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.


  • From Venezuela With Love

    Feb 15 2019

    In recent weeks, Venezuela has been in the spotlight as two men, Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, assert their claims to the presidency amidst political and economic crisis. Many are watching the situation with growing anxiety, including a Venezuelan father and son. José Eduardo González Vargas is a 28 year-old journalist living in Venezuela. His father, Ernesto Solo, is a filmmaker and art director who currently lives in New York City. He's also getting ready for a trip home to see his family. ...more

  • A Conversation with Presidential Candidate Julián Castro

    Feb 13 2019

    Latino USA kicks off our coverage of the 2020 presidential elections with a conversation with Julián Castro, one of the first to declare candidacy. The Texas Democrat was the former mayor of San Antonio, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama and in 2016, he was on the short list of possible vice-presidential candidates for Hillary Clinton. Now, he believes that his time has come. Maria Hinojosa talks to Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro about his v...more

  • Love & Walkouts

    Feb 11 2019

    It's almost Valentine's Day, and we couldn't help ourselves. Latino USA is bringing you a love story of student activism. We're taking you back to 1968, when thousands of students participated in a series of protests that helped spark the Chicano Movement, historically known as the East L.A. Walkouts. It's also when high school sweethearts and student organizers Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos danced to a Thee Midniters song and fell in love.

  • Portrait Of: Ranchera Royalty Ángela Aguilar

    Feb 08 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. She is nominated for a Grammy for best regional Mexican album with her album "Primero Soy Mexicana." Ángela talks to Maria Hinojosa about being 15, ...more

  • The NAFTA Diet

    Feb 05 2019

    In 1991, there was only one Walmart in Mexico, but by 2012, Walmart was Mexico's largest retailer with 2,000 locations. This week, Latino USA looks into how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) impacted public health in Mexico. Maria Hinojosa speaks with Alyshia Gálvez, anthropologist, immigration scholar, and author of the book "Eating Nafta: Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico." Dr. Gálvez explains what made Mexican cuisine so healthy prior to NAFTA and why Mexicans ...more

  • Portrait Of: Gina Rodriguez

    Feb 01 2019

    Maria Hinojosa sits down with Gina Rodriguez, star of the CW show "Jane the Virgin"—which is airing its final season this spring. The actress and director has been exploring new projects too; her action film "Miss Bala" just dropped. Set in Tijuana, Rodriguez plays a make-up artist who battles a cartel in order to save herself and her kidnapped friend. Maria Hinojosa sits down with the actress to talk about her passion for making Latino-focused work, and how growing up in a Puerto Rican family i...more

  • How I Made It: Alaska

    Jan 29 2019

    Alaska is a Mexican-born singer from Spain with one of the most definitive LGBTQ Spanish anthems: "¿A quién le importa?" by the duo Alaska y Dinarama. In the late '70s, Alaska was one of the key figures of La Movida Madrileña, the era post-dictatorship in Spain. In this edition of our "How I Made It" segment, the singer discusses her 40-year music career, how she went from being María Olvido Gara Jova to Alaska, and the message behind one of her most enduring hits. This segment was originally br...more

  • Portrait Of: Sylvia Acevedo

    Jan 25 2019

    Maria Hinojosa sits down with the CEO of the Girl Scouts, Sylvia Acevedo, who is also an American engineer, businesswoman, and executive. She discusses what it was like to be a pioneering Latina engineer in the male-dominated world of NASA, and how she went from being a rocket scientist to being the CEO of the Girl Scouts. This segment was originally broadcast on September 29, 2017.

  • The Battle Over Chavez Ravine

    Jan 22 2019

    Vicente Montalvo's grandparents grew up and fell in love in Palo Verde, one of the neighborhoods that make up a community known as Chavez Ravine. In the early 1950s, the city decided that Chavez Ravine was the perfect site to build public housing. So the residents were forced to sell their homes under the city's use of eminent domain. But the election of a new mayor, would end up canceling those plans, and instead the land would become what many know today as Dodger Stadium. This segment was ori...more

  • I'm Not Dead

    Jan 18 2019

    In the early 70s, Miguel Angel Villavicencio was focused on making his most ambitious dream possible: to become a famous singer in Bolivia and across the world. And he was halfway there—his love songs were on the radio and he was appearing on TV. But to take his singing career truly international, he needed money. So he decided to work for Bolivia's most powerful drug cartel in the 80s—a major supplier for Pablo Escobar. Choosing this path would lead him on a journey of self-destruction, unexpec...more

