The Other (Latino) Candidates

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While Daddy Yankee is busy going through a political identity crisis, other (thinking) Latinos have gone almost completely ignored – and these people are running for President of the United States!

That’s right, there are more than two political parties in this  country, and come November 4th, your ballot will have at least a dozen candidates to choose from, many of them Latinos, representing parties you’ve probably never heard of such as the Boston Tea and the Socialism and Liberation. Even if the toss-up will inevitably be between Obama and McCain, it’s important to know that as citizens of a democracy, we have options.

Matt Gonzalez (Independent): This former Democrat is Ralph Nader’s choice for the vice president. Born to a Mexican mother and Mexican-American father in McAllen, Texas, Gonzalez went to Stanford Law School and was later named “Lawyer of the Year” by the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association in 2000. In 2003, he ran for Mayor of San Francisco as a Green Party candidate, losing narrowingly to Democrat Gavin Newsom. He is against the death penalty and for gay rights and immigration.

Róger Calero (Socialist Workers): Calero and his family left Nicaragua when he was 16 years old and moved to Los Angeles, where he helped fight against Proposition 187 (initiative to deny illegal immigrants social services and education) in the 90’s. He now lives in Newark, New Jersey and works as a journalist. Since he is a permanent residential alien, he is ineligible to become U.S. President. Yet he continues to run this year, after first running in 2004, listing the name James Harris in states where his couldn’t be printed.

Gloria La Riva (Socialism and Liberation): One of the two women running for president, La Riva, a bilingual Chicana originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1991 and governor of California in 1994. In the early 90s, La Riva was one of the leaders of the movement against the war in Iraq, coordinator of a 200,000 people anti-war march, and one of the first to travel to Chiapas, Mexico when the Zapatistas movement incited.

Rosa Clemente (Green): Born and raised in the South Bronx, New York, this boricua hip-hop activist and independent journalist is the vice presidential running mate to Cynthia McKinney. The two are for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and ending all funds going to the war effort. Clemente’s background deals especially with young people of color. In 2003, she helped form the first ever National Hip Hop Political Convention to address the political agenda of the hip-hop generation.