Things That Matter

This Latina Is Running For Congress To Represent Her ‘Hood

When Xavier Becerra was nominated to become California’s next attorney general, he vacated the seat for California’s 34th Congressional District. Upon hearing the news, Wendy Carrillo, a former writer for The Flama and radio host who lives in the district, hoped the seat would be filled by someone who understood her community. So she decided to run for Congress.

The El Salvador-born, Los Angeles-raised Latina is taking a gamble and running for Becerra’s former 34th Congressional District seat. mitú caught up with Carrillo and talked to her about why she decided to pursue public service.

Wendy Carrillo is a Latina taking a chance to represent her community.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I’m motivated by the fact that I believe that we’re in a very pivotal moment in our country’s history in which we need fighters in Washington,” Carrillo told mitú about her run for Congress. “We need people that are completely, 100 percent unafraid to be vocal and be progressive and to bring perspectives that are often ignored in D.C. Being from the district, being an advocate and someone that’s been on the frontline of several movements, I feel like it’s time to step up.”

Carrillo, who once hosted a talk show on Los Angeles radio station Power 106, is doing things a little differently than most politicians.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I have a lot of ideas that are out-of-the-box,” Carrillo says with a laugh about her campaign. “I want to get local radio stations involved in hosting house parties and having fun while we do this. I think, ultimately, it’s about issues and what’s important to you and what’s important to your family. The message that I want to say is that my story is not unique. It’s a story of struggle and survival but it’s also a story that a lot of families are facing.”

Carrillo says running for Becerra’s vacated seat was a pretty simple decision.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I think the district looks like me. I think it looks young; it looks millennial; it looks smart and educated; it looks like it has its own history,” Carrillo told mitú. “So how does a refugee child from El Salvador escaping war become a leader in her community with a graduate degree that’s going to run for office? That only happens here. I’m a homeowner. I’m in the district. I’ve lived in the district. It’s been my stomping ground since I was a little girl. I have lived in every part of the district. It’s literally my place where I work and play.”

So, how does she plan on fighting for her district on Capitol Hill? Simple: “It starts with being vocal and being unafraid.”

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“If I am fortunate and the voters elect me to represent them, that’s the kind of vision that I want to take to Washington. I think it’s important to be unafraid. I think it’s important to use new tools, to be on social media,” Carrillo said. “Things need to change and they only change by having an infusion of new people that have new ideas…. Washington is a place that’s stuck in time. We need people to go in there and shake it up.”

And she is modeling her own approach to politics to that of DREAMers.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I give them 100 percent kudos for changing the narrative through which we looked at the DREAM Act way back in the day when nobody was looking at the DREAM Act,” Carrillo recalled. “The DREAM Act was supposed to pass in 2001 and then 9/11 happened and the country got scared of anybody that was an outsider. The DREAM Act, which would have helped millions of young people in this country, was put on hold.”

As an unconventional politician, Carrillo is open and honest about understanding the frustrations of her constituency.

Wendy Carrillo / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo / Facebook

“I think that we, as a country, need to have a huge overhaul of the electoral process. I would urge our young Latinos and our young people to get involved with the party and fix it from the inside out and demand, as a party, that we start having real discussion to eliminate the Electoral College,” Carrillo told mitú. “If the election would have been counted by the popular vote, then Secretary Clinton would be our president. I would also say that it’s not always about a presidential race. There are many local races to get involved in that have a lot of local impact. We tend to look at it like having to vote on a presidential election and having to vote to make a difference, and it does. The voting and actual direct impact comes from the community.”

“I believe I am the candidate that can represent the whole district,” Carrillo said.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

Carrillo added: “People should vote for me because they believe in the ideals that America has the opportunity to be the country of what can be and what should be.”


READ: Why The NoDAPL Movement Has A Deeper Meaning For Me As An Afro-Indigenous Caribbean Latina

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Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

berniesanders / Instagram

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is once again touting what he sees as the benefits of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The Vermont senator first made comments praising parts of Castro’s Cuba in a 1985 interview. Now, 15 years later, Sen. Sanders is standing behind his idea that not everything is bad in Cuba in a 60 Minutes interview.

Senator Bernie Sanders is facing backlash from critics after his 60 Minutes interview because of his comments on Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In the 1980s, Sen. Sanders was caught on camera more than once praising parts of the Castro regime in Cuba. He points to the health care and education systems as parts of the government that works for Cuban people. The comments resurfaced in 2019 and caused a backlash against the senator in the Cuban diaspora, whose pains are still fresh from the overthrow of the government.

Now, in a “60 Minutes” interview, the Vermont senator has doubled down on his comments that some of the Cuban government is good.

Anderson Cooper – “What is Democratic Socialism?”

