Las Cafeteras in Conversation & Performance on Democracy Now!


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re joined now in our New York studio
by the Los Angeles-based Chicano band Las Cafeteras. The band has been described by the Los Angeles
Times as “a uniquely Angeleno mishmash of punk, hip-hop, beat music, cumbia and rock.” This year they released a new album called
Tastes Like L.A. Here, they’re performing their hit single, “If I was President,” in
our studio. LAS CAFETERAS: [performing “If I was President”] Señor Presidente le vengo avisar
No tengo papeles para trabajar Señor Presidente le pido porque
Matan al Moreno con piel de café Si fuera presidente
Honestamente Si fuera Presidente
Para mi gente Si fuera Presidente
Honestamente Presidente
Para mi gente Check, check, one, two
You see, if I was president I’d roll up my sleeves
As I face the congregation First thing I’d do
Is free education And every third period
We’d practice meditation Every third period
We’d practice meditation Like a brown Robin Hood
I’d take from the rich And I’d give to the poor
So my little sister Ain’t got to be hungry no more
And my first lady Would be my mom
Cause she’d slap me At the first thought of drone strikes
And dropping bombs And I’d free all my poor black and brown
kids That got caught up in three strikes
And when they get out They’re gettin’ free bikes
So they can ride to their future Not their past
Go to the store, get some chips With no GMO ’cause my folks
We gotta right to know And if you don’t know
Now you know Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Si fuera presidente
Honestamente Si fuera presidente
Para mi gente Si fuera presidente
Honestamente Presidente
Para mi gente At my inauguration
I’d burn tobacco at the opening Send thanks and prayers
To creator and all living beings Then I’d sit you down with your abuelita
Rewrite history so our kids can see Where we came from and a new destiny
From Flint to Cali water flowing pure and free
My department of peace Would melt guns into bike racks
Budget cuts to corporate kickbacks If
I was president, well, there’d still be drama
Takes a village to heal our generational trauma So, shake your spine,
Put your hands up high We got a different kinda party in the White
House tonight If I was president
Hey, what would you do? If I was president
Hey, I’d ask you If you were president
Hey, what would you do? If it was you, you or you Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion My people, it’s 2017. We can’t wait on no president, no governor,
no city council to make it for us. It’s on each one of us, in our home, our
families, our communities. Imagine how beautiful the world could be if
we just all took that next step. Hey! So sing along, my people. Si fuera presidente
Pa’ toda la gente Si fuera presidente
Pa’ toda la gente Si fuera presidente
Pa’ toda la gente Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion Me gusta la lima, me gusta limon
Pero no me gusta tanta corrupcion AMY GOODMAN: That’s the Los Angeles-based
Chicano band Las Cafeteras. Well, for more, we’re joined by two of its
six members, two co-founders of the band, Hector Flores and Denise Carlos. Welcome both to Democracy Now! DENISE CARLOS: Thank you. HECTOR FLORES: Thanks, Amy. Good to be here. Good to be here. AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about this song, this—talk
about this hit song on your new album, Tastes Like L.A., Denise. DENISE CARLOS: Well, you know, it’s—it’s
hard to talk about leadership and presidency in these times. And oftentimes I think we’re able to do
a lot of critique to folks who make the rules. And we just were sitting around one day and
were like, “What would we really do, in our neighborhoods? If we can’t make big policy changes, how
is it up to us? And how do we write these songs that really
connect with the youth of our neighborhoods, with our families? And what do we have access to? What is the power that we have access to?” HECTOR FLORES: Yeah, so we—it’s actually
an old-school song, Jarocho song. There’s an old-school song called “Señor
Presidente.” And so we would play that old-school jam,
but, you know, we’re Chicano kids, Chicana kids, from L.A., and so we would mix in hip-hop
and cumbia. And just like Denise said, like we—a lot
of it’s like—I think, in the left, we’re always talking about what we’re against. And for us, we really want to reimagine and
really think what we’re for, because the day is coming and the day is here where we
need to push forward an agenda of what we’re for. And that’s what this song was really about,
like what would I do? You know, what would I push for? And, actually, three months leading up to
the recording, I went to like Food 4 Less, and every time I went to go buy food, I would
ask the workers, I’d say, “Hey, if you were president for a day, what was the first thing
you would do?” And basically, their responses are the lyrics
to—the lyrics that I wrote for my piece. They always said education. They said, “Man, you know, I’d get my cousin
out of jail, because he shouldn’t be in there for weed.” And like, things like that. And that’s sort of what we put into the
song. AMY GOODMAN: And Las Cafeteras, the name of
your band, what does it mean? Denise? DENISE CARLOS: It comes from a space called
the Eastside Café in Northeast L.A. And it is a space that had this wild imagination
