Iowa Public Television

 

Iowa Press Special: The Latino Vote

posted on November 3, 2002

Sandoval: THE GENERAL ELECTION WILL HAPPEN TUESDAY, AND THE CAMPAIGNS ARE GOING FAST IN THE FEW HOURS THAT ARE LEFT. TOGETHER WITH TWO MEMBERS OF THE LATIN PRESENT IOWA, WE'RE GOING TO CHECK AND TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH LATINOS, THE LARGEST MINORITY GROUP IN THIS AREA, ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS, THE LATIN VOTE."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS GIVEN BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND TOGETHER WITH THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR OUTREACH AND BEST PRACTICES IN JOURNALISM. IT HAS ALSO BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION, GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS THAT LOVE THE PROGRAMS THAT THEY SEE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

THROUGH IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS A NEW SPECIAL EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." "THE LATINO VOTE," WITH LORENZO SANDOVAL.

Sandoval: ACCORDING TO THE 2000 CENSUS, THE POPULATION OF LATINO INCREASED 153 PERCENT IN IOWA SINCE THE LAST TEN YEARS. THIS IS THE LARGEST MINORITY GROUP OF ANY OTHER MINORITY GROUP IN IOWA. IN THE MEANTIME THAT THE HISPANIC LATINO RESEARCH IS HIGHLY, VERY POWERFUL CULTURAL EDUCATION IN IOWA, THE STRENGTH OF THIS PROGRAM AS AN ELECTORAL GROUP HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN. IN SPITE OF THAT, THE LATINOS HAVE NOT REGISTERED OR VOTED TO A LEVEL THAT WILL SHOW THIS INCREASE. LIKE MANY OTHER IMMIGRANTS BEFORE THEM, THE LATINOS IN IOWA CAME LOOKING FOR A BETTER LIFE. BUT FINDING, THIS MONTH IN DENISON, OF 11 LATINOS THAT DIED IN A RAILROAD TRAIN SHOWS TRAGICLY THE DANGERS OF IMMIGRATION. AND THERE ARE OTHER MATTERS THAT AFFECT LATINOS. MANY LATINOS CONSIDER THE ADOPTION THIS YEAR OF ENGLISH AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF IOWA AS AN ACT OF RACISM. AND LIKE ANY OTHER MEMBERS OF THIS SOCIETY, THE ACCESS TO SERVICES FOR GOVERNMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH EDUCATION, IT'S KEY TO THE COMMUNITY OF LATINOS. BUT WHAT IMPACT WOULD IT HAVE, THIS MATTERS, ON THE LATINO VOTE HERE IN IOWA? TODAY WE HAVE TWO LATINO JOURNALISTS IN IOWA THAT WILL HELP US HAVE THE ANSWERS TO THIS AND OTHER QUESTIONS. I WANT TO INTRODUCE TO YOU THE MEMBERS OF THIS ROUNDTABLE. WE HAVE OSCAR ARGUETA FROM MT. PLEASANT AND THE DIRECTOR OF "EL HERALDO HISPANO," AND JOSE RAMOS, THE DIRECTOR OF "EL LATINO," THE NEWSPAPER FROM DES MOINES. AND THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR TAKING PART IN THIS. WELL, I WANT TO START WITH YOU MR. ARGUETA. "THE DES MOINES REGISTER" RECENTLY WROTE THAT THE CANDIDATES HAVE NOT SPOKEN OR TALKED A LOT ABOUT THE THEME OF IMMIGRATION. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS IS THE CASE, AND SHOULD THEY PAY ATTENTION TO THIS?

Argueta: YES. AND I WANT TO THANK THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE WITH LORENZO SANDOVAL ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT PROGRAM THAT GIVES ITS VOICE TO US, THE LARGEST MINORITY OF THE UNITED STATES. AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR US. AND ALSO, WE HAVE TO HELP THEM. THEY HAVE NOT MENTIONED US IN THEIR CAMPAIGN. WE NEED TO GO TELL THEM, CALL THEM ON THE PHONE, WRITE TO THEM, OR ANY WHICH WAY, LET THEM KNOW THAT THEY HAVE NOT TALKED ABOUT US. AND THEY HAVE NOT DONE IT, AND THAT IS NOT GOOD.

