A New Hope for Syracuse?

by Maximilian Eyle

If crime is an indicator of the health of a city, then Syracuse has seen better days. Chief of Police Frank Fowler was appointed by Mayor Stephanie Miner in 2009, and now – nearly ten years later, he is making his exit. As we reflect on his legacy, there is not a lot to celebrate. While crime did drop by about 15% during his term, this is in line with the national crime rate and does not suggest any special change in our community. Furthermore, 2016 made headlines as the deadliest year in Syracuse history, with a record 30 homicides taking place. Gang violence continues to be a problem, and the relationship between the community and the police remains tense.

I am a native of Syracuse and have chosen to return and make it my home after leaving to earn my degree. Our city has a lot to be proud of. We boast a rich history, a thriving music community, a number of museums and theaters, great restaurants, and a growing downtown. All this nestled within the gorgeous landscape of Central New York. Yet public safety continues to burden our community and tarnish our reputation. Scandals with police brutality have cost the city millions of dollars in the past few years, with Chief Fowler showing little remorse or interest in departmental change. In a recent court testimony, he was asked if it is acceptable for police officers to beat someone who is already handcuffed. “It might be,” Chief Fowler responded. This attitude from our law enforcement leadership is atrocious and unforgivable.

Finally, change is upon us. On November 2nd, Mayor Ben Walsh announced that Kenton Buckner will be the new Chief of Police in Syracuse. Prior to this appointment, Buckner has been the chief in Little Rock, Arkansas – a similarly sized city to Syracuse. In his recent press conferences, he has affirmed his commitment to improving the diversity of our police force, and to focusing on rehabilitation and second chances rather than just punishment. Much about his history, character, and rhetoric gives us hope. Only time will tell if his approach will be successful. In the meantime, we as a community must do our best to hold our leadership accountable to their promises.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.

All Immigrants in New York have Right to Trial by Jury

by Jose Enrique Perez

Just last month, the New York State’s highest court said that the U.S. Constitution guarantees jury trials to non-citizens charged with crimes that could subject them to deportation. It is very likely that the case will go to the United States Supreme Court for final determination.

The Court of Appeals rejected an argument by Bronx county prosecutors that deportation is merely a civil consequence of criminal convictions, and the Sixth Amendment did not require jury trials for defendants charged with minor yet deportable crimes.

The court found that “It is now beyond cavil that the penalty of deportation is among the most extreme and that it may, in some circumstances, rival incarceration in its loss of liberty.”

The decision means non-citizens will be entitled to jury trials even if their alleged deportable crimes carry maximum prison terms of six months or less.

The risk for deportation of a non-U.S. citizen accused of a low-level crime is enough to guarantee that individual have a trial by jury rather than a bench trial.

The Bronx District Attorney said the decision addressed the “harsh realities” of possible deportation, but also threatened “serious backlogs and disparities in the administration of justice” in state courts and conflicted with Supreme Court precedents. She said she may appeal to that body.

The decision, over Sixth Amendment fair trial rights under the U.S. Constitution for persons facing deportation, was one of first impression for the Court of Appeals. It was brought before the court by Saylor Suazo, a non-citizen who was found guilty in a bench trial on various charges related to an alleged assault. He had over stayed his visa.

Because of the importance of the case and its consequences, the Bronx District Attorney said she was considering taking an appeal on the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court since it was decided on federal constitutional grounds.

The key issue in the case was the gradation of the criminal charge Suazo had been tried upon. The Criminal Law in New York allows a defendant to be denied a trial by jury in New York City if the maximum penalty of a charge is less than six months in jail. The same rule does not apply outside New York City.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the January edition. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019!

It is not the same, the covers that the carotids

A Moment of Reflection
by Lilia M. Fiallo

It is not the same, condone unhealthy situations, to give true love. It is not the same to consent to unhealthy behaviors, than to correct on time.

Confuse the true love and make us slaves of our children, consenting to all kinds of behaviors and actions, breaking the rules and standards, moral values and virtues that by simple logic and common sense must prevail at home, leave expose a bleak and gloomy future.

