El Planeta Op-Ed Gets Today’s #NoMames for Calling Gómez a “Latino in Name Only” (LINO)

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak a the Commonwealth Compact’s diversity breakfast at UMASS Boston. One of the questions I addressed was about a Boston Globe op-ed piece I wrote saying that Massachusetts Republican candidate for Senate Gabriel Gómez was being ignored by the national GOP even though he was an appealing Latino candidate. At the breakfast, I made the point that Gómez’s win as the first Latino to every triumph in a statewide primary was historic for Massachusetts politics. Given the ugly racial history Boston has had, people who believe in diversity needed to put aside their political difference aside for just a moment and celebrate the fact that Gómez’s primary win was a step forward in rebranding Massachusetts when it comes to presenting a state that values diversity and opportunity for all.


Personally, I don’t think I will support Gómez just because he is Latino, but I do believe that what he accomplished this year mattered, and that is was a positive sign for my adopted home state.

I guess Jerry Villacrés of Boston’s El Planeta newspaper still wants to live in the past. Today, Villacrés wrote an op-ed in Spanish calling Gómez a Latino in Name Only, a LINO. It was a silly column, one that does nothing to portray Latinos in a positive light, and Villacrés should be ashamed for questioning Gómez’s background and his identity.

Villacrés has every right to claim that Gómez is an outsider to the Latino community and question his politics, but he went too far in the “Latino enough” characterization that belittles the Republican candidate. Would Villacrés have the courage to say the same thing to Gómez’s face or to Gómez’s parents, Colombian immigrants who saw their son become a Navy Seal and a successful businessman? Or what of the fact that Gómez does not have to fit a Latino checklist that others get to determine? No one, and I mean no one, has the right to say that one person is “more Latino” than another. And you wonder why U.S. Latinos will never become a true force in this country: it’s because writers like Villacrés are still stuck in a past era.

What Villacrés writes only divides the community instead of unites us. Yes, Latinos can have different political beliefs, but let’s not forget that there are many things bind us culturally, and Gabriel Gómez is just another diverse voice. He is someone who has broken stereotypes, too. We can still be respectful of someone’s background and still be critical of one’s politics. For example, I don’t think Ted Cruz’s politics are on the mark one bit, but I would never question his family background and his self-identity. The same would go for Marco Rubio or Julián Castro.

I can’t fault Gómez for trying to go after the Latino vote in Massachusetts and if his Colombian roots make him appealing to some, then people should just deal with it instead of cutting him down. Does Villacrés ask the same question of Ed Markey, Gómez’s opponent? Why even create an atmosphere where one Latino goes after another’s Latinidad? Only Gómez can determine his identity, having a writer stoop to such a low level is sad and closed-minded.

Criticize a candidate for his politics, but leave unfounded generalizations about his identity for the amateurs. Villacrés has fallen into a trap that only he can try to defend, because his piece just failed. We can do better as a community. We can still respect people, even if we don’t agree with their politics.

If Villacrés is not careful, I might just vote for Gómez. Does that make me less Latino as well?


Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter) founded LatinoRebels.com (part of Latino Rebels, LLC) in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. This past year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times.

“Social Media Savvy y Todo:” How Online Hispanics Are Crafting The Message and Changing Politics

GUEST POST BY Melissa Salas Blair, founder of Puentes Research and Communications, Inc.

Earlier this year, "the chimichanga heard round the United States" was interesting not just for the fact that Jim Messina, Obama 2012's campaign manager, tweeted the following  —"Line of the day from WAPO's Dana Milbank: 'The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos"—  but for the fact many Hispanic voters from both sides of the aisle were insulted, and social media stepped in and stepped in quickly.

In less than 10 minutes, even though there were tweets of support for Messina, there were also just as many tweets tweets calling for him to apologize. Blog posts then followed, then full-blown articles, then radio and televisions shows added the ‘scandal’ into their programming schedules. And it all started with a tweet, in 140 characters or less.

