In Latino countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, baseball is king. Kids grow up playing it, and the chosen ones who live out a dream to play in the Major Leagues, become icons.
In America, those players play in a foreign country. They face challenges such as language barriers and the hardship of playing far away from home.
Throughout history, Latino players have become iconic stars. In the 1960’s it was Roberto Clemente. Recently, David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been an icon both in the U.S. and in their home countries.
La Vida Baseball is here to raise the profile of these Latin players, and grow their brand in the social media age.
“Baseball throughout the Caribbean region, throughout Venezuela, northern parts of Colombia, is something that connects Latinos across nations, even as we take great pride in the work of those players from our own homelands and countries,” said Adrian Burgos, editor in chief of La Vida Baseball. “There are these moments of transcendence. For example, seeing a Francisco Lindor, who leaves Puerto Rico as a teenager for Florida and when he returns and hits that Home Run, the roar of the crowd is a roar that was so much about connection across a generation. It is similar to those Cubans who see the success of the Gurriel brothers and of Puig and Cespedes. Whether they’re on the island or they’re in the U.S., they take pride, ‘That’s one of us.’”
La Vida Baseball is a website that runs features on Latin stars. The site also profiles future stars. They also do not shy away from issues of prejudice and any other stories that would pertain to a Latin player or be of interest to fans of said players.
“The goal of La Vida baseball is to serve what we believe is an underserved market and create a sense of community for the Latino baseball fan by celebrating baseball,” said Jay Sharman, creator, and CEO of La Vida Baseball. “Creating that nexus of baseball culture and identity. We just saw that there was just an unmet need there and it seemed logical to all of us that it wasn’t being served and that we could engage a critical mass of fans around subject matter that they cared deeply about. If you can do that, there’s usually business that follows.”
The website does run ads and is a business. The question though, is how does La Vida Baseball properly measure success? If people love Jose Altuve of the Astros, does that mean the mission statement is working?
For us, we look at engagement,” said Sharman. “If you step back and look at the digital media publishing landscape right now, there’s still a lot of lip service given to the size of audience or size of followers and things like that. We are really about people engaging with the content consistently on a daily basis. Whether it’s Javier Baez or Jose Altuve, what we want to do is find an angle on what’s going on in the baseball world that isn’t being covered by the major sports media companies. That tends to be the human interest stories, at that intersection of culture and Latino baseball.”
La Vida Baseball is in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Storytelling is what the Hall does best, and they can help with the production of content.
“There are multiple ways that we measure our success,” said Burgos. “We do look at our social media follows on Facebook and on Twitter and on Instagram and how our audience is growing that way. But another measure of success is, we look to see how the players themselves are engaging our content. Are teams sharing our content? We will always produce quality work, but do the players find it compelling?”
Burgos added, “ A few weeks back, we posted a graphic of Yadier Molina with the Puerto Rican flag as a backdrop. And Yadier re-posted that on his Instagram. All these other players were commenting on how beautiful it was. It’s like, one person is like, “Who did that?” And it’s like, it’s La Vida (Baseball). Part of how we measure our success is both by the audience and also knowing, that the players make time to share our work, to sit with us, to talk with us and help them tell their stories.
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When Denise Bidot was 18 years old she had one dream — to become an actress. Her first baby step towards that dream was to move from her native Florida to LA. Her first encounter with how the best dreams are sometimes the ones we stumble upon was when her career as an actress took a detour and instead found her becoming a makeup artist.
“One day, [at a shoot where I was the makeup artist] a photographer asked me if I’d ever modeled before and if she could take my photos,” shares Bidot. “I was at a crossroads in my life and thought what do I have to lose? Sometimes life guides you on a path so that you can find yourself.”
Bidot’s path since then has found her breaking barriers as the first Latina plus-size model to walk NYFW runways and being featured in campaigns for everyone from Target to Nordstrom. Tapping into her Latinx roots and the pay-it-forward values she was raised on, Bidot has also founded “No Wrong Way Movement” — a body positive Instagram account that celebrates that “there is no wrong way to be a woman.”
