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.


  • A Conversation With Elizabeth Warren

    Feb 20 2020

    Latino USA continues its coverage of the Democratic field for the presidential nomination. This time, we sit down with the senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is a relative newcomer to politics—she was first elected in 2012. Now, a year after she declared her run for the presidency, primaries have started. Senator Warren has not had a strong start, but she plans to continue to fight for the nomination. Maria Hinojosa speaks with her about her views on immigration, Puerto...more

  • Portrait Of: 'Taina' And The Love Of Nostalgia TV

    Feb 18 2020

    In 2001, Nickelodeon started airing "Taina," a show about a Latina teen who attends a performing arts high school in NYC and daydreams of being a star. While the show only lasted two seasons, "Taina" is seared into the memories of many who grew up watching it, because at the time it was rare to see an authentic portrayal of what it was like to be a Nuyorican teen in the early 2000s. In this episode from our vault, Maria Hinojosa talks to the show's award-winning creator Maria Perez-Brown, who is...more

  • Yesika Salgado On Love, Lust, And Being A Hopeless Romantic

    Feb 14 2020

    This Valentine's Day, Maria Hinojosa and Yesika Salgado talk about love, lust, and being a hopeless romantic. Yesika grew up in Los Angeles in a Salvadoran family, and she calls herself a fat, fly poet—her most recent book of poems "Hermosa" came out last fall. Yesika and Maria start this episode with a trip to the world's largest wholesale produce market, where they go on a quest to find the sexiest fruit. Then, they sit down to talk about how love has changed Yesika's relationship with her bod...more

  • Portrait Of: José Feliciano

    Feb 12 2020

    Every holiday season, you can't help but sing along to the infectious melody of José Feliciano's 1970 mega single, "Feliz Navidad." But aside from the holiday hit, the Puerto Rican singer boasts an almost 60-year musical career and one of his specialties is recording covers like "California Dreamin'" and "La Copa Rota"—blending them with his own sound of blues, folk, soul and Latin. In this conversation with Maria Hinojosa, José Feliciano opens up about why he keeps the 70s alive and about one o...more

  • Ornella & Violeta

    Feb 07 2020

    For seventeen years, Ornella Pedrozo thought of her mom's detainment by ICE as her deepest, darkest secret. When she was four years old, her mother Violeta, who had fled the armed conflict in Peru, was abruptly detained by ICE. That separation, which lasted seven months, was something that Ornella didn't really talk about, until recently. In this episode, you'll hear fragments of a letter Ornella wrote about her complicated feelings back then, and she also sits down with Violeta to talk — at len...more

  • La Reina Del Rock: Alejandra Guzmán

    Feb 05 2020

    Known by many as "La Reina del Rock," the queen of Latin American rock, Alejandra Guzmán has built a legacy for herself through her soulful performances and scandalous lyrics. Her famous Mexican parents, rocker Enrique Guzmán and actress Silvia Pinal, introduced her to the industry, but it's Alejandra's fierce stage presence and ambition that have sold over 12 million records over three decades. In this episode, Alejandra talks to Maria Hinojosa about her rebellious roots and what the rock 'n' r...more

  • Puerto Rico Demands Answers

    Jan 31 2020

    Recently, a local blogger broadcast his discovery of a warehouse full of aid supplies in Ponce, Puerto Rico, through Facebook Live — reportedly from disaster relief after Hurricane María in 2017. The public outrage was immediate. Thousands of people in the south of the island have been displaced by an earthquake swarm that's been going on for weeks, and government response has been slow. As protests break out to denounce corruption and ineptitude in the Puerto Rican government, there's also a pe...more

  • Digging Into 'American Dirt'

    Jan 29 2020

    The novel American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins was released this January with much anticipation. Oprah selected it to be part of her book club, writer Don Winslow called it, "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and celebrated Latina author Sandra Cisneros called it "the great novel of las Americas." But its release was met with a large backlash. Many Latinx writers felt the book furthered a stereotypical view of migrants from Mexico and Central America. For this episode, Maria Hinojosa engages in dialo...more

