Latino USA

Archive for April, 2011

Agustin Lara

Agustin Lara’s musical career started in his early childhood and it turned him into one of Mexico’s greatest legends.  He composed over 400 songs that have been recorded by world-renowned artists, ranging from Andrea Bocelli to Nat “King” Cole.  Best known for his passionate boleros, Lara also created rancheras, fox trots, waltzes, tangos, paso dobles, and even an operetta.  In the 30’s he became a major contributor to a new, yet flourishing Mexican film industry –  and he composed music for Santa, one of Mexico’s first films with sound.

There are many stories behind his music. Producer Angelica Luevano is in search of what made Lara one of the most influential musical personalities of Mexico.

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Agustin Lara performs the soundtrack of the film classic María Bonita

Listen to one of Agustin Lara’s biggest hits, Veracruz

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Aventurera


Lola Beltran


For many Americans, the name Lola Beltran, brings to mind the title track of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 hit film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  But Lola Beltran is much larger than one song or one film. One of the the most popular Ranchera artists in Mexico, she was known as Lola La Grande, “Lola the Great.”  Throughout her career she has starred in a number of films, musicals, a telenovela, and performed in front of numerous world leaders.

Alex Avila profiles the life and career of the Great Lola Beltran.

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Jose Alfredo Jimenez

Singer-songwriter Jose Alfredo Jimenez was one of the most famous Mariachi artists in Mexican history. His life was cut short way too early by hepatitis, but he managed to compose hundreds of songs and a slew of hits that are being rerecorded by newer artists, keeping him and his legacy alive to this day. Franc Contreras profiles Jose Alfredo Jimenez and explains why so many people worldwide consider Jimenez one of the most prolific songwriters of Mexico.

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After the Battlefield

Cuban-American Ernesto Haibi has over 20 years of military experience in both the Air Force and the Army. In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq. He stayed until he wasn’t allowed back on the battlefield any more. In this commentary he shares what keeps drawing him back to the army. His essay came to us from independent producer, Jay Allison.

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Arizona, One Year After SB 1070

This week marks one year since the controversial SB 1070 immigration bill was signed in Arizona. Although a federal judge issued an injunction against parts of the law and SB 1070 never took full effect, it had a variety of consequences. It started a wave of copycat legislation throughout the country and prompted many states to take on immigration reform on the local level. Back in Arizona, the bill had yet another effect – it prompted many immigrants, both undocumented and with papers, to become involved in the political process. Reporter Valeria Fernandez of Feet in Two Worlds, a project that brings the work of immigrant journalists to public radio, has the story.

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Racism in Cuba

In 1959 there was a revolution in Cuba. Part of the promise was to abolish racial segregation and to provide jobs and education for Black Cubans. But ever since Cuba hit harsh economic times in the 1990’s, black Cubans have been experiencing more racial discrimination. In the second of his 3-part series on Cuba, correspondent Reese Erlich is in Havana to look into race in Cuba.

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Healthy Food for California Farm Workers

California’s Central Valley, also known as the greatest garden in the world, has by far the highest agricultural production in the country. But ironically, those who work in “the garden,” often don’t benefit from the fresh fruits and vegetables they harvest.

A big portion of the farm workers in the area are Latino and many of their families suffer from health and obesity problems. In a recent survey of California’s farm workers, 45% said they had trouble getting enough healthy food in their diet. Why is this happening?

Reporter Pauline Bartolone traveled to Fresno – the most agriculturally productive county in the nation, to get some answers.

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This feature was produced through the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, a program of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Watch videos from Central Valley residents. Shot by Russel A. Daniels and produced by Pauline Bartolone.

Susana Cruz explains some of the challenges with getting healthy food in Fresno, CA.

Stuart Woolf on obstacles to Regional Food Systems in the Central Valley.

Cuba’s Economic Reform

The event coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, when in 1961 U.S.- backed Cuban exiles unsuccessfully tried to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government. On the eve of celebrating what Cuban officials once called the victory over “American Imperialism,” ordinary Cubans have mixed feelings about the new economic reforms. Correspondent Reese Erlich reports from Havana.

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The Haitian Immigrant Dilemma in the Dominican Republic

The countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic share 30,000 square miles that make up the Island of Hispanola. And although their histories have been intertwined since colonial times, there are also considerable differences – cultural, racial, linguistic, and economic. The Dominican Republic has had a stable democratic government and has the second largest economy in the Caribbean, while Haiti is still lacking a comprehensive governmental structure and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Their histories also share deep conflicts marked with blood. In the 1800s, Haiti occupied the Dominican Republic for decades. Then in 1937 nearly 30,000 Haitians were massacred on the border during the military dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.

But when a devastating earthquake shook Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Dominican Republic was one of the first countries to provide aid for their neighbor. Since then, thousands of Haitians have migrated to the Dominican Republic and many of them have been living there without documentation. Now, over a year later, the conflicts and cultural clashes have resurfaced. Since this January, nearly 6,000 Haitians have been deported to their native Haiti, which is still reeling — with a cholera epidemic, homelessness and electoral chaos. Human rights organizations now report race motivated attacks against Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Maria Hinojosa traveled to the Island to report on what is happening there.

Produced by Xochitl Dorsey, Mixed and Engineered by Mincho Jacob, Edited by Maria Martin. Executive Producer Martha Spanninger.

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Listen to Vanessa’s story, a five-month pregnant Haitian woman who lives undocumented in the Dominican Republic.
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