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Author Archive

Family Takes Epic Bike Ride

This Argentine-American family took an epic bike ride and through this adventure the “Camper Clan” found ways to connect. Tomás “Camper Dad” Cortijo is from Argentina and Dylan “Camper Mom” Drake is from Montana. Their children, Eva and Contsantino, have spent most of their lives outdoors and on the road traveling with their parents. We followed Camper Clan’s trip in 2014 when they traveled from Montana to New York down to Florida… on an electric bike.

Meet Pavochón

When reporter Von Diaz was a girl celebrating Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico, her abuela ruled the kitchen. Each year she created a magical dish called a pavochón, a turkey cooked like a traditional Puerto Rican pork roast. In this segment, Von tries to recreate the dish with her grandmother’s help.

Featured image by Marin Watts

The Elk Whisperer

Elk hunter Mark Casillas speaks three languages: English, Spanish and Elk… yes, Elk. Listen to how this elk hunter talks to elks.

This story is part of the RadioNature series, which explores the ways Latinos connect with nature. RadioNature is supported by the REI Foundation.

Featured image by Jessica McNamara

Vet Manages PTSD Through Salsa Dancing

Chris Fahey returned from war haunted by trauma. But he found an unlikely therapy—salsa dancing. And with it, he found a new family. One of Chris’ first salsa partners became his wife, and he now organizes salsa dancing events for veterans to have fun, meet new people and get away from the past.

Featured image: Salomon Amaya, owner of Amaya Dance, performs with his assistant Daisy Aguilar during the Navy and Amaya Dance salsa workshop. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Fahey/RELEASED)

Getting Hitched, Trek-Mex Style

Elicia Sanchez did not want her wedding to be another boring event where people sit around and hear the same old speeches about people being so in love… blah blah blah. So she combined two important influences in her life: her Mexican heritage and Star Trek. Elicia would be having a Trek-Mex wedding. Enter Worf masks, bat’leths, tacos and mariachi music.

Featured image via Elicia Sanchez

The Multiple Personalities of Multilingual People?

Some linguists hypothesize that multilingual people can change their personalities when they switch languages. Former Latino USA producers Camilo Vargas and Brenda Salinas discuss how growing up bilingual has altered their personalities. Camilo learned English at a bilingual school in his native Colombia and his consumption of American media affected the personality he takes when he speaks English. Brenda immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 6. Growing up in Texas, having light skin meant that she could pass as white, as long as she spoke English.

Coming Out to Abuelita

Coming out as gay to family members is always hard, but it’s especially difficult when your grandparents are conservative and religious. One young man tells his story of coming out to his family and living in silence and denial when his abuela isn’t exactly receptive to the news.

Telling My Father About My Abortion

When writer and storyteller April Salazar was told by her doctors that her unborn child had an incurable birth defect —lethal skeletal dysplasia— she was given two options: carry her baby to term or terminate her pregnancy.

She chose the latter option. She couldn’t bear the thought of giving birth to her child only to watch him suffer and die shortly after. But then she was faced with a problem she never had considered before: how would she break the news about her abortion to her conservative Mexican-American father?

Featured image via April Salazar

#1548 – Family Values

For better or worse, we are all influenced by the people who made us who we are—our families. This week we hear stories about family ties and what makes us come together. One family bonds over outdoor adventures while trying to break a world record, while another family is in the business of elk whispering. We meet a man who makes the difficult choice to come out to his grandma and we explore whether multilingual people take on different personalities when they switch languages.

Featured image: Children playing in Buenos Aires, 1902 (Archivo General de la Nación Argentina)

BuzzFeed Asks: ¿Y tu novio?

This week the BuzzFeed Motion Pictures team asked the holiday question some of us here at Latino USA have been hearing for years: ¿Y tu novio? (And your boyfriend?) For a humorous look into the holidays and relationships, see what the team did in the following video. What do you think?

