The Power of Lying

by Miguel Balbuena

In a column written on January 8 for the London-based newspaper Financial Times, John Thornhill seemed to suggest that having the capacity to lie is what distinguishes humans from non-human animals.

Furthermore, In his piece he made it sound as if lying is not such an easy game to play.

“Lying is a complicated business involving the masking of intention, an understanding of context and human psychology, and the coexistence of two versions of reality, one true, one false,” Thornhill wrote.

Then, he went on to quote Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as having said, in his book “Life 3.0,” that consciousness enables meaning, and meaning is tied to the ability to appreciate subjective experiences, which this scientist called sentience. From here Tegmark postulated changing the categorization of the human species from Homo sapiens to Homo sentiens.

“Truth, it has been said, is the first casualty of war,” wrote the 1st Viscount Snowden in 1916, when he was a member of the British House of Commons. Later on, the Nazis even established a government agency, the German Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, which perfected lying to an exact science in World War II and its run-up. It was headed by Joseph Goebbels between 1933 and 1945. Another Nazi politician, Hermann Goering, the creator of the Gestapo, said: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked.”

But even in peacetime, it is alleged that lying in a massive scale can be encouraged.

“Lie, lie, that something is left.” This quote was on the blackboard when I came into my classroom after lunch break, during my senior year in high school, for what was supposed to be a religion lecture. The professor, Luis Fernando Figari, who wrote it, said authoritatively that the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire had penned this quote.

Voltaire was one of the major figures of the French Age of Reason – along with Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert. It seemed incongruous to me that Voltaire, having been an advocate for reason, all of a sudden would have started promoting lying as a way of life; as a general, systematic principle.

I had been sympathetic to Voltaire since my junior year when my world history professor, Humberto Arredondo, told my class that this philosopher had used humor in his writings to undermine the oppressive Bourbon absolutist monarchy to the point that King Louis XVI blamed him for having “destroyed” the royal dynastic rule over the masses.

Figari went on to suggest that students’ parents had complained about him to the school’s principal. He didn’t disclosed the nature of the grievances against him nor the specific identity of his accusers. The funny thing is that Voltaire never said verbatim what Figari attributed to him.

In fact, in his letter to Nicolas-Claude Thieriot on Oct. 21, 1736, Voltaire literally wrote, “Lie, my friends, lie; I will repay you one day.’

But the context of the letter explained everything. Earlier on, Voltaire had produced the play “The prodigal son.” As he wanted its audience to appraise it on its merits, not being biased by knowing who its author was, he sent letters to his best buddies Berger and Thieriot, who were in the secret, asking them to keep concealed the playwright’s name from the public.

By distorting Voltaire’s explicit text and hiding its context, Figari – while claiming to be defending himself from parents’ defamation – was himself defaming Voltaire either consciously or by gross negligence by not having verify his sources.

After he was done with Voltaire, he did the same thing to Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes.

“They bark Sancho, sign that we move forward” was the second quote that Figari had chalked on the blackboard to respond to his unnamed critics. He attributed it to Alonso Quixano, the main character of Cervantes’ book “Don Quixote de la Mancha”.

It turns out that this phrase is not in any of Cervantes’ publications.

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

A Recipe for Your Valentine

by Linda DeStefano

February includes the romantic holiday of St. Valentine’s Day (also known simply as Valentine’s Day). Sweets are a common gift. Here is a recipe for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which is easy and should please anyone who loves sweets and loves chocolate. It also is a gift for the animals as it contains no animal ingredients (no eggs, no dairy). Dairy cows and their babies suffer a great deal, and egg-laying hens do too (and the male chicks are killed as they can’t produce eggs).

I won’t pretend that this recipe, especially with the frosting, is healthy – too much sugar and fat – but it is a satisfying, occasional treat. The next time I make it, I’m going to try using date sugar instead of cane sugar because, according to Michael Greger, M.D., date sugar and molasses are the only two healthy sugars. Molasses flavor would be too strong for a cake, but I think date sugar (which has a mild flavor) would work well. I buy date sugar at Green Planet Grocery on W. Genesee St. in Fairmount. See for health tips from Dr. Greger.