  • How I Made It: Jessie Reyez

    Jan 24 2020

    Jessie Reyez sings sad songs, but it's those songs along with her soulful voice and brutally honest lyrics that have garnered her fans around the world. Most recently, the Colombian-Canadian singer received her first Grammy nomination in the Best Urban Contemporary Album category for her EP, "Being Human in Public." In our latest "How I Made It" segment, Jessie Reyez talks about the role of music in her childhood, how she writes through her own emotional pain, and how even when her fans sing alo...more

  • Death Of A Blood Sport

    Jan 22 2020

    In December 2019, a congressional ban made cockfighting illegal in U.S. territories. Animal rights activists argue the sport is cruel and inhumane. But Puerto Ricans say cockfighting is an integral part of their culture and economy. They also say they are tired of the U.S. imposing its values on the island, and much like their roosters, they're prepared to fight to the death to protect their heritage.

  • Looking Back On A 'Decade Of Fire'

    Jan 17 2020

    In the 1970s, a string of devastating fires would help make the South Bronx a symbol of urban decay. In her documentary "Decade of Fire," co-director Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, who grew up in the South Bronx, tries to dissect and counter that negative image through a personal lens. The documentary analyzes how the city, state, and federal governments abandoned the Bronx in the 1970s, and how despite the fact that black and Latino residents suffered the most, they were also the ones blamed for this...more

  • Portrait Of: Rubén Blades

    Jan 10 2020

    Rubén Blades is a singer, songwriter, actor, lawyer, and politician, born in Panama and a New Yorker since 1974. After four decades in the public eye, 17 Grammy Awards, and some of the best-selling records in salsa history, his unique storytelling across music styles has kept him relevant to this day. He's worked with a wide range of musicians including Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Sting, Michael Jackson, and Calle 13. Latino USA sits down with the author of the song Pedro Na...more

  • The Diary Of An 'Undesirable'

    Jan 07 2020

    Anthony Acevedo was the first Mexican-American Holocaust survivor registered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Latino USA follows Acevedo as he takes us through his journey as an Army medic stationed in Europe during World War II, to the moment when he was captured by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp known as Berga in Germany. He recorded what he saw in a secret diary. Little did he know that his diary was going to become physical evidence of the horror...more

  • Two-Step Into 2020

    Jan 03 2020

    Happy 2020! If you're a long-time listener, you might know we have a tradition of doing a special music show around New Year's Day. Today—a selection of music pieces, including a few that we have not previously aired on our podcast. First up, Michael Brun, a Haitian DJ and producer aiming to show the world Haiti's rich sonic landscape. Then, we hear about a family's musical legacy with cousins and singers Miguel and Mireya Ramos from the all-women mariachi group Flor de Toloache. Finally, we end...more

  • Portrait Of: Ranchera Royalty Ángela Aguilar

    Dec 31 2019

    If there is a ranchera royal family, that is the Aguilar family. And Ángela Aguilar is the youngest heir. Her father, Pepe Aguilar, has sold over 12 million albums worldwide and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And her grandfather, Antonio Aguilar, recorded more than 150 albums which sold more than 25 million copies. Now it's Ángela's time. Last year, she was nominated for a Grammy for best regional Mexican album with her album "Primero Soy Mexicana". In this episode from the vault, Áng...more

  • How I Made It: Maná

    Dec 27 2019

    The rock en español group, Maná, is one of the most successful Spanish-language rock bands of this generation. They've sold over 40 million records worldwide, and this year their "Rayando El Sol" tour broke records previously held by the Eagles and Kanye West, when they played seven sold-out shows at the Forum in Los Angeles. But the band didn't start out playing stadiums—it all began when one member started an English-speaking band three decades ago in Guadalajara, Mexico. Latino USA sits down ...more