They say that innocently sins, is innocently condemned and is real, when consenting situations, gave poisonous fruits. Life is not a game and is not worth pawning it.

We never finished to know our children!, so giving of ourselves completely forgetting about our own essence and the respect for life, is a mistake. Sponsor our burial at the hands of the children poorly bred and poorly educated, we will understand it late as we see our mistakes.

Such as Elisa and John, there are thousands and thousands of parents who are always there to please their children, all likes and extravagances, sinking into delusion they build, without listening and thinking. Yoe was growing, without dealing with his studies and doing something prosperous, nesting in his mind hatred and indifference towards his parents, so the evil rode in his being in all its actions; never addressed them by calling them: “Mom or Dad, I want such a thing, or I need something”, If he spoke to them, saying: “Hey, Y need this…, or I want that…” While valuables disappeared from home as charm.

A miracle happened in the minds of his parents. Elisa and John on the brink stopped to analyze the situation and were able to consider; finally put order in their hearts, and thus, recovered their house centimeter by centimeter they were losing. Although late, but “in time” peace returned to their lives.

If they had followed that path, today they would be cloistered in their own defeat, or perhaps, in a quarter of a haven for older adults for allowing to be dominated by that ruthless character. And if he had died, or perhaps she, the few belongings of the two, along with the house would had changed owner quickly.

Nothing worse than going through the loss of her husband or the spouse. It seems that the world collapsed at the foot of the person that has been mired in the most difficult situations. And, like vultures who lurk for prey, close relatives are there, looking for the moment, to approach, seeming comfort and hope in the life of the poor helpless widower. As if outside as a general rule, individuals, are influenced by those who come to them for apparently to console them.

The least a person who has ended alone, must do is to think about himself, putting the head before putting the heart. Before such trouble, an irreparable mistake, such as signing documents on moneys or property, giving the rights, that later, when they think, cannot be reverse, because now he or she is alone and penniless.

Once inheriting the property where he or she lives, being aware of what was done, he or she has to pray to God so that he rests there until the last moment of his existence, enjoying good health, but if one of your five senses and their humanity fails does not stand firm the future that awaits you is nothing flattering and then you have to repeat what Sarita said, when her son and grandchildren took her to a 12-story building which houses more than 250 grandparents, many of them in agony state. On the third day she was there she went to the dining room and was left collapsed when she saw a room full of grandparents; She then said: “No, this is not for me”, “What can I do to return to my house, if all are against me?”.

Lilia M. Fiallo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where, between tasks and free time, she found a place to write about subjects, somehow forgotten by others. With gold letters engraved in her memory, she began her working life, in the heart of the technical part, of the air traffic control of her native country. In the midst of aeronautical phraseology and codes, the world of aviation gave her one of the highest experiences, because of the precision required by this craft, where a single mistake could cost many lives. It is there, where in her concern to communicate her ideas, she begins to write with dedication, themes a little relegated by society, the Church and the State. Discovering a truth that nobody wants to talk about, but much more real and everyday, than it seems. It is thus, as it appears, her first work, “Parir por parir”.
You can find her book at for sale in Amazon.

Ezekiel… a Poem

by Eileen
Provided by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

Warm, sultry summer day
Sitting pensively in my old back yard
Thinking how my life has traveled through many changes
Good, bad, amazing, Melba toast
Always grateful that I have ridden the waves
And kept my head above the rising tides.

Lost in thought, I felt a presence…
A winged presence in the sky
Looking across the field, soaring towards me
His flight was headed towards songs I softly sang.

Coincidence or gift of the divine
A beautiful creature floating to me, as if deliberate
Ezekiel was the name I gave him….
Ezekiel was his name.

I sang to him as he swirled around my head
Music, melody, he seemed to absorb the sound
This became my amazing communication with a raptor.

Most people do not understand
Only those who saw it happen
This has happened twice, this event of mystery and joy.

