The 2015 Team Latino Draft: Who Got Dropped and Who Got Signed

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It’s been a year of ups and downs for Latinos in the news. There were stories, like those of six year-old immigration reform advocate Sophie Cruz, that warmed our hearts and made us proud. And then there were those like the Colombian Trump superfan, who made us wish there was an IRL option to mark people as spam.

As the year draws to a close and we reflect back on the heroes and laughingstocks of 2015, we couldn’t help but think of Dave Chappelle’s hilarious racial draft sketch. If you don’t remember it, first kindly reevaluate your life, and then watch this refresher:

Leaving aside the fact that Latinos aren’t actually a race, we thought this sketch still had some legs in 2015, as we reflected on the people we’d like to drop from our team, and those we’d like to sign. (Especially after the Latino Twitter delegation up and decided to trade Naya Rivera for Migos at the beginning of this year.)

And so, we introduce our inaugural Latino Delegation 2015 Draft: an official reallocation of the players on Team Latino, (based on input from geographically diverse panel, and complicated and completely objective criteria, naturally.)

jk this whole list is clearly just for shits and giggles so everyone please relax.

Check out who made the cut, and who got booted in 2015. The delegation has spoken.

Trump superfan: Traded

Isaac Brekken/Getty

When Trump’s biggest Latina fan Myriam Witcher stormed the stage at one of his campaign stops screaming “Yes, Mr. Trump! We love you! We love you all the way to the White House!” she had us all like ?.

After all, Trump has spent much of his campaign stoking anti-immigrant sentiment so vile it has united most of the Latino community against him. Witcher, however, dubbed Trump “our man sent from heaven,” and happily spoke to several news outlets about her adoration from him and his anti-immigrant policies (all while maintaining that she was not, in fact, a plant from the Trump team.)

So yeah… Miriam is definitely booted from Team Latino. 

Drake: Signed

You all saw this one coming. 2015 was the year Aubrey officially went from Champagne Papi to Brugal Papi. Between his bachata moves in the Hotline Bling video, his “papi champu” lyrical references, and his adoption of a look that can best be described as “Dominican Bouncer,” Drizzy’s a good one to have on our side.

Maria Espinoza: Traded  

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Maria Espinoza, the daughter of a Mexican-born man, is an anti-immigration activist who founded the Remembrance Project, which collects and disseminates stories about Americans murdered by undocumented immigrants, in an effort to argue for tighter immigration restrictions.

While there certainly are tragic instances of murders perpetrated by undocumented criminals – like the high profile case that put San Francisco’s sanctuary city status up for debate –  these cases are the minority and are not representative of the immigrant community at large. As an in-depth report on Espinoza published in Buzzfeed points out, “decades of research in various fields have consistently found that immigrants are less prone to crime than the native-born.”

Espinoza, despite being the child of an immigrant, actively works to demonize and scapegoat the immigrant community for the misdeeds of few, and to stoke nativist sentiment. Perhaps that’s why her group has worked directly with the Trump campaign.

Needless to say, she’s an easy trade – though she’s kind of done the work for us by basically renouncing her heritage herself. On the subject of her father and her Mexican heritage she told Buzzfeed, “He never looked back. I never saw a Mexican flag anywhere — not in our home, you know? It was just America and the Bible.”

Lou Diamond Phillips: Signed

As this point, Filipino actor Lou Diamond Phillips has played so many Latinos on the silver screen that we’re happy to welcome him to our squad. From his iconic role as Ritchie Valens in 1987’s La Bamba to the Latino characters he’s played in Stand & Deliver, Young Guns, Filly BrownA Show of Force, Supernova, and his most recent role as a Chilean miner in 33, Phillips has put a face to some of our greatest characters and stories.

And even though it’s annoying AF that Hollywood tends to treat brown actors interchangeably (see Rita Moreno’s recent interview about being treated as “the house ethnic, consigned to play every dusky maiden you’ve ever seen in your life in movies” regardless of the character’s ethnicity), Phillips has been a respectful ally to our community.

