Author Archive

From Discarded Belongings to Border Art

The migrant pathways near the Arizona border are covered with empty tuna cans, clothes and lost toothbrushes. Most Americans only know of the migrants’ stories through news coverage or the heated political discussion on immigration policy, but people living at the border have a much closer relationship to the stories. Several artists are collecting the items left behind on the trails and transforming them into sculptures and multimedia installations. The artists hope to make the migrants’ stories more personal for viewers—and maybe even, generate sympathy.

Alicia Fernandez contributed reporting to this story, which was produced in association with Round Earth Media, a nonprofit organization that mentors the next generation of international journalists.

We have posted several of Alicia’s photos below. You can also check out Alicia’s beautiful multimedia version of this story, published in El Diario de Juárez.

Inside an Arizona Border Militia

In 2008, Tim Foley was living in Phoenix and making $40 an hour running construction crews. Then the financial crash happened, and his life went up in smoke: he lost his job and his home. He couldn’t find another decent paying job, and felt that it was because there were too many immigrants working illegally in the country and chopping wages. Frustrated and adrift, Foley drove down to southern Arizona, living out of his truck at first. If the government wasn’t going to secure the border, Foley decided, then he would.

Today, Foley is the leader of Arizona Border Recon, a volunteer militia made up of former soldiers who spend their time camping out in the desert and policing the border—armed with GPS devices, night-vision goggles and assault rifles. Although Foley’s goal was originally to go after migrants, he decided to shift the group’s focus to gathering intelligence on drug cartels and disrupting the movements of drug traffickers.

Latino USA‘s Marlon Bishop and KUAZ Arizona Public Media’s Fernanda Echavarri spent a night out in the Sonoran desert with Arizona Border Recon to record their stories.

Feature image courtesy of Arizona Border Recon

Arizona Dreamers Five Years Later

Dulce Matuz started a new life as an undocumented American in Arizona when she was 15 years old. She was a star student, participated on the robotics team in high school and got into the engineering program at Arizona State University. In 2006, Arizona passed Proposition 300, which stripped undocumented students of in-state tuition for school and forced a lot of undocumented students to drop out of school. Dulce had a choice: self-deport or stay and fight. She chose the latter. Dulce co-founded the Arizona Dream Act Coalition to fight for immigrant rights while Arizona was in the process of enacting some of the nation’s strictest anti-immigration laws. Maria Hinojosa recently met up with Matuz in Phoenix to talk about what’s happening with Arizona politics around immigration today, five years after Arizona passed its controversial “show me your papers law,” SB 1070.

Photo by Marlon Bishop/Latino USA

The Story of the Sonoran Hot Dog

In Chicago they put Italian peppers and pickles on their hot dogs. In Seattle they do cream cheese and chives.

The Sonoran hot dog —Arizona’s most beloved street food— is a bacon-wrapped hot dog covered in pinto beans and fresh salsa as well as a host of other optional toppings including guacamole, mayo, mustard, mushrooms and hot peppers.

Fernanda Echavarri, a reporter for KUAZ Arizona Public Media, recently went on a taste test of Tucson’s top Sonoran dog purveyors with DJ and poet Logan “Dirtyverbs” Phillips. They visited BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs and El Güero Canelo, two of the most famed makers of this borderland specialty.

Photo via Fernanda Echavarri

The Tucson Sound

Marlon Bishop and Fernanda Echavarri take us on a journey through Tucson’s music scene. The city’s sound, sometimes called desert noir, reflects Tucson’s close relationship with the border. Featuring bands like Calexico, Vox Urbana and Sergio Mendoza Y Orkestra, Tucson’s sound mixes rock’n’roll with traditional Mexican instruments like mariachi trumpets, steel box drumming and upright accordion, producing an ideal soundtrack for driving through the desert.

We also added some YouTube videos of the bands our segment discussed.

Vox Urbana: Cuentan Los Cerros

Calexico: Falling From the Sky

Sergio Mendoza: Mambo in the Dark

Chica Dust: El Milagro Verde

Photo of Vox Urbana via VoxUrbana

#1535 – Borderworld

For people who live in the border region, immigration isn’t some far away news story—it’s literally in their backyards. In this episode, Latino USA takes a trip to southern Arizona for a close look at life in the borderlands. We meet artists who transform discarded migrant belongings into provocative sculptures, spend a night in the desert with an armed border militia and dive face-first into the quintessential Arizona street food: the Sonoran hot dog.