Sandoval: HOW ABOUT YOU, MR. RAMOS? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? SHOULD THEY MENTION THE IMMIGRATION WHEN THEY ARE DOING THESE RACES?

Ramos: OF COURSE. BEFORE THAT, AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK YOU, THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE IN THIS SUCH IMPORTANT PROBLEM, TO BE ABLE TO KNOW WHAT WORRIES OUR AREA IN REGARDS OF DES MOINES AND ALL OF IOWA. AND IN REGARDS TO THE QUESTION, I WAS ALSO READING INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CASE, WHY THE POLITICIANS ARE NOT TOUCHING THE SUBJECT OF LATINOS IN THE STATE. AND I READ THAT BEFORE -- THERE HAS BEEN MENTION ABOUT THIS BEFORE, AND IT WAS USED AS A CAMPAIGN, IF YOU COULD SAY POLITICAL IN REGARDS TO THE GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK IN DES MOINES, WHEN HE SPOKE ABOUT THE PROGRAM OF ATTRACTING IMMIGRANTS TO THE STATE IN ORDER TO COVER THE EMPTY SLOTS OF JOBS. UNFORTUNATELY, FOR HIM, THERE WERE A LOT OF PROBLEMS IN THAT PROJECT THAT HE WAS PREPARING. AND I KNOW THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE, NOT LATINOS BUT ANGLO, THAT YOU COULD SAY THAT WERE, LIKE, AGAINST IN REGARDS TO THIS MISSION. SO I BELIEVE AND I THINK THAT BASING ON THAT EXPERIENCE, THE POLITICIANS NOWADAYS, THE ONES THAT ARE NOW TRYING TO OBTAIN THOSE POSITIONS LIKE IN THE SENATE, LIKE THEY DON'T WANT TO RISK THEMSELVES SO MUCH AND THEY DON'T WANT TO TOUCH THE SUBJECT OF IMMIGRANTS BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO HAVE THE CONSEQUENCES OR THE CRITICISMS THEY WILL RECEIVE MORE NOW THAT IT IS SO CRUCIAL THAT IT WILL BE THE TIME OF ELECTIONS AND VOTES.

Sandoval: IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU THINK IT IS NOT CRUCIAL, LIKE YOU SAY, BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY LATINOS IN IOWA?

Argueta: THIS IS THE REASON I INSIST THAT WE ARE THE ONES THAT SHOULD RAISE OUR VOICE. IF THEY DON'T COME TO US, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GO TO THEM AND TELL THEM WE ARE HERE. WE CANNOT BE IGNORED BECAUSE WE REPRESENT THE STRENGTH, A POLITICAL FORCE, ECONOMICAL, THAT BENEFITS THIS NATION. IT'S ALWAYS HAPPENED LIKE THIS. THIS IS THE SAME CASE. THE THEME OF IMMIGRATION IS NOT A NEW SUBJECT. IT IS STARTED WITH HUMANITY ITSELF. ALWAYS WE'RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BETTER. WE ALWAYS ARE LOOKING FOR BETTER OPPORTUNITIES. WE ARE HERE TO INCREASE THE OPPORTUNITIES. OUR PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES IS A MESSAGE TO EVERYBODY THAT WE WANT TO INCREASE THE OPPORTUNITIES, OPEN NEW ROADS, AND TO FULFILL THE PROCESS -- POLITICAL PROCESS HIGHER, CREATE A NATION THAT WOULD BE STRONGER, MAKE IT STRONGER, GIVE IT MORE STRENGTH. AND VERY SMALL NATIONS -- A LATINO NATION OR ANOTHER, BUT JUST ONE FULL NATION.

