Entertainment

This Latina Immigrant Gave This Contest “A Shot” And Now Has Tickets To Trump’s Inauguration

As a new citizen of the United States, Leticia Ibarra voted for the first time in a presidential election. Despite voting for Hillary Clinton, Ibarra will be in Washington D.C. to watch Donald Trump be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States — and it all happened by luck and chance.

The 33-year-old, who works for a tech company in Chicago, was watching HITN-TV, a PBS-like Spanish-language network, and heard about a contest they were hosting titled “Vive Tu Momento.” The contest, a promotional campaign to help the Latino community learn about the presidential election process and encourage voter turnout, asked participants to predict which states each presidential candidate would win. The participant with the highest number correct would win a 3-day expense-paid trip to D.C. to attend the Presidential Inauguration.

Ibarra said the campaign sparked an interest in politics between her and her husband, Sergio, and thought she’d give the contest “a shot.”

Leticia Ibarra with her husband.
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra with her husband.

While the election results surprised Ibarra, along with the majority of the country, she still figured out the states that Trump would win — and she said it wasn’t that difficult.

“When I entered the contest, I actually felt like I had a good chance of winning,” Ibarra tells mitú. “It wasn’t a guessing game. People who really wanted to win had to do their homework and do some research. Luckily, finding the information was fairly easy. In addition to HITN-TV providing helpful resources on their website, news articles covering the election were also really helpful.”

Ibarra tells mitú that when she found out she won the contest, she was beyond thrilled. However, we couldn’t help but wonder how she’d feel about attending an inauguration for a person that not only said hateful things about Latino immigrants but a candidate that she didn’t even vote for. Ibarra says she’s remaining positive about her upcoming, and monumental, experience.

Ibarra, who was born in Michoacán, Mexico, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 with her parents and seven siblings to work in the agriculture fields in Oregon.

Leticia Ibarra's dad working in the fields in Oregon.
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra’s dad working in the fields in Oregon.

She was also the first in her family to attend a 4-year university. Ibarra says her family is very excited that she will be able to witness this historical moment.

Leticia Ibarra now and at 11 when she migrated to the U.S.
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra now and at 11 when she migrated to the U.S.

“We’ve watched the presidential inauguration on TV for years, but I never imagined I would be there in person,” Ibarra says. “As a first-generation Mexican-American, I am proud to be able to represent my family in Washington, and share this once in a lifetime experience with my husband, who will attend the event with me.”

Interestingly enough, Ibarra has a unique perspective on her odd predicament. Unlike other anti-Trump liberals, Ibarra tells mitú that she is respecting the election system and is supporting the outcome.

Leticia Ibarra
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra with her family.

“I’m hopeful that we can come together as a country and continue to respect such an important part of our democracy,” Ibarra says. “The peaceful transition of political power is one of the many reasons I am proud to be part of this great nation. It is my genuine hope that the new president will work hard to serve the needs of the American people.”

We asked her if she’s nervous about attending the ceremony considering there will be protesting going on in D.C. that same day.

“I hope that the inauguration ceremony is carried out in peace and harmony because the safety of all who attend is the most important at this event,” Ibarra says. “The unity of all of us as a country is more important than our political differences. God is the most important and after God are all of us – the people. For this reason, I hope that this event takes place peacefully and that we can be a nation of blessings for all Americans and for people around the world.”


READ: Read This And You’ll Finally Agree With Trump Being President

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Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

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Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

dr.giammattei / Instagram

Tuesday marked a new era of leadership in Guatemala as the Latin country swore in Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative doctor and former prison system director from the right-wing Vamos party. The 63-year-old won the presidency on his fourth attempt back in August with bold promises of changing a corrupt government and restoring the rule-of-law in city streets. 

“Today, we are putting a full stop on corrupt practices so they disappear from the face of this country,” Giammattei said at his swearing-in ceremony that had a five-hour delay.

His ceremony somewhat overshadowed by delays and protests against ex-President Jimmy Morales, who for four years dodged accusations of corruption. The scene of protestors throwing eggs and voicing anger at the outgoing administration was a reminder of the displeasure against the country’s deep-seated political corruption. It’s also a key reason why many are looking to Giammattei to bring change to the struggling country. 

As Giammattei takes office, there are questions on what his presidency will mean to Guatemala in the short and long term as issues over the future of an asylum deal with the United States comes into focus. 

One of the biggest issues confronting Guatemala and one that Giammattei will have to address early is the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) that was signed by Morales last July with the U.S. government. The agreement, which was highly opposed in Guatemala, lets U.S. immigration officials send Honduran and Salvadoran migrants that are requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border to apply for protection here instead. There is now increasing skepticism as reports say that the U.S. wants to expand the deal to include Mexican asylum seekers as well.

Last year, there were many Guatemalans that were part of a 3,000 migrant caravan that made its way up from Latin America to the U.S. The caravan consisted of people that were looking to claim asylum and became a symbol of the growing migration crisis at the southern border. President Trump frequently attacked the caravan and eventually threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemala if it didn’t agree to the asylum deal.

