Yoani Sánchez, de bloguera a periodista

CHICAGO – Articulada y expresiva es Yoani Sánchez, la bloguera cubana que participó el 8 de junio en la Trigésima Feria del Libro Printers Row que organiza el periódico Chicago Tribune todos los años. “No pretendemos emular a los websites que se actualizan cada dos minutos”, empezó diciendo Sánchez al anunciar que el 21 de mayo pasado lanzó su periódico digital 14ymedio.com. “No pretendemos emular como una fábrica de chorizos sino de [presentar] reportajes de calado más profundo”, añadió. Sánchez, graduada en filología, confesó que es no es “periodista de carrera, sino a la carrera” explicando que su misión es permitir al mundo ser testigo de lo que ocurre en lo que ella llama “la isla de los desconectados”. Su esfuerzo anterior, el blog GeneraciónY que capturara la atención mundial al informar sobre la Cuba reprimida ha pasado a ser un periódico en línea.

Empower girls, keep them in school, global education experts say


WASHINGTON – Globally, 30 million girls don’t get a basic education, according to the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. Isabel Matenje, a gender and social development specialist who is married to the ambassador of Malawi to the U.S., was one girl who got the opportunity to pursue an education.  In fact, she was the only girl at her school who didn’t drop out. “I happened to go to a secondary school that was in a district where my dad came from and that was kind of the rural district,” Matenje said. “I was working very hard, being advised by my parents that I needed to succeed. The other girls’ parents weren’t helping them to understand what education was all about.”

Experts in women’s education said Tuesday at the Brookings Institution that it is important for girls and their families to see the value in educating girls and empowering them to feel entitled to an education.

ETSU Hispanics share cultures, educate fellow students

Yesenia Cruz Pascual only knew about three other Hispanics on campus before joining the Hispanic American Student Community Alliance. She felt that not being able to interact with other Latino students was affecting her ability to keep in touch with her Spanish heritage. “Since I only get to go home every three months or so, and I call my mom like once a week, I didn’t get to practice my Spanish very often,” said Pascual, president of HASCA at East Tennessee State University. Anai Saucedo experienced the same lack of diversity. She said that before joining HASCA, she only knew one other person who spoke Spanish.

Palm oil use and production raises hackles around the world

EL PASO – The expanding production and use of palm oil has dire consequences for the environment, human health and rain forest wildlife according to those advocating a reduction in palm oil consumption.Palm oil has a low trans-fat compared to vegetable oil but it is extremely high in saturated fat, which is one of the main causes for heart disease. Orangutans, Sumatran elephants, Asian elephants, the sun bear, rhinoceros, and tigers are at risk of extinction as companies expand plantations into rain forests.Palm oil production is considered the main cause of deforestation of carbon-rich tropical peatlands, changing the forest landscape into wasteland. “Palm oil awareness has really picked up over the past ten years, but the industry has only been around about thirty years. Palm oil has been around for thousands of years, but only as a minor product that was produced by people who knew how to use the palm oil fruit.” claims Rick LoBello, Education Curator at El Paso Zoo. Palm oil plantations are creating massive damage to peatlands in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia and Indonesia as these areas are being cut down to open land for plantations.

Caring for thousands of children crossing illegally into the U.S. to cost $868 million in 2014

EL PASO – Employees at a children’s shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, found 12-year-old Noemi Alvarez Quillay’s lifeless body hanging from a shower-curtain rod last March. The Ecuadorian girl had been trying to cross the border to reach her parents in New York when police apprehended her. She is only one of thousands of unaccompanied children braving exhausting heat during the day, freezing winds throughout the night, gang violence and corrupt authorities during their arduous journey north to the U.S. border. For Alvarez, the perilous journey ended within sight of the bridge that connects the two countries, but for her that was one bridge too far. Mexican authorities ruled her death a suicide because she was in fear of being deported back to Ecuador.

