Join me on FoxNewsLatino.com… I’ll be anchoring Spanish-language coverage of the 2012 election.
I will be anchoring tonight’s election coverage en Español for FoxNewsLatino.com beginning at 9 pm EST.
I’ll be reading your tweets & facebook comments throughout the night.
Join me—and join the conversation. It will be an exciting night.
And don’t forget to VOTE!
All this week, I’ll be hosting the 9 am-12 pm PST block on Los Angeles’ KTLK.
You can listen online by going to the KTLK site and clicking on “LAUNCH PLAYER.” Listen, tweet, call.
Our national conversation—Let’s do it again.
I finally set up my personal website. Took me long enough. But I kept getting busy with other things, so it took a back seat. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to build out a digital platform of some kind, so I held off on putting anything up.
For now, it’s just all the pieces I’ve written and it’s nothing fancy. Not sure if I’ll do podcasts or original videos down the line. If I start doing that, I want to do it consistently and so I haven’t been able to make that commitment yet.
Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think. Always looking for constructive feedback and I appreciate you letting me know any bugs you find: http://RickSanchezTV.com
Yahoo or Yahweh?
I was on my iPad this morning, went to Yahoo and clicked around to read some stories. One was about Brad Pitt chanelling “Kramer” from Seinfeld. Seemed interesting, so I clicked.
But instead of a story about Brad, Seinfeld or Kramer, I found a script. Not a movie or TV script, but a script that someone would read if they were trying to get someone to accept Jesus into their life. Here’s an excerpt:
If you were to die this very second, do you know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you would go to Heaven? [If “Yes”—Great, why would you say “Yes”? If they respond with anything but “I have Jesus in my heart” or something similar to that, PROCEED WITH SCRIPT) or “No” or “I hope so” PROCEED WITH SCRIPT.]
I know. Hard to believe, so I took the pictures of the screen to prove it. I’m hoping Yahoo can explain how this made it’s way to the tablet-version of their site.
There is a joke among Israelis that for every two people here, there are at least three opinions. That’s what makes the stories of the three men I’m about to tell you about so unexpected.
They make an odd grouping. One is a Palestinian politician, the other is a leader of an Israeli settlement and the third is a member of the Israeli Knesset.
Dr. Nachman Shai, an Israeli Knesset member whose politics are right down the middle, walks into the room at a rapid clip—cell phone ringing—looking more businessman than politician. He’s a man with little time to waste.
Our conversation quickly turns to the one thing never far from everyone’s mind, the one thing hanging over you at nearly every turn: peace. Shai cuts to the chase.
“This piece of land has to be divided,” Shai utters. “The Bible says it belongs to us, but we have to be realistic.”
Seemingly mid-sentence, Shai’s phone rings. Without missing a beat, the US-trained doctor answers, speaks a few words of Hebrew and then quickly shuts off the phone. He turns back to us and picks up right where he left off. For Shai, a man of science, facts and rationality, there is little sentimentality. Peace is an imperative, he believes, because the status quo of continuing conflict is a numbers game that Israelis cannot win.
“There are now six million Jews in Israel and six million Arabs, but they will soon be more than us. If we don’t find peace, there will be another war. We have to find a way to bring this conflict to an end.” Shai is convinced that a deal to create a Palestinian state has to be struck, and soon.
Six miles and a world away in Bethlehem, another man agrees. George Hazboun, a Palestinian politician and the former deputy mayor of Bethlehem, is tired of the failed fits and starts that never lead to peace. But he now believes Israel is running out of time.
I ask Hazboun why there’s suddenly more urgency for Israel to strike a deal.
“The Arab Spring,” he fires back. “The Middle East is being completely revolutionized and it would not serve Israel well to be at odds with us when all this all shakes out.”
As the Arab world’s old autocratic regimes shed away, no one quite knows what’s in store but Hazboun seems convinced that the emerging Arab revolutionary sentiment may not take kindly to an Israeli government that cannot make peace with its Palestinian neighbors.
