Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Media Issues’ Category

From Voter Turnout to Building Power Outside the Electoral System

The 2010 midterm elections are on Tuesday. This year’s races have been fiery, to say the least. PolitiFact.com, a website which rates the truthfulness of campaign ads, has awarded a record number of Barely True and False ratings to ads across the country. The rhetoric is hot and loud. This week, we’re exploring where things really stand for Latino voters, candidates, and activists.

Our guide to the numbers and the people behind them is Louis DeSipio, an expert in Latino Studies and Political Science at the University of California Irvine. DeSipio has extensively studied how and for whom Latinos vote, and he tells us how Latinos will effect Tuesday’s election and the elections in years to come.

Maria Hinojosa also spent time on the ground in East LA with a group called Innercity Struggle, who have spent this election season trying to register, educate, and motivate Latino voters.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Uncommon Guatemalan, Uncommon Muslim, Common Man

From the top of the World Trade Center towers you felt that you could see the curve of the earth. You knew that you were standing atop a building on an island in one of the world’s largest cities, but you were subtly aware that where you stood was less a point on a map than it was a spot on a globe: a big, curved, diverse world.

By the afternoon of September 11th, 2001 one could sense what felt like a change in the country: a widespread feeling of concern people expressed to one another. There was a palpable sense of caring, of reaching-out.

Much has been written in the nine years since — about the reaction by the White House, about the best way to memorialize those who lost their lives that day, about the efforts to clean up Ground Zero and the Pentagon, about America’s place in the world, and its sense of injury and the case for seeking justice.

Sometimes, perhaps often, in all this talk, there’s an “us-them” dichotomy that lies at the heart of the argument. Many Muslims in the U.S. feel that dichotomy acutely. It’s not uncommon on talk radio to hear people speaking out of a profound ignorance about Islam, about the Muslim experience in the U.S., and about the possibility for dialogue, coexistence, and peace in our own country, founded on a principle of religious liberty.

Watch video from C-SPAN of an interfaith gathering to promote religious tolerance and the cessation of anti-Muslim discrimination.

Religious leaders gathered in Washington this week to decry the plan of a Gainesville, Florida pastor to burn copies of the Qur’an on the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. Politicians, military leaders, and other citizens joined in the condemnation. As we take time to memorialize those who were killed nine years ago, we do it as a nation distracted, conflicted, and seemingly ill-at-ease with the place Islam has in the American landscape.

Meet David Gonzalez

An uncommon Guatemalan, an uncommon Muslim, a perfectly common man.

David Gonzalez defies stereotypes and expectations. At a time when America is struggling to accept Islam, Gonzalez sticks out as someone who became a Muslim because he found it to be a religion of peace. Gonzalez is Guatemalan and was raised in a Roman Catholic household, as many in that country are. But he was unsatisfied by his spiritual experience and had questions that remained unanswered. His quest for answers led him to Islam, which he has embraced.

Recently, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community gathered outside Washington DC for a conference. The Futuro Media Group’s Yasmeen Qureshi met David Gonzalez at the conference, and asked him to tell us his story of being Latino and Muslim.


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Disaster Migrants & The BP Cleanup

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has drawn cleanup workers from near and far. Many of those workers are Latinos, so-called “disaster migrants” who go from catastrophe to catastrophe and aid in the repair efforts. Maybe it doesn’t seem like an ideal job to you, but these folks are happy just to have work.

The report on disaster migrants comes to us from Annie Correal of the Feet in Two Worlds project.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Click the image to view an interactive map of the spill.

Operation Condor

On September 21, 1976, a car bomb exploded in Washington, D.C., killing Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the United States under President Salvador Allende, and a young American political activist, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. According to Peter Kornbluh, director of the Chile and Cuba Documentation Projects at the National Security Archive, both were victims of Operation Condor, “a Latin American rendition, kidnapping, and assassination program” initiated at a meeting of Latin American military dictators in Santiago, Chile in November 1975.

In this extended interview, Maria talks with Kornbluh about the Archive’s release of a recently declassified cable from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that Kornbluh says provides “the missing piece of the historical puzzle on Kissinger’s role in the action, and inaction, of the U.S. government after learning of Condor assassination plots.”


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

The National Security Archive is an independent research institute and library located at The George Washington University that serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.

The images below provide links to two key documents: the first, an August 1976 action cable signed by Kissinger that reflects a decision by the Latin American bureau in the State Department to try to stop the Condor plans known to be underway, and the second, the newly declassified Kissinger memo of September 1976 that reversed that decision days before Letelier’s assassination. You can read more about the trial and conviction of Manuel Contreras here and here.

National Public Radio reported on the events surrounding the assassination in 1976.

This audio is courtesy of the NPR Broadcast Library:

  • Newscast: 9/21/76
  • All Things Considered: 9/21/76
  • Funeral Coverage: 9/26/76
  • Ugly Betty

    She captured our hearts: braces and all. Betty Suarez (played by America Ferrera) was introduced to American audiences in September 2006. Based on the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, the program that broke new ground on issues of sexuality, ethnicity, and immigration status did well on ABC when it was on Thursday nights. But the ratings have slipped recently, and the show aired its final episode this week.

    It’s been appointment viewing for the entire Perez-Hinojosa family.


    Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

    Empowering Girl Journalists in Texas

    Girls working on the e-zine

    For young Latinas, role models are sometimes difficult to find. Too often, Hispanic girls lack resources to develop to their full potential. In Austin, Texas, a non-profit has created a mentorship program, pairing Latina girls and teens, to help develop their leadership through journalism. It’s the mission of Latinitas to empower Latina youth through media and technology with the goal of informing, entertaining, and inspiring young Latinas to grow into healthy, confident, and successful adults.

    Since 2002, the Latinitas program has produced an online magazine — or E-Zine — produced and written by youth. Recently, the online magazine has gone to traditional print.

    KUT’s Crystal Chavez profiles the journalistic training program and some of the girls involved.

    Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

    Watch a Slideshow of the Latinitas program as you listen:

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