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Interpreting For Change

Antena Los Ángeles, an interpretation, translation and language justice group, is committed to socially-conscious language interpretation. Their focus is on ensuring that the public event spaces they interpret for are fully bilingual or multilingual, so that no one language dominates over another.

For this week’s Sabiduría, we hear from Antena members Jen Hofer, Ana Paula Noguez Mercado and Miguel Morales Cruz on how they approach language interpretation and what we can learn from thinking about language justice.


Antena works with individuals and organizations doing interpretation, translation, and workshops on language justice and interpreting for the social justice context. The group was founded in 2010by Jen Hofer (Los Angeles) and John Pluecker (Houston). In 2014, Jen Hofer, Miguel Morales Cruz and Ana Paula Noguez Mercado co-founded Antena Los Ángelesdedicated to language justice advocacy and organizing locally in Los Angeles. Language justice is the idea that everyone has the basic human right to speak in the language in which we feel most comfortable; Antena’s work is geared toward creating spaces where everyone present can participate fully with no one language dominating the others. Antena works to foster open communication and attentive listening across languages and cultures, in the belief that language justice is part of social justice.


Eduardo Galeano through the years

This week, we travel around  time and space in search of Sabiduría, or words of wisdom, from a man who inspired many in the Americas. Uruguayan author and cultural activist Eduardo Galeano died on Monday, April 13th from a lung cancer he’d been battling since 2007. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1940, Galeano worked as a bank teller and newspaper man before publishing his most acclaimed work, Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina, or The Open Veins of Latin America, in 1971. In it, Galeano tells the story of the continent as a land where the blood and the riches have been drained for the wealth of outsiders. The book has been an inspiration to generations of Latin American and Latino politicians, activists, artists and journalists.

In 2009, the book came back into the spotlight as former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez famously handed President Barack Obama a copy during a summit.

Even though the book became a classic of political literature, in 2014, Eduardo Galeano commented on the book in a literary event in Brazil: “Open Veins tried to be a book of political economy, but I didn’t yet have the necessary training or preparation.” His statement prompted a controversy over the literary and cultural validity of the book, and whether it meant a shift in Eduardo Galeano’s political views. Galeano reiterated, as he said on our air, in 2001, that he did not regret writing it, but that his writing style and views had since evolved.

But beyond the controversy over ‘Open Veins’, Galeano went on to write more than thirty books, including Soccer In The Sun And Shadow, Children of the Days and Memory of Fire, A Trilogy of Latin American History where he perfected his style and prose, and where he revealed his increasingly complex view of the human condition.

Galeano came back frequently on Latino USA since his first appearance in 2001, commenting on current political issues, his latest work, and to give his human perspective on the world. Here’s a collection of Galeano’s interviews on Latino USA from the past 15 years.

Photo credit: Jefferson Bernardes/AFP/Getty Images

Why was this Ecuadorian cartoonist fined $500,000?

Photo above of protesters gather outside of SUPERCOM offices in Quito to show their support for cartoonist Bonil during his hearing. Courtesy of Ruxandra Guidi.

In 2013, Ecuador passed a media law aimed at democratizing the media and encouraging media outlets to hold themselves to higher standards of truthful reporting. But the law also required that a government agency called SUPERCOM (Superintentendency review outlets and fine or censor them for posting racist, classist and sexist content, setting a dangerous precedent that any anti-government publishings will be called into question by SUPERCOM.

This past February, notable cartoonist Xavier Bonilla, known as Bonil, was fined $500,000 by his government after a cartoon he published lampooning a newly-elected black assemblyman’s poor communication skills was deemed racist. The fine sparked protests in Quito in support of Bonil and against the government’s perceived censorship.

Reporter Ruxandra Guidi, who has been working in Ecuador for the past few months, breaks down the law and shows how those opposed to it fear too much government control over the press, and how those in favor fear a freewheeling media run amok.

This reporting was funded by The International Reporting Project (


Photo by Bear Guerra

Zoë Damacela Means Business

Zoë Damacela started sewing clothes for herself when she was 13. Word got out and her family and friends started buying from her. Soon after, she was hiring a team to help her keep up with demand. She founded Zoë Damacela Apparel a year later, at age 14. And her business made her famous.


