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Latino USA

Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.

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Decriminalizing The War On Drugs

In the summer of 1971, President Nixon declared a “War on Drugs.” Today, with over 2 million people behind bars, the U.S. is the world's most carceral nation. Many of those serving time are there for crimes related to drugs. Meanwhile, more than 70,000 people died last year as a result of drug overdoses. Nearly 50 years later, the so-called War on Drugs is failing. And advocates for reform have long argued that punitive policies have not reduced the flow of drugs across the country but have actually strengthened illicit drug markets, creating risky and unhealthy conditions for drug users by focusing on the criminal element of drug use instead of seeing it through a lens of healthcare access and social justice. In this episode of Latino USA, Maritza Perez from the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, DC breaks down the racial history behind the War on Drugs and why decriminalization may be the only way to end the persecution of people of color under the guise of drug enforcement.


29 Jan 2021

Rank #1

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Selena And Me

Maria Garcia can still remember the first time she saw Selena Quintanilla on TV: red lips, brown skin, big hoops. Maria was just 7 years old, new to the United States, and figuring out how to belong. For her and so many others, it was nothing short of a revolution, to see a Mexican-American woman, with working class roots, take pride in who she was, and have the world love her for it. And then, suddenly, on March 31st of 1995, Selena was gone. A quarter century later, Journalist Maria Garcia investigates Selena’s legacy and what Selena can tell us about race, class, body politics, and Latinx identity. This is the first episode of a new podcast called Anything For Selena — a collaboration between WBUR and Futuro Studios, available wherever you can find podcasts.


15 Jan 2021

Rank #2

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Portrait Of: Gabby Rivera

When Gabby Rivera wrote her coming-of-age novel “Juliet Takes a Breath” in 2016, she didn't know that it would get her attention from an unusual place: Marvel Comics. They asked her to write for America Chavez, their first queer Latina superhero. Gabby said yes. But as she was writing for their superhero, she found herself swept up in #comicsgate, an online harassment campaign against the comic book industry’s efforts to include more women, people of color and LGBTQ characters. In this "Portrait Of," Maria sits talked to Gabby about her beginnings as a writer, her difficult experience with #comicsgate and about returning to comic book writing.


12 Jan 2021

Rank #3

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Light your candles and schedule your limpia because today's episode is all about the power of intuition. Reporter Cindy Rodriguez talks to scientist Galang Lufityanto about his research into intuitive decision-making. Then, we head to the Brooklyn Brujeria festival, and learn about how intuition has been part of a growing Latinx feminist movement. Finally we hear about Cindy's journey to accept her own sense of intuition, through her relationship to her mother.


10 Apr 2020

Rank #4

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In The Mouth Of The Wolf

Since January 2019, nearly 68,000 asylum seekers have been ordered to wait in Mexico as their cases make their way through the U.S. courts system. The wait can take years, and it can often be deadly. After Mexico boasted its highest number of deportations ever in 2019, a group of local researchers and advocates set out to document just how extensive the cooperation has become between the U.S. and Mexico. The study concluded that Mexico violated its guaranteed constitutional protections when, under the Trump administration, the country mirrored its immigration policies after those of the U.S. In this episode of Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa talks to Alicia Moncada and Gretchen Kuhner about their findings and why President Biden should prioritize reform of the U.S. asylum in his first 100 days of office.


26 Jan 2021

Rank #5

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Portrait Of: Residente

In 2005, a duo of Puerto Rican artists released their eponymously titled debut album "Calle 13." Their mix of reggaeton and rap took the Latinx music scene by storm and got them three Latin Grammy awards. In 2017, one half of that duo, René Juan Pérez Joglar—better known as Residente—released his first solo album. To find inspiration, he took a genealogical DNA test and traveled to every part of the world that showed up in the test, where he collaborated with local musicians. Now, Residente is working on his second solo album, which involves the brainwaves of worms. Maria Hinojosa sits down with Residente to dig into the mind of the man who has experimented with so many musical genres.


