HispanicVista Weekly Digest - Columnists&Commentary
- HispanicVista.com Weekly Digest for November 17-23, 2003
COLUMNISTS & COMMENTARY-OPINION
America: The Lobbyocracy
By Sal Osio, J.D.
We pride ourselves on being a democracy. We try to sell democracy to others.
We have fought wars to 'save democracy' to 'restore democracy' and, now, in
Iraq to 'impose democracy.' And yet, we have supported dictatorships, monarchies
and every brand of authoritarian political system. After WW II we supported
Batista in Cuba, Jimenez in Venezuela, Vargas in Brazil, Pinochet in Chile,
Somoza in Nicaragua, Marcos in the Philippines, the Shah in Iran, THE Monarchy in
Saudi Arabia, and so on ad nauseam. Why then do we hypocritically pretend to
make this a better world for democracy? And just as important: Are we, in
fact, a democracy?
Who's Got Your Back?
By Carl J. Luna
We the people don't like our perfect union as much as we used to. Back in the
"fabulous fifties" 75% or more of Americans in polls routinely agreed with
the sentiment that our elected officials as a whole generally looked out for the
good of the American people. Today, less than 30% of Americans hold such a
quaint opinion of their government. More often than not Americans now feel their
government is a hostile force working on behalf of powerful interests at the
expense of the common folk.
Foreign-born Hispanics in Education
By Erika Robles
Education is the only way to succeed in a competitive country like the U.S.
Unfortunately, according to recent figures education isn't a priority among
Hispanics. In the year 2000, 64 percent of Hispanic 18 to 24-year-olds had
completed secondary schooling, compared to 92 percent of Whites and 84 percent of
Blacks. The average status dropout rate for Hispanics is partly attributable to
the markedly higher dropout rates among Hispanic immigrants. Hispanic
immigrants' dropout rate is 44 percent, higher than the rate for first-generation
Hispanic youth, which is 14 percent and 8.2 percent for whites.
It Pays To Be Bilingual
By Domenico Maceri
As the Hispanic population increases, more and more services are being
provided in Spanish. Inevitably, government agencies are beginning to recognize
individuals who have bilingual skills. In Seguin, Texas, the city council voted
recently to provide a $30 per month stipend to 42 city jobs which provide
services to Spanish-speaking residents. The vote was later changed and Seguin will
not provide stipends.
Si...! Spanish is...the building-block of our culture!
By Ricardo Castañón
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra not only accomplished one of the greatest
literary works of all times with his "Don Quixote de la Mancha," he secured the
world's recognition for our first language. Through the centuries, Spanish, the
vernacular lexicon that originated in Castile, Spain, has been enriched with the
local flavor, accent, and typical expressions of the many different parts of
the world in which it is spoken.
Dream and Win The World
By Manuel Hernández
Once upon a time, there was a young and beautiful woman who was born a slave,
orphan, adopted and brought up in a foreign and distant land. One day, the
king, lord and ruler of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, sent out an
official proclamation. He was looking for a wife and queen and wanted all the
damsels of the kingdom to participate in the monumental quest. The young woman's
father urged her to dream and win the world. After a year of intense
competition, scrutiny and evaluation, the young woman's grace and beauty won the king's
heart and became his wife and queen.
By Michael G. Santos
Although I am in my 17th year of prison, I have never felt the need to carry
a weapon. Other prisoners do not understand how I have made it through so many
years living in maximum-, medium-, and low-security prisons without a single
altercation of violence. The answer is quite simple. I made a conscious choice
to succeed. Doing so does not require a knife or a steel pipe to defend
Americans - Veteranos All
By Steven J. Ybarra JD
Today, I remember my childhood friend Hatchet Gomez (names are changed, of
course, to protect the Vatos Locos). He was a little guy who kept a hatchet in
his engineer boots. He carried the hatchet because in fights he would get
knocked down, so he fought from the ground…Hatchet was a tunnel rat in the Vietnam
"Conflict" (back then, not good enough to be a war). Hatchet crawled around in
the dark supplied with explosives, a gun with a silencer, and a hatchet to
COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS
By Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez
Next time the president tells us there's no money for our dilapidated schools
and none for our run-down roads ... next time he ridicules the idea of a
national health plan as too costly ... next time he says we just can't blindly
throw money at our problems and proposes severe cutbacks for our human needs, ask
him about the latest $87 billion going to Iraq.
