Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Legless cyclist rides for asylum seekers

EL PASO, Texas — Carlos Gutierrez passed out as the large blade cut through his legs — punishment for his refusal to pay a Mexican gang extortion fees from his successful catering business in northern Mexico.

Four men had forced him into the back of his vehicle at a local park before slicing just under his knees. He spent two weeks in critical condition and sought asylum in Texas as soon as he was able.

Now, facing long odds on getting approval to stay in the United States, Gutierrez has been staging an unusual demonstration to call attention to his plight and to the thousands of other Mexicans who seek asylum in the United States each year from drug cartel violence, with little success. Gutierrez has been riding his bicycle through Texas using his prosthetic legs, talking to everyone he meets.

"If someone from Cuba or from Venezuela can get asylum, why not someone from Mexico?" said Gutierrez, who spent nearly two weeks on his 800-mile bicycle trek from El Paso to Central Texas.

U.S. law allows asylum for those who have credible fear of persecution based on their race, religion, national origin, political status or membership in a particular social group.

But Mexican asylum seekers have struggled to convince U.S. courts they fit in any of these categories, with approval rates running 1 to 2 percent. By contrast, more than a fourth of immigrants from other Latin American countries such as Colombia and Venezuela were granted asylum last year. Many can cite ethnic or political grounds.

Since he hopped on his bicycle in El Paso on Oct. 28, Gutierrez has been making his case for a change in the system. His journey ended Saturday in Austin.

The 35-year-old endured rain, strong winds, flat tires and fatigue. On the fifth day, a prosthetic specialist met him to adjust his legs because he was bruising and blistering.

"There were times when we thought it'd be best to have him rest, to drive him to the next town to let his legs recover, but he'd say, 'No,' " said Jaqueline Armendariz, a member of the support team for the ride to Austin. "He has a mission."

Gutierrez said he never considered quitting.

It doesn't matter, he said, "how grave your wound was. What matters is that you get up. I have no legs, but I am on my feet."

Comments
Trump cancels summit, citing ‘open hostility’ by North Korea

Trump cancels summit, citing ‘open hostility’ by North Korea

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump canceled the planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Thursday, citing the "tremendous anger and open hostility" in a recent statement from the North.Trump said in a letter to Kim released by the White...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of world’s best beaches

Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of world’s best beaches

Caladesi Island’s "crystalline quartz" sand and "sparkling clear" water left an impression on Dr. Beach, who ranked it in his annual list of the world’s top 10 beaches.Dr. Beach, or Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is a professor and director for the Labor...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Brink: A 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a rotten idea for Florida

Brink: A 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a rotten idea for Florida

No matter your politics, the proposed 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a lousy idea.It’s regressive, burdening the poor and working class more than the rich.Federal interference with state transportation projects can raise costs, layer on regul...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

TAMPA — Before Jessica Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter were fatally struck by a speeding black Mustang on Wednesday, the gray skies had turned blue so she took the baby out in the stroller. Her husband David had just completed his flight cert...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

TAMPA — Work is underway to improve pedestrian safety on Bayshore Boulevard, the signature Tampa roadway popular among walkers, joggers and bicyclists where a mother was struck and killed by a car Wednesday while pushing her 21-month-old daughter acr...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Rashay Hudson operates a tutoring business in Wesley Chapel, and NaDorian Hudson has played basketball his entire life, including in college and the ABA. Now, the husband and wife duo are combining their areas of expertise with a new program for kids...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Their job was to guard our nuclear missiles. Their crime was buying, selling and using LSD

Their job was to guard our nuclear missiles. Their crime was buying, selling and using LSD

WASHINGTON — One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my mind." Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in Ame...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bar builder finds solid success in Tampa

Bar builder finds solid success in Tampa

TAMPA — Ever since he was a little boy, Chris Davenport loved to build things with Legos and erector sets. As he grew older, he spent time working with his dad, a carpenter, and then took welding classes in high school. While in college studying engi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Metro Diner brings fare to South Tampa

Metro Diner brings fare to South Tampa

Metro Diner, having already established several locations across Florida, including St. Petersburg, now brings its large portion-sized comfort food options across the bay.The local diner is slated to open Tuesday (May 29) at 4011 W Kennedy Blvd and w...
Updated: 1 hour ago