This year, in an interview with Remezcla, he spoke about being “incredibly proud to represent numerous Latino communities throughout my career.” He also talked about how growing up in Corpus Christi made him connected to Mexican-Americans.

For this, and because of Latinos and Filipinos are basically fam anyway, we’re happy to sign Lou to our team. 

Enrique Peña Nieto: Traded


Mexican president EPN managed to bungle pretty much everything he touched this year – from security, to human rights to Mexico’s national economy. Under his watch, there has been a consistent rise in the homicide rate since July of 2014, Mexico’s freedom of the press has been under attack, the value of the peso has tumbled in comparison to the dollar, and let’s not forget the humiliation the nation faced when drug lord El Chapo Guzman somehow managed to escape from a high security prison.

Perhaps the clearest symbol of EPN’s tanking popularity this year was the Newsweek en Español cover he earned himself. The magazine called him “the savior that never was,” and the accompanying article detailing his numerous shortcomings.

He many still have three years in office, but he has zero years left on our team.

El Compa Negro: Signed

Photo: Danny Liao, via LA Weekly

Rhyan Lowery is a Compton-born and raised African-American corrido singer. Growing up in a primarily Latino community surrounded by Mexican friends made him fall in love with ranchero culture, so much so that he decided to learn how to perform corridos. Under the watchful eye of his Mexican manager Antonio Lopez, Lowery has been performing in near-perfect norteño Spanish and dressing the part, garnering attention on Spanish language TV and becoming the subject of profiles in LA Weekly, the LA Times, and our own site.

As the first African-American regional Mexican performer – one who has demonstrated a sincere love for the culture and who is a testament to America’s bicultural future – Lowery’s got a spot on our team.

Marco Rubio: Traded


This year, when people were outraged that a dentist killed Cecil the lion, Marco Rubio tried to tie the tragedy to Planned Parenthood.

People called him out on his nonsense, but not even Twitter shame was enough to make him take down this tweet. In the wake of the many mass shootings that have taken place across the United States this year, Rubio said that everyone is focusing on gun control and not enough on bomb control.

The thing is, there are no bomb stores.

Since he announced his campaign earlier this year, Rubio has done little to lock down the Latino vote, reaching out to Latinos on only three of his campaign stops. And unlike Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, he hasn’t run any Spanish-language ads and he hasn’t taken up the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on their offer to work together.

We’ll take a hard pass on Rubio.

Balang: Signed

Filipino dancer/7-year-old Zumba instructor/Internet sensation John Philip Bughaw, aka Balang, was on The Ellen Degeneres Show twice this year, where he showed off his flawless dance moves. While he didn’t specifically do anything for the Latino community this year, he definitely brought a lot of joy to the world. And because Filipinos are our cousins, he’d be welcome on our team anytime.

Ted Cruz: Traded

Ted Cruz has been going around doing impressions whenever he gets the chance, and though it’s lame AF, it’s not reason enough to kick him off the team. There are, however, plenty of reasons to hate on Cruz.

First, he refuses to see a similarity between his refugee family and Syrian refugees, who are also making dangerous journeys to find a better life. His reasoning is that their religion makes them a threat, as opposed to, you know, people fleeing war.

Cruz’s lack of empathy was once again displayed following this year’s rash of mass shootings. Days after sending his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Charleston mass shooting in June, he made an insensitive comment. “You know the great thing about the state of Iowa is, I’m pretty sure you all define gun control the same way we do in Texas – hitting what you aim,” he said.

And then, he did it again after the San Bernandino shooting. Perhaps The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah said it best: “Fourteen people just lost their lives in a shooting, and Ted Cruz’s first thought is, ‘Oh, that reminds me, gotta send out my invites to my gun party.'”

Really, the only consolation is that Cruz’s former college roommate had the best description of the presidential candidate:

Anthony Bourdain: Signed

Anthony Bourdain has long been an ally to Latinos in the U.S., repeatedly highlighting how important their contributions are to America’s restaurant industry and kitchen culture. In February, when media outlets largely ignored the death of Mexican chef Carlos Llaguno Morales, Bourdain used his celebrity to make sure the world remembered Llaguno.