My friend Lisa Dwinell brought this recipe to my attention.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup of sugar (try date sugar)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (plain – no sugar or other ingredients in it)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup canola or other mild-flavored vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 teaspoonful of vanilla or almond abstract

Mix all ingredients at the same time except the vinegar. A whisk works nicely. Then add the vinegar and stir. IMMEDIATELY put in over preheated to 350 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes. Place cake tester in middle of cake to see that it is not liquid in the middle. The batter fills one square tin (about 8 1/2 x 8 1/2) or one round tin. Grease the tin with oil or vegan margarine (such as, Earth Balance).

I use chocolate frosting from The Compassionate Cook.

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup hot water (start with cold and then heat in kettle or pan rather than using from the hot water tap)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Over very low heat, melt the chocolate and margarine together. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the water. Slowly stir in sugar until creamy.

Allow the cake to cool before frosting it.

This cake is an example of tasty vegan cooking. Vegans eat no animal flesh or animal products (particularly dairy and eggs) but do eat veggies, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and all the many dishes made from them.

Vegan eating is good for the environment, the animals, the reduction of world hunger, and for your health. If you want to learn more and even have free personal counseling as you try vegan eating, go to and find the Vegan Mentor Program.

There are many sources of vegan recipes online, such as,

There are also many cookbooks. Here are a few below, all of which can be ordered at If you are like me and don’t like to order online, you can order directly from the Barnes and Noble in Syracuse at (315) 449-2948.

Dairy-Free And Delicious by Bryanna Clark Grogan & Joanne Stepaniak. Besides recipes, there’s a lot of information about how to eat a healthy diet without dairy. Even for those who are not vegan, this is helpful for people with dairy allergies.

The Compassionate Cook: Please Don’t Eat the Animals by Ingrid Newkirk

The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

For those who want both vegan and gluten-free recipes, there is The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien.

If want to join a local organization which has vegan socials (vegans and non-vegans welcome), contact Syracuse Vegan Meetup,, and/or People for Animal Rights.

You’ll find Syacuse Vegan Meetup on Facebook and Instagram Or contact Marybeth at

You can contact People for Animal Rights at (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., or PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 133215-0358. PAR also has films and speakers on a variety of animal rights and environmental protection issues and puts out a physical newsletter twice a year.


A Moment Of Reflection
by Lilia M. Fiallo

“Do not lie to me because if you lie to me, it’s not me you’re lying to, it’s yourself” (Unknown author)

In life everything has a first step and although we feel about any issue that we choose, we go ahead without worrying. We clearly know that we have a free will; act, speak on our own responsibility with a clean spirit and transparent in all actions of life. Bad decision of a person to try to cheat, betray, to steal, to lie, judge, criticize censor or cause some evil to something or someone else, because they can’t do the same against their own being.

Lying is a malignant feeling that, like the vine climbs up to reach disastrous results. At a very young age -although it is hard to believe- a human being learns to differentiate between good and evil, namely the truth of things, to know the world that surrounds him; the creatures are copying like a tape record and they are storing what they see and hear, and the parents, vigilantes of their children, are realizing the inclinations of human nature in the heart of each of them allowing them to correct them in time.

One lie carries another and another. When the phone rings, the mother tells Sarita: “Answer and if it’s your uncle Pablo, tell him I left early”. They knock on the door and mother whispers in Martin’s ear: “Go open and if it’s the neighbor, tell her I’m asleep”. While she quickly goes to her room. It is thought that children for being so small they do not understand and it turns out that they understand perfectly. This contains an immense irresponsibility, disregard and disrespect towards children in addition to harsh consequences later, bad example and sow lying in them.

As children grow up they explore the outside world and from what they have learned at home, they make their own destiny. The straight path, the truth as pure, fresh and crystal clear water, the good teachings learned in the home will be the foundations to start an individual journal through life.

