoken a word of it before. Only one grew up with the language.

The Power of the Latino Vote

Albor Ruiz:

The power of Latinos in the ballot box has become evident. While there was not one single Hispanic in the Senate before the last election, today there are two: Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Mel Martínez (R-Fla.).

Another fact pointed out by the Census Bureau data is the important role naturalized Latino citizens - who usually have higher turnout rates than native-born Latinos - play in the overall Latino electorate.

According to census figures, 28% of Latino voters in the 2004 election, were naturalized citizens. And 87% of them voted compared with 80% of native-born Latino voters.

Also an analysis of the youth vote (18- to 24-year-olds) indicated that nearly one out of 10 youth voters were Latino (9%), while Latinos comprised only 6% of the overall total vote.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Gonzales: Converting Hispanics to the GOP

From the Chicago Tribune:

It's no secret that Alberto Gonzales' appointment as attorney general was a watershed moment for American Hispanics--and for a yearslong effort to woo more Latino voters to the Republican Party.

Though the political strategy is long-term, Gonzales has moved swiftly and energetically, more like a political candidate in a campaign than a Cabinet member, to reach out to kindred ethnic audiences and showcase his status as the first Latino U.S. attorney general.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hispanics in Construction

The Washington Post has an interesting and compelling story about Hispanic immigrants working construction in D.C.

Minority Judges

Rich Lowry of National Review:

White guys who are as or more conservative than [Priscilla] Owen have been confirmed as appellate judges, while her nomination has languished for four years. So it goes in the judicial wars. A woman. A black. A Catholic. A Hispanic. It sounds like the beginning of a bad ethnic joke, but it's the lineup of the Democrats' top filibuster victims.

If the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were reviewing the Democrats' filibuster choices, it would have grounds for a disparate-impact lawsuit. The over-representation of minorities and women — especially if you put aside nominees from Michigan who have been targeted in a spat dating back to the Clinton years — is not a coincidence. Democrats fear that a non-Protestant, nonwhite non-male might be easier for President Bush to elevate to the Supreme Court from a federal appeals court, so they want to keep nominees with the "wrong" demographics from getting on an appeals court in the first place. Consider Miguel Estrada, or as some Democrats think of him, "the dangerous Latino."

A Democratic Senate aide wrote in 2001 that liberal groups were especially keen to block Estrada. They consider him, the aide wrote, "especially dangerous because he had a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment." Peter Beinart, editor of the liberal New Republic, agreed that it was important to block the "Honduran immigrant" for the same reason. Estrada withdrew his nomination in 2003.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Manzanas

From Wired News:

Apple this week is expected to start selling its first Spanish iMac in the United States, marking the first time the company has offered a pre-configured, non-English version of its computers in the great melting pot.

Previously, Apple sold only English language computers in the U.S. or special language kits at extra cost, but "customer demand" has led the company to offer the popular iMac pre-loaded with a Spanish version of the Mac operating system, the company said.

The Truth About Fidel and Ché

Kathryn Jean Lopez:

Hollywood's affection for Fidel makes him as chic as a Ché Guevara T-shirt (a hot item with the U.S. college set). Ché, by the way, despite his current Motorcycle Diaries stud-icon status, was Castro's executioner in the younger days of the Castro regime — a thug who would do the despot's dirty work.

But don't try to sell that harmless-old-revolutionary spin to a Cuban. Fidel Castro is no cuddly papa to those who know his brutality all too well. A recent Freedom House tally declared Cuba's government as one of the most repressive on the planet.

Meanwhile, back in Cuba (WSJ Subscription):

History was made in Cuba last Friday as scores of dissidents from all over the country met in Havana to further their work for a democratic Cuba. At one point the 150 delegates to the democracy assembly chanted "freedom," knowing full well how Fidel Castro, aka El Maximo Lider, usually responds to critics.

The assembly was only the most recent example of the growing cry among Cubans for their own Velvet Revolution. Only 10 days ago, in the province of Holguín, Cuban human-rights activists reported that the locals came to the aid of dissidents being beaten by police. "The town of Antilla poured out by the hundreds in protest to the abuse and they took us to the hospital," according to one of the victims cited by the well- connected Cuban exile group Directorio. One witness reported that the protesters outnumbered the Castro loyalists.

Hispanics and Santorum

Santo Santorum:

I talked to Santorum several times over the course of a month in Washington, and I also traveled with him one day to Allentown, a struggling, midsize city about an hour north of Philadelphia. The core of the city has become largely Hispanic, mainly Puerto Rican. The people he encountered spoke to him, at times, as if he were a visiting holy man. "You're a man of Christian principles and values, and our people will embrace you because your values are our values," Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, a Republican and community activist, told him as they rode in a car between events. Santorum just sort of nodded and smiled...

The main event in Allentown was on a Monday morning at the Church of God, a congregation of Hispanic Pentecostals. It was not a big gathering, just a couple of dozen people. Santorum spoke in front of the pulpit, with a stained-glass window and a portrait of Jesus behind him. He seemed to want to talk about economic development and President Bush's plan to partly privatize Social Security, which he enthusiastically supports, but many of the questions were on social issues...

At the Church of God that day, I met Sandra Vazquez-Zawistowski, a 41-year-old mother of two and the secretary of the local Latino Republican Committee. I asked about the party affiliation of the Hispanic voters in her area, and she replied, in a tone of serene confidence, that most of them were not currently Republicans -- but they would be just as soon as they received the correct information. "They tend to vote for Democrats, but we're explaining to them that they are actually Republicans," she said. "They are pro-life, pro-marriage between a man and a woman, which is what Republicans believe, so eventually they will vote that way."

"Big Sugar" Against CAFTA

From Pete DuPont, writing for OpinionJournal:

The American sugar industry is so strongly advantaged by quotas, tariffs and subsidies that total sugar imports have declined by about a third since the 1990s. Cafta would allow additional sugar imports from the Central American nations totaling 107,000 metric tons in the first year. Annual U.S. sugar production is about 7.8 million metric tons, so the effect of Cafta is to raise sugar imports into America by about one day's sugar production, or as Mr. Portman puts it, "approximately one teaspoon of sugar per week per adult American."

That threat--a teaspoon of sugar a week--has caused the U.S. sugar lobby to focus its efforts on killing Cafta. And it may succeed. The U.S. government agreed not to free up the sugar market in the 2004 trade pact with Australia.

American sugar producers claim they are not against free trade. But only trade agreements approved by the World Trade Organization are acceptable to them; any trade agreements reached between America and other nations evidently are not.

American sugar imports would depress sugar prices, they say. Well, American sugar prices today are about three times the world market's, so some price reduction would be good for Americans, just as lower gasoline prices would be.