Sandoval: BUT, MR. RAMOS, SOME LATINOS COULD SAY THAT, WELL, WHAT VOICE DO I HAVE HERE IN IOWA IF I AM NOT A CITIZEN OF IOWA. WHAT CAN I DO?

Ramos: WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS A REALITY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE, THE LATINOS NOT ONLY IN DES MOINES AND IN IOWA BUT THE WORLD LEVEL, WE SUFFER FROM THE LACK OF UNION. WE ARE WELL KNOWN FOR THAT BECAUSE WE NEVER COME TO ANY AGREEMENT. WE DON'T GET TOGETHER TO PUSH FOR SOMETHING. THAT'S ALWAYS -- IT GIVES THE PHENOMENON THAT, WELL, ONE GROUP DOES ONE THING, ANOTHER GROUP DOES ANOTHER THING, WHEN IT SHOULD BE THE OPPOSITE. I THINK IT SHOULD BE THE BASIS WHERE OUR VOICE SHOULD BE HEARD NOT ONLY HERE BUT ANY OTHER PART OF THE UNITED STATES SO THAT THEY WOULD FIND OUT THAT WE ARE HERE, THAT WE EXIST, THAT THE LATINOS, ENOUGH TO SAY THAT, WELL, THERE'S ONE, THERE'S ANOTHER -- NO, NO, NO. THIS IS JUST ONE VOICE, ONE STRENGTH AND SHALL -- LET'S PAY ATTENTION, THE NECESSARY ATTENTION, BUT FOR THE SAME TOKEN. LIKE YOU SAID IN YOUR QUESTION, THE MAJORITY THAT RESIDES IN THE STATE, YOU COULD FIGURE OUT 80 PERCENT ARE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. THEY'RE PEOPLE THAT ARE WORKING SOME SORT OF JOB IN A FACTORY, AND THE REALITY IS THAT PERHAPS THEY DO NOT HAVE PAPERS. I BELIEVE THAT THAT IS A BARRIER WHICH IT STOPS THAT THE IMMIGRANTS COULD GET TOGETHER ALSO. I THINK THAT THE POLITICIANS OR THE POLITICS IN IOWA SHOULD SIT DOWN AND TALK ABOUT THE ASPECTS THAT COULD BENEFIT US NOT ONLY IN SAFETY AND AT THE JOB, BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CASES THAT THERE ARE INJUSTICES THAT HAPPEN IN SOME -- WITH SOME COMPANIES, SOME EMPLOYERS. AND THE LATINO, FOR THE FEAR THAT THEY -- COME ON, THEY DON'T HAVE THE PAPERS TO BASE THEMSELVES, AND SO THEY LET IT GO. AND THIS --

Sandoval: WHAT CAN THEY DO?

Argueta: MY MESSAGE TO THE LATINO POPULATION IS YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE PAPERS -- HAVE ANY TYPE OF PAPERS IN ORDER TO TALK. THIS IS A RIGHT THAT IS BORN WITH US. WE CAN SPEAK. WE CAN SAY IT WHETHER WE HAVE THE PAPERS OR NOT. SO MY WISH IS THAT EVERYBODY TAKES PART IN THE COMMUNITY AND WHAT HAPPENS DAILY ON A DAILY BASIS SO THAT WE CAN SAY AND USE OUR VOICE. THERE'S NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THAT. THERE'S NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THINKING. WE CAN ALL THINK. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU'RE FROM OR WHAT LANGUAGE YOU SPEAK. WE CAN ALL THINK. AND OF COURSE, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THAT, WE SHOULD ALL SPEAK. AND WHEN WE SPEAK, THEN WE ARE DOING GOVERNMENT. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IF WE HAVE PAPERS OR NOT.

Sandoval: OKAY. I WANT TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT, IF I MAY. ENGLISH ONLY. YOU HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT THAT NEW LAW THAT WAS PASSED THIS YEAR.