There are times when pious lies are told, but… For example, when Ann told her niece: “Thank you Melissa for my birthday gift, I just want to ask you, how much does it cost you?… Melissa was breathless since she remembered the day she was walking and bought the aunt’s gift, she did not have much money and she saw a store that advertised incredible promotions and took the opportunity to acquire a good nice and cheap pajama set and good gown. Melissa did not know what to say with regret decided to raise the price so that the aunt did not think she had given him something so inexpensive and she answered, but she did not imagine, that the aunt took the money from her wallet to buy two sets. Now Melissa was really bad, on the one hand, the lie, and on the other, how was she going repay the money that increased unintentionally?

Whatever it is, lie is a bad feeling. It is better to be authentic, let them think what they want to think of your when you present yourself as you are. Often, mixing intelligence with lies, sooner or later the truth will come to light and the one who lie will look bad and is the one who suffers his own yoke. It is even worse mixing cunning without intelligence remaining in evidence and having a hard time. The pathological or mythological, lies has as an addiction and lies unconsciously, does not care about it, does not care about the effects of such action and reveals a mental disorder, caused by a lack of affection which gives us one of many answers: everything is born in the bosom of the home.

It depends on you that life is not a lie!

Lady of the Arts: A Profile of Tere Paniagua

by Maximilian Eyle

La Casita Cultural Center and Punto de Contacto (Point of Contact) are two of the foremost Latino cultural institutions in Syracuse. Point of Contact is celebrating its 42nd year of showcasing Latin American contemporary art and literature, while the newer La Casita has blossomed into an active community center that provides educational opportunities, historical awareness, and cultural exhibitions. A peek behind the curtain of each reveals the tireless work of Tere Paniagua, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community at Syracuse University – an educator of Puerto Rican descent who has been a driving force in Syracuse’s art and culture community for over 15 years.

Tere is a slender, energetic woman with long silver hair and an ever-present smile. Before coming to Syracuse, Tere spent over 20 years working as a journalist profiling artists and literary figures in Puerto Rico and Los Angeles. She earned her degree from Syracuse University, Class of ‘82 and developed a strong connection to the city where she has now raised three children. In 2002 she started work at SU’s Latino and Latin American Studies program (LLAS) and the Department of Languages, where she began teaching and designed her own course in Spanish titled Hispanic Journalistic Practices. One of her colleagues was Point of Contact founder, Pedro Cuperman. She began helping him out and working with him during her extra time and soon fell in love with the gallery’s projects.

Today she is Point of Contact’s Executive Director, working to further the gallery’s role as a platform for showcasing visual artists and literary figures from Latin America. “People often have a preconceived notion of what Latin American art is,” Tere explains, “Point of Contact allows us to break many of those stereotypes.” One of the most important things that the gallery does is shine light on new artists, drawing attention to emerging voices in the arts community. Currently, Point of Contact is working with Abisay Puentes to plan a show for next year. The Cuban-born painter is known for his dual approach of presenting his visual work with a corresponding orchestral soundtrack.

Tere’s second project, La Casita, opened in 2011 with a distinct mission: to focus on the local community, to work with Syracuse youth, and to provide educational programs that integrate with the life of the community. La Casita presents opportunities for students that have a special interest in Syracuse’s Latino community to work as volunteers, mentors, and instructors. They exhibit visual arts, music, and dance – including monthly Argentine tango events. Tere says the goal is to choose “exhibitions that document the traditions and the life of this community.” Exhibits often include historic photos, memorabilia, and other artifacts that tell family histories among Latinos in Syracuse.

There is also an archival element to the work of La Casita. In 2017, they featured a beautiful collection of traditional musical instruments from Caribbean cultures that examines the history of that musical heritage. Before that, there was an exhibition telling the stories of Latino veterans and documenting the experiences of local and campus Latino families who had members in the military, with interviews exploring their experiences. Two years ago, La Casita entered into a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to engage in a project that would showcase community collections. The theme of the project is “Latinos in Baseball”, presenting a view of Latino baseball culture “from the barrios to the big leagues.” The Smithsonian project now includes nearly 2 dozen partner galleries and cultural centers across the nation and will culminate in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. in 2020 before becoming a traveling show.

