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.


  • How I Made It: Grupo Fantasma Takes On the Wall

    Apr 19 2019

    When Austin's cumbia-funk institution Grupo Fantasma went to record their seventh album at a studio in Tornillo, Texas, they had no idea that right next door was a tent city for detained immigrant youth operated by ICE. When they found out, they decided they had to do something. So they teamed up with fellow legends Ozomatli and Locos Por Juana to create a sinister funk tune with a message about the walls that divide us. On this edition of How I Made It, members of Grupo Fantasma break down the...more

  • The Breakdown: Battle Over MEChA

    Apr 16 2019

    A few weeks ago, student organization MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) voted to change their name after 50 years—and that decision was met with a lot of commentary, especially on social media. Those in favor of the name change, argue that dropping the words "Chicanx" and "Aztlán" from the name, makes MEChA more inclusive. But others, including MEChA alums, say that those words are heavily intertwined with the 1960's Chicano movement, and a name change would erase that important s...more

  • Arturo O'Farrill's 'Fandango at the Wall' Transcends Borders

    Apr 12 2019

    Celebrated jazz musician Arturo O'Farrill has dedicated his life to envisioning a future of inclusion and collaboration. His newest project, "Fandango at the Wall," was inspired by a festival he participated in on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the album, O'Farrill brings together the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with more than 60 musicians. In this episode, Maria Hinojosa sits down with O'Farrill to discuss how he's not only crossing artificial borders, but erasing them.

  • Being Asian and Latino

    Apr 09 2019

    In the U.S., the two fastest-growing ethnic groups are Asian and Latino—and those groups are not mutually exclusive. For centuries, immigrants from Asia have settled in Mexico all the way down to Argentina, and their descendants carry both Asian and Latin American identities. Inside the U.S., Asians and Latinos have lived side-by-side in heavily immigrant neighborhoods and have created lives together. In this episode, we'll hear from four Latino USA listeners, who discuss their own Asian Latino ...more

  • How I Made It: Miguel and Flor De Toloache's Mireya Ramos on 'Te Lo Dije'

    Apr 05 2019

    Grammy Award-winning singer Miguel and Mireya of the Latin Grammy-winning all-women mariachi group Flor de Toloache have released a song that fuses bachata, mariachi and R&B. But most importantly, the song represents Miguel and Mireya continuing their family's musical legacy. Miguel and Mireya are cousins who met for the first time a little over a year ago. In this episode of "How I Made It," Miguel and Mireya reflect on their experience working together in the studio for the first time and the ...more

  • What Happened to Edward?

    Apr 02 2019

    Last year, a 65-year-old grandfather was attacked and fell onto the New York City subway tracks—which eventually led to his death. He was punched from behind by a young man with schizophrenia who shouted that he was the devil. This isn't the first time this has happened, a similar situation played out 19 years earlier. So why does the cycle continue? Latino USA examines how and why someone with serious mental illness falls through the cracks of the nation's mental health system.

  • How I Made It: From Foster Kid to Judge

    Mar 29 2019

    When she was nine years old, Xiomara Torres fled the civil war in her home country of El Salvador and came to the U.S. As a child she adjusted to her new life in East Los Angeles before she was removed from her family and put into foster care—where she spent six years of her life moving from home to home. Now, she's the subject of a local play in Oregon titled, "Judge Torres." In this edition of "How I Made It," Judge Torres shares how she overcame the hurdles of the foster care system and made ...more

  • Latino Heroes of Rock & Roll

    Mar 27 2019

    When we talk about what made rock & roll as we know it, the most common description is: a mixture of R&B, a predominantly black genre, and country, a predominantly white genre. But the sound is not as black and white as many think. In this episode, Latino USA explores the Latino influences that helped shape rock & roll, and we profile unsung Latino rock artists who had a hand in crafting the sound—from Chicana punk rocker Alice Bag to David Bowie's right-hand man guitarist Carlos Alomar.