3 Mar 2020

Rank #6

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From Boyle Heights To Netflix... And Back To The Neighborhood

In February, Netflix premiered a comedy-drama series that features a Mexican-American family from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. The show is called 'Gentefied' and it's a blend of two words: "gente", the Spanish word for people, and "gentrified." In Latino USA, we wanted to get the community's perspective on the show, so we reached out to the Boyle Heights Beat—a bilingual community newspaper produced by youth reporters—and handed them the mic. The result is a conversation that takes on gentrification, stereotypes and what it's like when a new show is set in your backyard.


20 Mar 2020

Rank #7

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The Election Glitch That Sparked A Dominican Uprising

On February 27, thousands of Dominicans from around the country gathered for a massive rally in Santo Domingo. That date is normally one filled with carnival festivities to mark Independence Day. But this year—it had a completely different tone. Instead, protestors took to the streets, after the municipal elections were abruptly cancelled. The electoral board cited glitches with voting machines as the reason behind the cancelation, but for the public, this was the last straw in a series of concerns they have with the political party in power. Maria Hinojosa sits down with our Digital Media Editor Amanda Alcántara to talk about how this all got started, and what it means for Dominicans all over the world.


6 Mar 2020

Rank #8

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Sanders, Biden, And The Latino Vote

The Latino electorate has long been considered a sleeping giant in U.S. politics, but in the 2020 election, that giant is waking up. About 32 million Latinas and Latinos will be eligible to vote this year, the second largest voting bloc in the country. On this episode, Latino USA speaks with Sonja Diaz, Founding Executive Director of the UCLA Latino Policy Initiative, and Julio Ricardo Varela, co-host of the In The Thick podcast, about what we've learned about the Latino vote from the Democratic primaries so far. We talk about Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign strategy in Latino communities, Former Vice President Joe Biden's challenges reaching these voters, and what it all means as his campaign takes the lead in the race for his party's nomination.


12 Mar 2020

Rank #9

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The Remarkable Rebirth Of Medellín

Medellín, Colombia, is lauded as one of the most innovative and tourist-friendly cities in the world. But 30 years ago, the city was the world's cocaine capital—ravaged by the cartel war led by Pablo Escobar. Latino USA travels to Medellín to hear how the city's violent and narcotic history changed the lives of one family and how Medellín went from being one of the most dangerous places in the world to the "model city" it is today. This story originally aired in June of 2018.


1 Apr 2020

Rank #10

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The Persistent Problem Of Hunger

There are more than 800 million starving people on the planet, and more than 20,000 people on average continue to die from hunger every day. But the world produces more than enough food to feed the entire human population. Award-winning author and journalist Martín Caparrós traveled the globe to understand why people are still hungry, and wrote the international best-selling book, "Hunger," in the process. The book was recently published in English for the first time. Maria Hinojosa speaks with him about his findings.


28 Feb 2020

Rank #11

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The Few Let In To Wait

In January 2019, the Trump administration began enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols, more widely known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy. It forced an estimated 60,000 people, many of them Central American, to remain in Mexico while U.S. courts decide their fate. While the door has essentially been shut on newly arrived migrants, a few who are deemed "vulnerable" are still being allowed to enter. Mother Jones reporters Fernanda Echavarri and Julia Lurie went to Santa Fe, New Mexico to talk to some of the few people allowed into the U.S. And, in this episode of Latino USA, Fernanda takes us on a ride-along to meet two newly arrived families trying to make a life, while stuck in limbo.


13 Mar 2020

Rank #12

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For Immigrant Communities, Coronavirus Is A Different Kind Of Threat

Public health experts are urging people to stay at home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — but not everyone can afford to. Here in the United States, low-income immigrant communities are facing high risks during the outbreak. Many migrants are still working in essential retail, labor, and service industry jobs. Getting access to healthcare is also a challenge, especially after the Trump administration enacted a new policy measure limiting certain immigrants' access to federal benefits like Medicare. In this week's Latino USA, we explore the obstacles migrants face as the coronavirus threat grows.


