¿Cómo se dice, como se llama?…Obama (how do you say it? what is his name? Obama)

February 22, 2008

These are the latest additions to the Obama-themed repertoire, but this time with ¡sabor latino!:

I.- ¡Viva Obama!

From AFP:

NEW YORK (AFP) — White House hopeful Barack Obama has been given a boost to his presidential campaign among Latino voters in the form of a Mexican Mariachi band singing his praises on video-sharing website YouTube.

The posting of the two-minute clip, which features six musicians dressed in traditional sombreros and black suits, comes less than two weeks ahead of a crucial nominating contest in Texas, where Latino voters play a key role.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Corpus Christi, from Dallas or from El Valle, from Houston or El Paso, the important thing is that we vote for Obama,” the band sings before launching into a chorus of “Viva Obama! Viva Obama!

The music theme was taken from a Mexican song called ¡Viva México!…(listen to a mp3 stream here), a tune usually played during the Mexican Independence Day celebrations on September 16.

II.- Obama Reggeaton

Listen to the song here

According to Miguel López author of the song:

“My imagination was captured in Chicago by a self-described, “skinny dude with the funny name.” Before I knew it he was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2004, I’m living in Southern Cal watching the Democratic National Convention and impacted by his speech. It wasn’t the same old politics – the audacity of it all. This year he announces that he’s running for President.

Amigos de Obama and the Como Se Dice? Como Se Llama? OBAMA! OBAMA! ‘08 outreach campaign was created to fill a void in media outreach to Latinos. Every election year, last minute, anemic voter registration drives yield little success. Media campaigns often consist of TV spots showing candidates speaking a few words of Spanish in an attempt to win Latino votes or attack ads about ‘illegal aliens’ to scare non-Latino voters.

We are desperately seeking a voice that speaks authentically. Race and politics aside, it’s leadership not sound bites that we need. If you claim to be compassionate, show it. If you preach unity, help us unify and heal our great divide. If you want our vote, earn it. Be real. Barack Obama represents a defining moment for our generation. We have an opportunity to be agents of change and bring awareness to the Latino community.

We all have a unique story. It doesn’t matter that I’m Mexican-American, born in East LA, raised in Utah, lived in DC and worked on the South-side of Chicago. What matters is what I’m doing now and how I’m helping my neighbor, my brother.”

Both tunes are catchy, witty and will definetly capture the attention of Latino voters…maybe these will be the tools that will make the difference in the Obama campaign.


Obama…¡Sí se puede!

February 20, 2008
Yes, we can! This catchy phrase used by Barack Obama has its origin in the U.S. Latino culture. It is the adaptation of the slogan coined in 1972 by Dolores Huerta from the United Farm Workers (UFW) and immortalized by labor leader César Chávez.

Although, the exact translation of ¡Sí se puede! is “Yes, it can be done!” the colloquial translation has evolved to Yes, we can!, the phrase has been used in different contexts on both sides of the US-Mexico border during the past 30 years.

It was first used by César Chávez during his 25 day fast in Phoenix Arizona in 1972, then in became the rallying cry not just for the UFW but for union and Latino activists in the U.S.

During the 2006 immigration reform rallies, ¡Sí se puede! became the common yell in marches all accross the country.

In México, the phrase has been used as political slogans. Felipe Calderon Hinojosa when sworn in as President of Méxio said during his remarks “Sí se pudo y sí se puede” (Yes, we were able to, and yes, we can), referring that his election victory in July 2006 was contested by oponent candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador but ratified by the Federal Electoral Tribunal in September 2006, and that Lopez Obrador’s follower were determined to not letting him take oath as President.

¡Sí se puede! has also been used as a war cry during sports events, specially if it involves the Mexican National soccer team (Selección Nacional)playing against tough rivals such as Brazil, Argentina, France and the U.S. But it is also used for local and regional teams both amateur and professional. It is common to hear the shout when the local or favorite team is loosing or the score is tied.

The ¡Sí se puede! soccer chant can be heard whenever the Mexican National team plays in U.S. stadiums.

Another famous use of ¡Sí se puede! comes from Venezuela where a video against the regime headed by President Hugo Chávez was disseminated through YouTube in June 2007. The video has images of rallies held by young Venezuelans and it is complemented with a song from Venezuelan singer and super star José Luis Rodriguez “El Puma”. A very powerful piece.

After all, the constant use of ¡Sí se puede! can attract many Latino votes…maybe Hillary and McCain can start using ¡Yo también puedo! (I can too!)?


February 15, 2008

I have to confess that I am one of “those” people that waits for the Super Bowl Sunday every year just for the ads. I really don’t care about who is playing, who is performing or who wins…for me it’s all about the ads. This year, the one ad that caught my attention was the Taco Bell “Fiesta Platter” commercial, since it utilizes a word that might be the most popular term and recognizable Spanish-language expression in the U.S. : ¡Hola!

In the ad a mariachi musician basically gets the girl just by saying ¡Hola!, followed by a wink, this might be the ultimate expression of the latino charm. Being a latino that moved to the U.S., I have a first have experience of the power of the word ¡Hola!, it can be (as the ad shows) an attention grabber, a great opening line in a bar (specially if there is latin music playing), and a word that encompasses the warm, friendly and relaxed traits of the latino individual. A simple ¡Hola! can open a communication bridge among Spanish and non-Spanish speakers.

For a non Spanish-speaker, saying or hearing the word ¡Hola! immediately triggers a positive mental model or stereotype reflecting the Latino culture.

While the origin of the the word is uncertain, some say that it comes from the English-language word “Hello”, others from the French-language word “Allo”, or the German-language word “Hallo”.

The word ¡Hola! as a name or brand can be found in wide variety of products and services, here are some examples:

Revista ¡Hola! : It is the Spanish-language version of the british Hello Magazine. ¡Hola!is a great source of gossip and information from top celebrities and European royalty.

Hola Airlines: It is a Spanish airline based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Hola Susana: A very popular T.V. variety show from Argentina hosted by “actress and diva” Susana Gimenez.

Hola Arkansas: It is a billingual weekly newspaper (English-Spanish)published in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Hola Coca Cola: A customer service information line from The Coca Cola company in Mexico.

¡Hola! can be a very powerful communications tool, use it wisely…¡Adios!