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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  September 25, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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09/25/12 09/25/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> the enormous latino presence in the united states, unless you understand america's role in latin america, and in fact the latino presence in the country is the harvest of the empire. >> "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." a new documentary opens this week based on "democracy now!" juan gonzalez's book, examining
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how u.s. intervention in latin america forced millions of people to move to the united states. we will speak with juan, as well as co-director eduardo lopez and air excerpts of the found. >> the american nation cannot, must not, and will not permit the establishment of another communist government in the western hemisphere. >> i am here because the united states invaded my country in 1965, and illegal invasion, completely trumped up excuse to invade the dominican republic and crush our democratic hopes. >> all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. at least five people had been
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killed in u.s. drone strike inside pakistan. a pair of missiles reportedly struck a village in the region of north missouri stand. it is unclear if any civilians were killed. a new study is backing claims the u.s. has killed far more civilians in pakistan drone strikes than publicly and knowledge. researchers at the york university and stanford university say the drone strikes "terrorized men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities." the study also concludes most of the militants killed in the strikes have been low-level targets whose deaths have failed to make the u.s. any safer. just 2% of drone attack victims are said to be top militant leaders.
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rebels in syria have carried out a new bombing targeting the region or the regime of bashar al-assad in the capital of damascus. earlier today, a bomb struck a school building occupied by state forces, wounding at least seven people. it was one of the boldest attacks in the al-assad regime struggled since a suicide bomber killed his brother-in-law and defense minister in july. in his first briefing to the and security council, you're an arab league mediator lakhdar brahimi said he sees no signs of progress toward negotiations. >> the situation is extremely difficult. there is a stalemate. there is no prospect for today or tomorrow to move forward, but i also told the council heard optically now that i have published paradoxically, i think
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we will find an opening in the not too distant future. i refuse to believe reasonable people do not see you cannot go backward. >> two u.s. marines will be court-martialed for allegedly urinating on the corpses of afghans and posing for pictures with the bodies. staff sergeants joseph chamblin and edward deptola are the first to face charges after a video was released in january showing four marines in full uniform urinating on the bodies of suspected taliban fighters. the minister of the penalties were announced against three other marines last month. the-administrative penalties were announced against three other marines last month. republican presidential nominee mitt romney has opened a new attack on president obama's foreign-policy just over a week before the to hold their first debate. romney criticized obama for referring to the latest middle east unrest as bonds and the road. he also vowed a foreign policy
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that he said would ship middle east politics, not just react to it. >> bombs in the road? we had an ambassador assassinated, a muslim brotherhood elect a member elected to the presidency of egypt. 20,000 people have been killed in syria. we of tumult in pakistan. iran is that much closer to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon. this is time for a president who will shape events in the middle east, not just be merciful or be at mercy of the events in the middle east. i will get america on track at the kind of leadership we need so we can shape the future of this part of the world and keep america strong. >> romney was referring to obama's comments in an interview with "60 minutes." obama made what could be his most public rejection of the israeli government to date in that same interview. asked about unrelenting israeli pressure for military attack on iran, obama suggested such talk is noise that he ignores.
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>> you are saying you do not feel any pressure from prime minister netanyahu in the middle of the campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? >> when it comes to our national security decisions, if any pressure that i feel is simply to do what is right for the american people. and i am one to block out any noise that is out there. >> a new study is warning a wave of restrictive voting laws could deny more than 10 million latinos the right to vote this november. the advance of project says 23 states have passed laws that could affect the latino-american vote, potentially deciding the outcome of the entire re- election. the laws include voter purges in 16 states ostensibly targeting people suspected of not being citizens and photo identification laws in nine states, all of which carry heavy
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burdens of documentation and identification that many people don't have the time or money to meet. the laws could be pivotal for votes in the swing states of nevada, colorado, and florida, for president obama enjoys a vast majority of support from latinos over mitt romney. a federal appeals court has reversed its own decision finding the army corps of engineers partially liable for the flooding that devastated new orleans during hurricane katrina seven years ago. in march, the court of appeals for the fifth circuit upheld the 2009 ruling that monumental negligence by the army corps of the engineers led to the severe flooding that ravaged new orleans in the aftermath of the storm. the ruling marked the first time the government had been held responsible for any of the flooding that devastated new orleans and could have paved the way for legal action on behalf of thousands of residents. on monday, the court of appeals changed course, ruling the government is immune from liability.