  • Colombia's Secret War Against Civilians

    Dec 23 2019

    Nearly 12 years ago, Gloria Martinez's son went out to look for a job and never came back. Gloria would spend months searching for him, and she wasn't alone—many others, mostly young men from rural and poor urban areas, also mysteriously disappeared. In 2008, the "false-positives" scandal broke—and revealed that the Colombian military had been systematically killing innocent civilians as part of a body-count policy they adopted in the conflict against the FARC, a leftist guerilla group. But over...more

  • How I Made It: Rodrigo y Gabriela

    Dec 20 2019

    In the late 90's, Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero embarked on a one-way trip to Dublin, Ireland. While they were originally heavy metal musicians back home in Mexico, they traded their electric guitars for acoustic ones and became street performers in Ireland to sustain themselves. In 2006, they put out their first album. Their latest album "Mettavolution" has earned them their first Grammy nomination. In this "How I Made It," Rodrigo and Gabriela take us back to the origins of their band ...more

  • The Breakdown: Heavy Metal Edition

    Dec 17 2019

    The stereotype goes that Latinos only listen to salsa or reggaeton. But one of the biggest genres of music across Latin America is actually heavy metal, with bands like Iron Maiden selling out stadiums across the region when they tour there. On today's Breakdown we ask.... why? How did metal take over Latin America? We look at the extreme fandom for metal across Latin America and discuss the story behind the groundbreaking Brazilian band, Sepultura, and how they changed the fate of metal music f...more

  • Getting Personal With Cristela Alonzo

    Dec 13 2019

    In 2014, comedian Cristela Alonzo got her big break: a primetime sitcom that she created, wrote, produced and starred in. It was called "Cristela" and was loosely based off Alonzo's life. But despite her authentic touch, the show was canceled after one season. That motivated her in the following years to release a Netflix special, become the first Latina lead in a Disney-Pixar film and release a memoir titled "Music to My Years." In this conversation, Cristela Alonzo shares intimate stories from...more

  • Puerto Crypto

    Dec 10 2019

    In 2018, just months after Hurricane María, an eccentric group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts arrived in Puerto Rico. They came with big plans for the island—to help rebuild after the hurricane, and in the process create a high-tech cryptocurrency paradise in the Caribbean. They also came to take advantage of Puerto Rico's favorable tax laws. But not everyone in Puerto Rico was onboard with their vision to change everything on the island. Latino USA follows the often-bizarre story of these Bitcoi...more

  • The Clinic

    Dec 04 2019

    Latino USA goes inside the biggest free health clinic in the country, which serves only people without insurance. There are nearly 28 million uninsured people in the United States, and for some of them, free clinics are their safety net. For undocumented people, healthcare options are very limited. For this story, we spend three days behind the scenes at CommunityHealth in Chicago, where more than half of the patients speak Spanish. We shadowed doctors and patients to observe the daily dramas th...more

  • By Right Of Discovery

    Nov 27 2019

    On Thanksgiving Day, hundreds of people gather on Alcatraz Island, the famous former prison and one of the largest tourist attractions in San Francisco, for a sunrise ceremony to honor Indigenous culture and history. Fifty years ago, an intertribal group of students and activists took over the island for over 16 months in an act of political resistance. Richard Oakes, a young Mohawk from New York, was one of the leaders in this movement dubbed the "Red Power Movement." Latino USA tells the story...more

  • Portrait Of: Gabby Rivera

    Nov 22 2019

    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 "Portrai...more

  • #MErcedTOO

    Nov 19 2019

    Over the last two years, reporter Sarah Fuss Kessler has been following the story of a Latina high school teacher in the farming town of Merced, California. The teacher reported being sexually harassed by a white basketball coach at her high school. What followed would shake up the entire school district. Latino USA sat down with Sarah to talk about what she found at Golden Valley High School, and what it shows us about the #MeToo movement beyond the national headlines.