Robert Zoellick, the U.S. Trade Representative strikes the right note:

While CAFTA is the right thing to do for democracy, it is also the smart thing to do for U.S. security. We do not live in isolation from what happens in Central America. Criminal gangs, trafficking in drugs, even trafficking in persons, create dangerous transnational networks. When there is instability and poverty in our neighborhood, it is common sense to help our neighbors address those problems at home rather than import them into our own country.

If CAFTA is voted down, the region's poor will not improve their lot; instead, a door to upward mobility will be slammed shut. If CAFTA is defeated, it will not be replaced by some mythical "perfect" agreement that incorporates every opponent's wish list; rather, Central Americans will be at a permanent disadvantage. If CAFTA stumbles, labor rights in Central America will not be strengthened; instead, competition for work will be more desperate, worsening conditions for unions and workers.

Al-Qaeda in Central America

Yahoo! News:

Central American countries went on alert on Tuesday for two al Qaeda suspects, including a Kenyan on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list, who were said to be in the region.

Ay Que Noche!

It's about time:

At Univision’s upfront TV presentation to more than 1,100 agency and client executives last week, network executives announced a late-night talk show starting this fall called Ay Que Noche! The hour-long program, which sounds like it’s aiming to be a cross between The Late Show With David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, will air at midnight. Univision executives said they are conducting an international talent search now for a host.

Growth and Poverty in Latin America

From the New York Times:

Last year should have been a good one for Latin America's poor; the region's economies grew by 5.8 percent. Yet outside Chile, Latin America's high growth rate is not cause for rejoicing. In places with relatively egalitarian income distribution, growth helps everyone. But in unequal countries, where the poor get only a few cents out of every new dollar, growth bypasses the poorest. Latin America is the world's most unequal region. That means growth will not reduce poverty unless Latin American governments redirect it to the poor.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

HACER Website

As usual, the HACER website is full of great articles. Please go and check them out.

The Hard Labor Problem

A history lesson in hard labor and some commentary on President Fox's comments from Lee Harris:

Successful societies produce people who begin to despise hard labor as beneath their dignity. Yet since this kind of work has to be done in any society, such societies must figure out where to tap into a supply of laborers of an inferior social status, who were still willing to do such work. In all societies up until quite recently, these laborers either came from an established class of peons, whose lower status was rigidly enforced by law or custom, as in Russian serfdom or else they were imported from other lands, and were called either indentured servants or slaves.

Today we are drawing these people from across our borders. They come here quite freely, and not on slave transports. All of us reap the advantages of their cheap labor and their hard work, but many of us want to pretend that, somehow, they are not necessary to us and that we can get along without them. Our educated class has deluded itself into thinking that the problem of hard labor no longer exists, simply because they and their children don't have to do it anymore. But someone does, and always will. What President Fox was trying to tell us, in his awkward way, was that those who argue that we can get along without illegal immigrants are living in a fantasy world, and that the sooner they wake up, the sooner Americans can begin working out a realistic solution to a problem that faces both our nations.

CAFTA Politics

Dick Morris:

With 2 million people who were born in Central America now living in the United States, the Democrats oppose CAFTA at their peril. These voters will not take kindly to nativist sentiment in the party that says it offers them opportunity and compassion.

Hispanic voters are much less concerned about immigration issues than about free-trade questions. Once they are here and have become citizens and voters, the opening of borders is a far-away issue at best. But likely each of these voters has family still living in Central America. The more than $10 billion sent home by Mexicans and Central Americans living here attests to their concern for the folks back home. If the Democratic Party wants to have an all-out battle with the Republicans over compassion for Central America, it would be a serious mistake.

NAACP Invites Fox to Speak

I would be shocked if the invitation is accepted:

Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors, has invited Mexican President Vicente Fox to address the annual NAACP Convention, which meets from July 10-14 in Milwaukee’s Midwest Airlines Center.

In a letter to President Fox, Bond said: “Your recent comments about Mexican migrants doing work that ‘not even blacks want to do’ have understandably caused great concern among our members, and indeed among all who believe in equal rights. Our convention offers you a unique opportunity to explain your comments and detail your efforts at erasing racial enmity to the largest collection of civil rights activists in the United States.”

In Love with Fuel

From the Christian Science Monitor:

They're falling for it. Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia - South America's three hydrocarbon gusher states - are placing high hopes for prosperity on petroleum wealth. That's risky enough in itself without them also moving toward more state control of oil and gas.

U.S. Treatment of China and Cuba

Father Robert Sirico:

The hypocrisy in treating Cuba and China differently should be apparent. People on the left have argued against trade with China, while saying that trade with Cuba is a moral necessity. Those on the right contend that trade with China is crucial to improving human rights there, yet they refuse to contemplate the loosening of sanctions against Cuba. Any linkage of morality and economics requires a consistent application of the principle that trade and human rights reinforce each other. Sanctions are not only economically damaging, they are also politically counterproductive and morally dubious.

Nuclear Venezuela

This is a little bit scary:

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said he is interested in nuclear energy for his country and would like to partner with Iran on nuclear projects.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Bush & Latin America

From the Washington Times:

The Bush administration's recent interest in Latin America may be too little, too late. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a five-day trip to Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia, and Chile in late April; and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld addressed the Council of the Americas in Washington on May 3. "Today the countries of the region are working together in a very constructive way," Mr. Rumsfeld said, claiming. "They're leaning forward in support of democracy."

Unfortunately, the region is dominated by left-wing governments elected on anti-U.S. platforms, a development that cannot be considered constructive.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Música Chain

LatinoPundit has invited me to participate in a chain letter and here are my responses:

The Last CD I Bought Was: Keane's "Hopes and Fears" (I do like the sound of that band)

Song Playing Right Now: "Miracle Drug" by U2 (I saw them play in Philadelphia last week, and I'm still trying to re-live the experience because it was absolutely awesome).

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me: Los Lobos - "Volver, Volver, Volver" (live); Keane - "A Place That Only We Know" (Great song); U2 - "Until the End of the World" (love all the religious imagery); Rubén Gonzalez - "Chanchullo" (Don Rubén's story is truly inspiring); Smashing Pumpkins - "1979" (the perfect song).

Five of you will get an e-mail from me asking that you put in your two cents.

Latino Power Surge

The surging power of Hispanics in politics is the cover story of Newsweek magazine:

With turnout increasing from about 6 million in 2000 to an estimated 8 million last year, the Hispanic vote has become the El Dorado of American elections. To remain viable as a party, Democrats need to win Latinos back. At stake is nothing less than control of the presidency and Congress. If the GOP maintains its current share of the Latino vote, says Simon Rosenberg of the New Democrat Network, "then the Democrats will never be the majority party again in our lifetimes."