I sang to him, to the open field
He came to me, soared to me once again
This time, swirling around my head seven times while I sang my song of love for nature to him.

I held my arms to the sky, myself swirling, singing
As he danced with me…..

How this happened,
This unusual bond of creature and human
From a world beyond, I do not know.

I call Ezekiel with my song
He will return again
People ask if I fear that he will hurt me as he flies close to me
I answer… I am more afraid of you…

Linda DeStefano is President of People for Animal Rights. For more information about animal rights or to connect with Linda, contact People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, (315) 488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., people4animalrightscny@gmail.com or peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org.

The Jewish Community in Venezuela

by Miguel Balbuena

Venezuela has recently been ruled by the government of President Hugo Chavez, who served four terms in office between 1999 and 2013, and, then, by the administration of President Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded Commandant Chavez, both being officials of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (USPV), in power for 19 years now.

The policies enacted by the USPV have led to a significant drop in the Jewish population staying in this Caribbean country. Thousands of Venezuelans of Jewish ancestry have chosen to live in self-imposed exile. It happens that many of these expatriates are prominent members of the Venezuelan intelligentsia.

The concept of intelligentsia was introduced to me while I was fresh out of high school. A fellow freshman at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC), Carlos Chipoco, first presented this concept to me. In my storied years in college no professor even mentioned it. Chipoco, in many ways, back then knew more than PUC faculty. Later on, he went to become classmate of future U.S. President Barack Obama at Harvard Law School.

In short, the intelligentsia can be defined as cultural workers who create content to be consumed by human generations, even those not born yet. The intelligentsia is a cast of educated people (not necessarily college-educated, it could also be self-educated ones) that not only reproduce pre-existing ideologies, but expand their frontiers or produce novel ones. The members of the intelligentsia are trendsetters, opinion influencers, who, ideally, exert critical thinking in shaping the culture and politics of their country.

Due to its outsize role in society relative of its numbers, adherents of the intelligentsia have historically become a thorn on the side of governments, some of which have resorted to extreme measures to get rid of these opponents. Books such as “Lenin’s Private War: The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the intelligentsia,” by author Lesley Chamberlain, illustrate this by telling the story that Vladimir Lenin, then Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, expelled hundreds of people hostile to the Soviet power: philosophers, students and the like, to Stettin, Germany, and Istanbul, Turkey. They were transported by vessels, which earned the name of “philosophers’ ships.”

In the case of Venezuela, neither Chavez nor Maduro tossed out the Jewish Venezuelan intelligentsia using “philosophers’ ships.” Instead, individuals associated with this status class left by their own volition and by their own means. These subjects included Moises Naim, author of a book titled “Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy,” published in 2005, and; Daniel Benaim – co-director of “Chavismo: The Plague of the 21st Century,” a 93-minute documentary film – who, since 2006, has been media director and adviser to the Confederation of Israelites Associations of Venezuela, which publishes some of Naim’s pieces.

Naim’s family immigrated to Venezuela from Libya, where he was born; Benaim’s family immigrated to Venezuela from Morocco. Then, many decades later, both intellectuals immigrated from Venezuela to the
United States. As an aside, the prefix Ben means “son of” in Hebrew, so the surname Benaim would translate as son of Aim.

Benaim studied at the world renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications from 1978 to 1981, obtaining there a bachelor’s degree in television, radio and film. At this school he met a fellow student, Tere Paniagua, who went on to work at Syracuse University as executive director of the Office of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community.

Daniel and Tere crossed paths again after the release of the “Chavismo” documentary on June 15. After intense negotiations, Daniel agreed to come back to Syracuse for the screening of his film on October 9, immediately followed by his remarks to the audience as well as a question-and-answer session with the public. The event took place at La Casita Cultural Center on Syracuse’s Near West Side.

At this function Daniel praised Naim’s book “Illicit,” although this essay doesn’t mention Chavez nor Maduro, but the filmmaker suggested it was relevant because “Venezuela is governed by thugs.” Then he talked about “The Commandant,” a Colombian television series focusing on the life of Chavez, for which Naim wrote 49 episodes of it.