25 Mar 2020

Rank #13

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Immigrants In ICE Detention Face The Threat Of COVID-19

There are currently over 35,000 immigrants in detention in the United States, and most of them are in centers under the control of ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. As the spread of COVID-19 overwhelms some areas of the country, the situation that many immigrants in detention are facing has become an urgent concern. ICE has already started to report that some immigrants and employees have tested positive for the virus. In this episode of Latino USA, we speak with Noah Lanard, a journalist who has reported on the conditions in these detention centers for Mother Jones magazine, and Joaquin Castro, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.


7 Apr 2020

Rank #14

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With Sanders Out, What Happens To The Latino Vote Now?

Latinos could play a decisive role in the swing state of Pennsylvania in November's presidential election. In 2016 Trump won the state by about 44,000 votes, and the campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had been courting Latino voters there for months. Now that Sanders has dropped out of the presidential race, many wonder if former Vice-President Joe Biden will be able to win them over. In this episode of Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa speaks with reporter Gisele Regatao, who has been on the ground in Pennsylvania following Latino voters.


15 Apr 2020

Rank #15

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How I Made It: Yasser Tejeda & Palotré

The musical genres most people associate with the Dominican Republic are merengue and bachata. Yet, there's another set of rhythms that are essential to the spirit of the country, and that's Afro-Dominican roots music. That's where the band Yasser Tejeda & Palotré come in. They blend some of the country's black roots rhythms like palo, salve and sarandunga, with jazz and rock to bring a new spin to local sounds—and to reimagine what it means to be Dominican. In this segment of "How I Made It," the band's frontman Yasser Tejeda walks us through the inspiration behind their latest album "Kijombo," and the making of the single "Amor Arrayano," which is all about love across the Dominican-Haitian border.


25 Feb 2020

Rank #16

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Hola Papi's Advice For Life In Self-Isolation

In recent weeks, many of us have had to adjust to living and working remotely. It's a necessary precaution to keep yourself and your community safe during the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not always easy to do. John Paul Brammer, author of the popular advice column "Hola Papi," gets it. He's been getting lots of questions from readers about how to make it through life in self-quarantine, from navigating romantic relationships to creating your own space in a busy home. On this week's Latino USA, Brammer answers listener questions about these strange, uncertain times, and talks about how to give advice during a historic pandemic.


21 Apr 2020

Rank #17

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Checking Up On The Clinic During COVID-19

A few months ago, we aired a story in which we spent 72 hours at CommunityHealth, a free health clinic in Chicago that only serves people without health insurance, and that's run primarily by volunteers. As the number of cases of COVID-19 rises rapidly, free health clinics are an important line of defense against the disease. The communities they serve, like older patients, patients with chronic conditions, and undocumented immigrants, are particularly vulnerable to the disease. For this episode, we check back-in with CommunityHealth and one of their patients, about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


27 Mar 2020

Rank #18

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With You, Peru

The 1970s were a golden age for soccer in Peru, one that producer Janice Llamoca only heard about growing up in Los Angeles in the '90s. The Peruvian soccer team went to three World Cups in that era. But after that, the team did poorly for decades — failing to qualify for the World Cup year after year. Then, in 2017, Peru qualified for the World Cup after 36 years — giving the Llamocas the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Russia to see their team play on soccer's biggest stage. This story originally aired in July of 2018.


24 Apr 2020

Rank #19

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Reporter's Notebook: Afro-Puerto Ricans Fighting To Be Visible On The Census

The 2020 census is underway, which counts everyone living in the U.S. and its five territories including Puerto Rico. The form consists of questions like name, age, sex and race, but some of these answers are complicated. One example is the race question. In Puerto Rico, residents choose "Puerto Rican" to describe their Hispanic origin, but historically residents have overwhelmingly identified as white on the census, despite the island's rich African history. In this segment, journalist Natasha S. Alford takes us through her reporting of Afro-Puerto Ricans and how activists are fighting to have their communities seen on the census.


17 Apr 2020

Rank #20