Brazil’s Supreme Court Suspends Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha

Top Story — A Brazilian Supreme Court minister suspended Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha from office on Thursday over Cunha’s alleged involvement in the massive corruption scheme at Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

Cunha stands accused of taking $5 million in bribes as part of the scheme. Thursday’s decision puts a spin on the seemingly non-stop scandal engulfing the Brazilian government. Cunha has long been considered President Dilma Rousseff’s biggest foe, having spearheaded the effort to impeach her.

Supreme Court Minister Teori Zavascki, who heads the probe into Petrobras, based his decision on a December request for Cunha’s removal made by Brazil’s Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, who determined that Cunha used his office to “destroy evidence, pressure witnesses, intimidate victims and obstruct the investigations at any cost.”

The news of Cunha’s removal is unlikely to influence Rousseff’s battle to avoid impeachment. The Congressional vote to impeach her, which was headed by Cunha, already took place on April 17.

However, a Brazilian senator appointed as a fact-finder by the special committee overseeing the latest phase of impeachment proceedings against Rousseff recommended on Wednesday that she face trial over improper handling of the country’s fiscal budget.

The report by Sen. Antônio Anastasia is yet another blow to the beleaguered president, coming one day after Brazil’s top prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to investigate her for allegedly trying to obstruct the sweeping corruption probe at oil giant Petrobras. The special Senate committee is expected to vote in favor of sending Anastasia’s recommendation to the full chamber, Reuters reported.

Rousseff may be forced out of the presidency next Wednesday, when the Senate is scheduled to decide whether she should face an impeachment trial. If at least 41 out of Brazil’s 81 Senators vote in favor of a trial, Rousseff will have to step down for up to 180 days as the trial moves forward. Vice President Michel Temer will then become interim president.

Rousseff is accused of mishandling the country’s finances by borrowing from state banks to cover significant deficits in the budget. The president has argued that her predecessors have also engaged in the act known as fiscal backpedaling, and that she did so to finance crucial social programs to combat hunger and poverty.

Her critics have argued that no former president has engaged in fiscal backpedalling in this scale, and that the maneuver led to an increase in the government’s borrowing costs. Rousseff manipulated the books, according to the critics, in order to make the budget appear healthier than it was ahead of her re-election in 2014.

On Tuesday, Brazil’s Attorney General Rodrigo Janot requested that Rousseff also face charges related to the wider Petrobras scandal that, for the past two years, has engulfed leading members of her Workers’ Party, as well as opposition leaders and the country’s top industrialists. The president stands accused of attempting to obstruct the investigation by naming her predecessor and mentor, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, minister in March. Silva has also been targeted by the behemoth corruption probe known colloquially in Brazil as Operation Car Wash. His ministerial nomination, suspended not long after, was seen by critics of the Workers’ Party as a way to give the former president special judicial privileges, thus allowing him to avoid prosecution in the lower courts.

Janot, the attorney-general, also requested that the Supreme Court charge Silva in the Petrobras probe.

“This criminal organization could never have functioned for so many years and in such a wide and aggressive manner within the federal government without ex-President Lula’s taking part in it,” Brazilian newspaper O Globo quoted Janot’s petition as saying.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Jaime Rodríguez, the governor of Mexico’s Monterey state whose election last year drew headlines because he lacked any party affiliation, a first in Mexico, has said he expects the apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to go on to win the presidency.

Mexico City will extend a ban on driving for 40 percent of the city’s motor vehicles for the third day in a row on Thursday due to elevated levels of smog, pointing to the city’s daunting challenges with public transit, industrial pollution and sprawl.

Caribbean

Cuba’s tourism minister said that visits by U.S. citizens have nearly doubled this year, a surge in demand that the authorities are rushing to meet by building new hotels and expanding or repairing strained infrastructure, including Havana’s dated airport.

A pregnant woman in Haiti died outside the gates of a hospital amid a strike by public-sector medical workers, who are protesting a lack of supplies, unsafe conditions in the workplace and poor pay.

