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¿Qué es ser latino?

Vaya pregunta incómoda. Hasta escribir estas palabras cuesta Dios y ayuda, porque la respuesta no la tiene nadie. Nuestra identidad es un rompecabezas infinito, un caleidoscopio de experiencias dispares, un coro discordante donde no impera discurso alguno. Buscarnos un rostro es contemplar quinientos años de historia transcurridos entre triunfos y derrotas, medio milenio de pasos en falso y saltos de fe.

Latino es el cristal que refracta la luz en arcoíris, mil tonos de piel acariciados por el mismo sol. Somos los hijos e hijas de esta tierra que a veces se llama América Latina y otras veces se llama Abya Yala, de este continente que a veces es nuestro hogar y otras veces es nuestro infierno. Somos la semilla del indígena que resiste, el puño del esclavo que se levanta, los pasos del migrante que sueña. Nacimos de sangre derramada en el altar de dioses e imperios, definidos por nuestra violenta concepción, herederos de las cenizas.

Latino es nuestro corazón latiente, las venas abiertas que nutren con su sangre nuestro espíritu. Somos gentes alegres que aún en la muerte encuentran una razón para celebrar, para amar. Y vaya que amamos: amamos con la belleza de nuestros mares y cordilleras, con la vida invicta de nuestra naturaleza; amamos con la música que nos mueve el corazón y las caderas; amamos con la poesía que declama que aquí se respira lucha; amamos con los sabores que nacen en nuestros hornos para llenarnos el estómago y darnos fuerza. Amamos así como nacimos: dolorosamente.

Latino es el dolor que debió unirnos, el sufrimiento de las masas azotadas que debió convertirse en causa común pero que no nos ha servido sino para enemistarnos, para encontrar en el otro la fuente de nuestra angustia. No nos interesa ser libres, sino usurpar el trono del opresor. Por eso no ayudamos a nuestro hermano ni damos asilo a nuestra madre. Por eso somos cómplices de quien busca subyugarnos. Por eso sonreímos mientras la casa se quema.

Eso es ser latino: una perpetua contradicción que no nos deja reconciliarnos con el pasado ni contemplar el futuro. Para nosotros el tiempo pasa lento y las cosas no cambian — el ahora es siempre. Donde hubo un imperio, vendrá otro rapaz a intentar ensombrecernos como el cóndor en la tierra de San Martín, para desaparecer los rostros y voces que claman por tierra y libertad. Por eso al gringo y al europeo, al conquistador y al filibustero, ofrecemos solo una profecía nuestra: arrieros somos y en el camino andamos.

Así surge Caminero, pequeño hogar para los relatos y voces de quienes transitamos la América, para que todos, todas y todes — nacionales y diáspora — encontremos en nuestras palabras un camino de vuelta a la raíz que nos une, un camino de vuelta a casa.

¿Qué es ser latino?

Ser latino es una historia.

What is it to be Latino?

That is an uncomfortable question. Even writing these words requires God and help, because no one has the answer. Our identity is an infinite puzzle, a kaleidoscope of disparate experiences, a discordant chorus where no discourse prevails. Trying to find a face for us means contemplating five hundred years of history spent amidst triumphs and defeats, half a millennium of missteps and leaps of faith.

Latino is the crystal that refracts light into rainbows, a thousand skin tones caressed by the same sun. We are the sons and daughters of this land that is sometimes called Latin America and other times called Abya Yala, of this continent that is sometimes our home and other times our hell. We are the seed of the indigenous peoples who resist, the fist of the slave who rises, the steps of the migrant who dreams. We were born of blood shed on the altar of gods and empires, defined by our violent conception, heirs to the ashes.

Latino is our beating heart, the open veins that nourish our spirit with their blood. We are a happy people who, even in death, find a reason to celebrate, to love. And boy do we love: we love with the beauty of our seas and mountain ranges, with the undefeated life of our nature; we love with the music that moves our hearts and hips; we love with the poetry that declares aquí se respira lucha; we love with the flavors that are born in our ovens to fill our stomachs and give us strength. We love the same way we were born: painfully.

Latino is the pain that should have united us, the suffering of the scourged masses that should have become our common cause but that has only served us to make enemies, to find in each other the source of our anguish. We are not interested in being free, only in usurping the throne of the oppressor. That is why we do not help our brother or give shelter to our mother. That is why we are accomplices of those who seek to subjugate us. That is why we smile while our house burns down.

This is being Latino: a perpetual contradiction that does not allow us to reconcile with our past or contemplate our future. For us, time passes slowly and things do not change — now is always. Where there was once an empire, another one will come to try to overshadow us like the condor in the land of San Martín, to disappear the faces and voices that cry out for land and freedom. That is why to the gringo and the European, to the conquistador and the filibuster, we offer but one of our prophecies: arrieros somos y en el camino andamos.

This is how Caminero comes into being, a small home for the stories and voices of those of us who travel through America, so that all of us — nationals and diaspora — find in our words a way back to the roots that unite us, a camino back home.

What is it to be Latino?

Being Latino is a story.

From México with wrath

I am Din-BidorDin-Bidor, resident goth and future undead overlord of the Wanderers' Library. I was born and raised in Tijuana, a city at the México-US border which once held the dubious honor of having the highest murder rate in the world (and will probably have it again in the future). My writings revolve around the issues most important to both my home city and the rest of my country, including migration, prostitution, violence, crime, drugs, urban decay, and our love-hate relationship with the United States1 — all presented through the lens of the supernatural and the occult. Also, sometimes I write about love, sex and heartbreak; don't say I didn't warn you.

From República Dominicana with hope

My name is FloritaFlorita, a Dominican poet who is trying her best to convey the harder emotions and connect with others through shared pain, and trying again to turn that into shared joy. Not to get too corny, I'm a Bay Area resident and first year college student, trying to figure shit out and put something good into the world. My works are mostly poetry, with some short stories that are equally depressing! Overall my works focus on that tasty inner turmoil we all suffer from at some point, along with themes of colonialism, genocide, and terrible relationships with your parents. (Despite everything I write being horrifically depressing, I really want to write more romance because I'm a cornball.)

From Argentina with endurance and football

I am KlausTheClosetKlausTheCloset, a young argentinian writer from the urban limbo known as CABA, aka "La Ciudad de la Furia", home to Tango, dulce de leche, monetary inflation, the greatest football rivalry in the world, the widest river in the world, and many more facts only a Porteño cares about. I mainly focus on poetry, but you may ocassionally see me venture into short stories and experiment with them. Most of the time I write for the most selfish reason imaginable: for myself. To be able to express my feelings and thoughts when my voice can't or when not even I am sure of what I feel. And hey, if my writings happens to resonate with a bunch of internet randoms, even better!
Warning: I have an unhealthy addiction to writing about the ocean.

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