The sun seems to go down quickly over the Holy Land, so much so that by the time we arrive in Efrat, it’s pitch black. Out of the darkness, we see David Cohen, his friendly smile reflected by the headlights of our vehicle.
Efrat is a Jewish settlement lodged halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank. Cohen is one of the leaders of the settlement and like most settlers, he believes that all of this land belongs to the Jews. Period. Ideologically, Cohen says that he is in many ways more conservative than Prime Minister Netanyahu.
But despite all that, Cohen has more in common with Shai and Hazboun than you might think.
“My blood boils to say it, but it’s time to give part of our land to the Palestinians,” says Cohen.
Cohen is visibly pained as he says this, and he seemingly tries to step back from his statement to make clear that Palestinians must first accept Israel’s right to exist.
“What if they do?” I ask.
He takes a breath, then looks away. As he turns back, he seems hardly able to compose himself.
“My father fought. I fought. I saw my son fight. But I don’t want my grandson to fight,” Cohen insists, “It’s enough.”
Here, surrounded by ruins dating back to hundreds of years before Christ, I press Cohen even further.
“Are you willing to break up settlements and remove Jewish residents to give Palestinians this land?”
Silence. Long pause. More silence. Finally, Cohen looks at me and responds.
“Yes,” says this former fighter with the grandfatherly eyes, “Yes, its time.”
It’s my second day in Israel.
I’m on a helicopter that takes me directly over the home and farm of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for nearly six years. The grounds are beautifully manicured, but as I fly over them, all I can think of is the image of the war hero turned statesman surrounded by nothing but tubes and nurses.
Our landing zone isn’t far from there. I am in Qassam territory—the place where Israeli security officials tell me a rocket, filled with who knows what, strikes once every 24 hours.
Every home, school and bus stop in Sderot is equipped with a bomb shelter. I notice how terribly ugly, but seemingly necessary, these are. They are geographically and specifically placed to give each Israeli citizen exactly 15 seconds to scurry in after hearing an air raid siren.
Sderot is the closest town to Gaza. Although the rockets can reach as far as Ben Gurion International Airport, it is here in Sderot where the pain is really felt. Ninety-two percent of residents have experienced a rocket fall near them. Home sales are down fifty percent since the rocket attacks began. Eleven factories have shut down. Sixty-five percent of the Sderot residents know someone injured by a rocket attack. And eighty percent of the population exhibits signs of anxiety. Wouldn’t you?
Micky Rosenfeld is Israel’s anti-terrorism superstar. He looks like a uniformed Hollywood pin-up. Blond, blue eyed and chiseled, he shows me what’s left of the hundreds of rockets he’s collected. Then he confides in me what he says keeps him up at night: the rockets are no longer being made in Gaza. He shows me the difference between a homemade rocket made in Gaza and the more sophisticated variety made in Iran.
I comment that the rockets are still so unsophisticated, compared to the IDF’s weapons. But he tells me he is convinced that they are starting to experiment “with using some kind of chemical” in the warheads. He says he has intel supporting this.
At the actual Gaza border, Micky and I make small talk. He generously acknowledges my work while at CNN in covering the Middle East conflict. We are standing on a hill from where you could throw a rock into the Gaza Strip.
Like warm butter, the sense of anxiety here is so thick and you could slice it with a knife that neither side would be afraid to use. It hangs over you at nearly every moment. Watch this exclusive video of a Qassam rocket hitting an Israeli home and just imagine living with this possibility every day:
With all this tension, with an occupation on one side of the border and rockets landing on the other, you’d think hate would be palpable and overwhelming. But generally (and surprisingly), Jews and Palestinians do not hate one another. In fact, most genuinely long for peace.
More on that in my next post as I travel to Jerusalem, the holiest city in the world, and then onto Bethlehem.
