- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2006


Plan to tax cash transfers criticized

MEXICO CITY — Mexico has complained that a bill in the Georgia General Assembly to tax the hundreds of millions of dollars that illegal aliens wire home will hurt Mexicans working in that state.

Sponsored by Republican lawmakers who charge that illegal aliens use basic health and education services without contributing to them, the bill would force anyone unable to prove legal status to pay taxes on wire transfers.

An estimated 11 million Mexicans living in the United States sent home about $20 billion to their families last year, more than all the foreign direct investment in Mexico and a major pillar of that country’s economy, especially in poor areas.

Similar to a bill in the Arizona Legislature, the Georgia legislation has passed the state’s House and is awaiting review in its Senate.


U.S. cancels funding, military cooperation

LA PAZ — President Evo Morales has accused the United States of “blackmail, threats and intimidation” for withdrawing counterterrorism funding from the poor South American country, the official news service ABI reports.

Mr. Morales, a coca farmer and head of a socialist movement, said yesterday that the U.S. military told Bolivian military chiefs last week that Bolivia no longer is considered a suitable partner in the war on terrorism.

He said the U.S. decision to “declassify” Bolivia as an counterterrorism partner would lead to the withdrawal of U.S. military equipment and discontinuation of grants and training courses. In total, the U.S.-sponsored programs were worth about $300,000, he said, adding: “It’s peanuts.”


Suspected ‘coyote’ called hero

CARA SUCIA — Narciso “Chicho” Ramirez has spent time in prison on suspicion of smuggling migrants and was stripped of his U.S. visa. But in his hometown he is mayor material — the man who helped hundreds of Salvadorans achieve “el sueno Americano” — the American dream.

Now running for mayor, Mr. Ramirez says he stopped smuggling people in October 2001, when El Salvador made human trafficking a crime punishable by eight years in prison. But his reputation as a “coyote” — slang for smuggler — abides. “Here, they only say good things about Don Chicho,” said Blanca Rosa Coreas, 50. “He’s taken many people north, and they are grateful to him.”

“I saw it as helping people who most need it,” said Mr. Ramirez, 44, a rancher and businessman. Polls make him the favorite in the election Sunday.

Weekly notes …

A handyman in Rio de Janeiro has been convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing an American couple bludgeoned to death in bed, Brazilian authorities report. Jossiel Conceicao dos Santos, 22, was convicted Friday of the 2003 murder of a Shell oil executive and his wife, Todd and Michelle Staheli, said a spokesman for Rio’s justice department. The couple from Spanish Fork, Utah, who left behind four young children, had been in Brazil for three months. … Dawson City, Yukon, is a town of 1,500 residents built on permafrost, and it is melting, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports. “If the permafrost fails here, everything is going to snap,” said Norm Carlson, who runs the city’s public works. “Roads would melt, the whole town would sink. We would lose all our infrastructure wherever there is ice in the ground. It would be soup.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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