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Showing posts from August, 2008

Gustav Hits Cuba [Video]

Hurricane Gustav hit Cuba as a category five before quickly dropping back to category four. This Associated Press Video shows the damage left by Gustav. So far 81 people have died across the Caribbean, no deaths were recorded in the Caymans or in Cuba. Our best goes out to all lifting themselves from the rubble. Stay safe.

Where's McCain's Hispanic Strategy?

Senator McCain, you may know him as "Maverick" though there is no relation to Tom Cruise's character in Top Gun, missed a prime opportunity to really earn the title. With the electorate leaning towards Senator Barack Obama, McCain could have made a play for the other brown meat of the Democratic Party, Hispanics.

First of all, there are virtually no nationally recognized Republican Hispanics eligible for the Vice Presidential position, considering they must be born in the U.S. Of the 26 Hispanics in Congress (24 in the House, 2 in the Senate) only five of them are Republicans. Of those, only 2 are natural born citizens.

One is Luis Fortuño, who is technically eligible, but as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico and a resident of the same has never voted in Congress or as far as I could tell for any American election. Not exactly what you might want in a Vice President.

The other is Mario Diaz-Balart the Congressman from Florida - born in Fort L…

Gilberto Rincón Gallardo's death - a loss to the world

Gilberto Rincón Gallardo died yesterday August 30th in Mexico City at the age of 69 from cardiopulmonary complications. He was a fighter for social progress who confronted corporations and government for a more just civil society. Rincón Gallardo fought for the rights of indigenous peoples, advocated for the poor, women, and homosexuals. In 2000 he ran for the Presidency under the social democratic party and was instrumental in making social justice a primary concern of Mexican politics throughout the last decade. Gilberto Rincón Gallardo will be missed by many who were inspired and especially by those directly helped by his commitment for a better, more just Mexico.

The following is one of his essays in spanish entitled Culture and Discrimination:

Discriminación y Cultura
by Gilberto Rincón Gallardo

Generalmente cuando se aborda el problema de la discriminación se piensa en la negación de derechos y oportunidades que padecen grupos sociales estigmatizados y con la cual queda blo…

RNC Protests: Minneapolis-St. Paul the new police state

Minneapolis-St. Paul Police have begun a series of raids and detentions against the affectionately named "RNC Welcoming Committee". The group is actually a conglomeration of activists from around the country calling for an end to the war in Iraq and the loss of constitutional protections. The irony of it all is that the real criminals are the ones gathering inside the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Here are videos of the raids and the activists whom are being targeted:

McCain picks Palin: Insults entire American nation

Sarah Palin is now John McCain's running mate. Sarah Palin is Alaska's freshman governor with only 20 months in office. Prior to that she was the mayor of Wasilli, a town of 6,000 people. And prior to that she was Miss Wasilli the runner-up for Miss Alaska. She has 5 children, and she believes that killing animals is fun, wearing fur is fashionable, and saving the environment is akin to a waste of space.

She also believes that creationism is science, and that evolution is the religion of others. That is even more surprising given that she has a son with Trisomy 21 (a.k.a Down Syndrome) which is a genetic disease. But then again, there is very strong speculation that that son is actually her daughter's son which she is passing off as her own to maintain an idyllic family values image. But that is now just speculation.

She is also an anti-abortion advocate, which with five kids I wouldn't expect anything different. But she is a far-right advocate of no abortions no ma…

Che: El Argentino [Poster & Scenes]

Required Reading: Puerto Rico by Jose Trias Monge

Jose Trias Monge's Puerto Rico is a perfect primer to anyone who wants to truly understand the status problem of the world's oldest colony. As a historian, legislator and career politician Trias Monge's perspective was of great curiosity to me for its lack of the dogmatic approach typical of political figures, which made it into an unexpected interesting read. He takes an academic, almost purely intellectual, look at the choice before the Puerto Rican electorate and the natural gridlock that has resulted. Interestingly, putting aside his political affiliation, the book shockingly comes close to arguing for Puerto Rican independence. Check it out, it's a quick read at 240 pages and you'll appreciate every page.

