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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Minority Party Politics
Program #

Armando Gutiérrez
María Elena Martínez
Jun 7, 1979

Minority Party Politics

Maria Elena Martinez, chair of the Texas branch of La Raza Unida Party, discusses the party’s background, accomplishments and recent difficulties. She explains that the party began in Crystal City in 1970 to address Chicano issues and has now spread to several states. Since then, the party has experienced several setbacks as its candidates have faced discrimination and retaliation in their personal and work lives. Some have even faced exaggerated charges and received draconian sentences for minor offenses. She discusses the trials of Ramsey Muñiz, the party’s former gubernatorial candidate, who is in jail for marijuana possession. She also talks about the media’s portrayal of the party and its emphasis on the negative incidents. Finally, in cities where the party has been successful, state and federal-level politicians have worked to block their access to funds and courts have denied the electoral victories.

Martinez then discusses the party’s relations with other Chicano organizations, like LULAC. She believes there is more communication between then now than in the past. She explains that while these groups have focused on voter registration, the Raza Unida Party believes that there is little room for change within the two party system. They also worry that mainstream minority politicians absorb the same political philosophies that have ignored the problems affecting minority communities. She explains that the Raza Unida Party most work to change the attitudes of Chicanos disillusioned by the political process and to do so they focus on the basic issues affecting the Chicano community, including health, police brutality, the cost of living and education.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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