Since 2006, 40,000 people have been murdered in Mexico as drug cartels battle each other and the Mexican military. Journalist Ioan Grillo traces how Mexico came to control drug trafficking in El Narco.
In remote places along the southwest border of the U.S., the consequences of recent immigration crackdown have become evident. Journalist Tom Barry says that prisons here hold both legal and illegal immigrants for deportation, many far away from their homes and families.
Writer Ernesto Quinonez His debut novel, “Bodega Dreams” (Vintage books), is set in Spanish Harlem. Like his narrator, Quinonez is half Ecuadorean, half-Puerto Rican. A reviewer in the Kirkus Reviews writes of the book, “Edgy, street-smart. . . An admirable debut, brimming with energy and refreshingly devoid of genre clichés.”
Comic and performance artist Marga Gomez. Her new show is "A Line Around the Block" a solo memoir performance about her father, New York Cuban comedian Willy Chevalier. In 1991 Gomez wrote and performed a piece about her mother a flamboyantly self-dramatizing Puerto Rican dancer, "Memory Tricks." Gomez is performing her new show at The Public Theatre in New York, this month.
Martin Espada, a poet, tenant's right attorney, and now Assistant Professor of English at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Brooklyn born -in 1957- of Puerto Rican heritage, he calls his work, "poems of advocacy, based on the lives ...consigned to silence." Espada was lauded by PEN/Revson Award for Poetry for giving "dignity to the insulted and injured of the earth." Poet Carolyn Forche describes Espada as "that subversive someone we know." His new book of poems is "City of Coughing and Dead Radiators" (Norton).
Writer Francisco Goldman. He was born in Guatemala, and was raised outside of Boston. His family often returned to Guatemala for visits. After college, he returned to Guatemala to live and write, and was awakened to the brutal political reality there. He then began a career in political journalism, writing for Harper's, The New York Times Sunday Magazine and Playboy.
World Music Critic Milo Miles reviews music of Chicano bandleader and accordionist Steve Jordan. The eclectic performer's recorded almost 40 albums and has provided music for films like, "Born in East L.A." and "True Stories."
A live concert with Yomo Toro. A native of Puerto Rico, Yomo plays the cuatro, a small guitar-like instrument with five sets of double strings. He performs the traditional form of Puerto Rican folk music called "jibaro." (HEE-bar-oh). Toro is joined by Ruben Figueroa on bass and guitar and Luis Cabrera on percussion. (Interview by Sedge Thomson)
Artist-teacher Tim Rollins and his student Carlos Rivera. In collaboration with his South Bronx high-school students Rollins has created "excellent...slightly miraculous art." ("New York" Magazine). Since 1981, the group known as K.O.S. (for Kids of Survival -- mostly black and Puerto Rican students), has had showings of its work in over 50 shows. Now there's a showing of their own, "Amerika," in New York.
Writer Oscar Hijuelos. His new novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, is the story of Cuban immigrant brothers who work by day at grimy, exhausting jobs in a meat-packing house, but by night, in silk suits and lace ties, play the mambo, the vibrant, footloose music of Cuba. Surrounded by musicians wearing vests decorated with sequined palm trees, the Castillo brothers try to secure their own version of the American Dream. Their lives climax when they appear on the "I Love Lucy Show,".
Actor Raul Julia. His films include "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Moon Over Parador," "Tango Bar" and the recent "Tequila Sunrise." His latest film, "Romero," is based on the life, and assassination, of the Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero.
Cinematographer Nestor Almendros. The films he has photographed include "Sophie's Choice," "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Days of Heaven," for which he won the Academy Award. He has directed the photography for films by Eric Rohmer and Francois Truffaut. Almendros worked in Havana in the early years of the Castro regime before he had a falling out with the authorities.
Tango innovator Astor Piazzolla. Since the early 60s, Piazzolla has been leading groups that play an updated tango that connects this Argentinian form with the musical innovations from Europe and America, both classical and contemporary. The adjustments have earned him the enmity of Argentinians, and for most of the 70s he lived in France where he wrote film scores. Piazzolla is a classically trained composer who wrote symphonies and studied with Nadia Boulanger, the renown French instructor of composition.
Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. He is one of the leading figures in the recent boom in Latin American fiction. His novels include Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter and The War of the End of the World. The latter won the Ritz Paris Hemingway Award. Vargas Llosa's books were banned and burned in Peru by the military in the late 60s.
Edward James Olmos. He plays Lt. Castillo in the popular television series "Miami Vice" and is now starring in a soon-to-be released film "Stand and Deliver." Olmos also starred in the films "Zoot Suit" and "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" and "Blade Runner."
Book Critic John Leonard reviews Chile: Death in the South by Jacobo Timmerman. Timmerman is the former Argentine journalist who was imprisoned for publishing the names of the people who disappeared at the hands of Argentina's dictatorship in the mid-70s. His account of his ordeal was titled Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number.
Writer Joan Didion. Known for her self-reflective essays and reporting, Didion is one of America's most important writers. Her books include A Book of Common Prayer, Slouching Toward Bethlehem and Salvador. With her husband John Gregory Dunne, she co-wrote the screenplay for "True Confessions." Her new book is titled Miami.
Juan Gonzalez has just returned to the Philadelphia Daily News after taking a year's leave to found and serve as the first president of the National Congress of Puerto Rican Rights. Enrique Arroyo is the director of the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey. They join the show to discuss Latino issues in the Delaware Valley.