Who We Are
Before 2003, the Latin American community in Toronto needed a real platform, besides the written media, for its members to be able to express their opinions, share their aspirations, and give voice to their needs. On the other hand, at that time, the existing radio initiatives were considerably restricted given the limited time of their transmission.
With these considerations, Monsignor Hernán Astudillo, as the leader of the San Lorenzo Latin American Community, made himself aware of the great importance of making the voices of Latin American immigrants heard in Canada, so that the presence of this important minority group could be recognized and valued. As a result of this reflection, the first Spanish-speaking radio station in Canada, “Voces Latinas 1610AM” was born.
The project was crystallized and continues its development to date, thanks to the tenacity and tireless effort of a true community leader like Monsignor Astudillo and the generous assistance of the members of the San Lorenzo Latin American Community.
A Little bit of History
In 1998, Monsignor Astudillo visited the offices of the Canadian Commission for Radio-Television & Telecommunications (CRTC) in Toronto, to investigate the possibility of establishing a radio station dedicated to the Spanish-speaking community. The amount of technical information that was provided and the requirements to complete the application were daunting. Frustrated, but not defeated, Monsignor continued his quest and did not cease in his efforts to establish a radio station that would serve as a true social tool for all Latin Americans residing in Canada.
Encouraged by Monsignor’s passion, numerous community sectors joined forces to make this dream come true. Many donated their time to write, draft, and organize the application. The community danced, sang, cooked, and played music; all with the purpose of raising funds for the radio. To support the application, more than 1,000 signatures were gathered during the Inti Raymi festival in July 2002. Countless letters of support from community members and political figures were collected; and likewise, many groups and organizations collaborated in the application process.
Finally, the communal efforts were rewarded on April 17, 2003, when Monsignor Astudillo, on behalf of the San Lorenzo Latin American Community, received permission to operate the radio station.
And so, on November 21, 2004, the first broadcast of Radio Voces Latinas took place in Toronto, strengthening and uniting the Hispanic-speaking community and positioning itself, not only as the voice of the community, but also establishing bridges of solidarity with the peoples of Latin America and the world through La Caravan of Hope, which is an organization that works together with Radio Voces Latinas and the San Lorenzo Latin American Community Center in pursuit of globalizing Solidarity.
Looking into the Future
Radio Voces Latinas has worked diligently together with community organizations, diplomatic missions, NGOs and government agencies in the dissemination and implementation of a series of programs for the benefit of the Spanish-speaking community in Ontario. In the same fashion, the radio has managed to establish important contacts with Federal, Provincial and Municipal Parliamentary Members, and has learned to position itself as the main communication channel between the three levels of government and the community in order to achieve the execution of many social inclusivity programs.