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He’s dressed in an elegant black tuxedo, projecting the refined charisma expected of a Hollywood leading man. Underneath the glamour, one can still discern the picaresque smile of his other self, the one that millions in Mexico and Latin America have come to know so well; the everyday man of the pueblo; the underdog who at the end of the story prevails over the powerful; the fast-talking pelado who could talk his way out of any kerfuffle by saying a lot without saying anything: Cantinflas.

As this nostalgic video clip of the 1956 “Around the World in 80 Days” premiere attests, Cantinflas shone among Hollywood’s top stars in a luxurious soirée fit for a film that became a box-office hit and received eight Academy Awards. If you’re a Mexican Golden Age film connoisseur, you will immediately spot Fortino Mario Moreno Reyes in two or three shots. These seconds of film captured more than a  historic moment. They captured a powerful statement quietly made by the movie star on behalf of the Mexican-American community, one that resonates today.

Billed as one of the top actors in the all-star “Around the World” ensemble that included David Niven and Marlene Dietrich (and a spectacular cameo by Frank Sinatra), Cantinflas stepped back into the spotlight at the 1957 Golden Globe Awards. Of note, the Mexico City native nabbed the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy. Loved by millions of fans in Mexico and Latin America who loved him for iconic films such as “Ahí está el detalle” and the political satire “Si yo fuera diputado,” Cantinflas became the first Mexican to win a Golden Globe years before the Del Toros, Iñárritus and Hayeks graced Hollywood with their talent. His victory was a significant step that carved a pathway for generations of Latino film and television artists in Hollywood.

If we broaden the scope of his accomplishment to include the historical context during which it happened, his victory is transformed from a milestone into a powerful symbol of pride for a community that suffered civil rights violations for decades. The Mexican-American community was also under direct attack in 1954 by politicians who decided to execute the infamous ‘Operation Wetback’ to deport millions of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. During his big night at the 1957 Golden Globe Awards, Cantinflas, the activist, the philanthropist, the satirist, and defender of the downtrodden, outwitted those who sought to oppress his people. Those who erroneously believed that Mexicans and Hispanics were second-class citizens who did not deserve to stay in this country, scapegoats for imagined fears, likely witnessed Fortino Mario Moreno Reyes, who was born and raised in Mexico City, receive a top Hollywood award for his talent and genius.

Cantinflas’ triumph in the United States is an inspiration that transcends time. We are still fighting against anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric and against policies that oust us from a nation to which we have contributed our work, our talent, and our dreams. The beauty of this historical parallel is that we are all Cantinflas. Every day with our hard work we outsmart those who seek to marginalize us. ¿Cómo la ven desde ahi?

 

Washington, D.C. – Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund, issued the following statement after the historic election of the first Latino Chair of the Democratic Party in its nearly 200 years of existence, Tom Perez:

“Today’s historic election marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Democratic Party. Latino Victory Fund is proud to have backed Tom’s bid since the beginning of his historic run. Tom knows that we need to get back to the American values that the Democratic Party stands for, which include economic opportunity, good paying jobs, equality and justice. Tom will unify the party, strengthen state parties and fight for all of us. Trump launched his presidential campaign by attacking Latinos. Today, the Democratic Party elected a Latino to defeat Trump. Latino Victory Fund has only one word to describe what we feel: orgullo, or pride.”

On the same day as Trump’s first joint address to Congress, a few blocks away top Latino political leaders will gather to develop a strategy to fight back against Trump’s policies

Washington, D.C. – Cristóbal J. Alex, President of the Latino Victory Fund, announced that on February 28, the same day that Donald Trump will hold his first joint address to Congress, Latino Victory will host the first major political strategy meeting of the nation’s top Latino leaders and political experts in Washington, D.C. since Trump has taken office. The goal of the Latino Political Power Summit is to develop a progressive Latino political strategy to oppose Trump’s radical anti-immigrant and anti-Latino agenda and to grow Latino political power.

“Together as Latino leaders, we can and must exchange ideas to fight back against the Trump Administration’s backward policies that threaten our nation’s progress and traditions. Hardworking immigrants who helped build our country – like my mom, a clerical worker, and my dad, a construction worker – need to know we have their back. I’m looking forward to the Latino Political Power Summit, which marks an opportunity to develop a strategy not just around defending common-sense immigrant rights, but protecting affordable healthcare, education, and much more,” said Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General.

“Election Day sent a clear signal that we must listen, learn and organize for the future,” said Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV). “I’m seeing it already in Nevada. It is time for our communities to mobilize for the fights ahead. It is time to inspire a generation of leaders that match the diversity of our state, and our country. Summits like this one will help us bring people together and exchange ideas for a future worthy of all of our families in Nevada and America.”

