Cuban Postal Delivery to US Halted

Yahoo! News reports an announcement from Cuba’s mail firm which declared it has stopped postal delivery to the US. Postal deliveries were originally suspended in 1963 following Cuba’s communist revolution led by Fidel Castro, but in 2009 Barack Obama negotiated a reinstatement of indirect mail delivery through countries such as Mexico and Canada.

The progress the Obama administration seemed to be making with the Cuban government halted when the Cuban postal company released a statement that “until further notice Cuban post offices cannot keep accepting any type of mail for the United States.”

However, the Cuban postal service claims that it is not their fault; the suspension results because in November the US applied stricter anti-terrorism measures to mail deliveries from many countries including Cuba. These restrictions have caused mail to be sent back to Cuba, which makes the service more costly for Cuba.

This announcement comes as a surprise, as Obama’s recent decision to renew mail delivery to and from Cuba, as well as his decision to ease travel restrictions to Cuba, were seen as reparation moves.

Cuban Postal Delivery to US Halted

Yahoo! News reports an announcement from Cuba’s mail firm which declared it has stopped postal delivery to the US. Postal deliveries were originally suspended in 1963 following Cuba’s communist revolution led by Fidel Castro, but in 2009 Barack Obama negotiated a reinstatement of indirect mail delivery through countries such as Mexico and Canada.

The progress the Obama administration seemed to be making with the Cuban government halted when the Cuban postal company released a statement that “until further notice Cuban post offices cannot keep accepting any type of mail for the United States.”

However, the Cuban postal service claims that it is not their fault; the suspension results because in November the US applied stricter anti-terrorism measures to mail deliveries from many countries including Cuba. These restrictions have caused mail to be sent back to Cuba, which makes the service more costly for Cuba.

This announcement comes as a surprise, as Obama’s recent decision to renew mail delivery to and from Cuba, as well as his decision to ease travel restrictions to Cuba, were seen as reparation moves.

In Peru: Cooking for a Better Future

A distinguished chef opens a culinary school in Peru to cater to low-income students so as to help them to achieve their dreams of becoming chefs.

Gaston Acurio, who has many restaurants around the world, opened this school in Pachacutec, where there’s scarce running water and sewage systems.

Acurio recruited renowned chefs to volunteer their time, and Limas municipal Water Company donated 185 gallons to fill the wells.

According to Yahoo News, Anthropology professor Carlos Aramburu stated culinary work will not eliminate poverty but “it is helping to create small integrated economies, for example, between restaurants potato growers, fishermen, and creating jobs.”

Many chefs believe that Peru’s popular cuisine can be an essential “democratizing force in a land of deep inequities.”

Former Guatemala President on Trial for $15 Million Embezzlement

The prosecution of former President of Guatemala Alfonso Portillo is underway for the embezzling of public funds to the ministry defense fund. During Portillo’s 2000-2004 term of presidency, he is believed to have transferred more than $15 million, according to BBC. Not only is he wanted in Guatemala, but the US wants to prosecute him as well for committing fraud with donations for educational projects in Guatemala.

Why has it taken seven years? Portillo fled shortly after his presidency but was forced back to Guatemala in 2008 to continue his trial. The US cannot prosecute him until he is done with his trial in Guatemala, in accordance with Guatemalan law.

Free Money With a Little Effort

What is the price of an hour of your time? Is it worth the minimum wage of $8 an hour? An hour of frantically dealing with customers and their requests and complaints throughout a working day in a fast-food job or clothing store – the majority of the jobs obtained by students – is what many striving students engage in to help pay their way through school. With no wonder why either, as the tuition for UCs will rise again within the following year.

There’s an easier out of flipping burgers, and it’s called scholarships. FREE money. We kind of like money right? So why isn’t there an insane number of students going after these scholarship opportunities? Maybe the reason why is because some students like working harder than they should and finding time to squeeze in homework and studying between their busy schedules. Or maybe it is because they think they don’t qualify for them; of course this assumption is WRONG. Many scholarships are aimed towards those lower-income students, but there is variety among the qualifications for them and some are as easy as simply being left-handed. The more work required in applying for a scholarship can predict the possible number of applicants applying for that scholarship. In simple terms, more work necessary equals more chances of winning when applying.

My first experience in applying for scholarships was a good experience, as I received a total of $5,000. Not bad for a first timer, right? I was amazed at what the few hours a day spent working on a few essays did to my bank account. I was even able to sit at a conference table and listen to a franchise of McDonald’s fast-food restaurants across the United States and Senator Joe Baca speak to a group of the Joe Baca Foundation Scholarship recipients. The experience was life-changing and has motivated me to excel beyond the Hispanic community and onto worldwide success, not accepting the disadvantages that I face and making the most of the limited opportunities such as being raised in a small suburban neighborhood.