Bernie Sanders – “When Donald Trump was a private businessman in New York, he got $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That’s called Socialism. What Democratic Socialism is about is saying, ‘Let’s use the federal government to protect the interest of working families.’”

BS – “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But, you know, it’s simply unfair to say that everything is bad. You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?”

AC – “There were a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.”

BS – “That’s right and we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear. I do not think that Kim Jung Un is a good friend. I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”

The comments have sparked some backlash on social media from Cubans and Cuban-Americans.

Credit: @marcorubio / Twitter

Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has been a vocal opponent of Socialism. He has used the crisis in Venezuela to solidify his point about the dangers of the government system he believes Sen. Sanders wants to start in the U.S. Yet, Sen. Sanders’s point is not that the Castro regime is good. In the “60 Minutes” interview, the senator made it clear that he does not support the Castro regime and the brutality it caused for the Cuban people. However, he does believe there are things we can learn from the Caribbean island about offering health care and education to the population.

One point of contention with the senator’s comments is that the Cuban people didn’t fight back because of the new programs.

Credit: @DebbieforFL / Twitter

The Castro regime is known to have oppressed dissidents and political opponents. Speaking out against the authoritarian regime was not safe. People were jailed, killed, and exiled for standing up to Castro’s rise to power. Families fled the island and settled around the world to escape what they saw as a justifiable threat to their lives and sovereignty.

Some people are sharing personal stories of their families’ treatment under the Castro regime.

Credit: @GiancarloSopo / Twitter

The generational trauma created by the Castro regime is still felt today. Some people used Sen. Sanders’s comments as a chance to tell a fuller story of the government some have praised for their social services.

A clip of President Barack Obama speaking on the same social issues in Cuba is also circulating.

President Obama worked tirelessly to reopen relations between the U.S. and Cuba. He was the first sitting president to visit the island when it was announced that diplomatic ties were reopened between the two countries. Part of being able to open those relations was eliminating the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allowed Cuban nationals to stay in the U.S. after migrating. This allowed Cubans to be deported back to Cuba, something that hadn’t happened since Cubans first started to flee their homeland. In response, Cubans illegally in the U.S. have been subjected to ICE raids and detention for the first time because of President Donald Trump’s increasing escalation against the immigrant community.

There is a lot of concern from Democratic supporters that the comment could cost the party Florida in the general election if Sen. Sanders is nominated.

Credit: @IvanBrandon / Twitter

The Cuban and Cuban-American population in Florida is a key demographic to win the state in general elections. His comments cherry-picking what is and is not good about the Cuban government is having a resonating effect in Florida. Cuban Democrats and Republicans in the state are untied in rebuking the senator’s comments as glossing over the true victimization and terror millions faced.

READ: Bernie Sanders Praises Fidel Castro And His Revolution In Cuba During Resurfaced Interview From 1985

AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

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AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

Just when we thought Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) couldn’t shake up the D.C. scene more than she already has, it turns out the congresswoman has a new trick up her sleeve.

Earlier this year in January, news surfaced that the congresswoman had adopted a French bulldog by the name of Deco. In a post to her Instagram page, the progressive Democrat welcomed the pup into the world with a post writing “Hey boo boo! Hi, welcome to our family.”

Now it turns out, AOC’s new pup is meant for the community, so you might have a chance to hang with him if you’re in his side of the hood

View image on Twitter

Responding to a question on Twitter about whether she intended to bring the dog to work, AOC said Deco is meant to be a dog about town.

“The goal is to train him to be a community pup,” she shared in a post that featured him taking a nap in her lap. “Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc. But first, naps.”

According to People.com, AOC’s new Frenchie had been nameless for a few weeks and the congresswoman eagerly collected name suggestions from her followers on twitter.

“He doesn’t have a name yet!,” Ocasio wrote in an Instagram in January. “We are thinking something Star Trek-related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”

Ultimately Ocasio-Cortez did pick a name from suggested from her community.

“As we took [the dog] for a walk…a neighbor suggested we name him after an artist,” AOC explained in an Instagram story. Ultimately the congresswoman and her boyfriend Riley decided to not go for an artist’s name but one inspired by the early 20th-century art deco movement. “We loved the idea, and decided to name him after one of Riley & I’s favorite design styles: Art Deco — which also is inspired by themes of optimism & social and technological progress, and is a fixture in iconic NYC architecture,” she later explained said.

Turns out, AOC’s new French is rocketing to stardom just like his mother.

Earlier this week, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.) shared a photo of herself hanging out with Deco for the very first time and used it as a chance to hype up AOC.

“Making the Capitol better one puppy snuggle at a time: @AOC & Deco,” Pressley tweeted in a post