  • Portrait Of: 'Taina' and the Love of Nostalgia TV

    Jan 15 2019

    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. Maria Hinojosa talks to the show's award-winning creator Maria Perez-Brown, who is Nuyorican herself, about jumpin...more

  • Portrait Of: Rapper Immortal Technique

    Jan 11 2019

    Felipe Coronel, aka Immortal Technique, is a legendary underground hip-hop artist known for his skills on the mic and his raw, highly political lyrics. The Peruvian-American rapper became well-known for his first album in 2001, "Revolutionary Vol. 1." Tech says growing up in Harlem during the 80's and 90's caused him to harbor a lot of rage. Much of his music discusses colonialism, poverty, and corruption. We sit down with Immortal Technique to get a deeper sense of what it was like growing up i...more

  • Portrait Of: The Latinas of 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

    Jan 08 2019

    Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz play Amy Santiago and Rosa Diaz, two Latina detectives in the diverse comedy series 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine.' The show premiered on Fox in 2013 and was canceled in 2017. But after fans expressed their anger, NBC took over the production and the sixth season will start on January 10th. The actresses both talk with Maria Hinojosa about how they got their roles, growing up between two worlds and struggling to find their identity. Stephanie also talks about her decis...more

  • All They Will Call You Will Be Deportees

    Jan 04 2019

    After a fiery plane crash in 1948, all 32 people onboard died—but they weren't all treated the same after death. Twenty-eight of the passengers were migrant workers from Mexico and they were buried in a mass grave. The other four were Americans and had their remains returned to their families for proper burial. It took the work of a determined Mexican-American author to find out who the Mexican passengers were and tell their stories. In this episode rerun, Latino USA follows Tim Hernandez on his...more

  • Two-Step Into the New Year

    Dec 28 2018

    Happy 2019! If you're a long-time listener, you might know we have a tradition of doing a special show around New Year's, full of our favorite music stories of the year. Today, a selection of music pieces, including several that have not been previously aired on the podcast. We begin with the dreamy nostalgia pop of Cuco, then move on to a Los Angeles remake of a Peruvian chicha classic, "Cariñito." Mexican rapper Niña Dioz shares how she navigates a male-dominated music industry, and Grammy awa...more

  • Bonus: Traces of Alicia

    Dec 21 2018

    A couple of months ago, we shared the story of Latino USA producer Sayre Quevedo as he searched for his lost family in an episode titled 'The Quevedos,' which was nominated for Best Audio Documentary at the 2018 IDA Awards. Today, we bring you a moment from Sayre's search that never made it to air, when he learns something important about his grandmother Alicia.

  • Abuelos

    Dec 18 2018

    In this special holiday rebroadcast episode, Latino USA explores the special bond between Latinos and their grandparents. We talk to TV's most famous Latina grandma Ivonne Coll, the abuela on "Glee," "Jane the Virgin" and "Switched at Birth." We hear stories of grandparents raising their grandchildren, including a Dominican grandma who supported her transgender granddaughter when no one else would. We also chat with Chilean writer Isabel Allende about how her grandparents put the magic in her ma...more

  • The Return

    Dec 14 2018

    Javier Zamora was nine years old when he made the journey from El Salvador to the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, nearly 20 years later, he has to return to the country where he was born, to apply for a visa to that will allow him to continue to live in the U.S. 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 gain when we return.

  • Portrait Of: Alfonso Cuarón's Roma

    Dec 11 2018

    Roma is Alfonso Cuarón's most personal film to date. Inspired by his own childhood growing up in Mexico City, the two central characters in the film are women: Cleo, an indigenous domestic worker and Margarita, Cleo's employer and a middle-class single mother of four. Cuarón sat down with Maria Hinojosa to talk about the role of women in his life and what it was like to grow up in Mexico in the early 1970s.