Ramos: WELL, IN REALITY I COULD SAY -- AND I HAVE READ A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT THIS NEW LAW, AND THEY CONSIDER IT LIKE A RACIST ACT. AND THE REALITY IS THAT MANY LATINOS HAVEN'T EVEN NOTICED THAT. UP TO NOW THEY THINK THAT THIS REMAINS THE SAME, OR PERHAPS THEY HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED ANY SITUATION WHERE THEY HAVE TO FACE, LET'S SAY IN COURT OR ANY OTHER FEDERAL CASE THAT IS MENTIONED IN THE STATE, IN WHICH AT THE TIME OF READING MANUALS OR INSTRUCTIONS, WHAT TO SAY, THEY'RE IN ENGLISH. OR PERHAPS THERE HAS BEEN THE CASE, BUT THEY HAVE NOT BEEN KNOWN THAT PEOPLE AS OURSELVES, WE ARE NOT TOGETHER. WE ARE NOT ASSOCIATED IN A WAY THAT OUR VOICE WOULD BE STRONGER IN THIS STATE. BUT AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, MY OPINION -- THERE'S NO NEED TO COME TO THIS POINT TO ESTABLISH THE ENGLISH AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE BECAUSE WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE THAT AND THAT HAS BEEN ENGLISH, THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNITED STATES. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT. THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS THAT. BUT THE MESSAGE THEY SEND TO ALL THE WORLD IS A MESSAGE THAT IS VERY NEGATIVE: THEY'RE NOT -- YOU'RE NOT WANTED HERE; YOU'RE NOT COMING HERE; WE DON'T WANT YOU TO BE HERE. NEVERTHELESS, IF THE DOORS ARE CLOSED TO US, THE IMMIGRANTS, IT IS NEGATIVE FOR THE UNITED STATES. WHEN THE DOORS ARE CLOSED TO THE IMMIGRANTS, FREEDOM WILL BE OVER AND THIS NATION WILL BECOME POOR.

Sandoval: BUT WHY WAS IT MADE AN OFFICIAL ACT, DO YOU THINK? DOES IT REFLECT SOMETHING, THE THOUGHTS OF THE CITIZENS OF IOWA, THAT THEY WANTED THIS LAW OR MAYBE NOT?

Argueta: I WANT TO GO TO THE POSITIVE SIDE. WE HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS IN THIS STATE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, MT. PLEASANT IS A COMMUNITY THAT'S A MODEL COMMUNITY. AND IN MY THREE YEARS OF LIVING IN IOWA, I HAVE NEVER LISTENED TO ANY NEGATIVE COMMENT OR ANYTHING DISCRIMINATION. PERHAPS I HAVE NEVER FELT DISCRIMINATED. PERHAPS THOSE THAT FELT DISCRIMINATED, IT'S BECAUSE THEY ALLOW IT. NEVERTHELESS, I AGAIN -- I REPEAT MYSELF. THERE WAS NO NEED TO ESTABLISH THE ENGLISH AS A LANGUAGE BASIS. WE ALL KNOW IT. WE'RE LEARNING IT. WE KNOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO COMMUNICATE. WE UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO TAKE PART SPEAKING. NEVERTHELESS, I PERHAPS FEEL THAT THIS WAS AN OFFENSIVE FORM AND MEASURE THAT SEPARATES US, DIVIDES US, INSTEAD OF UNIFYING US.

Sandoval: DO YOU THINK THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE HERE IN IOWA ACCEPT DIVERSITY HERE IN IOWA? OR DIVERSITY -- SO IF MANY ACCEPT DIVERSITY, WHY DO WE HAVE THIS LAW?

Ramos: WELL, AS I SAID AT THE BEGINNING, IT SEEMS THAT THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE HERE IN THIS STATE THAT ARE -- THAT SPEAK SPANISH HAVE PASSED AND NOTICE THIS LAW. BESIDES, I FELT THAT IT WAS -- I WAS ONE OF THEM BECAUSE, TO A CERTAIN POINT, I FEEL THAT IT HAS NOT AFFECTED THAT MUCH. LIKE HE SAYS, THERE WAS NO NEED TO PUT THAT -- TO SAY THAT. THAT MESSAGE HAS BEEN GIVING US -- HE MENTIONS IT AND I AGREE, IS TO A REFUSAL, IS NOT WE DON'T WANT YOU HERE IN IOWA, WE DON'T WANT YOU, WHEN IT'S THE OPPOSITE, BECAUSE IN THIS STATE THE LABOR OF THE LATINOS IS FUNDAMENTAL OF A LOT OF FACTORIES AND A LOT OF PLACES, SO THE PRODUCTIVITY WILL GROW IN THIS PLACE.

