1) Please explain what you do for living.
I’m a Corrosion Specialist, certified by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, here in the USA. I work for Sauereisen, Inc, as the International Sales Manager. I travel around the world, giving sales presentation, training seminars, act as a corrosion consultant and give tech service where people do not speak English.
2) How important in your identity is being Latino?
I’m originally from Venezuela and in the late 60’s the 70’s and early 80’s, the rest of South America used to refer to us as the ‘Yankees of the South’. The intricate relationship Venezuela used to have with the US, was so long and varied, some people used to think Venezuela could had become the 51st star in the Flag.
I do not like the Latino label, because to try to put in one single bag all the Spanish speaking countries is impossible. Some people like me would rather be called Hispanic.
When giving my speeches for the US Dept. of Commerce/Commercial Services about Exporting into Central & South America, I have to explain to them, shipping something from USA to the rest of the Americas, is nothing like shipping something from Boston to LA.
Latin/Hispanic people are way more family oriented, and when we talk about family, we do not refer just to Mom, Dad and the kids; we talk about sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunt and uncles and even the in-laws. Any Sunday reunion either at my aunt’s house or my sister’s house includes more than 30 people, all related and a few friends that qualify as cousins.
3) Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?
The love for our family and for our traditions. We moved to the USA, we adapted and accepted the American traditions and values, but added our very own into our daily life. We eat turkey for thanksgiving with cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie but we also add our traditional Venezuela ham bread as part of the dinner.
Latin/Hispanic people are way more family oriented and when we talk about family, we do not refer just to Mom, Dad and the kids, but we talk about sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles and even the in-laws. Any given Sunday reunion either at my aunt’s house or my sister’s house includes more than 30 people, all related and a few friends that qualify as cousins.
4) Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)? If so, can you describe a situation?
Yes. I was blamed at my office about dropping the tea bags in the lunch room sink, just because I was from a foreign country and I was a coffee drinker, not a tea drinker. One day, walking into the lunch room I was blamed for that and I showed them my cup with the tea bags still in there and I told them, “you know what guys, we drink tea in Venezuela too and we know what to do with the tea bags, so because I’m not gringo it does not mean I’m the one to blame”. I dropped the tea bags in the trash container, picked two more, added water and left. Never again. Also I have been ask if we have this food or that food in Venezuela, which makes me laugh and in a very nice way I explain how similar are American and Venezuelan eating habits.