Senator Feinstein: A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep
By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Dianne Feinstein, California's Senior and Democrat United States Senator, is
approaching retirement in 2006 when she will probably not run for re-election.
A healthy distance passed retirement age, Senator Feinstein's recent words
and actions point more to her loss of reality than just purely partisan
Respecting Mexicans Revisited
By Richard Baldwin
Our President Fox has completed a tour of Arizona, New México and Texas. His
prime objective was to ask to "respect our people, to respect their rights,
and to give them a hand in their difficult journey". This is admirable, and some
question why Mexicans are not given the same visitation and travel rights as
Canadians have? Remember that no terrorist has come across from México.
Documentation for Canadians is simple, yet the US federal government does not
recognize our Mexican-issued ID cards that were designed to be secure. Although a
number of states do recognize the cards along with many banks, Mr. Fox ran up
against a stone wall in Texas with Governor Perry. But, after all, Texas is G.
W. Bush country.
A Mexican's Perspective
Mexico-US Binational Commission talks on Immigration stalled.
By Carlos Luken
At a press conference held by Mexican President Vicente Fox on the eve of his
November visit to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, when referring to migration
issues Fox said "The points we want to address are the need for documents for
migrants who are already there; we need for the families to be able to get
together with their relatives and organize a flow of people who go each year for
temporary work, or permanent work, without the need to become U.S. citizens.''
Beautiful and beloved Mexico, if I die away from you
By Naomi Adelson
By the end of September 2003, 181 Mexican nationals had been taken back to
rest in peace in their homeland from the area overseen by the Mexican Consulate
in San Francisco…Given that this consulate provides service to fourteen of the
58 California counties (all of Northern California) and Hawaii and only
handles information of the deceased whose bodies are shipped back to Mexico, in
reality, it is believed that many more Mexicans die on this area on a daily
Work a precinct for 13 hours, make sure all votes are accounted for, then
find out the election was already won or lost hours before - but I am ready to do
By Gloria A. Carrillo, JD
Every time there is an election, I am there along with my son, Rick, working
at a precinct. We work very long hours--from 6 AM to about 8:30 to 9:30 PM,
with only a small stipend amounting to about $5.00 an hour, no lunch, no
dinner...just an occasional trip to the bathroom…Why do we do it? We get great
satisfaction when we see people rushing in to cast their votes...so proud, thinking
the vote still makes a difference. But does it?
Latino museum a dream come true, no thanks to Texas
BY ERICK FAJARDO
Daily Texan (U. Texas-Austin)
About two weeks ago, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., introduced a bill that
would set up a research commission for establishing the National Museum of the
American Latino. The museum would be an extension of the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington. Given that Latinos are the largest minority group in the
United States (about 38.8 million) and that both a Native American museum and an
African-American museum are already under construction, the movement is a
timely one. So far, the bill has received bi-partisan support, and organizers are
predicting both federal and private financial backing.
Minority Rules - no president has won a majority of the popular vote since
By Steven Hill
As the dust clears on the California Recall election, one sobering reality is
only 40 percent of California's eligible voters and only 57 percent of
registered voters cast a vote-hardly the populist surge described by pundits and
pollsters following the actual vote…In fact, voter turnout was the second lowest
in California gubernatorial history, not far ahead of the sagging turnout when
Gray Davis was reelected in 2002. Long lines at some polls were due to the
number of polling places being drastically reduced-from 5,400 to 1,800 in Los
Angeles County, for example-rather than a huge influx of voters.
