Axios Latino

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¡Muy buen jueves! Today's Axios Latino newsletter is 1,215 words, a 5-minute read.

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1 big thing: Latino mental health crisis grows

Illustration of a person sitting on the ground surrounded by radiating lines. 
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Over 40% of Latino adults have reported symptoms of depression during the pandemic, in contrast to 25% of white non-Hispanics, the CDC reports.

Between the lines: Latinos tend to seek treatment reluctantly, struggling to admit help is needed.

  • When added to barriers to health care, like lack of insurance or a perception of discrimination from doctors, the ordeal can intensify suicidal thoughts.
  • The most prevalent mental health issues are anxiety, depression, PTSD and related substance abuse, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.

By the numbers: A third of Hispanics with a mental health disorder get treatment, per the Department of Health and Human Services, compared to 45% of non-Hispanics in the U.S.

  • Only 7% of licensed psychologists in the U.S. identify as Latino, according to the American Psychological Association, while even fewer, 5.5% of therapists, are able to provide services in Spanish.

What they’re saying: “Within the community there are stereotypes of 'esa persona está loca,' that person is crazy — the stigma that if you are sad or anxious you are weak. Unless we create proper services to combat that and to approach communities of color, these will become lifelong problems for many,” physician Ilan Shapiro tells Telemundo’s Radar.

Driving the news: Farmworkers, many of whom are Latino, have been especially affected.

  • As essential workers during the pandemic, farmworkers kept stores stocked with produce.
  • An American Farm Bureau poll released in December showed that 66% of farmworkers said the pandemic has affected their mental health.
  • Justice for Migrant Women president Mónica Ramírez and actress-activist Eva Longoria, with her foundation, have created a program, "Healing Voices," to provide mental health services to 3 million farmworkers.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255 in English, 1-888-628-9454 en español) provides 24/7, free, confidential support.

2. A teacher and a former first lady vie for Peru's presidency

Peru's presidential candidates Keiko Fujimoi and Pedro Castillo bump fists.
Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo before a debate on May 1. Photo: César Bazán/AFP via Getty Images

Less than 2% separates front-runner Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori with just weeks to go in Peru’s key presidential run-off.

Why it matters: The election on June 6 follows years of political crises, from deposed presidents to other jailed government officials who have left most Peruvians disenchanted with one of the hemisphere’s biggest economies.

The big picture: Keiko Fujimori’s rise in the polls to almost match Castillo comes as her father, former President Alberto Fujimori, is once again on trial. He is charged with the deaths of five women and the forced sterilizations of at least 1,300 others while he was president.

  • She functioned as first lady for half of his decade-long term.
  • Keiko Fujimori champions private investments. She has been investigated for corruption and has said that, if elected, she would pardon her father, who is serving sentences for corruption and crimes against humanity.
  • Castillo, a member of rural armed patrols called rondas, is popular for his promise of free universal health care yet contentious for proposals like getting rid of the constitutional court and rewriting the constitution to nationalize mining and gas.

3. Pics du jour: Strikes, crises and drums in Colombia

A split screen with colorful protesters  on the left and a woman drumming on the right.
Colombians in cities like Bogotá, Cali and Medellín took the national strike to the streets for a third straight Wednesday. Photos: Raúl Arboleda/AFP via Getty Images

Colombia’s deadly protests marched into a third week, with discontent against the government growing.

  • The national human rights office now reports more than 40 deaths, most of them from clashes between protesters and anti-riot officers in Cali.
  • The government has opened 65 disciplinary cases against police officers for homicide, abuse of power and physical aggression.
  • Work stoppages every Wednesday in May have also created food shortages and blocked ambulances.
  • President Iván Duque held an unfruitful meeting with a delegation of protesters on Monday, and on Tuesday he proposed establishing a more permanent roundtable.

