Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Thoughts on Mexican Elections

Writer Daniel Hernandez was already disappointed in US politics when he moved to his parents’ home country of Mexico almost five years ago. Now that he is registered to vote in Mexico for the first time he has found old problems in the political system of his new home.

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Daniel Hernandez is a freelance journalist based in Mexico City and a news assistant in the Los Angeles Times bureau in Mexico. He’s been a staff writer at the L.A. Times and LA Weekly. A native of San Diego, Calif., Daniel is author of the 2011 book “Down & Delirious in Mexico City.”

Russell Peters

Where do you draw the lines of what is or isn’t offensive? Canadian South-Asian Comedian Russell Peters creates his own boundaries with his bold stand-up routines that challenge the notion of political correctness. He isn’t afraid to make fun of all races, and is an astute observer of how we as Americans interact with each other. Peters reveals his inspiration for his humor and how he has found success in poking fun at the immigrant experience. Produced by Yasmeen Qureshi.

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La Cucaracha

Lalo Alcaraz copes with the world by laughing at it. He is the host of “The Pocho Hour of Power” on KPFK in Los Angeles, and the cartoonist of La Cucaracha – the only Latino “political” syndicated daily comic strip. His art is bold, provocative and unapologetic. Maria Hinojosa talks to Alcaraz to find out how he uses art as a protest and how to walk the thin line between being offensive and funny.

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La Chuleta

For some the expression La Chuleta is offensive, but not for multimedia artist Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz. She transforms herself into this stereotype of a homegirl from the ghetto to educate and bridge multiple cultures. Through her art and humor, Raimundi-Ortiz says her mission is to bring what she calls the white box of the Museum world to El Barrio. In a lively conversation, Maria Hinojosa talks to Raimundi-Ortiz about identity and stereotypes.

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Living in the Land of the Shaking Earth

For our series, RadioNature, we asked Latino USA’s founding producer, Maria Martin, why she decided to live in Guatemala, a country she’s called home for the greater part of ten years. Through an audio essay, she paints us her natural surroundings and the unique landscapes of Guatemala.

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Algo Un Poco Mas Personal

Maria reflects on the state of civil rights in Alabama after that state passed the nation’s strictest immigration law.

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“Lost in Detention” Special Preview

Immigration has been a key issue across the political arena, but despite all the promises, the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform are scarce. Last year, President Obama’s administration set a new record for detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants under the Secure Communities enforcement program. The program was set up to target and deport dangerous criminal immigrants, but has that always been the case? In her upcoming FRONTLINE documentary “Lost in Detention,” Maria Hinojosa takes an in-depth look at the enforcement of the Secure Communities program, and explores the hidden world of immigration detention. What she and the FRONTLINE Investigative team found, is shocking and unimaginable. And we have a special preview on Latino USA. Watch the one-hour FRONTLINE documentary “Lost in Detention” on October 18th at 9pm on PBS.


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Occupy Wall Street Round Table

It started as a small group of dedicated protesters – Occupy Wall Street was dismissed as a fringe movement. But their message is starting to grab attention with similar protests planned around the country. Demonstrators say they are the 99 percent, but do the protests reflect the diversity of America? Are voices of color also being heard?
To answer this question, Maria Hinojosa hosts a round table debate with Colorlines.com editor Kai Wright, artist Melanie Cervantes, and musician Martin Perna.

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Manu Chao in Arizona

It’s rare to find a popular musician these days who embraces a controversial political message, but that’s precisely what Manu Chao has done in his career. Originally from France, but his music transcends borders. Manu Chao’s songs speak of poverty and world politics, often in multiple languages – and his stardom has brought attention to many issues around the world.
Most recently, the singer was in Arizona, standing in solidarity with protesters against the infamous Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Maria Hinojosa speaks with filmmaker Alex Rivera who was in Arizona with Manu Chao, documenting the protest and impromptu concert.

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Gael García Bernal

Gael García Bernal is one of Mexico’s biggest Hollywood exports — known for such films as Babel, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Y Tu Mama Tambien. His box-office and critical success has allowed him to pick his share of projects. It’s a luxury he uses wisely. With a passion for social and political justice, Gael raises awareness about human rights issues in his work behind the camera as a producer and director. Now he takes a closer look at the violence now plaguing his native Mexico in his latest film, Miss Bala.

Maria Hinojosa sits down Garcia Bernal to talk about his career and recent work in Washington DC, where he was awarded the 2011 Human Rights Award for his work on telling “Migration and Development: Stories that make a difference” by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA.)

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Kidnap Radio

My father’s kidnapping began on November 22, 1999 and ended August 13, 2000. He was kidnapped by the FARC and kept in 38 different places, spending the first months of his kidnapping alone, with only his guards and a radio, for company.

I was 19 when my father was kidnapped in Colombia. It was 1999. My mother came to my college campus to deliver the news and I flew to Bogota to be with my family for a few weeks. (My mother is American, my father’s Colombian and they divorced when I was 5.) After that, except for brief trips for a wedding and a funeral, I didn’t go back to the country where I was born until I traveled there to report this piece in the spring of 2009.

I was able to make the trip thanks to Jay Allison. I met Jay in Woods Hole through Ibby Caputo, a dear friend and a former intern at Atlantic Public Media. After hearing part of the story of my father’s kidnapping and rescue, Jay suggested I undertake this project and guided me along the way.

I asked my father to meet me in Bogota for a long weekend in April so that I could interview him. I had heard bits and pieces about the kidnapping in the intervening years – when I would visit our family — but in the course of our interviews I realized I had known very little about what he’d endured.


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Caracol Radio streams the radio show Voces del Secuestro every Saturday night from midnight to 6:00a Sunday.

This piece was produced for Transom.org by Jay Allison.

20 Years After the Mt. Pleasant Riots

Twenty years ago this week, the streets of Mount Pleasant, the most diverse neighborhood in Washington DC, were filled with rioters and tear gas. The city hadn’t seen a disturbance like this since the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and there hasn’t been anything like it since.

On May 5, 1991, young men, mainly Latino, took to the streets to protest what was rumored to have been a case of police brutality. A rookie African-American female police officer had shot a 30-year-old Latino man.

Reporter Emily Friedman, takes us back to the three-day turmoil, and explains how the riots took the Latino community in D.C. to the path of recognition.

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Algo Un Poco Mas Personal

Maria Hinojosa reflects on Osama Bin Laden’s death and her personal experiences from September 11, 2001.

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Some Devastating Marks Bin Laden Left Behind


The news of Osama bin Laden’s death swept the nation and caused a wide array of reaction from Americans – from celebrations in the streets, to a quiet reflection about the pain felt on 9/11. It also reminded us of the unity we once felt as Americans, having shared in a national tragedy. But not all who suffered and lost loved ones that day were “Americans.” Lourdes lost a husband, a father to her children, and the family a little bit of themselves. In the past decade, they often felt unwanted in this country.

Maria Hinojosa sits down to talk about life after Sept. 11, 2001 – how they’ve changed and what they feel today as the person responsible for that change has been killed.

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After the Battlefield

Cuban-American Ernesto Haibi has over 20 years of military experience in both the Air Force and the Army. In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq. He stayed until he wasn’t allowed back on the battlefield any more. In this commentary he shares what keeps drawing him back to the army. His essay came to us from independent producer, Jay Allison.

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