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a group of environmental activists in northeast texas say they have scaled 80-foot trees and are vowing to remain in an effort to block tree clearing equipment that is making for the southern leg of the controversial keystone xl pipeline. on monday, the eight protesters held a banner reading "you shall not pass" and said they will remain in the way into the controversial pipeline is stopped for good. the actions is the latest in a series of protests by pipeline opponents who say the project will poison local communities and damage the climate through increased greenhouse gases. the keystone xl pipeline would carry oil from the alberta tar sands to gulf coast refineries. president obama has delayed a final decision on the pipeline until after the november election. in undocumented immigrant from guatemala who only recently learned he was a survivor of a 1982 massacre, has been granted political asylum in the united states. oscar ramirez was just three
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years old when the u.s. backed death squad killed some 250 civilians and a guatemalan village. while his mother and eight siblings all died, he survived this water when a commanding officer abducted him and went on to raise him as one of his own. now a father of four living near boston, ramírez learned of his real passed just last year. he has since been reunited with his biological father, who survived the attack because he was traveling when the massacre occurred. the european court of human rights has been given final approval to the extradition of muslim cleric and mastery to the united states. he has spent years in prison in britain and the conviction of inciting racial hatred and inciting murder. he was indicted in 2004 on allegations of supporting a cut and aiding the fatal kidnapping in yemen. his lawyers had appealed his extradition to the u.s. by
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citing european statutes barring inhumane and degrading treatment. leaders from across the globe are gathering in new york for today's opening up the u.n. general assembly. visitors include iranian president ahmadinejad, who will make his last address to the assembly before his term expires next year. at a united nations forum on monday, attorney general eric holder said the u.s. is committed to upholding the rule of law worldwide. >> in recent days, we have been reminded in the most painful and tragic of ways of just how vital the rule of law is to and during freedom, opportunity, justice, and peace. i am here not only to pledge the united states commitment to these principles, but also our support for the united nations robust efforts to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. >> dozens of people rallied in saudi arabia on monday in two separate protests urging u.s.-
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backed monarchy to release their jailed relatives. a number protesters were detained after being confined to a desert area and kept without food or water for a day. an anti-islam at referring to muslims as savages has been posted in 10 subway stations around the york city. the ad reads -- it was sponsored by the pro- israeli group american freedom defense initiative, which is also known for opposing the creation of a muslim community center near ground zero. on monday, the council on american islamic relations visit in new york subway station where the ads were being displayed. >> i have mixed feelings about it. it is disgusting, despicable. i laugh to laugh as well. the use of the words savage is classic.
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just being out here and didn't public about our fate and city, we're trying to unify rather than divide. -- just being out here in public about our faith and city, where turned unify rather than divide. >> new york city transit authority to the to block the ad, but a federal judge deemed it protected speech. the ads, and its global protest over a u.s.-made anti-islam found that mocks the prophet mohammed. new evidence has emerged in the case of a pennsylvania death row convict convicted of murdering his sexual abuser. terry williams is scheduled to be executed next week for the 1984 murder of amos norwood. norwood had sexually abused williams over a number of years up until the night before williams took revenge by ending norwood's life. williams had been convicted of third degree murder in a separate killing because the victim had also isexually abused in. but in the norwood case,
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williams had been sentenced to death because prosecutors alleged he was committing a robbery that went wrong. in an evidentiary hearing, andrea foulkes, the prosecutor who oversaw the case against william three decades ago, was confronted with her own notes showing the mother of another of norwood's abuse of victims had told her that norwood had molested her son. for years, foulkes has rejected the argument that williams had a motive of seeking revenge against norwood for sexual abuse. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new report by the national hispanic media coalition has found media portrayals of latinos and immigrants are killing rampant negative stereotypes among the general population. the call on the sec to study the impact said he'd speech in the media. this comes at a time when immigration has become a key issue in the 2012 presidential race. but president obama and his
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republican challenger mitt romney answered tough questions about immigration and deportation when they appeared on the spanish-language network last week. obama made news again friday when the white house said a new federal policy that grants some young immigrants temporary legal status to stay in the country will not make them eligible for health insurance under the new health care law. meanwhile, appearing sunday on "abc this week," ann coulter argued immigrant rights should not be considered civil rights. host george stephanopoulos asked her about her claim. >> immigrant rights are not civil rights? >> no, i think civil rights are for blacks. >> this is essentially the problem. >> what have we done to the immigrants? we owe black people something. immigrants have not even been in this country. >> at this debate over immigration, we turn to a new documentary out this week. "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america."
