Things That Matter

These Historic Moments Defined Life For US Latinos In The US During The Last Decade

The 2010s have been a tumultuous decade for Latinos in the United States. On one hand, Latino culture and Spanish have made huge leaps towards being acknowledged as part of the mainstream. On the other hand, politicians have created a conflictive environment for being Latino in the United States, as immigration policies toughen up and some political discourse becomes borderline racist. These are some of the moments that defined Latino life in the United States in the 2010s. 

1. This is the decade in which we saw Latin American kids locked up in cages.

Credit: CBP / Department Of Homeland Security

This will be perhaps the most infamous fact about the decade. Latinos in the United States saw how migrant kids were locked up in what are actually cages as they were separated from their families and kept under custody of Border Patrol authorities.  

2. Juan Gabriel and Jose Jose died, sending US Latino abuelitas everywhere on a singing spree.

Two of the greatest Mexican singers of all time, adored by tias and abuelitas everywhere, passed away during the decade. Juanga died on 2016 and Jose Jose took his last breath in Miami in 2019. Both deaths were shocking and sent the Spanish-speaking Internet on a meme and condolences frenzy.  

3. DACA was approved by Obama and now Trump wants to get rid of it and the fate of thousands remain uncertain.

Credit: Jeff Chiu / Getty

Barack Obama kept the hopes of millions of DREAMERS alive by pushing DACA, an act that delays action towards people who arrived to the United States as kids and do not have a full citizenship status. As has been the case with most things that Obama did, Trump is now trying to reverse it and DACA sits en la cuerda floja. 

4. Mexican filmmakers ruled over the Oscars, and made strong political statements as they were crowned kings of the movie business.

The Four Amigos, the group comprised by Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu, along with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, dominated the Oscars. The directors won 5 of the Best Director awards of the decade and whenever they took the stage they talked about immigrant rights and basically Latino awesomeness. 

5. Trump made that infamous speech calling Mexican migrants “rapists” among many other racist, wrong, and troubling comments.

Credit: CNN News

In part he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

He set the tone of his presidency right from the beginning, when he announced he was running. This vile remark drew the ire of the Mexican government and Mexicans in the United States. There is no coming back from words like these. Latino companies started to break business ties with him following the remarks. These words will resonate forever when we think of how Trump began his path to the White House and the tone of his presidency. 

6. Three letterS: A.O.C. Love her or hate her, she has disrupted politics and that is a fact.

Credit: Desus & Mero / Showtime / Giphy

Some people think she us the next big thing in American politics, while others, perhaps not being used to respect women in power, dismiss her as a know-it-all. Fact is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has redefined the place of Latinas in US politics and is one of the most articulate people in Congress today. 

7. Andy Ruiz Jr became the heavyweight champion of the world (briefly).

It was hard to believe, perhaps too hard. Andy Ruiz Jr, a Mexican-American boxer, became the heavyweight champion of the world in early 2019 by knocking out the undefeated British champ Anthony Joshua. It was a surreal moment that made Latinos proud. Sadly, Ruiz did not train for the rematch, gained weight and was soundly defeated over 12 rounds. 

8. Latino women got more and better representation on mainstream television.

Credit: Jane The Virgin / ABC / Giphy

The 2010s saw two shows in particular that represented Latinas in a more nuanced and truer way than your usual hot mamacita fare. Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time demonstrated that Latinas can lead a show and be fabulous and intelligent and proud in doing it. 

9. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.

Credit: Christopher Gregory / The New Yorker

This fatal event brought out the best and the worst in people. It inspired acts of solidarity both in the island and in the United States, where communities came together to support people in need. But it also brought some nasty comments from some people in power that do not even know that Puerto Ricans are actually US citizens. There were also renewed cries for independence after some considered that the response from the federal government was substandard. 

10. The saddest and most impactful photo of the decade: a father and daughter lose their lives trying to cross the border.