Bill Richardson at the DNC

Here is Bill Richardson's Speech at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado on the final night of the Democratic Convention.

Daddy Yankee wants McCain to be his Big Boss

After being told that Daddy Yankee had "endorsed" McCain by my girlfriend I had to quickly go to YouTube to see the video. Sheer laughter followed. There are so many layers of wrong going on that the brain needs to slooooooow down to fully appreciate the magnitude of it all.

The idea behind getting Daddy Yankee’s “endorsement” is to buy; oops I mean win over Latino support for McCain aka Grumpy Bush. The idea is a simple one: get someone those people like to support us so that we won’t have to do anything to win them over.

Reform the immigration laws? Look I have a picture with Oscar De La Hoya.

Puerto Rico is still a colony? Look everyone I’m dancing with J-Lo!

I can only wait for the Iris Chacon endorsement of McCain come October! Sorry, but we recognized your hustle a while back and that wont work with us.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a stronghold within the “Latino” community. Although traditionally the stereotype goes that Cuban-Americans (read: Miami…

Nydia Velazquez speaks at DNC

The Puerto Rican Congresswoman from New York took the floor at the DNC and laid out her support for Obama. Probably, out of the many who have spoken at the DNC, hers is a better performance than most. However in the back of my mind I find it a little difficult to see her as a strong Obama supporter given her adamant support for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Nevertheless, she is the definition of a fighter and there is much respect for her across the party. She may soon become a leader within the party, which may open the door for some national recognition, maybe. All in all, she's easily one of the most influencial Puerto Rican voices in American politics.

Joe Baca of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at the DNC [Video]

This speech is perhaps as forgettable as your last drink of water. Hispanic Congressman Joe Baca looks nervous and seems to be a little rattled by the teleprompter. The fact that he mispronounces Obama's name as "Orama" was a little disappointing, though he is probably the most disappointed of all. In all, it's good that he got the floor to express his support and the support of the Caucus for the Obama/Biden ticket.

Haiti under Hurricane Gustav [Video]

Video from the Associated Press shows Hurricane Gustav's landfall upon the nation of Haiti. The storm threatens Cuba, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands. A Hurricane Warning has already been issued in Cuba.

Evo Morales fights peacefully for the future of Bolivia

Last week's popular referendum in Bolivia was a resounding victory for the administration of Evo Morales, who's pro-poor & pro-equal rights policies have angered the landed elite. While the referendum should have put to an end the hopes of the landed class opposition, it seems to have instead made them more brazen in their demands for full control of the resources and wealth of one of the poorest nations in the hemisphere. The people of Bolivia have spoken, but the wealthy land-owners will have their way no matter what. President Morales however refuses to be drawn into violent confrontations.

The Real News reports on the situation:

Denver's First Latino Mayor Federico Peña speaks at Democratic National Convention

About Federico Peña: Born in Laredo, Texas, Peña earned a B.A. (1969) and a J.D. (1972) from the University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas School of Law. Moving to Colorado, where he became a practicing attorney, Peña was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1979, where he rose to become Minority Leader. In 1983, Peña defeated a 14-year incumbent, William H. McNichols, Jr. to become the first Hispanic Mayor of Denver, a post to which he was re-elected in 1987.

Peña advised Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton on transportation issues during Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign, and Clinton chose Peña to head the United States Department of Transportation. Although he had intended to leave Clinton's cabinet after a single term, Peña also served as Secretary of Energy for one year, from 1997 to 1998.

Information from Wikipedia

COHA: Mexican Drug War Escalates

Reprinted from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs article "Searching for solutions to Mexico's skyrocketing violence"

On August 21, Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa held a security summit at the National Palace. In attendance were the Mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, and Mexico’s thirty-one state governors. Those in attendance, represented most of the nation’s political parties, were still able to display a stunning show of relative harmony and cooperation in the face of dangerously mounting violence brought about by growing street gangs and more violent drug cartels throughout Mexico. A seventy-five-point package of security measures was unanimously adopted and will be implemented over the next three years. The package includes initiatives aimed at purging police corruption, constructing several new maximum-security prisons, and creating a database for mobile phones that the government will use to track down criminals using them.

