Latino USA

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WEB EXTRA – Cardozo: First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice?

In July of 2005, Latino USA reported on President George W. Bush’s selection of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. At the time, there was disappointment within the Latino community that President Bush had passed on the opportunity to appoint the first Hispanic on the court. Our reporting prompted an email from one of our listeners. In it, Steven Kelman of San Antonio wrote that such a discussion ignores the tenure of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who served from 1932 until his death in 1938.

Our producers decided to do a little investigating and what we found was an intense discussion about who is a Hispanic or a Latino and what falls in between. (Original airdate September 15, 2005.)


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The Sotomayor Mambo

From the cover of Time Magazine to attacks by conservative pundits, Judge Sonia Sotomayor has garnered the attention of political elites and Latinos. She even has a song, “The Sotomayor Mambo,” newly dedicated to her.

Maria Teresa Peterson

Since the 1980s, nothing has become more political in Washington than Supreme Court appointments. So it comes as little surprise that Sotomayor would be targeted, attacked, defended, spun, counter-spun, and generally have her life put under an intense microscope. This has happened with past court appointees. And the fact that she is a Latina clearly does not make her immune to the same political battering. But the “racist” talk was getting to a point that a Texas Republican senator had to come out in her defense.

Maria Hinojosa speaks with Maria Teresa Peterson of Voto Latino about the political environment surrounding Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination.

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Guatemala: Alma de la Tierra

The lush greenery of Guatemala is ubiquitous, earning the moniker, “Land of Eternal Spring.” To travel the picturesque countryside of Guatemala, one would have little idea that this modest-sized country of 13 million people shouldered such a violent past. The 36-year civil war killed over 200,000 people and ended in a fragile peace in December 1996, putting an end to a series of military dictatorships and returning the country to civilian rule.

For years weak democratic institutions of Guatemala have been tested by crime, corruption, drug trafficking, and social unrest. Many promises made under the 1996 Peace Accords have yet to be fulfilled. And those in power have enjoyed an impunity caused by a weak judicial system.

All this came to a head this month when an otherwise non-descript killing took place on the streets of Guatemala City.

Days after his murder, Guatemalan Attorney Rodrigo Rosenburg could be seen in a video that was slated to be released in case of his demise. The video accuses Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom of ordering his murder.

Claudia Méndez Arriaza

In subsequent days, political rallies have called for Colom’s resignation and investigation; while other marchers, who consider the leftist Colom a champion for the poor, have come out in support of the embattled president.

Claudia Méndez Arriaza is an investigative reporter for El Periódico newspaper in Guatemala.

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Reporter Claudia Méndez Arriaza responded to Maria Hinojosa in Spanish. Listen to their extended conversation without the English voice over.
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But Why?

Prof. Donald Green

Not everyone who feels hate becomes motivated to commit a crime. And not everyone who commits a crime is motivated by hate. Committing a hate crime involves a confluence of issues. Sometimes, hate crimes are motivated by territorial and ethnic disputes, or economic pressures and stereotypical finger-pointing. Professor Donald Green is a Political Scientist from Yale University who has done research into the psychology of hate crimes. His conversation with Maria Hinojosa helps shed some light on this complex and deadly phenomenon.

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