  • The Battle Of 187: Pete Wilson

    Nov 15 2019

    Our miniseries about California's Proposition 187, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times, continues with a special bonus episode. Host Gustavo Arellano speaks with the former governor of California, Republican Pete Wilson. In 1994, Pete Wilson attached himself and his re-election campaign to Prop 187. Gustavo Arellano sits down with the governor to ask about his views on immigration, his involvement in getting Prop 187 passed, and the impact the measure had in California's political histor...more

  • The Return

    Nov 13 2019

    Javier Zamora was nine years-old when he made the journey from El Salvador to the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year, nearly 20 years later, he returned to the country where he was born, to apply for a visa that will allow him to continue to live in the U.S. In this award-winning episode from our vault, we follow Javier's return in his own words: through audio diaries, archival family tape, and interviews. "The Return" is an intimate portrait of what gets left behind when we immigrate and what we can...more

  • How The Price Of The Metro Sparked Mass Protests In Chile

    Nov 08 2019

    In early October, the Chilean government raised the price of the metro, triggering the largest protests in Chile's history. Latino USA speaks with Chilean investigative journalist Paulette Desormeaux, who's been covering the protests and speaking with Chileans about why they're in the streets and what they want to see change in Chile. We talk about the roots of inequality in Chile, the legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship, and why a rock song from the eighties has become an anthem for protesters....more

  • Shrimp Who Falls Asleep

    Nov 05 2019

    Writer Y.B., who we are identifying by her initials for the safety of her family, immigrated from Morelos, Mexico to New York City with her family over two decades ago. Since then, they've been living in Queens as undocumented immigrants. While Y.B. eventually was able to become a DACA recipient, her mother and uncle are still undocumented. She has since moved out, gone to college and become a writer. But as she's drifted away and created her own independent life, Y.B. has started to become incr...more

  • The Battle Of 187, Part 3: Thank You, Pete Wilson

    Oct 29 2019

    The third and final episode of our Prop 187 miniseries in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times. Just one day after the 1994 election, federal and state lawsuits are filed claiming 187 is unconstitutional. And though 187 finally dies for good in 1999, Latinos in California never forget it. Prop 187 inspired more Latinos than ever before to register to vote and to run for office in California. Host Gustavo Arellano ends with one question: given President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric,...more

  • The Battle Of 187, Part 2: Save Our State

    Oct 29 2019

    Part two of our Prop 187 miniseries, a collaboration with the Los Angeles Times. In June 1994, 187 gets enough signatures to qualify for the California ballot. Proponents get support for the ballot measure through a new tagline: Save Our State. Latinos see 187 as an existential threat, so they organize school walkouts and a march in Downtown Los Angeles. But undecided voters see the Mexican flags waved at the march as an invasion come to life. In November 1994, 187 passes and Governor Pete Wilso...more

  • The Battle Of 187, Part 1: They Keep Coming

    Oct 29 2019

    Our three-part miniseries about Proposition 187 in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times begins. Host Gustavo Arellano learns how Prop 187 was born 25 years ago, and talks to the pair of Orange County political consultants who helped write it. We learn what California looked like in 1993 and how the then-governor of California, Pete Wilson, attached himself to Prop 187. Issues around immigration are beginning to set the tone for a huge political debate in California.

  • How I Made It: Flor De Toloache

    Oct 25 2019

    When Mireya Ramos found herself subject to scrutiny and machismo as the only woman mariachi singer in the male-dominated mariachi circles, she decided to do something about it. So she founded Flor De Toloache in 2008, the first all-female mariachi in New York City. The Latin Grammy winning group's new album, 'Indestructible,' features beautiful harmonies and creative fusions that go beyond traditional mariachi. Today, we hear from core members of the group who describe how they came to be and ho...more

  • Marshals' Lawlessness

    Oct 23 2019

    Latino USA brings you a first-ever look into the sprawling detention system run by the U.S. Marshals. The agency's detention population has ballooned since the Trump administration started criminally prosecuting nearly everyone caught crossing the border without papers. But the Marshals Service has failed to make sure its detainees are held in safe conditions—even after hundreds of people have died on its watch. In a yearlong investigation with Mother Jones and Type Investigations, Latino USA un...more

