tv Tavis Smiley PBS April 12, 2013 12:00am-12:30am PDT
tavis: good evening from los angeles, i'm tavis smiley. tonight part two of our conversation with latino thought leaders call latino nation beyond the numbers with more than 50 million latinos calling the united states home, i think it's safe to say as the latino community goes, so goes america. we dig deeper into the concerns and challenges facing this growing community. we assembled a panel at chicago state university. joining us are mary rose wilcox, avid montejado from u.c. berkley. ana navarro. luis gutierrez from the illinois fourth congressional district, antonio gonzalez president of the william c. velazquez
institute. hector, chairman of the latino coalition and we're glad you joined us. beyond the numbers starts right now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had said it's always the right time o do the right thing. i just try to live the right way by doing the right thing every day. we have a lot work o to do. wal-mart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we could tamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
[applause] >> hell oh, my name is tavis smiley and i'm honored to be moderator for this conversation called latino nation beyond the numbers. let me ask you to welcome our panel for those in the audience. i'm delighted to have this opportunity to sit amongst these influences. to talk about the issues that are important to all americans and especially in particularly and uniquely to the latino community. but there are so many issues that matter to these fellow citizens that so often we don't get the benefit and i mean that sincerely we don't get the benefit to hear about the things that are important to them, education and uninforming and underinforming and housing and crime and health care and even foreign policy. ask yourself when the last time you saw a stage full of latinos
talking about foreign policy. let's talk about foreign policy for a second. antonio is headed, i know, headed to venezuela in a few days and we all know the passing of hugo chavez. there is great conversation and consideration -- concern really about what happened in the region. there's a broader conversation about u.s. policy in latin america, in central america. so there's a lot on the table that we could talk about. give me a sense -- since we're talking about it, why you're going to venezuela? >> i'll be part of the observation process. i'm invited be the national electoral council of vedges. so i'll -- of venezuela. i'll be arriving at polls. although he was demonized in the united states.
in latin america there's quite a different perspective on not only hugo chavez but the reform process that has been spreading in south america. they call it the pink revolution where socialists, the president and congresses have been voted in in very participatory democratic election process and has instituted changes, redistributed wealth, reclaimed natural resources from trans national corporations, voted in new progressive constitution, and it seems to be an enduring process. it started with chavez in venezuela. spread to brazil, then to gentina, you are gay, -- uruguay, bolivia, ecuador.
in essence we're looking at the beginning of the european community type of situation in south america that is -- still has relations with the united states but much of their trade is within -- among themselves and to other developing countries. will it continue, that's the question? will it continue? will it revert to a situation -- i've met with many consider u.s. domination of the region. i'll give a report when i get back. >> i'll put a blue card with the staff. you mentioned trade a moment ago. 40% of u.s. exports go to latin america. 40% of ex-pors go to latin america. in a 2012 survey a full 40% of the population in venleds,
argentina, mexico, bolivia, chile and uruguay do not trust the u.s. government. so what about our years to come with our relation in the years to come? >> latin americans have a healthy distract of the united states for a reason. the united states has a 150 years of military intervention or unfair economic relations with many, many latin american countries. it is -- that is inviewed into the world view of latin america. at the same time that there is an admiration to american prosperity to american democracy. so there is sort of a schizophrenic view towards the united states. it changes depending on american leadership. bredth of u.s.
business is chomping at the bit to get to cuba. we don't know when that's going to happen, when that is. everybody knows. everybody poised. they're running to cuba to americanize it as quickly and as aggressively as we possibly can. your thoughts on u.s. relations with cuba in the coming months as we move past eventually the castro era. >> i don't think it's a question of if. i think it's just when. i know a lot of my friends in florida are much closer to this issue. i think things have been opening up. i think one of the things that you see is the second and third generation of cuban americans have a very different perspective and opinion of what cuba's all about now and in the future. by the way, i think a lot of our businesses when they get there, they'll billion late because, you know, the europeans have already been in there, making investments and building and doing things m i want to go back
to something antonio said because i think it's important. we have to engage latin america much, much more than we ever have before. the world has changed. and yes, there is some history in latin america. by the way, when i'm in latin america, i tell them that they've got to change too. they've got to become more competitive. a lot of those folks that also harbor ill-will to the united states harbor a lot of ill-will to their governments and things that have been done to them as welcome. a country like mexico is critically important. we share a border with each other. they're our second largest trading partner. they're going to be our major economy in the fiche future. we hear the bad news and yes there is bad news along the border and the drug war and things of that nature but there is also incredible things that are happening there as well -- >> i want to ask you to let me issue thata, it's an it's very close to my heart.