She currently champions all of these overlapping values as one of the judges on Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina, the Spanish-network’s longest-running talent competition, which premieres its final episode of its revamped season this Sunday.
“I’ve been part of NBL’s creative board and was able to give input when the show was being reimagined,” notes Bidot. “I wanted to make my mark and ensure that the modern Latina woman was reflected on the show. When you look at the three NBL finalists, you see diverse representation of Latinas. This show has even inspired my own daughter who is Afro-Latina to speak Spanish as she sees more representation on television.”
Below Bidot shares advice she has for Latinxs who are looking to break into the modeling industry, her tips on negotiating, and why she started “No Wrong Way Movement.”
Vivian Nunez:What helped you when learning how to navigate the business side of the modeling world?
Denise Bidot:What has helped me the most to navigate the business side of the modeling world was having open conversations with colleagues. When I first started out, I asked other models about compensation and started learning more about the business and uncovering the truth. Having these open dialogues helped me understand more about the business side.
I also talked to my aunt who is a doctor and had her own business. She advised me on how to start my own business. She taught be how to be business savvy, how to save and be smart about this business.
Nunez: What has been your biggest lesson learned through this season of Nuestra Belleza Latina?
Bidot: The biggest lesson I’ve learned through this season is really from watching the girls and how they deal with the different challenges they encounter on a weekly basis. Often in life, you get thrown curveballs and how you handle them and how you bounce back from them, will define who you are. I made a special connection with many of the contestants on the show and I will continue to follow their careers and mentor them long after the show is over.
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While investigating a suicide, a novitiate and priest risk their life and faith when they are confronted by a malevolent force in same form of a demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in “The Conjuring 2.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said the legendary Puerto Rican actress.
It appears Rita Moreno took the West Side Story lyrics “I’ll never stop saying Maria!” to heart. The award-winning actress recently announced that she will not only be starring in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, but she will also be an Executive Producer of the film.
The Puerto Rican actress captured the hearts of audiences with her performance as Anita in the 1959 version of West Side Story, a role which landed her an Academy Award. But in this go-around she will play the role of Valentina, a reimagined version of Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works.
Moreno currently portrays Lydia on the hit Netflix show One Day At A Time, a sitcom about a Cuban-American family grappling with immigration, generational differences, PTSD and parental issues. She has also recently appeared as a guest star on Jane the Virgin, Frankie and Grace and Getting On.
Moreno is one of 15 actresses to achieve EGOT status — she’s won an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar and a Tony — yet she says she herself is surprised to be returning to West Side Story.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said Moreno in a statement. “And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! … I am tingling!”
Steven Spielberg envisioned Moreno as part of his West Side Story remake from the beginning. He said he was so moved by her performance as Anita in the original version that he and his team created an original role for her.
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Forget pilots. Apparently, if you want your TV shows to star non-white leads, you’re better off making a web series first and getting a network to pick it up later. It worked for Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure). And for Fatimah Asghar (whose Brown Girls is also being developed by HBO). It was only time a kickass Latino project would be next. More than six years since Julia Ahumada Grob and Yamin Segal first released their web series East WillyB, ABC has put their half-hour comedy into development.
Before Gente-fied was tackling gentrification, before High and Mighty was putting young Latino talent front and center, before Grown was telling local stories in urban areas, there was East WillyB. The pioneering web series was a kind of Latino Cheers set in Bushwick. It starred Flaco Navaja as Willy Jr., who runs a bar in the quickly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. As he sees the barrio around him changing and his arch-nemesis (who stole his gf Maggie) fully taking advantage of the new hipster crowd in a competing bar, Willy Jr. finds himself needing to face the music lest he lose the two things he loves most. Throughout its two-season run the salsa-infused series showed the full breadth of the Latino experience, with characters from all over: Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Puerto Rican and even some halfsies. Moreover, it was warmly received by the New York community it was representing; many of whom are now celebrating the ABC news.