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the film is based on a book by juan gonzalez, "democracy now!" co-host. it examines how u.s. intervention in latin america and the caribbean forced millions of people to leave their homes to migrate to the united states. we will be joined by juan and the film's co-director in a moment. first, a clip of the film. we're all proud to be an american today. show your flat with pride. >> once again, the streets of our country were taken over by people who don't belong here. >> when the americans come, they come with a culture of criminality. >> they put a strain on our health care, school system. >> they never teachers and school this is a direct result of our own government's action over many decades.
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thousands upon thousands of puerto rican is were recruited to come work here in the united states. >> the feeling was we could easily overthrow this government and make it easier for the american businesses to operate in central america. >> from the very beginning, the west intended for its labor on mexicans. >> are you a communist? >> the history will say -- >> i had never seen anything like el salvador. i was more frightened there than vietnam read what was going on was the slaughter of the innocent. >> when the finance and train a gang of uniforms and they begin wholesale killing, the people do not emigrate, they
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flee. >> it creates the kind of disarray that leads to more immigration. >> i believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots, even though they may have entered illegally. >> the reality is that america is changing. by the end of this century, a majority of the people will trace their origins not to europe, but to latin america. >> we're all humans. we all have this same potential. >> america has always been in asia and the process of becoming in process of change. it is an immigrant nation make up an excerpt of, "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." it premieres this week. it is by the award winning journalist and "democracy now!" co-host juan gonzalez. his father of three other books including "news for all the people -- he is the author of
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three other books including, "news for all people." we are very pleased that he is with us here in the new york studio, not in his usual guest chair, but as -- not in his usual host chair, but as a guest. along with the film's co- director, eduardo lopez. we welcome you both to "democracy now!" >> it is a different perspective on this side of the table. >> you wrote this book years ago, that it came out updated, and now in a film. why have you chosen to go this route? >> it was not really my choice, but the producers came to me several years ago. they have been working on this them for about seven years now? >> ps. >> they came to me several years ago that they were really excited about the perspective that might blow was putting out. my book action came out in 1999 initially. i think it is used in about 200
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college courses as sort of an introductory survey text on the latino community in the united states. the they said they wanted to make it into a film. i said, are you sure? it is more of a history and complicated because it goes into every one of the different latino groups in the country, how they came here, what drove them here. they said they thought they had a way to do it. >> eduardo lopez, the way? >> the way was quite difficult because it was a seven-year journey between the time we first met with juan about the book and today. i really would not be sitting here with you if it was not for the hard work and sacrifice of the producer of the film. and with her, we felt in 2005 that the kind of language that would be used to describe immigrants, specifically latino immigrants in the media, was unacceptable.
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every night you would hear very derogatory terms being used to describe us. week, but the best thing latino immigrants, when the from peru and me, we knew the real story. we had read the wilrestore in hs book and felt compelled to take action. we felt the united states, our fellow citizens, needed to know why latinos had come to the united states. the real reasons, the root causes of immigration. in just about all the cases when you look at history, you see clearly that are different ways of migration are connected to actions the united states took in our countries. in different times for different reasons, but it is very consistent throughout history, this connection between our foreign policy and immigration. >> juan, i mean, the first day of the democratic convention in
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charlotte, a bus pulled up in front of the gates, the undocubus, and scores of people got out chanting "no papers, no fear." 10 were arrested as police poured in. immigration is one of the key issues of this election, yet you do not have presidential candidates who have a vastly differenprbecoming an issue, non the big cities like new york, l.a., miami, but in the heartland of america, especially in the south. in north carolina, for instance, there's been a huge increase of the latino population. but most people do not understand how they got there. it is a largely guatemalan migration and large the people who were recruited in the 1980's and 1990's to come and work in the textile mills of north
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carolina. part of what i tried to show in the book is the enormous connection between the needs of capital of american expanding industries in the united states and this recruitment of labor. basically what happened is in the 1980's, as more were flooding into the 90 states as a result of civil wars in their countries and repression in their countries, they came here to the united states. there were industries that were needed for cheap labor. you had the meat packing midwesty in the u.s encouraging them to come to the center of the country and the poultry industry in arkansas in the had the textile industry in north carolina. they usually went by nationality. yet a large guatemala population in north carolina. i think that is part of what i tried to show in the book.
