Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

The Genetics of Breast Cancer

Two genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer as much as 80%. Researchers say the genes have been found in one in four Latina cancer patients under 40 years old in the U.S. Nova Safo reports on some new genetic research into breast cancer and Latinas that has links with Europe.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Nova Safo.

Nova Safo is a Los Angeles-based reporter who covers a wide variety of topics ranging from the Hollywood entertainment industry, to visual arts, culture, politics, policy, health, science, the future of energy, economics, and the occasional massive wildfire.
His reporting has been heard on NPR’s various newsmagazines and other public radio programs, and published online by Yahoo! News and others. He is the recipient of Hearst journalism awards for radio reporting, as well as an NLGJA/RTNDA award for excellence in online journalism.

Vicki the Crime Fighter

For Vickie Cruz, coming out as a trans young woman in the 1960s meant learning to defend herself physically and emotionally. But with the support of her large Puerto Rican family, she used her experiences to help victims of sexual and domestic violence, earning her a Crime Victims Service Award this year from the U.S. Attorney General’s office. Von Diaz reports.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Merel van Beeren.

Von Diaz is a multimedia journalist based in New York City. Her reporting focuses on immigration, Cuba, and LGBT issues. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, GA. She is a Feet in Two Worlds fellow, and has published her work on PRI’s The World, WNYC, and New American Media.

Noticiando

Immigrant women who are victims of abuse will have more reason to hide if Congress approves a new version of the Violence Against Women Act. The law, which provides legal and financial assistance to abuse victims, is up for renewal. Changes in the House version, passed May 16, threaten current protections for gays and lesbians and immigrants. We speak to Cecilia Gastón, executive director of the Violence Intervention Program, Inc., for an overview on how these changes could impact immigrant women and their families.

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Cecilia Gastón is the Executive Director of the Violence Intervention Program, Inc. Ms. Gastón has been awarded one of El Diario/La Prensa’s Outstanding Women of the Year. She has worked as Assistant Executive Director for Administration and Operations at Inwood House, one of New York City’s leading teen pregnancy prevention programs. Previously, she worked as program director of multiple supportive housing programs serving persons living with HIV/AIDS for Health Industry Resources Enterprises, Inc.

Nicaragua: Women, Violence, and Elections

This upcoming November marks fifty years since the murder of the Mirabal Sisters by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Since then the three sisters have been a symbol for Latin American feminists everywhere and the United Nations has declared November 25th a national day for the elimination of violence against women. It will be commemorated in many Latin American countries, including Nicaragua, where women are currently experiencing an increasing wave of violence. As Presidential elections near in Nicaragua on November 6th, women’s organizations are condemning the violence and the laws, and institutions that perpetuate it. Independent journalist Maria Martin reports from Managua, Nicaragua.

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Latinos and the Debate Over Reproductive Rights

The Republican controlled House passed a bill that will eliminate all federal funding for family planning under the Title X program. The legislation specifically targets funding going to Planned Parenthood, which conservative lawmakers have attacked for its abortion services and advocacy of women’s reproductive rights. Within the Latino community, health advocates argue that this is a direct attack on access to health care for Latina women, while pro-life advocates say Planned Parenthood is promoting abortion among Latinos and other communities of color.

We host a discussion on the proposed cuts with Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute of Reproductive Health and Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

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Femicide in Guatemala

In Guatemala, as in many Latin American countries, violence against women is at a frightful level. With a population of 14 million, Guatemala officially counts more than four thousand violent murders of women from 2000-2008: 98% of the cases remain unsolved.

A mixture of misogyny, culturally-based gender inequality, and continuing corruption and impunity all add to the tragedy of these deaths. (You can read the report of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission on Femicide.)

A Guatemalan woman seeking asylum in the United States made her case on those grounds. An appeals court ruling in her favor has raised the possibility that more women may seek shelter in the United States to avoid becoming victims of femicide. Katie Davis talks with Allen Hutchinson, the woman’s lawyer.


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Violence in Bolivia

Over the past couple of years, women in Bolivia have been subjected to violent crime at a dramatically high rate. But a new law seeks to curb the violence, and to finally bring perpetrators to justice. The Fonografia Collective’s Ruxandra Guidi reports from El Alto, Bolivia.


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In Memorium: Esther Chavez Cano [1933 – 2009]

When Esther Chavez Cano first organized protests in 1993 in Ciudad Juarez, hers was the initiating voice against “femicide,” a term given to the murder of hundreds of women in this border town. She accused local police and political leaders of covering up the murders and chided local media for not paying enough attention to the crimes. And her protests led to international attention on the murder of women and girls in Juarez.

But Chavez was more than simply an organizer. She was also a healer. She went on to found the city’s first rape crisis center known simply as Casa Amiga. She traveled the world raising awareness of the murders in Juarez, and raising money for the center. In 2008, Mexican President Felipe Calderón presented Chavez with the country’s highest human rights award. Her center also receives support by Mexican federal grants.

Chavez succumbed to cancer on Christmas Day, 2009. El Paso reporter Monica Ortiz Uribe has this remembrance.


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Just Associates

In the days before the coup in Honduras that forced President Manuel Zelaya out of the country in his pajamas on June 28, 2009, several women’s rights organizations had been organizing for constitutional reforms. Within hours of the coup, these same organizations quickly took to the streets, calling on the de facto government to respect the country’s constitution and democratic institutions. According to leaders within these groups, many protestors were met with repressive tactics by police and military and these human rights violations have not been addressed.

Lisa Veneklasen is the founder and executive director of Just Associates (JASS), an international organization supporting women’s rights advocacy and political organizing in 30 countries in Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Mesoamerica. Veneklasen says many of the human rights groups in Honduras continue to look to the Obama Administration to support their pro-democracy stance and to pressure the Honduran government to investigate and prosecute human rights abuses.

Listen to the EXTENDED CONVERSATION:


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El Paso’s New Emphasis on Domestic Violence

In the 1950s and 60s, police often treated cases of domestic violence as personal family issues. Many women’s groups and activists worked throughout the 1970s and 1980s to change attitudes of prosecutors and law enforcement groups. But the issues surrounding domestic violence don’t simply go away with an attitude change.

El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza

In El Paso, Texas, teams of officers and victims advocates specializing in domestic violence cases are charged with investigating such complaints within 24 hours. It’s a program launched by the El Paso District Attorney. And it’s resulting in stronger criminal cases against offenders and quicker assistance for victims.

Latino USA contributor Monica Ortiz Uribe reports.


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