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.
Tango innovator Astor Piazzolla. Since the early 60s, Piazzolla lead groups that played an updated tango that connected this Argentinian form with musical innovations from Europe and America, both classical and contemporary. The adjustments had earned him the enmity of Argentinians, and for the most of the 70s he lived in France where he wrote film scores. Piazzolla was a classically trained composer who wrote symphonies and studied with Nadia Boulanger, the renown French instructor of composition. Piazzolla died July 4th, 1992.
Chilean novelist Isabel Allende. She's the niece of Chile's ousted President Salvador Allende, who was assassinated during the 1973 coup there. Allende left Chile after the military coup and went to Venezuela. She moved to the U.S. five years ago after falling in love with an American, and now lives in California. Her newest book "The Infinite Plan," (HarperCollins) is about a white American family, and is the first time she's set a story in the United States.
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.