Lawmakers at the Hispanic Caucus meeting held Monday ahead of the Democratic National Convention reaffirmed their commitment to a "house to house" mobilization in the last 64 days before the election in order to get President Barack Obama reelected in November.
"Only 64 days are left, it's scary but there's nothing better than a motivated Democrat," Iris Martinez, a senator from Illinois and president of the caucus, said, adding that she worked with Obama when he was a "mere senator."
Martinez said that the convention, which kicks off Tuesday in Charlotte, will have more Hispanic delegates that any other in history (800 out of a total of 6,000) and noted the importance of concentrating on key states like Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, New Mexico and New Hampshire.
To the cry of "Yes we can" among the audience, Martinez responded enthusiastically "Pues claro que si!" in Spanish, meaning "Of course we can!" at a meeting open to the public in which the political director of Obama's campaign, the Hispanic Katherine Archuleta, and other key figures of the Democratic team took part.
Archuleta, who has toured the country for the last 18 months getting a feeling for voters' real needs and concerns, said that "every vote is important, every vote counts."
In that sense, Jim Messian, Obama's campaign director, said that since the beginning of his term in office the president has counted on the Latino community and has appointed such Hispanics to his administration as Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, while nominating Sonia Sotomayor as Supreme Court justice.
Messina warned that the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, "will reverse" advances made by this government like the health care reform "that has benefited thousands of Hispanics."
For that reason he asked the Hispanic community "to do everything possible not to let that happen."
Andres Lopez, president of Futuro Foundation, the organization for collecting funds from among the Latino community, noted the progress made by the Obama administration over the past four years.
Lopez said that Democrats had been trying "for decades" to get measures like health care reform passed but "never managed to do it before."
The president of the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said for her part that Obama "is the only president in recent memory who has gone to bat for Hispanics, in every sense of the word...(He) made sure that we invested in higher education so that more Hispanics could live the dream, made sure that college was more affordable, made sure that we invested in health care."
In that sense, she said that the president has built a bridge to young Hispanics with the executive order that he signed recently that temporarily halts the deportation of undocumented students.
Among the audience were several of those young people known as "dreamers" like Dulce Matuz, 27, from Mexico, who told Efe that she went to Tampa last week to hear the Republican proposals.
"Now I want to see what the Democratic platform on immigration is all about because as an undocumented student" who has lived for 12 years in that situation, "it's a struggle that interests me a lot," she said.
Matuz, who came with some friends who are also dreamers from California and New York, said that while Obama's measure is an "administrative respite" for young people, "at the same time he also deported more than a million people in the last four years and separated families."
"I want to know if we can find permanent solutions for the immigration problem and protect students permanently," she said.