La enseñanza del inglés en Juárez mantiene un escaso nivel de aprendizaje entre estudiantes universitarios

CD. JUAREZ — “Hello, my name is Alicia”. Esa expresión, junto con los nombres de los números y colores, fue lo único que Alicia Contreras Vargas logró aprender mientras cursó la secundaria. En retrospectiva, la hoy estudiante universitaria recuerda que sus clases de inglés simplemente “no tenían chiste”. Al igual que Contreras Vargas, un gran número de estudiantes en Ciudad Juárez reconocen el bajo nivel de aprendizaje logrado a lo largo de tres o más años de recibir cursos de ese idioma, pero no saben explicarse del todo las causas de ese déficit.

Annual hoops tournament draws special needs players and approving fans

EL PASO — On an April weekend a local high school gym was full of energy and excitement as a group of adults with special needs prepared to participate in a basketball tournament.The games were attended by members of local community centers and a crowd of some 200 fans roaring encouragement to motivate the teams to victory.Participants are in a government funded program, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which allows persons with disabilities to participate and promotes healthy lifestyles that include cultural and social activities. The Multipurpose CDBG Strikers is a group of special needs students who created a team as a part of the Special Olympics.The team is coached by Edward Gonzales. Participants with the local recreation center prepared for their first game of the tournament with smiles and determination.Two teams from that center were able to participate and enjoy an awards ceremony after their tournament games at the recreation center.”I’ve coached other teams before and it’s not so much that you’re helping them out but I personally like the challenge,” said Gonzalez, “I like the idea of doing something different and helping them excel considering their disabilities if I can make them just a little bit better mentally and physically thats what I like.”Tanya Guzman a player on the Strikers team said that the coaching staff “is into it; they worked us hard; we had a good exercise.”Gonzalez said early on it was tough for him to coach the disabled young adults. “Initially, the parents didn’t seem to take it seriously and after they saw me yelling at their kids almost every practice they realized how serious we were and they jumped on board and the support turned out to be very good.”The participants are a part of a daily disability exercise program that allows them to stay active and be a part of sports, weight training, water aerobics, arts and crafts, and computer skills training. Also several field trips and social gatherings are planned by the participant’s parents committee to give them an opportunity to enjoy the city.

Business students compete to advise Borderzine on rebranding effort

EL PASO — Three groups of business students with names like Corporate Eight, Innovation and Crazy Mariachis presented their semester’s project last week to a panel of judges at the College of Business Administration. The students, part of professor Denisse Olivas’ Multicultural Marketing class this semester, were eager to showcase their rebranding projects to their client, Borderzine.com. The judges included a professional team from Eureka!, a local design and ad company, and two borderzine staff members, Webmaster Lourdes Cueva Chacón and Program Assistant Ángel Cancino.The purpose of the projects was to help the organization get more page views, broaden the target audience and provide suggestions for the redesign of the site. The winning group was Corporate Eight, composed of students Valeria García, Brianda Herrera, Eduardo Perales, Pete Ramirez, Linda Gonzalez, María Chavez, Roxana Cabral, and Carlos Perez.“I think it’s a great opportunity to learn more,” said Brianda Herrera, a senior marketing major and member of the winning group “I think it’s a perfect implementation of our knowledge but also to go out there and research a real company, a real brand, a real magazine.” Olivas said she devised the hands-on project to teach her students the necessary skills that they will need once they entered the professional business world. She was first contacted by Cancino to help with the rebranding project for the website that features student multimedia stories about borders.

Madres de las desaparecidas lloran los feminicidios de sus hijas

CD JUAREZ — Unidas en un grito de justicia “Vivas se las llevaron, vivas las queremos”, madres de desaparecidas se reunieron ante La cruz de clavos, frente al puente internacional Santa Fe este 9 de mayo. En un momento conmovedor, las madres con lágrimas en sus ojos, oraron y cantaron por el regreso con vida de sus hijas. En vísperas del día de las madres se manifestaron para exigir a las autoridades que encuentren con vida a sus hijas y se acabe con la impunidad. Las madres declararon que no tienen nada que celebrar porque les quitaron una parte de su vida. Después de repartir y pegar volantes con las pesquisas de sus hijas en la cruz, las integrantes de “Madres y Familias Unidas por Nuestras Hijas”, se dirigieron hacia el Valle de Juárez en una caravana llamada “Conmemorando la Vida”, en memoria por las jóvenes desparecidas, y las jóvenes cuyos restos fueron encontrados en la Sierra de San Ignacio del Valle de Juárez.

