Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Two Stories From Latin America You Need to Follow

It has been a very tumultuous past few days in Latin America, and if you haven’t been following the latest news, here is a quick summary of the two most important stories from the region that I recommend you follow:

Protests in Ecuador

After following social media the last few days (see #EcuadorProtesta, #FueraCorreaFuera and #EcuadorALasCalles), it appears that the global press is finally focusing on a series of protests against Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president. Earlier today, The Guardian’s David Hill filed a digital report from Ecuador. At one point, Hill writes:

Ecuador is currently in turmoil. Thousands of people are protesting proposed constitutional amendments, the expansion of the oil frontier, mining projects, changes to water and education policy, labour laws and pensions, a proposed “Free Trade Agreement” (FTA) with the European Union (EU), and increasing repression of freedom of speech, among other things. The government’s response? To send the police and military with batons and tear-gas to beat citizens, make arbitrary arrests, raid homes and even – some people believe – to take advantage of volcanic eruptions by declaring a nationwide “State of Exception”.

The protests have taken different forms. Indigenous people marched for 10 days from the Zamora Chinchipe province in the Amazon to Quito, 1,000s and 1,000s of people gathered in the capital last week, and another march involving approximately 2,000 people was held there on Monday. In addition, a series of demonstrations and road-blocks have sprung up elsewhere in the country.

I haven’t seen many U.S.-based news outlets picking up on the news from Ecuador (although the Associated Press wrote a small story about the warning Correa gave due to the threat of a volcano erupting), so outlets like The Guardian should be ones to follow for now.

Protests in Brazil

While U.S. media hasn’t moved on Ecuador coverage just yet, a few more outlets are paying attention to the current situation in Brazil: where protests are calling for President Dilma Rousseff to step down from office. Rousseff’s current popularity is at 10% and corruption is rampant in the current governing party. The Irish Times wrote a good summary about the root causes of Rousseff’s political problems:

The Petrobras bribery scandal that has dogged Brazil’s politics for some years shows no sign of flagging. Prosecutors are expected shortly to unveil new allegations about the state-controlled oil company, while on the streets of the country’s main cities hundreds of thousands have been rallying, demanding the head of President Dilma Rousseff, re-elected barely 10 months ago. Last weekend saw the third round of mass protests this year and 10 days ago Rousseff’s ruling coalition, led by her Workers Party, was weakened by the desertion of two allied parties .

Rousseff’s problems are compounded by the likelihood that the economy will decline both this year and next. Rising unemployment, a credit rating flirting with junk status, and inflation, all presage the worst economic downturn since at least 1990.The Brazilian real is at a 12-year low against the dollar. Her own poll figures are in single digits – she is the most unpopular president since the return of democracy in 1985.

The Petrobras scandal –kickbacks for massive state contracts– dates back to Rousseff’s time as chair of the company’s board before she won the presidency in 2010, although neither she nor her predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have yet been directly implicated. She also faces legal challenges over whether her campaign received illicit contributions and if her government improperly used money from state banks to cover budget shortfalls. She insists she will not resign, but the demand for impeachment has grown to the point that two in three Brazilians support it, most strongly among the poorest and least educated; her party’s natural support base.

In addition, here are a few links that will get you up to speed:

From CNN: What Brazil’s Protests Means by Jeffrey Lesser

From the BBC: Rousseff’s woes worsen as Brazil’s protesters smell blood by 

From Reuters: Despite protests, slog more likely than radical change in Brazil by 

The Olympics are next year in Brazil, and a lot of what is happening now in the country has been bubbling for the last few years. If you really want to find out more about why Brazil is where it is at right now, I will give you one more recommendation—read Juliana Barbassa’s Dancing with the Devil in the City of God. Last month I had the pleasure of hosting a book talk with Juliana about her book, which dives into the extreme contrasts coming out of Rio de Janeiro and the rest of the country. It will give you the framework you need to understand the latest news.


Latino USA’s Marlon Bishop on HuffPost Live

Earlier today, our very own Marlon Bishop appeared on HuffPost Live to talk about our upcoming August 28 BORDERWORLD episode. In case you missed the segment, we produced a clip and uploaded it to our YouTube channel.

Latino USA Honored by NAHJ for Journalism Excellence

Earlier today, our team received the official news that the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) had honored Maria Hinojosa and Latino USA with a Presidential Award of Excellence for our Peabody Award-winning show, “Gangs, Murder and Migration in Honduras.”

NAHJ will be presenting the award to us this September 20 in Orlando, and we will have a more formal press release very soon, but I had to start sharing the news about the award, since the team is thrilled about the announcement. Also, many of you are already sending us great vibes on Facebook and Twitter.

Luis Ruuska told us the following on Facebook: “Congratulations, you all have ALWAYS been ahead of your time bringing us stories we can’t get anywhere else. The Latino population is only going to get bigger in the coming years and other media organizations are going to try to ride that wave, but nobody will EVER bring us content like you do!”