4. 👩‍🏫 Colombiana named U.S. teacher of the year

Juliana Urtubey, national teacher of the year.
Juliana Urtubey says she was nicknamed Ms. Earth because she started a gardening program at her school. Photo: Noticias Telemundo

Juliana Urtubey, a first-generation immigrant from Colombia, has been named National Teacher of the Year.

Why it matters: Urtubey, a special ed teacher in a Nevada elementary school, is the first Hispanic to win the title since 2005. The announcement comes as the U.S. Latino student population grows and focus turns to reopening schools after the virus outbreak.

What they’re saying: “We need more Latino professors and this nation needs more bilingual education,” Urtubey told Noticias Telemundo.

Read more

5. Poisoned without warning in Texas

Reproduced from NBC News, ProPublica and Texas Tribune data; Cartogram: Sara Wise/Axios
Reproduced from NBC News, ProPublica and Texas Tribune data; Cartogram: Sara Wise/Axios

Carbon monoxide killed at least 11 Texans and sickened hundreds more as they tried to stay warm during the recent winter storm — casualties that could have been prevented with CO detectors.

Why it matters: Latino, Black and Asian people accounted for 72% of a record 1,400 hospitalizations from carbon monoxide poisoning during February’s cold snap.

  • It was the “biggest epidemic of CO poisoning in recent history,” Dr. Neil Hampson told the Texas Tribune, ProPublica and NBC News.
  • Texas, like five other states, does not require residential buildings to have carbon monoxide alarms, and several bills to include them in regulations have failed.
  • The odorless gas can kill within minutes.

The bottom line: The detectors cost as little as $15.

6. Digital skills are key to Latino businesses

Ramiro Cavazos, CEO, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Photo: Axios

Improved digital literacy among Hispanics could shore up the U.S. economic recovery, the Aspen Institute finds.

Why it matters: The combined contributions of U.S. Latino-owned businesses to the GDP are equivalent to the world’s seventh largest economy, Ramiro Cavazos, president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, tells Axios Latino.

  • While many Latino-owned businesses were wiped out during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanics also start businesses at a faster rate than other groups.
  • But: 55% of Latino workers have limited or no digital skills, which are essential to strengthen businesses in this era of growing e-commerce.

Details: A solution is for private, nonprofit and government groups to offer training with Latino organizations in skills like digital marketing, programming or online transactions, the Aspen Institute report states.

What they’re saying: “We need to be more connected, have access to capital and we need more capacity building ... so these businesses not only survive but stay nimble,” Cavazos says.

7. Worries about overcrowded facilities for migrant children

A young girl is hidden in shadow in the brush.
An unaccompanied child awaits processing in April after crossing into Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The number of migrant children held in U.S. facilities is hovering at 21,000, as many have been moved from border detention centers to more inland “emergency intake sites.”

  • Around 200 installations across two dozen states are housing the minors, per the Associated Press.
  • Many are at or nearing capacity, and in some, like the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, there have been accusations of neglect and even physical abuse.

By the numbers: Around 13,960 children were intercepted at the border during April, fewer than the 19,000 in March.

  • The White House this week gave the green light for the Department of Health and Human Services to spend $850 million on caring for these migrant children and testing them for COVID-19.

8. 🎻 1 smile to go: Musician and medic

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Juan Galán works at the San Miguelito health clinic in San Salvador, which is currently a vaccination center. Photo: Noticias Telemundo

Doctor-in-training Juan Galán offers music therapy to people waiting for their COVID-19 shots at a vaccination center in the north of San Salvador.

Why it matters: The medical staff and patients alike say it helps them relax.

  • Galán has played the violin since he was in the youth orchestra of El Salvador. He plays an electric version of the instrument at the clinic, with classical favorites and even pop hits from Maluma.

What they’re saying: “What’s better for while we wait, to forget all the problems related to the disease and even dance a bit,” a woman who got vaccinated recently tells Noticias Telemundo.

Hasta la próxima semana, have a safe one.