She appeared on the Tyra Banks show, was featured in the Chicago Tribune and on the cover of the October 2011 issue of Seventeen Magazine. She was also invited to meet President Obama at the White House on two occasions, and was a speaker for the “Startup America,” a White House initiative for new, small businesses.

At 22, she graduated from Northwestern University and moved to New York to work as a designer for Macy’s and for her own brand. From her apartment in Brooklyn, where she lives with fellow designer and boyfriend, Brian Longwill. As a young businesswoman of color making her way in the fashion world, she tells us where she gets her confidence.


Photo by Ernesto Cuevas. 

Can love overcome segregation and death?

Racial segregation officially ended decades ago in the small town of Marfa, in west Texas. But you can still see its legacy in the local cemeteries. The tombstones tell the story of Marfa’s difficult history. But they also tell the story of friendships and citizens who transcended boundaries, and still do, in death.



Photo Credit: Ryan Kailath

This Week’s Music: The U.S. & Cuba: After the Thaw

-El Platanal De Bartolo by ¡Cubanismo!

-Aprieta (Oye Como Va) by Cheo Feliciano

-Weekend in Havana by Carmen Miranda

-Como Fue (How It Was) by Beny Moré

-Ay, Mamá Inés by Bola de Nieve

-Solito Me Quere by Yerba Buena

-Ojala by Silvio Rodriguez

-Ochun (Seco) by Los Muñequitos de Matanzas

-Bricamo by Mongo Santamaria

-La Bayamesa by Buena Vista Social Club

-Guantanamera by Celia Cruz

-I Love Lucy theme song by Eliot Daniel

-Candela by Buena Vista Social Club

-Tropicoso by Jungle Fire

-Fragments by Ritmos Unidos

How do Latino police feel about community relations?

It’s a strange time for police officers of color. One the one hand, black and Latino communities around the country have been vocal and organized in their opposition to the overuse of force by police and discriminatory practices and policies—to the point that some rhetoric has made police out to be the enemy. On the other hand, black and Latino officers are themselves part of the communities that are raising their voices in frustration and anger.


“The media has turned this into a black and white conversation which is not the parameters by which we speak,” says Anthony Miranda, the head of the National Latino Officers Association and a former NYPD sergeant, “Latinos are a big part of this conversation.”


Miranda says that Latinos communities suffer a particular kind of abuse because their citizenship and legal status are often brought into question by police in ways that other communities don’t experience.


He also says that police forces often try to indoctrinate all officers, including officers of color, by convincing them that they are “blue” first, and some other cultural identifying feature second. “The struggle with an organization like ours is trying to convince younger officers not to buy into that mentality,” Miranda says.


When it comes to that struggle between identifying with the police force and with a sense of community, Tony Chapa, executive director of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association and a former assistant director of the Secret Service, says that he and his organization stand with the community. “There are more communities that have smaller representations of Latinos in the department than we have black communities with small representation of blacks.”
Chapa says that police play a significant role in society, not just because of the nature of their jobs, but because of their visibility. “In the Hispanic community, when young kids look at who represents the government to them, it’s not the President, it’s not the Vice President, it’s not the Senator or the Governor or the Mayor, it’s the police officer on the street.”


anthony_mirandaAnthony Miranda is the Executive Chairman of the National Latino Officers Association and a retired member of the NYPD where he served for 20 years.





tony_chapaTony Chapa is the Executive Director of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association in 2011. His career with the Secret Service began in 1986 and progressed with investigative assignments, as a member of the Vice Presidential Protective Division and administrative posts including Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Research and Assistant Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

In Puerto Rico, Undocumented Immigrants To Get The Right To Vote

A few weeks ago, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla made a surprise announcement that soon he would submit legislation that would give undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens the right to vote in island-wide elections.

The move has been commended by immigrants’ rights groups, but is viewed by many on the island as a cheap move by an unpopular governor to try and fix the next election. It’s also left many people on the island asking: can the governor legally do it?

The answer, it turns out, seems to be “yes.” Federal law doesn’t stop states or cities from allowing non-citizens to vote.

Currently there are six towns in Maryland that allow all residents to vote in local elections regardless of immigration status, and a number of cities are currently considering extending the vote to all legal permanent residents.

Still, if Puerto Rico passes the law, it will be the first time in recent history that undocumented voting is adopted on such a large scale — and, some say it could set off a larger, national debate about immigrants and the right to vote. Our producer Marlon Bishop reports.


Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

La Malinche: The Story of Mexico’s Eve

La Malinche, often referred to as “the mother of all mestizos” is one of the most controversial figures in Mexican history. She’s been called a traitor and a victim. She was a Nahua woman who acted as translator for the conquistadors in the early sixteenth century. She became Hernan Cortes’s lover and their child, Martín, is often called the “first mestizo.” Mestizos are the mixed race people of Mexico that make up 60% of the country. Her legend led to the creation of the term “Malinchista.” A Malinchista is a traitor, or someone who denies their Mexican culture in favor of another.

But since the 1950s, female writers have been trying to reclaim and vindicate the story of La Malinche – not just in Mexico but also here in the U.S. Chicana writers relate to La Malinche. They too are stuck between two cultures: their Mexican heritage and the U.S. culture they live their daily lives in.

We look at who La Malinche was and what she has come to represent over time.

Here is an extended and uncensored version of the piece:

Photo via Wikipedia

Anthony Quinn Remembered with new Mural

Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn was Hollywood’s first real Latino star, appearing in films like Lawrence of Arabia, Zorba the Greek and Viva Zapata! Thirteen years after his death, he remains an important icon in Hollywood—and now a new mural in Los Angeles is commemorating his career. Shara Morris looks back on Quinn’s life and impact.


The mural “The Pope of Broadway,” at 242 S. Broadway.



Photo by Quim Llenas/Cover/Getty Images

Roberto Clemente: The Musical

Roberto Clemente, one of the all-time great players in Major League Baseball, is nothing short of a legend in Pittsburgh where he played for the Pirates for 18 consecutive seasons through the 1950’s, 60’s and into the 70’s. Throughout his career as an outfielder, he was awarded the Gold Glove twelve times, and at his last time at bat during a regular season game he tallied his 3,000th hit—a distinction only held by eleven other players in history at the time.

But the Puerto Rican-born all-star was not just an incredible player. The first prominent Afro-Latino in the league, he became equally as known for his humanitarian work, his intolerance towards racism within the baseball, and ultimately his kind-heartedness.

In Pittsburgh, composer and baseball fan Alki Steriopoulos has written a new musical called 21 about Clemente’s life and untimely death in 1972. Erika Beras went to see the musical and learn about the impact Clemente has had on Pirates fans and beyond.

Photo by Via Tsuji via Flickr.

The Infinite Dream of Chilean Pop Music

Before Augusto Pinochet took power in 1973, Chile was a poor country known for its rich folk traditions. During his reign, however, cultural expression was suppressed; Protest singer Victor Jarra was put to death a few days into the dictatorship. Villa Grimaldi, once a famous cultural center, was turned into a detention complex for dissidents. It wasn’t exactly that Pinochet wanted to destroy arts and culture, it’s that he wanted Chileans to make economic prosperity their top priority. But this came at a sharp creative cost.
For Chilean children of the 1980’s, the only window to the outside world was music and television imported from outside. Now that Chile has been opened to that world, it’s experienced a musical boom from those now grown-up children. But as Anne Hoffman explains, this has created a modern pop aesthetic that seems stuck in the past.

Correction: Augusto Pinochet was voted out of power in 1988, not 1991 as stated in this piece.


fakuta fans

Fans of Chilean pop singer Fakuta.

fakuta portrait alt

Fakuta performing.

fakuta's apartment details

Objects found in Fakuta’s apartment.

#1451 – Gangs, Murder and Migration in Honduras

From poverty to gangs, this episode of Latino USA takes a deep dive into the root causes of why people leave Honduras to travel through Mexico and to the U.S.


Photo by Marlon Bishop

Sabiduría: Asking for papers

People identifying themselves as government agents board a train and ask for each passenger’s citizenship. If this sounds like something out of a movie, it’s not. It happened to Maria Hinojosa’s son on his way back to New York City from college in Chicago. Maria gives us her thoughts on what this kind of incident means for the qualities and values we hold dear in the United States.


Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Thanksgiving in your home

Thanksgiving is a time for food and traditions! We reached out to you on social media to see what your family does for the holiday. Maria and producer, Antonia Cereijido, sit down to talk about what you replied to us.

You can find Pati Jinich’s Mexican Thanksgiving Turkey recipe here:

A special shout out to Sara Inés Calderon for helping us collect responses.





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