“On the same day that Trump will be sharing his plans with Congress to hurt the American economy by intimidating and bullying the Hispanic community, Latino leaders throughout the country will be gathering to create and share the best ways to fight his hurtful agenda,” said Representative Tony Cardenas (D-CA). “We must continue to fight against Trump’s efforts to attack our neighbors and entrepreneurs. We will join together to make sure all Americans have access to education, affordable healthcare, and feel secure in their homes, schools and work places.”

“We have to push back against Trump’s policies in every way we can. We’re going to make sure the immigrant communities that have helped build my state and our nation know that we respect them, we understand their anxieties and that we will defend them,” said Representative Nanette Barragán (D-CA). “I’m honored to join with the nation’s top Latino leaders and political experts at the Latino Political Power Summit. Together, I’m certain we will develop a political strategy that builds Latino power and influence as we push back against Trump’s divisive policy agenda.”

“I co-founded the Latino Victory Fund as an effort to build political power within the Latino community and to ensure the voices of Latinos are reflected at every level of government and in the policies that drive our nation forward. The Latino community just faced one of the most tumultuous elections in recent history. Attacking Latinos was central to Trump’s campaign. We have to organize, mobilize, and empower our community to be ready for the battles ahead,” said Henry Muñoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Fund. “Latino Victory’s Political Power Summit will provide us with a roadmap for the next 2-4 years. There is no doubt that our community and our power will continue to grow, and if we are united, we can secure our shared prosperity along with that growth.”

“Donald Trump launched his campaign by attacking Latinos, and he has followed through on many of his promises, terrorizing and threatening our community. But at the same time, we have even more confidence that the Latino electorate is mobilized. As a result of this past election, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is the largest it’s ever been; we elected the first ever Latina Senator, the first Dominican-American member of Congress, the first Latino elected in Nebraska State Legislature and the first Speaker of the House in Colorado, among many others. Let’s remember that an overwhelming majority -79 percent- of the over 13 million Latinos who voted in the 2016 Presidential Election opposed Mr. Trump, and the proportion was even higher among women, at 86 percent,” said Cristóbal J. Alex President of Latino Victory Fund.

The summit will be attended by local, state and federal leaders and several of the nation’s leading political strategists. The vision for the meeting is two-fold: laying the groundwork for a coordinated local and national strategy to build a bench of progressive Latino candidates and equipping our current and future leaders to successfully defend pro-Latino policies. A successful strategy for Latino political power will guide our work to recruit candidates across the nation and empower voters.

Washington, D.C. – Cristóbal J. Alex, presidente del Latino Victory Fund anunció que el 28 de febrero – el mismo día que Donald Trump dará su primer discurso ante el Congreso – Latino Victory organizará en Washington D.C. la primera cumbre de líderes y estrategas políticos latinos del país desde que Trump tomó posesión. El objetivo de la cumbre sobre el poder político latino es desarrollar una estrategia política para luchar en contra de la agenda anti-inmigrante y anti-latina de Trump y como incrementar el poder político de los latinos.

“Uniendo a líderes latinos, podemos intercambiar ideas para luchar en contra de las políticas extremistas de la administración de Trump que van en contra de nuestras tradiciones y nuestro progreso.  Inmigrantes trabajadores – como mi mamá quién trabajo como trabajadora administrativa y mi papá quién trabajo en la construcción – necesitan saber que vamos a luchar por ellos. La Cumbre sobre el Poder Político Latino será un excelente lugar para desarrollar estrategias para no solo defender los derechos de los inmigrantes pero también para proteger el acceso al seguro de salud asequible, la educación y mucho más,” dijo Xavier Becerra, Procurador General de California.

“El día de las elecciones nos envió un mensaje muy claro, debemos escuchar, aprender y organizarnos para el futuro”, dijo la Senadora Cortez Masto (D-NV). “Ya lo estoy empezando a ver en Nevada.  Ya es hora de que nuestras comunidades se empiecen a movilizar para las batallas que tenemos por delante. Es hora de inspirar a una generación de líderes que representen la diversidad de nuestro estado y nuestro país. Cumbres como ésta ayudarán a reunir a líderes para intercambiar ideas para crear un futuro digno de todas nuestras familias en Nevada y América”.

