From business to politics, Hispanic leaders are having an amazing impact on the world today. Sometimes these leaders come from the poorest of poor backgrounds to bring about a rich amount of success. Others have used the influence of their families and their existing wealth to create the change that the world needs. These 5 famous Hispanic leaders have helped to shape the world to make it become what it is today.
1. Mel Martinez
Martinez was the first Cuban-American Senator ever elected and at first, everyone thought this Hispanic leader would simply become another Republican that was willing to pick up the scraps that the GOP leadership was willing to give. He quickly shut that door closed when he demanded the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and went after Republican leadership for not doing enough to keep close ties with Latin America. Born in Cuba and smuggled into the US at the age of 15, Martinez set the stage for future Hispanic leaders in the US to do their own amazing work.
2. Antonio Villaraigosa
Villaraigosa was elected as the mayor of Los Angeles and was the first Hispanic mayor in over a century. It was believed that he would create a niche of Hispanic power that would bring his people toward a new era of control. Instead of just focusing on the Hispanic cause, however, Villaraigosa worked to create a coalition where everyone could succeed. Instead of building walls, he seeks to build bridges because of his belief that bringing people of all backgrounds together creates diverse results.
3. Cristina Saralegui
Saralegui is often referred to as the “Hispanic Oprah” and rightly so. She has a weekly prime-time show that has brought about a lot of fanfare… and a lot of controversy. Saralegui has shown how to use a condom on her show and advocated for same-sex marriage, which generated protests of over 1,000 people in front of her studio and bomb threats. Even so, her legion of fans tends to want a hug from her when they see her instead of an autograph, showing how much her influence has truly reached. She’s also won 11 Emmys and has an estimated audience of 100 million people.
4. Robert Rodriguez
Rodriguez has helped to define the Hispanic image worldwide perhaps more than anyone else. His work involves Hollywood, but he prefers the cozy confines of Austin, TX for his studio productions. Rodriguez has cast many Hispanic screen personalities into top roles, most notably Salma Hayek for her role in Desperado. In total, his films have grossed over $500 million in total and he serves as an inspiration for other Hispanic filmmakers who want to break into the business.
5. Anthony Romero
Romero took over the American Civil Liberties Union just one week before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Not only is he the first Hispanic director, but he is also the first openly gay director of this advocacy group. He brings people together of all walks of life because of one simple belief: that civil liberties are a human right. Everyone should have the chance to succeed in his eyes, not just one wing of a political party.