Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Banned Books Club

When the Arizona Department of Education banned 90 books from its public schools for being “subversive,” ban opponents struck back. They set up underground libraries across the Southwest. And in Albuquerque, they organized a banned book reading club.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jennifer-Lamusa

Carrie Jung headshot

Carrie Jung began reporting from New Mexico in 2011, following environmental news, education and Native American issues. She’s worked with NPR’s Morning Edition, PRI’s The World, National Native News, and The Takeaway.

Carrie graduated with a masters degree from Clemson University in 2009. She currently serves as Morning Edition Host and reporter for KUNM and The Fronteras Desk.

Heritage You Can Taste

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization included traditional Mexican cuisine on its list of world cultural treasures worth preserving two years ago. A group of Mexican Academics have put together the first cookbook to be included on Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Latino USA’s Brenda Salinas talks to the book’s publisher, Margarita de Orellana from Artes de Mexico, and visits Chef Joe Quintana at his New York restaurant, Rosa Mexicano, to get a taste for what all the buzz is about. On the menu, the caviar of corn: huitlacoche crêpes.

Photo by Latino USA

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Margarita de Orellana is the director of the Mexican publishing house Artes de México. She studied Communications at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and Cinematography in L’Université de Vincennes in Paris, where she lived for almost a decade.  She also has a Phd. In Contemporary Compartive History from the École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales.

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Chef Joe Quintana is the Executive Chef at Rosa Mexicano in Union Square, New York City. The New York native studied at Queensborough Community College.

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A Rita in Spanish Harlem

Actress Rita Moreno and her fans send Latino USA an audio postcard from her book signing at La Casa Azul Bookstore in New York City’s “El Barrio” neighborhood.

 

*Correction: In this piece, Rita Moreno says that Raul Julia won an Oscar. Julia did not win an Oscar. Benicio del Toro did for “Traffic”, making him the third Puerto Rican actor to win the award. Julia was nominated for several awards and won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, as well as the Emmy.

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.

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

Planet New Mexico

Writer and musician Raquel Z. Rivera a New York native, tells us about making a home in a new and radically different place: the desert in the outskirts of Alburquerque. A place she calls “Planet New Mexico.”

RadioNature is a year-long series that looks at how people of color connect with nature. Funding comes from the REI Foundation.


Click here to download this week’s show.

Raquel Z. Rivera, Ph.D. is an author, scholar and singer-songwriter. She is co-editor of the anthology Reggaeton (2009) and author of New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone (2003). She blogs about her creative process at Cascabel de Cobre and about reggaeton and hip-hop at reggaetonica. A singer-songwriter, her debut CD Las 7 salves de La Magdalena / 7 Songs of Praise for the Magdalene was released in 2011. She has worked with the bomba group Alma Moyo, the Boricua roots music group Yerbabuena and Yaya, an all-women’s musical collective dedicated to Dominican salves and Puerto Rican bomba. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

 

 

 

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LOS BROS

Comic book superheroes may rule movie screens recently, but two Chicanos from Southern California have used comics to tell amazing stories about ordinary people for the past 30 years. We meet Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, godfathers of the alternative comics movement and creators of Love and Rockets. Latino USA’s senior producer Carolina Gonzalez reports.


Click here to download this week’s show. Love and Rockets, Copyright 2012, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. Photo courtesy of Fantagraphics.

Diaz On Hernandez/Hernandez on Diaz

Dominican-American author Junot Díaz’s work often references Love & Rockets. And Jaime Hernandez has illustrated four Díaz stories published in The New Yorker magazine. So we decided to ask Díaz about the influence Los Bros. have had on his storytelling, and asked Jaime about translating Diaz’s obsessions into images. Check out what they said here:

But wait! There’s more…check out this exclusive cover art slide show below:

Carolina Gonzalez is an award-winning journalist and scholar with over two decades of experience in print and radio. She served as an editorial writer at the New York Daily News, and has covered education, immigration, politics, music and Latino culture in various alternative and mainstream media outlets, such as WNYC radio, AARP Segunda Juventud, SF Weekly and the Progressive Media Project. The guidebook she co-authored with Seth Kugel, Nueva York: the Complete Guide to Latino Life in the Five Boroughs, was published in 2006 by St. Martin’s Press. She was raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Queens, New York and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Heartbreakers: A Conversation With Junot Diaz

In his last latest work, This Is How You Lose Her, author Junot Diaz chronicles a series of breakups that his reoccurring character, Yunior, lives through. Hear him talk to Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa about this book, bachata, and the inner lives of boys.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Penguin.
To hear Junot Díaz reading an excerpt from This Is How You Lose Her, click below:

Junot Díaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, African Voices, Best American Short Stories (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000), in Pushcart Prize XXII and in The O’Henry Prize Stories 2009. He has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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