A smoke-free campus protects the health of all, but frustrates some

EL PASO — Some students and staff at The University of Texas at El Paso say that smoking cigarettes can ease the stress that comes with study or work, but that tension isn’t going away any time soon. After 100 years the cloud of tobacco smoke at UTEP is lifting. UTEP banned the use of all tobacco products from university property on February 20.Notifications for the major campus reform came through a mass email that afternoon but for some the full realization didn’t hit home until they arrived on campus the following week. The school mascot PayDirt Pete adorned Smoke Free Campus signs and orange flags representing tobacco litter on the floor were there like slaps in the faces of unaware smokers.This massive reform affects too many people to be broadcast through only an email, according to smoker Tony Acuna, who was one of many regulars hanging out outside the doors of the library. He said that his rights are at stake.“Smoking is my choice, just as eating fast food,” said Acuna.

Esta Semana Santa, líderes católicos en Pilsen hablan de la reforma migratoria

CHICAGO — La Pascua, la fiesta más importante del calendario católico, se celebra este año el 20 de abril — un año y nueve días después de que el Cardenal Francis George publicara una declaración oficial de la Arquidiócesis de Chicago en apoyo a la reforma inmigratoria. El propósito de esa declaración fue animar a la comunidad católica local a proponer activamente cambios legislativos y sociales. George escribió, “Ahora es el momento de reparar un sistema que no funciona”. Para conocer la respuesta a esta solicitud —y las conexiones entre la teología católica y las realidades que enfrentan los inmigrantes— entrevistamos a tres líderes de la fe en Pilsen, un barrio con una gran población latina. El diácono Juan Domínguez, quien ha trabajado en la iglesia St.

Immigration judges in Minnesota face a 3,000 case backlog

By Mark Brunswick and Alejandra Matos

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — The realities of an immigration system under siege came walking one by one, in handcuffs and prison flip-flops, into the Bloomington courtroom of Judge William J. Nickerson. In a windowless chamber with mismatched chairs and worn wood paneling, Nickerson, one of three U.S. Immigration Court judges in Minnesota, heard case after case of people from Mexico to Micronesia detained for violating U.S. immigration laws. Their appearances put faces to lives caught up in one of the country’s 59 overwhelmed immigration courts. Intensifying enforcement has built such a backlog that an immigration case first heard in Minnesota today likely would take until next year or longer — an average of 400 days — to settle. Even with regulations intended to speed justice, undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers wait in the community or languish in jail to find out if they will be deported.

Learning how to swim and following the rules can prevent drownings

EL PASO — Even though 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water there are people who don’t know how to swim and don’t find it necessary to learn.That attitude can drown them. “My dad threw me in when I was four,” said University of Texas at El Paso student Linda Flores, 20. “I had to learn not to panic.”
Most people can recall a scary, calm, or funny experience they had when learning how to swim.According to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, if a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in that household will learn how to swim.There are people that do not think swimming is dangerous, but when a person drowns there usually is no call for help. The victim can’t yell underwater and it can happen even in the shallowest depths.Studies from the Centers for Disease Control have found that a toddler can even drown in a bucket filled with water due to lack of supervision. The toddler’s head can get stuck on the way in and finding no way out, the child can slump into the bucket preventing the body from standing back up.

Documentary revives debate over Rubén Salazar’s death

By Kay Bárbaro

Lea esta historia en español

WASHINGTON — In spite of independent Hollywood producer Phillip Rodríguez’s stated belief that the killing of KMEX-TV (Los Angeles) news director Rubén Salazar 44 years ago was accidental,  two separate audiences – in Washington, D.C., and Long Beach, Calif. — that previewed his 54-minute television documentary, beg to differ. Where there was grist for an exposé, a TV rehash resulted, some say. The program — Rubén Salazar: Man in the Middle — is scheduled to run nationally April 29 on the Public Broadcasting Service network. Responding to PBS invitations, 125 brave souls, including Hispanic Link’s reporter/editor team Aaron Montes/Charlie Ericksen along with Scripps-Howard Journalism Foundation member Peter Copeland ventured into the sub-freezing night of Feb.