  • Reporter's Notebook: Embedded With the Caravan

    Dec 07 2018

    Over the last few weeks, thousands of migrants from Central America have arrived at U.S. ports of entry without proper shelter or food. Things have become increasingly tense, both with the migrants' Mexican hosts and U.S. authorities. Latino USA speaks with a reporter who traveled with the caravan and has been on the ground with them in Tijuana for weeks: Adolfo Flores of BuzzFeed News. He talks with Maria about being on the scene in Tijuana and witnessing the human consequences of thousands of ...more

  • The Rehab Empire Built on Cakes

    Dec 05 2018

    It's a common sight in Puerto Rico: men in bright yellow t-shirts going door-to door and selling cakes. They're residents at Hogar CREA, Puerto Rico's biggest drug treatment program. Since CREA's founding in 1968, they've grown to a sprawling network of about 150 centers in Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland and elsewhere in Latin America. But since the 1990s, the organization has been under fire for their methods. Latino USA takes a look at how this rehab empire built by a former heroin addict cont...more

  • In the Hands of the State

    Nov 30 2018

    In the United States today, there are about 437,000 children separated from their parents and living in the foster care system. More than half of them are kids of color. The reasons children end up in the child welfare system are widely misunderstood, and the journey to get a child back from foster care can be long and arduous, both for parents and for children. Today on our program, we bring you the story of Angelica, an immigrant woman from New York City who is navigating that system and tryin...more

  • Stories From 'The Moth'

    Nov 27 2018

    Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories told live and without notes by everyday people. Latino USA is now partnering with The Moth to feature some of their best Latino Storytellers on our show. This week, we hear from storyteller Carlos Kotkin about the birth of his first child who came sooner than expected and from Pilar Siman, who tells us about a crush she met at an unlikely place—11pm mass.Language advisory: there is explicit language in this episode.

  • How I Made It: ÌFÉ

    Nov 23 2018

    Otura Mun has been a central figure in the Puerto Rican independent music scene for over two decades, working as a producer and songwriter for some of the most important underground artists on the island. But, Mun didn't start out in Puerto Rico. He was born with a different name, growing up in an African-American Mennonite family from Indiana. After an accident of fate brought him to Puerto Rico as a young man, Mun became fascinated by a culture that transformed the way he thought about race, i...more

  • By Right of Discovery

    Nov 21 2018

    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. Almost 50 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 s...more

  • Birthrights

    Nov 16 2018

    A week before the midterm elections, President Trump announced that he wanted to end birthright citizenship in the United States. To help explain what realistically could happen, we spoke with professor Martha S. Jones of Johns Hopkins University. She's the author of "Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America." Then, Latino USA follows the story of a 2013 court decision in the Dominican Republic that stripped citizenship from the children of Haitian immigrants. One ...more

  • Portrait Of: Raúl Castillo

    Nov 14 2018

    Until recently, Raúl Castillo was known primarily by those who watched HBO's "Looking," a show about thirty-something gay men in San Francisco, and saw his performance as sensitive barber Richie. Four years after the end of that show, Castillo's everywhere. He has appeared on the Netflix series "Atypical," landed a spot on the Starz show "Vida" and most recently played one of the leads in the breakout film "We the Animals." Maria sits down with Castillo to discuss how he went from a punk band ba...more

  • Shades of Blue

    Nov 09 2018

    The recent midterm elections highlighted a divide in the Democratic Party between its more centrist incumbents and a rising wave of young, progressive candidates. One of the most consequential races was in California. It featured longtime senator Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León, who served as the leader of the California State Senate. Feinstein had the money, name recognition and poll numbers. But de León, the son of an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, hoped to win by positioning himself a...more

  • Dolores Huerta and Her Daughter Talk Gender and Power

    Nov 06 2018

    This Election Day, a record-breaking number of women are on the ballot, and 2018 has been a year in which women all across the country have been speaking up—in the workplace, in protests on the street, and in confirmation hearings. In partnership with WNYC's "United States of Anxiety" podcast, we sit down for an intimate conversation with a woman who helped pave the way: lifelong civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. Interviewed by her daughter Juana Chávez, Huerta speaks frankly about their exp...more

  • Portrait Of: Rosalía and the Future of Flamenco

    Nov 02 2018

    Rosalía combines accents of flamenco with hip-hop and other modern sounds. The Spanish pop singer talks about El Mal Querer and some surprising dark themes that come up in her music.

