Esquites are a delicious corn snack that Mexicans eat as a treat.
Esquites are boiled corn kernels, served in a glass with the broth, butter, cream, lemon and chili powder added.
The ubiquitous street food has a colorful history.
Legend has it that Tlazocihuapilli, a woman who ruled the Xochimilcas in Central Mexico, created esquites. Her legacy includes dishes such as atole (a corn drink) with honey and necuatolli, corn jelly. Tlazocihuapilli also bequeathed Mexicans the tradition of cooking in a corn husk, with which they created their tlapiques, meat or fish cooked in a tamale leaf.
Esquites are a hybrid creation, with pre-Hispanic ingredients — such as corn, epazote and pepper — and others brought to the Americas during the colonial period, including lemon, cheese, cream and mayonnaise.
More than three centuries after the Aztec empire fell, emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and his wife Carlota enjoyed the so-called Odalisque Teeth, the fancy name the aristocracy gave to boiled corn in the style of esquites.
“Everyone enjoys them, but few know the term esquite or ezquite comes from izquitl, a word in Nahuatl — the language of the Aztecs — meaning roasted corn,” said Horacio Barradas Meza, a sociologist from the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico.
“Their recipe varies according to the region, although in central Mexico, it is common to find corn kernels boiled in water with salt and epazote.” Some people boil the kernels with chicken feet, too.
In Hidalgo, a state in central Mexico, cooks fry the kernels in butter or vegetable oil, adding garlic, onion, minced serrano pepper or chile de árbol, epazote leaves, and a pinch of salt.
In both cases, diners enjoy their warmed esquites in a glass with a spoon.
“People can find them in public squares, markets or even on tricycles that sell them on neighborhood streets,” said the sociologist. “Esquites accompany us in almost every celebration.”
Esquites receive different names throughout the country.
People in Puebla and other states from Central-Eastern Mexico call them chileatoles. In the North and Northeast, their name is trolelote, chascas in Aguascalientes, corn kernel in glass in Monterrey, and vasolote in Michoacán.
“People season their esquites to their taste: some use mayonnaise, others cream or both,” said Horacio Barradas. “What esquites will never lack is chili powder. There are two types: a spicy one and a mild one. Chili powder is what makes esquites iconic.”
(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Melanie Slone and Fern Siegel.)
Daniel Valdés is a 22-year-old born in Texas to Mexican parents. As a child, he watched full of enthusiasm and childhood glee the wind turbines in his native state every time his family drove by through the vast fields where these massive constructions laid.
That same fascination with power generation would later nurture a concern for the environment and the natural phenomena that he experienced in his hometown of Galveston. He decided that he wanted to be in a place where eco-friendly energy policies could make a difference.
Today he is a chemical engineer, recently graduated from Columbia University in New York amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic. He got the opportunity to be a public policy fellow at the American Petroleum Institute (API) until December. From there, he went through the House of Representatives as part of the Public Policy Fellow of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI.)
“I have had several experiences in the Gulf of Mexico, most recently, Hurricane Harvey, which hit Houston hard. It was one of the worst hurricanes, just after Katrina. There are wildfires in California, and in different parts of the world, the winter is extremely cold. The important thing to consider is that with the changes that we will see in the following 10, 15, 20, or 100 years, there will be a real need to lower carbon emissions.”
Diversity and Inclusion
Nowadays, the energy industry seeks to broaden its diversity to include minorities such as African Americans and Latinos such as Valdés. The Community Energy Center (CEC) emerged to provide information and perspectives on the sector’s role in these communities. It also provides a forum that raises awareness, understanding, and discussions about the energy sector’s importance in their everyday lives.
Thus, the industry’s projection regarding the recruitment of these ethnic and racial minorities is positive. It is thanks to this that young people like Valdés should have more significant opportunities.
“The CHCI Public Policy and Graduate Fellowship Programs provide an unmatched leadership experience for the brightest and most innovative emerging leaders in our community. Through our program, they acquire in-depth knowledge of highly relevant topics and industries, such as energy. This, combined with induction into an incredible network of peers and established leaders, gives CHCI fellows a boost to their careers, advances the Latino community, and strengthens the nation,” said Marco Davis, CHCI president and CEO.
In Valdés’ view, diversity is essential in any industry to have minorities represented in the decisions that also impact these communities. He is confident that the only way to know the minorities’ perspective on these subjects is to allow them to form part of the decisions and get involved in them.
“Without a science program, I would not have had the opportunity to know how energy policies operate from the perspective of the organization that is in charge of American oil. It is a perspective that I appreciate very much, as I did not know about it,” he said.
Opportunities for minorities
According to an API analysis based on the IHS Global Insight report, oil and natural gas will continue to be the primary fuel source for decades to come, while other energy forms will become commercially viable.