“When we created this show as a web series we did so by using our grit, emptying our piggy banks, and paying our cast and crew with our tia’s arroz con pollo,” said show creators Grob and Segal. “To have the opportunity to bring an authentic Brooklyn story to television is a dream come true for two New York kids raised on city stoops.”
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Did you know that Hispanics contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year?
Two years into his second career as a business executive and baseball analyst, Alex Rodriguez—always a student, always a numbers cruncher—knows all too well.
And he’s looking ahead.
“I think… we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number,” he said.
Rodriguez was one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, finishing his career with 696 dingers and winning a World Series with the fabled New York Yankees, but this is A-Rod 2.0.
Owner and CEO of A-Rod Corp. Investor. The first Hispanic to swim with the big fish on Shark Tank.
Rodriguez has gone from baseball star to business supernova.
“When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a PhD in failing,” Rodriguez, 43, said. “But I also have a master’s in getting back up and that’s what America is all about: getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes. That’s what I try to push and encourage.”
Rodriguez, the father of two daughters, started A-Rod Corp, a private holding company with multiple businesses in the United States and Latin America, when he was 26. His motivation? “Fear.” He’d already seen too many players go broke.
His first investment was in a type of infrastructure he knew all about from his modest childhood: rental properties.
“We find ’em, we vet ’em, we underwrite ’em, we close ’em, we manage ’em, and then we rehab ’em,” he said. “We buy in secondary markets where job growth is growing. Millennials don’t want to own a house. They want to own an app. The last five or six years have been very healthy in the multifamily apartment sector.”
Today, A-Rod Corp owns or manages about 20,000 properties in 12 states and has branched out to fitness centers and automotive dealerships. The man who made hundreds of millions in his playing days also invests in Google, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others.
He espoused his investing strategy on his first appearance as a guest judge on Shark Tank.
“I always invest in jockeys, not horses, because business—like sports—is just about people and I always tell people that I want entrepreneurs and partners with a PhD, not from Harvard or Yale, which is nice, too, but I mean poor, hungry and driven. I want entrepreneurs that are scrappy, that are gritty, and that can think outside the box, and that are winning players.”
Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball after the 2016 season, and after Sports Illustrated named him one of the 30 most influential Hispanics in sports. The shortstop/third baseman won three MVP awards, was named to 14 all-star teams, and knocked out 3,115 hits in a 22-year career.
He was known for putting up staggering numbers; he was also revered as a student of the game.
He had been in business for years while he played for Seattle, Texas, and New York. He even took marketing classes at the University of Miami and value investing at Columbia University.
Now, it was time to do a deep dive into business. Rodriguez did what he’d done in sports: stepped into circles of greatness.
He asked questions. He listened.
His mentors include Lennar CEO Stuart Miller, JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes, billionaire Warren Buffett, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who once said Rodriguez’ most impressive quality was “incessant curiosity.”
Rodriguez has never forgotten—and always applied—a simple lesson about business he received from Buffett: Never personally guarantee any debt and never hold too much cash, but rather put your money in great businesses.
Buffett also taught him that you can be a great businessman and a great guy.
“Always be a gentleman,” Buffett told him.
“That was simple, but it was genius,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez first appeared on Shark Tank in 2017 and is returning as a guest judge for its tenth season.
As usual, he looked like a natural, as if he’d been swimming in those waters all his life. Truth be told, his success is a result of hard work and preparation.
He says starring on the show with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner is a thrill.
“Of course, being the first Hispanic on Shark Tank is something to be really proud of,” he said.
In one of his investment victories, Rodriguez teamed up with Cuban to invest $150,000—for a 15 percent stake—in an Ice Shaker business, which sells insulated bottles that are an upscale version of plastic cups used to mix up protein shakes.
Chris Gronkowski—brother of famous New England Patriot Rob—said Ice Shaker sold about $80,000 worth of shakers in the first few months after he, Rob, and his three other brothers appeared on Shark Tank.