The Wall Street Journal compares Puerto Rico’s current economic situation with Argentina, where hedge funds also purchased billions of dollars of the country’s debt and successfully demanded to be paid off in full.

Central America

Efforts to convict former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Rios Montt of genocide were delayed for the latest time on Wednesday, but this time due to the efforts of victims’ families, who successfully lobbied to have Rios Montt’s trial conducted separately from that of his former intelligence chief.

A radio reporter in Honduras recently survived two attempts on his life in a single day, prompting an outcry by press freedom advocates.

The New York Times reports on the “patriotic fervor” sweeping Panama in the wake of the “Panama Papers” document leaks. Panamanians are using hashtags like #PanamaIsMoreThanPapers to combat images of the country as nothing more than tax haven for the rich.

Andes

As Venezuela continues to suffer through widespread product shortages, inflation and power cuts, a new Datanalisis poll shows that President Nicolás Maduro’s approval ratings dropped more than seven points to 26.8 percent in March.

Bolivia’s natural gas exports, which are the country’s biggest source of hard currency, plummeted in this year’s first quarter, with exports to Argentina and Brazil down 48.4 percent to $594.4 million.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Wednesday that the United States will help Colombia in its battle against criminal gangs by providing intelligence.

Because of the massive earthquake that hit Ecuador last month, U.S. authorities are considering the possibility of giving Temporary Protected Status to Ecuadorian immigrants living in the United States.

Southern Cone

The Guardian takes a look at the rise of the far right in the wake of Brazil’s massive corruption scandal and the possible impeachment of the president, noting the growing influence of the so-called “bullets, beef and Bible” caucus in Congress.

Brazilian prosecutors have filed a $43.8 billion lawsuit against the two mining companies — Brazil’s Vale SA and the Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton Ltd. — whose dam collapsed last November in the country’s southeast, killing at least 17 and causing what some have described as the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. The mining companies, which are two of the world’s biggest, saw their shares plummet in the wake of the lawsuit, which will likely disrupt a far less expensive settlement that the companies reached with Brazil in March.

Just days after Brazil’s courts temporarily blocked the popular messaging app WhatsApp, a congressional commission has recommended a bill that would prohibit the government from blocking popular messaging sites.

Bloomberg reports on a strike taking place in Argentina’s southernmost Tierra del Fuego region — dubbed “the end of the world” — over austerity measures taken by pro-business President Mauricio Macri, particularly a decision to raise the pension age limit.

Omar Graffigna, the former head of Argentina’s air force, has been put on trial together with two ex-subordinates over their alleged role in the disappearance of two activists in 1978 during the country’s military dictatorship that lasted.

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Forgotten Latino Urban Riots and Why They Can Happen Again

By Aaron G. Fountain, Jr.

On June 13, 1971, rioting broke out at Roosevelt Park after police attempted to arrest a young man standing in a crowd of several hundred rowdy youth. A small scuffle escalated into a brawl leading officers to fire upon the crowd, wounding at least nine people. Outraged, nearly 500 youth moved into the downtown area where they overturned cars, shattered windows, looted and severely damaged and destroyed buildings. Police attacked rock- and bottle-throwing protesters with tear gas but were overwhelmed. The New Mexico National Guardsmen came into the city to assist officers. After two days of rioting, the city tallied over $3 million in damages. Shocked by the level of carnage, one journalist of the Albuquerque Journal wrote, “It was something you’d think couldn’t happen in Albuquerque, but it did.”

Unlike the riots in Watts in 1965 or Detroit in 1967, Albuquerque lacks the evocative label of 1960s urban uprising. The actors were primarily Mexican-American, and the riot occurred in the summer of 1971. Despite these anomalous characteristics, the rebellion was one of at least 14 Latino urban riots that occurred that year.

This year marks the 45th and 50th anniversaries of at least 17 Latino urban riots. These incidents have happened at least 57 times since 1964, but they are remembered in isolation. Preserving this history is crucial because the issues that sparked them, such as municipal neglect, discrimination and poverty, still exist in many communities around the country. Sadly American political culture portrays Latinos as recent arrivals, which makes it appear that these issues are temporary. Failure to address persistent issues in the community might increase the likelihood of another urban uprising in the near future — a plausible claim considering the incident of social unrest in Anaheim, California in 2012.