I am in Tel Aviv breaking bread with noted Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman. His Spanish is as good as his Hebrew, and he has regularly interviewed Israeli prime ministers for decades—including Yitzhak Rabin less than 24 hours before he was assassinated.
But it’s his latest interview that intrigues me the most.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has just told Cymerman on Israeli TV that the Arab world erred in rejecting the United Nations’ 1947 plan to partition Palestine into two states, one for the Jews and another for the Palestinians.
“It was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole,” President Abbas told Channel 2 TV.
Abbas’ acceptance of responsibility for the predicament in which both sides find themselves is remarkable, if for no other reason than because no other Palestinian leader has ever acknowledged it as a mistake.
In the six decades that have followed, neither side has been blameless. But it’s the Palestinians who have argued for a reversal of history. By admitting that Arabs should have accepted the UN partition, isn’t Abbas finally accepting that history?
It may not be a game changer—I’m learning that, here in the Middle East, hardly anything ever is— but it could be a start.
But there’s more. After a second helping of duck, salmon and extremely sugary persimmons, Cymerman tells me he was most excited about something else that Abbas said.
He said he was really taken aback by President Abbas’ offer to end all historic claims against Israel once they establish a Palestinian state in the lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 War.
That too is a first, and I know it’s important because of the look in Cymerman’s eyes. This veteran journalist, considered among Israel’s best, seems giddy by the new revelation he shares.
Now if only Hamas or those bearing the brunt of their Qassam rockets could be as excited. More on that in my next post, as I take a helicopter ride to the Gaza border with Gaza, where every 24 hours you can see the rocket’s red glare.
I’m in Israel all this week, part of a delegation of Latino journalists invited here by the Anti-Defamation League. I’m honored to have been invited, and my thanks to Abe Foxman and my friends at the ADL for including me.
It’s my first time in Israel (and my first time in the Middle East, for that matter). Today was my first full day here—I left Miami late Saturday and arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday. I have been running non-stop since. It’s been a bit crazy and hectic, but I’m excited to be in the Middle East at such a momentous time of change. Can’t wait to go to Jerusalem.
I plan to share some of the stories and experiences of my trip with all of you here. And if I get fast enough Internet speeds, I’ll even try to upload some pictures and video.
I’ll be posting my first entry tomorrow AM. Good night!
I belong to a group of people who came to America at the expense of all we had. My family left Cuba. We owned a car and a home. We had a good life. And we left it all behind. That’s what political refugees do.
“Freedom isn’t free,” is an adage seared into my mother’s memory. She kept repeating it in her head as she stood at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport in the winter of 1962. That’s when Fidel Castro’s Milicianos—his militia men—rifled through her clothing looking for family heirlooms and anything of value. Those leaving weren’t allowed to take anything with them, but my Aunt Mimi and others defied them by sewing a handful of jewelry and other belongings into their dresses and, in some cases, even their undergarments.
We came here to the US, and all we had were those handfuls of smuggled memories.
But it’s hard to live on memories alone and that made our new life here a struggle. While we appreciated the surplus meat and government cheese (yes, we really did get a monthly block of cheese that we ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it tasted exactly like Velveeta), it was hard for all nine of us to share that small two-bedroom dwelling in the inner city.
And while it was tough not having our home and all of the other things we left behind, the hardest part was not having my big brother with us. Months before we left Cuba, Rudy had been snuck out of Havana by the Catholic Church and sent to a convent in Arizona. That made our “cockroach house,” as we still call it, a sad and small place, too small for me not to hear my mother every single night, crying into her pillow, praying to be reunited with her son.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has his own story of how his family left Cuba. Rubio’s bio claimed his parents fled Cuba, “after the Castro take-over.” It’s an inspiring American story—a son of political refugees becoming a US Senator. But that’s all it is—a story. It’s not reality.
Unlike mine, Rubio’s family left by choice, not necessity. Unlike mine, Rubio’s family left before Castro even took over.