  • Memories of My Melancholy Ghost

    Oct 31 2018

    Lucía Benavides is an Argentine-American journalist who moved from Texas to Barcelona to pursue a career as a foreign correspondent and freelance journalist. A year into her new life, she wasn't getting any stories commissioned and she was also dealing with a breakup. Lucía was sulking around her apartment when she got a text from a friend telling her that she lived in the very apartment Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez had lived in when he first moved to Barcelona 50 years earlier. That'...more

  • A Far-Right Populist Wins in Brazil

    Oct 30 2018

    Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, elected a new president on Sunday: Jair Bolsonaro. The far-right congressman and former army captain has been called Brazil's Trump. He won with 55 percent of the vote against Fernando Haddad of the leftist Worker's Party, which governed for 13 years until a corruption scandal brought the party down. The scandal and an anti-establishment sentiment helped fuel Bolsonaro's victory. Latino USA talks to Brazilian journalist Adriana Carranca, who explains...more

  • Portrait Of: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    Oct 26 2018

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became a national sensation after she won the Democratic primary in New York's 14th congressional district. Ocasio-Cortez, born in the Bronx and of Puerto Rican descent, beat Rep. Joe Crowley, who some have referred to as "one of the most powerful Democrats in the House." Ocasio-Cortez is a self-described socialist, and has made campaign promises some see as radical, such as abolishing ICE and supporting Medicare for All. In this personal interview with Latino USA, we ge...more

  • Kris Kobach Profits, Small Towns Lose

    Oct 25 2018

    Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas, is known for his controversial views on immigration. Now, he's running for Kansas governor on the Republican ticket. An investigation co-published by ProPublica and the Kansas City Star found that Kobach profited handsomely from his work on anti-immigrant ordinances in four small towns across the country. Latino USA sits down with ProPublica journalist Jessica Huseman to talk about her investigation and Kobach's history of anti-immigrant sentiment.

  • A Family and a 15-Year Sentence

    Oct 23 2018

    Maria sits down with filmmaker Rudy Valdez to speak about his newest documentary film, "The Sentence," premiering on HBO. When his sister Cindy Shank received a 15-year mandatory sentence for charges related to her ex-boyfriend's crimes, Rudy began documenting the experience. Cindy and Rudy join Maria to talk about the impact of that sentence on her and the family.

  • Texas vs. Lupe Valdez

    Oct 19 2018

    Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is the Democratic candidate for governor in Texas—and she's on a mission to flip the governor's seat blue for the first time in nearly 30 years. If she does, she will be the first openly gay and Latina governor of Texas. She's also a Democrat with decades in law enforcement, but is it all enough to appeal to voters across all of Texas? And can she get young Latinos, whose vote is key in the state, to turn out for her? We ride along with the sheriff in her...more

  • Portrait Of: Rubén Blades

    Oct 16 2018

    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. He has also kept a presence back home. He ran for presid...more

  • The 30 Days

    Oct 12 2018

    Last August, Arsenio De La Rosa had a stroke and doctors gave him only weeks to live. His kids were with him in Arizona, but his wife, Gloria, was an hour south in Mexico. Because she is unable to enter the country, she applied for a temporary permit to come to the U.S. to say goodbye to her husband and be there for her kids in such a tough time. After an initial denial, she ended up getting a 30-day pass. We take a look at those 30 days, a bittersweet reunion after being separated by immigratio...more

  • Portrait Of: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    Oct 09 2018

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was an avid reader, especially as a young child growing up in the Bronx. So it's no surprise that she published two books aimed at younger audiences. The first is a story for young adults titled "The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor." The second is a children's illustrated book called "Turning Pages: My Life Story." Both books are an adaption of her 2013 memoir. Justice Sotomayor joins Maria Hinojosa to discuss why she wrote books for a younger audience and ...more

  • Warehouse World

    Oct 05 2018

    The town of Patterson in California's Central Valley has mostly been known as the "Apricot Capital of the World." But today, drive into town and you'll see an expanding cluster of low and flat buildings: warehouses. With the rise of e-commerce across the country, the need for warehouses continues to grow. By 2024, the industry will employ nearly 4.8 million people, and about 40 percent of young people working in warehouses are Latino. Latino USA visits a high school using virtual reality and a m...more

  • Portrait Of: Fat Joe

    Oct 03 2018

    Joseph Antonio Cartagena, aka Fat Joe, has had a career as a major figure in hip-hop for over two decades. With radio-friendly hit singles like "What's Luv?" and "Lean Back," the rapper has become one of the most recognized Latino rappers in the music industry. Cartagena has also made his way into acting—most recently, in the new comedy film, "Night School." Maria Hinojosa talks with the rapper/actor in an intimate conversation about growing up in the Bronx, fatherhood and his new career.

