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Obama meets with Latino leaders on immigration [again] so he can get reelected

April 29, 2011

When I read about the “the President’s Meeting with Influential Hispanics from Across the Country on Immigration” I thought it was a very unfortunate mistake of the Obama administration and an offensive attempt to cover his failure on passing Immigration Reform.

The list of “influential leaders” for this meeting was very… contradictory. They are mostly White, mostly conservative and Republicans, mostly media personalities. Was this meeting really about immigration? It should have been called the White House’s Univision-Telemundo-Estefan summit.

Photo by Latina Lista

Here is what blogger Latina Lista thinks of this controversial meeting:

The press release issued by the White House today that the President was convening yet another assembly of “stakeholders” in immigration reform at first puzzled me. Then, it angered me and finally disappointed me as I scanned the list of invitees for this latest attempt to show the greater Latino community that immigration reform remains in the forefront of this administration’s thoughts.
I wasn’t alone.

President Obama meets with Latino celebrities, journalists and voter advocacy workers at the White House for immigration meeting.

I shared the names of the attendees with readers on my Facebook and Twitter pages. The resulting comments — over 40 — echoed my sentiments: “It’s gotta be a joke,” “You’re kidding me,” “Infuriating,” Ridiculous.”

Yes, it was ridiculous and infuriating (you should see the comments I got in my Facebook).

But after reading the list of “influential Hispanic leaders” that were invited by the White House, it was clear that meeting was not about immigration but about the media personalities who cater to the Latino markets in the U.S, who will be very useful for the Obama reelection campaign.

This is the list of some of the “leaders” invited by the White House:

  • Jose Diaz-Balart: journalist, TV anchor for Telemundo (NBC, General Motors), Cuban-American, brother of U.S. congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Republicans). His aunt was Fidel Castro’s first wife. The Diaz-Balart family is known for his anti-Cuba activism through the infamous Cuban-American National Foundation.
  • Barbara Bermudo: journalist, TV anchor for Univision’s daily news show Primer Impacto, Puerto Rican of Cuban ancestry, married to Mario Andres Moreno, a TV anchor for Univision channel 23 at the Miami, Ft. Lauderdale area.
  • Rosario Dawson: actor, singer, writer and activist, New Yorker of Puerto Rican and Afro Cuban ancestry, she is the co-founder of Voto Latino, she was awarded by president Obama with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
  • Emilio Estefan: musician and producer, Republican, Cuban-American, promoter of the so-called Latino Pop music in the United States, which is racist and Euro-centric in essence. With his wife Gloria Estefan, he hosted in 2010 a $2.5 million fundraising party for the Obama reelection campaign.
  • Lily Estefan: TV host with Univision’s “El Gordo y la Flaca” in Miami, Cuban American, niece of Emilio Estefan, she is married to Lorenzo Luaces, a conservative Republican of Miami.
  • America Ferrera: actor and activist, Honduran American of indigenous heritage, born in Los Angeles, star in Ugly Betty and several Latino-oriented films including Real Women has Curves.
  • Don Francisco: whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger Blumenfeld is a famous Chilean-born TV anchor, known across the Americas for his TV show Sabado Gigante, which was created in 1962 in Chile and broadcast from Miami since 1986. Don Francisco has been accused of helping promote the privatization of Chile’s Social Security and the popularity of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile with his fundraising show “Teleton”. Kreutzberger is of German-Jewish heritage. His show Los Angeles has been accused of being racist, sexist, chauvinist and offensive to many, but Don Francisco remains as a very popular character among Latinos in the U.S.
  • Vanessa Hauc: journalist, TV anchor for Telemundo, commentator, Colombian-born, co-host the TV Show “Al Rojo Vivo” with Maria Celeste at Univision.
  • Maria Teresa Kumar: co-founder and executive director of Voto Latino, a nonprofit that encourages Latinos to register to vote, a political commentator at MSNBC Universal, corporate media adviser, she is member of the Council on Foreign Relations, considered one of the most influential and controversial foreign-policy think tanks in the U.S.
  • Eva Longoria: activist, actor, Mexican-American from Texas, main star at Desperate Housewives, businesswoman, a celebrity that is being outspoken against the racism and machismo that are common among Latinos.
  • Maria Elena Salinas: news anchor, writer, commentator, a Mexican American from Los Angeles, she is well known among Latinos for her work at Noticiero Univision with Jorge Ramos, she is married to Cuban-American news anchor Eliott Rodriguez of CBS-Miami.
  • Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo: radio host, very popular in Southern California where he broadcast in Spanish language “Piolín por la Mañana“, Mexican-born he was an undocumented immigrant, he took credit for the successful 2006 immigration rallies in Los Angeles, Piolin has become a celebrity among Mexicans living in the U.S.