Today in Latin America: November 24, 2015

Dominican Republic Issues Arrest Warrants for Fugitives in France

Top Story — The Dominican Republic has issued arrest warrants for three French nationals on people-smuggling charges related to their alleged role in the Oct. 27 escape of two French pilots from the Dominican Republic. In an interview with Paris Match magazine last month, the three men —including right-wing member of the European Parliament Aymeric Chauprade and Pierre Malinowski, assistant to the controversial right-wing French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen— claimed they helped to arrange the escape to free “compatriots in danger” who had been convicted of cocaine trafficking.

The pilots, Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos, were sentenced to 20 years in prison in August of this year after allegedly being caught in the resort town of Punta Cana with 1,500 pounds of cocaine aboard a privately hired jet in March of 2013.

The two were on house arrest awaiting an appeal in the case when they reportedly left the island on a tourist ship before transferring to another vessel on its way to the French Antilles. The escape was reportedly accomplished with the help of Chauprade and his conspirators before flying to Paris. Fauret and Odos were arrested in France on Nov. 2 in connection with the case.

According to Dominican Attorney General Francisco Domínguez Brito, the country has also engaged the international policing organization Interpol’s “Red Notice” system to help capture the three conspirators should they leave France.

Legal analysts have said that the extradition of Fuaret and Odos to the Dominican Republic is unlikely.


North America

The Associated Press reported Monday on kidnappings in Mexico conducted by corrupt police, who often work in tandem with local cartels and operate with impunity.

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico on Monday, causing buildings in Mexico City to shake and workers to evacuate their offices, although no casualties were immediately reported.

Texas on Monday filed an extension request with the U.S. Supreme Court related to its attempt to block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, which if successful, would mean delaying a ruling on the case until Obama leaves office.


Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez will reportedly meet with officials from across Central America in El Salvador on Tuesday to discuss the matter of the more than 2,000 Cuban migrants currently stranded in Costa Rica on their way to the United States. The AP reports that the historic exodus of Cubans to the United States —some 45,000 are expected to travel this year by land to the Texas and California borders—has been fueled by social media.

Central America

Honduras is considering asylum requests made by five Syrians arrested in the country on their way to the United States with stolen Greek passports, and should finalize the decision by the end of the week, a government official said on Monday.

Climate change is partly responsible for the recent shift Guatemala’s climate patterns, which are destabilizing farming practices for the country’s poorest citizens, according to an in-depth report by the International Business Times.


Venezuela’s political opposition is celebrating the presidential victory of Mauricio Macri in Argentina as a sign of its own chances to defeat leftist politics, which will come to a head in parliamentary elections on Dec. 6 when they run against the ruling Socialist Party.

A U.S. judge criticized prosecutors in Colombia for supposedly deplorable prison conditions in the detention center where a U.S. tech-company CEO was awaiting extradition. The CEO has since been moved.

Southern Cone

The financial analysis company Standard & Poor’s reduced the credit rating of Brazilian mining company Samarco Mineração on Monday to a speculative non-investment grade in light of its lethal dam burst earlier this month.

Argentina’s President-elect Mauricio Macri announced swift political reforms on Monday, including plans to suspend Venezuela from regional free trade organization Mercosur, replace officials in the country’s central bank and change the current fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar.

The trade minister of Brazil told Reuters he foresees improved economic relations with Argentina under Macri, with the possibility to increase trade flow between the two countries.

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The next TODAY IN LATIN AMERICA will be published on Monday, November 30. 

Spokesperson: Latin Grammy Protest Not Anti-Trump

A spokesperson for Maná and Los Tigres del Norte told Latino USA that the legendary bands’ viral protest calling for Latinos to unite and “not vote for racists” during a live performance last Thursday at the Latin Grammys was not directed at Donald Trump or any other presidential candidate, even though some band members told Rolling Stone that it was.