Rubio says he just, “got a few dates wrong.” That’s how he excuses his falsehood about when his parents fled Cuba. With that story, he convinced Americans that he was the son of political refugees, implying that it somehow made him different from the other Hispanics who he attacks regularly—the ones in Arizona, Georgia and Alabama that he and others want to detain, arrest and kick out. How dare they come here looking for work and to better their lot in life? Marco Rubio made us believe he is different from them when he’s not.
Marco Rubio owes an apology to my parents and the hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans who actually did experience the hardships of being political refugees. Their stories are real. And the dates and times associated with their flight from Cuba are etched in their memories, often to the minute. It’s not something they “just get wrong.” Ever. Unless they want to get it wrong.
But they are not Rubio’s biggest problem. This seemingly likable young man with Tea Party backing will likely be forgiven in Miami. His real problem is that the GOP has national plans for him, and national elections aren’t won in Miami. They are won across the country where Mexicans and other immigrants, who make up the vast majority of the Latino vote, may not be as forgiving.
Would you be? Latinos across the country who see themselves as economic exiles, or whose parents came here as economic exiles, say Senator Rubio has continually attacked them. Now, they learn that he is, in many ways, no different from them. He too is the son of economic exiles. His story is their story—one he must now embrace or change. Again.
This piece originally appeared on the Huffington Post:
Pete Pelegrin really believed in his job as a sports writer for the Miami Herald. He cared about the school and his community. The problem is his bosses at the Herald did not. So one night, talk about intestinal fortitude; this courageous reporter chose to do what was right even at the expense of his own career.
Here how it was covered by the Bleacher Report:
Wow. The Herald just noticed FIU football? Great! Welcome to the party guys. Glad to have you. Come on in. Unfortunately, the chips are soggy and we’re almost out. We’ve been here quite a while.
The rest of us have been wondering where you were all this time. Oh, that’s right, you were stuck in traffic catching up to that UM story, the one you were eight months behind on. It must be weird to suddenly show up at the FIU party, what with all these FIU supporters drinking “Chivas and wearing guayaberas.” Do you know what a Guayabera is?
It also must be tough to miss out on the UM party given you were UM’s party girl? By that way, who was that guy who screwed that party up for you? Yahoo sports? Who’s that? Don’t you just hate it when a good looking out-of-towner like that comes in and steals your man? Oh well!
So now you are looking for a new suitor huh? I hope FIU makes you work hard and doesn’t immediately give in to your school yard crush. By the way, did you know that FIU’s AD, Head Coach, and announcers are all Hispanic? Ever dated one of those? Have you ever hung out with somebody who doesn’t wear chinos and button downs? Just asking!
See you at the next FIU party! I’ll be the one wearing the “Don’t believe the Miami Herald” button on my lapel. It was given to me by an old friend who has since passed away. The late Jorge Mas Canosa told me, “I know the ‘real’ Miami Herald, and they’ll always hate us, even when they pretend not to.”
Signed, Rick Sanchez
When I was at CNN, I prided myself on getting you—all of you—involved in the news. I wanted to change my broadcasts from a one-way delivery of information to what I called a, “national conversation.” I didn’t want to read to you. I wanted to talk to you. What you have to say matters and deserves to be heard.
Well, I want to do that again—this time in sports.
Tomorrow night, along with Tony Calatayud, I’ll be broadcasting the Louisville/FIU game on the radio and over the Internet (link to come). The match-up is ESPN’s featured game Friday night and will be broadcast nationwide. Wherever you are, you can follow the game.
So let’s change tomorrow night’s game from a broadcast to a conversation. If you’re watching or listening to the game, I want you to join me.
Send me your tweets during the game, and I’ll share and discuss your thoughts on the air.
I can’t promise you how this experiment will go, but I can promise you we’ll have fun doing it.
Follow me on Twitter: @RickSanchezTV