>> i've been raised among so many cubans, the victims of fidel castro, the children of those prisoners, children that were executed by the cuban government. when are we going to go there? we're going to be there when they let us. governments have been complicit with a repressive regime that have taken their human rights and dignities for 54 years and a government that have stood against that. so we are not going to go into cuba not even if president obama wants to do it. i am tired of hearing political candidates tell me when they come to miami how much attention they're going to pay to latin america only to put it in the bucket of neglect once they get elected because there's always an excuse of why it doesn't happen. but i think we cannot forget
that just 90 miles from the shores of florida live people who have lived without freedom for 54 years. tavis: supervisor, i wonder because oftentimes we don't connect these dots. but i wonder how our relation or lack there of with cauntri like mexico or a country like mexico ultimate impacts the domestic agenda, how that relationship impacts what happens in a state like arizona? >> sonora has had very, very good relation -- trade relationship is tremendous. that got affected -- the arizona-sonora mexico commission practically came to a halt. you to have respect on both sides of the border and that was not seen for a very long time. i really think and i am going back a little bit to further
comments that were said. we will see immigration reform pass because of the economics of it. you know, the economics of it have affected arizona and the rest of the nation now tremendously. you can ask any mayor along the border, any of the towns along the border and we what stopped is the trade element. you used to have people come into arizona and i used to see again that ebb and flow of trade that has been stop. we have to start it again. but we have to have respect so question build. the other things you'll probably get into are drugs. we have seen just an influx of cartels. and we have got to get a hold of that money that has come in and out. we don't know what's driving that whole issue. and that's one issue that we have to take together with mexico. tavis: do you take our drug war seriously or do you think it's more a joke? >> i never take drug wars as a
joke because i've seen the devastating effects of them. but i do think sometimes they're exaggerated for political purposes. and i think we have to go get the systemic cause and stop it there. that goes into whole other hings, house issues, education issues and the poverty issues that we see. >> so many relates to domestic policy in those countries but conversely we do not pay attention to how our domestic policy have international implication. our drug policy and its implications for latin america is the most pronounced example. as we continue this discussion about immigration reform, i think we have to recognize that our immigration policy can have an effect on other countries. >> the number one expression of the point that you are asking about the relationship between our policies and latin america
has to be the 40-year-old drug war. the 40--year-old drug war, well, in america it's doubled or tripled or prison population. so instead of spending money on schools, we're spending prisons. tavis: many of them brown. >> and black. tavis: of course. of course. >> and in latin america it's made, for example, marijuana worth more than gold. so you do that by creating a black market and putting military and police forces to enforce that black market in the united states, you create a criminal enterprise that criminal enterprise has fostered one war in colombia and no fostering are war in mexico. hundreds of thousands of civilians, casualties. billions -- i mean, who would have thought, right, there's
more military intervention in latin america today than there ever was when there was a spector of fighting communism. -to-the phrase that i love and absolutely true about the latino community which makes it somewhat different from the black experience we were comparing to it earlier and that is that beautiful phrase of self-organize in this moment, i see all this energy, all that enthusiasm, all this fightback and with all respect, but i don't see a latino leader which is a beautiful thing. it always happens that latinos get put into what i call the black-white paradigm, right? and the rules for those communities sort of get applied to latinos. what i want to suggest to you is that america has to realize that that paradigm was for then but now this is now. and, latinos are 50 million
people. put me any country in the world with 50 million people and ask the question who's your leader and the answer is well, there's not just one. this or don stall organization makes us -- horizontal organization makes us resilient. it allows us to resist 1070. it allows us to resist e-verify. it allows us to respect that take your heart but they can't because we are very horizontal. we're not vertical. tavis: adriana? >> i think another distinction between the latino community and the african-american is the cultural connection. at what'san look back happening in latin america, how we need be more engaged, we must be more engaged because even within second and third generation tool a lesser extent there is a tremendous cultural connection to another land, to a home country.