Rodriguez has stayed involved in baseball, honing his skills as a broadcaster for FOX before ESPN named him their lead analyst in early 2018. During his playing days, Rodriguez was versatile enough to switch from shortstop to third base when he joined the Yankees. As a broadcaster, he seamlessly goes from color commentator during games to studio analyst.
“It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that the story,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has proved to be studied, insightful, and articulate in his off-the-field role. Listen to him for ten minutes and you’re bound to learn something about the national pastime. Recently, in a studio appearance on the morning sports show Get Up!, Rodriguez named the five greatest hitters he’d ever seen.
His take went viral. Many agreed. Many disagreed. Nobody questioned his baseball acumen, or his reasoned arguments, however.
For Rodriguez, life is never business as usual. There’s parenting, and there’s giving back to the community.
Rodriguez has spearheaded the Alex Rodriguez All-Stars in Education Scholars, offering hundreds
of thousands in scholarship money to those determined to be the first in their families to earn a college degree.
He also premiered a TV show called Back in the Game earlier this year, designed to help athletes who are down on their luck, financially speaking. His co-star? Former NFL great and current TV superstar Michael Strahan.
“Michael and I, something we’re really passionate about is taking athletes who have run into some bad luck … [and] lend a helping hand and hopefully they can get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at the data, they suggest that a lot of our players are going bankrupt way too soon. You make 90 percent of your money between age 20 to 30. Less than 5 percent of our guys in the major leagues have a college degree. What happens from age 30 to 80?”
Alex Rodriguez seems to have packed several lifetimes into his 43 years. And he’s come a long way from his early life as a child of Dominican immigrants who was raised by a single mother and had to move every 18 months “because the landlord would raise the rent.”
He was born in New York City and spent time in the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. He has never forgotten his Hispanic roots.
In 2005, amid confusion about his ethnicity, Rodriguez stated: “I want to say it out loud. I am Dominican.”
He has gone the extra mile to help Dominican baseball players thrive in “The Show.”
When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he and Jennifer Lopez visited the country and raised more than $30 million to help victims and rebuild infrastructure.
His mission is to improve financial literacy among Hispanics and athletes in general.
What comes next for A-Rod?
If past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, he’ll surprise us with yet more accomplishments.
If humility is wisdom, as Proverbs says, he’ll continue to grow wiser, because he’s got two secret weapons named Ella and Natasha.
“My girls are great at making fun of dad,” he laughed. “They’re never impressed with anything I do. I love that.”
Riverside, CA – Western Municipal Water District’s (Western) new handbook, the SoCal Yard Transformation guide, is now available in Spanish. The landscaping guide is free and available to Western customers, as well residents throughout the Santa Ana Watershed.
The Spanish version was developed in response to the more than 1.5 million Hispanic/Latino residents in the watershed region.
This landscaping guide offers full-color illustrations, and covers topics such as water, planning, soil, planting, utilizing native plants, irrigation, and sustainability. It was written by experts in an easy-to-understand manner and includes a dose of humor. Assisting local homeowners to strive for sustainable water use, the SoCal Yard Transformation English and Spanish versions provide important recommendations on how to create permanent water-saving landscape changes. With California’s cyclical drought conditions, homeowners now have a helpful guide to adapt their yard to be water wise.
“With such a significant demographic of Spanish-speaking residents within the Santa Ana Watershed, we wanted to provide a version of the book for those who prefer to read in Spanish. We want our Spanish-speaking residents to know that upgrading their landscape doesn’t have to be expensive or troubling, but rather it can be fun and rewarding in surprising ways,” said Pam Pavela, Western’s water resources specialist, handbook editor and co-author. “Adjusting your home’s landscape can increase your property value and save money on your water bill.” SoCal Yard Transformation’s seven simple chapters break down everything that homeowners need to know to create a lasting transformation:
Water: Where it comes from, how it gets to the tap, and the true cost to the customer
Planning: A simple guide on how to design a water-efficient landscape
Soil: The foundation of all landscapes, and the life it contains
Planting: The who, what, where, when and why of planting and care of plants
Natives: Why these plants are important
Irrigation: How to irrigate efficiently, covering topics such as scheduling, troubleshooting, and how to make improvements
Sustainability: Creating a holistic, long-term landscape
The book was made possible by the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 84). The handbook can be picked up at Western’s office at 14205 Meridian Parkway in Riverside. For more information, or to request your own copy, please call 951.571.7100 or visit wmwd.com and search “SoCal Yard Guide”.
