Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Honduras at a Tipping Point

Diplomatic efforts, aimed at brokering a resolution to Honduras’ constitutional crisis, have continued this week. Reporter Trevor Snapp reports from Tegucigalpa, Honduras.


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The Constitutional Crisis in Honduras

The constitutional crisis in Honduras began weeks before President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup on Sunday, June 28.

Originally a moderate conservative, Zelaya has positioned himself as a populist in the vein of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. On the day of his ouster, Zelaya had scheduled a referendum that would allow him to run for re-election later this year. But the country’s supreme court had already declared the referendum illegal. And when the head of the Honduran military refused Zelaya’s orders to provide security for the referendum to take place in defiance of the courts, Zelaya fired him earlier in the week.

We’re joined now by Larry Birns, Director of the Council On Hemispheric Affairs, a non-partisan policy research and monitoring group based in Washington, D.C.


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Special Thanks to Latino USA contributor Lakshmi Singh.

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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She’s Out There

Amy Sewell

When enlightened men signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence, refusing to be governed by a king claiming divine rights of superiority, the idea that all men were created equal was a progressive one. At the time, of course, the concept didn’t apply universally to everyone. But as a nation, this idea of equality for all, away from serfdoms and enforced servitude, had universal appeal. And making equality real for all citizens has shaped the history and struggles of our American nation.

Agxibel Barajas

When an African-American man and a White woman battled for the Democratic nomination in 2008, the idea that All Were Created Equal, took on new meaning. Documentary filmmaker Amy Sewell sensed this new political landscape and has edited a series of essays in a book titled, She’s Out There — 35 Women Under 35 Who Aspire To Lead: The Next Generation Of Presidential Candidates. She’s also joined by essayist Agxibel Barajas, a law student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and one of the book’s essayists.

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