Sandoval: AND WHAT ROLE SHOULD THE LATINOS SHOULD HAVE HERE IN IOWA ALL THEIR LIVES? THOSE THAT HAVE LIVED TWENTY, THIRTY, FORTY YEARS, COULD THEY HELP?

Argueta: WE SHOULD TAKE AN ACTIVE ROLE IN WHAT HAPPENS EVERY DAY. WE SHOULD NOT HIDE IN ANY DARK PLACE OR A CORNER. THIS WAY WE'RE NEVER GOING TO GO AHEAD, OUR PROGRESS. WE WOULD NOT FEEL THE RESPECT OF THE COMMUNITY THAT RESIDES HERE. WE SHOULD -- OUR PAPER HAS TO BE ACTIVE, OUR ROLE, SO THAT WE CAN CREATE MORE PARTICIPATION.

Sandoval: MR. RAMOS, WHERE ARE THEIR LEADERS?

Ramos: EXACTLY. THAT'S WHAT I WANTED TO GET TO. IT'S LIKE WHAT HE SAYS. IF YOU'RE MAKING A CALL TO THE COMMUNITY TO UNITE BUT FOR THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS IN CHARGE TO DO THAT, THE LATINO THAT SAYS, "HEY, I'M GOING TO GO THERE. THEY'RE GOING TO UNDERSTAND ME. I'M GOING TO TELL THEM I HAVE THIS PROBLEM. WE'RE GOING TO BE TOGETHER." UNFORTUNATELY, IN THIS STATE, THERE ARE SEVERAL ORGANIZATIONS. ONE OF THEM COULD BE -- IS LATINO AFFAIR LEADERSHIP, LATINO UNITED, AND ALL THOSE ENTITIES THAT HAVE THE NAME "LATINO." BUT THE 98 PERCENT, YOU COULD SAY, OF THE LATINOS, DO NOT KNOW OF THOSE ORGANIZATIONAL GROUPS BECAUSE, ACCORDING MY IDEA THE WAY I THINK, THOSE GROUPS ARE FORMED BY THE MAJORITY OF LATINOS THAT COULD BARELY SPEAK SPANISH WELL. SO THERE ARE NO FORUM EASY TO PORTRAY OR GIVE THE MESSAGE TO THE COMMUNITY THAT SAYS HERE WE ARE TO SUPPORT IN ANY SITUATION THAT THE COMMUNITY NEEDS, ANY PROBLEM THAT CAN HAPPEN. BUT THE ORGANIZATIONS ARE THERE, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THEY ONLY SERVE ONE SMALL CIRCLE, ONE SMALL GROUP, A GROUP THAT IS NOT THE MAJORITY, AND THAT IS OUR FUNCTION.

Argueta: WE NEED TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE COMMUNITY LET OUR VOICE BE HEARD, AND TELL EVERYBODY WHERE WE ARE. CONTINUE -- IT'S NOT AN EASY JOB AND IT'S NOT -- NOR WOULD I SAY THAT IT IS A FORCED JOB, BUT PERSUASION IS THE KEY. IT DEPENDS ON HOW INTERESTING YOU MAKE IT, YOU SHOW IT TO ME, THAT I WOULD TAKE IT. BUT IF I'M NOT PERSUADED OR CONVINCED, I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE PART IN IT.

Sandoval: BUT YOU AS JOURNALISTS YOU CAN HELP, COULDN'T YOU? YOU COULD COMMUNICATE INFORMATION -- POLITICAL INFORMATION TO THE PEOPLE, COULDN'T YOU?