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and to a large measure, the film captures. this process of migration, the push of the repression that occurs in the country's and the poll of american businesses seeking cheap labor. >> we're going to take a break and come back to this discussion. juan gonzalez is here along with eduardo lopez. their film is, "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." it is based on juan's book. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. our guest is juan gonzalez and we also have eduardo lopez. required reading in some and schools in this country and eduardo lopez deciding to make this film, "harvest a vampire," airing this week. i want to play a clip that talks
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about the history of u.s. involvement in the dominican republic. or many of the immigrants here in new york city hail from. the clip prominently features the dominican-born pulitzer prize-winning author junot diaz. >> the american nations cannot, must not, and will not permit the establishment of another communist government and the western hemisphere. >> i am here because the united states invaded my country in 1965. in illegal invasion, completely trumped up excuse to invade the dominican republic and crush our democratic hopes. we have lived the consequences of that illegal invasion politically, economically, and in the bodies of the people who were wounded, the bodies of
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people who were killed. we have been living it for over 40 years. there have been two major u.s. occupations of the dominican republic. the first was in 1916. the u.s. army trained a new dominican national guard. it and picked a former railway security officer to the back card. and he then uses the power of the military to seize control of the government. he was like this terrifying dictator. he would disappear dominican and american citizens and kill them with impunity. he basically ruled the dominican republic for 30 years with absolute, total control.
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>> he routinely kidnap and assault to the wives, even of his supporters. and throughout his career, made it extremely easy for american companies to do business in the dominican republic, but was a savage, savage dictator. eventually, even the u.s. government could not stomach his methods of operation, so the cia joined with military officers to back his assassination. >> for the first time in 30 years, the people of the dominican republic are greeting the sweet air of liberty and the streets are jammed in celebration. ♪
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>> in 1963, you have the election of a liberal, social democrat who attempted to institute new social reforms. but his government did not last for very long, only a few months into his term in office, there was a military coup. it in turn spurred a popular insurrection that led to the u.s. invasion of the dominican republic in 1965. when the rebels finally agreed to lay down their arms, the u.s. government scheduled new elections, but it also allowed the right hand man trujillo to run in those elections for president. he won the election. the problem was that there was enormous repression against the bosch forces, killing almost a
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daily basis. so the united states then began allowing large numbers of dominican former rebels to come to the united states as a way, again, of using migration as a safety valve. thousands of dominicans started coming to new york city. >> an excerpt of, "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." callista prize winning dominican american writer junot diaz talks about coming to this country shortly after the united states then began allowing large numbers of dominican former rebels to migrate here. >> they said we're coming to the on the states, whatever that meant. i thought where does going up the road to some mystical place. i finally saw a map in kindergarten of how far we have traveled, i remember being not only astonished, but literally
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terrified. my father was the standard, crazy, latino military that would check his children's hands and shoes and clothing and hair before we left the house we had to tie our she's a certain way. i lived in what i called the little dictatorship. it was a little dictatorship of our house. when i migrated to new jersey, it was a crazy time. i emigrated in 1974, a few months before the fall of saigon. this was not a place that was very welcoming. bigotry,yself asfacing not just from white americans, but black americans and latinos. i think every immigrant child in this country if there were allowed to tell the real emotional truth of their experience here, people in the u.s. would discover that we actually make immigration a more horrific experience than the needs to be.
