Sunday, April 7, 2013

4.7.13 - Latino News Review: Marcos Saldivar: Being Gay, Latino and Fearless - Latino Voices on HuffingtonPost.com

4.7.13 - Latino News Review: Marcos Saldivar: Being Gay, Latino and Fearless - Latino Voices on HuffingtonPost.com


Marcos Saldivar: Being Gay, Latino and Fearless
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It's a small effort that by no means deserves praise, but if coming out to my family means preventing even one less oppressed gay person, it's worth facing my feelings of trepidation. It's worth enduring an awkward ...
Marcos Saldivar: Being Gay, Latino and Fearless
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Uruguay's Senate on Tuesday voted to legalize gay marriage with an overwhelming vote of 23-8 in favor of the bill. If approved, the law would make Uruguay the second nation in Latin America -- 12th in the world -- to legalize gay marriage.
My consequential Facebook status upon finding out:
"'It goes beyond homosexuality, it's about a law where everyone shares the same rights and obligations.Well, it wouldn't be the first time a Latin American country younger and more conservative than the US has made quicker progress than us."

It's a sobering reality and one that I have mixed feelings about. Though it's great to see another Latin American country embrace social change, it's still difficult for gay Latinos to embrace their sexuality.
On Monday morning, I showed up to work anxious to hear the discourse surrounding the Supreme Court's pending decision on same-sex marriage. My first status on Facebook that morning was:
"Nervous but hopeful that there will be great headlines today!"
Twenty-two "likes." Not too shabby.
Over the course of the day, I continued clicking the "reload" button to check the latest on HuffPost's Gay Voices. I will admit, because I was at work, I couldn't afford to be too invested in the dialogue, so I was mainly checking for headlines that said I could elope with a random (hot) stranger after work. If I so desired.
Upon arriving home, I was eager to get back to clicking the "reload" button on my computer. The next article that inspired another status update was one outlining prominent companies that were in support of same-sex marriage.
My status: "I work for one of these companies!"
Much to my chagrin, only 10 "likes." Lame. Still, I rejoiced the fact that HuffPost came out in support of me and my gay brothers and sisters attaining equality.
I continued reading the host of headlines and articles outlining the stories of those who could be affected by the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act and to overturn Proposition 8, the California measure that prohibits same-sex couples from getting legally married.
Amid the headlines, I read: "Divide Over Marriage More Stark Than Ever." Admittedly, it wasn't the headline that drew me in as much as the accompanying picture below it. It was a bunch of protesters outside of the Supreme Court carrying signs, most of which were anti-gay marriage.
Coming from a college that boasts a flourishing LGBTA community with excellent outreach programs -- the University of Southern California (fight on, Trojans!) -- I've attended a few rallies in Los Angeles at the height of the debate over Proposition 8 during the 2010 midterm elections. Thus, I've seen many a clever signs and many a pejorative signs. I've seen the "F" word in BIG, BOLD letters on signs, but I kind of just brushed it off because they were the minority.
But seeing the article's featured picture depicting anti-gay marriage slurs made me ponder:
"This picture is really intriguing to me. Though I've seen hateful signs during my participation in the marches for equality throughout Southern California, this picture had a much more profound effect on me. I think it says volumes of those who continue to support traditional marriage. The people with these disgraceful signs are at the forefront of the movement... embarrassing."
Only one "like?" Asinine.
Then, all the pink Human Rights Campaign logos on my friends' profiles became more conspicuous. I couldn't recognize whose profile it was with the logo, but what I did recognize was solidarity.
And, for whatever reason, I started writing a new status:
"Perhaps this may come across a bit uncouth or crass to my relatives, whom I seldom speak about my "sexuality." Though I'm not ashamed of being gay, I've adopted a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy to avoid an awkward conversation at the dinner table on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve. Maybe it's cowardly of me to say it this way. Maybe my relatives will be saddened by the idea that I ever thought they would reject me, disapprove of me or even disown me. Unfortunately, I didn't have the courage. But I do now. And I hope I can continue to have the same support you've given me all my life. (Maybe, I'll butcher this status in Spanish and it won't matter. Lol). ♥"
The above status was translated to Spanish to ensure my relatives, who are friends of mine on Facebook, understood. I hovered my mouse over the "post" button for a few seconds as I stared into my computer.