Most Americans are unaware of Latino urban riots because they fall outside of the black-white binary. Despite numerous books and documentaries about the 1960s and ’70s, these riots are rarely, if ever, mentioned. Sociologist Gregg Lee Carter published the only comprehensive piece of scholarship about the topic where he listed 43 riots in Mexican-American and Puerto Rican communities between 1964 and 1971. Nevertheless, there are some shortcomings in the list: some of the riots were melees, he missed several incidents, and they continued well beyond 1971.

I have provided an updated version of Carter’s list with hopes that people will become more interested in recovering this history and learn from it. By looking at several online newspaper databases and the works of other scholars, I included 25 additional riots. I disregarded racial violence, school and prison settings, as well as eliminated several of the incidents in Carter’s list. To determine what constituted a riot, I factored in that the event had to have at least 100 participants, result in significant property damage (destroying and/or severely damaging vehicles and buildings), and trigger a police response. With the exception of Los Angeles in 1992, Latinos were the primary actors in these riots; however, there were several incidents were whites and Blacks participated in almost equal numbers. There were numerous other incidents of civil unrest, but because property damage was minimal I did not include them. This list is incomplete because not all newspapers are digitized. Additionally, there was a discrepancy in reporting when Blacks and Latinos both rioted because some journalists reported only on Black rioters.

A glance at this list reveals some unique characteristics. Unlike Black riots of the 1960s, Latino riots occurred mostly in the 1970s, and they continued well into the early 1990s. Over two-thirds of them were in Puerto Rican communities. They occurred in major cities and in communities as small as Coachella, California, which had about 9,000 residents in 1970. Rioting broke out mostly in the Northeast. New Jersey had the most with 17 incidents.

Read more at Latino Rebels

Here is the updated list:

