Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Mirta Ojito: Death In The Neighborhood

In November 2008, Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant was attacked and killed by seven teenagers in the town of Patchogue on Long Island. Later, one of his attackers confessed that hunting immigrants was a frequent pastime for his group of friends. Lucero’s death highlighted the disturbing trend that hate crimes against Latinos were on the rise and were being fueled by anti-immigrant rhetoric from local politicians. In her new book, Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All American Town, Mirta Ojito revisits Lucero’s murder and explores the trends and circumstances that lead to his tragic death.

 

Photo by Joel Saget, AFP

 

 

MIRTA_OJITO-photo_by_clare_holtMirta Ojito, a reporter since 1987, has worked for The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and, from 1996 to 2002, for The New York Times, where she covered immigration, among other beats, for the Metro Desk. She has received numerous awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s writing award for best foreign reporting in 1999 for a series of articles about life in Cuba, and a shared Pulitzer for national reporting in 2001 for a New York Times series of articles about race in America.

 

From The Belly Of The Beast

In 2009, journalist Oscar Martinez embarked on one of the most dangerous pilgrimages on Earth. He joined migrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala on their desperate journey through Mexico to the U.S.

It’s a journey that more than 25,000 migrants make every year. The statistics are harrowing — Amnesty International estimates that 70,000 undocumented went missing in Mexico in the last six years.

At every step of the trip, Martinez wrote dispatches for ELFaro.Net. Now those dispatches are collected in the book, The Beast: Riding and Dodging Narcos On The Migrant Rail.

The migrants Martinez profiles are escaping violence and poverty. They flee their homes on the presumption that “there is something better in life, than the life that those people have in Central America,” says Martinez, “I think this is one of the greatest motors in the history of humanity.”

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A team of Spanish photographers joined Martinez as he documented the violence.

To make their way north, the Central American migrants cling to the roof of a colossal cargo train called The Beast, hiding in spaces between and underneath the cars.

The migrants who fall off are crushed. The survivors are perpetually victimized: they are robbed, beaten, raped and kidnapped by narcos.

“It’s a chess game, the road is a chess game,” says Martinez, “If you make a bad move, you can end up in the hands of the Zetas.”

For the people on this journey, there is no justice. Corrupt public officials work with the narcos. Gangs control the coyotes who lead the migrants north. The walls and increased security on the U.S. side of the border only make things worse.

Interview Highlights

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On the abuses faced by migrants on the trail 

Martinez: This road leaves you a big trauma, a big scar in your brain. In 2009 64% percent of Central American women who crossed Uihtxla suffered some abuse including sexual harasment. What happens with that population? Who is asking them? Who is giving support to that people? They just come to the United States or are deported to Central American and continue with their lives, but what kind of life can you have after having that experience?

On the inclusion of los Zetas on the migrant trail

Martinez: In 2007 the incursion of los Zetas changed the sign of that immigration because those wolves are very cruel wolves and are wolves that make massive kidnapping, that sell a lot of women in the north and in the south brothels. Of course, the incursion of the Zetas with the participation of some authorities, mainly the local authorities, the municipal police or the state police. That inclusion changed the name of the wolf, and the name of the wolf is los Zetas.

On the lack of repercussions for criminals

Martinez:  The work of the journalist, puts light in the dark corner of societies, makes it more difficult for the corrupt, for the hagaranes, for the estados perezosos y gobiernos perecosos, as the Salvadorian, Guatemalan and Honduran governments who never raise their voice to ask Mexico what happened with all their women who have been raped in Mexico, what happened with all their men, child and ancients who are kidnapped by los Zetas for days? Journalism is like the sea when it erodes a stone, it takes years and it is not the rhythm we’d prefer, but it is the rhythm we have.

 

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On what he wants his readers to feel

Martinez: I hope to provoke anger. I think that anger is our most powerful motor, it is very difficult to go and sleep with anger. I don’t know what an engineer can do about the topic, I don’t know what an architect can do reading the book, but I pretend to generate the feeling that prevents that person from staying still.

 

 

 

 

 

Author Eduardo Galeano: Mortal But Not Alone

Prolific author Eduardo Galeano talks with Maria Hinojosa about his latest book, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History, and about what it’s like to be friends with the Uruguayan president.

eduardo

Eduardo Galeano is an Uruguayan journalist and writer. Galeano’s best-known works include Memoria del fuego and Las venas abiertas de América Latina. His works have been translated into 20 languages.