Candidate Wendy Davis talks equal pay at Café Mayapan

EL PASO — Gubernatorial candidate Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spent Wednesday morning speaking to media and volunteers at Café Mayapan, in El Paso, Texas. She focused her discussion on gender and economic equality. El Paso Sen. Jose Rodriguez and Rep. Marisa Marquez, both Democrats, introduced Davis. Davis spoke about Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and wage disparities within his office. “When he was first asked about it two weeks ago, he dodged the question,” Davis said in her speech.

La FDA propone nuevas etiquetas de informacion nutritiva

EL PASO — Debido al alto número de enfermedades relacionadas con la alimentación, la Oficina de Alimentación y Medicina (FDA por sus siglas en inglés) ha decidido, después de 20 años, hacer algunos cambios y actualizar la etiqueta de valores nutritivos de los productos alimenticios. De acuerdo a la FDA, la meta principal de estos cambios en la etiqueta no es solo decirle a  la gente qué deberían comer sino hacer más accesible la información nutritiva necesaria cuando los consumidores escogen los alimentos. El objetivo de la nueva etiqueta es atraer la atención del número de calorías y el tamaño de la ración. “La obesidad, enfermedades de corazón y otras enfermedades crónicas están encabezando los problemas de salud pública”, declaró Michael Landa, director del Centro de la Seguridad Alimenticia y Nutrición Aplicada de la FDA. Por eso, en las nuevas etiquetas se marcarán algunas diferencias.

Phony lawyers calling themselves notarios continue to scam unsuspecting immigrants

EL PASO — A “Now Renting” sign and an empty office is all Irma Castañeda found when she went to ask her immigration attorney how her deferred action petition was proceeding. She had paid the man who turned out not to be a lawyer at all $2000 to solve her immigration problem. Had the scam never happened, Castañeda would be done with her deferred action process. In the meantime, she is not allowed to work and she is desperate because her husband was deported recently, the house he started to build for them at Horizon City is unfinished, and she cannot feed or provide any comfort to her two daughters — Rosalva, 12, and Jackeline, 9, who was born with a developmental disability. According to immigrant advocates, individuals setting up phony legal offices on the bilingual U.S.-Mexico border are taking advantage of the frequent confusion between the term notario público understood to usually denote a lawyer in Mexico and notary public, which in the U.S. is a person with no legal training, with the very limited legal authority of a licensed notary public to basically attest to the validity of a signature on a document for a $6 fee.

A movement for cannabis legalization takes root in El Paso

EL PASO— On a recent Saturday afternoon, some 50 pro-cannabis legalization and decriminalization supporters and enthusiasts of all ages packed a stuffy bar here to rally for marijuana legalization in Texas.The crowd of mostly young people wearing Bob Marley T-shirts and Vans shoes stamped with marijuana leaves, crowded into the Soho Cocktail Lounge in downtown El Paso for the first formal meeting of the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML),which lobbies for marijuana legalization.The crowd also included casually dressed middle-aged persons as well as some dressed to the nines, along with a group of much older graying hippies. The assembly packed the bar with only standing room barely accessible. The organizers come from different professions but are joined by the same goal — “to achieve true individual liberty” by legally consuming marijuana. “If you feel that you are a free and beautiful individual human-being with inalienable rights, with self-ownership, you should be able to do whatever you want to do with yourself without having to harm anybody else… as long as you are not harming anyone else you should be free to do what you choose,” said Joshua Dagda, the organization’s communications director. Approximately 230 persons interested in the cause attended NORML’s inaugural organizational meeting January 11th at the Hilton Garden Inn on W. University Avenue.

Despite legalization in some states, local marijuana pushers peddle in the old fashioned way

EL PASO — Colorado and Washington State approved legal sale and personal use of marijuana last year paving the road for the rest of country to light legally, but, until that occurs, cannabis users will have to procure their weed the old fashioned way — from drug pushers.  

