Tag Archives: Ecuador

Maspeth family pushes for safety after fatal accident


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Zoraya B. Torres

Angela Hurtado’s family knows that nothing will bring her back, but they are hoping something will be done to protect other pedestrians. 

Hurtado, 68, was hit and killed while crossing Grand Ave. at 69th Pl. at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 18.

She had been going to play bingo at a local center, according to her daughter, Zoraya B. Torres, who had spoken to her just hours before.

“My mom was a very humble woman, a good-hearted person and a loving mother,” Torres said. “It’s hard to believe that something so horrible could have happened to her.”

It was the last time she would talk to her mother, as a driver in a Mitsubishi Montero swung around the corner to make an illegal left turn, hitting Hurtado, according to the NYPD.

She was rushed to Elmhurst General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Cops arrested the driver, Abel Tinoco, who remained at the scene. Tinoco, 28, was driving with a suspended license, and was charged with aggravated unlicensed operator, police said. His sentence is pending.

But that’s not enough for Torres, who believes more awareness is needed for the intersection.

Just visiting the scene, she noticed other people making the same illegal turn. Torres wants to contact transportation and elected officials to remedy the problem.

“Something needs to be done, because someone else could get hit,” Torres said. “My family is devastated, we are in shock to know that we are not going to see her, or feel her love. I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what we are going through.”

Torres said Hurtado went to church every day. Originally from Ecuador, she moved to America when she was 21 years old and had lived in Queens since.

Hurtado was a former housekeeper for the 3 World Trade Center Marriott Hotel at the time of the 9/11 attacks, but left the building before it was destroyed. She also beat cervical cancer when she was 33.

A wake for Hurtado was held Jan. 21 at Gerard J Neufeld Funeral Home in Elmhurst. On Jan. 22, her body was flown to Ecuador, where she will be buried.

“My mom always would tell us, ‘If anything ever happens to me, I want to go home,’” Torres said. “She asked us to do it, because that’s where her parents are.”

 

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Three charged with kidnapping, holding Queens man for month in $3M ransom attempt


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Three men have been arrested for kidnapping a man off a Jackson Heights street in broad daylight and holding him in a warehouse for a month in a $3 million ransom attempt, the district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Christian Acuna, 35, of Corona, Dennis Alves, 32, of East Elmhurst, and Eduardo Moncayo, 38, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, are currently awaiting arraignment on kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment charges. If convicted, each of the men could face up to 25 years to life in prison.

According to the charges, on April 18, Moncayo approached the victim, 52-year-old Pedro Portugal, on Roosevelt Avenue and showed him what appeared to be an NYPD badge.

Moncayo and an unapprehended man then allegedly grabbed Portugal and forced him into a vehicle.

He was driven to a Long Island City warehouse where he was bound, beaten and burnt with acid by a group of unknown men over a 32-day period.

The men told Portugal that they knew he had property in the United States, and he was ordered to call his mother and brother in Ecuador and ask for $3 million in ransom.

Portugal’s ordeal came to an end May 20 when police rescued him from inside the warehouse.

“Nobody said anything,” said Flavio Camposano, worker at Sign Zone, one of the businesses working out of the warehouse on 43rd Avenue, where Portugal was allegedly held captive. “Everything was regular.”

According to Camposano, a man shouted asking for help through an open window on the third floor of the warehouse on Monday and then at around 3 p.m. police swarmed the area.

Local business owners at 88-06 Roosevelt Avenue said Portugal worked as an accountant on the second floor of the building.

“I was surprised to hear what happened because it was in the middle of the day,” said a worker at Cholula Bakery who wished to remain anonymous and who saw Portugal get his breakfast at the shop every day. “There were so many people on the street. It’s so great he was found.”

Sergio Ruiz, owner of a deli at 88-04 Roosevelt Avenue, has known Portugal for the past 13 years and said the surveillance camera from his store shows Portugal leaving the building calmly the day of the kidnapping. Ruiz believes that if he was approached by men identifying themselves as cops he would have been in the same situation.

“At the moment someone just reacts and just does it,” said Ruiz.

Pedro Portugal, a 52-year-old man from Woodside, was allegedly kidnapped outside this Jackson Heights location on April 18 and held for ransom for 32 days.

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Ecuador routs Chile in front of thousands at Citi Field


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Draped in a Chilean flag outside of Citi Field, Manuel Rojas stood with his father as they were interviewed by Ernesto Diaz — who Rojas said was a big name in Chilean radio.

Rojas, 18, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, predicted Chile would best Ecuador in the night’s international friendly match at the ballpark 2-1, despite the fan base being mostly dressed in Ecuador yellow — many of whom predicted the same score in Ecuador’s favor.

“[Chile fans] come to this sport even if we’re out numbered on to a million,” he said.

Rojas’ game prediction fell short, however, as Chile lost to Ecuador 3-0 on Wednesday, August 15 to the roaring cheer of thousands of Ecuador fans.

See photos from the game

Last year, Ecuador played an exhibition match against Greece — also in reflection to two prominent cultures in the city — but the game ended in a draw. This year they came back in an attempt to claim Citi Field as theirs.

From the coin toss — by honorary Ecuador captain and Assemblymember Francisco Moya — onward for the next 90 minutes, fans cheered, groaned in frustration and waived Ecuadorian and Chilean flags.