about self-determination and creating a world where many worlds exist. And this is really the narrative and the teachings
of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, of not responding to a government that doesn’t
identify or recognize them, but really taking it upon themselves to govern themselves in
a way that they find holds dignity. And so, for us, in those days, it was a space
that really gave us, again, the imagination of more how do we build a world where we fit
and where we’re powerful and where our voice is heard. And so, it’s a beautiful, beautiful root
of how we, as Las Cafeteras, started playing music, where we never grew up playing music. And it was for many of us the first time that
we even sang out loud in front of people. HECTOR FLORES: Yeah. DENISE CARLOS: And as Chicanas and Chicanos,
you know, always being told to hush up, that we don’t deserve the resources that are
out there, that we don’t belong in schools, and that we’re not beautiful and that we
don’t deserve to love each other and ourselves, it was really radical at the time, but we
really wanted to make it this mainstream idea of self-determination, of self-love, of being
powerful in our communities. HECTOR FLORES: And then they would call us
Los Cafeteros—Cafeteros from the Eastside Café. But we had women. When we’d go out to play, they’d be, “Oh,
here’s the Cafeteros from the Eastside Café.” But we had women in the crew, and so, you
know, if you’re a—they’re Cafeteras. And so, when we decided to form this group,
you know, we wanted to identify more with the feminine and challenge patriarchy in language. Like English and Spanish are very machista
languages, very masculine languages that honor men. And so, we wanted to take on a name, where
if we have women, then we should take on the feminine. And we’re called Las Cafeteras. AMY GOODMAN: So, introduce this song for us,
which everyone knows a form of, “This Land is Your Land,” and why you chose to put it
on the album. HECTOR FLORES: So, “This Land is Your Land”
was written by Woody Guthrie, but it was actually a cover song. He actually wrote that song as a cover to
a song called “God Bless America.” And so, he actually did it in response, to
say no, like—it was a very right-wing song, and it was a very sort of patriotic song,
and it didn’t really honor a lot of sort of people in the United States. So Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your
Land.” And when he wrote it, he actually omitted
verses, because he wrote it during the McCarthy era. And so, we were asked to write a song, and
I remember an organization asked us to write like an American song, like an old-school. And we said, “Well…” We didn’t really want to. And so we actually went back and said, “What
songs exist, like traditional folk songs that really speak to our identity?” And we found “This Land is Your Land.” It was actually Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. We saw her. We saw her example, and it was beautiful. And then we said, “Well, why don’t we do
it our own?” We did a Mexican Zapatista funk version. AMY GOODMAN: This is Las Cafeteras singing
“This Land is Your Land.” LAS CAFETERAS: [performing “This Land is Your
Land”] This one goes out to indigenous people across
the world and to everyone everywhere who protects the land and the water for the next seven
generations to come. This land is your land
This land is my land From California to the Nueva York
Todo para todos Nada pa’ nosotros
This land was made for you and me La tierra es tuya
La tierra es mia Desde California
Hasta Nueva York Todo para todos
Nada pa’ nosotros This land was made for you and me Oh, this land (This land!) This land (Which land?) This land was made for you and me
Oh, this land (This land!) This land (Whose land?) This land was made for you and me As I was walking, I saw a sign there
And on that sign it said “no crossing” And on the other side, it said nothing
This land was made for you and me Oh, this land (This land!) This land (Which land?) This land was made for you and me
Oh, this land (This land!) This land (Whose land?) This land was made for you and me Mama tierra
This land was made for you and me Todo para todos
This land was made for you and me AMY GOODMAN: That’s Las Cafeteras in our
Democracy Now! studios, singing “This Land is Your Land.” And it’s one of the songs in Tastes Like
L.A. Denise Flores, why did you call the album Tastes Like L.A.? And why the cover, which
is a food truck? DENISE CARLOS: You know, a lot of places that
we play ask, “What genre do you play?” And we don’t fit in any specific box. We don’t fit in a genre. We are so L.A.-flavored. And that’s the only way we would know how
to describe it. We grew up listening to hip-hop, Norteño,
rancheras, cumbia, punk, goth, you know? And all of us come from so many different
traditions and experiences. We’re Chicanos. We’re Mexican. But as Hector always says, that just means
that you’re mixed, and you come from all kinds of places. And so, for us, we really wanted to introduce
ourselves back into the musical world as just a band from L.A. playing everything and anything
and not fitting into a box, because, as people, we don’t fit into a box, right? So the census is really complicated for us. And we have this food truck, because in L.A.