Latino USA Is Doing a Pope Francis Show

So I need to share something with you all today. In a few weeks, the Latino USA team will spending an entire hour on Pope Francis, the Catholic Church’s first Latin American pope. El Papa will be visiting the United States in September, so what better time to talk about his impact and what his papacy means?

Nonetheless, we need your input! I did the following video to explain. Let us know: what does Pope Francis mean to you? Do you have any stories about him that you want to share? What does this mean for the Catholic Church? For Latin America? For U.S. Latinos?

You can send us your voice memos via email to info@futuromediagroup.orgOr if voice memos aren’t your thing, share your comments below, tweet @LatinoUSA or tweet me @julito77.

Featured image by Edgar Jiménez via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinojosa: ‘Go Back to Univision’ Is ‘Hate Speech’

Last night on All In with Chris Hayes, Maria Hinojosa appeared as a guest to share her thoughts about this week’s press conference confrontation between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. In the following six-minute segment, Maria called the  confrontation “distressing.” She also raised the issue of “culture gap” for Latinos in media and how Trump’s “Go back to Univision” comment to Ramos is an example of “hate speech.”

Via Twitter, Venezuelans Celebrate Border Closing

This week’s Stories from Latin America series focuses on why #VenezuelaExigeRespeto (Venezuela Demands Respect) trended today on Twitter.

While U.S. presidential candidates keep discussing immigration policy and borders, on August 21 Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced that his government would be closing the border between Venezuela and Colombia. The reason? According to reports, three Venezuelan soldiers and one civilian were wounded in an attack by smugglers. As a result, Maduro told his nation the following: “As part of measures to restore order, peace, tranquility and justice … I have decided to declare a state of emergency.”

The border between Venezuela and Colombia is about 1,400 miles, as shown on the following map. There has been a history of border tensions in this area, particularly when it comes to smuggling. In addition, Venezuelan municipalities like Táchira were at the center of anti-Maduro protests last year.

Colombia_Venezuela_map

Today, Venezuelans took to Twitter to generate support for Maduro’s announcement, tweeting to #VenezuelaExigeRespeto (Venezuela Demands Respect). Maduro supporters have been tweeting at a steady clip of about a tweet per second:

We Venezuelans are the ones called to guarantee peace for our Nation, she is our treasure! We must protect her! #VenezuelaDemandsRespect

#VenezuelaDemandsRespect: We cannot allow to be invaded under any circumstance or that our military forces keep getting killed, time for strong measures.

We support the State of Exception Decree as a guarantee of peace an tranquility. #VenezuelaDemandsRespect

The Bolivarian Government continues to work to build a border focused on work, prosperity and peace #VenezuelaDemandsRespect

The social media amplification and trending come at a time when the Venezuelan government is calling for the deportation of Colombians living unauthorized in Venezuela: “According to the Venezuelan authorities, more than 1,000 Colombians living illegally in Venezuela have been handed over to the Colombian authorities.”

What do you think about the situation in Venezuela? Tweet @LatinoUSA or me @julito77.

Latino USA Community Weighs in on Trump vs. Ramos

Unless you are literally not on social media, you must already know about last night’s press conference confrontation between Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. After Ramos was escorted from the room and before he returned to the press conference, a video of a Trump supporter telling Ramos to “get out of my country” has also emerged. Our team shared all these videos and links in the last 12 hours, and we asked our community: What do you think? What follows are comments from our Facebook page and Twitter account. In short, the vast majority of followers sided with Ramos and supported him.

From Jennifer Duronio: “I too hope Univision doesn’t let this go. Jorge Ramos is an esteemed journalist deserving of all due respect, even if Trump doesn’t want to answer his questions.”

From Rachel Garcia: “Where are all the other journalists standing up for our guy Jorge????? He’s a very established and respected journalist for decades and no one even blinks!”

From Roberto Icon:“THIS will trigger a war between Trump and Univision. Univision has the power to move masses against Trump of course. He seemed to forget how Obama won the past two elections.”

