In 1983 I began my “American dream” in this country that has given me so much in the last 40 years: a great family, two children, a lot of work and great experiences.
My immigrant story was not a very traditional story, but ultimately, one more page in the book that Latinos in the United States are writing.
Who would say that this young Mexican who came to spend a summer in Los Angeles, California (grandson of two constituent deputies from the countries of my father and my mother: Rafael Martínez Mendoza, constituent of Mexico in 1917 and Jerónimo Gomariz La Torre, constituent of the second Spanish Republic, he would end up working in five presidential elections in the United States of America, producing and directing messages for the candidates for the most important post in this country: candidates such as George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, towards the increasingly coveted Hispanic voter, also making messages of attack against the one who made his main campaign banner to attack us, Donald J. Trump, whom we gladly managed to defeat together with The
, many other organizations and millions of Hispanics more who joined so that he was not reelected.
This unexpected path led me to study film in Hollywood and the distribution of Mexican cinema in Spanish-language theaters in many parts of the country with AztecaFilms.
It also led me to be the Satellite Coordinator of the Univisión National newscast, in its beginnings.
But mine is just one of those millions of Latino stories that are written every day across the country.
To make a short summary of what Latinos have advanced in these four decades, let's look at the numbers of where we were 40 years ago, where we are now and where are we going?
In the early eighties we were less than 15 million Hispanics, only a quarter of what we are now.
There were fewer than a dozen Latino congressmen, a single Latino governor, John Sununu of New Hampshire, born in Cuba to a Salvadoran mother.
There was no Latino senator at the time, and we had only had three in the entire 20th century.
Some mayors like Federico Peña who made history as the first Latino mayor of Denver, Colorado, and no member of the presidential cabinet.
The president was Ronald Reagan, former governor of California and someone who understood very well the importance of Latinos, of immigrants, so much so that he was the one who proposed and achieved comprehensive immigration reform in 1986. Something that no other president has achieved and in fact , was also the first to name a Latino as a member of his cabinet, Lauro Cavazos, Secretary of Education.
Today, according to the last census, we are more than 62 million Hispanics, 18.9% of the population, or one in five Americans.
We are the second largest population group in the entire country, the largest population group in California and Texas.
We are more than 50% of the country's population growth.
I don't know which countries in the world have quadrupled their population in four decades, but if we were an independent country, our size, compared to other nations, would be impressive.
We would be the second most populous Hispanic country in the world, after Mexico, third if Brazil were considered as Hispanic.
We are more Latinos in the US than Spaniards in Spain or Canadians in Canada.
As an economy, we have purchasing power (or let's call it our Latino GDP of almost 3 billion dollars) and as an independent economy, we would be bigger than the economies of the United Kingdom, France or India, according to a study by the Latino Donor Collaborative and Wells Fargo.
We have already elected more Latino governors like Bill Richardson, Susana Martínez and Michelle Luján Grishman, from New Mexico;
Bob Martinez from Florida, and Brian Sandoval from Nevada.
Many mayors of the most important cities such as Los Angeles, which had Antonio Villarraigosa a few years ago and what to say about San Antonio, Texas and Miami Florida, where it is already very common to have Latino mayors.
We have six Latino senators: four Democrats and two Republicans from the states of California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Nevada and the first female senator in its history and the first Latina, Catherine Cortez Masto.
There are 39 congressmen and three members of President Biden's Cabinet, the secretaries of Homeland Security, Education, Health and Human Services.
We have achieved a lot, but there are still many stories to write.
With these numbers we have a great responsibility that we must address.
In terms of political representation, we are almost 19% of the population, but even so, according to NALEO numbers, today we are only 2% of elected officials at the national level.
We need to grow and have even more representation, and in both parties.
Will we see a Latino president in the not too distant future?
I do not doubt it, but we must participate more in the public life of the country, not only vote, but be voted for.
We should be very proud, because with every Latino who is born in this country, who decides to make the United States their home, as I did 40 years ago, there is a story of the future to be written.
Yes, the United States is not perfect and it has many things to improve, but it definitely continues to be that place of opportunities where millions of people write or rewrite their stories.
As a proud Hispanic/Latino from the United States who marks two-thirds of his life in this country this year, and whose second-generation children are writing their own stories, who now identify as Latinx, I can assure you that the next chapter
this country, we are writing it largely with letters in Spanish.
I invite you to share by this means, El País América, your stories as well.
César Martínez Gomariz is a publicist and political consultant.