The spokesperson’s emphasis to describe the protest as nonpartisan in nature occurred after Maná’s Fher Olvera explained to Rolling Stone that the decision to use the song “Somos Más Americanos” (“We Are More American”) as “a weapon of protest” was to focus on “what’s happening here with immigration reform and all the xenophobic remarks made by Donald Trump.” Los Tigres del Norte’s Jorge Hernández had also told Rolling Stone that he was “personally offended” by Trump’s anti-Mexican comments.

When the iconic bands completed their Latin Grammy performance with a banner that was captured and shared on social media, many also concluded that it referred solely to Trump. There was also questions as to whether the banner was planned and coordinated in advance by Voto Latino, the nonpartisan organization that promoted the two bands’ appearance before they hit the stage in Las Vegas and then launched a voter registration page minutes after the performance was over, along with an email sent to the Voto Latino mailing list:

Wow! Are you watching the Latin Grammys? If not, here’s what you just missed. Grammy award-winning bands, Maná and Los Tigres del Norte, just surprised the live audience at the 16th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in Las Vegas with a powerful joint performance of Maná’s song, Somos Más Americanos. 

The two bands then brought out a banner that read, “United Latinos Don’t Vote for Racists!“, calling for the Latino community to unite against the hateful remarks and instead register and pledge to vote in 2016.

Join Voto Latino, Maná, and Los Tigres del Norte to show the power of our voice and the power of our vote. Visit and register or pledge to vote today. 

Then join the conversation online:

Join @Mana and @tigresdelnorte in urging #Latinos to get out the vote in 2016! Register at: #SomosMas2016

Trump’s name (or that of any other candidate) is not mentioned in any of the text pertaining to the voter registration campaign.

According to both Voto Latino and the bands’ spokesperson, the decision to create the banner and the voter drive came from Maná and Los Tigres del Norte. It was not initiated or conceived by Voto Latino. When asked for comment, Maria Urbina, Voto Latino’s Vice President of Politics and Campaigns. responded via email:

Maná and Los Tigres reached out to Voto Latino shortly before their performance, as they wanted to tie their message at the Latin Grammys to a concrete effort to mobilize the community against racist rhetoric and beliefs. Voto Latino’s goal is to engage Latino millennials to register to vote, and we’re excited to partner with Maná and Los Tigres in this movement. We’re also proud to encourage our supporters to share the powerful message Mana and Los Tigres delivered and to take action. 

Latino USA followed up to see if Urbina could clarify certain points about the campaign, particularly the one about Voto Latino being, according to its website, “a non-profit, nonpartisan organization” that “does not support or endorse any political candidate or party.” Urbina has yet to respond to any follow-up due to her travel schedule.

In addition, Latino USA contacted Univision, the Spanish-language network that broadcast the Latin Grammys, and asked whether the show’s producers or anyone in the network knew in advance that Maná and Los Tigres del Norte would be protesting during the show. Univision declined to comment.

According to sources, show producers were aware the two bands would display a sign at the end of their “Somos Más Americanos” performance, but no one knew what the sign would say.

Thompson’s David Ortiz: Funny or Stereotypical?

Kenan Thompson is generating online buzz for his impersonation of Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz this weekend on “Saturday Night Live.” In case you missed it, here’s the clip:

It isn’t the first time Thompson has played Big Papi, who is retiring at the end of next year. What do you think of Thompson’s character? Comedic brilliance or just the latest example of SNL’s “Latino problem?”

Share your comments below or tweet us @LatinoUSA.

Music from Latino USA’s ‘Reservations’ Show

Our newest playlist from this weekend’s “Reservations” show is now playing on our Spotify page.

Our show also featured the music of Cody Sunbear Blackbird:

If you missed our “Reservations” show, you can listen to it here:

Today in Latin America: November 23, 2015

Rejecting Peronism, Argentina Elects Mauricio Macri

Top Story – Center-right candidate Mauricio Macri won Argentina’s runoff presidential election on Sunday, The Associated Press reported, defeating the ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli and marking the end of 12 years of left-leaning governance under President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband Nestor.