Immigration Legislation in Arizona

From the New York Times:

Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed two proposals on immigration on Friday, rejecting bills that would have prohibited illegal immigrants from receiving child care assistance and given the police the power to enforce federal immigration laws.

Illegals Arrested

From the Washington Post:

The Department of Homeland Security yesterday arrested 60 illegal immigrants who worked at 12 critical infrastructure sites in six states, including seven petrochemical refineries, three electric power plants and a pipeline facility.

There is no evidence that any of the workers -- who come from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala -- have any terrorist ties, said officials with the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

But officials said there is reason to be concerned about their presence at those sites nonetheless.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Democracy Summit in Havana

From the Miami Herald:

The world will witness a momentous event today in Cuba, if all goes as planned. More than 300 representatives of opposition groups plan to meet on the outskirts of Havana. Appropriately, this bold summit starts on Cuba's Independence Day. The goal is to create a plan to spread democracy and civic action. Ultimately, the dissidents are fighting to liberate Cuba's people from fear and tyranny. European and Latin American governments should show solidarity with their cause.

Organized by the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, the group's methods are peaceful: open dialogue, exchange of ideas, support from abroad. They have defied the Cuban government's spies, intimidation, harassment and threats. These grass-roots dissidents are the island's true freedom fighters -- particularly prime leaders Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, René Gómez Manzano and Félix Bonne Carcassés. All have overcome their fear of reprisal. They have exposed the lie that Cuba is a socialist paradise.

Artificial Sweetener

Marcela Sanchez:

The United States has long protected its sugar industry from low global prices with a combination of loans and quotas, making U.S. sugar prices as much as three times higher than the world average. Talk about an artificial sweetener...

Meanwhile, sugar growers in the developing world continue to struggle unprotected in a distorted marketplace. For them, free trade agreements -- even one as limited as DR-CAFTA -- are as close as it gets to a real opportunity to prove their competitiveness with U.S. producers. To their credit, most of those producers from can say that they are competitive without the help of any government subsidies...

So, the world watches whether the United States will reward democratic reforms, stay engaged and become a better free-trader. But it is also watching both the Bush administration and Congress to see if they can dismantle price supports and claim their independence from oligarchs who ply the Caribbean with yachts paid for by hard-working consumers.

Ferrer Looks West for Lessons

From the New York Times:

Seizing on Antonio Villaraigosa's election as mayor of Los Angeles, Fernando Ferrer, who is seeking the mayor's office in New York, hailed the victory of his fellow Hispanic as "a testament to his effort to build a broad-based coalition" that will "bring people together" in that multiethnic city.

If Mr. Ferrer is to be elected New York City's first Hispanic mayor, one thing he cannot afford to do is lose ground with Hispanic voters. And although it is still early in the race, political strategists and his opponents believe he may be vulnerable among the Latinos he is counting on to build a multiethnic coalition.

New York's Hispanic population was once dominated by Puerto Ricans like Mr. Ferrer, but it is increasing in diversity, and the other mayoral candidates are moving to chip away at his Latin base.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Courage to Compete

Andres Mejia-Vergnaud:

The view that Latin Americans are essentially victims of the rich, and that the way for us to "liberate" is to unite and create "alternative blocs" is not new, and it's not exclusive of Latin Americans. It was tried before during the years of the Non-Aligned Movement. Arabs and Africans tried it through their Pan-Arab and Pan-African movements. That idea is the basis of the foreign-aid and debt-relief movements.

Let's just stop and think, what have we gained after all these years of thinking we're inferior? Nothing. We remain basically poor. Some countries have even become more impoverished. Some would say the gain comes in the form of dignity, but I see no dignity in keeping millions of people in poverty for the sake of third-worldism...

It's time for Latin Americans to embrace courage: the courage to compete as equals in the global markets. Calls to create "alternative blocs" are nothing but an invitation to fear and a sophisticated version of an unjustified inferiority complex.

We, Latin Americans, should not be afraid to trade. We should not be afraid to be part of a system which, imperfect as any human design has to be, has the power to open global markets to our products. Released from benevolent government coercion, Latin Americans would be free to display their immense creative and productive energies. But Latin America's populist leaders seem to believe that Latin Americans do not have any creative powers, therefore they must be protected from the openness of trade.

Please read the whole article. Its message needs to be heard by as many people as possible.

Villaraigosa's Hispanic Support

From AP via the Guardian UK:

Villaraigosa captured 84 percent of the Hispanic vote and, perhaps energized by his candidacy, Hispanic turnout reached a record 25 percent, according to a Los Angeles Times exit poll published Thursday. When Villaraigosa ran four years ago the Hispanic turnout was 22 percent.

Life on the Arizona Border

Tucson reporter Leo W. Banks describes what it's like for residents of Arizona along the Mexican border:

These border residents are routinely snickered at and called racist vigilantes. But most are decent folks caught up in the daily invasion of illegals who tramp across their land. Ranchers in hard-hit areas spend the first hours of every day repairing damage done the night before. They find fences knocked down and water spigots left on, draining thousands of precious gallons. And then there's the trash: pill bottles, syringes, used needles, and pile after pile of human feces.

Sometimes illegals hammer on residents' windows in the middle of the night, demanding to use the phone. Some even walk right into the ranch house and refuse to leave until the rancher pulls a gun and forces the issue. One rancher told me about illegals who rustled one of her newborn calves. The intruders beat the 12-hour-old animal to death with a fence post, then barbecued it on the spot.

How bad is it? In the Tucson Sector alone in January 2005, the Border Patrol arrested 35,704 people, seized 34,864 pounds of marijuana, and impounded 557 smuggling vehicles. In one month. High-speed chases and accidents on our back-roads are now common. Residents know to stay off certain roads at night because the smugglers--of people and drugs--own them, and if you're not careful they'll come around a bend at 100 mph and run you into a ditch or worse.

In some hilltop spots near Douglas, you can unfold a lawn chair, crack open a Schlitz and watch the invasion happen. As dusk falls, they come, hundreds of headlights from Mexican cabs streaming north, each filled to the windows with soon-to-be illegals. Are they good folks? Are they carrying biological agents? We have no idea. They could be the worst terrorists and thugs. If that sounds alarmist, consider that some ranchers have found Muslim prayer rugs and Arabic dictionaries on their property. And the feds confirm that the ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha street gang is using Arizona as a gateway into this country.

Venezuelan Oil Troubles

Why is oil production in Venezuela doing so poorly?