Latino Rioting in the United States

Location Date Group
New York, NY

8/29/64

Puerto Rican

Chicago, IL

6/12/66

Puerto Rican

Jersey City, NJ

6/19/66

Puerto Rican

Perth Amboy, NJ

7/30/66

Puerto Rican

New York, NY

7/23/67

Puerto Rican

New Haven, CT

8/19/67

Puerto Rican

Paterson, NJ

7/1/68

Puerto Rican

New York, NY

7/10/68

Puerto Rican

New York, NY

6/1/69

Puerto Rican

Trenton, NJ

6/12/69

Puerto Rican

Waterbury, CT

6/30/69

Puerto Rican

Passaic, NJ

8/3/69

Puerto Rican

Hartford, CT

9/1/69

Puerto Rican

New York, NY

12/7/69

Puerto Rican

Coachella, CA

4/5/70

Mexican-American

Jersey City, NJ

6/11/70

Puerto Rican

New York, NY

6/14/70

Puerto Rican

Hoboken, NJ

6/24/70

Puerto Rican

Los Angeles, CA

7/2/70

Mexican-American

New York, NY

7/15/70

Puerto Rican

New Brunswick, NJ

7/23/70

Puerto Rican

West Chester, PA

7/25/70

Puerto Rican

New Bedford, MA

7/29/70

Puerto Rican

Hartford, CT

7/31/70

Puerto Rican

Hoboken, NJ

8/28/70

Puerto Rican

Los Angeles, CA

8/29/70

Mexican-American

Los Angeles, CA

1/9/71

Mexican-American

Los Angeles, CA

1/30/71

Mexican-American

Pharr, TX

2/6/71

Mexican-American

Bridgeport, CT

5/20/71

Puerto Rican

New York, NY

6/9/71

Puerto Rican

Albuquerque, NM

6/13/71

Mexican-American

New York, NY

6/13/71

Puerto Rican

Oxnard, CA

7/19/71

Mexican-American

New York, NY

7/27/71

Puerto Rican

Lakewood, NJ

8/18/71

Puerto Rican

Camden, NJ

8/19/71

Puerto Rican

Hoboken, NJ

9/4/71

Puerto Rican

Los Angeles, CA

9/16/71

Mexican-American

Paterson, NJ

10/11/71

Puerto Rican

Boston, MA

7/16/72

Puerto Rican

Dallas, TX

7/28/73

Mexican-American

Long Branch, NJ

8/22/73

Puerto Rican

Newark, NJ

9/1/74

Puerto Rican

Springfield, MA

8/28/75

Puerto Rican

Wilmington, DE

10/20/75

Puerto Rican

Chicago, IL

6/5/77

Puerto Rican

Houston, TX

5/7/78

Mexican-American

Anaheim, CA

7/24/78

Mexican-American

Worcester, MA

6/21/79

Puerto Rican

Lawrence, MA

8/9/84

Hispanic

Perth Amboy, NJ

6/11/88

Hispanic

Vineland, NJ

8/29/89

Hispanic

Miami, FL

12/3/90

Puerto Rican

Washington, DC

5/5/91

Salvadorian

Los Angeles, CA

4/29/92

Hispanic

New York, NY

7/6/92

Dominican

El Salvador Arrests Architects of Failed Gang Truce

Top Story — El Salvador’s Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced the arrest of 21 people involved in a controversial 2012 gang treaty that has since broken down, including former congressman and ex-guerrilla Raúl Mijango, who mediated the truce, as well as 17 other former government officials and three police officers, The Associated Press reported.

The 2012 treaty between leaders of the rival Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha gangs had been praised at the time for helping cut El Salvador’s murder rate in half, although critics said gangs merely took advantage of the temporary peace to rearm before the truce formally broke down a year later, Reuters reported.

Additionally, Attorney General Douglas Meléndez said the consequences of the treaty may have been mistakenly interpreted as gains, according to the AP.

“While the homicide rate may have gone down, at the same time disappearances increased, and that created what came to be known as clandestine burial sites,” Meléndez said. He added that the truce ultimately contributed to “the strengthening and expansion of the gangs’ territories.”

Under the terms of the treaty, Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha leaders serving time in a maximum security prison known as Zacatraz would be transferred to prisons that would allow them more access to the outside world. According to Meléndez, the agreement ended up giving imprisoned gang leaders more latitude to enjoy banned items, such as cellphones and TVs.

Mijango, the mediator, was taken into custody for allegedly colluding with gang members to smuggle contraband items into prisons. At the time of his arrest, Reuters reported, Mijango was working to get another truce off the ground, even though the government has ruled out the possibility of future pacts.

The 2012 treaty’s dissolution led to skyrocketing murder rates in El Salvador, which recently surpassed Honduras to become the deadliest country in the Western Hemisphere, with homicide levels unheard of since the end of the country’s civil war in 1992. The government has responded to the surge in violence with an aggressive crackdown in gang activity, a move that experts say has led to more violence.

El Salvador’s police chief, however, told reporters measures to curb gang violence are working, with 352 murders in the country in April, a 15.8 percent drop from the same month last year; it was not immediately clear if that drop in murders was the result of gangs (or the security forces) resorting to more forced disappearances.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

A Latino advocacy group is suing a Texas cemetery association for its ongoing “whites only” policy, after a Latino woman was rejected upon attempting to bury her husband there.

Mexican police rescued three U.S. citizens who were being held in the northern state of Tamaulipas by gang members; the victims, members of a family of Mexican descent, were abducted while driving across the state of San Luis Potosí by kidnappers who later demanded a ransom.

Caribbean

The iconic French fashion house Chanel staged its first-ever Latin American runway show in Havana attended by a range of international celebrities on Tuesday, the latest in a series of cultural events hosted by an opening Cuba, although the rampant wealth on display has highlighted many Cubans’ disillusionment with their own government, the AP reports.

An analysis in The Guardian highlights the sharp contrast between Cuba’s commercial opening and the U.S. territory Puerto Rico’s economic crisis, an ironic reversal of the two islands’ Cold War-era positions.