“The scope of these projects would not be possible without the help and support of Syracuse University and the College of Arts & Sciences,” Tere explains. But the benefits are not one sided. While the community is nourished by the many cultural resources provided by La Casita and Point of Contact, the University is rewarded with a wealth of opportunities for student involvement, experiential learning and career advancement. Speaking to the future of Latinos in Syracuse, Tere reinforces the importance of these cultural institutions. “We ought to feel very proud of this community,” Tere says, “It is essential that we expose our youth, our students to our proud history, to our rich traditions, and to the art of our people.”

The Point of Contact Gallery is located at The Warehouse Building, 350 W Fayette St, Syracuse, NY 13202

La Casita Cultural Center is located at 109 Otisco St, Syracuse, NY 13204

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

Here we go again…

Here we go again… this time is… fourteen…!!!
by Hugo Acosta

Here we go again, usually during the last week of (each) January, when I take a few minutes to reflect, to contemplate, to think about it, and… to prepare content for these annual editorials… something that this time will be shorter and quick… something that almost was not done, but (thanks to my editor in chief, Marisol Hernandez) it happened…

So, to keep that “short and quick approach, I am not going to narrate again, the continuing straggle and still-growing difficulty of the newspaper business, I am not going to develop on the “ups and downs” we might have gone through this year, and yes, I am not going to expose much of the possible professional (or personal) issues I might have gone through this year, and I am not going to present some peculiar weird analogy of the number 14 (like I have done in past anniversary times).

This time, I am going to simply indicate that one more time, this anniversary moment commemoration, still makes me feel the sense and emotion of accomplishment, and the strong gratification of achievement, for something that I like to do, and that I still do with love. Producing this ethnic publication (and the other Hispanic Media Outlets we provide) keeps giving me not only the financial support for me and my family, but also an enjoyment and delight to serve my culture. I do apologize if this drier and shorter editorial might have disappointed some (maybe even my editor in chief, Marisol Hernandez), and I apologize if the expected drama and fuss is not there like in the past, but in addition of going through a really busy and hectic time in this beginning of the year, some other (personal) issues might have somehow tinted or affected the inspiration and motivation I usually get, to prepare and develop a better editorial.

I still want to thank the ones that not only helped us and supported us in the making and existence of this 14-year old project (specially clients, associates, and staff), but I also want to thank to those that believe (and are still believing) in this product, and in my culture, and believe in the efforts that Marisol & I have been putting for the last 14 years… and planning to continue doing for… many more years in the future.


Eating Disorder

by Ria Pal

For most Americans, the typical patient with an eating disorder is a thin, wealthy Caucasian female. In reality, there is a tremendous range of patients, and this stereotype causes families and medical providers alike to overlook symptoms and treatment for a potentially devastating disease with psychological and physiological consequences.

Information about the prevalence of eating disorders in ethnic minority groups, particularly Latinos, is virtually unknown — several studies on eating disorders have left out Latinos as a group entirely. Yet, several studies have reported higher rates of eating disorder symptoms and body dissatisfaction among Latino groups than among non-Hispanic whites or among other ethnic minority females. For example, studies have reported a higher and more severe prevalence of binge eating among Latino females compared to White, African American, and Asian American women. Population-based surveys of adolescents found that rates of dieting and using laxatives were highest among Latinas. Studies of body image found that unlike some other ethnic groups, who idealize very thin bodies, Latinos often idealize bodies that are simultaneously thin and curvy.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia (avoiding eating altogether) and bulimia (overeating and then “purging” to get rid of the food through forced vomiting or laxative use). Among Latinos, however, the most common diagnosis is called OSFED, “Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder.” OSFED is equally serious, but does not fit into a definition as easily. Behaviors that would be categorized as OSFED include binge-eating, excessive eating at night, and purging without overeating.

Regardless of age, gender, weight, or immigration status, people who think they may have unhealthy eating behaviors deserve help. Beyond the initial challenges of recognizing the symptoms and breaking the stigma, affording eating disorder treatment is hard. But there are alternatives to pocket-draining residential treatment programs that average at $30,000 a month. Often just an inquiry and application away, some treatment facilities do offer scholarships and grants. Teaching hospitals or mental health facilities, which often offer free services, might also be an option. Then there are support groups, online and offline, which exist to both help guide people in their search for assistance and act as an inexpensive and effective way to talk and help one another deal with the variety of concerns and challenges that come with disordered eating.