The main reasons have been the replacement of capable engineers and workers who disagreed with Chavez's revolutionary views, with inexperienced, and in many cases incapable replacements, and the lack of attention to infrastructure maintenance and improvement.

The result of the bad management and neglect, has been the steady erosion and near incapacitation of a major oil-producing region of Venezuela, the Western portion of the country, where as many as 10,000 wells have been estimated to have been rendered mostly useless. Venezuela is nominally the world's fifth largest oil producer.

Adrian Hits Central America

From CNN:

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said that Tropical Storm Adrian's center could strike near the Guatemala-El Salvador border on Thursday, bringing torrential rains to an area where past flooding has often been devastating.

"Anchor Babies"

What are anchor babies?

The moniker refers to the children of pregnant illegal immigrants who enter the United States at some point before their due date. Since their children are delivered on U.S. soil, the children immediately become U.S. citizens and "anchor" the mother (and later, the rest of her family) as future legal U.S. citizens as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Racial Quotas and the LAPD

Jan Golab of the American Enterprise Magazine:

The LAPD was once known as "the world's greatest police department," due largely to its stringent character screening. Back in the era of Sergeant Joe Friday, LAPD candidates were checked out as thoroughly as homicide suspects. Even a casual relationship with any known criminal excluded a candidate from being considered as a police officer.

All that is now history. In a bid to appease racial activists and meet federal decrees, strict screening and testing measures were dismantled. New black and Hispanic officer candidates were hustled into the ranks at any cost. What former deputy chief Steve Downing called "a quagmire of quota systems" was set up, and "standards were lowered and merit took a back seat to the new political imperatives."

It was back in 1981 that the LAPD first entered into a federal consent decree that instituted quotas for female and minority hiring. To meet these demands, the standards for physical capability, intellectual capacity, and personal character were lowered. The result was that many incapable or mediocre recruits--even significant numbers with criminal links or gang associations--were accepted into the department.

El Alcalde de Nueva York

Michael Bloomberg does not want New York to be the second major city in the U.S. with a Hispanic mayor:

In an unusually early start for a New York mayoral campaign, the first batch of television ads showed the mayor using his newly learned Spanish to appeal to Hispanic voters, a traditional base of Fernando Ferrer, the Democrat whom Bloomberg campaign aides expect the mayor to face in the fall. Mr. Ferrer is of Puerto Rican descent.

Celia Cruz Exhibit

¡Azúcar!

This exhibit traces the exuberant singer's career from her humble roots in Cuba to her status as the world's "Queen of Salsa." On display are photos, videos, personal documents and nine flamboyant costumes. Sunday, salsa lessons and performances will also be on tap.

• National Museum of American History. Through Oct. 30. (202) 633-1000.

The Smithsonian really knows how to do things right. What a great website!

Villaraigosa Elected

From AP:

Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa trounced Mayor James Hahn to become the city's first Hispanic mayor in more than a century as voters turned to the promise of change in a metropolis troubled by gridlock, gangs and failing schools.

Tuesday's election confirms the rising political power of Latinos in the nation's second-largest city.

Posada Carriles Arrested

From Reuters:

U.S. authorities on Tuesday arrested a Cuban exile who slipped into the country in March and is wanted by Venezuela over the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people nearly 30 years ago.

Luis Posada Carriles, 77, a former CIA collaborator and anti-communist activist who has sought political asylum in the United States, was arrested in Miami just hours after he emerged from hiding to give a series of media interviews.

Meanwhile Fidel is protesting in Havana:

The Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, in a move seen as a sign of fear and weakness, staged a massive protest in Havana yesterday, denouncing President Bush's "hypocrisy" on terrorism and calling for the arrest of Cuban exile and Castro opponent Luis Posada Carriles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hollywood's Favorite Dictator

Humberto Fontova in an interview with FrontPage Magazine:

Castro's gulag held more political prisoners, as a percentage of population, than pre-war Hitler's and --yes--even Stalin's. Also, the longest serving political prisoners OF THE CENTURY spent their hell in Castro's Gulag. Senores Mario Chanes de Armas, Angel de Fana and Eusebio Penalver all served thirty years in Castro's dungeons. To put this in proper perspective, Alexander Solzhenitsyn served 8 years in Stalin's Gulag. So here's men who served over THREE times as long-- and who's heard of them? They all live in Miami today. So where's the PBS documentary on them? Where's the 60 Minutes interview with them? Where were the rallies (outside of Miami's little Havana) for their release? Where were the U.N declarations for their release? (Instead their jailer's regime is appointed to the UN's Human Rights Commission!)

Where was the caterwauling by Democrats and Hollywood types? Well, these men, and many others like them, are showcased in my book as the heroes they are. Penalver is the longest serving black political prisoner OF THE CENTURY, by the way. He served longer in prison than Nelson Mandela. So where's the Congressional Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson, Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, etc? I'll tell you where: they were hugging and hoisting the arm of Penalver's jailer, Fidel Castro! ...

Also, for months many of Castro's political prisoners are shoved naked into cells called gavetas (drawers), these measure six by four feet--and that's four feet high so they can't stand. This stuff is going on 90 miles away from our shores while celebrities and farm-state ward-healers chum it up with the mass jailer!

Also, for the first time in Cuba's (perhaps the hemisphere's) history, thousands of women were sent to prison and forced labor camps by Castro. Cuban women today are the most suicidal in the world. This doesn't stop Diane Saywer, Barbara Walters and Andrea Mitchell from fawning all over Fidel when in his glorious presence however.

In spite of all this, Fidel still has some support in our very own U.S. Congress.

National Review on McCain-Kennedy

The otherwise very wise editors of National Review are not fond of the new McCain-Kennedy bill to reform immigration.

CAFTA and Freedom

Daniel W. Fisk, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

We believe CAFTA will stimulate not just growth, but also positive structural change in Cen­tral America and the Dominican Republic. We see it as strengthening the political transformation already underway—from a region plagued by civil wars and dominated by military governments to a region with thriving democratic institutions and market-based, growing economies.

Such political and economic reform is a critical part of the President’s agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mr. Fisk's remarks were delivered at a meeting of the Heritage Foundation Resource Bank held in Miami, Florida, on April 28– 29, 2005.

President Fox's Faux Pas

Welcome to America's racial politics, Mr. President:

President Vicente Fox came under criticism Saturday after saying Mexicans were willing to take jobs "that not even blacks want to do in the United States."

Fox's remark Friday came a day after Mexico announced it would formally protest recent U.S. immigration reforms, including the decision to extend walls along the border and make it harder for illegal migrants to get driver's licenses.

