The poorest and least literate segments of Guatemala are about to get an education on labor and health-care entitlements they can pursue in the U.S., thanks to a media bombardment that the Obama administration is planning in the Central American nation.
Among the chief aims of the campaign is to alert potential immigrants about their “rights and recourses with respect to labor conditions and access to health care in the United States,” according to a Request for Quotations, or RFQ, that WND discovered via routine database research.
The U.S. Department of State is currently reviewing vendor bids to develop and disseminate radio, television and print advertisements across Guatemala, where the U.S. Embassy’s Fraud Prevention Unit seeks to curtail local exploitation of U.S. visa applicants.
A selected contractor will carry out the endeavor nationwide, focusing on regions where “rural semi-literate to illiterate Guatemalans ages 18 to 40 who perform manual labor” have been targeted by predatory job recruiters known as “tramitadores.”
The goal is to counter the prevailing false belief among rural residents that applicants must pay recruiters and document vendors to obtain U.S. visas.
Unscrupulous service providers often exploit the most vulnerable Guatemalans by offering to place them on waiting lists or to provide fake documents purported as a necessary step in obtaining temporary worker visas, the RFQ says.
The U.S. Embassy acknowledges that previous information campaigns lacked adequate effectiveness, largely because of low literacy rates and limited Internet usage within the target audience. The government of Guatemala and various NGOs recognized that the State Department made some progress in its prior campaign but pressed State to extend its reach to the most vulnerable sectors of Guatemalan society.
Rather than using email and websites to get out the administration’s message, this latest venture instead will attempt to reach its audience “in non-traditional ways through humor, use of graphics, characters, logos, etc., that resonate within this community and will get people talking in a positive way about our message.”
The State Department is interested in proposals that offer “new and creative ways of spreading” its fraud prevention message.
In the past, the department used billboards, media and posters to spread the word, and it still wants to leverage a combination of print, radio and TV advertisements as well as printed material such as trifold handouts, stickers and cards. But it also wants contractors to consider using other “memorable” items – such as coasters, soccer balls and bags – to spread the message while making the campaign logo more visible and recognizable.
The contractor will focus on rural, limited education, non-technologically savvy populations, primarily with Spanish-language messages. The State Department is considering using indigenous languages in the endeavor.
The department last week in a vendor Q&A acknowledged that it anticipates selecting a contractor in time to launch the campaign in September. The initial budget is $36,000.
Latinos and cancer
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services separately is launching an initiative to study whether an immigrant’s age at the time of arrival in the U.S. is a factor in the high incidence of gastric cancer and asthma among Latinos.
The National Cancer Institute, or NCI, intends to award a sole-source contract to the University of Minnesota to assess that possible connection, which it derived from the previously conducted Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos and other surveys.
According to a “presolicitation notice” that WND located via routine database research, NCI says gastric cancer “disproportionately affects Hispanic populations in the U.S. and Latin America.”
People from Mexico and Puerto Rico get gastric cancer 2.2 and 3.6 times more frequently than non-Hispanic whites. Likewise, rates among Hispanics originating from South or Central America are 4.3 to 5.1 times higher, the document says.
Socioeconomic factors alone do not explain the differences among whites and Hispanics in the rate of occurrence of Helicobacter pylori infection, which is the biggest known risk factor in gastric cancer, NIH says.
This suggests that “factors such as age at migration to the U.S. and degree of acculturation” might influence their frequency of infections and subsequent rates of such cancer.
Previous studies likewise report that asthma is more common among Puerto Ricans, other U.S.-born Hispanics “and those who had immigrated as children than among other Hispanics.”
The NIH has determined that the University of Minnesota is the only contractor capable of carrying out the two-year project, which will involve the retrieval and testing of 14,975 blood samples.
‘Russians in America’
Among other recent Obama administration immigration-related programs, the Voice of America, or VOA, plans to create a 26-episode “documentary reality” TV series tentatively titled “Russians in America.”
The goal of the program is to “introduce audiences to Russian immigrants in the United States in search of the American dream,” according to a Broadcasting Board of Governors Statement of Work, or SOW.
Every episode will feature one main and one supporting “story line,” illustrating, for example, participation in U.S. politics or showing differences between U.S. and Russian health-care systems.
Suggested story “arcs” in each episode will feature, for instance, the main character registering to vote and persuading his acquaintances to do the same. Another hypothetical scenario the SOW lists for the show is having the main character journey with friends to a reunion in another U.S. city and overcome obstacles to accomplish that objective.
VOA did not disclose an estimated budget for the series, which a selected contractor will produce.