Ramos: OF COURSE. THE MEDIA, LIKE FOR INSTANCE IN MY CASE, WITH THE COMMUNICATION, I AM OPEN TOTALLY TO WHICHEVER TYPE OF INFORMATION IN REGARD TO THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMUNITY. BUT LIKE I SAID BEFORE, UNFORTUNATELY THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE HERE, I THINK THAT THEY HAVE NOT THOUGHT OF THAT IDEA. THEY HAVE NOT PUT THEMSELVES IN THE NEED THAT THERE IS FOR LATINOS AND TO SAY, "WELL, LET'S START TO DO A PRESS COMMUNICATE BUT TO BE IN SPANISH." LET'S SEND IT TO THE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION SO THAT THIS COULD BE PUBLISHED. THIS COULD BE A MASSIVE FORM TO ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF LATINOS, BUT EVERYTHING IS IN ENGLISH. SOME THAT COULD BARELY SPEAK IT, DO YOU THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO READ IT? SO THEN YOU'RE LOSING THAT GROUP, AND THEY SAY THAT THE FUNDS -- FEDERAL FUNDS, FUNDS FOR THE STATE IN IOWA THAT COULD GO TO OUR YOUTH, STUDENTS, LIKE SCHOLARSHIPS THAT SAY IF THAT IS GIVEN, BUT IT'S IN THE SAME CIRCLE THAT WE CAN SAY ALWAYS, WELL, LET'S SAY THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE FREE SCHOLARSHIPS, YOU HAVE TO APPLY. AND I'M CONSCIOUS OF THIS BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS RECEIVING INFORMATION FROM THESE ORGANIZATIONS, BUT THE FIRST MEASURE TO BE TAKEN OR THEY DO IT, THEY DO IT AND THEY COULD GET SOMEONE THAT SPEAKS SPANISH WELL SO THAT THEY TRANSLATE THE MESSAGES THEY HAVE, BECAUSE I HAVE READ THEM. THEY'RE VERY IMPORTANT. UNFORTUNATELY, WHEN A MEDIUM I CAN BARELY GROWING, AND I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BE ABLE TO SAY, "THIS IS A GOOD NEWS. I'M GOING TO TRANSLATE IT. IT'S EASY." BUT IT'S NOT EASY. I CANNOT USE A PROGRAM TO BE TRANSLATED BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN. THESE ORGANIZATIONS -- THE GOVERNMENT FROM THE STATE, THEY NEED TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE PERSON THAT BE ABLE TO DO THE PRESS COMMUNICATIONS SO THAT IT WOULD BE IN SPANISH, IT WOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE COMMUNITY, BECAUSE THIS IS A PRINCIPAL ELEMENT THAT HAS TO DO IT.

Sandoval: DO YOU FIND THE SAME?

