Latino USA

Latino USA, the radio journal of news and culture, is the only national, English-language radio program produced from a Latino perspective.


  • 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.

  • The Kid Mero Roasts America, One Trump Joke at a Time

    Aug 31 2018

    Next year, Showtime will premiere its first-ever late-night talk show, and to host the show, the network tapped two guys from the Bronx: Desus Nice and The Kid Mero. Joel Martinez, aka The Kid Mero, is one of the stars of the comedy duo. Their late-night show career started on Viceland where every night, Mero and Desus Nice delivered smart and hilarious commentary on the day's news, politics and pop culture. However, Martinez didn't take the traditional career path of a comedian. Maria Hinojosa ...more

  • It's a Small World, After All

    Aug 28 2018

    Latino USA takes a look back at Disney's relationship with Latin America. We start in the 1940s when Walt Disney and a group of animators were deployed by the U.S. government to Latin America in efforts to curb Nazi influence there. Then, we hear from a Chilean writer who wrote a book called "How to Read Donald Duck," critiquing Disney comics' American imperialism in the 1970s.

  • An Update for You Binge-Listeners!

    Aug 24 2018

    The Latino USA feed is now going to be longer. Soon - you can access the 50 latest episodes we publish, instead of just the last 30. That's why you may have gotten a bunch of annoying notifications for new episodes on your phone - sorry about that. Happy listening!

  • How I Made It: The Summer Music Spectacular

    Aug 23 2018

    Today, we bring you a special podcast with some of our latest "How I Made It" segments: Stories about Latino creators and the work they make. This time, we go behind the scenes into the creative process with some of our favorite musicians. We'll hear from Uruguayan singer and composer Jorge Drexler, the Puerto Rican group Balún and Colombian rock legends Aterciopelados. So sit back, turn up your speaker and enjoy this summer music special.

  • The Quevedos

    Aug 21 2018

    Latino USA producer Sayre Quevedo grew up having only met 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.

  • Torn Apart 2: The Moral Dilemma of Juan Sanchez

    Aug 17 2018

    Juan Sanchez is the CEO of Southwest Key Programs, a nonprofit that runs shelters for immigrant minors in the United States. He has been criticized for sheltering kids under Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy and making a profit. Southwest Key has received nearly $1 billion in government contracts, and Sanchez's compensation was nearly $1.5 million last year. The company was criticized even more after reports of sexual misconduct in its shelters. And yet, Sanchez's bio depicts a different narrative...more

  • Torn Apart 1: Sign Here

    Aug 14 2018

    Under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, thousands of immigrant children have been torn apart from their parents. And when a federal judge ordered the government to reunite all of these families within 60 days, immigration authorities began to scramble. In part one of a two-part episode, Latino USA breaks down the family separation crisis and explores what happens to the hundreds of kids whose parents have been deported and who are still not reunited with their families.

  • The USA v. Oscar López Rivera

    Aug 10 2018

    Just a few days before President Obama was to leave office, he granted clemency to a man named Oscar López Rivera. In the 1970s, Oscar was considered by the FBI to be one of the most dangerous revolutionaries in the U.S. He belonged to an armed group called the FALN, which claimed responsibility for more than 70 bombings in American cities and demanded Puerto Rican independence. On today's episode, a story with secret identities and safe houses, an FBI manhunt and even a little bit of revolution...more

  • The Skeleton by the Lake

    Aug 03 2018

    In November 2011, a man and his son were walking along the shore of Lake Michigan when they spotted a body wedged in the rocks, badly decomposed. At the time, there were very few clues as to who the remains belonged to. The investigation spanned five years and stretched from Wisconsin to Texas to Illinois. It involved multiple agencies and dead ends. But ultimately, it took the skills of a forensic anthropologist from Puerto Rico to get answers—and simultaneously revealed the difficulties of ide...more

  • The Port of Entry

    Jul 31 2018

    The wait time for migrants seeking asylum at legal ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border has recently increased from hours to weeks, causing some families to camp out for days. We go to the border to meet some of the people waiting there and explain the asylum process in the United States.

  • Portrait Of: Miguel

    Jul 27 2018

    "Too proper for the black kids, too black for the Mexicans," sings Grammy award-winning artist Miguel Pimentel. Miguel is the son of an African-American mother and a Mexican-born father. He's known for his eclectic sound, shaped by his home: Los Angeles. This year, he'll release a deluxe version of his album, "War & Leisure," which will include songs in Spanish. It was inspired by a trip to Zamora, where he met his family in Mexico for the first time. Maria Hinojosa talks to the singer-songwrite...more

  • Nicaragua in Crisis

    Jul 24 2018

    Sandinistas. Protests. Violence. Keeping up with what's happening in Nicaragua over the last few months has not been easy. It's a conflict that has roots in the current social climate of the country but also its fraught political history. Latino USA breaks down the root causes and realities of the conflict in Nicaragua that have been rocking the country since April.

  • Valley of Contrasts

    Jul 20 2018

    In most of the country, when someone says they are going to Coachella it means they are going to a music festival. But for many who grew up in the Coachella Valley in California, their experience has nothing to do with music. Coachella is divided into two parts. On the west Side, there are beautiful homes with large front and backyards. On the east side, you find the mobile homes of the mostly immigrant Mexican and Mexican American communities. The differences between the two sides are stark but...more

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

    Jul 17 2018

    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. A new hit series 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. Actresses Mj Rod...more

  • With You, Peru

    Jul 13 2018

    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.

  • Portrait Of: Tanya Saracho Gives Us 'Vida'

    Jul 10 2018

    Tanya Saracho is the showrunner for acclaimed television series "Vida," on Starz. The show looks at the relationship between two sisters, Lyn and Emma, as they come to terms with the death of their mother and the secrets she kept from them. Saracho sits down with Latino USA to share the story of how she got where she is today and why telling complicated—sometimes dark— stories about Latinos is so important to her.

  • The Breakdown: Frida Barbie

    Jul 06 2018

    When Mattel announced the release of a Barbie inspired by late Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, a flurry of tweets ensued. Many felt that Mattel was harming the legacy of the radical leftist painter who may not have wanted to be associated with one the greatest symbols of American consumerism. But while Frida Kahlo and Barbie may seem like antithetical symbols, their backstories have very interesting parallels—the main one being that both have played a big role in how we view what it means to be a m...more