“The energy industry has proven to be a catalyst for economic activity and has long supported members of our communities,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Publishers Association of Newspapers (NNPA) in the framework of the joint effort with the National Association of Hispanic Publications Media LLC (NAHP Media) for the launch of the Community Energy Center.
Ricardo Hurtado, president of media for NAHP Media, endorsed Chavis’ view and pointed to the crucial role of this new organization in “the path to the creation of new careers and professional development opportunities” for minorities.
Valdés, who completed his bachelor’s degree with scholarships and a lot of effort from his family, is a clear example of the need for these new policies and fellowships. As the young man aspires to continue training, he is in the process of applying for a master’s degree in chemical engineering and environmental sustainability, with plans to then go for a doctorate in public policy. He has also not ruled out knocking on the API’s doors again, once his education is complete.
Valdés is optimistic about the future of the energy industry in terms of diversity and sustainability. “I would say that I see a transition from fuels to renewable energy. Regarding the oil industry, I see a more diverse future in terms of gender, race, and color.”
During his stay at the API, Valdés drew satisfaction from the work he did in the institution’s programs, both in English and Spanish, which focused on guiding high school students and their parents in STEM and other university study areas.
The CEC promotes the empowerment of minorities and raises awareness about the environment and the need to make energy affordable in minority communities.
If you can’t trick or treat on Halloween night, you can catch a treat of a boxing match featuring two highly skilled world champions fighting for both the WBA super featherweight and lightweight championships. Leo Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 knockouts) is set to headline his first pay-per-view event in his 40th professional bout.
Santa Cruz is a high-energy fighter known for his high volume of punches. His fan-friendly style has helped him land several high-profile televised fights. ‘El Terremoto’ is trying to win a title in his fifth different weight class.
Santa Cruz last fought nearly a year ago, when he defeated Miguel Flores by unanimous decision on Nov. 23. Gervonta Davis, Santa Cruz’s next opponent, is 23-0-0 with 22 knockouts. Expect 4th of July-like fireworks on Halloween night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
During a recent conversation, Santa Cruz opened up about his fight with Davis, how his father’s health struggles motivate him and much more.
Percy Crawford interviewed Leo Santa Cruz for Zenger News.
Zenger: How are you doing, Leo?
Leo Santa Cruz: I feel good. I just got done training, so I feel great. How are you?
Zenger: I’m great. Thanks for asking. I know you have a tight schedule, so I’ll keep it short. When you look at footage of Gervonta Davis, what are your takeaways?
Santa Cruz: He’s a great fighter, great talent, great skills, great puncher, great power. He has everything that a fighter can ask for. The only thing is maybe his stamina, but he’s been training hard for this fight, and it shows. Hopefully, he’s in great condition. I don’t take anything away from him. He’s a great fighter.
Zenger: You seem to live a very comfortable life right now. At 32 years old, what keeps you motivated to continue to fight at such a high level?
Santa Cruz: What keeps me motivated is my family. We grew up really poor. We struggled a lot, and I don’t want to go back to that. I continue to train hard in the gym, make great fights and keep my family straight for them to live and create a good future.
Zenger: We just watched Vasiliy Lomachenko, a 32-year old guy, move up in weight and lose to a 23-year old fighter who was bigger than he was. You are 32, and Gervonta is 25. You’re moving up, as did Lomachenko. How do you prevent having the same fate as the perception of the bigger and younger fighter having the advantage?
Santa Cruz: Yeah (laughing). I think the difference is I have a heart. I have that Aztec Warrior Mexican heart. I’m going to go out there no matter what. I’m not going to be scared to throw punches. No matter if he is the bigger guy, I’m going to go out there and throw punches and be on top of him. We don’t back down from nobody. We are going to be there with him with that Aztec spirit.
Zenger: This fight will take place on Halloween night, which is the last day of October, which marks the last day of essentially ‘Cancer Awareness Month.’ Your father’s health issues and battle with cancer are well-documented. Are you using them as motivation to fuel you for this fight, or do you feel it’s best to leave those emotions out of it because that can be a dangerous approach?
Santa Cruz: I don’t have to fight emotional. My dad is great motivation for me because he has struggled going through everything he’s going through. What I’m going through in the gym, training hard and everything, is nothing compared to what he’s going through and what he’s been through. So, when I feel myself feeling down or a little bit tired, I think about my dad. I do this for him. I know that if I get this win, he is going to be very happy, and it will be extra motivation for him to continue fighting against cancer, and that’s what I want. But like I say, this is boxing, and you never know. Anything can happen out there. I just want for hopefully both of us to come out healthy from the fight. And I want my dad to not worry about me if anything goes wrong. I want to motivate him and make him proud.
Zenger: Most observers are viewing this fight as a volume-versus-power fight: Your volume against Davis’ power. Do you agree with that, or do you see this fight as being more than just that?