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i feel that as a country, we're in a dream where there are no mistakes, there is no evil, or always good, we heard no one. you cannot grow if you admit no mistakes. >> pulitzer prize winning dominican junot diaz. >> interesting he appears on the front page of "the new york times" book review this past sunday with his new book. the dominican republic really is one of the many examples, but there others of salvador, guatemala, and cuba as well in terms of the effect of american foreign policy on the migration. i think that is a key issue that i have in my book and the film tries to provide with new examples. my examples are older. they have been able to get quite a few prominent latinos as well as ordinary people who went to
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enormous changes that people don't know much about. but i think the dominican republic's really in terms of this idea not just of u.s. intervention in the 1960's, but going back earlier in the 20th- century, always really has dictated a lot of what has gone on in the dominican republic. i think once again whether it was the sugar companies or more recently the sweatshops of the caribbean basin, they have always had enormous impact on the standard of living in these countries as well as the push that forces people to look somehow or other to survive by coming to the united states. >> eduardo lopez, you have remarkable footage of this never has been seen before in this country throughout. in a moment, we will go to el
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salvador to talk about what drove a lot of the migration here. where did you get it? >> many, many sources. there is a lot of footage that has never been seen or has not been seen in decades. this is a testament to the team that created this. our editor catherine shields is amazing and so is our co- director. i have to say of the dominican republic, i would like to make a point that one of the main reasons we made this film is really personified by junot diaz, who is now contributing as one of our great american writers. but his whole life was changed dramatically by our invasion of the dominican republic in 1965 with 23,000 marines. something must americans found nothing about because all of this history is never taught in our schools and colleges. so for latinos whose life is
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turned upside down by our own government's actions in latin america when many times we are unaware of -- that many times we are unaware of, there is this tremendous disconnect. i believe this is one of the reasons why so much of the ignorant rhetoric about immigrants takes hold in our country because we don't know. here is junot diaz whose life was completely changed because of our actions, get all of us as american citizens don nothing of what we did in the dominican republic. i think that is one of the key parts of the film. >> the significance of the invasion in 1965? >> i think that sent a message throughout latin america and thatperiod of time, the united states coming out of the kennedy era, that the interstates was the enemy of change. because obviously, juangbosch was not a revolutionary by any
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stretch of the mine. he won a land reform and some basic changes in the lives of the dominican people. when the u.s. government basically back the coup against him, is sent a message throughout latin america that the government was going to be our government, was quick to be the enemy of real social change in the region. that lasted really until the 1990's, until this whole new era that has developed of social progress of government being elected to power, getting rid of old dictatorships, old rule by the military, and giving the popular will a chance to be expressed and bring more progressive leaders to power. that really was from the 1960's into the 1990's were you had the role of these dictators and military leaders in latin america that were largely backed by the united states. >> i want to go to a part of
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your film that deals with the assassination of archbishop oscar romero. on march 24, 1980 in el salvador. this clip features the voices of sister pat murray, formerly as ambassador to el salvador robert white, and sister terry alexander, maryknoll missionary. >> his assassination in church stunned the entire nation. >> as the crowd started to grow, they realized this was going to be a very difficult time. and we concede -- could see them on the roofs. all of this sudden, there was a shot fired. and in the bomb went off.
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-- and then the bomb went off. oh, lord. it is important world know that we stood behind him. >> for the first time, someone had faced down the military and said, you people are killing the people you are sworn to protect. >> we have received a telephone call saying [indiscernible]
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had seen the bodies of four women. very definitely american. he began reading a description of the four women. as he read each one, i could say, that was jean. that's jean. that's dorothy. that's ita. three of us down there to pray. i guess my prayer was how long, oh, god, how long must this continue to happen? >> that was sister terry alexander, maryknoll missionary. juan gonzalez? >> the footage they have been able to capture is really amazing. the footage not only of the
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military shooting down the people at bishop romero's funeral, but actually of the nuns of the church, women being dragged off, their dead bodies. i have really been amazed at this. in each of these countries whether it was guatemala, the footage of the actual coup in 1954 and this incredible footage that has never been seen in the united states of manchu interviewed in the film, talking about the killing of her father in the spanish embassy when the guatemalan government burned down the embassy that was full of dissidents that had taken refuge there, including her father. they have been able to find images in the archives of guatemala of that day in the people being burned and the crowds outside of the spanish embassy.