it’s—you know, food justice and even vendor rights are a big deal. I think L.A. is one of the biggest cities
in the country that don’t have established policies that protect street vendors. And so, it’s really important for us, who
grew up eating food from vendors— HECTOR FLORES: The Taco Train and the taco
truck and lotero. DENISE CARLOS: And like I—yeah, paletas. HECTOR FLORES: The paletero, yeah. DENISE CARLOS: You know, I don’t imagine
my childhood and my home without it. And so, it’s important for us to be able
to speak to that and to be allies to that struggle. AMY GOODMAN: Hector, can you talk about the
food truck that was turned over just a few days ago. The video went viral, when a guy turned over
this man’s truck. HECTOR FLORES: There’s this man who flipped
over a corn truck, where a man was selling corn on the street, because he didn’t want
to move. And I feel that speaks to how I think a lot
of our communities feel about street vendors. But that’s really basically reflected in
the fact that policies don’t—policies don’t protect street vendors. So, for us, like the ice cream truck, the
elotero man, the peletera woman, folks who are making a living selling food, need to
be protected. They’re trying to raise their families,
live a life of dignity. And so, that’s why on the front of our CD
it’s a ice cream truck. You know, that’s L.A. for us. It’s people working, doing what they have
to, selling food to raise, you know, their families and have a life of dignity. AMY GOODMAN: And that food truck, if you look
carefully on the cover of your CD, says, “We have vegan options.” HECTOR FLORES: Yeah, we do, because we—you
know, most of the band, we’re vegetarian. Leah and David are vegan. We definitely—for many reasons. But, I mean, one if for health, spirituality. But it’s also just like—I think, for Raza,
it’s really important that a lot of our people are dying from high cholesterol, from— DENISE CARLOS: Diabetes. HECTOR FLORES: —diabetes, and it’s from
the food that we eat. And I feel like if we’re going to build
healthy communities, it also has to start with how we eat. And so, that’s really important for us. And so, it’s part of our ethos, and we wanted
it to be part of our music. AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to “Tiempos de Amor.” Talk about this song, the origins of it, Denise. DENISE CARLOS: So, “Tiempos de Amor,” when
a certain person was up on a podium, as a candidate for president, speaking about Mexican
people, saying that we are rapists and we’re drug dealers and we’re dangerous, and some
of us are good— AMY GOODMAN: You don’t like to say President
Trump’s name? DENISE CARLOS: I would rather not, although
I’m OK other people saying it. It really struck a chord with me. It made me very emotional. I think, obviously, my first reaction was
very defensive. But rather than just identifying him as the
culprit, it was mostly the people’s reaction—right?—and understanding that the narrative around my
people and my community is dehumanizing. And so, the lyrics that I wrote for “Tiempos
de Amor,” I went back into my parents’ story, and I went back into my family’s story and
everybody I know. Most of the people that I know are first generation
born in the U.S. And the root of the reason why a lot of our
parents left the comforts of their home and family was because of love. They loved the children that they didn’t
have so much that they sacrificed really their lives. And I just wanted to remind people that the
root of all this pain and the root of all this struggle is love. And we can’t live without it. And it’s so easy to criminalize people and
to dehumanize because they’re breaking laws, and we forget that laws aren’t always, you
know, dignified and compassionate and understanding. HECTOR FLORES: And just. DENISE CARLOS: And just. And so, we—I mean, we just had a truck full
of people found in— HECTOR FLORES: Texas. DENISE CARLOS: In Texas, and 10 of those folks
had passed away. And so, what I saw in the reaction to a lot
of the article was: “Well, they were illegal. They deserve it.” And it breaks my heart that we are in a time
