Adamant: Hardest metal
Friday, June 13, 2003

Creating an Al-Jazeera for Latin America?

<a>El Norte Digest NCM, Compiled and edited by Marcelo Ballve, Jun 05, 2003 Traducción al español

Creating an Al-Jazeera for Latin America?

Al-Jazeera has carved a place for itself in the global media landscape by broadcasting news shaped by the vision of Arabs and Muslims. Why can?t Latin America, endlessly sensationalized by European and U.S. media as a chaotic region of violence and dictators, create a similar broadcast network upholding its unique view of the world?

That was the provocative question posed by media expert Octavio Isaac Rojas Orduña in the Mexican on-line monthly magazine Sala de Prensa. He noted that several countries ? including Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil ? have sophisticated and financially strong media groups that currently are only focused on broadcasting within their borders, but would be capable of collaborating on such a project.

?The initiative of creating a united Latin American television with a global reach should begin with the support of governments and multinational institutions, who should be committed not solely for economic reasons, but for political ones,? he wrote.

He pointed out that a news channel advancing balanced views of Latin American reality and showing how democracy -- despite many remaining obstacles -- has become rooted in the region, would improve stability. He said regional integration efforts, such as the South American trading bloc Mercosur, would be helped along as citizens would become more aware of what was occurring in neighboring countries. Currently, he noted, many Latin Americans receive their news on other countries in the region through U.S. cable news.

New York Reverses ?Sanctuary? Policy for Undocumented

The unexpected news that New York City will drop its longstanding ?sanctuary policy? ? which prohibits local law enforcement from inquiring about immigration status ? is rippling through the city?s Latino media.

New York City Spanish-language daily El Diario/La Prensa reported in its June 3 edition that Mayor Mike Bloomberg, despite his support for a federal immigration amnesty for undocumented immigrants, had not upheld portions of the sanctuary policy created by a mayoral order dating to the 1980s.

Other city employees are still barred from inquiring about immigration status but are not prevented from reporting immigration information to federal authorities, said the paper, which estimated the city?s undocumented at 500,000 people.

Although city council members said they will now make the sanctuary policy a permanent law, immigrant rights groups said the city?s undocumented were now vulnerable to raids and may feel too frightened to report crimes. The Spanish-language daily Hoy had this headline June 4: ?Don?t Leave Home Without Your Papers!?

Several cities, including San Francisco and Houston, also have sanctuary policies that are being challenged through legal actions funded by groups that say the policies violate federal law. In a June 3 newsletter, Washington DC-based Project USA, a group that seeks to restrict immigration, said Bloomberg?s decision was a result of its legal pressure on New York City.

Have Matrícula Consular, Will Travel

A Mexican airline announced it will offer a discount to ticket-buyers who hold a matrícula consular, as the identification card issued by Mexican consulates to its citizens living in the United States is known. The announcement marks the first move by private businesses not only to accept the controversial card, but also to provide incentives to its use.

Mexicana de Aviación in Mexico City, which owns Mexicana Airlines, will offer a 5 percent discount on air travel to customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico who purchase tickets with the card, according to a story by Notimex, the Mexican news agency, published June 2 in the web edition of Mexico City daily El Universal.

?The constant increase in the use of this legal document... and its increasing acceptance in the United States, demonstrates the appreciation and recognition that is enjoyed by the Hispanic community,? the airline was quoted as saying.

Many U.S. municipal and county governments, hospitals and major banks, such as Wells Fargo, already accept matriculas, often used by undocumented immigrants who lack any other identification. Immigrant rights groups and the Mexican government argue the cards protect Mexicans from abuse and allow them to access to services.

Groups that seek to restrict immigration into the United States oppose the acceptance of the cards, arguing that it tends to encourage and legitimize illegal immigration.

U.S. Salvadorans: Not So Distant Anymore

Brother, Welcome Home. That will be the new name for a prominent monument in El Salvador honoring the large proportion of Salvadorans who live abroad, mostly in the United States, reports Departamento 15. The large arch was built on the approach to San Salvador?s international airport.

The old name ? Monument to the Distant Brother (Monumento Al Hermano Lejano) ? was deemed inappropriate by associations of U.S. Salvadorans.

They said they were not distant, since they were in constant contact and that the money ? nearly $2 billion annually ? they sent back home fueled the local economy, Departamento15 said. An estimated 1 million Salvadorans reside in the United States, with concentrations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Florida and New York. Some 6.4 million live in El Salvador.

Miami Salvadoran Eva María Silver, won a renaming contest launched in mid-2002 by the city of San Salvador and U.S. Salvadoran groups. Silver will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a free roundtrip ticket.

?I thought of the name quickly because that is exactly what my parents said when they received me back home,? the winner was quoted as saying June 1 in Departamento 15, which is a section of the La Prensa daily in El Salvador that focuses on U.S. Salvadoran communities.

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