Central America

Previously unpublicized court records from 2014 show that the Honduran government and private companies repeatedly attempted to portray activist Berta Cáceres as a violent anarchist, using legal harassment and threats, which activists say helped create a climate of hostility that led to her murder.

Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela defended his country and reiterated his commitment to promoting greater financial transparency during Tuesday’s 46th annual Washington Conference on the Americas, arguing that the tax evasion evidenced in the Panama Papers speaks to a global, not a Panamanian problem.

Andes

The Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has issued at leats $310 million worth of a unique type of debt to private companies in an effort to pay suppliers, evidence of the company’s dire financial situation with $5 billion in bond payments due by the end of the year.

Hundreds of people with disabilities marched, many in wheelchairs and on crutches, from Bolivia’s city of Cochabamba to La Paz —a trek of over 185 miles, where they clashed with riot police during demonstrations meant to pressure the government to pay disability benefits of $72 a month.

Southern Cone

Following testimony by a senator, Brazil’s Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot urged the country’s Supreme Court to begin an investigation into former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his alleged role in the corruption scheme at the state oil firm Petrobras.

Brazilians regained access to the highly popular messaging service WhatsApp after a federal judge lifted a block placed on the app after parent company Facebook refused to hand over information related to a criminal investigation, the second such shutdown of the service in the past year.

Thousands of Chilean fisherman blocked roads across the southern region of Los Lagos in protest against what they claim is the government’s failure to control the “red tide,” a naturally-occurring algal bloom that has poisoned seafood at record levels this year.

The Guardian reports on profile of Paraguayan subsistence farmers and the journalists and activists committed to assisting them in their struggle to retain their land despite efforts by large-scale soya farmers in a country where 80 percent of the land is controlled by less than two percent of the population.

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Opposition Submits Signatures to Begin Ouster of Maduro

Top Story — The Venezuelan opposition coalition, MUD, submitted more than 1.8 million signatures to the country’s election council to initiate the recall referendum process for President Nicolás Maduro.

The signatures, collected in just five days, were nearly nine times more than the 200,000 required by the council and mark the first steps to remove Maduro, whose term is scheduled to end in 2019.

The opposition may have to wait 30 days for the national election council to verify the signatures before beginning the second round of petitioning, which would require the approval of 20 percent of the electorate, nearly 4 million voters. If secured, the second round would trigger a recall election in which a larger number of Venezuelans would need to vote to recall Maduro than the some 7.6 million who voted for him in the 2013 election.

Venezuela has been plagued by a worsening food crisis, electricity shortages and triple digit inflation, fueling growing frustration with Maduro and the Chavista government that exploded into riots and looting last week.

MUD leader Jesús Torrealba stated that submitting the signatures signaled the opposition is committed to “peaceful and constitutional” political change in the face of what many expect to be political obstructionism by the pro-government Supreme Court as they attempt to delay the recall election until 2017, when the current vice president would succeed Maduro.

In his address during Sunday’s May Day celebrations, Maduro called on supporters to fight back should he be recalled, saying, “Declare yourselves in rebellion and undertake an indefinite strike.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Mexico City authorities announced a new pollution alert after smog rose above 1.5 times acceptable limits on Monday, and are requiring 40 percent of cars keep off the streets today, an additional measure to a pre-existing rule in effect through June that requires one-fifth of vehicles stay home on weekdays.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s environmental prosecutor announced Monday it is fining Ford’s local unit just over $1 million for selling nearly 5,000 vehicles that were missing the certifications required under gas emission and noise level regulations.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s hardline stance against immigrants has pushed migrants eligible for U.S. citizenship to rush to apply for naturalization, especially as his nomination becomes increasingly likely, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Fox News Latino reports that Trump’s negative rhetoric surrounding Mexico may have actually helped improve U.S.-Mexico relations, as both countries’ governments have ramped up efforts to improve their relationship amid negative press.

Caribbean

A 704-passenger Carnival cruise ship docked in Havana on Monday as hundreds of Cubans observed from the capital’s iconic Malecón sea-wall, snapping photos of the first cruise ship to sail from Miami to Cuba in nearly 40 years.

