With the various cases of murdered Latina teens flooding news headlines in recent months, there’s no doubt our country has a crisis on its hands. Violence against women remains a prominent issue in the United States. Often times, particularly in today’s political climate where immigrants and Latinos are a target, Latinas often find themselves wrapped up in attacks unleashed by violent partners and bureaucratic red tape.
The latest story of one such incident includes a particularly violent headline from over the weekend.
On Saturday, a man allegedly shot a 10-month-old baby in the head after the child’s mom rejected him at a party in Fresno, Calif.
According to the Fresno Police Department, Marcos Antonio Echartea, 23, fanatically followed Deziree Menagh, 18, at a party.
The two had met a week prior, and when he saw her at the gathering, he hounded her every move. Echartea turned down the man’s advances, resisting him when he tried to force her on his lap and leaving the party early to get away from him.
“It was very apparent that he wanted a relationship with her,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference Sunday, according to BuzzFeed News.
Menagh left the party with her daughter in the car of a male friend. As the three of them drove off, they stopped while making a U-turn about a block away, when Echartea appeared walking toward them. Near the car, the man reportedly fired three shots into the driver’s side window. The blasts hit Fayth in the side of her head as she sat on her mother’s lap in the passenger seat.
“We have every reason to believe that Marcus knew that baby Fayth was in that vehicle when he fired three rounds into that vehicle,” Dyer said.
The driver rushed to the hospital and called the police. On the phone, a dispatcher informed him there were officers nearby who could care for the baby as they waited for an ambulance.
The baby remains in the hospital, where she is in critical condition after doctors pulled bullet fragments from her head.
“We are hoping and praying that baby Fayth is able to survive this injury, as well as make a full recovery,” Dyer said. “I know the parents are broken. They’re hurting.”
Echartea, who was arrested at his house and charged with three counts of attempted murder, is also a suspect in a similar child shooting “over a female.” On the night of May 27, the man visited the home of his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend and fired his gun numerous times inside. During his attack, he almost hit a one-year-old baby.
“It’s very apparent that Marcos Echartea has no regard for human life, even a baby,” Dyer said.
The man is currently facing additional felony counts, including assault with a deadly weapon, related to the previous shooting as well.
Lamborghini cars are synonymous with extravagance and dreams of wealth that are unattainable for the vast majority of people. Ferraris are also a denominator of wealth and sometimes of a midlife crisis (generally “suffered” by white dudes who need to reaffirm their masculinity by driving a fancy, roaring car).
By the amount of Italian luxury cars one is able to spot in Latin America, you wouldn’t think that the region suffers from constant economic crisis and that vast segments of the population live under the poverty line. However, the fact that some individuals are willing to spend on a car more than some people make in their whole lives speaks to the deep and wide inequalities that exist in the region.
The Brazilian police just revealed that they uncovered a secret operation in which a father-son duo were actually manufacturing fakes! Yes, you read that right. If you thought that making fake Prada and Louis Vuitton handbags that look like the real deal sounded complicated, just wait until you read this story that falls under the category of magical realism.
Lamborghinis are expensive, like REALLY expensive.
If you wonder why someone would go through the trouble of making a fake luxury car, wonder no longer. An authentic Lamborghini costs no less than $200,000 USD. Just think about this: the minimum wage in Brazil is 998 reals a month, which translates into $257.5 USD. Yes, we are talking MONTHLY wage. So you can imagine what owning a Lamborghini in Brazil, even a fake one, means in terms of what some people consider important as a definer of class and social status.
The Brazilian police made a fantastic discovery in the region of Santa Catarina.
The Brazilian police received complaints from two Italian manufacturers, Lamborghini and Ferrari. Investigations led them to Santa Catarina, a state in southern Brazil famous for its beaches and nightlife , and about 840 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, where they made the arrests.
They proudly announced the bust on social media, and guess how the cars were being sold.
The Brazilian police, which is getting a boost from conservative new president Bolsonaro, proudly announced the bust on their Twitter account. As reported by Business Insider, the father-son team also used digital networks for their marketing and distribution: “The shop was offering the cars on social media for $45,000 to $60,000, which is far less than what the genuine exotic supercars cost”.
The “company”, Autos Fibra, even had an Instagram account!
Descarados! The workshop even had an Instagram account and some YouTube videos, so they were not very secretive about their operation. It makes us think of how copyright and intellectual property are legal matters, of course, but also about how the notions of originality can vary from country to country. In China, for example, making knock-offs is not necessarily seen as a bad thing, as ideas are considered communal rather than individual assets.
They really thought this through: the level of detail in the replicas is really amazing… in a criminal kind of way.
We are not condoning criminal activity here, but you got to appreciate the craftsmanship in making all this from scratch, from used car parts and without the original blueprints for the vehicles. Only a trained eye would be able to spot the difference at first glance. The Sun UK reports: “Upon raiding the operation, police discovered eight replicas which were in the process of being assembled. Photos captured by police show some of the motors covered in dust and wrapped in plastic covers. The crooks were even fitting fraudulent badges, seats and accessories emblazoned with the iconic Italian brands”.
Everything was seized in the raid.