  • Spanish As A First Language

    Oct 18 2019

    Being a new parent comes with a series of challenges—one being the decision whether or not to teach your child a second language. Latino USA explores the world of bilingual parenting through the story of two Dominican-American siblings growing up in the South, one who was drawn to Spanish and the other who never wanted to speak it. Both of the siblings are now parents and faced with the question: to teach your kids Spanish or not to teach your kids Spanish?This episode first aired on May 11, 201...more

  • The Movement For Indigenous Peoples' Day

    Oct 14 2019

    In the U.S., Columbus Day is a federal holiday in honor of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus—and it's a day of Italian-American celebration. But not everyone is on board with celebrating Columbus. His colonization led to the bloodshed of Indigenous people and while he did arrive to the Americas, he never set foot in North America. Over the past few decades, there has been a growing movement to officially replace the holiday with a day of recognition for Indigenous people. Latino USA exp...more

  • A Day In The Life Of Pitbull

    Oct 11 2019

    Armando Christian Pérez —better known as Pitbull— is a rapper, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, brand ambassador and has a whole host of other job titles. As his nearly two-decade long career has diversified, his image and brand have solidified. He rose to prominence off bilingual records hits like "Culo" and "Toma" in the early aughts and became a household name thanks to wedding and quinceañera classics like "Give Me Everything" and "Time of Our Lives." Today, the Latino demographic that he...more

  • How I Made It: KAINA

    Oct 08 2019

    Chicago is a breeding ground for diverse sounds: it is the birthplace of house music and has a thriving indie hip-hop scene. One of the city's up-and-coming artists is Kaina Castillo. Known simply as KAINA, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter blends genres like soul and rock, creating dreamy soundscapes. A Latina of Venezuelan and Guatemalan descent, she writes about struggling with her identity, all while uplifting her immigrant roots. In this "How I Made It" segment, KAINA tells us about what it...more

  • Weed The People

    Oct 04 2019

    Throughout his decades of selling weed, Ramón García never thought he'd see the day marijuana became legal in California. But while he now owns a legitimate cannabis distribution business, he's ambivalent about the legalization of pot. Ramón says it seems like legalization has only made white entrepreneurs rich, while black and Latino weed dealers bore the brunt of the war on drugs. In this episode, Latino USA shadows two Latinx weed entrepreneurs, and we try to figure out whether a new program ...more

  • Portrait Of: Isabel Allende

    Oct 01 2019

    Author Isabel Allende began her writing career as a journalist in Chile. Born in Peru, Allende grew up in Chile until 1973, when her uncle, former Chilean President Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a coup and died. She fled the country along with her family, and lived many years in Venezuela as a political refugee. That's where she wrote her break-out novel, "La Casa de Los Espíritus" or "The House of the Spirits." Since then, she's written 23 books and counting. Latino USA sits down with Isa...more

  • Lou Diamond Phillips Reflects On 'La Bamba' 30 Years Later

    Sep 27 2019

    It's been over three decades since actor Lou Diamond Phillips portrayed Chicano rock 'n' roll legend Ritchie Valens on the silver screen. Little did he know, his role in the 1987 film, "La Bamba," would catapult him into the limelight and into the hearts of the Mexican American community around the country. A year after "La Bamba," he starred in another prominent Chicano film from the late 1980s, "Stand and Deliver." Since then, Phillips—who is the son of a white American father and a Filipina m...more

  • The Breakdown: The Spell Of Yma Sumac

    Sep 24 2019

    In the 1950s, singer and diva Yma Sumac took over the North American airwaves with her mystical voice. The Queen of Exotica and Inca Princess was said to cast a spell on anyone who came across her with her exotic look and nearly five-octave range. But while Yma Sumac rose to prominence across the globe, the Peruvian public in her home country was not seduced by her song—or her representation of indigenous Peruvians. Today, Latino USA breaks down the phenomena behind one of the original divas, he...more