Puerto Rico’s failure to meet a principal debt payment of almost $400 million foreshadows the risk of cascading defaults this summer, when more than $2 billion in bills are due, according to The Wall Street Journal, a possibility that is placing further urgency on negotiations in Congress. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned Monday that Puerto Rico may require a taxpayer-funded bailout, if Congress does not pass the proposed debt restructuring legislation.

Central America

Four men have been arrested in the murder of famed Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, including an employee of a firm behind the hydroelectric project she helped block.

Dozens of suspected gang members of a cell specializing in extortion were arrested in Guatemala on Monday as a result of more than 120 raids targeting the notorious Barrio 18 gang.

The Thomas Reuters Foundation reports on how rape, incest and a lack of sexual education are behind a growing number of pregnancies among girls in El Salvador, which has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Latin America.

Andes

13 days after a devastating earthquake hit Ecuador, a 72-year-old man has been rescued, alive but in a severe state of dehydration, from the rubble in the fishing town of Jaramijó.

Southern Cone

Raúl Reynoso, an Argentine federal judge who investigated thousands of drug trafficking cases during the course of his career, has now been arrested and charged with helping drug traffickers in exchange for bribes.

Brazil has issued a 72-hour ban on the mobile messaging service WhatsApp in an ongoing dispute regarding the access to encrypted data.

As the Summer Olympics prepare to open in Rio de Janeiro this August, The New York Times reports on the history of Brazil’s anti-doping lab that will be used for the event.

An Argentine prosecutor petitioned Monday that former President Cristina Fernández and her son be investigated for illegal enrichment linked to two businessmen currently under investigation for money laundering and tax evasion, the latest allegation in a string of corruption accusations against the former president.

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National Online Survey of 8,000+ Latinos: Clinton 62%, Other 26%, Trump 12%

A new April online mobile survey of more than 8,000 U.S. Latinos conducted in Spanish by Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and mobile Hispanic advertising company Adsmovil reported that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a commanding 50-point lead over Republican candidate Donald Trump. According to the survey, which ran from April 11-15, 62% of Latinos chose Clinton, with only 12% choosing Trump and 26% preferring another candidate.

Slide1

The survey also broke down the data based on gender, age and educational levels. Despite Clinton’s overall popularity with Latinos, the candidate’s numbers barely beat out “Other” with younger Latino voters.

Slide2

This week, Latino USA explored some of the reasons why this Latino generation gap exists.

Nonetheless, all the findings in this latest online mobile survey indicate that Clinton’s Latino support over Trump is strong.

Slide4

When survey organizers ran a similar survey from April 18–22 and got a response from 7,714 Latino voters, Clinton’s support went from 63% to 65%. Trump stayed at about 12%, while “Other” dipped to 23%.

Slide5

In March, Latino USA spoke with FIU Professor Eduardo A. Gamarra about these online mobile surveys and their methodology. At the time, Gamarra was sharing the results of a online survey that had asked about 9,000 Latino voters in Spanish their preference in a head-to-head election between Clinton and Trump. That poll showed Clinton with a 60-point lead, although respondents were only given two choices, unlike the three choices of the April survey. Here is what Gamarra said then about that March poll and its findings:

“What we found about our survey is that results actually paralleled the results’ average of all other polls,” Gamarra said.

Gamarra also noted that even though the FIU survey is not a “probabilistic poll” like Gallup, this new type of survey does add value informing the Latino community, especially since the number of polling organizations that focus on the Latino electorate is very small.

“Probabilistic polls assume that every Latino in the United States would have an equal chance of being polled. This is simply not the case here with this survey,” Gamarra said. “We knew that going in that this was not probabilistic. Probabilistic polls are very difficult to make these days because of the constraints around land lines and other factors.”

“What we are saying is that we have a database that belongs to Adsmovil, which we are polling,” Gamarra continued. “Everyone in that database has an equal chance of being polled. But we are not claiming to speak for all Latinos. We are not in that range. But what we are saying, and this is the important part—because we are getting such large numbers, about 10,000 responses, we are compensating for the fact that this survey is non-probabilistic by getting the huge numbers that we are getting.”