Argueta: YES. I WOULD LIKE TO BRING THIS PROGRAM MY EXPERIENCE IN MT. PLEASANT. MY EXPERIENCE IN MT. PLEASANT COULD HELP OTHER COMMUNITIES. THREE YEARS AGO I ARRIVED IN MT. PLEASANT, AND THE LEADERS OF THE COMMUNITY IN MT. PLEASANT CAME WITH ME AND THEY ASKED ME, "WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO SO THAT YOU CAN TAKE PART WITH US IN THIS COMMUNITY?" MY ANSWER WAS, WITHOUT QUESTION AND FAST, "INFORMATION." WE NEED INFORMATION BECAUSE THE INFORMATION WILL AVOID THAT WE CAN MAKE MISTAKES AND MISTAKES NOT TO KNOW WHERE WE'RE AT AND WHAT WE HAVE TO DO, INFORMATION THAT MAKES US EQUAL TO EVERYBODY, THAT GIVES US ALL THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES. THIS IS HOW THE "EL HERALDO HISPANO" IN MT. PLEASANT WAS BORN, WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE COMMUNITY AND MY DESIRE TO GIVE THE COMMUNITY THE VOICE, THE INFORMATION. THIS IS HOW THE PROGRAM, WHICH HAS BEEN EVERY SATURDAY IT AIRS, AND WE SHARE COMMUNICATION ABOUT POLITICS, MEDICINE, AND ANY OTHER THING THAT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR US. WE ALSO HAVE A PROGRAM. THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR THAT WE HAVE HAD IT. IT IS CALLED "VOICES OF THE COMMUNITY." HERE WE HAVE INVITED EVERYBODY FROM THE LATINO COMMUNITY, AND EVERYBODY HAS TAKEN PART. AND ALL THE LEADERS HAVE COME TO THIS PROGRAM, AND THEY HAVE PRESENTED WITH US. WE KNOW THEM. WE ARE FRIENDS OF THEM, AND WE HAVE EXPRESSED WHICH ARE OUR DOUBTS, WHICH ARE OUR PROBLEMS. AND THEY HAVE LISTENED TO US AND THEY HAVE BEEN SOLVED. I INVITE EVERYBODY TO VISIT MT. PLEASANT, SECOND TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH AT 11:00 AT THE HOTEL -- AT THE RESTAURANT "IRIS" SO THAT YOU KNOW HOW A MODEL COMMUNITY WORKS, WHERE WE, THE LATINOS IN MT. PLEASANT, HAVE A VOICE. THERE IS NOT ONE PERSON LATINO THAT YOU CAN ASK THEM ARE YOU SAD. WE'RE ALL HAPPY THERE. WE ALL HAVE WHAT WE NEED, ESPECIALLY WE ALL HAVE THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE LEADERS FROM MT. PLEASANT.

Sandoval: BUT IS THAT TYPE OF FRIENDSHIP OR BACKING IN OTHER COMMUNITIES?

Ramos: UNFORTUNATELY, LIKE I HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT HERE THIS DES MOINES, I DON'T BELIEVE SO. I CANNOT SAY SO NICELY WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT HIS PLACE. IT IS PERHAPS BECAUSE MT. PLEASANT DOESN'T HAVE THE POPULATION SO LARGE AS HERE IN DES MOINES THAT WE'RE ALL -- WE'RE A LOT.

Argueta: YOU'RE REQUIRED TO GET TO THE POINT TO MT. PLEASANT. TO BE ABLE TO OBTAIN THE SUCCESS THAT MT. PLEASANT HAS HAD, YOU NEED A VISION IN A WAY THAT BEFORE -- WE COULD ARRIVE TO MT. PLEASANT. THE LEADERS HAD THE VISION TO OFFER US ALL OF THE OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW, ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES TO DEVELOP AND TO TAKE PART WITH THEM BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE. WE HAVE TO PREVENT THE -- THAT COME WHEN WE FACE THE FEARS OF THE OTHERS, THE FEARS BECAUSE WE'RE DIFFERENT, BECAUSE WE'RE A DIFFERENT COLOR, WE SPEAK DIFFERENTLY. AND THAT WAY THE COMMUNITIES CAN RESOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS IF, BEFORE THAT HAPPENS, THE PROBLEMS, THEY'RE STOPPED, HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE THAT ARE NOT LIKE THE REST, THAT THEY'RE DIFFERENT.

Sandoval: LET'S CHANGE THE SUBJECT. THE LATINO PRESS OF IOWA, WHAT IS YOUR VISION? WHAT IS YOUR DREAMS OF YOUR NEWSPAPER, ESPECIALLY YOURS, AND FOR THE LATINO PRESS IN GENERAL?

