Tag Archives: Latinos

Compton Latino gang members and race

IMG_9401Two Latino gang members from Compton pleaded guilty (Thursday, Oct. 16, 2013) to federal hate crimes in attacks on black youths in a case that showed how much the town had changed.

Jeffrey Aguilar and Efren Marquez, Jr., admitted to violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

They each face a maximum of 10 years in prison, said Reema El-Amamy, the federal prosecutor in the case.

Aguilar and Marquez are reputed members of Compton Varrio 155, a small street gang that has feuded for years with a black street gang a couple blocks north. They were arrested in January. Sheriff’s officials said at the time that the family they allegedly targeted had no gang association and had only lived on the street for a few months.

I went out to the neighborhood one rainy day after these arrests were announced. The street is working class, with stucco two-bedrooms crowded next to each other.

What struck me was that the gang seemed especially energetic. Their graffiti was everywhere. This is something you don’t see so much in Southern California any more. Most gangs don’t have the same public presence — largely because of federal indictments and gang injunctions. Graffiti, certainly, is far less common.

The case seemed to me emblematic of many that have taken place over the years and have gone largely unnoticed. They involve Latino street gangs targeting blacks who live in their area.IMG_9395

Beginning in about the mid-1990s, Latino gangs emerged as the leading perpetrators of hate crimes, especially violent hate crimes. This happened all over: San Bernardino, Pacoima, Azusa, Canoga Park, Highland Park, Harbor Gateway, Hawaiian Gardens, Pomona, and so on.

Compton, long a black enclave that gave birth to gangsta rap, has transformed into a majority Latino city in the last 15 years. Nothing showed that more than this case, unless it’s the school fields on Sundays that are filled with people playing soccer.

ADDENDUM: By the way, if you go back further — into the 1980s — you find that black gangs preyed mightily on Mexican immigrant kids in much the same way. this coincided with the influx of Mexican immigrants into black areas like South Central, Inglewood and Compton during that decade, which in Mexico was an economic catastrophe.

I’ve heard this from many people. But here’s what one blogreader just wrote, remembering those times:

“…back when I lived in Compton, specially when I went to Compton high school between 89-93, things were tense between the black gangs and the mostly Mexican students at Compton, there were a lot of instances where I witnessed Latino students not gang members being jumped brutally for no reason…there were even riots on my senior year where these black gangs that were around Compton high school would start hitting random Latino students and these students would fight back with their cowboy belt buckles, this was the time of quebradita and chalino Sanchez….so a lot of us would go semi cowboy to school….”

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Filed under California, Gangs, Los Angeles, Southern California

SPORTS: Baseball’s suspensions — all Latinos


The 13 baseball suspensions connected to Florida-based Biogenesis just announced today are notable, apart from the numbers of guys involved, for the fact that all are Latino — though Ryan Braun was also part of the case and was suspended last month.

Interesting. Not sure why. One possibility is that a group of Latino customers formed around this company, perhaps with Alex Rodriguez as the main guy. One of his nicknames in company files is “cacique,” I read. In Mexico, cacique means political boss.

Another possibility has to do with the “system” of churning out baseball players from places like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, which sounds quite a bit like the old Hollywood studio system, namely pretty brutal and soul-crushing and surrounded by slimy agents, scouts and lawyers all filling boys’ heads with bad advice — one of which is that doping is just what you have to do.

I’ll be interested to see what further reporting reveals.

Of course, I mention this well aware that, in earlier cases, most of the players involved were not Latino.

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Filed under Culture, Drugs

MIGRANTS: Republicans and Latinos

Here’s another commentary about what Republicans need to do to earn any kind of decent percentage of the Latino vote in November. (I’ve read several of these now.)

Polls I’ve heard have Romney getting 28 percent of Latino vote. This story says 26 percent, less than John McCain polled in 2008. Romney met with a Latino coalition the day after his wife spoke, according to La Opinion, hoping to cultivate some better feelings.

Yet all this will be hard to accomplish. The R leaders may want to de-emphasize the strident rhetoric, but Rs on the ground don’t seem willing to go along.

To wit: A Puerto Rican delegate to the RNC was shouted down with chants of “U-S-A” when she began to speak in her accented English. (See video above)

PBS’s Ray Suarez provides some context to the event, which explain it as something other than what the video makes it appear, though this may not make it more palatable to Latinos.

And of course, the peanut incident — where delegates threw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman saying, “this is how we feed animals” isn’t probably going to help much, either.


Filed under Migrants