Latina Lista makes her case:

[…] Convening these last two immigration discussions, first with business CEOs and now with Latino celebrities and Spanish network journalists, the White House is “perceived” to not take this issue seriously. It appears to be skirting around it by deliberately not inviting people who can report, yes, with passion, about the daily occurrences in these besieged communities.

If the White House really wanted a constructive conversation, he should invite these very people he’s dreading to sit at the table with and hear the stories they bring, and then provide the leadership to move that conversation ahead to what can be done, what must be done as partners in this issue.

In this case, it’s very important that the Latino community, who may not be Spanish-speaking but who are voters, be included in this conversation because they are part of the solution.

Right now, the impression is that the White House does not want to work with the Latino community to address this issue; otherwise it would work together with the segment of the community that knows the most about the issue, and which ironically his campaign is trying to tap into to resurrect 2008 levels of political support — the grassroots organizations.

Unfortunately for him, these two groups are one and the same.

Again, the meeting at the White House yesterday was not about immigration but it was an effort led by Cecilia Munoz, the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, in order to get the Spanish-language media on board for the reelection plans of President Barack Obama.

We know that there is no way that any legislation on immigration reform or the DREAM Act will be even introduced in Congress before the 2012 elections. As a matter of fact, Immigration is the biggest failure of Barack Obama for Latinos, along with unemployment, underemployment and the housing crisis. Latinos are not better off after 3 years of Obama as president.

Thus, most Latinos are increasingly disappointed with Barack Obama so his administration wants media celebrities to use their ways of manipulation, so that Brown people –mostly Native Americans who speak Spanish- vote for the Democratic Party in 2012.

Obama used the immigration issue in 2008 to get the Latino vote, and he wants to use it again in 2012. But the White House intends to overlook that when Obama lied to our people on many issues, he has lost a lot of votes for his reelection.

Actually, the whole political system of this country has become so corrupted and fake –look who the White House considers as our “influential leaders”- and I am not as enthusiastic as Rosario Dawson (whom I interviewed last night) about the 2012 elections turnout for Latinos.

I think is time for a third Party or a fourth or fifth Party or something. Or maybe the Republicans need to get back into the White House.

At least the folks at the GOP are more honest about their hatred against our communities. Sometimes I feel that with Democrats is “Calm waters above, danger below”, in other words they are moderate Republicans.

Cuidate de las aguas mansas, que de las bravas me cuido yo, says it well.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 7, 2011 5:12 pm

    If 14 millions people find a job, I think the US can talk about giving a list a working permits. If ICE takes care of business in restaurants, construction sites & companies they will find a lot of people working without trusted papers, including some restaurants in Tyson Corner, Virginia.

  2. Larry Munoz permalink
    May 27, 2011 2:32 am

    The Right wing of this country has moved their message through the media. Why should Obama not also use that. Bush in 8 years did nothing. In 2 years Obama has had to tackle some very intense and serious issues. Sure he hasn’t hit immigration…but with a majority of GOP running congress, and every GOP senator against trying …It’s shades of 30 years of the same thing. Obama has a full plate and 1.5 years left in this term….why does everything have to be immediate? The tea party ran and won on the immigration issue..but hispanics are not holding them accountable for their message to win in November. Hold those lawmakers and the majority in the house of representatives accountable equally with Obama. If hispanics will not go after the GOP too then the fight is already lost.

  3. Kevin Alvarez permalink
    May 11, 2011 10:56 pm

    Hit the nail right on the head. It’s like realizing we exist, but the EuroLatin@s still hold more sway and power. Besides, where were all the activists who are working in places like Texas, California, New Mexico, and Florida to deal with the incoming waves of immigrants desperately trying to find work? Were they all busy trying real reform?

  4. April 29, 2011 7:05 pm

    Progress for the continuation of mass media manipulation of our communities? How do you feel about the racial divide among Latinos? Considering that Whites are a minority in our communities, why is that they represent the majority of those “12 super influential Latinos”?

  5. April 29, 2011 6:44 pm

    I see the meeting as progress. It’s not the giant leap we want and demand but it is a step in the right direction.

    Whatever the intent, there was an opportunity for 12 super influential Latinos to literally be at the table with the President. That is progress.

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