The U.S. has not been the most welcoming place for immigrants seeking refuge from the violence and persecution in Central America. As a result, many immigrants, from places like El Salvador, have sought shelter in nearby Mexico, which often times turns people away, or outright discriminates them for any number of reasons. Members of the LBGTQ community seeking refuge know this as well as anyone. To most of us, the stories of refugees in these situations are just stories, but for those that live them, it’s a reality from which they cannot escape.
In a recent podcast from Latino USA, two men from Central America discuss their harrowing story of love in the time of violence.
The two young men from El Salvador, Mauricio Pérez and Jorge Alberto Alfaro González, discuss how the violent living conditions in their country — both men were targeted by gangs, including MS13 — as well as the culturally taboo nature of their relationship, gave them the courage necessary to seek out a new life in Mexico. Mexico, unfortunately, is a country with the second highest number of hate crimes against the LBGTQ community “in the hemisphere.” This is the reality of their story, which many members of the LBGTQ community face everyday.
It started with a simple tweet: “Aver which one do prefer?” Bryant Sosa Lara (@urfavsalvi) asked Twitter their favorite tamal, alongside a photo of different maíz-featured recipes emblazoned with their corresponding emoji flags. Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan Twitter rose up to toss their votes into the ring, and to defend their nation’s tamal recipe. “And I’m not trying to start an argument lol you’ll be surprised by my answer,” Sosa Lara follow-up tweeted to no avail. Thousands of likes, retweets and comments later, #Guatemala started trending and Sosa Lara had to post the most bien portado video to explain Latin America’s biggest misunderstanding yesterday.
Twitter users were quick to point out that one of these is not a tamal.
The Salvadoran “tamal” is in the center and before you start questioning (like everyone else) why El Salvador is represented by a burrito, don’t. “The salvi tamal is wrapped cause it JUST CAME OUT LA OLLA IT WAS HOT AF pasmados inútiles,” Sosa Lara defended. Guatemaltecos rose from their graves to point out that their representative dish is not a tamal. “Guatemalan tamales are wrapped in banana leaf wtf,” tweeted one Guatemalteca. “Those are chuchitos,” another Guatemalteca pointed. Pretty soon, everyone and their mother were trying to point out that Sosa Lara was wrong.
“Thats not a Guatemalan Tamale. The ones from Guate are made using a banana leaf and is like twice the size of Mexican tamales,” tweeted one Señor Leo (@SenorLeo_). “Guatemalan tamales are wrapped in a banana leaf that are then individually wrapped in aluminum foil so that they’re as moist as possible,” tweeted Ivan Ortega (@IvanOrtega94). Others were perplexed AF, tweeting cropped photos of the Guatemalan dish and asking, “que en the f*** es esto?” Someone else hilariously joked, “Damm Guatemalan joints are FIREEEEE”
Guatemalan Twitter educated the lost and confused: “It’s a Chuchito, it isn’t really a Guatemalan Tamale.”
“ES LA MISMA MIERDA!!!!! people really trippin cuz this man displayed a chuchito 💀” an incredulous tweeter shared along with a screenshot of a Google image search of chuchitos. Guatemalan chuchitos are usually much firmer and smaller than Mexican tamales but are prized for the salsa and curtido that comes with it. While Guate chuchitos are made with maís like Mexican tamales, in Guatemala, a tamal is always wrapped in a banana leaf and made of potatoes or plantains.
“Lmao leave it to a salvadorian to start a full on war 🇬🇹,” someone else tweeted.
Even though Sosa Lara never called them tamales, the Internet got confused and started dissing Guatemala, enraging Guatemalans.
“Guate with the sad a** tamal. that jaunt ta mal,” tweeted one Francisco. Of course, no proud Guatemalteca would allow their country’s tan rico tamales and chuchitos to be so misunderstood. “That ain’t no Guatemalan tamal that’s a chuchito,” one Adrienne responded. A dialogue commenced. “Ma’am that’s the word used to described a small dog in Salvadorian lingo. Example: “El perro de blues clues es un chuchito”. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk,” Francisco replied. “Well in guate it’s what that pic tries to pass as a traditional tamale,” Adrienne responded. Okay, alright, we see you.
But Lara Sosa *never* once called the chuchito a tamal and had to post a video to clarify and end the war.
