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New Reads: The Surrounding Sea by Robert Friedman

By John Marino

   Robert Friedman's “The Surrounding Sea” is a crackling tale of contemporary Caribbean colonialism that cuts like a switchblade between tragic political expose, tense crime thriller and rollicking epic quest.

   There're also scenes of romantic and familiar love, meditations on self and lessons in literature and history.

    In telling the story of Stevie Pérez and his tragic love Laura Rosario, Friedman stages Felliniesque FBI raids, a gut-wrenching weekend house of horrors for his hero and dramatic scenes of political protest and violence.

    This page-turner grabs the reader at the start and keeps the tension high throughout. Stevie's story plays out on the lush University of Puerto Rico (UPR) campus, the sun-baked streets of San Juan's gritty barrios, the pastoral highlands of central Puerto Rico and the paradise lost of Vieques island. Like all things Caribbean, it also washes up along the streets of New York, careening from the Bronx to the hinterlands of south Jersey, and bouncing along the urban sprawl in between.

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In Immigration News

California’s Undocumented Use Fewer Health Services Than U.S.-Born Residents

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. —Cecilia, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, never anticipated that her life in the United States would turn into a real-world telenovela, the popular Spanish language dramas.

A few years ago she married a U.S. citizen who soon started to mistreat her. He later filed for divorce without telling her, but then the couple reconciled and got remarried. Then he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before he died, he told his wife that he wanted to help her regularize her immigration status.

That’s when Cecilia, who declined to give her real name, decided to seek out legal advice from an acquaintance. The individual charged her $2,500 but never filed her immigration case. Today she is still undocumented.

Scams on the rise

Cecilia, who works as a janitor in the Bay Area, is one of a growing number of immigrants taken in by those who promise to regularize their immigration status for a fee – and then don’t deliver.

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In Hispanic Health News

The third installment in a four part series by columnist José de la Isla


Fourth installment by columnist, José de la Isla

By José de la Isla, Hispanic Link

    Charles Hugh Smith—a political, social, financial and cultural trends commentator —

warns that “atomism” is how the state can break down “natural bonds of duty and responsibility between individuals” when mutuality and culture is relied upon less, as can become the case in elder care.

    “Familism,” seen as half of a dualism, when examining society and the individual, is the cultural phenomenon at work that assigns responsibility to blood relatives for attending to and managing care of the elderly. It’s the expression that family is valued as an institution, its interdependent relationships and that relies on family members to act on behalf of and provide emotional and material support for the aging.

    Researcher Yvette G. Flores of the University of California, Davis, et al., points out there’s a beef among academics that sometimes arises among investigators looking into the matter when familism isn’t distinguished between the cultural ideal and what actually happens in practice within families.

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