Castro Harbors Cop Killer

From the Sun Sentinel:

President Fidel Castro has rejected calls to hand over a black militant convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper who U.S. officials put on a terrorism list this month, saying she is an innocent victim of racial persecution.

"They wanted to portray her as a terrorist, something that was an injustice, a brutality, an infamous lie," Castro said in a television address Tuesday night.

While Castro did not identify the woman by name, he was clearly alluding to Assata Shakur - the former Joanne Chesimard - who was put on a U.S. government terrorist watch list May 2. On the same day, New Jersey officials announced a $1 million reward for her capture...

A member of the Black Liberation Army, Shakur, 57, was convicted in 1973 of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster as he lay on the ground. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Translation Nation

The New York Times has a review of TRANSLATION NATION, Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States, by Héctor Tobar.

Tobar's book is a triumph of observation. In one account after another, from that of the couple who work in a Tyson chicken plant in Alabama, where the author goes ''undercover'' as a factory worker, ''hoping to see America through the innocent eyes of the wandering migrant,'' to the story of the marine from Guatemala who dies in the Persian Gulf, Tobar vividly and movingly captures the conflict between the immigrant ideal to which America has always aspired and the presiding white culture's deep ambivalence about the immigrant presence.

Bolivia Crisis

From the Financial Times of London:

Bolivia is on the verge of a profound political crisis as leftwing social groups are planning to march on La Paz on Monday to demand nationalisation of the country's vast natural gas resources.

The mobilisations will once again imperil the 18-month presidency of Carlos Mesa, whose attempts to engage his political opponents and find consensus on the gas issue have failed miserably.

Gangs Heading North

From the International Herald Tribune:

In the past few years, as Washington has focused its attention elsewhere, it has virtually ignored a dangerous phenomenon growing in its backyard: Ultraviolent youth gangs, spawned in the ghettos of Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, have migrated south to Central America, where they have transformed themselves into powerful, cross-border crime networks. And now the gangs are starting to head back north.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Poor Republicans

A very interesting analysis piece by David Brooks of the New York Times:

Already, we've seen poorer folks move over in astonishing numbers to the G.O.P. George Bush won the white working class by 23 percentage points in this past election. Many people have wondered why so many lower-middle-class waitresses in Kansas and Hispanic warehouse workers in Texas now call themselves Republicans. The Pew data provide an answer: they agree with Horatio Alger.

These working-class folk like the G.O.P.'s social and foreign policies, but the big difference between poor Republicans and poor Democrats is that the former believe that individuals can make it on their own with hard work and good character.

The Kennedy-McCain Bill

From Inter Press Service:

Seven influential U.S. lawmakers have introduced bipartisan comprehensive immigration legislation designed to strengthen border security and enforcement of immigration laws and reduce the flow of illegal immigrants by offering them visas to work in the United States.

The article contains a very good description of the different provisions of the proposed legislation.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Mexico Is Watching

From UPI via HispanicBusiness:

Mexico has been closely watching Washington this week as U.S. lawmakers vote on and propose legislation that could determine the fate of millions of Mexicans living and working in the United States.

Criminal Aliens Deported

From the New York Post:

Nearly 100 convicted illegal-alien gang members, busted in raids in the New York City area, will be deported, federal authorities said yesterday.

Thirty-three of the 95 gang members — convicted of rape, drug dealing and weapons possession — were busted by the Department of Homeland Security and city probation officers over the past three days.

More Immigration Restrictions in Arizona

From the New York Newsday:

Emboldened by a voter-approved law denying some government benefits to illegal immigrants, the Legislature voted Thursday to impose new restrictions on the thousands of people who sneak into the state each year from Mexico.

Lawmakers approved a bill that would prohibit illegal immigrants from attending adult education classes, receiving child care assistance and having in-state tuition status at public universities.

Supporters say additional restrictions are needed to discourage illegal immigration because Arizona, the busiest illegal entry point on the nation's southern border, shoulders huge health care and education costs for immigrants and their families.

Another bill approved Thursday would bar local governments from putting taxpayer money into day labor centers that help illegal immigrants find work.

Opponents of the bills say they are unfair because they do nothing to confront employers who turn to immigrants for cheap labor. Employer sanctions had been added to the bills but were dropped Wednesday by lawmakers who said they wanted to keep the legislation simple.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Carlos Mencia

From the Houston Press:

Latino stand-up vet Carlos Mencia will be translating his caustic, unabashed, un-PC brand of humor to the small screen with his very own show, Mind of Mencia, set to air on... [Comedy Central] on July 7... The Honduras-born, East L.A.-bred Mencia has made a comfortable living for the last 18 years making fun of racial stereotypes, modern-day absurdities and other things that piss him the hell off -- like Taco Bell.

Nicaragua's President

Enrique Bolanos speaks:

As president of Nicaragua, I am opposed to what the Economist magazine recently labeled an "unholy alliance" between the leader of the extreme left, Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Party, and the leader of the extreme right, ex-president Arnoldo Aleman of the Liberal Party. Aleman is serving a 20-year sentence for corruption-related charges.

I am sure this alliance will continue launching fresh attacks on democratic institutions and procedures in my country.

But with God's help, we will be able to face down each and every challenge to democracy as it arises.

Incidentally, free trade would help democracy in Nicaragua and throughout Latin America.

Bush & Arizona Latinos

I wonder how much of this has to do with the immigration issue:

The Latino population in Arizona is not very pleased with the performance of President George W. Bush.

According to the Latino Poll, released Wednesday, 35 percent of Arizona Latinos think the president is doing a "good" job in office. However, 38 percent describe his job performance as "poor."

This is the highest negative rating given to President Bush by Arizona Latinos since he assumed the office.

In any event, the President has some work to do.

Pablo Paredes Found Guilty

From Military.com:

A sailor turned anti-war activist was convicted Wednesday in a special court-martial of refusing to board the USS Bonhomme Richard as it deployed to the Persian Gulf in December.

A military judge found Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes guilty of missing his ship's movement, but dismissed a second count of unauthorized absence, ruling it duplicative.

The proceeding then moved into the sentencing phase. The 23-year-old New Yorker could receive a year in jail, a forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank and a bad-conduct discharge.

Democrats and Minority Judges

Hispanic Pundit has a great post on the subject.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Chávez's Influence

To the extent this is true, it is bad news for Latin America:

The ideological and economic influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has spread throughout the Latin American nations.

Catholic Bishops & Immigration

From the Chicago Tribune:

Seeking to bring a moral dimension to the debate over immigration that has been largely framed as a national security issue, America's Catholic bishops launched a campaign Tuesday to promote pathways to citizenship and unite immigrant families.