“Why they diss our tamales like that?? It don’t even look like this?? 🇬🇹” tweeted @muertoculo. Sosa Lara took time out of his life to individually respond to the offended Guatemaltecos to tell them, “Scroll down and look at my video pasmado.” In the video, Sosa Lara took a moment to politely educate the people who called him “uncultured swine.” To all the folks who came out to angrily tell Sosa Lara that the chuchito isn’t a tamal… he knows. After people watched the video, there was only one conclusion to be made: that man es bien portado. He politely recited all the shade he got and spoke “con todo respeto.”
Y’all. The Chuchito won anyway.
Though Sara Martinez has an idea that could give us peace on earth. Why do we have to compare what the word “tamal” means in different countries? Her bid for world peace is to just compare dishes, regardless of their name, based on their ingredients. “K, first off: chuchitos are not even in the same level and they still won. Second, We need to start comparing husk with husk tamales and banana leaves with banana leaf tamales. Masa with masa and masa de papa with masa de papa. Don’t trip,” Guatemalteca Sara Martinez tweeted, enforcing universally respected tamal rules.
The wave of Latino talent in Hollywood has been widely publicized. Of course we know of the Three Amigos, the trio of Mexican filmmakers who have taken the industry by storm and basically dominated the Academy Awards. Or Salma Hayek and Jaime Camil, who have become mainstream celebrities through their talent and hard work. But there are other stories of indomitable resilience and talent that involve Latin American creativity behind the cameras. Hollywood is a vicious industry where just a few succeed (Los Angeles is full of individuals whose dreams have been crushed by the industrial entertainment complex), but every once in a while there are success stories that make our hearts sing and our Latino pride soar. Enter Edwin Aguilar, who is currently an assistant director for one of the longest running and most iconic shows in television history: The Simpsons.
Edwin Aguilar is a true example of Latino talent in Hollywood, and how migrants can contribute greatly to American culture and business.
Edwin’s story is truly amazing. He was a Salvadorian child suffering from the consequences of the endless civil war that has enveloped the Central American nation, on and off for decades. As a child, he used to collect soda bottle caps with cartoon drawings. He would crush the caps and keep them. He would also retrace the cartoon characters he saw on the newspapers, iconic images like those of Felix the Cat, Donald Duck and “Periquita” . Among his favorite characters were also Chuck Jones’ The Looney Tunes. Years later, Chuck Jones would become his boss, as reported a few years ago by the Spanish-speaking newspaper La Opinion.
He escaped war as a child and picked up on his passion when he emigrated to the United States.
Credit: download. Digital image. La Opinion
Like many Salvadorian boys, Edwin was at risk of being recruited by paramilitary forces and be made to fight in the conflict. This of course could only end in trauma or death. So in 1982, when he was just 9-years-old he crossed the border and then grew up in East Los Angeles, first as an undocumented migrant. He told La Opinion that as a boy he would hide in the corn fields with his friends, and they would find deceased human bodies and severed hands. So the life he built for himself in the United States allowed him to exploit his full potential. He continues visiting El Salvador to be in touch with his origins, and he is interested in the social and political history of his home country, particularly on the struggles of the dispossesed
Just look at him working on cute little Maggie.
Edwin, or “Chicle” (“Bubblegum”), as his friends call him, worked for Chuck Jones’ Warner Bros team, and also for Hannah Barbera. Then in 1989 he started tracing for The Simpsons, and he worked his way up until he became one of the leading assistant directors for the show.
Street art was the trigger he needed to unleash the creative beast!
He recently told CNN that the turning point for finding his true vocation revealed itself when he would look at graffiti and feel like the letters were moving. Edwin’s life has been full of firsts: he was the first Latino to be part of Chuck Jones’ team and also the first to have such a prominent place in the production team that has kept The Simpsons alive and well for 27 years.
He even created a Latino cartoon that gives us all the feelings.
With Jose Zelaya, he created the show The Garcias, a sort of Latino family animated sitcom that provides us with everyday situations to which we can relate. There is the grandpa who is forever fixing an old car, or the quinceanera dramas that many Latino families go through. He explains that with Coco’s huge success, the powers that be at Hollywood are open to producing Latino stories. Yes, of course they are looking at the dollar signs, but any progress when it comes to self-representation is to be celebrated, a que no?
Share this story with all of your friends by tapping our little share buttons below!