where people care more about laws and policies than actual people and beating hearts. AMY GOODMAN: “Tiempos de Amor” means “Times
of Love”? DENISE CARLOS: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Can you share the first verse,
the first verse with us in English, since you sing it in Spanish? DENISE CARLOS: Of course. It says, “I would cross whichever—whatever
river to be close to you, because I feel an emptiness beating in my heart.” AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to “Tiempos de Amor.” This is Las Cafeteras. LAS CAFETERAS: [performing “Tiempos de Amor”] Cruzaría cualquier río
Para estar cerca de ti Porque siento un vacío
Palpitar dentro de mi Dentro de me No puedo seguir asi
Sueno estar junto a ti En tiempo de dolor
Con frio o con calor Yo cruzaria montanas
Para alcanzar tu amor Ooooh la la la laaa Moriria hasta de sed
En los campos y el desierto No me puede detener
El sufrir ni el pensamiento No puedo seguir asi
Sueno estar junto a ti En tiempo de dolor
Con frio o con calor Yo cruzaria montanas
Para alcanzar tu amor Ooooh la la la laaa Yo naci de mi madre
Yo naci de la flor Yo naci de la tierra
Tengo el mismo color Yo naci
Yo naci Yo naci de mi madre
Yo naci de la flor Yo naci de la tierra
Tengo el mismo color Tengo el mismo color
La la la la la la la la la la AMY GOODMAN: That’s “Tiempos de Amor,” Las
Cafeteras, here in our Democracy Now! studios. Our guests are Denise Carlos and Hector Flores. Hector, the last paragraph was yours, the
last verse. Talk about it. HECTOR FLORES: It’s an homage to my family. My dad was born in Sonora. And it says, “Yo naci de mi madre/Yo naci
de la flor/Yo naci de la tierra/Tengo el mismo color. I was born from my mother. I was born from the flower. I was born from the earth. And I have the same color.” You know, it rhymes better in Spanish, but
that’s the essence. AMY GOODMAN: And, Hector, talk about your
family. Talk about your mom. She was one of 14? HECTOR FLORES: Yeah, my mom’s the oldest
of 14 kids. She crossed the border and came here when
she was 13 years old, with seven brothers and sisters. And so, seven were born there, the rest were
born here. And my mom has an incredible story of resiliency,
a beautiful woman. And I—you know, people say, “Where do you
get your energy? Where do you get your—you know, that stride?” And I say, “That’s my mama. That’s my mama.” And my mama has always been a strong woman. And she’s living right now in Compton. And she’s—she went back to school. She got her master’s. My mom has an incredible story, and one day
I’m going to write a book about her. AMY GOODMAN: So, your mother has 14 brothers
and sisters. A number of them are deaf? HECTOR FLORES: Yes. So, my mama is the oldest of 14 kids. And six of her brothers and sisters are deaf. And so I grew up like signing and in the deaf
world and learned at a very early age about power and privilege, that this world was not
created for the deaf. This was a hearing world. And I understood at a very early age what
it meant to have privilege and power and how I need to work with others and how to be compassionate. And that really led sort of an understanding
of other parts of some injustices that I’ve seen in my life growing up with a single mom
and, you know, in a working-class neighborhood and being a child of immigrants. And so, I give a lot of—I have a lot of
love for my deaf community and my deaf family. AMY GOODMAN: Hector, introduce the next song. HECTOR FLORES: This song is called “El Zapateado.” And it’s an Afro-Mexican song that pays
homage to the foot dance, the footwork. When Africans were taken from their land and
brought to the States, what we know as Mexico, they would communicate with drums. And so they made drums illegal. So, many folks communicated with dance, their
feet. And so, we reinterpreted this song and added
an homage to black lives that have been taken. You know, we have to pay—like our music
comes from Africa, and it comes from indigenous life and work. And so—and those lives are being taken now. And so, part of us is remembering the music,