The move by the bishops reflects an effort by some faith-based groups to counter a call to crack down on illegal immigrants--a contentious issue that has drawn labor activists, law enforcement, corporate interests and ethnic advocacy groups. The bishops hope to gain support from Americans who back President Bush's agenda built on moral values.

The concept of welcoming immigrants, some religious advocates say, is a biblical mandate ordained for the Jews in the Torah and prescribed for Christians in the New Testament.

In Favor of CAFTA

The Christian Science Monitor comes out in favor of free trade:

Protectionism has been shown to hinder overall job growth while free-trade pacts that also help ease the transition for workers in uncompetitive industries have led to additional jobs. The US economy, for instance, saw immense job growth after the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Like NAFTA, the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) would help US neighbors to the south build up their economies, reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, and improve their democracies - many of which didn't exist during the civil wars of the 1980s.

Southwest Belongs to Mexico?

This is just crazy talk:

Many Hispanic activists, Mexican citizens and perhaps even members of the Mexican government believe the American Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico.

They refuse to accept the legality of the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the Mexican-American War, which gave large parts of Mexico to the U.S., or the 1852 Gadsden Purchase of Mexican territory now in Arizona and New Mexico.

A Zogby poll found that 58 percent of Mexicans agreed with the statement, "The territory of the Southwest U.S. rightfully belongs to Mexico," and therefore they believe they don't need permission to enter.

Antonio Perez

Kodak has a new Chief Executive and his name is Antonio Perez.

CAFTA and National Security

This is a questionable strategy, but if it's effective, I won't complain:

The Bush administration, taking a strategy from previous presidents, is increasingly making national security the focus of its argument for the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement to sway lawmakers who remain unconvinced of the accord's economic promises....

"These are countries that just 10 or 15 years ago were in chaos," said former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who served under President Bill Clinton and is now chief executive of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm in Washington. "The roots of democracy are not deep and their economies need to grow. In our own backyard we might have a breeding ground for terrorists."

Making this connection between poverty in Latin America and terrorism is not good thing.

Spanish TV Infighting

Trouble is brewing at the Spanish-language TV family reunion:

In an escalation of the tensions between Spanish-language TV network Univision and Mexican media giant Televisa, one of Univision’s biggest shareholders and program suppliers, Televisa has filed a complaint against Univision in a U.S. court and two Televisa executives have stormed off Univision’s board of directors.

The L.A. Times and the Miami Herald have some of the background and the juicy details.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rumsfeld on Latin America

From the White House via HACER:

Security issues remain a top priority for the hemisphere, Rumsfeld said. During his recent travels in Latin America, he said, regional officials reiterated their concern about the threats posed by "violent gangs, drug traffickers, drug smugglers, hostage-takers [and] terrorists." Officials frequently expressed the need to extend the rule of law, particularly in geographically remote areas, to combat illicit activities, he said.

Pocho Magazine

If the people at Wired think this new magazine is cool, then it must be true:

If you think Latino humor means middle-aged TV comedians who dress like kids and yell at each other through blacked-out teeth, it’s time to pick up Pocho Magazine. Editors Esteban Zul and Lalo Lopez pack each issue like a burrito full of political satire, original comics, and inventive Spanglish turns of phrase.

On the first page of Pocho issue numero ocho, Bob Dole appears as a spokesmodel promoting the Nacho Industry Council’s new slogan, "It’s Nacho Country!" Other highlights include the first Mexiclone; baton-wielding LA cops who badly misinterpret the three-strikes law; a regular column from Rabid Rudy, the Hispanic Ed Anger; and a translation of "Macarena," henceforth to be known as the "Latin Hokey Pokey."

Pocho is home to the most extreme deadpan hoaxes since Paul Krassner’s Realist. Don’t worry if you can’t read much Spanish – neither can the editors.

This magazine is chuck full of humor from the wrong side of the political fence, the ultraliberal side, but we conservatives pride ourselves in having a sense of humor and laughing at jokes about the President and Republicans in general.

Villaraigosa Leads

From the L.A. Times:

Mayor James Hahn has reduced rival Antonio Villaraigosa's lead over the past month but remains 11 points behind with the election a week away, according to a Los Angeles Times poll released Tuesday.

CAFTA In Trouble

From the NYT:

The current centerpiece of President Bush's trade agenda, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, is facing unusually united Democratic opposition as well as serious problems in overcoming well-entrenched special interest groups like sugar producers and much of the textile industry.

U.S. Pays for Immigrant Care

From the New York Times:

The Bush administration announced on Monday that it would start paying hospitals and doctors for providing emergency care to illegal immigrants.

The money, totaling $1 billion, will be available for services provided from Tuesday through September 2008. Congress provided the money as part of the 2003 law that expanded Medicare to cover prescription drugs, but the new payments have nothing to do with the Medicare program.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Latin-Arab Summit

From the Washington Times:

Brazil will host a meeting of Latin America and Arab leaders, including new Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in an effort to promote greater economic integration between the two regions and talk diplomatic goals.

But there are indications that the United States and Israel are concerned the summit could become a platform to attack U.S. and Israeli policies in the Middle East.

Democracy in Nicaragua

From the Miami Herald:

Democracy is at risk in Nicaragua. The nation's government is run by two politicians who systematically have been dismantling democratic checks and balances. They and their supporters have stripped power from the executive branch, and President Enrique Bolaños has been too weak to stop them. The best hope for stopping the backslide rests with Nicaraguan grass-roots groups and a refocused Organization of the American States.

The duo behind these political shenanigans are former dictator Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Party and former president Arnoldo Alemán of the Liberal Party. Mr. Ortega, who has never won a free election, controls the National Assembly through his party's votes in collaboration with Alemán and his party. Alemán is serving a 20-year sentence for embezzling tens of millions of dollars during his 1996-2001 term. But house detention hasn't stopped Alemán from doing deals with Mr. Ortega.

Steroids and Latin Players

From USAToday via HispanicBusiness:

The majority of baseball players suspended for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs this year are natives of Spanish-speaking nations, spurring questions about steroid use in Latin America and leading some teams to address the issue in overseas player development academies.

H1-B Visa Debate

Twenty thousand more H1-B visas will be issued by the government this year, but the debate continues.

Hispanics in Appalachia

Intriguing story from the USA Today:

Though their numbers remain small, Hispanics are now streaming into historically homogenous, overwhelmingly white West Virginia and other parts of northern Appalachia, including western Pennsylvania, southern New York and Ohio.

Economic opportunity here — in apple orchards, poultry plants, horse farms and construction — is starting to translate to diversity.

The migration happened years ago in the nation's urban centers and southern states, but it's been slower to reach this part of the country. When Flores arrived three years ago from Miami with her jockey husband and teenage son, she saw needs that weren't being met.

