Opinion: Señor Presidente — We Latinos Care About A Syria Strike Too


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Hugo Balta
As a Latino in the United States there are certain prejudices people have about where I’m from, my likes/dislikes and expertise (to name a few).
The most common examples of these preconceptions is that I am Mexican (I am  not. I happen to be Peruvian-American), I love Shakira, J-Lo and mariachi music  (Well, yes, I do. But, I also like rock, jazz, R&B and other) and I am the authority on soccer (as many of my friends would argue — nothing could be  further from the truth).
Latinos currently make up more than 157,000 of the active-duty military forces. Every day and every night, fathers and mothers, loved ones and friends anxiously turn to their news source of choice to get information that  might impact their sons and daughters abroad.
It seems President Barack Obama shares in some of those biases. Latinos in the United States couldn’t possibly be interested in a crisis in the Middle East. I mean it’s not like there are any Latinos in Syria. After all, this isn’t about immigration.
Well, Mr. President — you’re wrong.
The more than 52 million Latinos in this country care about the same things that all Americans do. While English-language media will reach many of them;  estás ignorando 38 millones de personas que prefieren las noticias en Español  (you are ignoring the 38 million that prefer their news in Spanish.).
It is not only an outrage, but yet another example of the short sightedness  displayed by the Obama administration. The president met with news anchors from  ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS and Fox News on the eve before addressing the nation. Univision and Telemundo were once again left without a seat at the table.
Univision, a network that consistently outperforms its English-language counterparts reached a milestone in July. The network reached nearly 2 million  viewers in a key demo, dwarfing competitors who came in at under 1.5 million. You add Telemundo to the mix and it’s hard to believe that the president did not see the value in reaching the American people through Spanish language networks.
Perhaps Obama and his team suffer from short-term memory loss and need reminding about how they returned to the White House.
In the 2012 presidential elections, Latinos helped Obama win in key battleground states over Republican Mitt Romney. A lesson his party will not soon forget. 71 percent of Latinos voted for Obama compared to the 27 percent  who voted for Romney.
But for all the stats and figures about population and ratings, there’s one more significant number to consider. According to the Department of Defense,  Latinos currently make up more than 157,000 of the active-duty military  forces.
Every day and every night, fathers and mothers, loved ones and friends  anxiously turn to their news source of choice to get information that might  impact their sons and daughters abroad.
Mr. President, aren’t the millions of American citizens and residents who prefer their news and information in Spanish deserving of your time?
Hugo Balta is the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. This article first appeared in FoxNewsLatino.com