When the police arrived they found a well-oiled (pun intended!) operation. As CNN reports: “Tools, molds, fibers and frames used to manufacture the cars were also seized during the raid, police said. The shop was owned by a father and son, who were both arrested and face criminal charges for falsifying commercial property. The pair are thought to be the largest manufacturers of bootleg luxury vehicles in Brazil”. According to the two men who were arrested, they were making “legal prototypes”. Yeah, sure!
This has happened before elsewhere in the world.
The manufacture of bootleg luxury cars is not unique to Brazil. Nine years ago in 2010, a Thai man was made famous for his ability to build replica Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins. Thailand is one of the epicenters of global counterfeit of replicas of luxury goods.
Social media soon found some humor on the story of the Brazilian fake Italian supercars.
This dude, Peter Malcolm, bluntly claims that he has a Lambo: do we believe him or is he just bluffing?
These are some cool new words that need to enter the Oxford Dictionary!
This news story led to the creation of some fantastic new words. “Shamborghini” and “Fauxrrari” should definitely enter the dictionary as socially acceptable words. One thing is for certain, this duo, whose identity is concealed due to legal reasons, will go down in the history of counterfeiting as infamous legends.
And some people lauded the father-son duo as true entrepreneurs, products of Latin American neoliberalism!
As we said before, we do not condone this criminal activity. The car industry invests millions of dollars in the manufacturing, design and distribution of its products, and hundreds of jobs depend on it. But, as some social media users pointed out on CNN’s Facebook page, we gotta give them some credit. As one Gideon K. Langat pointed out: “They are actually offering a solution to the financially challenged with taste of class”. Well, if not being able to afford an Italian luxury supercar means being “financially challenged” then we all are, aren’t we?
BTW, an American father-son duo built a Lamborghini Aventador using a 3D printer!
An American dad and his son were playing video games when they suddenly decided to build a replica of one of the cars featured in the game. As The Sun UK reports: “Sterling Backus was inspired to build the supercar after his son said he liked it when they were playing video game Forza Horizon 3. But as he didn’t have the budget to buy a brand-new Aventador, valued at more than £270,000, he decided to get creative. Despite having no experience, the physicist turned to 3D printing to build the impressive motor. Over the past 18 months, the duo have spent an hour each day painstakingly gluing each panel onto the home-made chassis”. Wow, that is what we call parental dedication. This dude deserves some sort of Father of the Decade award.
Before Trump was president, many opponents of the man swore that electing a person with a history of racist behavior would encourage closeted bigots to be more vocal with their hate. This claim has proved to be true basically time and time again in the years since he was elected on nearly a weekly basis. Attacks on Muslim and Latinx people have been sanctioned by government policies but we have also seen disturbingly bigoted behavior from average citizens. Hate crimes have skyrocketed since 2016 and viral videos of racist attacks and abuse are commonplace on the internet.
The latest act of xenophobia comes from Trump’s July Twitter tantrum against Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow freshmen congresswomen. In it, the president insisted that those who don’t like how America currently works should just leave. It’s a command most Black and brown people have heard at least once in their lives and it again invites undercover racists to be bold enough to let their hatred for minorities show.
One of the latest examples of the freedom racists feel is a video coming out of Abington, Pennsylvania that shows a white woman accosting a Puerto Rican woman at a grocery store.
On June 30th, 2019, Johanny Santana was standing in line at the grocery store when a child came into the line to ask his grandfather a question. The child and grandfather spoke Spanish to each other and this caused a white woman who was also in line to cuss at the boy. Hearing this, Santana started recording with her phone to capture any further encounters. The boy left and came back, only to have another woman object. This is when Santana stepped in and changed the focus to her.
In a video posted to Facebook, Santana asks the other woman if she had a problem with the individuals speaking Spanish after the white woman loudly complains, “Any century now.” The White woman then told Santana, “Can you stop talking to me? You’re a p*ta.” After Santana told the woman not to say that word, she responded again, repeating, “You’re a p*ta.”
It’s then that the altercation turned overtly racist.
The woman launched into a bigoted diatribe aimed at Santana. In the video, she can be heard saying:
“You shouldn’t be in this country. I hope Trump deports you. I was born here, you don’t belong here, go back to your own country. You don’t belong here, you came here illegally. You should be deported.”
The unidentified white woman then accused Santana of using “drug money” to buy her groceries. In the video, she is seen flashing cash at the Boricua and telling her that her money was legal, unlike what Santana was using.
In the video, Santana can be heard retaliating with her own insults.
In response to her own words, Santana told NBC News that she felt ashamed and powerless.
“I regret it because I didn’t want to tell her that. I felt powerless because I didn’t speak English well enough to be able to properly respond to her.”
The community that Santana lives in only has a population of 55,310 according to the 2010 Census. Of that population, almost 80% is white and only 3% of residents are Latinx. According to the Pew Research Center, Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Latinx group in the United States. Since Puerto Rico is a United States territory, citizens of the island — including Santana — are also US citizens. Still, even if they weren’t, this attack would remain grossly racist.
Twitter reacted with outrage in response to yet another recorded attack on people of color by racists.
Twitter users were quick to share the video thousands of times online. Many pointed out how ridiculous the woman was and how quick she was to jump into racists insults — as if she had them queued up and ready to rip. Others called on the social media site to do its thing and expose the woman pictured in the video. She is still unidentified as of now but one thing remains clear: There are far more people who feel this way in our nation than most are willing to admit. Until racists are exposed and called out in every community, racism will continue to be an ugly part of American life.