LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “When I first read about America Libre, I knew this was an important book,” said Veronica Jacuinde, producer/reporter of On The Up at SiTV. “As the debate over immigration becomes more inflammatory, people need to hear the message of this book. It’s a warning sign of the consequences of overreaction and prejudice.” America Libre (ISBN: 0-595-42606-9), a novel by Raul Ramos y Sanchez, imagines a nightmarish, not-too-distant future when Hispanic demonstrations turn violent and Anglo vigilantes launch revenge attacks against the barrios, igniting an ethnic conflict that eventually leads to full-scale civil war. The author sees the apocalyptic story as a wake-up call to the dangers of bigotry and extremism in a growing ethnic gulf.
Moved by the novel’s message, the SiTV producer/reporter put actions behind her words. “After speaking with the author, I began calling colleagues in the Latino media to spread the word,” said Jacuinde. Besides booking the author, Raul Ramos y Sanchez, on her own show, Jacuinde has helped arrange his appearances on several other broadcasts. Among the venues slated are Primera Edicion on Univision affiliate KMEX, the top-rated news station among Spanish-speaking viewers in Southern California, and Piolin por la Manana, hosted by Eddie “El Piolin” Sotelo, the nationally syndicated Univision deejay whom many credit as a driving force behind the May 2006 immigration reform demonstrations that drew millions across the nation. The interviews with Raul Ramos y Sanchez begin on Monday, June 11th, and include a book signing at Libreria Martinez in Santa Ana, California on Wednesday, June 13th. Additional appearances and book signings arranged by Jacuinde have been scheduled.
Since its release in March, America Libre has rapidly gained media momentum. The author’s website (www.RaulRamos.com) has received over 40,000 visitors since the first of May. Raul Ramos y Sanchez has also been interviewed on a number of radio programs and been the subject of numerous online articles and blog references.
The debut novel has garnered five-star reviews from nearly 90% of readers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The academic community has also responded favorably. “An engaging, fast-moving story of love, intrigue and conflict, wrapped in rich, thought-provoking political and cultural commentary,” said Dr. Richard W. Slatta, professor of history at North Carolina State University.
The popularity of “America Libre” has created several spin-offs as well. Raul Ramos y Sanchez was recently offered a regular editorial column for the new Hispanic section of The Times, a Knight-Ridder/Tribune daily newspaper in the Chicago/Gary market. On May 24th, NPR.org carried a column from his blog, Author’s Diary, on its Differences of Opinion section alongside long-established national columnists like Cal Thomas and Eugene Robinson. Most recently, the author was selected as a workshop leader at the Southern California Writers’ Conference to be held in Los Angeles September 28-30.
Despite America Libre’s appeal with readers and its academic recognition, Jacuinde believes some in the non-Hispanic media still consider the novel’s message too dangerous. “My impression is that a lot of mainstream news editors are missing the point of the book,” said Jacuinde. “These journalists have a conventional conservative-liberal mindset that presumes the novel is either a right-wing attack on immigrants or a radical left view that advocates a Latino rebellion. The book is neither and most in the Latino media understand this. We see the novel for what it is – a warning against extremism in every form.”
Although written in English, America Libre has made an impact with both Spanish-language and English-language Hispanic media. “The Latino media market is a lot more complex than most mainstream journalists and advertisers understand,” said Jacuinde. “Over 60% of U.S. Latinos are native born and they read, listen and watch English-language media. They simply prefer content that is culturally relevant.”
More information about America Libre and its author is available at http://www.RaulRamos.com or by calling Scott Willis at 504-525-7694.
[tags]America Libre novel, Raul Ramos y Sanchez, Rook Interactive, debate over immigration, Hispanic demonstrations, California Latino news[/tags]