Onda Latina

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.

Nav: Home


Mario Cantu, Chicano Exile
Program #

Social Issues
Linda Fregoso
Mario Cantu
Mar 5, 1980

Mario Cantu, Chicano Exile

Mario Cantu, the first U.S. citizen convicted of harboring undocumented workers, talks about his activism, politics and exile in Europe. Linda Fregoso conducts the interview in a Bexar county jail where Cantu awaits trial for a parole violation stemming from an earlier trip to Mexico where he filmed a land seizure in Oaxaca. Ignoring his subpoena, Cantu traveled to Paris to conduct a year-long campaign to denounce the violation of Chicano and Mexican human rights in the United States. Cantu explains that in the barrio he was constantly aware of discrimination and widespread poverty, but it was only after serving time in prison that he became politicized. On his return to San Antonio, he became involved in La Raza Unida and several farm worker boycotts. He also started organizing cultural awareness events. At these events, Cantu met with Mexican activists and realized both Chicanos and Mexicanos suffered from similar problems.

Cantu elaborates on his international perspective and argues that Chicanos need to identify with the Mexican people and not the government that oppresses them. He believes that if Chicanos really want to free themselves they need to understand what is happening in Latin America and join in solidarity with those who are struggling. He goes on to criticize the leadership of the Chicano movement who have been co-opted by the Carter administration. He also argues against amnesty program for undocumented workers because they ignore the root of Mexico’s problems: capitalism.


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

DIIA | © 2009 Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services