Having such numbers, Gamarra explained, gave his group’s efforts “confidence in the results” of the survey.

Adsmovil shared the following toplines of the April with Latino USA. The survey also asked participants what where the most important issues facing Latinos in the U.S. right now. According to the results, immigration and the economy topped the list.

Rosario Dawson Talks Details of Her Arrest Like It Ain’t No Thing

Rosario Dawson made headlines after she was arrested on April 15, in Washington, D.C., during a protest against money in politics. But the incident doesn’t seem to have fazed her much.

The actress was one of the hundreds who marched on the Capitol as part of “Democracy Spring,” a movement fighting against voter suppression and big money corruption. The “Daredevil” actress was detained after she and other activists crossed a police line to stage a sit-in. Dawson was back in D.C., for Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner where she casually told USA Today she was partly back in town due to her arrest.

“I’m really well,” Dawson said. “I came, I had to go and get fingerprinted yesterday from getting arrested at ‘Democracy Spring,’ so it was really good. We had lunch, actually, at the Capitol. It was really interesting to be there for a different reason. But luckily all is good with that.”

Read more at HuffPost Latino Voices

The Latino Vote, Maria Hinojosa, Cristela and Hispandering: Catch Latino USA This May 5 at DePaul

If you are in Chicago this Thursday May 5 and love politics, don’t miss this free event brought to you by DePaul University’s Department of Latin American and Latino Studies and the Futuro Media Group, producers of Latino USA, Humanizing America, In The Thick and America By the Numbers With Maria Hinojosa:

Flyer

The event is open to the public. You can register for free at this link. Here is the schedule of events:

Schedule:

9:00-9:30am – Introductions and Coffee

9:30-11:00am – Deconstructing the Myth of Numbers with Maria Hinojosa (Futuro Media Group), Mark Hugo Lopez (Pew Research Center), Cristina Mora (University of California, Berkeley), Michael Rodriguez (University of Chicago), and Julio Ricardo Varela (Futuro Media Group)

11:15-12:30pm – Humanizing America viewing and guests with Christian Diaz (“Young and Latino”) , Anthony Downer (“Leaders of Color”), Omar Lopez (“Senior and Progressive”), Reema Ahmad (“Young and Muslim”), and Maria Hinojosa

12:30-1:00pm Networking and Strategizing Break

1:00-2:15pm – Black/Brown Coalitions with Valerie Johnson (DePaul University), María de Los Angeles Torres (University of Illinois in Chicago), and Laura Washington (Chicago Sun Times)

2:15pm-3:00pm – Hispandering with Latina comedian Cristela Alonzo

WHEN
WHERE
DePaul University Lincoln Park Student Center – 2250 North Sheffield Avenue Room 120A (Multipurpose Room), Chicago, IL 60614 – View Map

Puerto Rico Will Default on $422 Million Payment Today

Top Story — Puerto Rican governor Alejandro García Padilla announced on Sunday that his administration has enacted a debt moratorium, meaning the U.S. territory will default today on a $422 million payment—the largest default to date for the crisis-stricken island.

The announcement comes after the U.S. government failed to agree on a restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt or a financial rescue package. Many fear that this latest default is a good indication that Puerto Rico will also default on a more consequential $2 billion debt payment due July 1, which includes bonds that are explicitly guaranteed by the territory’s constitution.

García Padilla said Sunday that he was unable and unwilling to make today’s payment because doing so would have meant cutting off essential services to Puerto Ricans, including public hospitals and schools.

Puerto Rico is struggling under more than $70 billion in public debt, a large chunk of which is owned by mutual funds and hedge funds in the United States. García Padilla and others have called for Puerto Rico to be granted access to bankruptcy protections or to be offered some kind of financial assistance package. As it currently stands, Puerto Rico —unlike U.S. states and municipalities— is unable to declare chapter 9 bankruptcy, meaning the government is unable to restructure its debts with its creditors.