It can be helpful to think of eating disorders as a chronic disease, one that may become better but is at a risk for relapse. It is important for people to take precautions against relapsing, especially when they are doing better. People with eating disorders can benefit from a wide range of options for help, which include support groups (which can be found at, therapists, dieticians, treatment centers, dentists, physicians, psychiatrists, and art or yoga therapists.

Another harmful aspect of the stereotype that eating disorders affect only white people is that few resources have been developed for Spanish speaking patients. It can be difficult and intimidating to seek out resources in Spanish, especially in rural areas. is a web site with basic information and a confidential, toll free hotline (1-800-931-2237). Not all of the volunteers on the hotline are Spanish speaking, but if someone who only speaks Spanish calls, they can still be assisted. If you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, take the first step to seek help.

Ria Pal is a medical student and aspiring pediatrician at the University of Rochester. She hopes to work in community health as an advocate for Spanish speaking patients. She is on the board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) who are committed to contribute educational articles relevant to the Latino community.

CONGRATULATION Ria Pal on your graduation from the Rochester University. CNY Latino wishes you success in your medical career and we THANK YOU for your contribution to our bilingual publication…

The shutdown, trump’s proposal, now what?

by José Enrique Perez

We all know that the federal government shut down for 3 days last month. Now, this month the government is in risk of shutting down again. DACA, the Dreamers, immigrants, were at the heart of the shutdown. They will be again.

In response to the shutdown, the President Trump presented (finally) his immigration plan. He supports a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship for not just the roughly 700,000 enrolled in the expiring DACA program but for other “DACA-eligible illegal immigrants” who are in the U.S. illegally and were brought to the country as children. The White House estimates that could cover up to 1.8 million people.

In exchange, the White House wants an immigration measure to include $25 billion for a border wall. However, based on the language of the proposal for the wall, it does not seem it is the coast-to-coast physical structure on the Southern border that Trump promised at campaign rallies, but, it “takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, and resources.”

Trump also wants changes to the legal immigration system, including policies that prioritize family members “to spouses and minor children only.” Finally, Trump wants to completely eliminate the visa lottery system, which the memo says “is riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.”

Immigrants and civil rights groups are shocked with this proposal. First of all, the DACA and Dreamers deserve a clean Dream Act not tied to any border enforcement or to be hostage in exchange of the elimination of family based immigration.

Starting with the wall and border security, all the experts agree (Except for Trump and his right wing allies) that expanding the border wall makes no sense, will harm the environment, and is counter to the desires of actual border communities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has met and exceeded all previous “benchmarks for border security” proposed in bipartisan draft immigration legislation. According to DHS’s own reporting, it is more difficult to cross the southern border without authorization today than it has ever been before, with undocumented entries at their lowest since the early 1970s. Since DHS’s inception in 2003, its Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget has more than doubled and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spending has grown 85%. The number of agents has ballooned. CBP and ICE’s budget is already 24% larger than the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Secret Service; and U.S. Marshals combined.

It is proven that Family-based immigration leads to successful, strong American families. Adult children, brothers, and sisters, help run small businesses, help each other as they integrate into America, and support each other’s child care needs. One reason our family-based immigration system has been so successful is that extended family members in the U.S. to help immigrants settle, find jobs and housing and integrate and become successful Americans. Under the so-called merit-based plan, many of us would not be here today, except African Americans and Native Americans, our ancestors came to the U.S. with little money, struggling for a better life.

The termination of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which is a small program that allows 50,000 individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to come to the United States each year. Winners of the lottery go through the same intensive screening that all aspiring immigrants to the United States face. The lottery brings a small number of immigrants to the United States, but serves a critical goal of contributing to the rich diversity that keeps the United States vibrant.

These realities lead us to one conclusion: Trump’s proposal must be rejected by Congress and the Senate and a new deal MUST be reached; otherwise, the federal government will shut down again on February 8, 2018.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the current immigration issues and other immigration policies.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at 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 March edition.