  • A Conversation With Bernie Sanders

    Sep 20 2019

    Four years ago, Senator Bernie Sanders began a long-shot campaign for the presidency. Until then, Sanders was a relatively unknown independent senator from Vermont, with some very progressive ideas. His campaign turned out to be much stronger than predicted, and this election cycle Bernie Sanders is one of the front-runners in the Democratic primary. Maria Hinojosa sits down with Sanders to talk about how his upbringing in a working class family shaped him, his views on immigration, and why Lati...more

  • How I Made It: Honduran Photographer Tomas Ayuso

    Sep 17 2019

    Tomas Ayuso is a photographer who decided to challenge the way mainstream media was documenting violence and trauma in Central America. Through his project, "The Right to Grow Old," Ayuso humanizes stories of individuals across Honduras. In this segment of "How I Made It," Tomas shares how he met Moises and Meya, two of the people he documented for his project, and how he followed them from Honduras as they made their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • A Conversation With Beto O'Rourke

    Sep 13 2019

    Beto O'Rourke became an overnight sensation in Texas in 2018, when he ran against one of the most well-known Republican incumbents in the U.S. Senate: Ted Cruz. Beto's campaign was known for its focus on social media and grassroots organizing, but ultimately he lost the election. However, he set a record for most votes ever cast for a Democrat in Texas history. On March 14th of 2019, he announced his candidacy for the presidency, but his campaign hasn't made the same waves as his run for the U.S...more

  • Portrait Of: Author Julia Alvarez

    Sep 10 2019

    Julia Alvarez is a renowned Dominican-American author whose work finds its power in intersections: like that between the personal and political, or those present in the Dominican-American diaspora. Alvarez's first major novel "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" is based on her family's immigration experience. Her next book was a work of historical fiction based on the Mirabal sisters, real-life Dominican activists who tried to overthrow the dictator Rafael Trujillo titled "In the Time of t...more

  • Selenis Leyva, Success With A Purpose

    Sep 06 2019

    Actor Selenis Leyva makes the most out of small moments. She plays the character Gloria Mendoza on the Netflix series, "Orange Is The New Black." Gloria is a strong Latina, trying to survive in prison. And in real life, Leyva is just as passionate. It took her twenty years of struggling as an actress before her big break on "Orange Is The New Black"—which recently ended in the summer of 2019 after seven seasons. For Leyva, those early years have informed her role on the show and her view of what...more

  • Livin' Lagordiloca

    Sep 03 2019

    Priscilla Villarreal, who calls herself "Lagordiloca," has become a highly controversial social media sensation in the border city of Laredo, Texas. Each night, Lagordiloca drives through the streets of Laredo chasing and live-streaming violent crime scenes, traffic accidents and immigration raids. She never finished high school, she has never had any training as a reporter, but when it comes to social media, she has more followers then Laredo's largest daily newspaper. But her unfiltered report...more

  • How I Made It: 'El Gato' Of The Harlem Globetrotters

    Aug 30 2019

    The Harlem Globetrotters have been a team since the 1920s. Originally started by Saul Saperstein, a white Jewish man, the team's purpose was to get African-American players on the court at a time when they were banned from participating in the NBA. The Globetrotters are accomplished athletes, but they're most known for their theoretical and comedic basketball routines on the court. This week we sit down with Orlando "El Gato" Melendez, the first Puerto Rican to ever play on the team, to talk abo...more

  • The Quevedos

    Aug 27 2019

    Sayre Quevedo grew up knowing just two members of his blood family, his mom and his brother. His father left before he was born and his mother lost touch with her family after leaving home as a teenager. For a long time, Sayre's family history was shrouded in mystery. Until one Mother's Day, when everything changes, and he finds himself on a journey to untangle the story of his long-lost family and the secrets that have haunted them. This story originally aired in August 2018.