Here are some of the earlier tweets we received:

This afternoon, when I asked Maria for her reaction about the NAHJ news, this is what she told me:

“As the foremost Latino voice in public media and the longest running Latino-focused program in the history of U.S. radio, our entire Latino USA team is truly honored by this recognition from our peers. NAHJ helped me become the storyteller I am today. They gave me my very first Journalism award which built my confidence at a crucial moment. I will never forget that validation. I am also thrilled to be mentoring new voices that keep producing such important stories. Gracias. Thank you.”

Our team will have much more to share about the award and all the details. Stay tuned!

Maria Hinojosa Talks Trump on Meet the Press

Earlier this morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, Maria Hinojosa, host and executive producer of Latino USA, was part of the show’s weekly panel. Our team gathered the clips from the show, and we wanted to share them with our listeners. Here they are.

In this first clip, MTP’s Chuck Todd asked Maria about Donald Trump, who made an presidential campaign appearance in Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday.

Later in the show, Maria talked about why elected officials and presidential candidates, both Republicans like Scott Walker and Democrats like Hillary Clinton, are staying relatively quiet about Trump’s controversial statements about Mexicans. (Update: Clinton gave a new interview later today with CNN, where she addressed Trump’s comments.)

Maria and the panel also discussed their reactions to South Carolina’s decision to take down the Confederate flag from its state capitol. Even in that conversation (which had occurred at the top of the show), it was hard to avoid the topic of Trump, given that South Carolina governor Nikki Haley was talking about healing and unity in a previous interview.

Finally, Maria also talked about the New South, after historian Doris Kearns Goodwin shared her views about South Carolina’s historic moment.


An Explosion In Harlem

The building explosion in Spanish Harlem displaced dozens of residents, many of them undocumented. New York City officials are concerned they are afraid to seek help for fear of being turned in to immigration authorities. Latino USA went to the shelters to find out what it’s like for undocumented residents in emergency situations.



Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images

Michoacán 101: Inside The Civilian Militia Uprising

The crisis unfolding in the Mexican state of Michoacán is often stranger-than-fiction. Last year, a rag-tag group of avocado farmers and shopkeepers decided to raise arms against the brutal Knights Templars, a cult-like drug cartel who styles themselves after a medieval military order. In January, these civilian militias stepped up the pressure and began invading and occupying towns where the cartels operate one-at-a-time. A few weeks ago, the Mexican army stepped in and attempted to disarm the militias before things escalated further, but the militias refused to give up their weapons. Tensions have been high.

The militias are currently being led by a 55-year-old lime grower named Estanislao Beltrán, whose big white beard and short stature has earned him the nickname “Papa Smurf.” We reached Beltrán on the phone to hear why he decided to leave his farm and become a vigilante fighter. We also spoke with Mexican journalist Verónica Calderón, from the newspaper El País, to help us unpack the complex politics surrounding Michoacán.


veronica2Verónica Calderón is a Mexico City-based reporter for the Spanish newspaper El País. She was raised in Michoacán.

El Papa Argentino

The pope is TIME magazine’s man of the year–but can he deliver on institutional changes? He’s embraced the poor and snuck out of the Vatican to help homeless people. He’s openly embraced LGBT believers as well as atheists. And the election of the first pope from Latin America may be a symbolic shift in where the Catholic Church’s followers lie. NPR’s Cokie Roberts joined Maria Hinojosa to talk about how the media as well as everyday Catholics see him.


croberts-b59057da58d87058db947ad37115b0d9f3c8c429-s3-c85Cokie Roberts is a regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edtion. At NPR she previously served as the congressional correspondent for more than 10 years. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.

What Hurricane Sandy Left Behind

One year after Hurricane Sandy, many residents are still struggling to get back on their feet, particularly low-income and immigrant New Yorkers. Latino USA producer Diana Montaño goes to Staten Island, one of the hardest hit parts of the city, to check in with residents one year after Sandy.

Special thanks to Make the Road New York. To help or donate, visit their donation page.

Jonathan Wolfe contributed reporting to this story.



Diana HeadshotDiana Montaño is a Mexico City-born, East Coast-raised radio producer. She has worked as an editor at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia and as an associate producer with Radio Bilingüe in California. Diana has also taught video production to immigrant and refugee youth in Oakland, and to young indigenous women in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. She is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

In addition to her work as a journalist, Lesley also has extensive experience in documentary filmmaking and writing. A seven-time Emmy Award nominee, she won an Emmy Award in 2009 for the documentary, “Green Prison Reform.” Lesley holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Louisiana State University


The Immigrant Victims Of The Colorado Floods

Echoing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, floods in Colorado have caused suffering and painful losses for Colorado’s immigrant population. Maria Hinojosa talks with Colorado Public Radio’s Lesley McClurg.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


McClurgLesley McClurg is a reporter and producer for Colorado Public Radio’s daily interview program, “Colorado Matters.” She came to CPR after getting her start in public radio as a freelance reporter and producer for KUOW in Seattle, Washington. Prior to that, Lesley spent more than three years working in public television in Seattle, reporting on a variety of stories and producing long-form segments for KCTS 9 Public Television.

