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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

This Week’s Captions: Afro-Latino

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


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