Latino USA

Archive for August, 2012

Born in East L.A, 25 Years Later

The iconic cult classic Born in East LA turns 25 this month. This film brought issues of Latino identity and immigration to the big screen with a sense of humor. Latino USA Producer Nadia Reiman explores the movie’s impact.


Click here to download this week’s show. To read more about Prof. Rosa Linda Fregoso’s work, click here. To check out what filmmaker Jim Mendiola is up to, click here.

Nadia Reiman has been a radio producer since 2005. Before joining the Latino USA team, Nadia produced for StoryCorps for almost five years, and her work there on 9/11 stories earned her a Peabody. She has also mixed audio for animations, assisted on podcasts for magazines, and program managed translations for Canon Latin America. Nadia has also produced for on None on Record editing and mixing stories of queer Africans, and worked on a Spanish language radio show called Epicentro based out of Washington DC. She graduated from Kenyon College with a double major in International Studies and Spanish Literature.

Adios, Chavelita

Singer Chavela Vargas was beloved throughout the continent for her rough yet tender voice singing songs of love gained and lost. She died August 5. Reporter Daniel Hernandez attended her very public wake in her adopted home, Mexico City.


Click here to download this week’s show. Photo courtesy of flickr.

Daniel Hernandez is a freelance journalist based in Mexico City and a news assistant in the Los Angeles Times bureau in Mexico. He’s been a staff writer at the L.A. Times and LA Weekly. A native of San Diego, Calif., Daniel is author of the 2011 book “Down & Delirious in Mexico City.”

Noticiando: Peace Passage

Since poet and writer Javier Sicilia’s 24-year-old son was killed by Mexican drug cartels last year, he has worked to end the violence that has already claimed tens of thousands of victims since 2006. He is leading a Caravan for Peace from San Diego to Washington, DC to raise awareness about the victims of the drug war affecting Mexico and the U.S. We speak to Pepe Rivera, one of the organizers of the caravan.

Click here to download this week’s show.

José -Pepe- Rivera is a coordinator of the Documentation Commission of the Movement for Peace with Justice & Dignity, where he documents victims of the war on drugs and prohibition. He is also a coordinator for the Communications Commission for Caravan for Peace. He is a documentary photographer and consultant, and he has worked for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Mexican United Nations Association.

Understanding Ted Cruz – A Fellow Cuban-Texan Explains the Rising GOP Star

Last month, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz beat out Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in a runoff election for the Republican nomination to run for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Senate seat.

It was a big upset: Republican rock stars from Governor Rick Perry to Mike Huckabee endorsed Dewhurst. Cruz, however, was backed by some of the state’s more hardcore tea partiers, (I know, more hardcore than Perry?).  Much like fellow Cubano Marco Rubio, Cruz’s strong opposition to anything smelling of political moderation has led to endorsements from the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Though I am a liberal Democrat and opposed to everything he stands for, I can’t help feel a certain kinship to Cruz, a fellow Cuban-Texan.

Let me explain. Though some of the facts about his family history have been questioned, his “When we came from Cuba” stories are similar to my own. Like Cruz’s family, my grandparents were strong supporters of Castro during the revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista. Cruz says his dad Rafael, “was a guerilla, throwing Molotov cocktails and blowing up buildings.” Batista later tortured him. My uncle Pedgie was a guerilla fighter under Che Guevara and was murdered in cold blood by Batista’s thugs. Unlike my family, Cruz’s father fled before the triumph of the revolution in 1959. Lucky him.

Rafael Cruz came to Austin in 1957 with only $100 sewn in his underwear. The story reminds me of my grandfather leaving Cuba in 1969 with his medical diploma cut into small pieces and sewn in his boxer shorts. Except for a brief stint in Canada where Ted was born, the Cruzes settled in Texas rather than the Cuban exile mecca of South Florida.

The Lone Star State is also where my grandparents landed. Despite their first house being five blocks away from the Ku Klux Klan’s east Texas headquarters, they felt welcome. My grandfather described how he and his Cuban friends were the only Latinos in the Houston suburb of Pasadena where they settled.

Why would hardcore Texas conservatives welcome immigrant Latinos like my family and the Cruzes?

The answer is similar ideologies. Our families were both cartoonishly anti-Communist. Their disillusionment with Castro led them to react against anything  even remotely progressive.

