Latino USA

Archive for July, 2010

A Conversation with John Phillip Santos

Most people’s idea of family is pretty immediate: the people we live with, the cousins we see at the reunion every year, the ones who have gone before that we remember fondly (or not so fondly…)

Writer John Phillip Santos takes a different view of families. In his new book, he goes searching for his family throughout history. And along the way, he makes some discoveries about Latinos in America. Take a listen.


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Puerto Rican Student Activism Today

When we traveled to Puerto Rico a few weeks ago, we found a story that most Americans don’t know: The little island is going through big changes—and boricua youth are playing a big part.


Amidst a massive economic recession, Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño ordered widespread cutbacks at the University of Puerto Rico. The university’s budget took a $200 million hit. To protest the cuts, UPR students launched a 60-day strike across the university’s campuses.

Regina Rodriguez is one of the students who took part in the protests. She’s a first-year law student, and one of many young people in Puerto Rico who’s concerned about where their homeland is headed.


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SB 1070 Loses its Teeth

On Wednesday, June 28th, at the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Federal Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction in the matter of “United States of America v. Arizona, State of, et al.” Four key provisions of Arizona’s harsh new immigration law, SB 1070, were put on hold:

  • The section that would require law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of people pulled over, detained, or placed under arrest if reasonable suspicion exists that they are in the country illegally;
  • The section that would require immigrants to carry their papers with them at all times;
  • The section that would allow law enforcement officers to arrest people without a warrant if there is probable cause that someone has committed a crime that would lead to deportation;
  • The section that would make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to seek or perform work.

Latino USA takes you to Phoenix to hear reaction on the ground: from activists, from politicians, and from average folks.


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On the day the injunction was handed down, Maria spoke with Professor Jenny Rivera of the CUNY Law School faculty, and the founder and director of the Center for Latino and Latina Rights and Equality. Here’s that conversation:


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

A note on how we produced this week’s program: A radio program like Latino USA is a collaborative effort. What you hear on the air is the work product of several journalists: reporters, producers, writers, editors, audio producers, web producers, photographers, and Maria, the host. Maria was not in Phoenix this week. But our Production Coordinator Nick Blumberg is, and it is his observations and conversations—his on-the-ground reporting and that of another reporter Valeria Fernandez—that informed what Maria says on the air.

In addition, and as you can see from one of the photos at the top of this page, Nick would find people for Maria to interview by phone, so that their interaction with one another could be part of this broadcast. Nick recorded the Phoenix side of the conversations. Mincho Jacob, another one of our radio producers, recorded Maria’s side of those phone calls. Then, we synchronize the two recordings and pulled sections of the composite interview to use on the air. We call this technique a “tape-sync” — and we use it often, in order to remove the phone line from the broadcast audio stream.

SB1070 and Jenny Rivera

PHOENIX – A Federal judge in Phoenix today blocked three of the most controversial sections of SB 1070, the law aimed at undocumented immigrants in Arizona.

Judge Susan Bolton, who was appointed to the Federal bench by President Clinton, ruled that the State of Arizona could not require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of persons they stop for other reasons and whom they suspect are in the country illegally. Nor, the judge ordered, can Arizona require that individuals carry papers proving their immigration status. The law also would have made it illegal for undocumented people to seek employment in Arizona: that, too, was invalidated.

The law will go into effect on Thursday, but without three of the measures that most concerned civil libertarians.

Governor Jan Brewer (R) issued a statement saying she would appeal the ruling, adding “The fight is far from over.”

Maria Hinojosa talks with Professor Jenny Rivera of the CUNY Law School and the founder and director of the school’s Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality about today’s decision.


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Ester Hernandez

Maria talks to visual artist Ester Hernandez about the work she’s created in protest of SB 1070: including the striking image of La Virgen de Guadalupe as a wanted terrorist. (Click the image to see the full work.)

Hernandez was born and raised in California, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas. She was a member of Las Mujeres Muralistas, the influential muralists working in the 1970s San Francisco Mission District. She has been a pioneer in the Chicana/Chicano civil rights art movement ever since.


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Summer Music

Maria is a big proponent of the personal soundtrack: the tunes that carry you from day to day, that shape the aural landscape around your life. And, yeah, that French novelist with the cookie might disagree, but we think nothing can send you back to a place and a time better than an old song.


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Can They Break Out of the Script?

Sometimes you get stuck: stuck in a way of thinking, stuck in a way of reacting to people around you, stuck in the place where you live. This week on Latino USA we meet two people in Arizona — Irene and Gerardo — who seem, well, stuck. They are each waiting for the tough new immigration law about to go into effect, and they see things from two very different perspectives.

Valeria Fernández from the Feet in Two Worlds project talks to them about life in Arizona in the days before SB 1070 becomes the law.


Then, keep listening as Maria discusses how their stories could hypothetically change and shift with satirist and artist Lalo Alcaraz.


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The Art of Lalo Alcaraz

La Cucaracha

Pocho Hour of Power (KPFK)

Kidnap Radio

My father’s kidnapping began on November 22, 1999 and ended August 13, 2000. He was kidnapped by the FARC and kept in 38 different places, spending the first months of his kidnapping alone, with only his guards and a radio, for company.

I was 19 when my father was kidnapped in Colombia. It was 1999. My mother came to my college campus to deliver the news and I flew to Bogota to be with my family for a few weeks. (My mother is American, my father’s Colombian and they divorced when I was 5.) After that, except for brief trips for a wedding and a funeral, I didn’t go back to the country where I was born until I traveled there to report this piece in the spring of 2009.

I was able to make the trip thanks to Jay Allison. I met Jay in Woods Hole through Ibby Caputo, a dear friend and a former intern at Atlantic Public Media. After hearing part of the story of my father’s kidnapping and rescue, Jay suggested I undertake this project and guided me along the way.

I asked my father to meet me in Bogota for a long weekend in April so that I could interview him. I had heard bits and pieces about the kidnapping in the intervening years – when I would visit our family — but in the course of our interviews I realized I had known very little about what he’d endured.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Caracol Radio streams the radio show Voces del Secuestro every Saturday night from midnight to 6:00a Sunday.

Leave a response to Annie Correal’s story.

This piece was produced for Transom.org by Jay Allison.

Lydia Camarillo and Evan Perez

The U.S. Justice Department has officially filed suit against the state of Arizona. Arizona’s new immigration law, officially titled the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act and more commonly known as SB 1070, is under heavy fire for being unconstitutional. Weighing in is Lydia Camarillo, Vice President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.


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Maria also spoke with Evan Perez, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.


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Read more about the Justice Department’s suit here.

From California, we hear two tales from Story Corps Historias, a cross-country project documenting and archiving the stories of everyday people.


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