Credit: download. Digital image. La Jornada

This photo travelled the world and became the symbol of the plight of millions of people who try to cross the US-Mexico border. A Central American father and his daughter lay on the Rio Grande, having died by drowning. The photo, originally released by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, became viral and triggered countless discussions about migrant rights. 

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

Things That Matter

These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.

However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.

Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.

After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.

Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.

Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.

Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.

Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.

In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.

From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.

Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.

Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.

A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.

Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.

Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.

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The Romance Between Frida Kahlo And Chavela Vargas Gets Renewed Attention As Long Lost Love Letters Are Uncovered

Entertainment

The Romance Between Frida Kahlo And Chavela Vargas Gets Renewed Attention As Long Lost Love Letters Are Uncovered

Jorge Silva / Getty Images

Frida Kahlo’s paintings perfectly show the artist’s whirlwind of emotions throughout her life. Her art gives a look into her passions, her pains and her loves, which went far beyond Diego Rivera. 

It’s long been known that the prolific artist had many loves throughout her life, both men and women, and including many major personalities of their time. Everyone from Tina Modotti and the politician León Trotsky were on that list in addition to her longtime companion, Diego Rivera. However, one of Kahlo’s great loves and of whom little is said was the singer Chavela Vargas.

Chavela, who was 12 years younger than Frida, spoke on several occasions about the love she had for Kahlo when her musical career began to take off, while she was “a child.” And thanks to recently discovered love letters we have a new perspective on this little known relationship.

New love letters give us details into the romance between Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas.

Although Chavela had claimed to have destroyed all of the love letters she received from Frida Kahlo, new love letters have recently been discovered that paint a new light on the romance.

There is one letter Kahlo had written to Carlos Pellicer, a Mexican poet, to express her feelings about the singer. She told him that after meeting Chavela she felt attracted to her from the very first moment – in some pretty steamy language.

“Today I met Chavela Vargas. Extraordinary, lesbian, what’s more, I wanted her erotically. I don’t know if she felt what I did. But I think she’s a liberal enough woman, that if she asks me, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to undress in front of her. How many times do you not want to get laid and that’s it? She, I repeat, is erotic. Is it a gift that heaven sends me?”, wrote Kahlo.

It was shortly after Kahlo wrote that letter that Chavela went to live with her and Diego at La Casa Azul. In another recently discovered letter, Vargas writes – of her time at Casa Azul – that she felt very happy and in love, as well as loved by Kahlo.

“She taught me a lot of things and I learned a so much. Without giving away too much, I held the sky with my hands, with every word, every morning,” she said.

The lovers had an intense relationship that has fascinated fans to this day.

The two had met at one of the many parties Kahlo and Rivera would host at their home in Casa Azul. The couple were prolific entertainers and often threw extravagant parties.

Before her death, Vargas detailed that night’s meeting.

“A painter friend invited me. She said: ‘There’s a party at Frida’s house tonight. Shall we go?’ I went and the atmosphere was full of people. The night passed, we sang, everyone danced, everyone entertained,” Vargas says in the documentary Chavela, released in 2017.

“I was in a daze when I saw her face, her eyes. I thought she couldn’t be a being from this world. Her eyebrows together were a swallow in flight. Without yet having the maturity of a woman in me, since I was a very young girl, I sensed that I could love that being with the most devoted love in the world, the strongest love in the world,” said the singer about Frida.

Although the romance didn’t last long thanks in part to the painter’s relationship with Diego Rivera.

Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Vargas confessed that the romance didn’t last for a long time on the account of having to share the painter’s love with Diego Rivera. According to Vargas, one day Kahlo simply decided to abandon her.

“My words possibly hurt her a lot when I told her I was leaving and she told me: ‘I know. It is impossible to tie you to anybody’s life. I can’t tie you to my crutches or to my bed. Go away!’ And one day I opened the door and didn’t come back,” Vargas said.

Although the singer never spoke about whether she had intimate relationships with the painter, the romance, as well as the great love and attraction they felt for each other is something that cannot be denied.

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