Click.
Almost, instantly I received two notifications: two "likes," one comment. The comment was from my cousin.
It was close to midnight. I needed to go sleep was my excuse for logging off Facebook for the night.
The following morning, after snoozing my alarm a few times, my iPhone had a few Facebook notifications for me. I ignored them. Almost an hour later, with three shots of espresso on the rocks (no, seriously), I checked my Facebook.
Fifty-seven "likes," 15 comments. Among them I noticed one in Spanish from Uncle Leo.
I considered the possible repercussions of my status. Worst case scenario: my relatives would disapprove and we wouldn't speak until they decided they were done brooding. All things considered, I felt a lucky gay Latino because we're not all as fortunate to have this outcome bestowed on him.
I finally mustered the courage to read my comments, most of which were supportive "I love you's." Even my first-grade teacher Mrs. Maloney joined the conversation: "You are and always have been an amazing person and I knew even in first grade that you were special. Glad to see you haven't lost your Spanish."
It was my sass that gave me away, I'm sure. Just eight comments below Mrs. Maloney's was Uncle Leo's note: "Hi nephew you have our support it was time for you to face the reality that we all new lets remove the white elephant in the room god bless you you're a precious human being."
That wasn't bad. At all, actually. Then again, my situation isn't norm and even I was hesitant. There are countless young gay men and women who don't have supportive families or friends to turn to and their situations are dire and often unfathomable. And it's for all those men and women who are scared that I "came out," so to speak. So that my relatives could put a face to the gay community and hopefully be less prejudiced next time they encounter someone gay.
It's a small effort that by no means deserves praise, but if coming out to my family means preventing even one less oppressed gay person, it's worth facing my feelings of trepidation. It's worth enduring an awkward Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
I eventually responded to Uncle Leo's comment:
"Thank you, Uncle Leo for your support! I think in this case it was a pink elephant in the room, no? Hugs and Kisses ♥ Marcos"
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U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks on Near-Record Exports
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The U.S. trade deficit decreased by 3.4 percent in February to $43 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Spain’s Rajoy to Be First European Head of Government Received by Pope Francis
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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will travel to Rome on April 15 to be received in the Vatican by Pope Francis, government officials said.
Spanish Judge Suspends Summons for Princess in Corruption Case
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A Spanish judge on Friday suspended his summons for Princess Cristina, youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos, in a corruption case after prosecutors challenged the magistrate’s decision to name her as a suspect.
Venezuela Authorities Raid Caracas Oppenheimer Office for ‘Currency Violations’
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Offices of Brisbane, Mendes de Leon, Pettus y Asociados, linked to New York-based Oppenheimer & Co. Inc, were searched on Thursday, Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on its website.
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EXCLUSIVE: The Top Three Contenders Being Considered To Direct ‘Fast & Furious 7′
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ff6-newfeature
Good morning cool kids! How is your weekend so far?
This past Thursday, Borys Kit over at Hollywood Reporter dropped the news that Justin Lin isn’t coming back to directFast & Furious 7. Universal wants to put the film out during Summer 2014 which means that Lin would have to prep that film now while being in post on Fast & Furious 6. Having directed the last four movies in the franchise back to back and most likely feeling the effects of franchise exhaustion, Justin Lin decided to bow out. The trade also stated that Universal is searching for another director, with a decision expected as early as next week.
Being a night owl pays off because I got word late last night and found out who the top three contenders are for the gig.
Drumroll please…
According to sources, they are…
wadlow
1) Jeff Wadlow
Having directed Kick Ass 2 for Universal, the studio must really like what they see in the upcoming sequel.





furman2) Brad Furman
Best known for directing The Lincoln Lawyer, Furman got Runner, Runner with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake coming out in the fall.





zwart3) Harald Zwart
Zwart is best known as the guy who directed The Karate Kid remake with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith.