"Chimichanga-gate" confirmed that there is now a rapid response time by online Hispanics on both sides of the political spectrum. In days long gone, it would have taken some time for a response, and the usual organizations who often speak out would have taken the throne, but not anymore. Left-, middle-, and right-leaning Hispanics are taking control of their words, their messages, and speaking out via Hispanic-owned and/or managed media. And this list of outlets is growing: Latism, Fox News Latino, NBCLatino, the Huffington Post's "Latino Voices"VOXXI,  as well a myriad of popular independent journalism sites such as this page, the Latino Rebels.

Hispanics are speaking out against rhetoric hurled by all sides, left and right, as well as both political parties. And, no one is "safe," which Geraldo Rivera found out rather quickly—very quickly. For example, this page (and others) had a blog post about Geraldo’s controversial statements up within minutes, followed by massive social media buzz, inspiring NBC Latino to cover Geraldo’s unfortunate remarks. It was a STOP IT chanclazo heard by all, and felt by Geraldo!

In recent years Hispanic communities have become the fastest-growing population of tech-savvy individuals. A report by 360i Digital Connections found that “in the last year, the number of Hispanics using social media grew 38% (more than double the 16% growth rate for the general population).” It’s fascinating to see the changes and growth, but also more importantly, how Hispanics are utilizing social media.

In the past much of it was used to support one political party or the other. To support one policy position versus another. But, now you find more Hispanics from all cultural backgrounds and all sides of the political arena apoyando each other and openly discussing policy stances that many on the left, the middle, and the right agree on, like comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) and some versions of the DREAM Act. Not only is social media increasing the reach of the Hispano voice, but it’s making it possible for Hispanics to work together on issues and policies for the greater good of all Americans and their families. It’s allowing for unity in many cases, or at the very least respectful discussions and debates like never before.

I believe the greatest lesson for all is this: careful what you say on social media and in the mainstream media, because you never know where the next chanclazo is coming from or from which direction — left or right! And, you don’t want to be known as the person who got a #NoMames award. That’s just embarrassing.

Decision 2012: Latinos Missing in Action on Sunday Morning Network News Shows

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Last March 2011, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) launched the Art of Politics Impact Project to address the lack of Latino commentators and guests on the four network Sunday news shows: ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday, and NBC's Meet The Press. The Art of Politics Impact Project is being implemented in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Being Latino (BL), The Libre Initiative (TLI) and 16 other national Latino organizations.

After reviewing 149 broadcasts over 9 months, NHFA found that only 10 Latino men were invited as guests and commentators. Most of them appeared more than once and some were invited both as guest and commentator. The individual breakdown by show is as follows: ABC's This Week included 5 Latinos; CBS's Face the Nation (1) had 2; FOX News Sunday had 4; and NBC's Meet The Press had 7.

Latinos accounted for 5 percent of the combined number of appearances in these four shows. However, if Juan Williams, a regular FOX commentator, is subtracted from this equation, Latino appearances on Sunday morning shows drop to 2 percent.

NHFA and its key partner organizations met individually with the executive producers of each Sunday show and in three instances with the staff of the broader news divisions. "While all networks expressed a desire to include more Latino guests and commentators," said Felix Sanchez, NHFA Chairman and Co-founder "the networks have not kept pace with the demographic reality of the Nation. For example, in 2010 the Latino vote had a greater impact on Congressional and Senate races than the Tea Party, but that analysis came after the mid-term elections, not before," said Sanchez.

The Sunday news shows summarize the week's top political stories and preview the upcoming week's news narrative. These network centerpiece news shows impact and influence the top national political issues of the day.

"Decision 2012 is upon us and every Sunday morning Latino voices are absent from key interviews and from political discussions," said Esai Morales, actor and NHFA Co-founder. "Not only are the networks missing an important part of the story, but they are passing up an opportunity to increase Hispanic viewership across all news shows," concluded Morales.