“El mismo día en el que Trump compartirá con el Congreso sus planes para perjudicar a la economía estadounidense atacando e intimidando a la comunidad hispana, líderes latinos de todo el país se reunirán para crear y compartir las mejores maneras de luchar contra su perjudicial agenda”, dijo el Representante Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). “Debemos seguir luchando contra los esfuerzos de Trump de atacar a nuestros vecinos y empresarios. Nos uniremos para asegurarnos de que todos los estadounidenses tengan acceso a educación, asistencia médica asequible y que se sientan seguros en sus casas, escuelas y lugares de trabajo”.

“Tenemos que luchar en contra de las políticas de Trump en todas formas que podamos. Nos vamos a asegurar que las comunidades de inmigrantes que han ayudado a construir mi estado y nuestra nación sepan que los respetamos, que entendemos sus miedos y que los vamos a defender”, dijo la Representante Nanette Barragán (D-CA). “Estoy honrada de unirme a los líderes y expertos políticos latinos en la Cumbre sobre el Poder Político Latino y estoy segura de que juntos desarrollaremos una estrategia política que fortalezca el poder y la influencia de los latinos a medida de que luchamos en contra de las políticas extremistas de Trump”.

“Yo co-fundé el Latino Victory Fund como un esfuerzo para construir el poder político de la comunidad latina y asegurar que las voces de los latinos se reflejen en todos los niveles de gobierno y en las políticas que impulsan a nuestra nación hacia adelante. La comunidad latina se enfrentó a una de las elecciones más desastrosas de la historia. El ataque contra los latinos fue fundamental para la campaña de Trump. Tenemos que organizar, movilizar y capacitar a nuestra comunidad para estar listos para las batallas que tenemos por delante”, dijo Henry Muñoz III, cofundador del Latino Victory Fund.  “La Cumbre sobre el Poder Político Latino nos proporcionará un plan para los próximos 2 a 4 años. No hay duda de que nuestra comunidad y nuestro poder seguirán creciendo, y si estamos unidos, podemos asegurar que nuestra prosperidad crezca al igual que nuestro poder”.

“Donald Trump lanzó su campaña atacando a los latinos, y ha cumplido con muchas de sus promesas, aterrorizando y amenazando a nuestra comunidad. Pero al mismo tiempo, tenemos confianza en que el electorado latino se continuará movilizando. Como resultado de estas elecciones pasadas, el Caucus Hispano del Congreso es el más grande que haya habido; Elegimos a la primera senadora latina, a el primer dominicano en el Congreso, al primer latino en la legislatura estatal de Nebraska y al primer presidente de la Cámara de Representantes en Colorado, entre muchos otros. Recordemos que una abrumadora mayoría -79 por ciento- de los más de 13 millones de latinos que votaron en las elecciones presidenciales de 2016 se opusieron al Sr. Trump, y la proporción fue aún mayor entre las mujeres, con 86 por ciento”, dijo Cristóbal J. Alex, presidente de Latino Victory Fund.

La cumbre contará con la presencia de líderes locales, estatales y federales, así como varios de los principales estrategas políticos de la nación. La misión de la reunión es doble: sentar las bases para una estrategia local y nacional coordinada para construir un banco de candidatos latinos progresistas y equipar a nuestros líderes actuales y futuros para defender con éxito las políticas pro-latinas. Una estrategia exitosa para el poder político latino guiará nuestro trabajo para reclutar candidatos en todo el país y dará poder político a los votantes.

Washington, D.C. – Cristóbal J. Alex, President of the Latino Victory Project, issued the following statement congratulating New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on a powerful final policy address in her role as Speaker:

“Today, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito laid out a clear and powerful roadmap to push back against the onslaught of threats from the Trump administration. These times call for ambitious and bold policy initiatives to address the needs of all Americans, and Speaker Mark-Viverito continues to show up for our community. Thanks to her leadership and vision, New York City stands as a progressive leader and as an example in the fight to protect immigrants.”

Washington, D.C. – Cristóbal J. Alex, President of the Latino Victory Project, issued the following statement after the confirmation of Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.

“Tonight, Senate Republicans confirmed yet another unqualified individual to serve in Trump’s cabinet. Steve Mnuchin built his wealth by taking advantage of families dreaming of owning their own homes, many of them Latinos. Mnuchin directly profited from the turmoil of the housing crisis. At the helm of OneWest Bank, he ran a foreclosure machine, offering the worst loans to Latinos and forcing tens of thousands of families into foreclosure once the housing prices fell. All the while, Mnuchin was growing his now estimated $620 million fortune.

“Housing advocates have long spoken out against the ravages of denying financial services to communities of color, compared to the services provided to more affluent white neighborhoods serviced by OneWest branches. So much for draining the swamp. One thing is clear, Donald Trump is only looking out for his rich friends and not the middle class.”