remembering people who have been taken too early. And so, this song right here is our reinterpretation
of music to remember who we are and the people that have been taken from us too early. AMY GOODMAN: The beginning is in Spanish. Tell us the words in English. HECTOR FLORES: So, Mijangos does the first
verse, and he actually does a verse talking about the pollution and the destruction of
Mother Earth and the way, as people, we just—we basically are more for profit than for people. And that’s the first verse. And then Denise sings the second one, which
is a beautiful verse about—do you want to—about being a butterfly. DENISE CARLOS: Yeah, I talk about I’d love
to be a butterfly so I can have—so I can be free. But then I say, “Why do I need wings when
I’m free as I dance?” And I started dancing folklorico when I was
15. And at the time, I—I always say I wanted
to disappear. I was battling a couple of eating disorders,
and I was very quiet. And I kind of just didn’t want to exist. And then I started dancing. And all I knew is that everything was right
when I danced. And my battles with my body and my body image,
you know, would go away at that time. And so, for me, it’s a good reminder to
love what my body does for me, but also I love this idea of being able to create joy
in dance and in movement and that our bodies, as brown bodies, are not only utilized for
labor, but also for joy and for creating the spaces of love and power. And as simple as the verse is, it’s very
powerful for me, and I hope other women are able to embrace that, too. AMY GOODMAN: This is Las Cafeteras. LAS CAFETERAS: [performing “El Zapateado”] Tener… La humanidad, atareada
Pensando solo en riqueza La humanidad, atareada
Pensando solo en riqueza Y olvidando la grandeza
Del estarse [sic] enamorado Vive solo, ensimismado
Queriendo lo material Solo lo superficial que dan
El oro y la plata por petróleo El hombre mata, volviendolo criminal
Por petróleo el hombre mata, volviendolo un animal Lero Le
Quisiera ser mariposa Quisiera ser mariposa
Para poder yo volar Pero pa’ que quiero alas
Digo pa’ que quiero alas Si vuelo al zapatear
Si vuelo al zapatear I come from the sun and the moon
The sky is my father Like the flowers I bloom
I look like my mother Because her skin is dark brown
I look like my mother Because I came from the ground
My heart beats in rhythms Because it’s made like a drum
And when I spit rhymes All my ancestors come
We sing songs about the past About the present, about our pain
And when we get together We say “Not in our name”
From Gaza to Honduras Guatemala, Vietnam
Yo, I’m droppin’ this verse For all them who droppin’ bombs
Those creating borders And taking away my mom
For the children be rising And we rise to this song My name is Emmett Till
I ain’t do nothing wrong I didn’t whistle at no white woman
I wasn’t causing no harm You need to remember my name
Because it’s seven generations long My name is Philando Castile
I ain’t do nothing wrong I wasn’t causing no harm
I’m in a car with my girl And I need you to remember my name
Because it’s seven generations long My name is Sandra Bland
I ain’t do nothing wrong I was just driving home
I wasn’t causing no harm I need you to remember my name
Because it’s seven generations long Say her name Permiso pido a cantar
A todas las luchadoras Permiso pido a cantar
A todas las luchadoras En este jardín de flores
Yo le voy a regalar Yo le voy a regalar
Yo le voy a regalar La historia de mis amores AMY GOODMAN: “El Zapateado.” That’s Las Cafeteras in the studios of Democracy
Now! And we’re joined by two of its co-founders,
Denise Carlos and Hector Flores. Denise, can you talk about a song that you
played on a previous CD, “La Bamba,” and I also saw you at Lincoln Center, and you were
playing it there, too. DENISE CARLOS: Yes. So, “La Bamba” is actually a son jarocho song,
and it’s a song that’s been embraced and recaptured throughout the ages. It’s about 400 years old, traditionally. And I know that I first heard it when Los
Lobos did the rock ‘n’ roll version. And we wanted to be—you know, we wanted