So there you have it. What do you guys think? Chime in your thoughts below. If I was a betting man, my money would be on Wadlow because studios like to work with the same people. I guess we will find out this week.
But that’s not all cool kids!
We got ourselves a mailing list! So if you want to be down with what we are up to, signup below! Don’t worry we won’t spam you, but we are working on some very cool things if you want to stay in the loop! So what are you waiting for? Signup below!
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Venezuela's Capriles Wants Better Ties With U.S. If Elected President
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Henrique Capriles will demand respect from U.S. leaders, who he says have forgot the region.
Legalize It
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For the first time since attitudes began to be tracked, a majority of people in the United States say they now support making the use of marijuana legal, according to a new study.
Support for legalizing marijuana jumped higher for Latinos – 16 percent – since 2010 than it did in the general population, which saw a rise of 11 percent, according to the study, published by Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research group.
More than half of Latinos – 51 percent – say that the use of marijuana should be made legal, slightly less than the 52 percent in the general population who said the same. But Hispanics were less likely – 34 percent – to say they have tried marijuana than blacks or whites, half of whom reported having tried it.
Demoted For Denouncing 'Blatant Racism'
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HAVANA -- A leading Cuban cultural official said Friday that he has been demoted nearly two weeks after he published an opinion piece in the New York Times that criticized "blatant racism" on the island.
In a phone interview with The Associated Press in Havana, Roberto Zurbano refused to speculate on whether his demotion from publishing director at the influential, government-run Casa de las Americas cultural institute to a lesser role as an analyst was directly linked to the newspaper article, which was harshly criticized by official media.
Zurbano told AP he was angry over his interactions with the Times and accused the paper of "manipulations" of his copy, "inaccuracies in translation" and "ethical violations."
Specifically he complained about the title of the March 23 op-ed: "For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn't Begun." Zurbano said his proposed title suggested rather that the revolution "has not finished."
He said there were other problems with the editing of his piece, but did not give specific instances. And he nonetheless insisted that there was nothing in the article that he wished to retract.
"I continue to think the same ideas. There is still much to discuss about racism," Zurbano said. "That is and will continue to be my battle within and outside of the Casa de las Americas, but always within the revolution."
The last part of that statement echoed Fidel Castro's long-ago admonition on what constitutes acceptable criticism: "Within the Revolution, everything; outside the Revolution, nothing."
Contacted by AP, the Times stood by its handling of the article.
"As is the case with all essays we run, we worked very hard to ensure that the wording in the piece was translated properly and accurately reflected the writer's point of view," spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement. "There were numerous versions of the piece sent back and forth and in the end, Mr. Zurbano, and our contact for him (who speaks fluent English), signed off on the final version.
"We knew that Mr. Zurbano was in a sensitive situation and we are saddened if he has indeed been fired or otherwise faced persecution because of this essay, but we stand by our translation and editing, which was entirely along normal channels," it concluded.
The Cuban government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the Times essay, Zurbano had harsh words for island authorities' record on race and said that since Afro-Cubans continue to occupy the lower strata of Cuban society, they are least likely to benefit from social and economic reforms being pushed by President Raul Castro.
That surely touched a nerve in the Communist-run government, for which eliminating racism has long been a central tenet. Suggestions of racial inequality are highly sensitive, even if officials up to the president himself have acknowledged that problems remain.
"Raul Castro has recognized the persistence of racism and has been successful in some areas (there are more black teachers and representatives in the National Assembly), but much remains to be done to address the structural inequality and racial prejudice that continue to exclude Afro-Cubans from the benefits of liberalization," Zurbano wrote in his article.
In February, the National Assembly, or parliament, elected an Afro-Cuban president for the first time ever in Esteban Lazo, and officials point to a significant increase in the number of women and Afro-Cubans in leadership positions.
