From pop stars, to artists, world leaders, and the Pope, these are the most influential latinos of 2019, according to Time magazine.
Time magazine just issued its 100 most influential people of the year, among which are 8 Latinos from all backgrounds, ranging from artists like Ozuna and Yalitza Aparicio, to politicians like Juan Guaidó and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and the freaking Pope. Yes, the Pope.
For the issue,Time had someone close to each featured icon write a profile about them. They are not necessarily friends, but are certainly close enough, either personally, professionally, ideologically or all of the above, to write up the reasons why they made it to this year’s issue.
More than ten years ago, the US economy was crumbling, and millions of Americans were left helpless, while the government saved Wall Street. A little over a year ago, Ocasio-Cortez was waiting tables. Then, completely unexpectedly, she won the Democratic primaries for her district, which virtually assured her seat in Congress. Now, she’s turned American politics upside down.
Ocasio-Cortez plays social media like a fiddle, enrages Fox News by out-sassing them, and most importantly, she knows which questions to ask a rigged system, as well as which policies to pursue.
And as Elizabeth Warren writes: “she’s just getting started.”
Andrés Manuel López Obrador
President López Obrador, or AMLO, as he is called, rallied against Mexico’s corrupt system that bolsters social inequality. After two unsuccesful presidential runs, one of which was mired by a controversial series of protests, and the other one led to a six-year term for one of the most disastrous Mexican presidents in recent history, AMLO finally won the elections by a never-before-seen landslide of 53% percent of the popular vote.
AMLO has been accused of being authoritarian, a populist, Mexico’s Trump, and Mexico’s Chávez (both claims usually come from the same people, as contradictory as it may be). But AMLO sees himself as a gamechanger, someone who will make history as Mexico’s savior. Whether he is successful or not, journalist Jorge Ramos writes: "More than 30 million Mexicans voted for a change in the last election, and that’s exactly what they got… AMLO waited 12 years to become President, and he is in a hurry to act. But sooner or later, he will realize that just one person cannot save Mexico. Others have tried and failed."
When 2,700 children are separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, you cannot ignore the mishandling of immigration. Mirian placed the issue right at the center of the conversation. Mirian came to the US, legally seeking asylum, while fleeing from violence in Honduras with her 18-month-old son. At the border, they were separated, and it took two months and eleven days for them to be reunited.
Usually, the powerless stay powerless. But Mirian decided to join “a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of all the separated families, wrote about her experience..." Welcome home, Mirian. We need you.
Juan Guadió decided enough was enough in Venezuela. After the situation worsens every day, Guaidó proclaimed himself the true president of Venezuela, thus becoming a real threat to Nicolás Maduro and pledging to end food and medicine shortages for good. He’s a new hope for many, and as some countries rallied against Maduro, others have been hesitant.
While Guaidó possesses many virtues, his true test will be how to change the regime while avoiding civil violence and foreign intervention.
Born in Venezuela in 1920, Luchita came to the US at age 8, to Santa Monica, California. She has been painting for 80 years, but this year, the Serpentine Galliers will feature the first retrospective of her work. “Now, at the age of 98, Luchita is finally getting the attention she has long deserved.”
On Ozuna’s profile, Daddy Yankee says he still remembers “the chamaquito who came to my recording studio to ask me to be on a remix to his song “No Quiere Enamorarse.”
Ozuna has experienced incredible success in the recent music scene. If you don’t believe it, turn on the radio and hear for yourself.
Yalitza Aparicio wowed moviegoers last year, starring in Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece, Roma. Then, with no previous acting experience, she landed a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress. “Although she was terrified of the ocean” writes Cuarón “she rushed straight into its roaring, precarious waves for the most impactful scene of the film. She didn’t speak Mixteco, but she learned the language and spoke it fluently and full of raw, authentic emotion for most of her dialogue. Yalitza can take any task that’s put in front of her and excel in ways no one thought possible.”
Aparicio gave voice to everyday people like Cleo, and opened debates about race and class in Mexican society with an unprecedented force.
Pope Francis was celebrated among Latinos for being the first Latin American Pope in history. Originally from Argentina, Francis has been Pope for a while, but this year he decided to grab the bull by the horns and address the problem of raging sexual abuse of minors by te clergy, determined to dig deeper and go against “clericalism,” the evil abuse of conscience and power.
These latinos are most likely to surprise us in 2019. Let's just hope it's in a good way.
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