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What Obama Won’t Tell Latinos at La Raza Conference

Here’s what you won’t hear from the President when he addresses the largest Latino advocacy organization’s annual conference today:

Latino unemployment is in double digits [1] following a failed stimulus bill [2].

Nearly one out of every two [3] Latinos will fail to receive a high school diploma, despite the federal government’s control over education policy in the past 50 years.

Unfettered government spending has led the national deficit to balloon to nearly $13 trillion, jeopardizing American economic security and quality of life[4].’

Instead, President Obama is likely to use this opportunity before the receptive audience at the National Council of La Raza [5] to recycle stale excuses and promises. The President will blame the previous Administration for the country’s pathetic economy and seek to portray conservatives as the enemy [6]. The President will ask the Latino community to continue supporting his policies of increased taxing in order to pay for more government programs we cannot afford, all the while racking up even more debt.

Rather than looking to empower Latino communities, the President will encourage the audience to depend more and more on the government. From education to health care to energy policy, the President’s remarks will largely center on how the government is best suited to run more and more aspects of our lives.

The allure of an endless goodie bag of government programs and services is an attractive sell, particularly when coupled with the race-baiting and victimization that liberals have been so keen to perfect.

Unfortunately, liberals (including many in the Latino lobby) choose to ignore the fact that our country’s wealth was not built on government spending but by innovation, entrepreneurship, and free enterprise.

In fact, a recent poll [7] commissioned by Generation Opportunity seems to confirm that Hispanics—particularly young Hispanics—understand this. They indicated that they prefer “reducing federal spending to raising taxes on individuals in order to balance the federal budget.”

While immigration is likely to figure prominently in this weekend’s discussions and forums, don’t expect any of the speakers to tell the audience how the President’s failed economic policies are likely to replicate the very same conditions here [8] that countless Hispanic immigrants fled Latin America to escape.

This is especially timely as the U.S. finds itself at a critical crossroads in deciding how to reduce the national deficit to prevent bequeathing our children and grandchildren back-breaking debt. Rather than urging fiscal restraint, the President will likely pepper his speech with the word “investment”—to argue for greater government spending without explaining how he intends to pay for the growing bill.

Latinos, like the rest of the country, need a leaner and less intrusive federal government to pave the way for a much-needed economic recovery. The economic mobility that continues to elude so many Latinos will not be achieved by depending more and more on the federal government.

That’s the harsh reality that will likely be missing from the gathering.


Israel Ortega serves as The Heritage Foundation’s chief spokesman to Spanish-language media, including print, radio, television and online. And as editor of Heritage’s new Libertad (libertad.org), Ortega is responsible for producing content for and promoting what he envisions as the premier Spanish website for conservative commentary, analysis and research.

FTA is the Way

Trade has been throughout history the cornerstone of relations among states. It has also been a tool to boost economic growth, generate employment, mobilize investment and stimulate social transformation. Over the centuries the world has experienced periods of trade expansion and periods of strong protectionism claiming the need to stimulate local industries, protect employment or simply for domestic political circumstances.

Latin America suffered from 1970 to 1990 a period of extreme protectionism derived from the import substitution policies. Under this theory based on developing strategic sectors, many problems took place. Uncompetitive industries became highly protected, exporters relied on Government subsidies, lack of competition, state capture by economic interests and lack of incentives for industrial transformation, were the common denominator.

During the 90s trade liberalization became a vital element of Policy Reform across the region. Some countries took the wrong approach of unilaterally opening their markets without a coherent policy to expand exports based on stable long-term rules. This approach harmed local industries and more importantly the agricultural sector when facing subsidized competitors. Acknowledging the consequences of unilateral opening, intra-regional trade agreements began to emerge simultaneously with the creation of the WTO in 1995.

During the decade between 2000 and 2010 LAC began to search for more long-term stable trade relations, and in 2003 the FTAA was launched in Miami. Unfortunately the agreement did not evolve due to domestic interest from strong political players in the region. At the same time a Global Agreement under the WTO was not moving at the desired pace.

Considering that the FTAA had derailed and that a Global Trade Agreement lost momentum, a round of bilateral trade agreements became the only feasible route to develop access to markets. Countries like Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, the Central American and Caribbean Countries began to engage in bilateral, intra-regional and extra-regional trade agreements.

Fatherly control on grandfathers’ funds

When people give up money in order to save for the upcoming, the least they expect to have in the future is the same amount of capital or more, not less. The Bismarckian pension system, diffused all over the world, nowadays works exactly the opposite. Beneficiaries are not getting what they expect making this collective capitalization scheme bear with all kinds of difficulties.

It faces a political problem given that the government has the monopoly of the Social Security and it occasionally uses the workers’ money for political purposes. The monthly contributions workers make by law go to a common fund that governments are meant to merely “administrate”, but that sometimes they employ for other purposes leaving no funds for the future.