For nine months, NHFA categorized the guests and commentators on the four network news shows. The extensive findings are included in our report available at www.artofpolitics.us.  

"While Latinos occasionally appear on these shows, the networks are inconsistent in whom they book as Latino guests or commentators," said Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, NHFA's Director of Media Diversity Initiatives, "Although there are minute fluctuations over the 9-month period, the data clearly shows that Latino presence on network Sunday talk shows is flat."

About NHFA: The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 by actors Esai Morales, Sonia Braga, Jimmy Smits, Merel Julia and Washington, D.C. attorney Felix Sanchez to promote Latinos both in front of and behind the camera.

(1) Face The Nation's 30-minute format limits the number of guest and commentators that can be invited to the show.

Contact: Gretchen Sierra-Zorita
[email protected] 
202-293-8330 Office

Tequila Party Founder García Blase Accused of Harassing Radio Guests

The political saga of Tequila Party founder and former head of Somos Republicans Dee Dee García Blase continued this weekend as Arizona's The Lou Show followed up with information that García Blase had letters sent by lawyers to radio guests who had shared opinions about her recent actions.

This is a segment from the show.

Video streaming by Ustream

Citing His Busy Lecture Schedule, Democratic Consultant Agustín “Gus” García Leaves Tequila Party Leadership

In May, Agustín "Gus" García, a Latino political powerhouse who was one of Hilary Clinton's top consultants for her 2008 presidential bid, was identified by CNN as the Tequila Party's top political strategist. During that time, García said the following to CNN:



"I think first you have to understand the humor of calling it the Tequila Party. We are a culture that likes humor," the movement's main political consultant, Agustin "Gus" Garcia, told CNN.

"We're not Puritans. Humor is part of our politics as well. We could have called it the 'Cafe con Leche Party.' You have to laugh because there is no logic in racism."

As the fall approaches, García is no longer involved with the Tequila Party, citing his busy lecture Latinization of America Lecture Series schedule.

García, a Democrat, had joined forces with Somos Republicans founder and Tequila Party leader Dee Dee García Blase to launch the Tequila Party on Cinco de Mayo of this year. The duo made several high-profile media appearance, yet could not garner the national support they sought among Latino voters.

We reached out to García Blase for comment and have yet to hear from her. The Tequila Party organization recently had its articles of organization rejected by Arizona's Corporate Commission.


Arizona Corporate Commission Denies Approval of National Tequila Party

In a move that has discredited its founder, the Arizona Corporate Commission recently rejected an application by the National Tequila Party Movement to incorporate itself in Arizona as a domestic limited liability corporation.

The Tequila Party organization, founded by Somos Republicans founder Dee Dee Blase Garcia, in essence is not a legitimate organization, as defined by the Arizona Corporate Comission. Arizona listed a "potential name conflict" that potentially invalidates the Tequila Party. The current application expired last week.

We did reach out to both Somos Republican and Blase Garcia for comment, but they have not returned our requests.


Somos Republicans and Tequila Party Founder Dee Dee García Blase Lists Her Platform

So what is the platform of The Tequila Party?

Is it this, which comes from their official page?

A movement to celebrate Latin culture while promoting a massive non-partisan national  Latino 2012 voter registration drive.  To promote  participation in the early ballot system.  To increase political awareness that will increase participation during the Primary Elections as well as the  General Elections.

Or is it this, which is the Somos Republicans mission statement, which was founded by Dee Dee García Blase, the spokesperson and founder of the Tequila Party?
Our Core Principles are to support the Right to Life, Free Market Capitalism, Low Taxes, Small Government, Second Amendment, Traditional Marriage, and a Humane Immigration Reform that fits our Free Market economy and labor.

· The Community. Many politicians while running for office may promise, or say things for a political post, or because they are in a temporary state of campaign. As a result, politicians come and go. But our is goal to work in concert with those who wish to address and solve the issues vital to the well-being of our community.

