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Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category


We say farewell to Cuban-American writer, Dolores Prida. She died in New York on the eve of the presidential inauguration, just after attending a party celebrating 20 years of friendship and mutual support with Latina journalists, publicists and lawyers.

Click here to download this week’s show.


We speak to News Taco Editor Victor Landa for a roundup on recent changes in U.S. politics: from Republicans regrouping in Florida to signs of hope for culturally relevant courses in Arizona schools.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Victor Landa is the founder and editor of NewsTaco, a website that provides news, analysis and critique from a Latino perspective. He worked as a writer and editor for 30 years, mostly with Telemundo and Univisión. Landa also contributed to the San Antonio Express-News, and he is an adviser on media strategy, message crafting, storytelling and public speaking.


How has the Latino blogosphere changed as more people tweet and use tumblr and as big companies use new media to reach out to Latinos? Host Maria Hinojosa speaks to Maegan Ortiz, the publisher of Vivir Latino, about the changes for Latinos in new media.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Maegan Ortiz is a Los Angeles based Nuyorican mami media maker. She has written for the American Prospect, the Progressive, Univision, El Diario la Prensa, and Latina on Latino politics, media, and culture. She is the Publisher of VivirLatino and can be found on twitter @mamitamala.


The Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights has long been home to the country’s largest Dominican-American community. Now it’s also home to a new reality show produced by MTV. We speak with a group of young Washington Heights residents about how the show represents their ‘hood.

Click here to download this week’s show

The following people graciously sat down with us to watch Washington Heights and give us their opinion:

Dr. Cyrus Boquín





Cynthia Carrion







John Paul Infante


The influence of the Latino vote grabbed the headlines in this past election, and has brought comprehensive back into the political agenda. But how can Latinos take advantage of this political opening, and what other issues will they try to influence next? Host Maria Hinojosa speaks with Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino and Jennifer Korn of Hispanic Leadership Network.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Jennifer S. Korn is Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network. Ms. Korn has 18 years of experience as a conservative strategist. Previously, Ms. Korn served in the George W. Bush Administration as Director of Hispanic and Women’s Affairs in the White House, as well as Senior Advisor to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prior to her public service, Ms. Korn was National Hispanic Director and Southwest Coalitions Director on President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. As such, she developed and supervised the implementation of the strategy that resulted in President Bush receiving 44% of the Hispanic vote. Ms. Korn was born in East Los Angeles and is the first in her family to attend college. She is a military spouse.


Maria Teresa Kumar is the President/CEO of Voto Latino. Her strong record of accomplishment has earned her high profile recognitions, including being named as one of the 20 most notable Latinos under 40 by PODER Magazine, and numerous leadership awards including an Emmy nomination, the White House Project, Imagen Foundation and the New York legislature.

In addition to being a frequent commentator on MSNBC, Maria Teresa serves as an occasional blogger for national outlets. Maria Teresa started her career as a legislative aide. She received her Master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s in international relations from the University of California at Davis.


Host Maria Hinojosa talks about her memories of how Los Reyes Magos — the Three Wise Men — are celebrated in Mexico and in New York City’s East Harlem, where she is marching as a Queen in this year’s Three Kings’ Parade down Fifth Avenue.

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Jenni Rivera may not have been known by many people in the U.S.  before her death in a plane crash on December 9. But to her millions of fans, the “diva of banda” was one of them  — publicly dealing with bad romances, domestic abuse and the challenges of raising kids on her own. Host Maria Hinojosa gives us this commentary on the impact of this Mexican-American star.

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The 2012 elections have created a new openness within the GOP to the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform, and increased the likelihood of a bipartisan deal. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa talks to NPR senior political correspondent Mara Liasson and Republican political advisor, Lionel Sosa.

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Mara Liasson is the national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR’s award-winning newsmagazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

Each election year, Liasson provides key coverage of the candidates and issues in both presidential and congressional races. During her tenure she has covered five presidential elections — in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Prior to her current assignment, Liasson was NPR’s White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She has won the White House Correspondents Association’s Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage in 1994, 1995, and again in 1997. From 1989-1992 Liasson was NPR’s congressional correspondent.
Liasson joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter and newscaster. From September 1988 to June 1989 she took a leave of absence from NPR to attend Columbia University in New York as a recipient of a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism.