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>> eduardo lopez, talking about the nobel peace prize winner. >> yes. we were very happy that she participated. i think she really communicates something that americans, we were never told. in the story of guatemala, it is amazing that we had a time when in the united states, we had one brother that was the head of the cia and another that was a secretary of state. and because they had received complaints from one company, the united fruit company, they decided in order to help this company, there were one to take out a democratically elected government. our action in 1954 in guatemala, taking down the government, unleashed decades of civil war in the country that ended up killing more than 200,000 people. manchu is the person who must perpersonifies the
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struggle of the people at that time read these are all kinds of situations that our own country is not aware of. this is another reason why we just felt really compelled to make this film and work through the seven years in order to bring this to fruition. commentsann coulter's this week when she said, and civil rights are for blacks, what have we done to the immigrants are we all black people. immigrants have not even been in this country. >> ann coulter neglects to deal with the reality of u.s.-mexican history. the entire southwest of the united states was taken from mexico and the mexican-american war of 1846. california, texas, mexico, colorado, this is all part of mexico. there are mexicans living on the lead when the united states dollars there were mexicans
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living on the land when the united states took it over. mexicans often say the original descendants of those original settlers, we did not cross the border, the border crossed us. ann coulter neglects to do with the reality of the puerto rican existence in the united states. there are nearly 5 million, there are 4.6 million puerto ricans in the united states and another 4 million, roughly, on the island a puerto rico that are. the puerto ricans never went anywhere, or just captured in the spanish-american war of 1898 by the u.s. and our citizens by congress but against the objections, the unanimous objection of the house a puerto rico which in 1917 rejected citizenship, voted unanimously against u.s. citizenship yet it was imposed on the puerto
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ricans by the u.s. congress. so when ann coulter says, what have we done to the immigrants and mexicans and puerto ricans, the two largest groups of latinos in the united states? that is no accident but it is a direct result of the history of the united states with these countries may, explain your title, "harvest of empire." >> it is the book and the movie, starting at the end of world war ii, really, people of the third world started coming to the west. they came precisely to those countries that had once been there: the masters. so that in france, they don't know what to do about the algerians and conditions and moroccans and in england they don't know what to do about the
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indians and pakistanis and jamaicans. in the u.s., they do not know what to do about the latin americans. those are the precisely the former colonies of those empires. with the ending of world war ii and the independence movements that developed throughout asia and africa, and let america, the peoples of those former colonial countries are coming to a mitropoulos and changing, transform the very composition of those nations. for us, the united states, it is not even -- we're not dealing with this immigration "problem" alone. england has an immigration problem, france, and germany has an immigration problem. it is the harvest of the empire's that made this country so wealthy. the capital came, and at that -- but the people are coming out as well. >> we will take a break and come back to this discussion and what it means in 2012 with the elections here, immigration
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policy. the film is premiering in los angeles in pasadena and here in new york at the quad theatre beginning on the 28th, friday, right through the fourth. it is on 13th street. eduardo lopez is our guest, co- director and producer along with wendy thompson marquez and juan gonzalez, co-host on "democracy now!" columnist of "the daily news," and your of the book on which this is based, "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." we will continue this discussion in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are spending the hour talking about a new film given the significance of the issue of
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immigration in this country today, the film is called, "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." is opening thein pasadena in california, and here at the quad theater this friday through october 4. eduardo lopez is co-director and producer along with wendy thompson marquez, based on co- host juan gonzalez's book, " harvest of empire." march 24, 1980, the assassination of oscar romero by u.s.-backed death squad. you are from all salvador, an immigrant here in the in the states. >> this is one of the reasons why we produced this film and why we feel so strongly about it. as juan 0.7 the book, and in the film, el salvador is maybe the latest and one of the clearest examples of this direct
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connection between our foreign- policy -- in 1980, there were less than 100,000 salvadorans listed the third largest latino population in the nine states. yet to remember el salvador is the smallest country of the americas. yet how is it that in only 32 years, we are about to become the third largest latino population in the ended states? if all the rhetoric about immigration was true and our poverty or does that -- dysfunctional government, if that were the cause of immigration, people would have come from el salvador for forever. that is not the case. people started coming in 1980 because of the war, specifically because of our own country's action in the war. in the film, we talk about the school of the americas and how most of the human rights abuses and the massacres, including the
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killing of the nuns and the murder of archbishop romero, was really done by people trained at the school of america's by our own country. so this is a clear example of how this nation connection continues to exist. it is not something that just happened 150 years ago. it continues to happen. >> hany have the latest presidential link, this remarkable story -- and you have this latest presidential link, this remarkable story of bain capital, how mitt romney helped found it with investments from central american elites, went to the death squads in el salvador. this is something we discussed on "democracy now!" after initially struggling to find investors, romney traveled to miami in 1983 to win pledges of $9 million, 40% of bain capital start of money, some had extensive ties to death squads responsible for a vast majority of the deaths in el salvador in
