Axios Latino

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This newsletter, edited by Astrid Galván and Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath, is 1,438 words, a 5.5-minute read.

1 big thing: World discovers corridos

Three pictures are placed together. They include  Natanael Cano; Peso Pluma; Grupo Firme all singing with microphones to their mouth

Top regional Mexican artists include (from left) Natanael Cano; Peso Pluma; Grupo Firme members Eduin and Jhonny Caz. Photos: Jaime Nogales/Medios y Media via Getty Images; Doug Peters/PA Images via Getty Images; and Natasha Moustache/Getty Images

Regional Mexican music — a broad term to describe genres like corridos, norteñas, mariachi and ranchera— has gone global, breaking records as it reaches new audiences, Marina writes.

Driving the news: This week, for the first time ever, two regional Mexican hits were nominated for the Latin Grammys song of the year award, solidifying the genre's mainstream rise over the last year.

  • Spotify's most-streamed song of the summer worldwide was "Ella Baila Sola" by Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma, according to the company.
  • Spotify also said last month that Mexican regional genre streams have grown globally by 430% over the past five years.

The big picture: Regional music's mainstream moment isn't entirely new — Los Ángeles Azules played a main stage set at the Coachella Music Festival in 2018, and Los Tigres del Norte have long been popular in parts of the U.S. — but the music is now appealing to a wider audience.

  • For example, this week Peso Pluma has six songs simultaneously charting on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and he performed to uproarious applause at last week's MTV Video Music Awards.

Zoom in: Regional music nowadays transcends Mexico's borders — many of the most popular songs are collaborations between Mexican and other Latin American artists.

  • Grupo Frontera has a major hit with Bad Bunny; Karol G, who is Colombian, has made music with Peso Pluma and with Natanael Cano; Christian Nodal has sung with the Argentine pop star Tini.

What they're saying: Delia Orjuela, the general manager of the música mexicana division of Warner Music Latina, tells Axios Latino that regional music will likely continue to grow, thanks to technology that makes listening to it accessible worldwide.

  • Orjuela adds that more collaborations between genres and bilingual songs will also foster the genre's growth.

Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, a professor at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley who's currently teaching a seminar on corridos, says there's no one clear reason for the surging global popularity of Mexican regional music.

  • He says it could be because the popular corridos tumbados style is more melodic and tends to touch on universal struggles such as mental health, whereas more traditional corridos often focus on drug trafficking or revenge.
  • Ramírez-Pimienta says the rise of the genre has been empowering for young people who now see being Mexican as "cool," similar to how the popularity of hip-hop made some Black people feel empowered.
  • "The new music is more introspective, more about resignifying Mexican-ness and rethinking masculinity," he says.

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2. Biden, Lula vow to fight for workers

Brazil president Lula stands to the left of President Joe Biden, shaking hands. the Brazil and American flags are behind them as they stand in front of a blue wall

President Biden (right) with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in New York yesterday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden yesterday announced a new initiative with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva focused on workers' rights.

Details: Senior Biden administration officials said the initiative's goals include ending child labor; tackling workplace discrimination, particularly for women and members of LGBTQ+ communities; and addressing the clean energy transition as it relates to jobs.

  • The two countries will place workers' rights at the center of discussions in multilateral forums, including the International Labor Organization, the G20, and the COP30 climate summit, which Brazil will host in 2025, Lula said on social media.
  • The Biden administration wants to expand the initiative to include more countries down the road.

Context: Both presidents have been vocal supporters of workers' rights.

  • Biden has called himself the most pro-union president in U.S. history, while Lula, a founding member of the Workers' Party, launched his political career in the 1970s as a union president who later led a massive campaign for better pay.

What they're saying: "The two largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere are standing up for human rights around the world and the hemisphere, and that includes workers' rights," Biden told Lula on Wednesday.

  • "When the middle does well, everybody does well," Biden added. "Working-class folks have a chance to move up. And the wealthy still do fine, as long as they pay their taxes."

Lula called their partnership "a golden moment" for the two countries.

  • "This gesture we are doing here is an awakening of hope for millions and millions of Brazilians and Americans who need to have the opportunity to live life, to triumph, to work and build their family decently," Lula said, referring to the workers' right initiative.