During the revolution, Castro promised to establish a democratic republic with free elections modeled on the American system. That sounded pretty good to the 98 percent of Cubans that supported him, including my family and probably the Cruz family too. Pretty quickly after his victory it became apparent that he was allying himself with the Soviet Union and was setting up a Communist dictatorship. For a lot of Cubans not only was this an ideological betrayal but a personal one. My grandmother fell into a deep depression when her friend General Huber Matos was imprisoned and he revealed to her that Castro was a Communist. It was like a break-up for a lot of them, and often just like in a break-up you hate the “other woman.” For many Cubans Communism was the other woman.

I suspect that in the Cruz household, as in my own house growing up, the words “Democrat” and “Communist” were synonymous. My grandmother had a picture of Ronald Reagan next to a picture of Jesus by the family Bible. True story.

Like a lot of old-school Cubans, they blamed the Democratic Party for the failures of the Bay of Pigs invasion which led to my grandfather’s imprisonment by Castro for his involvement. My grandparents also thought that Democrats wanted to have too much of a hand in their lives.

My abuelo lived through 3 dictatorships in his lifetime (Machado, Batista, and Castro) only to come to the U.S. in time for Watergate. He simply didn’t trust governments and wanted to have as little interaction with them as possible. He always told me that all politicians, even guys like Reagan, were all “hijo de puta mentirosos (son of a bitch liars).” In ultra-conservative Texas circles, these ideas are as ingrained in the culture as bar-b-que and cowboys.

Today I am considered a heretic in my “Cu-Tex” family. My cousins mostly still think the way we were brought up to think. I simply cannot discuss politics with most of my older relatives. They tell me they’re glad my grandparents didn’t live to see what I’ve become.

When I look at Ted Cruz, I reflect on how easily I could have been him ideologically. If I hadn’t drifted to the left in my teenage years, perhaps like Cruz, I too would want to abolish the commerce, education, energy, and TSA departments as well as the IRS. Maybe I would also say things like, “I’ll throw my body in front of a train to stop anything short of its complete and total repeal” in reference to “Obamacare.”

Maybe if I had read more Ayn Rand?

There but for the grace of God go I, my friends.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Image courtesy of flickr.

Jack Tomas is a writer, filmmaker, and editor working in New York. He’s originally from Houston, TX where he earned a BA in Theater and Communication from The University of St. Thomas. Later, he received an MA in Media Studies at The New School. Jack has worked several years as a professional filmmaker and his films have appeared in several film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, The LA Comedy Shorts Festival, and The New York Independent Film Festival. He has also worked as a professional blogger since 2009 writing for Guanabee.com, Tuvez.com, Egotastic.com, and Directorslive.com. He lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife Marybec and two cats.

Will Latinos Play A Key Role in the 2012 Presidential Election?

Will the economy or immigration drive Latino votes? Is Ted Cruz the new face of American politics? In this podcast episode, Fi2W executive producer John Rudolph interviews senior analyst Sylvia Manzano from the polling firm Latino Decisions for a midsummer snapshot of Hispanic voters.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Podbean

In 2008 Latino voters played a pivotal role in sending Barack Obama to the White House. But this year things could be different; the economy is still in recovery and the president has not kept his pledge to bring about significant immigration reform.

Pollster Sylvia Manzano says the margin of support for Obama will be similar to 2008: 70-72 percent of Latinos say they would vote for Obama versus 20-22 percent for Mitt Romney. The big difference will be turnout. The lack of immigration reform and record numbers of deportations of undocumented immigrants under President Obama has meant Latinos are less enthusiastic about his candidacy than they were four years ago. However, enthusiasm has increased this summer since the announcement of the deferred action program and the Supreme Court’s decision striking down major portions of Arizona’s immigration law known as SB 1070.

The number one issue for Latinos is the economy says Manzano, which sounds good for Romney, except she points out that Latinos are much more likely to support Democratic strategies, like raising taxes on the wealthy, government investment and increased spending. There’s not much support among Latinos for Republican prescriptions including tax cuts and cuts in social services.

Latino Decisions has identified five states where Latino voters could be the deciding factor in the presidential contest.  They are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

According to Manzano, Texas, a state not on the list, represents the future of American politics. She focuses on two rising stars – Republican Ted Cruz who is running for the U.S. Senate in Texas and Julian Castro the young mayor of San Antonio who will give the keynote address at this year’s Democratic convention. This is about national demography says Manzano: more Latinos means more Latinos in both parties.