The Hall of Famer gave his life trying to help victims of a massive earthquake.
Roberto Clemente’s legacy as one of baseball’s greatest players is matched only by the memory of the selfless sacrifice he made trying to help others in need.
The son of a sugar cane worker in Puerto Rico, Clemente showed athletic promise at an early age, joining the Puerto Rican amateur league in 1952 at the age of 16 and signing a minor league contract with a Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate two years later. In July 1954, Clemente’s first home run in North America resulted in an extra-innings walk-off win for the triple-A Montreal Royals.
Later that year, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Clemente its first selection of the rookie draft. As a Pirate, Clemente would go on to win 12 Gold Gloves (tied for most among outfielders), four National League batting titles, two World Series rings, and the World Series MVP for 1971. He had a batting average of over .300 for 13 seasons and is credited with professional baseball’s only inside the park, walk-off grand slam.
He recorded his 3,000th and last hit during the final regular season at-bat of his career in 1972.
Hall of Fame numbers, for certain. But it’s also for Clemente’s humanitarian efforts that Google, in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, dedicated its Doodle on Friday to the first Latin American player enshrined in Cooperstown.
Clemente spent much of his off-season involved in charity work, delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need in Latin American and Caribbean countries. After a 6.3 earthquake killed thousands and caused widespread damage to Nicaragua on Dec. 23, 1972, Clemente began arranging emergency relief flights to deliver aid to survivors.
After learning that the aid packages were being diverted by corrupt government officials, Clemente decided to accompany a New Year’s Eve flight to ensure the supplies were delivered to earthquake victims. But the plane, with a history of mechanical problems and overloaded by more than two tons, suffered an engine failure and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean immediately after takeoff.
The body of the pilot was found a few days after the crash, but the bodies of Clemente and three others who were on the DC-7 were never recovered. He was 38.
The next March, the Hall of Fame waived its candidate waiting period for Clemente, and he was posthumously inducted into Cooperstown with 393 out of 420 available votes.
With her enviable mane of bouncy, pink-hued curls, Julissa Prado serves as a walking advertisement for the effectiveness of her products. Roughly one year ago, she officially launched Rizos Curls, an all-natural product line for curly-textured hair. In that short span of time, Prado has amassed 52k+ followers on Instagram, received up to a thousand orders per month, and quit her job to pursue her business full time. But though it might look like overnight success from the outside, her growing business is the result of many years of hard work and hard-earned lessons.
As Prado tells it, she couldn’t have reached this point without the help and support of her family and her larger Latino community, who served as the inspiration for her brand. “I always thought when I made Rizos Curls that I’d make something that would work perfectly for textures as diverse as those of my family’s. In the Latino community we have so many kinds of hair textures – wavy, curly ringlets, coily textures. I have tías that fall under all of those categories. I wanted to make something that allowed us to fall in love with our natural hair,” she explains.
For Prado, Rizos Curls has been a family affair – from consulting with her brother on her business plan, to running her fledgling company out of her parents’ and uncle’s houses, to learning key lessons about how to budget & save from watching her own father run his restaurant business.
Below, she explains how her upbringing helped her develop her entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to build a DIY business.
Your company is directly inspired by the Latino community – can you talk about how the idea came about?
I grew up in very predominantly Latino communities and neighborhoods [in Los Angeles]. I have a huge family, and when we were very young we all lived in one apartment building. Almost every unit was a different family member, so that can give you an idea of the culture and the environment that I grew up in. Growing up, I always saw how so much of my community had textured hair – they had wavy, curly, coily hair, a variety of textures. But they went to great lengths to straighten it, and not embrace it. There was a lot of self-hate around their hair. There was always this notion of ‘your hair is not done until it’s not curly.’