Violence Everywhere
The unpr…

It's Biden!!!

The long awaited answer to the VP question finally came last night by way of an electronic text message.

Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee. Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3pm ET on Spread the word!

The answer was actually less of a surprise than a confirmation as speculation in the media had already narrowed the decision down to Joe Biden(D-Delaware) just hours before the text message arrived.

The pick is a good fit for the Obama Campaign, with good credentials and a better than average record on Democratic issues. His background as a Pennsylvania native, and as a regional political institution should also help to draw support in the middle states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland) where support will be crucial for their electoral votes.

For the McCain campaign, rumor is he's looking at former Governor of Massachusetts and used-car-salesman-lookalike, Mitt Romney.

Justice Department adds indictments to Acevedo's corruption charges

Press Release from U.S. Justice Department.

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, today returned an indictment against Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, a senior aide and a former campaign director for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced. Today’s indictment follows an earlier indictment, returned on March 24, 2008, which charged these same defendants and others with related crimes.

The five-count indictment returned today in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico, charges Acevedo Vilá, 46, of San Juan; Luisa Inclán Bird, 47, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; and Miguel Nazario Franco, 61, of San Juan with honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Acevedo Vilá was Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives between 2001 and 2005, and …

Paraguay's Leryn Franco named "Hottest Olympian"

Just about every magazine around the world has used the Olympics as an excuse to show off athletic bodies and pass it off as journalism. But King Magazine thinks it found the right Olympian. Meet Leryn Franco from Paraguay... More Pictures Below

Cuba defeats Puerto Rico in Olympic Boxing

In what has turned out to be another disappointing performance at these Olympics, McWilliams Arroyo was defeated by Cuba's Laffita ending Puerto Rico's hopes to break the ongoing medal drought. The last medal won by a Puerto Rican Olympian was in 1996, twelve years ago in Atlanta.

With a score of 11 to 2 Andris Laffita Hernandez of Cuba moves on into the semifinals. Arroyo however felt cheated by the scoring which only awarded him two points for the entire match. Speculation is that Arroyo may turn professional as soon as he returns from Beijing.

These are the breaks. Hope it wasn't so, but Puerto Rico is officially done in these Olympic games. ***UPDATE-Asuncion Ocasio has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's 67kg Taekwondo tournament, and Angel Roman will get his chance a few hours from now in the Men's 80kg Taekwondo, thanks for the heads up.***

Cuba's Olympic tradition is nevertheless as strong as it ever was with 13 medals thus far. Cuba is the o…

Jessica Alba at NCLR Alma Awards 2008

Actress Jessica Alba (my future wife and mother to my future children) presents fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez with the award for Special Achievement in Fashion during the taping of the 2008 "NCLR Alma" awards at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, August 17, 2008. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) gives out the ALMA awards to honor outstanding Latino artistic achievement in television, film and music. The show airs September 12 on ABC.(Xinhua/Reuters Photos)

Latin American & Caribbean Olympic Medal Standings

These totals will be updated daily and expanded.
Last Updated on SUN. August 24 --Final Update.

Latin America & Caribbean Medal StandingsGoldSilverBronzeTotalJamaica63211Brazil3 4 8 15Cuba 2 11 11 24Argentina2046Mexico2013Dominican Republic1102Panama1001Trinidad & Tobago0202Bahamas0112Colombia0112Chile0101Ecuador0101Bahamas0112Venezuela0011
***Proper Olympic rankings are in medal value order, not the total number of

Congratulations to all of our brothers and sisters from Latin America and the Caribbean for the great performances. 2012 will be even better.

Urakan is coming!!!

Urakan, Juracan, Jurakan, Hurakan...The great god of wind and chaos, revered and feared by the Taino Indians, comes to Florida once again. The Great Juracan can not be denied. Bow down and take cover.