Zurbano told AP that his essay had been attacked by many and touched off "a discussion" about racism in Cuba and the piece itself.
La Jiribilla, Cuba's leading online cultural publication, published a series of critical pieces including one in which historian Silvio Castro accused Zurbano of being misinformed about race relations before the 1959 Cuban Revolution and said his essay appeared "in the wrong publication and with the wrong language."
Others defended Zurbano.
Noted singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez for one, called for "an airing of ideas" without "ganging up" on the author.
___
Follow Peter Orsi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Peter_Orsi
Follow Andrea Rodriguez on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP
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Legendary Poet To Be Exhumed
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ISLA NEGRA, Chile — The body of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda is being exhumed this weekend in an effort to clear up four decades of suspicion about how he died in the days after Chile's military coup.
A team of investigators is to begin digging on Sunday at Isla Negra, a rocky outcropping on the Pacific Coast where Neruda lived.
But forensic experts say there's little hope that the exhumation will answer the question of whether one of the greatest poets of the 20th century died of natural causes as was recorded, or if he was poisoned by the military dictatorship as his driver and some others believe.
Judge Mario Carroza approved a request by Chile's Communist Party for the disinterment, but did not permit the use of independent experts.
Neruda, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1971, was best known for his verses of romantic eroticism, especially the collection "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair." He was also a leftist politician and diplomat and close friend of socialist President Santiago Allende, who committed suicide rather than surrender to troops during the Sept. 11, 1973, coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
In the days after the coup, Neruda's home in Isla Negra was raided by authorities and a Chilean warship was stationed off the coast, its cannons pointed directly at the house, Araya said. "They're going to blow us up," the poet told his driver, then 26 years old.
Neruda, 69 and suffering from prostate cancer, was said to be traumatized by the coup and the persecution and killing of his friends.
"I write these quick lines for my memories just three days after the indescribable acts that led to the death of my great friend President Allende," Neruda wrote in the last page of his autobiography: "I Confess I Have Lived."
Neruda planned to go into exile, where he would have been an influential voice against the dictatorship. A day before he planned to leave, he was taken by ambulance to the Santa Maria clinic, where he was being treated for cancer and other ailments.
Officially, Neruda died there on Sept. 23 from natural causes related to the emotional trauma of the coup. But suspicions that the dictatorship had a hand in the death have lingered long after Chile returned to a democracy in 1990.
Former President Eduardo Frei Montalva died at the same clinic nine years later. Although doctors listed the cause of his 1982 death as septic shock from stomach hernia surgery, an investigation almost three decades later showed that the vocal opponent of the Pinochet regime had been slowly poisoned to death.
Araya said he believes that agents of the dictatorship injected poison into Neruda's stomach at the clinic. "Our mistake was leaving Neruda by himself on Sept. 23. If he hadn't been left alone, they wouldn't have killed him," Araya told The Associated Press.
But the Pablo Neruda Foundation that manages the poet's estate rejected Araya's allegation and the Communist Party to which he belonged long declined to make an issue of it.
Araya said party officials finally paid attention when he gave an interview to a Mexican magazine in May 2011 that created an international uproar.
Proving Araya's theory will be daunting.
Neruda's remains have been buried for years in soil that receives intense coastal humidity. Once they are exhumed, investigators will then have to work with what experts say is outdated technology and equipment.
"No big or false hope should be made about the exhumation and the analysis of the remains of Neruda yielding a cause of death" said Dr. Luis Ravanal, a forensic specialist.
Chile's legal medicine laboratory "lacks basic equipment for the analysis of toxics and drugs that even the most modest labs own," he said. "Technically there's a big limitation; there is no sophisticated equipment to detect other substances, so they'll invariably have to seek other labs."
Ravanal also said that Chile lacks expertise in analyzing bone remains.
Chilean Communist Party lawyer Eduardo Contreras, who is overseeing the exhumation, said he was disappointed that outside experts were not allowed.
"There's no ill doing or trickery, but I think this not rigorous enough," Contreras said.