Santa Cruz: I think it’s a little bit more. I’m not only just volume. I can box. If I throw my volume, he will catch me. I can get caught with something, and he could catch me with a good power punch. I don’t want to go out there and just throw a lot of punches. I just have to go out there and be smart, pick my punches and fight a smart fight. But once we’re in there, we know we have to fight him; and whatever is working, that’s what we’re going to do.
Zenger: Obviously, Floyd Mayweather can’t fight for Gervonta, but his presence in this camp has been instrumental — or it appears to have been instrumental in how Gervonta has trained. Do you think Gervonta could possibly get caught up in trying to impress Floyd too much and that could lead to opportunities for you?
Santa Cruz: Yeah, hopefully he does make mistakes because of that. When you have someone like Floyd Mayweather around you … if I had Floyd Mayweather in my corner, I would be trying to impress him so much that maybe I would get too carried away and do something wrong. Or get too frustrated trying to do what he’s telling me, and I can’t do it. So, it’s a little bit of both. It can be extra motivation, and it can be a distraction. We’re going to see fight day how it plays out.
Zenger: You’re adding weight and muscle to your frame. Physically, how do you feel?
Santa Cruz: Physically, I feel great. I feel strong. I look strong. People are telling me I look really big, and I’ve been looking strong in the sparring and on the mitts and everything. I like to hear that because I’ve been working hard and doing everything that I have to do in the gym to go out there and give a great fight. We are happy with the results right now.
Zenger: You always give us your best. I appreciate the time. Good luck on fight night, and I hope both you and Gervonta walk away healthy.
Santa Cruz: Thank you, man. I appreciate it and have a great day.
(Edited by Stan Chrapowicki and Allison Elyse Gualtieri)
The Covid-19 pandemic in Venezuela has stranded 800 U.S. citizens — who have become political pawns between the Nicolas Maduro regime and the American government.
James Story, chargé d’affaires of the U.S .State Department for Venezuela, who dispatches from Bogotá, Colombia, denounced the Venezuelan regime for refusing to allow American citizens to return to the United States.
After Story sent a message to Jorge Arreaza, minister of foreign affairs of the Venezuelan regime, to resolve the impasse, Maduro replied by proposing the use of Conviasa, his state airline, which is sanctioned by Washington, to transfer the Americans back home.
“A humanitarian cause should not be worth illegal, unilateral sanctions,” said Maduro.
But the Venezuelan strongman’s proposal has caused mistrust on the part of former U.S. government officials, exile leaders and officials linked to Juan Guaido, who declared himself acting president backed by the United States and 60 countries.
“It is odd that the situation of these American citizens had not been revealed before,” said Otto Reich, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, and former assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere at the State Department.
“What Maduro is doing is typical of an outlaw, because he knows the Venezuelan state airline is sanctioned by the United States, and he wants to take advantage of a difficult situation,” Reich added.
The airline was sanctioned in February. “The illegitimate Maduro regime relies on the Venezuelan state-owned airline CONVIASA to shuttle corrupt regime officials around the world to fuel support for its anti-democratic efforts,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, when the sanctions were imposed.
Reich added the tactic used by the Venezuelan regime has previously been used by dictatorships, such as in Cuba.
“Maduro’s offer to Trump to repatriate people of American nationality has a logistical complication, due to the sanctions: Conviasa cannot land in the United States. Maduro seeks this to present it as a political victory and a victory against the “blockade,” but I doubt that Washington will grant it, “said Manuel Avendaño, who has been director of the International Office of Guaido.
“It is one more example for the United States and the world to realize the catastrophe that exists in Venezuela in every sense, in addition to what we repeatedly denounce about violated human rights,” said Maria Teresa Van Der Ree, president of the organization Civil Resistance of Venezuelans Abroad (Recivex), which, since 2001, has opposed the regimes of the late Hugo Chávez and Maduro.
The United States suspended its foreign service operations in Venezuela on March 11, 2019, and has tightened oil and financial sanctions against the dictatorship in Caracas.
Story revealed the United States has made multiple offers since March, both to bring Americans home and to deal with Venezuelans trapped in the United States amid the pandemic. The State Department offered to organize direct, private flights from Caracas to the United States, or through third-party countries, such as Spain and Mexico. The Maduro government has rejected both suggestions.
Story issued a warning in March saying citizens with U.S. passports and permanent residents should prepare to stay indefinitely in Venezuela. The diplomat reported that some American citizens who tried to fly to Mexico were told they were on a government list that prohibited them from leaving the country.
Since last May, Washington suspended all its commercial and cargo flights with Venezuela “for security reasons,” so travelers have to make stops in other countries.