The election is the second round of an upset for Scioli, as he was favored to beat Macri by a great enough margin in the initial Oct. 25 elections to win outright. Macri’s “Let’s Change” campaign coalition, however, brought in more votes than expected, leading to Argentina’s first ever presidential runoff.

Scioli was expected to keep many of the populist “Peronist” social welfare policies of the Kirchners in place as president. Human rights groups endorsed him last week in part for his stance on the pursuit of justice regarding Argentina’s dictatorship, which aligned with the approach of the Kirchners.

Macri, who has served as mayor of Buenos Aires since 2007, is a prominent businessman and the son of one of the richest men in Argentina. He pledged to cut inflation, attract more foreign investment and foster a pro-business environment, policy proposals that garnered criticism from Scioli who referred to him as a proponent of “savage capitalism”. Macri also pledged to end controls on the purchasing of U.S. dollars, which is expected to result in a steep devaluation of the Argentine peso. Macri is also expected to negotiate a new settlement with the so-called “holdout” creditors who purchased Argentine debt following a default in 2001.


North America

The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Mexico in a dispute stemming from 2009, in which the United States argued it should be allowed to reject imports of tuna that was not caught using so-called “dolphin-safe” methods.

U.S. authorities on Sunday confirmed they detained five Syrian refugees who turned themselves in at the border with Mexico, following a similar detention on Tuesday.

Through a hedging arrangement with several large banks, Mexico will make some $6 billion by selling oil at a price of more than $30 a barrel higher than the severely depressed price of the commodity.


The assistant of the CEO of Puerto Rico’s Doral Bank was arrested on Friday after being charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly holding back information from FBI investigators looking into possible corruption at the bank.

The Wall Street Journal on Sunday explored the increasing study of English in Cuba, where Russian was long the second language taught in schools.

Haitian presidential candidate Jovenel Moïse visited Miami on Sunday, where he brushed off questions about fraud in last month’s primary elections. Calling for the primary election results to be thrown out, thousands took to the streets in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Friday, clashing with government supporters in protests that left one dead.

Central America

Honduras detained a Syrian woman and two Pakistanis travelling by bus from Nicaragua Saturday, prompting an investigation into whether the trio is connected to the five Syrian men who were detained in Honduras with fake passports last week.

Guatemala’s Congress voted to pass a so-called “anti-coyote” law that would impose harsher sentences for anyone who helps smuggle migrants, an apparent response to pressure from the United States to stop human trafficking.

Guatemalan authorities discovered a tunnel at a maximum security prison just outside of the capital on Friday, in time to prevent a planned jailbreak.

Regional representatives will soon meet to discuss the dilemma of 2,500 Cuban immigrants are still stranded in Costa Rica, most living in one of the seven makeshift shelters.


Colombia’s government announced it will pardon 30 FARC guerrillas currently serving prison sentences in an effort to build confidence and expedite peace talks in Havana, Cuba.

On Saturday, Colombia’s army seized 961 kilograms of an explosive mixture from the ELN guerrillas who have frequently used it to attack troops, civilians and infrastructure.

Venezuela’s opposition said that candidate Miguel Pizarro and his supporters were confronted by gun who fired shots at their campaign caravan in Caracas’ large Petare slum.

Poverty in Venezuela has hit an all-time high of some 73 percent of households, a rise from 48 percent in 2014, according to a new study by researchers from three Venezuelan universities.

In light of anti-Syrian refugee sentiment following the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, NPR remembers Bolivia’s open door policy towards refugees in the 1940s, even as the rest of the world was tightening its borders.

Southern Cone

Toxic mining waste from Brazil’s burst dams earlier this month has now reached the Atlantic Ocean, according to environmental agency Ibama, following what has been called one of Brazil’s worst-ever environmental disasters.

Brazil’s water crisis is worsening as a drought in the southeast continues at unprecedented levels, in part because deforestation has reportedly caused rainfall to drop, leading to harsh rationing for São Paulo residents struggle with rationing.

France announced it will share counterterrorism intelligence with Brazil before the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, although Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes has said the events’ security plan has so far been unchanged.

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