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.


  • 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.

  • Portrait Of: Former Raiders Coach Tom Flores

    Aug 23 2019

    As a player, coach, and broadcaster, Tom Flores has been a part of the Raiders franchise for decades. When he started playing for the Oakland Raiders in 1960, football was just starting to find its audience, and he was the first Latino starting quarterback in professional football. He spoke to Latino USA about the role of politics in sports, his ambition to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and what it's like to be part of a team with such a strong Latino identity.

  • Immigration Reform (Now For Kids!)

    Aug 20 2019

    Today on Latino USA, we enter the U.S. Senate chambers and get to follow along as members of Congress tackle one of the nation's most controversial issues: immigration. There's just one twist—this Senate is comprised of nine and ten year-olds who are currently 4th graders. At the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, these young students are given the chance to craft and pass their own immigration reform bill, that will provide a pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigra...more

  • Portrait Of: Esmeralda Santiago LIVE In NYC

    Aug 16 2019

    Latino USA teamed up with the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y to put on an event honoring the 25th anniversary of Esmeralda Santiago's coming of age classic "When I Was Puerto Rican." In conversation with producer Antonia Cereijido, Santiago talks about what it's like to live through a hurricane, the #metoo movement, and learning to not care about what other people think of you.

  • The Legacy Of 'Dora The Explorer'

    Aug 14 2019

    In 1998, three television writers tasked with creating the next hit children's show came up with the idea of a young girl who would go on adventures, and ask questions directly to the audience. With the help of consultants, they created a seven year-old Latina girl named Dora Márquez and the show, "Dora the Explorer." Almost 20 years later, Dora is reimagined as a teenager in a new live-action film called "Dora and the Lost City of Gold." While some of the elements in Dora's world are still fict...more

  • El Paso Strong

    Aug 09 2019

    On August 3rd, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas. 22 people were killed—eight were Mexican citizens and the majority were Latino. The suspect, in a white extremist manifesto posted online, cited what he called "an invasion" of Latinos in the U.S. The Walmart where the gunman opened fire is frequently visited by Latinos and Mexicans from both El Paso and Juarez—the neighboring city in Mexico. In this episode, Latino USA travels to El Paso, a town that has long...more

  • Portrait Of: Gina Torres

    Aug 07 2019

    Gina Torres knew from a young age that she wanted to be in the arts. The Cuban-American actress grew up in the Bronx, New York and graduated from LaGuardia High School, the school for the performing arts featured in the movie Fame. She's made a name for herself in the sci-fi universe with roles on critically acclaimed series such as Firefly and Angel—and she even had a role in the Matrix sequels. Recently, you may have seen her playing something different—a lawyer, on the USA network series, Sui...more

  • Why Ricky Resigned

    Aug 02 2019

    On July 7th, Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo "Ricky" Rosselló, was on vacation in France when messages —containing his homophobic and sexist comments— from a private group chat were leaked. Weeks later, Rosselló announced his resignation. Latino USA brings context to the leaked messages that sparked massive protests in Puerto Rico and, in turn, led to the resignation of Governor Rosselló. We examine how the post-Hurricane María death count, the island's debt crisis, and its colonial legacy all c...more

  • Pump Up The Jam: LA's Backyard Party Scene

    Jul 30 2019

    Latino USA sits down with Guadalupe Rosales of Veteranas and Rucas and Map Pointz, two archival projects focused on the backyard party scene of 80's and 90's Los Angeles that celebrate big hair, house music and endless nights. Rosales is joined by Eddie Ruvalcaba, who photographed the scene with Streetbeat Magazine and attended parties as a teenager. In this episode from the Latino USA archives, the two speak about the power of documenting youth culture and why those parties still mean so much t...more

  • A Conversation With Pete Buttigieg

    Jul 26 2019

    Just a year ago, not many people outside of South Bend, Indiana would have recognized the name: Pete Buttigieg. Known as "Mayor Pete," Buttigieg is in a wide-open primary race for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Trump. Since throwing his hat in the ring, he has gone from a virtually unknown second-term mayor, to a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Latino USA's Maria Hinojosa sits down with Pete Buttigieg for an in-depth conversation about his thoughts ...more

  • How One Native Language Survived Extinction

    Jul 23 2019

    There are an estimated 7,000 distinct languages in the world—but researchers say nearly half are in danger of extinction, and on average, one language dies about every two weeks. In Hawaii, the practice of speaking the Hawaiian language from birth nearly died two generations ago—until one man started a movement to preserve the Hawaiian language—without being a native Hawaiian speaker, himself. This story comes to us from our friends at NPR's Code Switch.