According to the Guatemalan Migration Institute, “as of Friday, 128 Salvadoran and Honduran asylum seekers had been sent as part of the agreement,” with only a limited number actually applying for asylum there and others returning home. Giammattei has previously said that he’s willing to make changes to the agreement but on Tuesday said he would revisit details later. 

The country, one of Latin America’s poorest nations, is a key part of President Trump’s plan to curb illegal immigration and asylum claims. mostly from those coming to the U.S. Southern border. The issue for many living in Guatemala is how to let those seeking asylum when itself has become a major source of U.S. bound migrants. 

Poverty levels have only grown in the last 20 years and income inequality levels continue to be a big problem in the country. 

One of the big platform issues that Giammattei ran his campaign on was helping the shorten income inequality gap and poverty levels that have only grown in the last 20 years. Fifty-nine percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line and almost 1 million children under the age of 5 are believed to live with chronic malnutrition, according to the AP. 

There is also the rampant problem of street violence and cartel gangs that have had a major effect on the daily lives of many in the country. Giammattei plans to address this with reforms that include designating “street gangs as terrorist groups.”

“This is the moment to rescue Guatemala from the absurd. It is the moment to combat corruption and malnutrition,” Giammattei said on Tuesday in his first address to the country as president. “There is no peace without security, I will present a law that aims to declare street gangs for what they are – terrorist groups.”

There is hope that Giammattei will turn a new page in Guatemala that will see change come to all in the country that has faced uncertainty for years. But only time will tell if this is indeed new leadership or business as usual.

“We will bring back the peace this country so dearly needs,” Giammattei said. “We will govern with decency, with honourability, and with ethical values.”

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American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Monday, American Latinos United (ALU) made the announcement that it would be forming a committee to create a new super PAC, “focused on defeating President Donald Trump by activating Latino voters in key battleground states.” As the 2020 election cycles draw closer and closer, political groups are already looking to key battleground states where Latino voters will play a key role in determining the next president. 

Backed by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and entrepreneur Fernando Espuelas, the new committee will be targeting Latinos in six key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The ALU does not appear to be backing or supporting any specific Democratic candidate as of now. Instead, it will be placing emphasis on Latino voter engagement in these key states. 

This year will be a historic one for Latinos as for the first time ever, they will become the largest minority group of potential voters in the United States. The ALU wants to be sure that a majority of those eligible to vote actually do so. 

The 2020 election has a lot on the line besides just the presidential nomination. For Latinos, issues like healthcare, immigration, and the economy are some of the biggest factors they’ll be considering when heading to the ballot box this November. The ALU plans to energize Latino voters on these issues through specifically targeted technology, culturally appropriate messaging, and on-the-ground work to turn out voters. The committee will also have ads that will be played in English and Spanish across traditional media and digital platforms.

The ALU points to the 2016 election as an example of the importance of having Latinos come out and vote. The number of eligible voters of Latino background who did not cast a ballot in 2016 was overwhelmingly high, 14 million, considering the anti-Latino sentiment heard from Trump on the campaign trail. 

According to the Pew Research Center, over half of the 27 million eligible Hispanic voters stayed home. That may be credited to not only Trump but a lack of enthusiasm when it came to Hillary Clinton. This year hopes to be different as 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2020, compared with 30 million African-Americans.

“President Trump captured about 30 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2016. If he falls under that threshold in 2020, key battleground states will be out of his reach,” Espuelas said in a press release. “With the Electoral College in play, we intend to empower Latinos in battleground states to defeat Trump with their votes.”

The ALU called out President Trump and his administration for “incompetence and corruption.” It warns if voter turnout this year is anything like 2016, Trump will surely be re-elected. 

In advancing its message, the ALU hopes to also hope to connect with Latinos on single-issue voters that have previously not voted Democrat. In doing so, they will also educate voters on the “moral danger that Trump represents” and the consequences of reelection victory for his administration. 

 “Our country is on a precipice. President Trump’s incompetence and corruption are threatening our democracy and the American way of life,” Villaraigosa said. “Latino voters can make all the difference – if we know how to engage and activate the millions of people that sit out most elections. Through ALU, we’ll connect deeply with our community and create the mechanisms to turn out the vote in historic proportions.”

While most Latinos tend to vote Democratic, that shouldn’t make their vote an automatic given. Many Latinos have cast doubt over the party in recent years, some even pointing anger towards former President Obama who deported more than three million undocumented immigrants. 

The ALU wants to change the narrative on the 2020 election not being just about a party but about having your voice heard. The 2018 midterm elections saw some momentum when it came to the Latino vote as about 40.4 percent of eligible Latino voters came out to the polls, about 11.7 million voters in total, according to the Pew Research Center

“American Latinos United can stop him. We are everywhere. All across the country—around kitchen tables, in-office conference rooms, on busways and buses, in town halls— American Latinos are talking, planning, gathering force and strength,” the ALU website reads. “We have the power to stop Trump. And we can shine the unwavering light of truth on the corrupt Republican party that enables him.

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