Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta urged North Carolina's Hispanics to register, vote and support President Barack Obama to "make the difference" in the November elections.
"We know the president won this state in the last election thanks to Latinos," Huerta said in an interview with Efe. "If we come out to support him again, together with women, young people and African-Americans, we'll win again."
Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union with its leader Cesar Chavez, took part here Saturday in a day of getting voters to register, organized by Latinos for Obama, at which she was accompanied by Univision TV host Raul de Molina.
Charlotte will be the setting next week for the Democratic National Convention, in which Barack Obama's candidacy for reelection will be made official.
According to figures of the North Carolina Board of Elections, 91,554 Hispanics are registered to vote in November, but a recent study by an organization without political affiliation, Democracy North Carolina, estimated that as many as 100,000 could be registered.
"We have to get organized and educate people about how important our vote is - we can't stay at home and be afraid. I see North Carolina like California was years ago when Latinos decided elections," said Huerta, who was decorated by Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For his part, the Cuban-American De Molina reaffirmed his support for Obama, for whom he voted in 2008 and plans to do so again in November because, he said, "he's the only candidate who has supported the undocumented community."
"We Latinos must first register and vote in the name of those who can't do so, the people without papers, and above all, the young dreamers so they may live the American dream," the charismatic host of "El Gordo y la Flaca" (Fatty and Skinny) said.
De Molina said he knows at first hand the cost of medical treatment after suffering a bout with cancer, which he survived, and considers that the health-care reform enacted by Obama comes to the rescue of people who have no insurance coverage.
"An operation like I had cost $200,000, which is the price of a house, the American dream," he said.
Marcela Cortez, 25, who had just arrived in Charlotte from New York, used the occasion to register.
"We're going through a crucial time in this country and we as Hispanics and citizens must do our duty and vote," she said. EFE.