  • Of Bloodlines And Conquistadors

    Jul 19 2019

    "Hispano" is an identity unique to New Mexico and southern Colorado. It defines people who consider themselves to be descendants of the Spanish conquistadors that arrived in the 1500s. Hispanos have lived side by side the Pueblo for centuries—mixing cultures, identities, and even bloodlines. But recently, tensions have risen between the two groups over Santa Fe's annual conquistador pageant, known as La Entrada, which celebrates the arrival of the Spanish. For some, it celebrates heritage. For o...more

  • Could Synthetic Biology Stop Global Warming?

    Jul 16 2019

    It's a fact: Latinos are concerned about climate change—actually more than non-Latinos. Producer (and guest host) Antonia Cereijido is no exception and her anxiety led her to the work of Héctor García Martín, a scientist at the Joint BioEnergy Institute. Synthetic biology is an emerging field that allows scientists to re-engineer biological systems for new purposes, and one major thing it could lead to is new biofuels which would reduce the release of carbon dioxide—the main cause of global warm...more

  • How I Made It: King of The Bongo Makers and Ambar Lucid

    Jul 12 2019

    In this episode, we're sharing two segments from our "How I Made It" series, which dives into the stories behind creative processes. Today, two music stories, separated by two generations. We hear how a mambo-obsessed Jewish kid from the Bronx ended up starting a Latin percussion empire, thanks to the trade embargo with Cuba. And, songwriter Ambar Lucid travels to Mexico to reconnect with her father for the first time since his deportation when she was a young girl.

  • Willie Perdomo Comes Home

    Jul 09 2019

    In the early 1990s, Willie Perdomo was a teenager growing up in East Harlem. He saw and experienced firsthand a tumultuous moment in New York City, including the crack epidemic and the consequences of the war on drugs. In his newest book of poetry, "The Crazy Bunch," Perdomo wrangles with that history and the ghosts of that time. Latino USA's Antonia Cereijido takes a walk with Perdomo through his old neighborhood of Harlem to discuss his teenage years and how memories of that time inspired his ...more

  • Portrait Of: Luna Lauren Vélez

    Jul 05 2019

    For the past 25 years, Luna Lauren Vélez has been portraying powerful Latinas in front of the camera. From a young Nuyorican mother in the 1994 cult classic "I Like It Like That" to a Cuban police captain in the hit show "Dexter," the actress has been able to show the complexities of identity in her characters. That inspiration didn't come out of nowhere. Vélez is one of eight siblings in her large Puerto Rican family and is continually inspired by the strong women that raised her. Luna Lauren V...more

  • Portrait Of: Cypress Hill's Sen Dog

    Jul 02 2019

    Senen Reyes, also known as Sen Dog, is one of the founding members of the pioneering rap group Cypress Hill. Their music differs from other West Coast hip-hop from the 80s and 90s—Cypress Hill was less concerned with gang life and focused more on marijuana activism. But Cypress Hill's legacy extends much further than making weed mainstream—they were the first all-Latino hip-hop group to have platinum and multi-platinum albums. Sen Dog joins us to talk about the legacy of his group Cypress Hill, ...more

  • Portrait Of: 80s Ball Subculture In FX's 'Pose'

    Jun 28 2019

    When you think of the 1980's in New York City, you might think of grit and crime – but a vibrant, dazzling underground ball scene? Maybe not. The hit series "Pose" on FX is now telling the stories of that scene – a subculture of LGBTQ people of color creating a safe and joyous space during a time when they were not accepted. "Pose" is making history by featuring the largest cast of transgender actors ever on TV as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors for a scripted series. Starring...more