  • The Underground Hair Market

    Mar 22 2019

    Venezuela has been known for its oil wealth and also, for its obsession with beauty pageants. In the history of the Miss Universe pageant, Venezuela has won seven crowns, the second-highest number of crowns. However, as the growing economic and political crisis in Venezuela deepens, beauty has taken a backseat for many Venezuelan women. Some women are now crossing the border to Colombia to sell their hair to salons to make ends meet. In this episode, Latino USA travels to the Colombian border c...more

  • Cherríe Moraga's New Memoir 'Native Country of the Heart'

    Mar 20 2019

    Since the 1980s, Cherríe Moraga has been a queer feminist Chicana icon, alongside thinkers like Audre Lorde and Gloria Anzaldúa. Her newest work is a memoir: "Native Country Of The Heart." It centers on her close relationship with her mother who died in 2005 after suffering for many years from Alzheimer's disease. Maria Hinojosa and Cherríe Moraga discuss the struggles of watching a parent grapple with losing their memory, how ideas about gender get passed down, and the future of feminism.

  • Stranded in Tijuana

    Mar 15 2019

    At the only shelter for unaccompanied minors in Tijuana, Mexico, teens watch Pokemon and blast Bad Bunny songs. Most of these teens are from Central America, thousands of miles from their families, and waiting for months to apply for asylum in the U.S. As they wait, shelter administrators work to regulate their stress and trauma. But now, they're also worried about their safety outside the shelter's walls. Last December, two of the teens staying there were kidnapped and murdered. Jesse Alejandro...more

  • 24 Hours at the Border

    Mar 12 2019

    Over the past two months, President Donald Trump has been demanding funds from Congress to build his proposed border wall—which led to the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. As Congress and the White House continue to clash over funding, Latino USA heads down to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to visit the communities affected by the decisions being made in Washington, D.C. We visit a chapel threatened by the possibility of the wall cutting across its property, a "dragtivist" p...more

  • Buried Abuse

    Mar 08 2019

    There's a long and extensive pattern of sexual abuse and harassment in immigration detention facilities, even though the Prison Rape Elimination Act was introduced in DHS facilities in 2014. Over a ten-month period, Latino USA partnered with Rewire.News and dug into one specific case of alleged sexual abuse, that of Laura Monterrosa at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center. What we learned after reviewing documents obtained through a FOIA request raised questions about the efficacy of internal inves...more

  • Portrait Of: Boxer Patricio Manuel

    Mar 05 2019

    Born and raised in Los Angeles, Patricio Manuel is the first openly transgender boxer to ever fight professionally in the U.S. Despite the name, Patricio is not latino, he identifies as black, but he was raised in the Mexican-dominated boxing gyms of L.A., where he earned his nickname "Cacahuate," or peanut. He is a five-time amateur boxing champion and while he is making history in the ring, he hasn't always been accepted in the boxing community. Latino USA sits down with Patricio "Cacahuate" ...more

  • You Are Cordially Invited to Hailey's Quinceañera

    Mar 01 2019

    We follow the journey of one quinceañera, Hailey Alexis, from Whittier, California—as she plans for the big day. From searching for the perfect dress, to last-minute dance rehearsals during her party. We talk with family friends who are debating whether they will have a quinceañera for their daughter, and attend one of the biggest Quince Expos on the East Coast. Throughout the process, we explore how the quinceañera is seen as a status symbol, a form of female empowerment, a statement about Lati...more

  • How I Made It: Making Movies

    Feb 26 2019

    Making Movies is a band based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The group has two sets of brothers, lead singer and guitarist Enrique and bassist Diego Chi, and Juan-Carlos and Andres Chaurand on percussion and drums. Their second album, "I Am Another You," fused electric guitars, with mambo rhythms, synths and operatic vocals—and explored identity and immigration. Latino USA sits down with Enrique and Juan-Carlos to discuss "Locura Colectiva," one of the band's most ambitious tracks.

  • What Latinx Film Critics Have to Say

    Feb 22 2019

    Four Latinx film critics: Claudia Puig, Vanessa Erazo, Monica Castillo, and Manuel Betancourt sat down with Latino USA to talk about what it means to be a film critic, what they see their role should be as Hollywood aims to embrace more diversity, and the politics of popular film rating system, Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Hollywood's Obsession With Mexico

    Feb 20 2019

    The film "Roma" has been groundbreaking in many ways—it's one of the rare foreign language films to be nominated for Best Picture and its star Yalitza Aparicio is the first indigenous, Latina woman to be nominated for Best Actress. But Roma, which was distributed by Netflix, is just the latest in a long legacy of Hollywood films which were made in Mexico. Former publicist Luis Reyes traces that history in his book "Made in Mexico: Hollywood South of the Border." Reyes goes all the way back to wh...more

  • 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