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This week, NBC 6’s David Jeannot interviewed my mother, Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, and her long-lost sister, Fanny Cuervo, as they finally connected after a lifetime apart. Thanks to NBC 6 in Miami, Florida for covering my family’s story. Watch the segment below:

NBCSisters

My entire family is overwhelmed with joy to finally meet our aunt and cousins and complete our familia.

In 2009 I wrote a Father’s Day blog post honoring all the dad’s in my life – my father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, including my mom’s father Apolinar Rodriguez Rozan. Little did I know that the blog post would spark a cross-Atlantic family reunion between my mom, uncle and their long-lost sister, Fanny.

familiaRodriguezRozan

PICTURED (My cousin Beatriz, my mom Bettina, my aunt Fanny and my uncle Jose)

For years I had heard about my grandfather’s first daughter, a child he had from a relationship when he was young man in his native Spain (Pravia, Asturias, España). My mom had always yearned to connect with this mysterious sister but little was know about her.

Then one day the power of the internet helped our family connect the hidden dots…

In August of 2012 I got a message from a woman named Beatriz saying that we might share a grandfather, Apolinar Rodriguez Rozan. She had googled his name hoping to find out more information about her family tree and  up came my blog post. She promptly emailed me and explained her story, assuming I had never heard about her or her family. I was elated and quickly responded and told my mother who was overcome with joy. A relationship was developed and a life long family mystery was solved.

This week Beatriz and her mother Fanny Cuervo traveled from Spain to Miami, Florida, USA to meet their American family. For the first time in Fanny’s long life she hugged her younger brother and sister and finally learned more about a father she never met.

One simple blog post has connected my family and helped heal some open wounds. Though my aunt will never get to know her father (he died over 20 years ago) she has created a relationship with her brother, sister, nieces and nephew all who love her and are excited to know her and her family.

Tune in and watch Tavis Smiley’s Latino Nation.

Latino Nation

I was honored to be asked to be part of the discussion and add my voice to the two part panel. Learn more from going directly to TheLatinoNation.Com. The event is being broadcasted on PBS.

Here is more information on the event:

America’s 50-million-strong Latino community flexed its historic political muscle in the 2012 elections, evidencing the community’s growing influence. Now, as the immigration debate unfolds in Washington, Tavis moderates a national conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing this diverse group.

Hosted in partnership with the William C. Velásquez Institute, “Latino Nation: Beyond The Numbers” panelists examine a full range of Latino social, political, economic and cultural influence on American life, from the economy to politics, healthcare to education, immigration to foreign policy, as well as solutions for economic growth in this vital community.

Guests include:

Antonio González, president of the William C. Velásquez Institute; Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-IL; Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF;Stephanie Sanchez, student trustee board member of Chicago State University;Bettina Inclán, Republican political strategist; and others. [Click here to see list of guests.]

Greetings from Chicago State University where I, along with some of the nation’s top Hispanic leaders, are participating in Tavis Smiley’s “The Latino Nation.”  Hosted in partnership with the William C. Velásquez Institute, “Latino Nation: Beyond The Numbers” panelists will look at a full range of Latino influence on American life, from the economy to politics, healthcare to education, immigration to foreign policy, as well as solutions for economic growth in this vital community.

I am honored to be part of this great event. Thank you to Tavis Smiley (and his staff), Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velásquez Institute and my friend Hector Barreto.  Learn more http://thelatinonation.com/

TheLatinoNationPanel

1897_custom650x400Under the banner “The Next Generation of Conservatives” Al Cardenas kicked off the 2013 Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC), the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives, activists and prominent GOP voices. Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), outlined three critical goals moving forward, including “embrace changing demographics of America not by diluting our principles but reaching out to all Americans.”

America has changed significantly since the ACU began hosting CPAC 40 years ago. In today’s America Hispanics now make up 16% of the U.S. population and growing rapidly, with over 500,000 Hispanic youth turning 18 each year – voting age. This reality has not escaped conservative leaders, wide-eyed after the 2012 election.

Under Chairman Cardenas, CPAC has continued its tradition of showcasing diverse conservative voices from every background. It’s fitting that each year more of those voices happen to be of Hispanic origin.

Discussing dozens of issues during the three-day conference Hispanic conservatives peppered various panels providing their expertise and insights. Latino foreign policy specialists like Roger Noriega and Otto Riech, prominent business leaders like Hector Barreto, pro-immigration reform advocates, grassroots organizers and top Hispanic GOP elected leaders filled the National Harbor outside of Washington DC for CPAC.

The conference’s opening day featured Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Closing out the conference was Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who was tapped to give the keynote address.

A central message at CPAC is that Hispanics have much more in common with the GOP than they think.

The conservative movement is an attractive place for Hispanics, many who naturally share values with the right of center movement. Latino political attitudes on the importance of hard work, entrepreneurship, family and education all provide an opening for conservatives with this growing demographic.  A 2012 Gallup poll showed that second generation Hispanics are more open to conservative policies than their immigrant parents, demonstrating that attitudes about the role of government shift significantly between generations.

Rejecting calls from political pundits, conservatives do not believe they need to change core principles – individual liberty, personal reasonability, free enterprise and the belief in American exceptionalism – to attract new voters. Conservatives don’t need new principles, they need new ideas and better tactics on how to communicate these values to Hispanic voters.  A suggestion repeated by speakers throughout CPAC.

“You grow your tent by convincing others, persuading others that yours is the way. And you build your tent by reaching out to the new demographics of America, not with a watered down version of who we ought to be,” said Cardenas, who is the first Hispanic to lead the ACU. Continue Reading »

Former GOP Presidential Candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addressed CPAC 2013 and was greeted with thunderous applause. Like a flashback from the campaign, Romney walked out to “Born Free” by Kid Rock as the crowd cheered “MITT MITT MITT.”

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“I’m proud of our immigrant heritage, proud that so many of us and of our ancestors came here because they wanted to be here, to build a better future for their children here, to worship their God here.”
Read Gov. Romney’s full remarks as prepared for delivery (after the jump):
Today, Senator Marco Rubio  (R-FL) addressed an enthusiastic crowd of conservatives gathered for American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2013) in Washington, D.C. Introduced by Al Cardenas, ACU Chairman, Rubio addressed a packed room of attendees on a variety of issues facing our nation. 
Senator Marco Rubio:

There is no tax increase in the world that will solve our debt problem.”  Regarding school choice, he said “Every parent in America should have the opportunity to send their child to the school of their choice.” He went on to say “We do have obligations; obligations to each other through community, not government.”

As he closed his speech, Rubio predicted criticism from the left, saying, “We don’t need a new idea, the idea is America, and it still works.”

The room sprang to its feet in a standing ovation and twitter lit up with his remarks. For more follow me on twitter at @BettinaInclan
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