NARINO, Colombia — A trio of Ecuadorans working for a major drug ring in Mexico have been busted in a submarine off the coast of Colombia. Authorities seized a ton of cocaine Sunday and three co-conspirators aboard a custom-built sub passing nearby.
The sub was nabbed in a joint operation between the Colombian police and Navy. Of the three Ecuadorans arrested, two are 24 and the other is 34, said Saray Ramirez, spokeswoman at the national police’s anti-drug unit. Their names have not been released.
Ramirez also said the cocaine was set to be sold to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, one of Mexico’s highest-profile and dangerous cartels. The drop-off was supposed to take place somewhere on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Officials say the confiscated drugs would be worth about $35 million on the drug market.
The submarine was seized around 47 miles from the port of Tumaco on the Pacific, where it was initially detected moving at a high speed. The officers boarded the vessel and found 26 sacks containing 1,030 packs of cocaine weighing a total of about a ton.
As for the submarine itself, authorities set the submarine’s price tag at about $1.2 million. The vessel, capable of holding up to 3 tons of cocaine, was fitted with a GPS to help it reach its destination.
Authorities said that while much of the drug production in Narino had previously been carried out by the Sinaloa Cartel, which was formerly led by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, that had now changed to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. The drug was reportedly produced and trafficked by E-30, a dissident group from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas who fought the Colombian Army for decades until a peace agreement in 2016.
Such sub-based seizures have become commonplace, with authorities reporting five similar busts this month in the same area. Indeed, according to a report issued last year by the International Crisis Group, drug-running is a major problem in the area. In the aftermath of the FARC peace deal mentioned above, “Colombia’s Pacific region has seen surges of both dissident guerrilla activity and drug-related crime,” said the group, whose goal is to seek ways to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world.
(Edited by Matthew Hall and Stephen Gugliociello.)
India is gearing up for large-scale human trials of a vaccine as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim lives across the globe.
Russia claimed this month that it has made strides, and pharmaceutical makers in the United States and Europe are also working feverishly to find a cure. Governments and private foundations are devoting huge sums to financing research and prepare for the distribution of medications that pass trials.
A vaccine being tested in India was produced by a partnership of the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The Serum Institute of India has begun phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the experimental serum at seventeen sites across the country. Recruitment of volunteers is likely to begin this week.
Vaccines that the institute produces are now used in 170 countries. It announced Aug. 7 that it has entered into a partnership with Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to manufacture and deliver up to 100 million doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccines in India and other low- and middle-income countries.
The partnership is also providing billions of dollars to accelerate the manufacturing process for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and another under development by the U.S.-based drug maker Novavax.
Their goal is to cap the price of a mass-produced vaccine at $3 per dose, making it among the cheapest in the world.
Of 17 approved vaccine testing sites, eight trial sites are in Maharashtra, the state in western India that has recorded more than 600,000 cases and more than 20,000 deaths—the highest in India. Those Maharashtra sites include two in Mumbai, four in Pune and one each in Wardha and Nagpur. The other trial sites include two in Chennai and one each in Visakhapatnam, Mysore, Jodhpur, Patna, Chandigarh, Delhi and Gorakhpur.
India has recorded more than 2.6 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, and more than 500,000 deaths. That’s the world’s third-highest tally, after the United States and Brazil.
The vaccine trials will cover 1,600 healthy Indians over seven months.
In Mumbai they will be conducted at the BYL Nair Hospital and the King Edward Memorial Hospital.
“Each hospital will recruit 160 volunteers,” said Mumbai additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani. “Both hospitals will start recruiting volunteers as soon as the ethics committees give a go-ahead this week.”
He said they will be screened for pre-existing conditions like HIV and hepatitis. They must be 18 or older.
Dr. Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Mumbai’s BYL Nair Hospital, said participants “will be screened for the presence of antibodies to ascertain if they have already had the Covid-19 infection.” Women “will have to be on contraception for at least 28 days before and 57 days after the inoculation,” he said.
“The initial round will have a sample size of 250. Once the staff is trained, advertisements calling for volunteers to participate in the study will be put out. The institute plans to screen at least 350 volunteers to reach the target sample size of 250,” said Dr. Madhu Gupta, principal investigator of the trial.
Gupta described a two-part process involving a second dose four weeks after the first.
A World Health Organization draft assessment lists 29 potential vaccines in the clinical trial stage and 138 pre-clinical candidates. Two of those are made in India.
The assessment, last updated on Aug. 13, includes a Russian vaccine named Sputnik V, saying it’s in phase 1 clinical trials. A Russian government website, however, claims phase 1 and 2 trials were completed Aug. 1, and that the Russian Ministry of Health announced on August 11 that “under emergency rules adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the vaccine “can be used to vaccinate the population in Russia..”
“[A]ll the volunteers are feeling well,” Moscow reports, and “no unforeseen or unwanted side effects were observed.”
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