The scoring kicked off early on when Ecuador and Manchester United star Antonio Valencia fed the ball to Narciso Mina, netting the first goal past Chilean Miguel Pinto. A scream of Ecuadorian cheers resonated through Citi, leaving the stadium shaking.

All of this in the backdrop of Ecuador in a diplomatic spat with the United Kingdom over granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Asange.

Some hailed from these countries, others had roots there, and others were just fans of the game with unique connections to one of these two countries.

Evelyn Pallo, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and now living in Flushing, saw Ecuador play in New Jersey a few years ago but said she was excited when she heard the team she devoutly follows was coming to Queens.

Others were coming to get a better feel for the sport and the fanbase the city has.

Steve Dordal from Bayside was stationed in Ecuador with the U.S. Navy in 1983 and said he enjoyed his time there.

What brought Dordal, 44, to this game was an interest in soccer and desire to see what the fan base in Queens was like after hearing a soccer stadium might be coming to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

“I just want to see how many people show up and the enthusiasm of the people in the area,” he said

During his stay, Dordal said he and other sailors worked on an orphanage, where they played the game with some of the local children. Despite being much younger, he said, the children beat the American opponents and left an impression on them.

Ecuador to face Chile at Citi Field


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

It’ll be a different kind of pitch.

For one night only, the Citi Field diamond will play host to a match between the Ecuadorian and Chilean national teams on Wednesday, August 15, as the sport continues to become more popular in the city and the country.

Chile is currently ranked 15th in the world, according to the most recent FIFA standings. Ecuador is currently ranked five spots below, at 20.

At a July 30 press conference for the match, both the Consul General of Chile, Julio Fiol, and Consul General of Ecuador, Jorge Lopez, both recognized the large immigrant populations their respective nations had in Queens.

“We think the small Chilean community that is around here will come as a whole,” Fiol said. “And I take this opportunity to invite them all, as well as our Ecuadorian and Latin American friends.”

Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who grew up playing soccer in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, said at the conference that the game was an outstanding effort. He also testified to the large soccer-playing community in Queens.

“When we have two great [teams], that will showcase some of the world’s best soccer players right here in our own backyard,” he said. “I can only say they’ve done a tremendous job in the promotion of [this] game.”

This is just the third time in a year the ballpark has hosted a soccer match. Ecuador faced off against Greece at Citi last year, when Moya was named an honorary captain for former.

Days later, Italy’s Juventus FC took on Mexican team Club America, with Juventus taking it, 1 – 0.

The matches, much like this year’s, were intended to reflect the large immigrant populations in Queens, organizers said.

Soccer’s status continues to grow in the borough with talks of a professional soccer league team and stadium coming to Flushing Meadows.

Several elected officials confirmed the city was in talks with Major League Soccer (MLS) about a potential team coming to Queens. It would be the second MLS team in the metropolitan area, along with the New York Red Bulls.

While there are not contingent plans for a stadium, or what would be the league’s 20th team, officials and MLS said they are confident and excited to explore bringing a new team to the area.

And only a few weeks ago, at Resorts World Casino New York City, former FC Aston Villa star Ian Taylor spent a morning with some 30 members of the South Queens Boys & Girls club to teach them fundamentals of the game.

“We are thrilled to work with Resorts World Casino New York City and give a special experience to children from the South Queens Boys and Girls Club,” Taylor said at the event.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Outdoor Cinema at Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park, in collaboration with the Museum of the Moving Image and Rooftop Films, presents this annual international film festival focused on a different country or culture each Wednesday evening. Tonight’s feature is  the Japanese film “Summer Wars,” (PG) winner of the Japan Academy prize for animation.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

City rejects plans for 12-story Fresh Meadows hotel; locals fear developer may try again 

The city has shot down a controversial proposal to erect a 12-story hotel on a residential block in Fresh Meadows — a decision being hailed by many nearby homeowners.The Mayflower Business Group had proposed building the hotel at 61-27 186th St., across the street from several one- and two-family homes. Read more: New York Daily News

Cops say woman pulled dead from the water at Queens’ Fort Totten Park may have killed herself 

The body of a young woman was pulled from the waters off Fort Totten Park in Queens on Tuesday, cops said. The unidentified woman, believed to be in her 20s, was found just off the shore of Little Bay at about 10:15 a.m., cops said. Read more: New York Daily News

Chocolates, empanadas used to smuggle drugs from Ecuador

Six New Yorkers were charged with smuggling drugs from Ecuador to John F. Kennedy International Airport concealed in empanadas and chocolate treats — and even soaked into scuba diving diplomas to be extracted later. Read More: Wall Street Journal

One Mother’’s quest to stop the gun violence

Kevin Miller Jr.’s graduation portrait hangs at a Queens intersection for all the wrong reasons. This is where the promising 13-year old was gunned down almost three years ago, a victim of senseless gun violence. Kevin’s death forever changed his mother’s life and her focus. Read More: Pix11

Tech’s boom taps Queens

New York’s technology boom has a new beachhead, and it’s in Queens. The challenge of meeting steep rents in Manhattan’s tech-oriented Chelsea, SoHo and Flatiron neighborhoods has already pushed the start-up scene into parts of Brooklyn. Now, efforts under way in Long Island City aim to turn the waterfront area into a silicon sliver. Read More: Wall Street Journal