Mexico's ambassador to Chile at the time, Gonzalo Martinez Corbala, had arranged to send the poet into exile after the coup and the poet sent Araya to Isla Negra to collect some clothes, books, cash and the original manuscript for his autobiography before leaving for Mexico.
Martinez said he saw the poet at the hospital on a day before he died. "He seemed normal to me ... nothing could make you think that he was going to die," he recalled.
On Sept. 23, Martinez was ready to take Neruda to the airport, where a DC-8 airplane waited with more than 100 exiles aboard. But at the last minute, the poet decided to postpone his departure by 24 hours. Those aboard agreed to wait on the plane, afraid that if they got off they would be arrested by Chilean authorities.
Araya thinks the delay might have cost Neruda his life.
"Neruda calls us at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday the 23th ... and says: `Come quickly because I was sleeping and a doctor gave me a shot in the gut, I'm in a lot of pain and I'm boiling!' Araya said.
The driver said that when he arrived at the clinic, Neruda had a high fever and a nurse told him that a doctor named Sergio Draper ordered a shot of dipyrone to bring the temperature down.
But Contreras, the Communist Party lawyer, said that Draper has testified that he left the clinic before that and "Neruda was left in the hands of a doctor with a surname Price, whose existence has not been able to be confirmed by anyone."
Chile's investigative police, the local equivalent of the FBI, searched through yearbooks of medicine graduates, but never found one named Price.
When Araya left the clinic to buy medicine for Neruda, he was seized by four men who beat him, shot him in a leg and took him to Chile's national stadium, where many leftists were held, tortured and killed during the dictatorship.
The driver was later released with help from Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, an outspoken human rights defender, and he fled into exile.
Araya gave Neruda's autobiography to Martinez, who kept the manuscript for many years at his home in Mexico. Neruda's widow fled to Mexico with other exiles in the plane that had been readied for the poet.
In the last pages of the autobiography, Neruda characterized Allende's death as a murder.
Neruda wrote that Allende "was buried secretly; only his widow was allowed to accompany that immortal cadaver... that glorious figure was shattered by the bullets of Chile's soldiers, who once again had betrayed Chile."
__
Eva Vergara on Twitter: https://twitter.com/evergaraap
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Otto Pérez Molina Implicated In Trial Of Former Guatemalan Strongman Ríos Montt
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A former solider told the court that current Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, then an army major, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage during Guatemala's dirty war.
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Ex-Dominican Drug Chief Extradited To U.S.
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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A former director of the Dominican Republic's National Drug Control Agency has been extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges.
Francisco Hiraldo is expected to be tried in federal court in New York. Authorities accuse the 55-year-old retired Navy officer of protecting drug traffickers for at least nine years, and of allowing 25 drug cargos to pass through in return for $100,000 per cargo.
Authorities also accuse him of receiving 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of cocaine as payment in 2008.
Hiraldo has said he is innocent and agreed to be extradited.
Agency spokesman Roberto Lebron said Saturday that Hiraldo was turned over Friday to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Some 300 agency workers have been accused of drug trafficking in the last three years.
Puerto Rico eliminates U.S. college entrance exam fees
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor says public school students will no longer have to pay to take the standardized entrance exams required by all colleges in the U.S. territory.
Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Thursday that the government will pay the $46 fee and offer the test at public schools during school hours. Previously, students had to pay for the exam themselves and travel to another location to take the test on a weekend.
Garcia said the initiative is part of a $1.2 million program to promote higher education.
About 17 percent of 2.4 million Puerto Ricans who are 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree.

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Spain Ends Atalanta Command with No Hijackings, 29 Pirates Caught
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Spain has passed to Portugal the command of the Atalanta, a European naval vessel for fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean, which it has held for the past four months, during which time there were no hijackings, nine attacks were aborted and 29 pirates were captured.

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