The crisis has had devastating impacts on Puerto Ricans. Many hospitals have been forced to cut services, hundreds of schools have been closed over the last several years, unemployment is hovering around 12 percent and more than 40 percent of the population lives beneath the poverty line.

Around 60 percent of Puerto Ricans receive benefits under Medicare or Medicaid, although the island reportedly receives significantly less funding than the 50 U.S. states; the resulting government borrowing has contributed to the island’s current debt crisis.

The first death from Zika virus in the United States was confirmed Sunday in Puerto Rico, where the government is bracing for a large outbreak that is expected. There have already been 683 confirmed cases of Zika, 65 of which were pregnant women, and many are worried that financial meltdown will leave Puerto Rico unable to cope.

The territory’s Institute of Statistics released figures on Sunday that show close to 2 percent of the island’s population left for the mainland United States in 2014.

García Padilla slammed the U.S. Congress on Sunday for failing to agree upon assistance to Puerto Rico, which he blamed on ideological divides among lawmakers. He has previously called for the U.S. territory to be granted access to bankruptcy.

“We can’t wait longer,” he said Sunday, according to The Associated Press. “We need this restructuring mechanism now.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Immigrant rights activists took to the streets during a Los Angeles May Day rally carrying piñatas and effigies of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, just days after protestors in San Francisco blocked Trump’s motorcade from entering a campaign rally, forcing him to go through a back door to get into the convention center.

The relationship between the Mexican government and the international team of independent experts who came to investigate the case of the missing 43 students has been rocky, but took a bitter turn last week with the release of a report condemning the government’s handling of the case, writes Kirk Semple for The New York Times.

Caribbean

The Carnival cruise ship Adonia set sail from Miami to Cuba on Sunday, the first cruise destined for the island to depart from the United States in more than 50 years.

Some 600,000 Cubans participated in a march to celebrate International Workers Day on Sunday, the majority wearing red to demonstrate their resolute socialist ideals even in light of the island’s changing relationship with the United States and the March visit from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Central America

More than 24 Honduran police commanders were fired after a civilian police reform commission found that they authorized the murder of the country’s anti-drug czar at the behest of a drug cartel.

Andes

On Saturday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced a 30 percent increase in the minimum wage, a measure which is meant to tackle high inflation and a stagnating economy.

Colombian authorities announced the capture of Gerson Gálvez, also known as “Caracol,” who is one of Peru’s most-wanted drug lords and will be facing deportation back to Peru after being arrested in Medellin on Saturday.

Southern Cone

The BBC reports that Brazilian scientists are warning that the Zika virus could be more dangerous than initially expected, with as many as 20 percent of Zika-affected pregnancies potentially resulting in the birth defect microcephaly.

The New York Times reports on Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and her estrangement from her long-time allies in the Brazilian government, which may play a decisive role in her possible impeachment.

On Sunday, President Dilma Rousseff announced she would raise spending on her party’s hallmark anti-poverty program, a measure seen as an appeal to those who are considering removing her from office.

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The Latinidad of Ted Cruz: Does it Even Matter?

Ted Cruz has gotten further than any other Latino presidential candidate in history. His campaign says he could be the first Hispanic president, yet Cruz has faced criticism for not being “Latino enough.” Cruz has also been criticized for not supporting immigration reform, for not speaking Spanish well, for not using the words “Latino” and “Hispanic” to self-identify, and for not aligning with “Latino values,” which we know can vary from family to family.

Either way, people have been asking just how Latino Ted Cruz is? But even the thought of this question being asked is insulting to some people, because asking someone to prove just how Latino he or she is, goes against an important part of the Latino community: its diversity.

Featured image: Ted Cruz (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Latino Candidates for Veep

Right now, with Donald Trump leading the pack of Republican candidates, there’s a chance we could have the first Latino vice presidential candidate in Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. On the Democratic side, Mexican-American Julián Castro, current head of Housing and Urban Development, has long been discussed as vice president material. But Castro has been critiqued, and Tom Perez, Secretary of Labor, might be another possibility.

Featured image: Julián Castro (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)