and so that actually impacts the way we act. so i mean, in my work, in environment we see it. you see a lot of activism coming from latin america and actually motivating for activism simply because what they are seeing in latin america. tavis: congressman? >> i want to make somebody's life bigger. i remember my mom and my dad. i remember what it was like in the 1950's. and there was nobody here to fight for me. i think i'm not going to waste that opportunity in the congress of the united states. and another thing i want to say before we finish and we leave this context. we have important friends and alies. every member of the black caucus voted for the dream act when it was proposed in 2010 and we passed it in the house of
representatives. in spite of the fact that unemployment among black youth was higher and unemployment. the community and the devastation of the recession is there and in spite of the fact that there were those who want it to put one group against other, they stood with us. >> i mean change is not easy. change oftentimes comes through conflict. it comes through the clash of different perspectives and again, i'm thinking of arizona, i mean, where obviously we have an older generation, older angelo generation that just realized that mexico is next to arizona. and they're reacting to it. so what's going to happen to arizona? or california or texas? i mean, another generation's coming up. they have a whole different perspective. change is going to happen because we have a younger generation coming up. they have a whole entire different perspective. they look at president obama
very different than the oler generation. the black-white paradigm, i think is going to shift. i mean, we've got to get brown in there, you know? and i think that's happening. that is happening. we do not need to have a dramatic kind of upheaval in order to have change that's important. tavis: you want to comment right quick? >> yeah, there are two ways of seeing. either the glass is half empty or the glass is half full. and i like to focus on some of the positive aspects. i've seen a lot of corporation particularly lately between frican-american organizes like naacp, la razza. i've seen the head of la raza, janet and other hispanic leaders join john lewis and retrace the steps back in alabama. i have seen the african-american congress people from south
florida join hands with the republican cuban-american congress people in asking for the freedom of cuba. so i think that there are many, many joint projects that we are doing together. we're getting used to being allies and not being just competitors. we're getting smarter. we've realized that two speak louder than one. and let's face it, it's fun. black and brown, that's a fun combination. if you ever go to a black and brown party, it doesn't get much better than that. tavis: i'm down to my last few minutes. i'm a student of history i -- i want to role this tape so see what you told me, what your greatest hope was and your greatest fear going forward. we will start with adriana at the end with her greatest fear and her greatest hope.
>> my greatest hope is that we're going to find a way to truly engage in the full power of the community by solving the immigration and bringing people out of the shadows to own their voices without any fear. and through education to get them to a place where people know what they're talking about and want to talk about what they know and what they've experienced because i think the latino experience is going to enrich our country significantly. tavis:. thank you. hector. >> that we continue this dysfunction that we have in our political system where we can't even agree on 80%. there has to be purity all the way along the line and we don't get solutions. i hope that we can outgrow that. my greatest hope is that latinos are going to achieve their rightful place in society. >> tavis: antonio? >> my greatest hope is that latino politics as its becomes more and more empowered will
help fix this country. broken democracy and will help engender a new era of prosperity and hope for all the population. my greatest fear is that we'll be no better than the ones that broke the system. >> my greatest fear is that the supreme court and others may make decisions that will su press the growth of the latino vote. that includes about the rights act impending now, decisions about arizona's voter registration, but that we'll see more of these and they might succeed in doing that. but my greatest hope is to overcome that with great struggle but we will overcome that. and if the lessons of november 2012 are reinforced and fully
integrated and that lesson is about smart, good policy for the nation, the nation that includes such a growing latino population and solving that issue of the education gap all the way from prekindergarten to higher education. >> my greatest hope is that america's ready to embrace us and to allow us to be fully integrated with them as their brothers and their sisters as we so much want to be and that 11 million can be just like my daughter and my wife and my family and everybody who is protected by the laws of this land, that we bring them out to shadows into the light of day. that's my greatest hope. i really hope that we're going o do it. my fear is -- are we ready to educate them and prepare them to take the reigns because we're a community that's changing america. i want to make sure that we're equipped. my fear is how are we going to
equipped them with the knowledge and the talent to the next century? >> my greatest short term fear is that immigration reform does not pass and immigration continues to be a wedge issue used by both political sides to put us against each other and for political gain for themselves. and that it will be very demoralizing for our community d stop the progress and so many issues like education. my greatest hope is that this country becomes one where equality reigns. >> my greatest hope and fear lies in the next generation. that shouldn't be surprising given the fact that i'm a professor. but i have the students in my classes and they're full of energy. they're optimistic. they're ready to take charge. i tell them that you are going to impact, take charge.
and by the way the dreamers that i have among the group, they're just so incredible. i mean, and it's -- they're obvious -- limbo status that makes them so political. but politics doesn't just stop with immigration, it spills over. but at any case, the students that i have, latino, black and white are growing up in a whole different world and looking at it differently that -- differently. the fear i have is how they got here, why they got here. that's the fear i have. that they're going to forget those lessons. and that's my problem, my duty as a historian. tavis: last words. supervisor? your hope? >> my hope is that the terrible repressive legislation has taught america to never do this again and that leads toe
immigration reform. my greatest fear is that -- [applause] tavis: hold it right there tonight. we'll be back tomorrow for our final conversation about latino conversation beyond the numbers. until next time good night from los angeles. thanks for watching. and as always keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley on pbs.org. tavis: join me next time on the final night o our conversation with latino thought leaders about the influence and political power. that's next time. we'll see you then. >> there's a saying that dr. king had. he said it's always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. >> we know that we're only about
halfway to completely eliminate hunger. and we have a lot of work to do. wal-mart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we could stamp hunger out. >> brought to you by american income life and national income life insurance companies, protecting working families. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--