Prior to joining NPR, Liasson was a freelance radio and television reporter in San Francisco. She was also managing editor and anchor of California Edition, a California Public Radio nightly news program, and a print journalist for The Vineyard Gazette in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Liasson is a graduate of Brown University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in American history.

Lionel Sosa has been media consultant for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush. He has served on the teams of eight national presidential campaigns.

Sosa was named “One of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America” by Time Magazine in 2005 and is a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He is the author of Think and Grow Rich, a Latino Choice published in 2006 by Random House, and The Americano Dream: How Latinos Can Achieve Success in Business and in Life, published in 1998 by Dutton and co-author of “El Vaquero Real- the Original American Cowboy” published by Bright Sky Press in 2008. Sosa is a contributing author of “Latinos and the Nations Future”, edited by Henry Cisneros and published by Arte Publico Press, University of Houston in 2009.

In the spring of 2001, Lionel was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary PHD in Humanities from the University of the Incarnate Word.


The music and pop culture magazine Rolling Stone recently put out their first bilingual section, claiming to have a list of the top 10 Latino rock albums of all time. But their Mexico bureau emphatically disagreed—and wrote a letter disassociating themselves from the list. We speak to Benjamín Salcedo Villareal from Rolling Stone Mexico about this decision.

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Benjamin Salcedo Villareal is the Director of Rolling Stone, Mexico.





While we agreed with some of the choices presented in the magazine’s “10 Greatest Latin Rock Albums of all Time,” we believe trying to cover a music genre with a history in Latin America almost as long as what it has in the U.S. and Britain is a thankless task. In the spirit of inclusiveness, we wanted to highlight 10 albums (albums! Remember those?) we feel are key to understanding how rock has developed in Latin America. Sorry, U.S.-based bands, you’ll have to wait for your own list.

In chronological order:

1) La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata, La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata (1971) Rock developed in Mexico in tandem with its development in the U.S. This Guadalajara-based band often sang in English and was in many ways indistinguishable from its counterparts in El Norte.

2) Pescado Rabioso, Artaud (1973) Argentine icon Luis Alberto Spinetta’s dedication to French poet and actor Antonin Artaud. It opens with one of his most famous songs “Todas las hojas son del viento,” and it includes numerous acoustic guitars and jazz variations, an abrupt turn from their previous album, Invisible.

3) Sui Generis, Confesiones de Invierno (1973) One of the most influential rock bands to come out of Argentina during the early 70s. This album was their second and a dramatic improvement in sound and compositions while staying loyal to their Folk Rock style.

4) Os Paralamas do Suceso, O Passo do Lui (1984) This Brazilian band’s pop rock with tinges of reggae also became popular in Spanish-speaking Latin America, thanks to easy sing-along love songs like “Meu Error.”

5) Caifanes, Caifanes (1988) Musically, this debut record by Mexican rock giants may have leaned heavily on the Cure, but Saul Hernandez’s mystical lyrics brought a decidedly Mexican flavor. Their cover of “La negra Tomasa” alone showed that you COULD make rock that was purely Latin American.

6) Mano Negra, Puta’s Fever (1989) This was the record that created the Mano Negra effect, spawning a thousand Latin American bands that promiscuously mixed different genres and languages.

7) Los Prisioneros, Corazones (1990) The heavy use of synth may sound dated now, but this Chilean band pioneered lyrics highlighting their South American identity (“Tren al Sur”).

8) Sepultura, Chaos A.D (1993) Metal knows no borders, as shown by this band from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This album moved away a bit from a strictly thrash sound to experiment more with punk and with deeper grooves.

9) Los Tres, La Espada y la Pared (1995) This Chilean band cross-bred 1950s roots rock with Southern Cone folk (one of the band members belongs to the famed Parra family) and produced a sound that was fresh even as bands all over the continent were experimenting with folk and rock.

10) Shakira, Pies Descalzos (1996) She’s all blonde and all pop now, but once this Lebanese-Colombian singer-songwriter was feisty and fully rockera.

11) Gustavo Cerati, Bocanada (1999) Soda Stereo may have been the pinnacle of Latin American rock, but even after the band’s demise in 1997, Cerati proved there was plenty more to do and say.