The illegal drug providers include individuals who put themselves at the risk of getting caught by police while obtaining the drugs from major traffickers and, then disbursing their product to a plentiful clientele anxiously awaiting their high.  

One local drug pusher who travels regularly from here to California to get his merchandise at the best market price now marvels at the irony while drug sellers are just retail merchants paying taxes elsewhere, he is considered a criminal here.  

In the meantime, he travels to get the best wholesale price. “They would give me 10 pounds every month, maybe 20,” said a source who wishes to remain nameless.

Pediatric depression is hard for parents to accept, but treatment is critical to a child’s development


EL PASO — Aleseems like a typical five-year-old girl talking with her dolls, attending pre-k, and playing with all her classmates, calling each one of them her best friend. As typical as she may seem, there is something about her that no one would discern by looking or even by talking to her. Ale, who shall remain anonymous at the request of her guardian, suffers from pediatric depression. “It’s because sometimes I feel sad and mad. Sometimes I don’t feel happy,”said Ale, in a soft, hushed voice.

New technology bridges US-Mexico border at Columbus school

By Lindsey Anderson

COLUMBUS, N.M. — The sun hasn’t yet risen when the first children arrive. Most are middle and high school students, beginning the bleary-eyed walk just after 6 a.m. Then come the youngsters, the elementary school children, accompanied by mothers and fathers and tías and tíos. The families walk through the opening in the wall, running indefinitely in either direction, and up to a small patio and the Columbus Port of Entry. The parents help their students slip on backpacks, zip up coats and plant kisses on little cheeks, then they send their children off to the United States of America. More than 300 young U.S. citizens living in and around Palomas, Mexico, cross into the United States each day to attend public school in southwestern New Mexico’s Luna County.

The film Man in the Middle on the life of journalist Rubén Salazar premieres in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Phillip Rodriguez’s documentary Man in the Middle on the life of slain journalist Rubén Salazar has great meaning for the U.S. Latino community and Hispanic media in this country, according to many attending its first showing. The 54-minute documentary, which premiered here Feb. 27 at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, describes the controversy that gripped an entire culture and the racial and social issues of the 1960s and 1970s. The crowd of 125 heard a brief statement from U.S. Representative Xavier Beccera  (D-Calif.) who said it was beneficial for the Hispanic community to bring to the public eye the life of the martyred Latino journalist. Salazar’s grandson Jackson Cook, son of his daughter Stephanie, who makes a couple of appearances in the film, drove the five-hour trip with his girlfriend Melissa Millen from his home in New York to attend the event.

Waiters feel the pinch as the IRS changes the rules on restaurant tips

EL PASO — Shirt tucked in, apron on, sipping her morning coffee15 minutes past opening, Vanessa Parralounges on the restaurant’s takeout bench waiting for her shift to begin scrolling through the social media on her phone. Briefly scanning the front entryway for any approaching guests, she couldn’t be any more prepared for the day’s lunch crowd. But the unpredictability of the amount of income she will receive that day from tips worries her. It’s a constant worry. The job puts money in her pocket at all times and that is a plus, however, she never knows how much that will be.

Religiosas católicas de Nuevo México crean un oasis en el desierto para los niños con discapacidades

CIUDAD JUÁREZ — Las risas y llantos de los niños se mezclan con las voces de sus padres y voluntarias en Proyecto Santo Niño, una humilde construcción de concreto, conformada por tres habitaciones con piso de cemento donde las madres se preparan para dar terapia a sus hijos. Afuera, una hermosa Virgen de Guadalupe pintada del tamaño de la pared blanca adorna la fachada. En este humilde lugar hace 13 años las religiosas católicas Hermanas de la Caridad de Cincinnati prestan sus servicios gratuitamente a niños con alguna discapacidad física o mental, en la colonia Anapra, una de las áreas más pobres de Ciudad Juárez. El común denominador de los 52 niños que se benefician de los servicios gratuitos de la clínica es que viven en extrema pobreza. En un país con un sistema de salud pública percibido como deficiente y rebasado por la demanda de servicios médicos, los niños con incapacidades físicas y mentales son los más desprotegidos.