to utilize it for our own story, our own narrative. And so I started with saying this is a rebellious
bamba, “La Bamba Rebelde,” which I will sing, because we are Chicanas from East L.A. I don’t
believe in borders. I will cross. AMY GOODMAN: Las Cafeteras, singing “La Bamba.” LAS CAFETERAS: [performing “La Bamba Rebelde”] Es la Bamba Rebelde
Es la Bamba Rebelde que cantare Porque somos Chicanos
Porque somos Chicanos de East L.A. Ay arriba y arriba
Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré Yo no creo en fronteras
Yo no creo en fronteras Yo cruzaré
Yo cruzaré Yo cruzaré Es la bamba senores
Es la bamba senores La melodia
Que nos pone en el alma Que nos pone en el alma
Mucho alegria Ay arriba y arriba
Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré Como Las Cafeteras
Como Las Cafeteras Yo lucharé
Yo cantaré Yo bailaré Ya no llores llorona
Ya no llores llorona Mi gente lucha contra leyes racista
Contra leyes racista En Arizona
Ay arriba y arriba Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré
Yo no so de la migra Yo no so de la migra
Ni lo seré Ni lo seré
Ni lo seré Yo, si, vengo del valle
Yo si vengo del valle de San Gabriel Porque alli nos creamos
Porque alli nos creamos Nuestra familia
Ay arriba y arriba Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré
Yo no soy marineo Yo no soy marineo
Soy luchador Soy luchador
Soy luchador Que vivan las mujeres
Que vivan las mujeres de East L.A. Porque bailan la bamba
Ay que bailan la bamba lere lere Para arriba y arriba
Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré Como Las Zapatistas
Como Las Zapatistas Yo lucharé
Yo lucharé Yo venceré Yo sí soy por Mumia
Yo sí soy por Mumia Encarcelado pero siempre luchando
Pero siempre luchando Por la justicia
Y arriba y arriba Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré
Yo no soy por la guerra Yo no soy por la guerra
Ni apoyaré Ni apoyaré
Ni apoyaré El hombre que yo quierro
El hombre que yo quierro Es un viajero
Y me toca la bamba Y me toca la bamba
Con el requinto Ay arriba y arriba
Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré Yo como Las Cafeteras
Yo como Las Cafeteras Yo lucharé
Yo cantaré Yo bailaré Thank you so much to Democracy Now! We’re Las Cafeteras. We’re rocking with y’all. Ay le pido, le pido
Ay le pido, le pido De corazón que se acabe la bamba
Que se acabe la bamba de corazón Ay arriba y arriba
Ay arriba y arriba y arriba iré Yo no creo en fronteras
Yo no creo en fronteras Yo cruzaré
Yo cruzaré Yo cruzaré AMY GOODMAN: OK, “La Bamba Rebelde.” DENISE CARLOS: Yes. HECTOR FLORES: Yeah. AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! Before we end, when you came back into the
United States from Canada on this tour, as you head off to London, then back to Canada,
you came through New Haven. Talk about why? HECTOR FLORES: We came through—we had a
show in New Haven, Connecticut. And coming into New Haven, I received a text
message from a—from the Connecticut Immigrant Rights organization saying there’s a woman
in sanctuary, and her name was Nury Chavarria, and they were having a vigil that night for
her. And we found out—and they asked us to come
to the vigil and play. And we found out that there was a woman, Nury
Chavarria, who was to be deported last Thursday, and instead of showing up for deportation,
she went to sanctuary—she went into sanctuary in a church. And so, we went, and we met Nury. And we played at the vigil. And the next day, we were able to go to the
church, meet her, hear her story. AMY GOODMAN: She has four children. HECTOR FLORES: She has four— AMY GOODMAN: She’s been here for almost
quarter of a century. HECTOR FLORES: Four U.S.-born children. Four U.S.-born children. AMY GOODMAN: Twenty-four years. HECTOR FLORES: Over 20 years in the United
States, no criminal record. And every years since 1999, she’s been going
into court to get a year sort of relief. AMY GOODMAN: Extension. HECTOR FLORES: Extension. But last month, she went in, and instead of
giving her a year extension, they put an ankle bracelet on her, and they told her, “You’re