I remember the exact moment where I realized “Oh no, I can’t do this my whole life.” I was going to a quinceañera and my older cousins straightened my hair. Back then, in the hood, we didn’t have flat irons yet, so what they did was put my head over an ironing board and use a clothes iron. My hair was burning! I remember being over that ironing board and thinking “We’ve got to do better than this, we’ve got to figure out a way to feel good about our natural hair.”
So that’s where the idea first started. Even at a young age, I was aware that so many of my insecurities were connected to my inability to embrace my natural hair and myself in my natural state. Once I learned to love my hair it allowed me to love myself, and I wanted to create that feeling in my community. Rizos Curls is not just about the products. We’re a trifecta of the Three Cs: curls, community & culture.
What pushed you to make the leap and turn this interest into a career?
I’m very close to my [older] brother, and he’s the one who helps me a lot with Rizos. We’re very opposite. I’ve always led with my heart and emotion, and he’s ruled by logic. So when I decided I really wanted to go forward with this Rizos idea, I went to my brother with my business plan. I was still pretty young, around 15, and I presented the whole plan to him. He did all this market research – which years later, in business school, I learned is very important when you’re starting something new. Understanding your market, understanding the size of the demographic you’re targeting. He did that research on his own and was blown away. He couldn’t believe a product like Rizos Curls didn’t exist already.
Time passed, I went to college and grad school, and everything I learned, all the business acumen I acquired, all reaffirmed that I had to take this leap. Everything pointed me to, “You’re lucky no one’s jumped on this opportunity yet.” But it took me four years to figure out my product formulas, and I beat myself up a lot for taking so long. I was juggling it with getting a masters, working a full-time job, and maybe I just needed to trust the process. There were many times in that four year process of testing formulas that I didn’t get the results I wanted, and felt like giving up.
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“It instantly becomes business, and that’s what it’s all about,” Cowser told Gehlken. “I think that’s a testament to her and who she is because she’s able to get us to switch into work mode. We don’t think about male-female whatever. It’s just business and how can we get better.”
That’s what Martinez tries to bring to the Raiders‘ practice facility every day. According to Gehlken, she’s helping offensive linemen keep pace with Gruden’s faster offense, helping Cowser and his fellow linebackers bulk up.
She’s also helping to pave the way for an underrepresented group in the league. Martinez may want to focus on coaching, but she knows she’s setting an example as well.
“Don’t create limits on yourself,” Martinez said. “There’s many excuses or whatever that can be made, but at the end of the day, what do you love to do? I was able to find what I love to do, and that’s working for Jon Gruden every day. Why limit yourself?”
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The new original production honors the victims and heroes of one of Mexico’s most devastating earthquakes
A year after one of Mexico’s most tragic events, Discovery en Español premieres “SEPT19MBRE: RELATO DE UN SISMO”, a documentary featuring testimonies that portray the endless horror, strength, and solidarity of the Mexican people during one of the country’s most devastating natural disasters. The special premieres Sunday, September 16 at 10pm E/P.
The new original production highlights the value, nobility, and integrity of thousands of Mexican men and women cherished for their teamwork and humanitarian aid during this tragedy. The special shares the story of a family who witnessed the collapse of their children’s school, a survivor of a falling building in Mexico City, and the story of a man who lost one of his loved ones. The documentary also showcases the scientific approach and explains why Mexico has suffered this catastrophe.
“SEPT19MBRE: RELATO DE UN SISMO” was produced by Pacha Films in co-production with Cromática and Scopio. Michela Giorelli and Rafael Rodríguez are the executive producers for Discovery en Español and Luis del Valle is the executive producer for Pacha Films. The documentary will also be available in the “Discovery en Español GO” app. For more information, follow us on facebook.com/discoveryenespanol, Twitter @DiscoveryenESP and Instagram @discoveryenespanol.