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3. Early-Mayan spot declared World Heritage Site

The Tak'alik Ab'aj archaeological site just north of El Asintal, Retalhuleu Department, west of Guatemala City, in 2018. Photo: Johan Ordóñez/AFP via Getty Images

A Guatemalan archeological area that dates back to the early rise of the Mayans has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Marina writes.

Driving the news: UNESCO this week added a slew of new sites to its list of places of "outstanding universal value" that should be preserved.

  • These are described as either records of past history and cultures, as current places of significant biodiversity, or areas that serve as living memory.

What to know: The Tak'alik Ab'aj park is one of few preserved Mesoamerican transitional sites, showing how one civilization emerged from what was left of another.

  • Tak'alik Ab'aj, which flourished between the ninth century B.C. and the 10th century A.C., has mixed Olmec and Mayan elements.
  • The site's name means "standing stones" in the Mayan K'iche' language in honor of its hundreds of carved stelae.
  • "This site is the start of our amazing history" as Guatemalans, outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei said on X on Monday.

Zoom out: Other sites from the Americas added to UNESCO's World Heritage list this week are the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks in Ohio and the largest former clandestine torture and detention site in Argentina, the ESMA.

  • The latter is one of few sites related to significant violence — including the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, Rwandan genocide memorial sites and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial — that the UN body has highlighted to serve as warning reminders of atrocities.

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4. Latinos value speaking Spanish — a lot

Share of U.S. Latinos who say it is extremely/very important that future generations speak Spanish
Data: Pew Research Center; Note: "Foreign-born" includes Latino adults born in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S. to noncitizen parents. Those born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens at birth; Chart: Axios Visuals

A majority of U.S. Latinos say it's extremely or very important that future generations speak Spanish — yet the percentage of Latinos who speak Spanish at home has consistently declined, Astrid writes.

Driving the news: The Pew Research Center yesterday released findings of a survey of roughly 3,000 Latinos focused on their experiences with Spanish.

  • Although most respondents said future generations should speak Spanish, the percentage of Latinos in general who speak it at home has declined from 78% in 2000 to 68% in 2021, according to previous Pew research.
  • "I think it reflects what people aspire to be. There's an aspiration that Spanish is an important part of what it means to be Latino overall and many people want to perhaps either reclaim it, or learn it if they have not really learned it well as a kid," Mark Hugo Lopez, director of race and ethnicity research at Pew, tells Axios Latino.

Details: Most Latinos told Pew it's not necessary to speak Spanish to be considered Latino, and most third-generation and higher-generation Latinos said they can't carry on a conversation in Spanish.

Context: There was a time in the U.S. when speaking Spanish outside the home, especially at school, was shunned and resulted in punishment. That led to generations of Latinos losing their language.

5. Stories we're watching

Illustration of a spotlight on a newspaper-patterned Latin America

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

1. A high-level Colombian military official acknowledged this week during a trial for human rights abuses that he and others were aware of the "falsos positivos" scandal, in which civilians were killed and then accused of being rebels or guerrilla members.

  • Henry Torres Escalante, a former general, is the highest-ranking official to admit to the occurrence of such cases during the 90s and early 2000s, when the government fought guerrilla groups like the now-defunct FARC. He said the orders came from above.

2. The advocacy group Power 4 Puerto Rico said yesterday it's unacceptable and an erasure that the the Smithsonian Latino Museum would put on pause a planned exhibit on Latino youth movements and civil rights activism.

6. 🪅 Pachanga: Vivian Collins

Photo illustration of Vivian Collins surrounded by a colorful abstract pattern.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Courtesy of José D. Alvarez

Today's pachanga is for Vivian Collins, a Peru-born business consultant who works with low-income Latino entrepreneurs in North Carolina.

  • She's been working for Prospera, a nonprofit economic development program that helps people become entrepreneurs, for two years.
  • This summer, she completed a leadership training program through the North Carolina Rural Center.

Keep up the great work, Vivian!

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Thanks to Carlos Cunha and Axios Visuals for their contributions to this newsletter!