In true Latina fashion, when a Washington Post reporter asked Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on “whether leaders will forge a way forward on debt ceiling,” the Miami Congresswoman, and first Latina elected to Congress, responded “light a candle.”

For many Hispanics, especially those who grew up in the Catholic faith, lighting a candle, una velita, is a gut reaction when you want prayers answered. Millions of Americans, and people around the world, are now praying that leaders in Washington come up with some solution to this debt crisis.

I followed Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s advice, I lit a velita.


Earlier this week, I blogged about a new report from the Pew Research Center that stated that Latinos have been hit the hardest by the recession. I wanted to offer some additional data, and points of view, to better understand the financial and political impact of this recession on the Hispanic community.

At Daily Grito, various Latino bloggers chimed in on their thoughts on the new Pew Research –  “Daily Grito Writers Sound Off on Impact of the Recession on the Latino Community.”

Reporting on the new data, PBS NewsHour interviews Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center. When asked about future of the economy and the impact on the Latino community, Taylor responds: “…Looking forward in the near term, there is not a lot of prospect for hope if you are concerned at the economic fortunes of minority communities in this country.

Daniel Costa at the Huffington Post has some interesting analysis to better understand the economic data. He writes:

We Hispanics are a complicated people. It’s not easy to categorize a group of humans from so many countries, cultures, social and economic levels. Yet, there are many common demonstrators to help better understand U.S. Latino trends.

Here is a great piece from MediaPost’s”Engage:Hispanics” blog called “Defying Easy Categorization: Latinos And Communication Technology.’

It highlights three recent reports providing different data on the use of communication technology by Latinos.

The author, Andrew Speyer, warns readers that the challenge is “to avoid oversimplifying and to think flexibly and holistically about how Latinos use communication technology today.

As communicators try to better connect with the diverse Latino community, it’s vital to understand the complexity of Hispanics and how various generations of Latinos consume data and messages.

Some additional data to think about:

Today’s Politco’s “Morning Score” reports on a new round of ads by the Republican National Committee (RNC). This fourth round of ads in the RNC’s “Change Direction” campaign features a 30-second spot depicting a little girl watching the news at the end of Obama’s second term in 2017. The ad continues the RNC’s focus on the failing economy saying: “Eight years ago we were promised hope… Today many believe their American dream has been lost.”

The spot is airing in key battle ground (toss-up) states Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia, along with a Spanish-language radio buy in Florida focused on Hispanic voters.

During a conference call with Florida reporters, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus discussed the importance of the Hispanic vote and Florida voters. The Miami Herald reports:

“Polls show that Hispanic voters are leaving the Democratic Party “in droves,” and the DNC is afraid, said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus…”It’s clear that this president’s failed economic policies have Hispanic voters looking for a change of direction,” he said. “It’s obvious that this president, while in love with his own voice, is not in love with following through oh his promises. No matter your background, that truth is known across the country.”

Latino families have been hit the hardest by the recession, suffering the largest single decline in wealth of any ethnic and racial group in the U.S.A., according to new Pew Foundation study reported by The NY Times.

The news should make the Obama campaign even more nervous about their hopes of victory in 2012. Hispanic voters are already dissatisfied with the current administration. More bad news will only make the relationship worse.

A recent Gallup Poll found Latino support for President Obama has dipped to 52%, a drop of 30 points since December 2009. Over a third of his 2008 supporters said they will not vote for Obama again.

The DNC and the Obama White House has frantically been trying to mend the relationship with Hispanic voters by hosting events, running Spanish-language ads and giving speeches. This week, President Obama addressed The National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy group.

The Daily Caller ask the question: “Are Dems worried about losing Latinos?”. My answer is “yes.”

After being chided a week before by the[NCLR’s] leader, the President offered hints of support for immigration reform, but was clear about one thing: “The Democrats and your president are with you, don’t get confused about that.”

That statement is reminiscent of the new DNC ad, which will run in the major cities of battleground states featuring significant Latino populations. And Obama’s self-assured sentiment was echoed by Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio, who said during a Friday press conference promoting the new Spanish-language ad: “Hispanics’ priorities are not Republican priorities.”

Apart from the GOP, there is another group that may disagree with the confident statements of Democrats: Latino voters themselves.

“The DNC leadership and their spokespeople can say whatever they want about Latinos but the reality is Latino organizations are not happy with Obama,” Bettina Inclan, a Republican political strategist who blogs extensively on conservative Latino issues, told The Daily Caller. “You have the National Council of La Raza saying that Democrats have to woo Latinos more because they realize the broken promises and the horrible economy they’re facing. … I think these political people have to take their head out of the sand and realize what’s going on and the reality is that, the Hispanic vote, the Latino vote, is up for grabs.”

The San Francisco Chronicle takes a hard look at Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, his record and legacy in LA Mayor Antonio Villarogoso takes on big issues.”

Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa, born Antonio Ramón Villar, Jr., became a Latino superstar, when first elected as Mayor of Los Angeles in 2005. He is the third Mexican American to have ever held the office in Los Angeles, and the first in over 130 years. Many throughout the Latino community had high hopes for the new Mayor Villaraigosa. Yet, his career is plagued with public scandals and disappointments.

I spoke to Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle Political Writer, for the article on the Mayor and the views by some Latinos

“But GOP strategist Bettina Inclan, an expert in Latino politics, argues that the mayor is also “a walking negative stereotype,” citing Villaraigosa’s past personal problems as evidence of a lack of judgment.

“In all his years in office, Mayor Villaraigosa is better known for his personal scandals and ethics violations than for improving Los Angeles or creating jobs,” she said. “Latino voters want someone they can look up to, and Mayor Villaraigosa has routinely come up short.” … READ MORE

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa topped a list of all-time worst Angelenos chosen by online voters on a Los Angeles Times poll.