· Right to Life.  We respect the dignity and right to life of every innocent human person, born and unborn. We believe that laws should protect the right to life of all innocent human beings and that no law should be passed that denies this right to life. Abortion is a crime against both the person and the community and therefore should be proscribed in law. We believe that parents are the first teachers and guardians of their children and that government should respect the rights of parents to protect and teach their children. Government should never fund any activity that would harm the innocent human being. Finally government should pass laws that support those who wish to place their children for adoption and those who wish to adopt them.

· Limited Government. The Constitution is based on the principles of a “small but energetic” government to provide the means to protect the freedoms of individuals from arbitrary use of government. To secure our individuals Rights, therefore, there is an inherent need of government to remain limited to prevent any arbitrary authority and violation of Natural Rights and freedoms. These principles were set to limit the role of government and should remain so.

· Free Market Capitalism. In emphasizing individual Rights, we believe that individuals know better when it come to the self-interests than government.  The principles of free market capitalism are the principles of economic freedom and liberty. Each person should pursue their own economic interests and compete with others to better themselves, as they serve their self-interests freed from government interference. As a result, this creates an equality that is good for society and individuals. More importantly, under individual initiative, success depends on individual efforts.

·  Low Taxes. High taxes are essentially a distribution of wealth and it hinders economic freedom.  As result, high taxes hinder economic freedom and growth, and its distribution of wealth mechanism fosters little or no initiative on workers and the entrepreneurial class.

· Second Amendment: Because our Godly Natural Rights–such as Life and Liberty and property rights–precede government, the Constitution guarantees the “right to bear arms” as the means for protection for private property, or an arbitrary government.  Men were equal in their Natural Rights. The state was formed through a mutual “contract” to protect those Rights. Thus, such this right should never be taken away by government or anybody else.

· Humane Viable Immigration Solution. Tough immigration is not a conservative “value” but rather an issue.  This issue needs to be dealt with in a manner that directly affects the well-being of our community. We believe this issue has been largely ignored, and it has placed Republicans and our community in a predicament which is inconsistent with the economic realities of our Free Market Capitalism, labor demands, and humanitarian tradition. Therefore, it is imperative that we promote a viable solution to this dilemma that is in concert with our economic demands. Such humane and viable solutions ought to resonate with ideals of President Reagan, Bush, and Conservative Think Tanks–such as the Goldwater Institute, the Hoover Institution, and CATO–that, too, have argued that a solution to this predicament is long over due.

Our Rebel Jefe @julito77 Responds to Comments from Founder of Tequila Party

We normally don't do this, but once in a while, we get a bit rowdy when it comes to answering personal attacks.

Today, Tequila Party founder Dee Dee García Blase went after our founder @julito77 and the Rebels with some comments that lacked intelligence and a true desire to unite US Latinos.

It appears that García Blase has no interest in working with anyone who challenges them and their silly name.

Senator Marco Rubio’s Hot Buzz Speech on the Floor of the US Senate

So, it appears that the the Marco Rubio Republican Vice Presidential campaign has begun. The Florida Senator spoke last week on the Senator floor about the debt ceiling legislation. It has gotten a lot of buzz very quickly, with over 450K views on YouTube.


Here is his speech from the Senate floor.

And a bonus video in Spanish from Telemundo.

POLL: Would you change the name of the Tequila Party?

Let’s be clear to everyone involved. We think that the intentions of Somos Republicans and the Tequila Party are good ones, only when it comes to actually educating Americans about short-sighted anti-Latino policies that are being promoted by mostly Republican individuals.

However, we have been very clear in saying that we think the name Tequila Party is an insult to all people of Latino origin. We have asked Tequila Party founders to change their name, but they have laughed at our face—so much so that one if its founders Gus García said that we insulted him.

So, instead of us saying how much the name sucks (you can read our reasons here), we have created a poll that will ask YOU, our amazing readers: Would you change the name of the Tequila Party? If so, what name would you use.

Let us know by answering this poll.