Why fighting corruption helps the poor
By David R. Francis
Fighting corruption is no longer just a moral issue. It has become a major
tool in the fight against world poverty…Once seen as the cost of doing business
in much of the globe - sometimes even regarded as useful in greasing the way
for development projects - bribery increasingly is viewed as a major stumbling
block to progress…And increasingly, governments and business groups around the
world are beginning to do something about it.
Army Times Editorial: No friends in high places
"You not only have a former Guardsman in the White House, you have a friend,"
President Bush declared during a 2001 visit to an Air National Guard base…But
for 120,000 Guard and reserve members employed by the federal government,
friendship seems to have its limits…The Bush administration last week persuaded
Republican lawmakers to vote down a provision in the $87 billion supplemental
funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan operations that would have given
financial relief to federally employed reservists called to active duty.
Debating the death penalty
By Dave Thomasson
With conservative ideas sinking new roots across American culture,
conservatives have new reason to test their own thinking. Columnists George Will and
Dennis Prager set an example by reopening a question widely regarded as settled
among conservatives: the moral justifiability of the death penalty…Will began
with a column that cited chilling case histories from Scott Turow's new book
"Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty,"
cases in which innocent defendants were sentenced to death.
My Cambodian Moment: Discovering the truth in Iraq
By Sen. Ernest F. Hollings
The majority leader of the Senate, Mike Mansfield, quietly opposed the war in
Vietnam for years. He had a practice of writing memos in opposition to the
war to Presidents Johnson and Nixon while publicly supporting the war on the
floor of the Senate. But finally, when Cambodia was invaded under President
Nixon, he snapped…Going on television, he said Vietnam was a mistake from the
get-go. The next day he received a letter from an admirer who had just lost her
son. She said: "I just buried my son to come home and watch you say that the
Vietnam War was a mistake from the beginning. Why didn't you speak out sooner?"
The Enemy in Iraq
By Michael Radu
Foreign Policy Research Institute
On October 27, four suicide bombers in Iraq killed over 40 people, mostly
Iraqis. The targets were the Red Cross headquarters and Iraqi police stations.
The suicide bombings continue to target Iraqis or international organizations
such as the UN or the Red Cross and to occur in the "Sunni triangle" -- the
Sunni areas of Baghdad and north/northeast of the city. What does this pattern
tell us about the nature of the enemies that the U.S. troops in Iraq face? A lot.
But judging from the administration's and the military's statements, the
nature of the enemies remains obscure in Washington -- and among Democratic
would-be presidents, complete confusion reigns.
By Walter Cronkite
The recent redistricting of Texas, promoted and directed by Houston's
congressman and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, reminds us that it is not just count
ries like Zimbabwe, Azerbaijan and Chechnya that rig their elections.
Standards of Intelligence Reasoning
By Stephen Gale
Foreign Policy Research Institute
Reading the news these days, one gets the feeling that there is an air of
true cluelessness as concerns the methods of reasoning used in intelligence
circles. Take for example "The Stovepipe," Seymour Hersh's recent article (New
Yorker, October 27, 2003) about the intelligence analysis leading up to the Bush
administration's decision to engage in the war in Iraq. Hersh (who is nobody's
fool when it comes to matters relating to the workings of government) repeats,
in one form or another, the refrain that key information was supplied to -
and analyzed by -- senior administration officials (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et
al.) "with little prior evaluation by intelligence professionals."
Resources War: Lessons from Bolivia
By Laura Carlsen
The Bolivian uprising that ousted President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada will
likely go down in history as the "War of the Gas." A plan to allow foreign
companies to export Bolivian natural gas through a Chilean seaport triggered
month-long demonstrations… No doubt, the Bolivian uprising goes beyond the question
of control over resources. At root, it is a crisis in political legitimacy
provoked by the constant crisis of legitimacy of an economic system that condemns
nearly three quarters of the population to poverty.
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