And in response to Trump’s impractical plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, Bourdain once again spoke out in defense of immigrants. “I rolled out of a prestigious culinary institute and went to work in real restaurants,” he said. “I walked into restaurant and always, the person who had been there the longest, who took the time to show me how it was done, was always Mexican or Central American.”

His comments echoed a lengthier statement he made last year on his own Tumblr, in an essay that served as a love letter to Mexico:

“Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers. Some, of course, like to claim that Mexicans are “stealing American jobs”. But in two decades as a chef and employer, I never had ONE American kid walk in my door and apply for a dishwashing job, a porter’s position—or even a job as prep cook. Mexicans do much of the work in this country that Americans, provably, simply won’t do. In nearly 30 years of cooking professionally, just about every time I walked into a new kitchen, it was a Mexican guy who looked after me, had my back, showed me what was what, was there—and on the case—when the cooks more like me, with backgrounds like mine—ran away to go skiing or surfing—or simply flaked,” he wrote.

Bourdain’s fierce and passionate defense of Latino immigrants makes him a clear pick for our team.

Naya Rivera: Traded

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Naya Rivera has been on our list since January. In fact, the Twitter trade debate she ignited kind of inspired this entire post. Back then, on a visit to The View, she told a ridic and offensive joke. “I have to say I have a theory about showering, [which] is that I think that white people shower a lot more than ethnics,” she said.

If she needs proof that she is wrong, she doesn’t need to look much further than Brazil, where people shower up to five times a day. This year, Brazilians were forced to cut down their number of showers because of a drought.

John Oliver: Signed

Week after week, John Oliver produces insightful pieces on Last Week Tonight that can only be the results of months of research. This year, he used his HBO show to take down four contentious Latin American figures: presidents Rafael Correa, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Nicolás Maduro, and Enrique Peña Nieto.

But the highlight was definitely his ongoing feud with Correa (who actually responded to Oliver’s critiques on Twitter.)

The back and forth peaked when Oliver told the Ecuadorian president that he should stop wearing a dicklace – a necklace with tiny penis-like shapes – if he didn’t want to provide more ammo for others:

Yup, we definitely need Oliver’s jokes on our side.

Laura Bozzo: Traded

Luis Veloz

Controversy magnet Laura Bozzo was basically all but booted from her native Peru, after a series of scandals in the early aughts. First, she was accused of using her show – which earned her the nickname “the Jerry Springer of Peru” – to sway public public opinion in favor of Alberto Fujimori’s government. Then, a couple of years later, she was placed under house arrest after being accused of taking a $3M bribe from a former Peruvian spy.

The embattled host decided she’d be better off moving to Mexico and taking her show to Televisa (a network which itself is notorious for being in bed with politicians.) But this year, the Mexicans had enough of Laura’s crap too, and tried to get her kicked out of the country because of her scandalous talk show. Headlines in late November made it seems as though she was successfully being kicked off Televisa, but alas, Laura Bozzo will never go away.

Still, even if Laura is back next year, it won’t be as a member of our team.

Gloria Steinem: Signed

Gloria Steinem, who has built a career out of championing women’s rights, succinctly summarized why she is an ally to Latinas and other minority women. “There is no competition of tears in feminism,” she said. “If you’ve suffered discrimination, you’re sensitive to it on every level. I learned feminism largely from black women. Women of color basically invented feminism.”

Gloria’s comments come at a time when a call for intersectionality is at the forefront of the women’s movement. And though many label Steinem as a “second wave” feminist, at 81 she reveals she’s still active in today’s movement and in her fight to make feminism more inclusive.

You’ve been on our team since day 1, Gloria.

