Latino USA

Archive for September, 2010

What’s Next for Venezuela?

The wave of power that swept Hugo Chávez into office was seen as part of a new leftist revolution in Latin America. In the recent parliamentary elections in Venezuela, Chávez’s party barely retained control. Observers wonder whether this means that the power of Chávez’s socialist movement is on the wane. Nikolas Kozloff joined us two weeks ago to discuss Latin American elections. He joins us again to talk about the results in Venezuela.


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A Conversation with Bolivia’s President Evo Morales

Another leader in South America—celebrated and controversial—is Evo Morales, president of Bolivia. Morales is of Aymara Indian descent, and the first indigenous president of Bolivia. He was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly this month, and he sat down with Maria Hinojosa for a wide-ranging interview.


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The Mayans of San Francisco: Navigating Three Worlds

In Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula is home to a large Mayan population. And here in the United States, the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the largest Mayan populations in the nation. Monica Ortiz Uribe found out how Mayans hold onto their heritage while making a home for themselves in the San Francisco Bay area.


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Bicentenario Mexicano

Every year on September 16th, Mexicans across the globe celebrate Mexico’s War of Independence against Spain. This year is a particularly special anniversary—the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence. Mexico is also approaching the centennial celebration of the Revolution. In Mexico City, throughout the country’s thirty-one states, and throughout the world, a wide variety of celebrations are planned; parades, rallies, concerts.

Paco Ignacio Taibo II is one of Mexico’s most esteemed writers. He’s been steeped in the tradition of Mexican history and culture for years, and he has something of a cult following. He sat down with Maria this week to talk about Mexico’s bicentenario, what it means for people living in Mexico, and Mexicans living abroad. Here’s an extended version of their conversation. It runs a little over a half-hour.


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Editorial Note: These photos are tagged “Mexico Bicentenario” on Flickr and are not edited by Latino USA.

DREAM Act Stalled in Senate

It was the moment that many activists were hoping and praying for—the DREAM Act was up for another vote in the United States Congress. But once again, it failed to move forward. Supporters of the bill have vowed to keep fighting and now say they want to see the bill brought back to the Senate as a stand-alone piece of legislation.
Despite the DREAM Act’s failure in the Senate, it’s an undeniable reality that there are countless undocumented young people living among us. Without a clear path to citizenship, many of these students are putting themselves at the forefront of the debate and arguing for full inclusion in American society.

Listen as Maria Hinojosa speaks with William Perez, a researcher and professor at Claremont Graduate University who has extensively studied young undcoumented students. Plus, hear from one of those students: Sonia Guinansaca, an activist-student at Hunter College who says, despite her immigration status, she’s an American at heart.


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Not everyone was on board with the current incarnation of the DREAM Act, though. Even one person who previously supported the legislation.

Raúl Al-qaraz Ochoa was arrested at a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s Tucson office, where a group of students was demonstrating in favor of the bill. But now, he says the way the DREAM Act has been turned into a political and military tool means he can no longer support it. Read his open letter to the DREAM movement.

Y Ahora Algo Un Poco Mas Personal…

Maria has some personal thoughts at the end of an optimistic week, including a big milestone at home, the announcement of Michelle Bachelet’s new position at the United Nations, and the sight of so many Latino activists in Washington, D.C.


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Movement on DREAM Act, Comprehensive Immigration Reform

“A Historic Moment” — “Heroic, Courageous Activism of Young People”

The next few weeks will show whether the grassroots agenda of a group of undocumented young people—many of whom were brought to the United States at a young age by their parents—will gain the political traction it needs to change the laws in a country that continues to struggle with the welcoming of newcomers.

The DREAM Act will be amended to the Senate’s Defense Authorization Bill in the week ahead.

It’s a historic moment, one which Congressman Luis Gutierrez says is not just political theater. Listen as Maria and Gutierrez talk about the developments in Washington this week, which included breathing new life into talk of Comprehensive Immigration Reform for the nation. Then listen as Maria turns to Deepak Bhargava, the Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, who concurs with the Congressman in the view that this historic moment in the life of the nation was made possible by the work of young activists.


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Uncommon Guatemalan, Uncommon Muslim, Common Man

From the top of the World Trade Center towers you felt that you could see the curve of the earth. You knew that you were standing atop a building on an island in one of the world’s largest cities, but you were subtly aware that where you stood was less a point on a map than it was a spot on a globe: a big, curved, diverse world.

By the afternoon of September 11th, 2001 one could sense what felt like a change in the country: a widespread feeling of concern people expressed to one another. There was a palpable sense of caring, of reaching-out.

Much has been written in the nine years since — about the reaction by the White House, about the best way to memorialize those who lost their lives that day, about the efforts to clean up Ground Zero and the Pentagon, about America’s place in the world, and its sense of injury and the case for seeking justice.

Sometimes, perhaps often, in all this talk, there’s an “us-them” dichotomy that lies at the heart of the argument. Many Muslims in the U.S. feel that dichotomy acutely. It’s not uncommon on talk radio to hear people speaking out of a profound ignorance about Islam, about the Muslim experience in the U.S., and about the possibility for dialogue, coexistence, and peace in our own country, founded on a principle of religious liberty.

Watch video from C-SPAN of an interfaith gathering to promote religious tolerance and the cessation of anti-Muslim discrimination.

Religious leaders gathered in Washington this week to decry the plan of a Gainesville, Florida pastor to burn copies of the Qur’an on the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. Politicians, military leaders, and other citizens joined in the condemnation. As we take time to memorialize those who were killed nine years ago, we do it as a nation distracted, conflicted, and seemingly ill-at-ease with the place Islam has in the American landscape.

Meet David Gonzalez

An uncommon Guatemalan, an uncommon Muslim, a perfectly common man.

David Gonzalez defies stereotypes and expectations. At a time when America is struggling to accept Islam, Gonzalez sticks out as someone who became a Muslim because he found it to be a religion of peace. Gonzalez is Guatemalan and was raised in a Roman Catholic household, as many in that country are. But he was unsatisfied by his spiritual experience and had questions that remained unanswered. His quest for answers led him to Islam, which he has embraced.

Recently, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community gathered outside Washington DC for a conference. The Futuro Media Group’s Yasmeen Qureshi met David Gonzalez at the conference, and asked him to tell us his story of being Latino and Muslim.


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The Narcicyst

Canadian MC The Narcicyst has had a foot in the East and West his whole life. Born in Dubai to an Iraqi family, he moved to Canada at a young age, and has gone back and forth several times. Narcy uses his music as a political tool, but as he’s grown and matured, his work has also become more personal. He talked with Maria Hinojosa about how we can get past our fear of “the other.”


Click the image to the right to watch the music video for The Narcicyst’s song “P.H.A.T.W.A.”


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Narcy has been working with photographer Ridwan Adhami and photographers all over the world to depict the diversity of Islam. Their work will has been incorporated into a new video titled “Hamdulillah,” directed by Adhami. You can watch the video here and read more about the collaboration on Narcy’s blog.

Y Ahora Algo Un Poco Mas Personal…

Maria reflects on the lessons of summer learned with her family.


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