  • Seeking Asylum, Seeking To Stay Together

    Jun 25 2019

    Mauricio Pérez and his boyfriend Jorge Alberto Alfaro González met on Facebook in El Salvador during the summer of 2015. After Mauricio's sister was killed by members of a gang and Jorge's young cousins were killed by a rival group, both of them became targets of repeated attacks and death threats. So by January of 2016, Jorge and Mauricio decided to flee the country. They both applied for asylum in Mexico. But only Jorge's application was approved, forcing them to navigate Mexico's complex asyl...more

  • Comedian Arturo Castro Finds Humor In This Political Moment

    Jun 21 2019

    Arturo Castro is a Guatemalan actor and writer best known for playing "Jaime" on Comedy Central's "Broad City" and cartel leader David Rodriguez on Netflix's "Narcos." Now, after a decade in the business, Castro is taking the lead and starring in his own sketch show on Comedy Central. "Alternatino with Arturo Castro" is about Castro's identity as an immigrant and navigating life as a Latinx millennial. We sit down with Arturo Castro to talk about how he got his start in comedy and how he draws o...more

  • City Of Oil

    Jun 19 2019

    Los Angeles, you might be surprised to learn, sits on top of the largest urban oil field in the country and has been the site of oil extraction for almost 150 years. Today, nearly 5,000 oil wells remain active in Los Angeles County alone, many operating in communities of color, often very close to homes, schools and hospitals. Latino USA visits a neighborhood in South Los Angeles, the epicenter of an anti-oil-drilling movement that is gaining momentum. We meet Nalleli Cobo, the 18-year-old who's...more

  • A Conversation With Cory Booker

    Jun 14 2019

    Latino USA continues its coverage of the field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination with a conversation with Senator Cory Booker. Booker has come a long way since 1995 when, while attending law school at Yale, he moved to Newark to help the community, later moving to a housing project where he lived for a number of years before it was demolished. He became mayor of the New Jersey city in 2006, then went on to become a U.S. senator. Latino USA's Maria Hinojosa sits down with Cory Book...more

  • Laura's Mission

    Jun 11 2019

    27-year-old Laura Molinar was in medical school in Chicago, when she was flooded with news about the family separation crisis. Born and raised in San Antonio, Molinar felt moved to action—so she started Sueños Sin Fronteras, an organization to bring medical professionals to shelters on the border. While volunteering, Laura began to notice a need among the migrant women there—for access to birth control and emergency contraception. There was just one concern: the shelter was run by a Catholic org...more

  • Portrait Of: Sandra Cisneros LIVE in Chicago

    Jun 07 2019

    Sandra Cisneros doesn't need an introduction. Her coming-of-age novel, "The House on Mango Street," has sold over six million copies and has turned the Chicago native into a household name. Earlier this year, the Mexican-American author joined Maria Hinojosa for a live conversation at the Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. The conversation was part of WBEZ's Podcast Passport series, in partnership with Vocalo Radio. In this live and intimate conversation, Sandra Cisneros reflects on her past, pre...more

  • A Conversation with Jeh Johnson

    Jun 04 2019

    Since the beginning of the Trump administration, the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration policy have been front and center in public conversation. However, while the increased attention may seem new, a humanitarian crisis at the border is nothing new. Jeh Johnson was the Secretary of Homeland Security during President Obama's second term, from late 2013 to 2017. He ran the agency during a tense period—when tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children and families were arriving at the borde...more

  • A Child Lost in Translation

    May 31 2019

    Huntsville, Alabama has a small, but growing Latino population. It's where Teresa Matias, a single working immigrant mother from Guatemala, lived with five sons. In 2015, Teresa joined a local Catholic church and baptized her sons, and found them godparents. The godparents of her youngest son, would take a special liking to him. Over the next year, a series of events would begin to unravel—in which the godparents got lawyers and judges involved—eventually resulting in Teresa giving up complete p...more

  • Portrait Of: Elizabeth Acevedo

    May 28 2019

    Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and award-winning author. Her debut young adult novel "The Poet X" made the New York Times bestseller list in 2018. This May, Acevedo released her second novel "With the Fire on High," which tells the story of an Afro-Latina who dreams of becoming a chef. We sit down with Elizabeth Acevedo to talk about how storytelling became an important part of her life, her identity, and the impact of her success.