Puerto Rico's McWilliams Arroyo moves into Boxing Quaterfinals at Beijing Olympics

Puerto Rico's hopes for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics are still alive with McWilliams Arroyo Acevedo, who on WED August 20th at 7pm will fight in the Boxing Quaterfinals.

If Arroyo can make it past Cuba's Andris Laffita Hernandez he will move to fight on Friday's semifinal bout. If all goes well, by Saturday evening, Puerto Rico may have a claim to its first Gold Medal in its Olympics history. Go Puerto Rico!

[images from El Nuevo Dia]

U.S. in Nicaragua [cartoon]

Cartoon by Barry Deutsch

Russian-Georgian conflict best for Iran

The ongoing conflict between the former soviet republic and the largest country in the world has had the apparently unintended effect of drawing away attention from Iran. While only a couple of weeks ago pundits across the U.S. airwaves were ready to declare war on Iran, for nothing. Now the thought of attacking Iran while a resurgent Russia reestablishes its sphere of influence, seems at best foolish.

Though we should never discount the potential for foolishness of our fearless leaders.


Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas wows China audience

Among the Olympic sport highlights we often fail to notice the extra-olympic events that are scheduled in the host city. In Beijing one of these events was the World-Class Superstars Concert held at the Great Hall of the People with four of the greatest classical singers in the world today. One of those four was Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas.

Singing before an audience of international politicians and influence peddlers Vargas reached deep as if representing Mexico for Olympic glory, which in a way he was. While the newspapers and news networks of the world hover over the athletes, we should not forget the range of talents that can make a people proud if only they knew he was out there representing them. Mexico is far more than a futbol powerhouse, and Vargas showed it Thursday night.

Robert Rodriguez to Produce 'Red Sonja' [Movie Posters]

Robert Rodriguez, the Mexican-American award-winning director, is set to produce the new 'Red Sonja' movie. For those not familiar with the Conan comic book universe may not recognize Red Sonja but you'll get the chance to in 2009 when Rose McGowan stars as Red Sonja. Robert Rodriguez is also working on a new Conan movie. He may be looking to recreate the entire Conan universe on film. Here is the other promotional film poster.

If you are unfamiliar with Robert Rodriguez's works here is a short list from IMDB:
Sin City 3 (2009) (in production)
Machete (2008) (V) (in production)
Sin City 2 (2010) (pre-production)
Shorts (2009) (post-production)
Planet Terror (2007)
Grindhouse (2007) (segment "Planet Terror") (fake trailer segment "Machete")
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005)
Sin City (2005)
Ten Minute Film School: Big Movies Made Cheap (2004) (V)
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)
Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams…

NBC Coverage of Olympics leaves Puerto Ricans wanting

First of all, lets give credit where credit is due. NBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympics is better than ever with more content, better production, and best of all, with Bob Costas at the helm. NBC has done a great job.

However, take the Opening Ceremonies with its parade of nations, for example. The commentators said something about every country, dropping interesting facts like its geographical location or an interesting anecdote about a certain athlete. So 8.5 million Puerto Ricans watching the ceremonies expected at least the same. Maybe a word about our flag bearer who many believed carried the best hope for a medal in these Olympics, or perhaps a quick mention of how the Puerto Rican National Basketball team was the first one to defeat the Dream Team. Instead, as soon as the Puerto Rico delegation stepped into the stadium all we got was, "and here is Puerto Rico." to be followed by talk of the anticipation for the American delegation and how it was necessary to…

Puerto Rico at the Beijing Olympics, More Pictures

Puerto Rican Olympian Jose Pedraza at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Geralee Vega at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Abderramán Brenes la Roche at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Geralee Vega at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Abderramán Brenes la Roche at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Jonathan Gonzalez at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Douglas Lennox at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian McJoe Arroyo at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Kristina Lennox at Beijing 2008

Puerto Rican Olympian Jose Pedraza at Beijing 2008

Pictures from El Nuevo Dia