In addition to her work as a journalist, Lesley also has extensive experience in documentary filmmaking and writing. A seven-time Emmy Award nominee, she won an Emmy Award in 2009 for the documentary, “Green Prison Reform.” Lesley holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Louisiana State University


Los Otros Dreamers

We meet some young, undocumented adults who’ve been deported back to Mexico. They call themselves “Los Otros Dreamers.” Brooke Binkowski reports.

Photo by Brooke Binkowski


brookeBrooke Binkowski is an award-winning roving reporter currently based in San Diego. Her career has taken her from KFQD in Anchorage, Alaska, to CNN in Atlanta, to various radio stations in Los Angeles, and back home to San Diego (where she’s a graduate student at UCSD studying the U.S.-Mexico border.) Her curiosity has taken her all over the world. She is a voracious reader, writer, and traveler. Tweet @brooklynmarie.

Has Spanish-language Media Arrived?

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos talks about the situation of American Spanish-language media today. He discusses how President Obama skipped over Univision for a primetime interview on all major newscasts, the stories covered by Univision that are missed by English-language television news, and the future of bilingual news on the new Fusion network.

Photo courtesy

A1_ramos headshot

Jorge Ramos has been the anchorman for Noticiero Univision since 1986. In addition Ramos also hosts “Al Punto”, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering in- depth analysis of the week’s top-stories and exclusive interviews with newsmakers.

Among his many recognitions, he received the Maria Moors Cabot award from the University of Columbia and has won 8 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism (including the first one ever presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to honor leaders of Spanish Language Television). He was honored in 2002 with the “Ruben Salazar” award by the National Council of La Raza for his positive portrayal of Latinos.

His most recent book is “A Country for All; An Immigrant Manifesto”.


Stop, Frisk and Seize

Imagine being pulled over in a “driving-while-brown” situation and then having your car seized by the police—without even being charged with a crime.  Maria Hinojosa discusses how this is happening across the country with The New Yorker magazine staff writer Sarah Stillman. Sarah wrote a feature article for the magazine titled “Taken” where she investigates this pattern of civil forfeitures.

Photo courtesy Flickr


Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.  Her recent work has received the National Magazine Award, the Michael Kelly Award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth,” the Overseas Press Club’s Joe & Laurie Dine Award for International Human Rights Reporting, and the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism.




We continue our series on the role of the accordion with a look at the bandoneon, the main instrument used in tango music, which is turning up in some unexpected places.

michellesheadshotMichelle Johnson is a multimedia journalist who lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. When she is not working, you are likely to find her out with the dog, talking to strangers and collecting stories.

News or Noise: Bias

In the latest installment of our news literacy series News or Noise, senior producer Carolina Gonzalez talks with journalism students Hanna Guerrero and Laura Rodriguez about what we mean when we discuss bias in the news media.

Image courtesy of MSNBC

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Special thanks to our collaborators on our “News or Noise?” segment:
Radio Camp at Union Docs
The Pasos al Futuro Workshop at DePaul University 

head_shot_lasloHanna Guerrero is a journalism student at DePaul University. She is a summer intern at Latino USA.




Laura Rodriguez was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of 9. She is currently a 4th year student at DePaul University pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism, a minor in Latino Media and in the Spanish Language.

Legalizing Love

On June 26th the US Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, paving the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allowing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender immigrant couples to apply for the same immigration benefits as straight couples. Pablo Garcia Gamez and Santiago Ortiz, a married couple from Queens, New York, discuss how the DOMA ruling has already changed their lives. Then, Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa speaks with Rachel Tiven, Executive Director of Immigration Equality, about the impact of the ruling.

Image courtesy of Immigration Equality/Judy G. Rolfe


To listen to more of Pablo and Santiago’s story, click HERE for the extended interview:


Santiago Ortiz and Pablo Garcia  Gamez
Santiago Ortiz and Pablo García Gamez have been together for 23 years. They married in Connecticut in 2011 and live in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. Santiago (left) was born in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to parents who migrated from Puerto Rico. Pablo (right) is a native of Venezuela, Caracas and has been living undocumented for over 20 years. He will now be able to apply for a green card as Santiago’s spouse. Once his immigration status is in order, he plans to begin teaching college Spanish.

Rachel Tiven is the Executive Director of Immigration Equality, a legal advocacy organization representing LGBTQ immigrants. Rachel received her law degree from Columbia Law School and her bachelor’s degree from Harvard.



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