About the author: Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields (in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

What is depression and how do I treat it?

by Adrián Martínez

Mood can affect many things in your life. When you feel down or hopeless, you might also notice changes in sleep, appetite, concentration, or energy. You might feel less interested in everyday activities or hobbies, or you might feel like you are moving more slowly. At your worst, you may also feel like you want to hurt yourself or end your life. If you are regularly feeling any combination of these, you might have depression. You may be inclined to dismiss it or let it continue because you think it will eventually get better. You may think that seeking help is admitting weakness, and you would not be alone in that mentality. Despite whatever you have learned from your family or culture, depression is an illness that is both remarkably common and treatable.

The rate of depression among Latinos in the U.S. is about that of the general population, which is about 7% (1). Among the Latino ethnicities, Puerto Ricans and Cubans are most likely to experience depressive symptoms. Within the same ethnicities, people born in the U.S., second-generation immigrants, or people living longer in the U.S. are more likely to report depression. Compared to white Americans, Latinos with mental health disorders are much less likely to seek mental health specialists for care. Furthermore, undertreated depression is up to four times higher in Latinos without health insurance compared to Latinos with health insurance (2). Needless to say, the Latino population has multiple barriers preventing access to treatments for this common condition, not the least of which are social stigma and lack of insurance.

If you think you may be depressed or are experiencing any persistent issues with stress, anxiety, or substance use, consider going to a mental health provider for help. Your primary care provider would be good to see initially to start medication or to get a referral for a psychiatrist or therapist. Keep in mind that, with few exceptions, what you say to your mental health provider is confidential. Your relationship with your provider should be one of trust and an understanding that he or she is there to help. Remember that there are plenty of options for medication and therapy, so you should not give up if the first treatment you try does not work. If you would like to search for providers on your own, you can go to findtreatment.samhsa.gov or call the National Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-4357) for guidance. If you are feeling suicidal, go to your local hospital, call 911, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016.pdf
2. Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia et al. “Depression, anxiety, antidepressant use, and cardiovascular disease among Hispanic men and women of different national backgrounds: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos” Annals of epidemiology vol. 24,11 (2014): 822-30.

Adrian Martinez is a Puerto Rican born in California and raised in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Florida. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Biology and is currently a fourth-year medical student attending the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He is on the executive board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and will be pursuing a career in psychiatry.

The Day Syracuse Revolted

by Maximilian Eyle

In October of 1851, roughly 2,500 Syracuse citizens came together in the city’s downtown. With a battering ram, they broke down the door to the jail and successfully freed a man called William “Jerry” Henry. Jerry had escaped from slavery years before and started a new life as a barrel maker in Upstate New York. He would have been sent back to a life of slavery, but Syracuse residents stepped in and secured his freedom. Jerry was immediately sent north to Canada where he was safe from arrest. This event is remembered as the “Jerry Rescue”, and is one of the proudest moments in Syracuse’s history.

At that time, the United States was divided into states with slavery, and those without. In 1850, a federal law known as the Fugitive Slave Act was passed which required that states without slavery help capture and return any escaped slaves. Jerry was arrested under this new law and put in jail. This caused tremendous outrage among the locals. Abolitionist Samuel Ringold Ward expressed his disgust at a public meeting prior to the Rescue, stating: “We are witnessing such a sight as, I pray, we may never look upon again. A man in chains, in Syracuse!”

The story of the Jerry Rescue has the advantages of being both legendary and true. It speaks to the power of a united local community pushing back in the face of an overzealous federal government enforcing an unjust law. The Civil War may still have been ten years away, but protests like this helped hasten the end of slavery. Today, we see similar local resistance as Syracuse refuses to use its police to search for or detain illegal immigrants despite federal pressure to do so. As we look to the future, we should remember the progress that can be made when Syracuse stands as a united and independent city.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.