What it comes down to is that these people are trying to help us – they want to see us succeed and are willing to offer financial assistance. Senator Joe Baca invited us the San Manuel Cultural Center, which was interesting to enter the gated community where we able to have dinner along with his children Joe Baca Jr., Jeremy Baca, and Natalie Baca-Ramos. This action demonstrated to me the interaction he attempted to develop with the recipients of the scholarship. The Joe Baca Foundation Scholarship donated $43,000 to 43 (because California is the 43rd district) recipients. What these donators are attempting to do within these scholarships is not to choose the highest-standing person on an academic level, but to pick an individual who will put their money to good use by helping others. After all, we as a group are the future. This is an opportunity among us students, and we must take advantage of it.

So what does it take to be successful and win some cash?

Probably the most important thing is finding the time to do these scholarships. School can be busy enough already and the only way to make an attempt at winning any scholarships is to actually apply.

I would also suggest taking the time to answer the questions on the application with sincerity. I usually do this by reading the questions early and throughout the day I am able to put great thought into answering. The best thinking comes when one is not in front of paper (this works best for me at least). I have found that despite different circumstances, everyone has a story; it’s a matter of discovering what is yours.

One last tip I have is do try and do as many as you can; once you begin completing a few applications you will notice they will start to ask about the same topic. Rearrange your answers according to the question, and voilà! Keep in mind not to get sloppy with the applications: quality over quantity anytime. Good luck!

UCLA Scholarship Resource Center guides students through the scholarship process. They offer workshops on winning scholarships, finding scholarships, and writing personal statements. It’s great and the resources are there for you, so now there’s no excuse! Also be sure to check out their Facebook page!

-Jess

Free Money With a Little Effort
What is the price of an hour of your time? Is it worth the minimum wage
of $8 an hour? An hour of frantically dealing with customers and their requests
and complaints throughout a working day in a fast-food job or clothing store—the
majority of the jobs obtained by students—is what many striving students engage
in to help pay their way through school. With no wonder why either, as the tuition
in UC’s will raise in the following year. There’s an easier out of flipping burgers, and
it’s called scholarships. FREE money. We kind of like money right? So why isn’t
there an insane number of students going after these scholarship opportunities?
Maybe the reason why is because some students like working harder than they
should and finding time to squeeze in homework and studying between their busy
schedules. Or maybe it is because they think they don’t qualify for them; of course
this assumption is WRONG. Many scholarships are aimed towards those lower-
income students, but there is variety among the qualifications for them and some
are easy as simply being left-handed. The more work required putting forth in
applying for a scholarship can predict the possible number of applicants applying
for that scholarship. In simple terms, more work necessary=more chances of
winning when applying.
My first experience in applying for scholarships was a good experience, as
I received a total of $5,000. Not bad for a first timer, right? I was amazed at what
the few hours a day spent working on a few essays did to my bank account. I was
even able to sit at a conference table and listen to a franchise of McDonalds fast food
restaurants across the United States and Senator Joe Baca speak to a group of the Joe
Baca Foundation Scholarship recipients. The experience was life changing and has
motivated me to excel beyond the Hispanic community and onto worldwide success,
not allowing the disadvantages that I face and making the most of the limited
opportunities such as being raised in a small suburban neighborhood.
What it comes down to, is that these people are trying to help us—they
want to see us succeed and are willing to offer financial assistance. Senator Joe
Baca invited us the San Manuel Cultural Center, which was interesting to enter the
gated community where we able to have dinner along with his children Joe Baca
Jr., Jeremy Baca, and Natalie Baca-Ramos. This action demonstrated to me the
interaction he attempted to develop with the recipients of the scholarship. The Joe
Baca Foundation Scholarship donated an amount of $43,000 to the 43 recipients
following California being the 43rd district. What these donators are attempting to
do within these scholarships applications is not choose the highest standing person
in an academic level, but pick out an individual who will put their money to good
use by helping others. After all, we as a group are the future. This is an opportunity
among us students, and we must use and abuse it.
So what does it take to be successful and win some cash? Probably the most
important thing is finding the time to do these scholarships. School can be busy
enough already and the only way to make an attempt at winning any scholarships is

to actually apply. I would also suggest taking the time to answer the questions on
the application with sincerity. I usually do this by having read the questions and
throughout the day I am able to put great thought into answering. The best thinking
comes when one is not in front of paper (this works best for me at least). I have
found that despite different circumstances, everyone has a story; it’s a matter of
discovering what is yours. One last tip I have is do try and do as many as you can;
once you begin completing a few applications you will notice they will start to ask
about the same topic. Rearrange your answers according to the question, and voila!
Keep in mind not to get sloppy with the applications, quality over quantity anytime.
Good luck!
UCLA Scholarship Resource Center guides students through the scholarship process.
They offer workshops on winning scholarships, finding scholarships; writing
personal statements… it’s great and the resources are there for you so now there’s
no excuse!
www.scholarhispcenter.ucla.edu
Facebook.com/uclasrc

College Students are “Academically Adrift”

It’s official. Students who go to college don’t actually get more knowledge.