Jimmy Morales: Traded

AP Photo/Esteban Felix

This year, comedian Jimmy Morales was elected president of Guatemala. Morales’ biggest flaw isn’t that he doesn’t have any political experience, it’s that he has made his name off of caricatures modeled after indigenous and black stereotypes. And then, there’s also the fact that he’s linked to Otto Pérez Molina, the former president who resigned in disgrace in September.

Bye felipe.

Joel Atlas Skirble: Signed

If you grew up on the East Coast watching Univision, chances are you saw commercials for Joel Atlas Skirble, aka El Capitán. A lawyer who worked to defend the Latino community for more than 45 years, he became famous for his somewhat cheesy commercials, which stood out for his emphatic catchphrase, delivered in a heavy gringo accent: “Yo hablo TU idioma!!”

Though the commercials made us laugh, Skirble did speak our language, and he devoted his entire career to serving our community. In September, El Capitán passed away unexpectedly, but he remains a solid member of the team. QDEP.

Stacey Dash: Traded

Stacey Dash has been the human equivalent of a misinformed Facebook comment since whenever Fox News started giving her a platform. Obviously, this year was no different.

In February, Dash found something to be upset about during Patricia Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech. Arquette said women needed wage equality “once and for all.”

“First of all, Patricia Arquette needs to do her history,” Dash said, according to E! News. “In 1963, Kennedy passed an equal pay law. It’s still in effect. I didn’t get the memo that I didn’t have any rights.” She also didn’t get the memo that women still make ~79 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

That was just one of the many embarrassing things Dash spouted this year, and although Dionne will one of our favorite movie characters of all time, even the strength of Clueless isn’t enough to keep her on our team.

Anthony C. Ocampo: Signed

As you may have noticed, we’ve drafted a few Filipinos this year, and have been all about repping our cultural ties to the Filipino community. With his book The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race, Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Anthony C. Ocampo put himself solidly on our team, with a fascinating sociological text that supports our theory that Latinos and Filipinos are primos. Ocampo argues that while Filipinos in the U.S. are considered Asian, their identity “changes depending on their social context.”

Anita Alvarez: Traded

Anita Alvarez made history as the first Latina woman elected to the position of Cook County’s State Attorney. Unfortunately, the prosecutorial misconduct that has plagued the city under her watch is basically unforgivable. We could go into detail on her record and why she’s one of the worst prosecutors in the country, but that would take up more space than we’ve got (though you should check out the detailed two part series on her office’s misconduct over at Daily Kos).

Perhaps one of the highest profile instances of her bad behavior, however, was her office’s mishandling of the death of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald. McDonald died after Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot him 16 times – an interaction that was caught on police dashboard camera, and whose footage contradicted Van Dyke’s account of the incident. But instead of taking action against Van Dyke, Alvarez sat on the case for 13 months without pressing charges.

It wasn’t until over a year later, when a freelance journalist won a suit to have the footage released, that Alvarez filed charges against the officer – on the very day the footage was set to go public. Since then, new information has surfaced showing that Alvarez shielded another police officer from charges after the officer admitted to committing perjury while testifying against a defendant in a criminal case.

Elizabeth Warren: Signed

Puerto Rico’s debt crisis has dominated the news this year, and though the island is home to 3.5 million American citizens, the crisis has largely been met with indifference from Congress. One of the loud voices throwing support to the island has come from Senator Elizabeth Warren (who has also been a champion for women’s reproductive rights, slamming those who sought to defund Planned Parenthood.)

Warren has been highly critical of Puerto Rico’s debt holders—who she’s repeatedly referred to as “vulture funds”— and has pressed the Treasury Department to “be just as creative in coming up with solutions for Puerto Rico as it was when the big banks called for help.”

Treasury should step up to help families in Puerto RicoPuerto Rico has been hit hard by 10 years of recession, and the 3.5 million American citizens who live there are at the mercy of the vulture funds who hold much of their debt. Today at a committee hearing, I urged the Treasury Department to work just as hard to help the people of Puerto Rico as they do for Wall Street banks.

Posted by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday, October 22, 2015

At a time when Puerto Rico is fighting for its future, we need allies like Warren on our team.