Daisy Rosario takes us inside the world of balloon docents where she riles up the crowds and shares facts about the inflatable giants of the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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

Daisy Rosario is a producer, reporter and comedian, but to keep it simple she’d tell you she’s good with words. She’s a proud Brooklyn native who works with The Moth and Upright Citizens Brigade. She recently interned with WNYC’s Radiolab. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Daisy has held a number of odd jobs in the name of curiosity. She longs to be the quasi-love child of Manny Pacquiao, Theodore Roosevelt, and Carl Sagan, but what do you do with that?


The Latino vote has been a big topic in this election cycle. So what was the proof in the pudding and in the polls? We get an overview of Latino turnout, the effects of voter ID laws and early voting, and other factors that influenced the Latino role in the presidential, congressional races and ballot initiatives of 2012.

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

Patricia Guadalupe is Supervising Producer and Fill-in Host for AARP Viva Radio, a daily, Spanish-language radio show that discusses a variety of issues of importance to the Latino community and broadcast on Sirius XM. She is a contributing editor to Latino Magazine and Hispanic Link News Service and is a former Washington correspondent for CBS Radio, Radio Bilingue and Latino USA. Raised in Puerto Rico, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.


Myrna Perez is a senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal research and advocacy organization at New York University. She also works on a variety of voting rights related issues, including redistricting, voter registration list maintenance, and access to the ballot box. Before joining the center, Ms. Pérez was the Civil Rights Fellow at Relman & Dane, a civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C.


Latino USA producer Nadia Reiman was born in Costa Rica. She became a citizen in 2010, so this November she cast her first presidential vote.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Nadia Reiman has been a radio producer since 2005. Before joining the Latino USA team, Nadia produced for StoryCorps for almost five years. Her work there on 9/11 stories earned her a Peabody Award. 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 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.


We present excerpts from a conversation with pollsters, reporters and policy experts on how the issues of immigration and the economy are driving the decisions of Latino voters. This event at The New School in New York City was part of the project Ballot Voices in collaboration with Feet in Two Worlds.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Fernand Amandi, managing partner at Bendixen & Amandi International, brings over a decade’s worth of experience in research and strategic management with an emphasis in corporate, political and public affairs consulting for clients including the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, Univision, New America Media, the White House, the John & James L. Knight Foundation, the California Endowment, US Senator John Kerry and US Senator Robert Menendez.

Mr. Amandi has conceived, produced, and edited a number of successful television commercials for B&A International’s media practice. Mr. Amandi’s communications projects and analysis have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, The Economist, and the Miami Herald.

He is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education.

Jordan Fabian is the political editor for ABC News/Univision. Prior to joining Univision in 2011, he worked as a staff writer at The Hill newspaper in Washington, DC where he covered Congress and the 2012 presidential campaign. Jordan has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News digital broadcasts, and C-SPAN, and has contributed to a number of nationally-syndicated radio programs. He also freelanced for Hispanic Business magazine and Letras Libres. Jordan hails from Olney, Maryland and is a lifelong resident of the Washington area. He graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of arts in history.

Chung-Wha Hong is Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella advocacy organization made up of approximately 200 groups throughout the state that work with immigrant and refugee communities. As the coordinating body for organizations that serve one of the largest and most diverse newcomer populations in the United States, the NYIC has become a leading advocate for immigrant communities on the local, state, and national levels. The NYIC’s membership includes grassroots community organizations, not-for-profit health and human services organizations, religious and academic institutions, labor unions, and legal, social, and economic justice organizations. With its pan-immigrant, multi-sector base, the NYIC provides both a forum for immigrant groups to share their concerns and a vehicle for collective action to address these concerns. The NYIC has registered over 300,000 new American voters to date, and is currently coordinating “Immigrants Vote!” – a multi-ethnic voter mobilization campaign in New York State.

Mark Hugo Lopez is the associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center where he studies the attitudes and opinions of Latinos, the political engagement of Latinos and Latino youth. Lopez also coordinates the Center’s national surveys. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 1996.


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.

Hinojosa on SB 1070

This week, host Maria Hinojosa shares her thoughts, hopes and fears about the Supreme Court decision.

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