At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present HARVEST OF EMPIRE, a feature-length documentary that examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today.
UNIDENTIFIED: We are all proud to be American today! Fly your flag with pride!
JACK CAFFERTY: Once again, the streets of our country were taken over today by people who don’t belong here.
DAVID BROOKS: But when the immigrants come, they come with a culture of criminality. It’s out of control.
GLENN BECK: They put a strain on our Social Security, our education, our healthcare.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades. Thousands upon thousands of Puerto Ricans were actually recruited to come work here in the United States.
MELVIN GOODMAN: The feeling was we could very easily overthrow this progressive government and make it a lot easier for the United Fruit Company and other American businesses to operate in Central America.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: From the very beginning, the West depended for its labor on Mexicans.
REPORTER: Are you a communist, Fidel?
FIDEL CASTRO: Wait for the history. The history will say what we are.
FATHER ROY BOURGEOIS: I had never seen anything like El Salvador. I was more frightened there than Vietnam. What was going on there was the slaughter of the innocents.
ROBERT WHITE: When you finance and train a gang of uniformed butchers and they begin wholesale killing, the people don’t emigrate, they flee.
UNIDENTIFIED: The instability that we have contributed to creates the kind of chaos and disarray that leads to more immigration.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots, even though they may have entered illegally.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The reality is that America is changing. By the end of this century, a majority of the people will trace their origins not to Europe but to Latin America.
DR. ALFREDO QUIÑONES-HINOJOSA: We’re all humans. We all have the same abilities. We all have the same potential.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: America has always been a nation in the process of becoming, in process of change. It is an immigrant nation.
AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of Harvest of Empire, premiering this week in New York and Los Angeles, based on the book Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by the award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. Juan, again, a co-host, with the New York Daily News, author of three other books, including News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, which is also just out in paperback, and founder and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. We’re very pleased that Juan is with us here in the New York studio, not in his usual guest chair but as—not in his usual host chair but as a guest today, and along with the film’s co-director, Eduardo López.