The new book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa reveals that students are graduating from college knowing little more than what they came in with. According to the New York Times, 45% of students showed little to no improvement in written communication, critical thinking or analytical skills.

The data for this book was gathered from 2300 students at 24 different universities, which the authors claim are representative of schools across the country.

Interestingly, Death and Taxes Magazine adds that the students who participated in their study ended up graduating with an average 3.2 GPA. These students can rest assured though because apparently the average 0.8 points they came up short of a coveted 4.0 GPA means absolutely nothing in terms of what they really know.

Ten-Minute Enchiladas

It is that time of year again where we promise ourselves that we will eat healthier, eat less at restaurants, and hit the gym well.  My new year’s resolution is to incorporate easy homemade recipes that any college student can make in less than 10 minutes.

Our lives as college students make it hard to follow a recipe from Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, or Emeril Lagasse because we don’t have the time or space to prepare a meal, or sometimes lack the  ingredients.  So I am going to turn to classic Latino dishes into college friendly, 10-minutes Latino wonders.

My first recipe is enchiladas.
Ingredients:

Sunflower Oil
Pinch of salt
Chicken Breast
Flour Tortillas
El Pato Tomato Sauce
Mexican Four Cheeses
Toothpick

Preparation:
1.  Pour EL Pato tomato sauce in a big flat plate. Warning El Pato tomato sauce is consider spicy to some people. You don’t desire spicy, substitute it with regular tomato sauce.

Instructions:

1.  Lightly cover the pan with sunflower oil over medium heat.  I use sunflower oil because it is rich in Vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids. According to Livestrong.com, the Lance Armstrong foundation, sunflower oil helps control your blood pressure and metabolism.

2. Cook the chicken breast over the medium heat.  Add the pinch of salt during this process.

3. Take out the chicken breast when it’s ready, or of your liking. But leave the oil in the pan.

5. Cut the chicken breast in thin slices, or shred the meat.

4. Grab a tortilla, and fry it for 10 seconds in the pan with the leftover oil.  Make sure that you are constantly flipping the tortilla.

5.  Take the tortilla to the flat plate of El Pato sauce.  Flip the tortilla in the sauce, until it’s completely covered in the sauce.

6.  Put the shredded chicken and shredded cheese in the middle of the tortilla.

7.  Pin the tortilla with a toothpick, so nothing pours out.

8.  Cook it in same pan again.  Do not flip the enchilada. Pour on more sauce, if you want to, and add cheese to the top.  Cover it with the lid for about 30 seconds, so the cheese can melt.

Repeat the process for your desire amount of enchiladas.  I did two.  Make sure that you remove the toothpicks before consuming.

The recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make 5 enchiladas.  The usual recipe for enchiladas involves the oven and longer time period.  Hope you like the shortcut.

Con Amor, la boquisabrosa,
Maria

Former dictator returns to Haiti

Jean-Claude Duvalier

Jean-Claude Duvalier. Courtesy of CBC News.

Exiled Haitian dictator returns to Haiti amidst skepticism as to his intentions while the country experiences deep social, economic and political crisis.  Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been exiled for 25 years.

The former dictator, who became president of Haiti after his father Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier died in 1971, fled after 15 years of violent clashes with anti-government groups.

According to a chronology of Duvalier’s dictatorship provided in the Los Angeles Times, “Baby Doc” fled with US$6.2 million in public funds.  Duvalier provided little explanation for his return other than he had “come to help.”

Legislation proposes separate birth certificates for children of citizens and non-citizens

A new piece of legislation is set to be written this year regarding the citizenship of babies being born to illegal immigrants within the US border. While the 14th amendment grants this right to persons being born in the US, opponents of this statue are poised to challenge and have the amendment changed as soon as possible. In Arizona, lawmakers are proposing to grant two different birth certificates: one for babies born to citizens and one for babies born to illegal immigrants. Although University of Arizona law professor Gabriel Chin says such practices are un-American, incoming secretary of state of Kansas Kris Kobach believes they can be held up in court, reports the New York Times.