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the 1980's. it includes the former is a master to all salvador robert white previously accused of directly funding the paramilitaries. former bain executive harry strong rights, romney pushed aside his own misgivings about the investors to accept their backing but he writes -- these last american friends have loyally rolled over investments actively participated in bain capital's investor meetings and still today are one of the largest investor groups in bain capital. i want your comment, then junot diaz's. >> i think if governor romney had ever met one of the family members of people brutally killed during that time, maybe he would have thought twice about accepting the blood money. to me, it is really unacceptable. when you look -- i believe it was around $9 million that he accepted as the investment
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money. but where this money came from and the people who gave it to him is something that he really should have looked at much more closely. because it is related to the most terrible atrocities. as ambassador robert white says in our film, when you are a group of uniformed butchers, the people don't emigrate, they flee. and to me, it is unbelievable that now governor romney talks about immigrants with derogatory terms like "legals," yet he profited from the funding that actually cause much of the immigration to the u.s. from el salvador. >> mitt romney talks about people should self the port. >> i think ross south america, nicaragua, el salvador, honduras, has always been a small elite that has benefited
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from bain a group basically facilitating the exploitation of their own countries by american businesses. i think that romney was so closely tied to some of the salvadoran compradors that is really astounding in terms of his stance on immigration. and in the film, they have one of the most powerful portions of the film where it is the testimony of one of the salvadoran torture victims who became an immigrant or refugee here in the united states. she talks in vivid terms about the kinds of torture that she went through and somehow managed to survive. i think that romney got his start in bain through his investment by some of these salvadorian elites is really
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telling in itself. >> i want to get your comment on the current presidential candidates talking about immigration. in an appearance on a spanish language network last thursday, president, faced tough questions over its immigration policies including his failure to fulfill a campaign promise to enact comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office. obama called a lack of immigration reform the biggest failure of his presidency, but attempted to shift blame for the failure to republicans. >> when we talk about immigration reform in the first year, that is before the economy was on the verge of collapse. lehman brothers had collapsed, the stock market was collapsing. and so my first priority was making sure we prevented us from going into a great depression. i think everybody remembers where we were four years ago. i am happy to take responsibility for being nine
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eve. i did not expect republicans to approve this is supported comprehensive immigration reform, my opponent in 2008 who had been a champion of it and attended these meetings, suddenly would walk away. >> president obama's comments come as his administration faces scrutiny for deporting and detaining a record number of undocumented people, nearly 400,000 immigrants were deported during the last fiscal year. the republican presidential nominee mitt romney also fielded questions about immigration during a wednesday appearance on univision. romney attacked obama is deferred action policy that allows some young undocumented people to remain in the country temporarily, saying more, the solution was needed. romney was accused in the appearance of avoiding specific details about a possible permanent solution and asked to respond with a yes or no on whether he would deport undocumented youth. >> we're not going to round up people around the country and deport them.
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i said during my primary campaigns, we're not when the round of 12 million people -- including kids and parents -- and have everyone deported. we need to provide a long-term solution. i have described the fact i would be in support of a program that said people who served in our military could be permanent residents of the united states. unlike the president, when i'm president, i will do what i promise, but implicit immigration reform plan. -- put in place our immigration reform plan. >> mitt romney got much louder applause than president obama >> yes, he did. he actually dropped in supporters. the original agreement was that romney would be given tickets to disperse to young republicans on the university of miami campus, but they could not find enough students on the university of the campus -- on the university campus to fill the theater, so
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they bust in supporters from outside the university. one of the things that i think is important to understand about the current immigration debate in the country, as i mentioned in the film, the last "amnesty" in this country came under the most conservative president in our lifetime -- ronald reagan. he approved or signed into law the simpson bill that provided the opportunity for about 3 million people who were then in the country undocumented to legalize their status. we're talking about 11 million to 12 the people now that are undocumented in the united states. i think the extreme -- the most
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extreme right of the republican party understands that if 11 million to 12 million people are able to legalize their status and become voters, it will change the political landscape of america for decades to come. they understand it could spell doom of the republican party for a generation to come. and i think that is why they're struggling so much against it, just as they did back in 1986 with the first comprehensive immigration reform. i think there is a political reason for this the vehement opposition to basically adjusting the status for folks there really for the most part are not criminals, are hard- working people. they were forced to, by a variety of reasons, to leave their countries, and they are continuing to the prosperity of the united states, especially
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the dreamers, the young folks. i think that is what is at stake is that not only humanitarian gesture to the people that are here, but also the political repercussions that will come out as a result. >> thank you so much for being with us, eduardo lopez is the co-director and producer wendy thompson lópez of, "harvest of empire: the untold story of latinos in america." based on juan gonzalez's book by the same title. thank you so much. it will be at the theater in pasadena on friday and here and york on the quad theatre through october 4. this is a film certainly worth seeing. what a remarkable education. our one-hundred city tour continues on wednesday in connecticut. thursday, arlington, virginia. on friday, a charlottesville, virginia.
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