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The INEC Caribbean and Latin American Institute’s Emergence in New York

The INEC Caribbean and Latin American Institute was founded on October 17, 2007, in New York City as an independent, non-profit organization.

On December 30, 2007, a group of intellectuals, professors, writers, plastic artists, filmmakers, playwrights, musicians, singers and cultural managers, all of Hispanic origin, made the formal announcement of the creation of the INEC Caribbean and Latin American Institute.


Partial view of the participants in the inauguration of the INEC in New York, December 30, 2007.


Writer Darío Tejeda emphasized the crucial moment in which the institution was born: the Hispanic-Latin community constitutes 15% of the population of the United States, and 28% of the population of New York City. This ethnic group is the fasting growing in the nation terms of population and education, but it is also the group facing the greatest poverty and cultural stigma.

Tejeda emphasized the historical importance of Spanish as the second-most-spoken language in the U.S. He stressed that Hispanics represent a factor of social change, given that they comprise 18% of primary and secondary students and over 12% of university students.

The first Governing Board of the Institute announced that it will begin to implement various programs in Bronx and Manhattan counties, directed at the Latino community living in those areas, with the idea of promoting understanding and appreciation of the Caribbean and Latin American culture, and to improve the quality of life of the Latinos living there.

Among the first projects to be developed are the following: the Latino Movie Club; the Music Education Program; the Music and Latino Culture Program; the Latino Books Program which will begin with samples of books about the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Other projects being considered by the INEC include: creating a Latin American Multimedia Library; opening a Latino Rhythms School; beginning an informal adult education program; and the Support Program for Intercultural Education in the Schools.

The INEC Caribbean and Latin American Institute and the Importance of Latinos in the United States

The INEC Caribbean and Latin American Institute was born at a crucial time: the Hispanic-Latino community, according to data provided by the National Office of the Census, constitutes 15% of the population of the United States, and 28% of the population of New York City. This ethnic group is the fasting growing in the nation in terms of population and education, but it is also the group facing the greatest poverty and cultural stigma.

It is also necessary to emphasize the historic importance of Spanish as the second most spoken language in the U.S. The data indicate that Hispanics are an important factor of social change in the United States: they comprise 18% of primary and secondary students, and more than 12% of university students.

These figures provide an idea of the dimension that the Latino presence is gaining in the United States. It is telling that Latinos make up the largest ethnic group after the White Caucasian population, though the Latino population could equal it within five decades, if its current growth rate is maintained.

Thus, the Hispanic/Latino culture may have a considerable and positive influence in the creation of a new face for the United State. Further, it is possible to grow and describe the cultural values in this country contributed by the people of Latin America and the Caribbean, while at the same time continuing to improve our own presence and overcoming challenges. Much work and many creative initiatives are necessary to conserve this cultural heritage and encourage the emergence of new talents and expressions in different arts and ways of life in the U.S.

The INEC Caribbean and Latin American Institute was born precisely to encourage these processes.

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