This weekend the mainstream media in the U.S. was enamored with Edison Peña, the 12th miner to be rescued after being trapped in a mine in the Atacama Desert of Chile for 69 days. There were stories on how Peña wasn’t all that impressed with the Statue of Liberty or hot dogs in NYC (I have to agree that Chilean completos are better). TMZ attempted to ask Peña about conditions in the mine in broken Spanish and Peña happily belted out his best Elvis impression on Late Night with David Letterman. Parts of my own family braved the NYC cold on Sunday in the hopes of catching Peña finish the NYC marathon in a little over 5 hours.
Hell, as the parents of two ChileRicans, I don’t want to deny a miner his time in the spotlight but I am concerned with how the celeb spotlight blinds how in Chile conditions for the not Edison Peñas continue to be dangerous and deadly.
Via Reuters :
Two men died after an explosion at a small mine in the Chilean desert, local authorities said on Monday, near the site were 33 miners were pulled from the depths in a months-long rescue that attracted world attention.
The National Emergency Office said the men died after an explosion triggered a cave-in at the mine, located about 40 miles east of the city of Copiapo.
Five other men were able to escape the explosion with one of them later hospitalized for injuries.
Looks like Chilean President Sebastián Piñera wasn’t able to keep his promise of never again.
Organizations and the mass media are still buzzing about the Latino vote in the midterm elections, happy that in some races, Latinos seemingly stepped up and kept the Senate Democrat (even if by a tiny thread). Especially thankful is Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid, who promised, during his campaign, that if reelected the DREAM Act would be brought back to the Senate floor.
In September, a vote prevented the DREAM Act (and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) from being attached to a military spending bill.
Next week, the Senate will reconvene and everyone is wondering if Harry Reid will stick to his word and how. DREAM could be attached to the Defense Authorization bill, though that seems like an untenable option based on what happened in September and from scanning the preemptive work being done to keep DADT off that bill. DREAM could be attached to another bill or presented as a stand alone.
What also is not clear, is what is the organizational commitment behind getting DREAM passed this year. When it became clear that there would be no CIR bill, most pro-migrant orgs put their weight behind DREAM as a first step towards wider immigration reform. It’s not clear how much of a game changer the midterms were for the orgs as well.
Meanwhile the DREAMers are prepping to be in D.C. next week and putting pressure on from all over the U.S. to keep the DREAM alive.
This past weekend I came across an article on AlterNet about how immigrants in sports are turned into national heroes in the United States, while public policy and public practice immigrants, especially Latino immigrants are vilified.
The article places the dichotomy in the context of the last World Series.
The symbolism of delivering a crushing defeat to the Rangers, with Bush Jr. slumped in the front row with his chin in his fist, inspired legions of San Franciscans. At the ceremony awarding the Giants the key to the city, Republican Governor Schwarzenegger spoke over hundreds of thousands of people booing for the duration of his remarks. When the moderate mayor spoke, the crowd cheered initially, but the booing far outlasted the cheers.
In the midst of all the vocal opposition to the right, there was one thing that almost no one was talking about: how much people categorized as immigrants had contributed to the unprecedented success. The players and coaches we showered with cheers and ticker tape hail from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Curaçao, France, Panama. Their families came from the Philippines, Mexico and Japan.
The omission was perhaps most stark when a bouncy television reporter from ABC picked out a fan in the barricaded crowd for a sound bite. The first person she spoke with didn’t want to reply — he said he didn’t speak English. She quickly moved on to another fan, evading the obvious: that San Francisco is immigrants and families of immigrants, just like the rest of the state and much of the nation.