Hispanics and CAFTA

From the AP:

Hispanic lawmakers and interest groups are of one mind in desiring prosperity and democracy in Central America, but they are divided over a free trade agreement facing a tough test in Congress.

Hispanic business groups are pushing hard for approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, the most consequential trade deal since the U.S.-Canada-Mexico NAFTA agreement of a decade ago. They say it will open up new markets for American exporters and provide economic and political stability to a region with close ties to many Hispanic Americans.

But many Hispanic labor, human rights and immigration groups, as well as some Hispanics in Congress, are working equally hard to see it defeated.

Gangs at the Arizona Border

From the Mohave Daily News:

PHOENIX(AP) - Federal authorities say members of a violent Mexican gang are using the Arizona border as a corridor to the country.

In the past year, Border Patrol agents have arrested about 10 members of Mara Salvatrucha - a notorious international street gang in Mexico. Yet according to federal and local law enforcement officials in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Tucson and Yuma, the gang members don't appear to stay in the state.

Who is a Terrorist?

The answer is complicated, but in my opinion, Luis Posada Carriles may just fit the bill:

Mr. Posada's case could create tension between the politics of the global war on terrorism and the ghosts of the cold war on communism. If Mr. Posada has indeed illegally entered the United States, the Bush administration has three choices: granting him asylum; jailing him for illegal entry; or granting Venezuela's request for extradition.

A grant of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists. But to turn Mr. Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for President Bush and his brother Jeb, the state's governor.

To jail Mr. Posada would be a political bonanza for Mr. Castro, who has railed against him in recent speeches, calling him the worst terrorist in the Western Hemisphere.

To allow his extradition would hand a victory to President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Mr. Castro's closest ally in Latin America and no friend to President Bush.

Best wishes to the people who will have to make this decision.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The President on Social Security

President Bush addressed the Latino Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C. and discussed Social Security and how his proposed reforms would benefit young workers.

A Solution to the Immigration Problem

I could not agree with Linda Chavez more:

There's a much better way to deal with the problem, but unfortunately, most politicians seem terrified even to discuss it. The problem of illegal aliens could be vastly improved, if not solved, if we reformed legal immigration. The dirty little secret is we need more immigrants than we currently allow into the U.S. legally, whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not.

Ladies in White

Maria Anastasia O'Grady for the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

For more than two years now, Fidel Castro has faced a frightening scene in Havana every Sunday. Some 30 women dressed all in white meet at St. Rita's church; when Mass is over they form a silent procession and walk ten blocks to a nearby park. This is the kind of stuff that keeps dictators up at night.

They are the Ladies in White, wives of prisoners of conscience doing time in Castro's gulags. The ladies are appealing for the release of all political prisoners, in the name of justice and humanity. Their pleas go unheeded. But that doesn't mean that their act of defiance hasn't been effective. Indeed, sources say that similar groups of women decked out in white have begun forming processions in other cities around the country.

The Real ID Act

From USA Today:

The Real ID Act, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday and likely will clear the Senate next week, would require most license applicants to show a photo ID, a birth certificate, proof of their Social Security number and a document showing their full name and address. All of the documents then would have to be checked against federal databases....

The Real ID Act is intended to make it more difficult for terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to get driver's licenses. The act's author, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., says Americans are willing to sacrifice in order to improve national security.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

I know it is Cinco de Mayo, but I don't celebrate it and I don't think it is something worth celebrating (with apologies to all my Mexican friends), so this is the extent of my Cinco de Mayo post.

For CAFTA

Daniel Griswold, director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies and co-author of the Cato study, "The Case for CAFTA" :

CAFTA represents a milestone in U.S. trade and foreign policy. It will eliminate most trade barriers between the United States and six countries -- Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic -- that together represent our second-largest export market in Latin America, behind only Mexico...

If Congress rejects CAFTA, it will send a chilling message to reforming countries everywhere of U.S. indifference to progress. If it approves CAFTA, it will create more opportunity for American workers at home while strengthening capitalism, democracy and human rights in our own neighborhood.

The Story of Jorge Medina-Gonzalez

From the New York Times:

Mr. Medina, 42, was close to home when two Nutley [NJ] police officers stopped his Jeep Cherokee because of a broken taillight. They asked for his license and registration, then his Social Security number. In the few minutes it took them to search a national database in a curbside version of the kind of checks that Congress is about to require nationwide, the American life Mr. Medina had built over 13 years began to crumble.

Like many of the estimated 10 million illegal residents in this country, Mr. Medina - who came here in 1991 to escape poverty and political violence in his native Guatemala - has repeatedly tried to legalize his status through shifting rules set by Congress, and the delays of an overwhelmed immigration system. He stood before the police as a taxpaying Nutley homeowner with no criminal record, the father of two United States citizens, and a cook at a New York catering company that was sponsoring him for a green card.

But the computer search came back with a single message: immigration authorities, at one point, had ordered him deported. His driver's license became a one-way ticket to immigration jail, where he remains.

HB-1 Visa Quotas

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

Bill Gates probably didn't shock anyone last week when he said companies like Microsoft have difficulty finding enough qualified Americans to hire. That's old hat. But he turned a few heads when he said immigration policies are threatening U.S. competitiveness like never before. Asked how he would change current law, Mr. Gates replied, "I'd certainly get rid of the H1-B visa caps. That's one of the easiest decisions."

The government grants what are known as H-1B guest-worker visas to immigrants in specialty fields like math, science, engineering and medicine. But the number of such visas issued annually is capped at 65,000. That quota is not only unnecessary but ridiculously inadequate, as evidenced by the fact that the 2005 limit was reached on the very first day of the government's fiscal year...

With so much of the immigration debate focused on low-skilled workers, it's easy to forget that artificial curbs on the entry of foreign professionals and international students can restrain industry's ability to acquire intellectual capital. Immigration policies that limit access to global talent in a global marketplace won't keep U.S. innovators and entrepreneurs on the cutting edge. Nor will they help us continue as the world's science and technology leader.

To add insult to injury, some potential immigrants are scared away because they hear horror stories about America's strict enforcement of immigration policies.

Fox Smells Gas in Bolivia

From the Financial Times of London:

La Paz is not used to receiving high-profile political guests. But this week Vicente Fox, Mexico's president, Ernesto Derbez, his foreign minister, and a group of Mexican industrialists spent two days in the Bolivian capital on a mission, in the words of Mr Fox, to “reacquaint themselves” with the country.

What really tempted the Mexicans south was the smell of gas. Bolivia sits on the second largest reserves of natural gas in South America, and Mexico wants to incorporate exports from the Andean country into its energy strategy.