Ramos: WELL, MY VISION TO THE FUTURE IS TO DO THE BEST AS POSSIBLE THAT GROWS THE NEWSPAPER, BECAUSE I AM CONSCIOUS OF THE FORCE THAT IT HAS TO COMMUNICATE TO PEOPLE. I BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD BE THE BEST SUCCESSES THAT I OBTAIN IN MY LIFE TO BE MORE FORCEFUL. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN MAKE A NEWSPAPER TO WORK IS YOU HAVE TO SAY, YOU HAVE THIS RIGHT. THE ORGANIZATIONS OR THE LEADERS HERE IN DES MOINES FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THIS -- OF THAT CITY OF MT. PLEASANT AT LEAST. THAT THEY COULD DO MORE OF A DIALOGUE NOT ONLY AMONG THEMSELVES BUT WITH A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION HERE IN DES MOINES. THERE ARE THREE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION: THREE NEWSPAPERS AND THREE RADIO STATIONS OR THERE ARE ENOUGH MEANS THAT PEOPLE CAN FIND OUT. BUT EVEN THEN, PEOPLE ARE NOT NOTICED FROM DIFFERENT SITUATIONS THAT HAPPEN, BUT IT'S FOR THE SAME REASON. I THINK, AND PERHAPS I AM MISTAKEN, BUT YOU HAVE TO START FROM THE NUCLEUS, THE CENTER, SO THAT IN THIS CASE WOULD BE THE LEADERS, BECAUSE AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION, I HAVE THE OBLIGATION TO BE OPEN TO EVERYBODY ALWAYS IS THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMUNITY.

Sandoval: AND YOU?

Argueta: THE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE. THERE ARE THREE POWERS IN THE GOVERNMENT: EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATURE, AND JUDICIAL. OUT OF THE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION, THE PRESS IS THE FOURTH POWER. THAT YOU CANNOT IGNORE. WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE PEOPLE THROUGH OUR COMMENTS AND OUR EDITORIALS, TO MOTIVATE THEM, INSPIRE THEM. AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS DIRECTORS OF THE HISPANIC AND LATINO NEWSPAPERS IS TO MOTIVATE -- TO TAKE PART IN ALL -- OUR PEOPLE THAT COME FROM OUR SAME COUNTRIES AND FRIENDS, AND TO INSPIRE, INSPIRE TO DO -- BE BETTER CITIZENS, TO BE BETTER PARENTS, TO BE -- TO INSPIRE, TO TAKE PART WITH THE REST, AND TO FIND THAT THE DIFFERENCES ARE NOT THERE WHEN WE TALK AS WE ARE DOING IT NOW.

Sandoval: WELL, WE DON'T HAVE THAT MUCH TIME, SO I'M GOING TO HAVE TO ASK THIS QUESTION. YOU CAN ANSWER PERHAPS IN THREE OR FOUR WORDS. THIS YEAR ARE WE GOING TO REFLECT AN IMPACT IN THIS ELECTION, THE LATINOS?

Ramos: I HOPE SO BECAUSE I HAVE NOTICED THAT LATELY THE POLITICS HAVE HAD MORE, PERHAPS, POWER FOR THE LATINOS SO THAT THEY CAN FIND OUT THE NEED OF THE VOTE, FOR THEIR VOTE.

Argueta: I TAKE ON MY SHOULDERS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE TO MY PEOPLE, LATINOS, THE FRIENDS -- THE MESSAGE TO TAKE PART TO DO GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT WILL BENEFIT US ALL, NOT ONLY LATINOS OR THE RESIDENTS.

Sandoval: WE HAVE TAKEN TO THE END OF THE PROGRAM. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, YOU, MR. ARGUETA, AND YOU, MR. RAMOS. DEAN BORG AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE "IOWA PRESS" ARE GOING TO CHECK THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS. PLEASE SIT WITH US WEDNESDAY AT 6:30 IN THE EVENING. I AM LORENZO SANDOVAL. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR INTEREST FOR THIS SPECIAL EDITION THROUGH STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WERE PROVIDED BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR OUTREACH AND BEST PRACTICES IN JOURNALISM. FUNDS ARE ALSO PROVIDED BY THE FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION, GENERATIONS OF FRIENDS AND FAMILIES THAT LOVE TO SEE THE PROGRAMS THEY SEE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.


Tags: campaign 2002 elections Hispanics Iowa Latinos voting