Bio photo courtesy of Mariela De Marchi Moyano.

Forbidden Words and Forgotten Arts: Daniel Alarcón

Peruvian-born author Daniel Alarcón brings us a story about cultural adaptation and breaking interracial taboos, called “The Forbidden Word”. The story was originally produced by Radio Ambulante, the Spanish-language storytelling radio program he runs. He talks with Maria Hinojosa about the project, and discusses his new novel, titled “At Night We Walk in Circles”, about a young Latin American actor traveling with an avant-garde theater group. Special thanks to Radio Ambulante’s Martina Castro.

And here’s Radio Ambulante’s original “Palabra Prohibida/Forbidden Word” story, en español:

 

Daniel Alarcon (c) Adrian KinlochDANIEL ALARCÓN is author of “War by Candlelight”, a finalist for the 2005 PEN-Hemingway Award, and “Lost City Radio”, named a Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post, among others. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s, and he has been named one of The New Yorker’s 20 under 40. He lives in San Francisco, California.

About Radio Ambulante: Radio Ambulante is a Spanish-language radio program that tells Latin American stories from anywhere Spanish is spoken, including the United States.

Sabiduría: The Boxing Edition

Writer, filmmaker and speaker Raquel Cepeda talks about her passion for boxing and how she incorporates it into her everyday life. She gives words of wisdom about how boxing improves mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Raquel.photoRaquel Cepeda is an award-winning journalist, cultural activist and documentary filmmaker. A former magazine editor, her byline has appeared in The Village Voice, CNN.com, and the Associated Press. She directed and produced “Bling: A Planet Rock,” about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds. Her latest literary work is a memoir, “Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.”

Junot Diaz (1997)

In 1997, Junot Diaz wasn’t yet a Pulitzer Prize winner. He had recently released his short story collection Drown, and host Maria Hinojosa talked about how his writing represented New Jersey as much as it represented Dominicans.

Image courtesy of Fleeting Books

THE SCIENCE OF “LATINA”

Dominican-American author Raquel Cepeda went on a search to find out about her heritage and identity. How? Through ancestral DNA testing. María Hinojosa speaks with Cepeda about her memoir, “Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.”

Raquel.photoRaquel Cepeda is an award-winning journalist, cultural activist and documentary filmmaker. A former magazine editor, her byline has appeared in The Village Voice, CNN.com, and the Associated Press. She directed and produced “Bling: A Planet Rock,” about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds.

WHEN ADDICTION HITS HOME

Professor Angela Garcia has personal experience with addiction. She talks to Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa about her thoughts on La Cultura Cura, her book The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande, and her thoughts on the relationship between poverty and drug addiction.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Amazon.

 Angela Garcia is a Professor at Stanford University. A central theme of her work is the disproportionate burden of addiction, depression and incarceration among poor families and communities. Garcia’s book, The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along The Rio Grande (Universityof California Press, 2010) received the 2012 Victor Turner Prize and a 2010 Pen Center USA Award. The Pastoral Clinic explores the relationship between intergenerational heroin use, poverty and colonial history in northern New Mexico.

A PIECE OF A FALLING STAR

New Mexico poet Carlos Contreras works teaching inmates and writes about addiction and poverty in his community. He reads an excerpt from his poem “Falling Star.”


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Just Write. See Carlos Contreras performing another poem here.

 Carlos Contreras is a twenty-six-year-old poet who competed on the team that brought the National Poetry Slam Championship home to his native Albuquerque. His many other awards include the New Mexico Hispanic Entertainers Award for Poet of the Year in 2007. As a high school student, Carlos was accepted into the Voces program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, a month-long workshop in poetry composition and performance. The next year he returned as an intern and mentor. Today, with a degree in English and Sociology from the University of New Mexico, he is the lead coordinator of the program. He has published poems in several anthologies, and a book, A Man in Pieces: Poems for My Father. Contreras performs solo and in groups around the state and the nation. Bio and headshot care of El Palacio.

SONIA’S BELOVED WORLD

Maria Hinojosa talks to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor who has written a memoir called “My Beloved World.” The book tells the story of Sotomayor’s childhood in the South Bronx and her years before the court.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Born to a Puerto Rican family, she grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx. Her judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She was the first Latina to serve on that court, and participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions.

Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system, eventually becoming the first Hispanic, and only the third woman, to ever be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

VINTAGE CHAVEZ

Cesar Chavez, the late Chicano labor leader, has been elevated to the status of icon, but few know the rich history from which the United Farm Workers sprang. Host Maria Hinojosa speaks with author Frank Bardacke about the complex relationship between the leader and the rank and file farm workers, as documented in his book “Trampling out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers.”


Click here to download this week’s show.

Frank Bardacke was active in the student and anti-war movements in Berkeley in the 1960’s. He moved to California’s Central Coast in 1970, worked for six seasons in the Salinas Valley fields, and taught at Watsonville Adult School for twenty-five years. He is the author of Good Liberals and Great Blue Herons: Land, Labor and Politics in the Pajaro Valley, and a translator of Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SANDRA AND MARIE

Maria Hinojosa interviews prolific author Sandra Cisneros about her new book, Have You Seen Marie?, and about her struggles with depression.


Click here to download this week’s show. Bio image courtesy of Ray Santisteben.

Sandra Cisneros is the founder of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation, the Elvira Cisneros Award and the Macondo Foundation, all of which work on behalf of creative writers. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a MacArthur. Her writings include novels: THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET and CARAMELO; short stories: WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK; and poetry collections: MY WICKED WICKED WAYS and LOOSE WOMAN and a children’s book, HAIRS. She is currently at work on several writing projects including TANGO FOR TONGELE, a book of essays, WRITING IN MY PAJAMAS, writing tips; HOW TO BE A CHINGONA, life tips; INFINITO, stories; CANTOS Y LLANTOS, poems. Her most recent books are a children’s book, BRAVO, BRUNO with artist Leslie Greene, to be published in Italy, and the forthcoming HAVE YOU SEEN MARIE?, an illustrated book for adults with artist Ester Hernández, to be published in the US in October,
2012.

DESERT AMERICA

Author Ruben Martinez shares a very personal take on desert communities of the Southwest in his book “Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West.” He explores the economic and cultural contradictions in these Southwestern communities with host Maria Hinojosa.


Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of KCET (creative commons).

A native of Los Angeles and the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, Rubén Martínez is a writer, performer and teacher. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. He is the author of: Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, The New Americans: Seven Families Journey to Another Country and The Other Side: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City and Beyond. His new book, Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West is now available in hardcover from Metropolitan/Holt Books.

NOTICIANDO: KILLING THE AMERICAN DREAM

Host Maria Hinojosa talks with writer, Pilar Marrero about her new book, “Killing the American Dream: How Anti-Immigration Extremists are Destroying the Nation.”  Marrero believes that in the past two decades the national debate on immigration has moved far to the right from a moderate position from both major parties.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Pilar Marrero is a journalist who for 25 years has extensively covered the areas of city government, immigration and state and national politics. She works for La Opinión as a senior reporter and it’s a regular commentator for radio and television in both spanish and english media. She´s the author of “El Despertar del Sueño Americano” published by Penguing Books and now on sale. The english version of the book, Killing the American Dream, comes out October 2 published by Pallgrave McMillan. Marrero lives in Los Angeles. www.pilarmarrero.com

SOMOS: HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, is supposed to be a time to celebrate Latino contributions to U.S. society and culture. But for some, it feels like a way to sanitize Latino history in the U.S. Or worse, just another excuse to market to Latinos. Host Maria Hinojosa speaks with Prof. Arlene Dávila and humorist Lalo Alcaraz about the uses and meanings of Hispanic Heritage Month.

This is part of our series on Latino identity, “Somos.”


Click here to download this week’s show.

Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha,” seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He is also co-host of KPFK Radio’s popular satirical talk show, “The Pocho Hour of Power,” and co-founded the political satire comedy group Chicano Secret Service. His work has appeared in major publications around the world and he has won numerous awards and honors. Alcaraz received his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, and earned his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Alcaraz was born in San Diego and grew up on the border. He is married to a hard-working public school teacher and they have three extremely artistic children.

 

Arlene Davila is a professor of Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is the author of Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico and Latinos Inc: Marketing and the Making of a People, Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the Neoliberal City. Her book, Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race recently received the Latin American Studies Association prize for the best book in Latino studies.

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