going to be deported in a month.” AMY GOODMAN: A shackle on her ankle. HECTOR FLORES: And they told her in front
of her 9-year-old daughter. And instead of showing up to court to be deported,
she went into sanctuary. And so, when we learned about that, we said
we have to go, we have to make it happen. And we were able to meet her. And we actually did a video in support and
asking people to call Department of Homeland Security. And I got a text message two days ago that
she has been—she received—what is the word? Clemency? A stay of—a stay—relief from deportation. AMY GOODMAN: For a year. HECTOR FLORES: For a year. AMY GOODMAN: A federal judge has asked ICE
to re-examine her case. HECTOR FLORES: Yes, yes. And that’s—and that is in part to the
organizations in New Haven, Connecticut, doing that beautiful work. So when people say like—you know, when you’re
asked to help and call ICE, it works. AMY GOODMAN: What did you play outside of
the church? HECTOR FLORES: Outside of church, we played
“Tiempos de Amor.” DENISE CARLOS: Mm-hmm, “La Bamba Rebelde.” HECTOR FLORES: “La Bamba Rebelde.” DENISE CARLOS: And “If I was President.” HECTOR FLORES: And “If I was President,” outside. And it was a banging show in an empty parking
lot right next to the church. AMY GOODMAN: So this is interesting, what
you do when you go from city to city. Can you explain the kind of theme? HECTOR FLORES: So, we’re movement organizers. We’re organizers before we’re musicians. So when we go into new towns, we identify
who’s doing work in that town, who’s doing—what is—what is the issue that needs to be elevated. We went to Burlington, Vermont, and we met
with a dairy—dairy farm workers. AMY GOODMAN: The whole migrant justice group. HECTOR FLORES: Migrant justice organizations. And we found out that there’s a lot of injustice
against dairy farm workers. We had no idea. We invited them to our show. You know, they were able to table, share their
work. And that’s the work that we do. And we do shows called Beats, Beats Not Borders
or Beats and Bridges, where we go into different neighborhoods, different cities. We invite the local DJ. We invite the organizations, you know. And basically we have these banging parties,
and we get down with justice, but we elevate and connect people in the neighborhood to
the movements. And I think that’s the work we want to do
as musicians. AMY GOODMAN: Hector Flores and Denise Carlos,
thanks so much for joining us, members of—founding members of Las Cafeteras. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

Maurice Vega

33 Responses

  1. FAKE NEWS
    They should be singing "if I was legal"
    Probably not a one of them with a green card.
    "Propaganda Now" would be a better title.

  2. The people who hate Mexicans are the same European colonist that came and took the land from Native Americans. They both have more of a right to be there than those oppressors. Have the courage to move forwards from that dark past if you think this new nation called the United States of America was a great creation made for the future… A brave New world, not a paranoid old one!

  3. just incredible artists and spirits… thank you, Las Cafeteras, for your work, drive, and may light of the Universe be with you always.

  4. What a wonderful surprise relief for the politics of democracy take on the "Now" immediacy of art in song, language, gender, genre, timeless and universal

  5. And WELL'WELL in just about 42:20 minutes of this morning broadcast truth be told the truth and food for thought is/was uploaded on August 1,2017.

  6. This band is so elevating and heart centered- community & cause oriented.
    Worth the time and energy to watch and help your heart grow & expand!

  7. Denise Carlos as a middle aged white male I would just like to state for the record that not all American's feel like the people on the right would have us believe . I respect and appreciate your beautiful Chicano culture and your Mexican Herritage. Please never stop making your beautiful music!

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