  • The Immigrant Woman Who Confronted Senator Flake

    Oct 02 2018

    A conversation with Ana María Archila, one of the women who shared their story of sexual abuse with Republican Senator Jeff Flake while he was in an elevator, right after he announced that he would vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. As it turns out, the Colombian-born activist had been preparing for that confrontation for a very long time, from her early days working with immigrants in New York City's Staten Island to studying the strategy known as "bird-dogging."

  • Who Was Tío Alejandro?

    Sep 28 2018

    Growing up, Jesse Alejandro Cottrell never knew exactly how his uncle and middle namesake, Alejandro Mendoza, died, but he did know that the Guatemalan government murdered Alejandro. The story went that in the 1970s, Alejandro was involved with the leftist guerrilla rebels fighting the country's oppressive authoritarian regime, a regime that eventually killed him for his activism. But a couple years ago on a visit to Guatemala, Jesse heard another story of how his uncle died that challenged what...more

  • Portrait Of: Bobby Sanabria

    Sep 25 2018

    Growing up as a Nuyorican kid in the Bronx, Bobby Sanabria first watched "West Side Story" in the movie theaters, on the 10th anniversary of the film's release. "I was mesmerized," said the Latin Jazz drummer and composer. Last year, "West Side Story" celebrated its 60th anniversary and to honor this milestone, Sanabria re-envisioned what Latino New York City actually sounds like. The result was his album, "West Side Story Reimagined." Maria Hinojosa talks to the drummer and composer about what ...more

  • The Breakdown: A Tale of Two Musicals

    Sep 21 2018

    Ten years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda's explosive musical "In the Heights" changed the game for how Latino stories are portrayed on Broadway. It won the Tony that year for Best Musical, and started Miranda on an impressive career path culminating with Hamilton. But how did we get here? Latino USA hits Broadway and takes a look at the portrayal of Latinos on stage throughout history, including the other seminal musical in Latino history, "West Side Story."

  • Married to the Cartel

    Sep 18 2018

    In 2014, the capture of drug kingpin "El Chapo" made headlines. Instrumental to that capture was two of El Chapo's own men—Junior and Peter Flores—twin brothers originally from Chicago. After a cartel war broke out in Mexico, the brothers decided to become informants to protect their families. Now, their wives, Mia and Olivia, tell all in their new book "Cartel Wives" about what it was like to be married to two of the world's biggest drug dealers.

  • A Tragedy in Iowa Turned Political

    Sep 14 2018

    Last July, Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old college student from Iowa, disappeared after going for a run. When her body was found and authorities announced the suspect was in the country illegally, certain media and politicians began to use her death to make a case for stricter immigration laws just weeks from the midterm elections. Latino USA takes a look into Mollie's death and we revisit "the myth of the criminal immigrant."

  • Portrait Of: Perez Hilton

    Sep 11 2018

    Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr., better known as Perez Hilton, rose to notoriety in the mid-aughts when his bright pink website perezhilton.com became the go-to source for celebrity gossip. At a time when we have the first "reality-television president," Perez offers us a glimpse into how he created the site that helped catapult reality stars into household names and why he regrets the bullying tone his site propagated that is prevalent not just online but in our politics today.

  • The Stolen Child

    Sep 07 2018

    For decades in Argentina, Delia and her granddaughter Virginia searched for Virginia's brother, Delia's missing grandson. He was one of the hundreds of babies disappeared during the country's military dictatorship back in the 1970's. They're one of many families who suffered trauma and disruption following the regime's fall, as Argentina struggled to face its dark history.

  • Portrait Of: Comedian Julio Torres

    Sep 04 2018

    If you've watched Saturday Night Live recently, then you know Julio Torres. His skits are irreverent, often taking the perspective of people and even objects on the margins, with unexpected results. Torres was raised in El Salvador and he's a stand-up comedian and writer for SNL. Host Maria Hinojosa sits down with Torres to discuss his childhood, the trajectory to becoming a stand-up and his unique sense of humor.