Mr Fox and his Bolivian counterpart, Carlos Mesa, agreed to start working on plans to export Bolivian gas north.

The FBI in El Salvador

From Reuters:

The FBI has opened a permanent office in El Salvador to help Central American police fight a growing wave of U.S.-style youth gangs that have threatened social stability.

An FBI agent opened the office in the capital, San Salvador, in late April to investigate gangs as well as other organized crime, Salvadoran authorities said on Wednesday.

Salvadoran President Tony Saca said on Tuesday he had asked the United States for help in fighting crime.

Loans and Race

From Wired News:

When you fill out a credit card application or ask your local bank for a car loan or mortgage next year, you may be asked about your religion or race.

Current law prohibits financial institutions from collecting such data, but a proposed federal regulation will allow loan officers to ask about and record color, national origin, and sex.

The Justice Department has strongly urged collecting this information to aid in fair lending prosecutions, and some banks have said that it could be used in marketing and outreach programs. That's a prospect that horrifies some privacy advocates and Republican legislators, who are demanding that the Federal Reserve Board reconsider its plan.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Coverage of Immigration Issue

The Voice of America News is doing a great job of covering the immigration controversy with a series of very good articles:

Debate on the Impact of Illegal Immigations

The Minuteman Project

Immigration Controls After 9/11

The Economic Impact of Immigration

More stories on the history of immigration, assimilation patterns and even immigrant poets.

Runaway Bride

Isn't being herself punishment enough?

An advocacy group for Hispanics is demanding an apology from the bride-to-be who skipped town days before her lavish wedding and falsely claimed she had been abducted by a Hispanic man.

Bush and Latino Retirees

From the L.A. Times:

President Bush pitched his Social Security restructuring plan today to Latino Americans, saying his approach would extend the opportunity of investment account ownership to low-wage workers who otherwise might not save for retirement.

Bush told a group of Latino business owners that the restructured retirement system he has in mind would maintain current promised benefits for lower-paid workers, but would also give them the chance to channel part of their payroll taxes into individual investment accounts they would control and could pass on to heirs.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Cubanization of Latin America

The indispensable Maria Anastasia O'Grady:

There is a joke circulating among anti-chavistas these days that asks, "What is the largest Cuban province?" Answer: "Venezuela." But the reverse may be more accurate. Venezuela appears to be in the process of appropriating Cuba.

Conservative Minorities Drive Liberals Crazy!

Peter Kirsanow for NRO:

[C]onservative black, Hispanic, Catholic, and female judicial nominees “drive left-wing legal groups crazy.” These nominees are drawn from groups Democrats view as part of their natural constituency — a demographic political entitlement of sorts. Elevating such nominees to highly visible judicial posts would highlight the fact that there are political alternatives for minorities, women, and Catholics other than the Democratic party. If the example of Janice Rogers Brown (along with non-judicial appointments such as Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Alphonso Jackson) can convince a mere ten percent of the black electorate to consider switching allegiances to the GOP, the Democratic party will go the way of the Whigs.

Consequently, the most vigorous Borking is often reserved for minorities. A memo to Senator Richard Durbin unearthed during the Senate "Memogate" controversy identified Estrada as “especially dangerous” because “he is Latino.” During his confirmation process, he was vilified as “inauthentic” and “Hispanic in name only.” Despite impressive credentials, he was dismissed as inexperienced and unqualified.

The Compassion Capital Fund

Long article, but worth reading if you, like me, are intrigued by the interplay between politics, religion and money:

As a Baptist minister, the Rev. Luis Cortes has long sought to build a national network of Hispanic churches, one that would bring new power to an emerging minority. As an elected official, President Bush has long sought a more diverse Republican Party, one that would lure more blacks and Hispanics to a dominant conservative bloc. These days, the two are united by faith, friendship, and a line item in the federal budget called the Compassion Capital Fund.

Federal Action on Licenses

From the New York Times:

Congress is moving quickly toward setting strict rules on how states issue driver's licenses, requiring them to verify whether each applicant for a new license or a renewal is in this country legally.

CAFTA Talks in D.C.

From Yahoo! News:

US President George W. Bush will hold talks here May 12 with the presidents of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, the White House said.

"The president looks forward to discussing with his colleagues the Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, as well as efforts to advance our common goal of a more democratic and prosperous Western Hemisphere," spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

The White House has recently stepped up its efforts to win approval for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which was signed last year but faces hurdles in the US Congress.

Monday, May 02, 2005

States Are Torn Over Illegal Immigrants

From USA Today:

Debates about illegal immigration are escalating from Arizona to North Carolina as state legislatures weigh whether to grant driver's licenses and other benefits to people who entered the USA illegally.

Some states are moving to restrict the rights of illegal immigrants, while some may expand them. The activity in state capitols mirrors efforts in Congress to grapple with the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants now estimated to be living in the USA, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C.

Julian Castro

Julian Castro is a leading candidate for Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. The L.A. Times has an interesting story about him, his campaign and his twin brother.

Judicial Nominations

From the Weekly Standard:

THE LEGAL LEFT IS DANGEROUSLY close to winning the political war it has been fighting against the Bush administration over the future direction of the federal courts. The evidence of this is that whenever rumors are floated of possible Bush Supreme Court nominees, there are some very prominent conservative names that aren't mentioned, though they should be.

The eminently qualified conservatives Democrats have quashed include Miguel Estrada, who is Hispanic, Janice Rogers Brown, who is African American, Bill Pryor, a brilliant young Catholic, and two white women, Priscilla Owen and Carolyn Kuhl. By keeping these five nominees off the federal courts of appeals, Democrats seem to have blocked Bush from considering them for the Supreme Court.

Castro Wants Posada Thrown Out

From the Miami Herald:

Cuban President Fidel Castro, leader of one of the world's last communist regimes, commemorated May Day on Sunday by demanding the United States expel a Cuban-born militant accused of blowing up a civilian jetliner.

Flanked by aides in red T-shirts, Castro looked out at hundreds of thousands in vast Plaza of the Revolution and demanded Washington expel Luis Posada Carriles accused of masterminding the bombing of a Cuban jetliner in 1976 that killed 73 people. Posada denies involvement.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hispanics and the U.S. Catholic Church

Father Pedro Nuñez of the Archdiocese of New Orleans:

The Catholic Church is facing several challenges. First of all, the great expansion of the Hispanic population in the United States means that a greater number of priests, including Hispanic, are needed to serve it. We are very few.

And the second issue is that we need to be far more sensitive both to the spiritual as well as the cultural needs of the Hispanic community.