In Ecuador, for example, the government has always counted on this fund to invest in public bonds or whatever other investment the incumbent administration chooses. Certainly, employees feel entitled to all the benefits that politicians have promised them, but sometimes they don’t get them. For instance, in order to extend the submission of benefits to workers, Spain is one of many countries to recently strategically plan for baby boomers by delaying pension collection. This is an example of measures governments take when they don’t have the payback.[1] Currently, the U.S. is short $1.26 trillion in paying for public employee pensions and other retirement benefits.[2]

Also, the system deals with a demographical trouble as the world’s trend is to have aging societies: while born rates are decreasing, medicine and technology is extending life expectancy.[3] This results in less active workers contributing to the financing of an increasing demand on elderly pensions.

Saving the American Dream

What does the American Dream mean to you? Is it fame and fortune? Many Americans see it this way. But perhaps the American Dream is simply the essentials — a steady job that covers the basic expenses while providing the best life possible for your children.

As our country continues to weather one of the worst economic recessions in our history, it is perfectly appropriate to contemplate our future and ask ourselves if we are headed in the right direction. Moreover, it is worth studying whether the policies from Washington, D.C. are actually helping or hurting our chances for a better tomorrow — and our chances to live out our American Dream.

For the majority of us, the promise of a job and economic security was the biggest reason we left everything and everyone behind. For some of us, skyrocketing unemployment rates, inflation and corruption are just some of the horrid conditions we experienced first-hand in Latin America. And we count our blessings to live in a country with a high quality of life founded on liberty, freedom and democratic principles that continue to be celebrated and protected.

We Hispanics are an optimistic lot. Perhaps that’s why a recent poll conducted by Allstate National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll concluded that despite faring worse than non-Hispanics during this economic recession, we continue to remain optimistic about our future.

Unfortunately, there is a real cause for concern in both the short-term and long term for all Americans, including Hispanics. Beyond the immediate need to reduce the unemployment rate, unrestrained federal spending is poised to threaten our livelihood even more unless Washington lawmakers act, and fast. The sobering reality is that the federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

Governor Jeb Bush Discusses Hispanic Student Success

The American dream – an unspoken promise to pursue the possibility of prosperity and success – inspires individuals to take responsibility for their future, work hard and seek a full life.  A quality education is the ticket to the American dream.  A quality education equips students with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and their careers.

America has traditionally been a country of immigrants, a trend that continues today.  In March, the Pew Research Center reported a tremendous shift in our nation’s population growth.  According to the report, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 91.7 percent of the United States’ growth between 2000 and 2010.

Hispanics – our nation’s largest minority group – accounted for more than half of that growth.  In fact, the 2010 Census reports that Hispanics comprise 16.3 percent of the U.S. population.

As these individuals and their families engage in their communities and involve themselves as citizens, they become neighbors, co-workers, leaders and voters.  Their contributions will shape our nation. As these citizens are a crucial part of our society, providing the children of these families with a quality education is a critical investment.

Sadly, throughout our nation, too many minority students score below their peers on standardized tests.  These students are victims of education myths – assumptions that a student’s background, zip code or parents’ salary level determines their ability to learn. But this is unacceptable; our nation’s destiny depends on the success of all students.

Witness to Eight Executions in Cuba

Editor: I write this short introduction for I know both Ernesto Fernández Travieso, the Jesuit priest who presents what his brother Tomás Fernández Travieso witnessed as a political prisoner in Cuba when he was 18 years old. I knew their mother who protected me while worrying about her two sons. This is a tale of how Cuba arrested, tried and executed those who opposed the regime. They paid the ultimate sacrifice. We honor them by remembering.

– Guillermo I. Martínez

My brother Tommy recounts his trial in Havana on the day of the invasion of Bay of Pigs April 17, 1961 when the communist government, as retaliation, began to condemn political prisoners to the firing squad. This first group of eight was caught working in the resistance movement weeks or months before. Tapia Ruano (23), Campaneria (21), and Tomas (18) were students. My brother was the only witness in what happened that night.  

Ernesto Fernández Travieso, S.J

“50″ YEARS AGO

By Tomás Fernández-Travieso.

The sun was setting when we emerged from the trial. Luis Fernández-Caubí was the only lawyer that dared to defend our case. The trial took only 20 minutes; it was interrupted several times by the noise of the army tanks leaving La Cabaña fortress (site of the trials) racing towards Playa Girón (the Bay of Pigs): it was April 17, 1961.

Only those sentenced to die before the firing squads were kept in the chapel. The only one that we knew was already there was Carlos Rodríguez Cabo. The prosecutors were demanding a 30 year sentence for his partner in the struggle against Castro, Efrén Rodríguez López. Efrén would stay behind in the ward where we were jailed as they took us to be tried and when he came to say goodbye to us, very upset, he said: “Look, I hate to ask you this but I am sure you won’t be coming back here (meaning he was sure we were all destined for the firing squad). Say hello to Carlitos for me when you see him”. He could not utter another word as he embraced us crying.