Roundtable Debate About the Current Administration and Latinos

As Presidential campaigning begins to heat up, eyes are once again being cast on the Latino vote. Even Obama is in on the action, making visits this month to Puerto Rico and El Paso, Texas in hopes of wooing the Latino electorate.

But unlike 2008, the President is receiving a lukewarm reception, because this time around it’s more than just about jobs and the economy for Latinos. It’s about immigration. Now many Latinos are upset with Obama and the Democrats’ for their inaction on the issue, and equally offended by the Republican’s hostile anti-immigrant rhetoric. So what will it mean in the next election if immigration reform isn’t addressed? Will Latinos become disillusioned and not vote? Will they abandon support of the President? Or will they put their hopes in Obama’s second term?

Maria Hinojosa talks to Maria de los Angeles “Nena” Torres, Director and Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago and Maria Teresa Kumar, Executive Director of Voto Latino, to find out how Latinos will push back on their lawmakers – both at the polls and on the streets.

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Cecila Muñoz on the White House Outreach

This week President Obama issued a memo to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security asking immigration agents to use discretion in certain deportation cases – especially cases concerning Dream Act students and military veterans. This on the heels of the first Senate Hearing on the Dream Act, led by Democratic Senator Richard Durban (IL) and Janet Nepolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. So is the Obama Administration now doing all it can for Latinos? Maria Hinojosa talks to Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, to find out how the Administration is addressing the concerns and critiques of the Latino community.

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Two Years After The Military Coup

The small Central American country of Honduras is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor Guatemala and the more economically prosperous Costa Rica. But in the last two years, it has made news with the very first military coup of 21st Century and human rights activists warn that we should pay more attention to it. On June 28, 2009, democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown and deposed. Honduras was condemned by governments around the world and expelled from the Organization of American states (OAS).

Last month, the governments of Colombia and Venezuela brokered an agreement to return exiled Zelaya back to his country. The former President was greeted by excited crowds and hopes of Honduras’s return to the OAS.

But will this mean new elections and a return to normalcy? Or could his return create more problems? Latino USA’s Maria Martin recently visited Honduras to find out more about the current state of the country.

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An Ode to Aura

Many spend a lifetime in search of their true soul mate and ultimate love –passionate and everlasting. Very few can say they’ve experienced it. Internationally acclaimed Guatemalan – American author and journalist Francisco Goldman is one of the lucky ones, but his love story has a tragic ending.

Goldman’s soul mate was the beautiful and talented Mexican writer, Aura Estrada. They got married in the summer of 2005, but less than two years later she died in a random swimming accident at their favorite beach in Mexico.

To cope with his grief, Goldman began to write. In his critically acclaimed novel Say Her Name, he chronicles their love story and deep spiritual connection through the prism of his bitter-sweet memories that at times blur the line between reality and fiction.

Maria Hinojosa recently sat down with Goldman to talk about his book and his life with Aura and after her death.

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Los Muñequitos de Matanzas

In Cuba, the musical ensemble “Los Muñequitos de Matanzas” is known as the “keepers of the rumba flame.” With its roots in West African percussion and Spanish “decima” singing, and reinterpretation of sacred songs into secular ones, Rumba is the type of music that could have only emerged from Cuba.

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has kept “Los Muñequitos” under the radar for much of their fifty-plus year history, but the Obama administration recently loosened travel restrictions and reopened cultural relations with the Island. As a result, musical legends like “Los Muñequitos” can play in the United States again.

Maria Hinojosa recently caught up with “Los Muñequitos de Matanzas” in New York City during their performance at the “¡Si Cuba!” Music and Arts Festival. It was their first time in the U.S. in over 10 years.

Produced by Xochitl Dorsey

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Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, en su barrio

Video uploaded by jgarcia1237

An Ancient People in Exodus

Nearly half of Guatemala’s 14-million people are Mayan, whose first language is not Spanish. Through the years, they have preserved their ancient culture and over two-dozen languages indigenous to their different rural communities. These days, it is estimated that 1 out of 10 Guatemalans have migrated to the United States, many of them, Mayan.

In this special report funded by the Paul Robeson Fund, Latino USA’s Maria Martin visits some of the indigenous communities to find out why so many Mayans leave their families and their strong cultural traditions, and what happens when they return home.

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From Brazil to the United States to Stardom

In the mid 60s pianist and composer Sergio Mendes became the most popular and best-selling Brazilian musician in the United States and his band Brazil 66 became synonymous with Bossa Nova, or the “new wave” of music, which started from Brazil and swept the United States. Always the innovator, Mendes has used his music to bridge cultures and relate to all generations.

You can hear his popular “Mas Que Nada” today in one of the newest 3-D animation movies, RIO. Mendes reinvented the hit some 40 years later in collaboration with hip-hop artist Maria Hinojosa sat down with Mendes in 2008 for an extended interview to talk about his career, collaborations and how he continues to make Bossa Nova “the new thing” over and over again.

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Sergio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas Video

Uploaded by classicsandjazz on Apr 11, 2008