From Angel Partida: “Did any other members of the so called media even ask the same question? Or were scared they would also be ejected? I’m curious…”

From Stella Stella Bobella: It’s almost surreal the way it really deeply offends some people, to have to face & accept ‘foreigners’ who are US citizens. It must be easier for them to justify hate on someone undocumented, but those who have the audacity to be legal citizens??! I find them greedy, ignorant, and without class (to put it mildly). I know many agree, yet the socially conscious, the compassionate, progressive minds are not as loud as these others. That is all people who support Trump have: loudness. It will be an utter tragedy (for lack of a better word), if the rest of us let something so weak and ridiculous, as terror screams and tantrums, lead to the damage OUR country beyond repair. We *must* get out to vote. Some things do work themselves out- this, is not one of those things. Regardless of how bored w/politics, politicians, or the news in general we may be, pretending it’s not our problem, will lead us deeper into far worse problems we won’t be able to escape. Vote!”

You can read additional comments at this Facebook post, as well as this one.

Twitter was no different, as many expressed the same support for Ramos:

@TesaChambers tweeted this:

This is what @quinteroclan said:

Finally, @librotraficante shared this meme:

Maria Hinojosa also tweeted several times last night:

Maria’s tweets generated several responses:

I shared a quote Ramos gave in Spanish during the Univision broadcast, which I loosely translated into English:

That tweet also many responses, as expected. Here is just a sample of those responses:

What do you think of last night’s press conference? Tweet @LatinoUSA or me @julito77.

Latino USA’s ‘Coming of Age’ Music Playlist

This week’s “Coming of Age” podcast showcased Latino USA’s variety, and our official Spotify playlist for this week was no different. Here are 16 of the songs featured in this week’s show:

For more official Latino USA playlists, follow us here.

Boarders Crossing Borders

Kelvin, Rene, Kevin, and Eliseo are four skaters who came up in the same small community in El Salvador. Skating is their passion but it was not easy to live the skater lifestyle in El Salvador. Local gangs would target the skaters because for many, skating was an alternative to gang life and therefore a threat to the gang’s power. When a group of skaters ended up in the hospital after being attacked by a gang in March, the four guys decided to leave El Salvador and try to make it to their dream city: Los Angeles.

Levi Vonk, a Fulbright scholar living in Mexico, met the guys while they were traveling through Mexico and helps us tell their story crossing Central America.

Here is the link to Levi’s article for Rolling Stone on the skater crew.

Photo via Levi Vonk

The Third Age Club

A lot of seniors struggle with loneliness, but it can be especially tough for older Latinos living in the U.S. Many who emigrated from Spanish-speaking countries aren’t proficient in English, their children have grown up, moved out, and have their own families. The Club de la Tercera Edad (Third Age Club) is a group for Latino seniors looking to fill that void.

Photo by Brenna Beech

MALA MALA: More Than a ‘Trans Fairy Tale’

While activists like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have increased the visibility of transgender people in the United States, there’s still a lot that most Americans don’t know about transgender communities outside of the mainland. Mala Mala, a documentary profiling Puerto Rican transgender activists and drag queens, features a diversity of voices often overlooked in the American media. The documentary premiered on the film festival circuit last year, and was released in theaters this summer.

Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, directors and producers of Mala Mala, joined Latino USA‘s Daisy Rosario to talk about the making of the film, the challenges faced by the LGBT community in Puerto Rico, and the development of their own artistic identity.

Photo via Strand Releasing

International High: A Haven for Immigrant Students

High school is tough enough as it is, but immigrant children who arrive in the U.S often speak little to no English and are thrown into an educational system completely different to them. Many slip between the cracks in schools that can’t give them the support they need. However, one group of schools in New York City takes a different approach. Instead of seeing these kids as outsiders, it has a teaching model based on the very diversity they bring. Golda Arthur visited the International High School at Lafayette in Brooklyn to find out how kinds from a variety of geographic and linguistic backgrounds are getting by.

Photo screen grab via YouTube

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

© 2015 Futuro Media Group

Contact /

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

[bwp-recaptcha bwp-recaptcha-913]

Tel /

+1 646-571-1220

Fax /

+1 646-571-1221

Mailing Address /

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