Manzano argues that the growing Latino electorate in Texas means we’re likely to see the emergence of a more moderate Republican party rather than a quick shift to electing Democrats. She says this is like New Mexico where Latinos tend to vote for moderate Democrats or liberal Republicans. She says Arizona, another state with a growing number of Hispanic voters, is more likely to follow California and turn blue over time.

For more analysis from Sylvia Manzano, make sure to check out the Latino Decisions Blog.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Image courtesy of Flickr

Surviving Torture: the Super Marios Story

The Kovler Center in Chicago was designed to help victims of torture overcome their turbulent experiences. As part of our year-long series about Latinos in health, reporter Dan Weissman brings us the story of one of the people who received treatment there and the doctor who helped him.


Click here to download this week’s show. Photo courtesy of Hektoen International.

Dan Weissmann is a Chicago-based radio producer and multimedia reporter. His work has appeared regularly on WBEZ (Chicago Public Media, 91.5 FM) and can be found at www.danweissmann.com.

FROM THE FIELDS TO THE CAPITOL

The Head Start program is usually aimed at preschoolers. But this summer, the program took three college students who have spent their lives as migrant farmworkers to Washington D.C. for an internship program that aims to open up their career horizons. We speak with the students before they head back to the fields and to school.


Click here to download this week’s show. Visit the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association for more information about their program. To see their intern blog, visit www.nmshsainternblog.blogspot.com.


 

Sammy Benavidez is a student at St. Edwards University at Austin, Texas, majoring in Social work and minoring in Psychology. In the past, he participated in the Tri-Valley Head-Start program in Grafton, North Dakota, and in TMC Head Start Program in Mercedes, Texas. He hopes to get a Masters in Social Work and also pursue a PhD.
 

Evangelina Alvarez is from Royal City, Washington. She is currently enrolled at Washington State University, majoring in Business Management and Operations with a minor in Spanish. She hopes to one day own her own business.
 

Ivon Garcia was born in Puebla, Mexico. She came to the U.S. at age three with her parents who were migrant workers. She graduated from Bridgeport High School and she is currently a Junior at Washington State University, majoring in Human Development and minoring in Women Studies and Spanish.
 

Cleofas “Cleo” Rodriguez, Jr. is currently the Executive Director of the National Migrant Seasonal Head Start Association in Washington, DC. His parents were migrant farmworkers in Texas and other states. He has been a strong advocate for the emotional development of young children and their families, particularly those of migrant backgrounds.

GETTING KINKY WITH IT

Mexican-via-LA band Kinky talks to Maria Hinojosa about their inspiration, their blend of dance beats and norteño styles, and their newest album, Sueño de la Máquina.

Find out more information about Kinky ton tour.


Click here to download this week’s show.

HAMACA READING: THE STEAMY WORLD OF THE CLAIMED

Amanda Arizola, who manages Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club, shares the club’s paranormal romance pick for a hot summer read.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Las Comadres Para Las Americas.

 

Amanda Arizola is the National Project Manager for Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club and she is the author of the Teleconference Series. Amanda holds a MBA/MHSM from Texas Woman’s University and she is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in Government and Mexican American Studies. She is a passionate advocate for literarcy and professional development for Latina/os in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Noticiando: Color TV

Latinos are a growing part of the TV watching audience, but they aren’t tuning in to shows on the networks. Is it the characters? The storylines? How Latino culture is represented on these shows? For insight on the challenge of capturing Latino viewers, we speak to Eric Deggans, television columnist at the Tampa Bay Times.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Eric Deggans began covering music for the Tampa Bay Times in 1995. He started his role as a TV critic in 1997, focusing on the TV industry locally and nationally. In 2004, he joined the Times editorial board until returning to the critic’s corner as media writer in 2005, and as TV critic in 2006.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

THIS WEEK'S CAPTIONS: Let's...

THIS WEEK'S SHOW: In this week's show,…

This Week's Captions: Money...

THIS WEEK'S SHOW: From Puerto Rico to…

CAPTIONS

Audio visual notes for the hearing impaired.

Join the conversation

© 2014 Futurov Media Group

Contact /

Your privacy is important to us. We do not share your information.

captcha

Tel /

+1 646-571-1220

Fax /

+1 646-571-1221

Mailing Address /

361 West 125st Street
Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10027