Eduardo Verástegui has become much more than a movie and television star. His career, ideas, and projects have become a reference and inspiration for millions of Hispanics in America and other countries. We spoke with him about his participation in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), his work in Mexico, and his work in the pro-life movement.
Eduardo Verástegui, thank you for accepting this interview. At CPAC you shared a very interesting panel with Christopher Landau, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. How do you see the presence and participation of Hispanics in the conservative movement and how open do you observe the conservative movement towards the Hispanic community?
Eduardo Verástegui: It is improving. However, we are still at 10%, there is still a long way to go. We have to continue building this bridge between the American conservative movement (the one in the United States) and the conservative movement of Hispanics living in the United States, in Mexico or in the rest of Latin America, because we are always connected.
The great majority of Hispanics living in the United States always have a link to our country of origin. For example, I am from Tamaulipas, I was born in Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas; I grew up in Xicoténcatl, Tamaulipas; I lived in Tampico, I lived in Victoria, I moved at 18 to Mexico City, I lived more than 10 years in Mexico City; then I lived in Miami, then in Los Angeles, then back to Miami, then back to Mexico.
So you are always, in a way, involved in Hispanic environments, wherever you move, you take Mexico with you, but you don’t move with the whole family: your parents stay in one place, your sisters stay in another place, you go somewhere else. Sometimes you move with family members; for example, I was living in Los Angeles with my sister Daniela, my sister Alejandra left, and they stayed in Los Angeles; I am now in Mexico.
Somehow we are always moving in Hispanic environments, mainly Mexico and the United States. There are more than 60 million Hispanics living in the United States, most of them Mexicans, and as Ronald Reagan used to say: “Hispanics are conservative, they are Republicans, but they don’t know it” and it is a very serious problem.
Let me tell you a story. I was recently in Dallas, Texas; I asked for an Uber and there were 25, 30 minutes of traffic; I saw a very big cross hanging from the mirror, and I asked the driver where are you from? He answers me, from Puerto Rico. And the conversation went like this:
What are you doing here in Texas?
- I married a Mexican woman and we have a family here.
Who did you vote for?
- For Biden.
One question my brother, I see there is a cross there on the mirror, is the truck yours?
What do you think about abortion?
- It’s always a crime, it’s murder, it’s the most perverse thing you can do to an innocent baby that can’t defend itself, that has no voice.
And he gave me a lesson there, a lecture on this crime and I was just listening. He didn’t even know who I was, I was wearing my mask. So, I asked him and what do you think about family, values, faith, religion? what does God mean in your life?
At the end I said to him: hey teacher, everything you are telling me, all your values are more aligned with the Republican Party than with Biden, why then did you vote for Biden if he is pro-abortion and is not in favor of those values you just told me? Biden claims to be a practicing Catholic, but he is pro-abortion and other things that are not in line with what the Church teaches.
There is tremendous deception on the part of some of the media, who are sending out messages with lies disguised as truth and they are doing tremendous damage, they are misleading people.
You have the perfect case of the Uber driver, whose values are more in line with the Republican Party and with the Trump administration and yet he voted for the other for a single an issue: for the migration issue. He said “my wife is Mexican and he (Trump) is anti-immigrant and doesn’t want Mexicans” and you wouldn’t get that idea out of his mind. However, because of an emotional issue he did not pay attention to everything that was important to him as well.
The great majority of Hispanics in the United States are pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-God, what do we have to do? We have to get the conservative movement [to communicate better], which in this case has only one option: the Republican Party. They have not communicated as they should communicate with the Hispanic people of the United States, they have not known how to do it.
I believe that Ambassador Christopher Landau is a perfect example of what should be, but you can count people like him “with the fingers of one hand”, that is why I started by saying that we are at 10%, he is that 5% or 10%. I believe that the work he did in Mexico and that he continues to do here, in the United States, is going to be an example of where we have to walk, and that is what I am also trying to do: to be an interlocutor, a kind of bridge between the two peoples. The conservative American people and the conservative Hispanic people.
Speaking of Mexico, what is the work you are doing there?
Eduardo Verástegui: That is what we are also doing in Mexico. Thanks to the film “Unplanned” we were able to tour 31 states and Mexico City. While we were visiting state by state, with governors, with mayors, with businesspeople, with leaders of different sectors and we were giving the speech that being pro-life does not only mean defending the most important fundamental human right, which is the right to be born, I told them that once we have defended the right to be born, we cannot stop there.
We have to continue with the children in street situations, to look after the children who are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, the adolescents who are dying because they suffer from some addiction, the abandoned and abused mothers, those who have been falsely accused, who are in jail and cannot afford to pay a good lawyer to defend them. To be pro-life is to see for the sick who do not have enough money for a good treatment to be cured, you have to be there too.
To be pro-life means to see for the elderly who are dying of sadness in a nursing home, because not even their own family goes to visit them, you have to be there too.
So we stretch the meaning of the word pro-life, we take it to all stages of development of human life, from conception to natural death, and we go back in the circle: being pro-life means being the voice of those who have no voice, defending those who cannot defend themselves and I am clearly referring to the babies who are inside their mother’s womb and are at risk of being aborted. If every mother had a glass womb, no one would abort, because she would see the miracle inside her.
Then people started to raise their hands and tell me “I want to be part of the movement”. At first, we didn’t know what they were talking about. [We would answer] Yes, the movement, hashtag the movie Unplanned, share the trailer, and then we would continue with the tour.
At the premieres of the film Unplanned in each city, military, police, firefighters, teachers, students, rectors, government and civil society participated. At the end I always told them:
I have one good and one bad thing: the good thing is that the majority of the Mexican people is pro-life; the bad thing is that we are not articulated, we are not organized and a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that blooms.
Therefore, what are we going to do? We have to articulate ourselves, we have to learn to work as a group. United we are stronger, we are the majority and we should not lose a single battle, but we are losing battles and besides there is no one to represent us, there are so many parties in Mexico and they are not representing us, they end up working alone.
Many times I have asked a friend or co-worker “who is your representative?” and they answer “I don’t know.” From there we are in bad shape; they vote and then “throw them out”, there is no accompaniment and not even an understanding of what is the role that a legislator should play, the role that your representatives have to play. So we are completely disconnected, and we do not have representatives that represent the majority of the Mexican people.
That’s when we realized that people kept raising their hands and that’s when we understood that they were not referring to the film, but that they were talking about a movement. We named that movement “Viva México”, because it is a movement for life. We have to defend the life of all, and so I invited 16 women legislators, who were later joined by more than 200 legislators.
Why them? Because they are the representatives of the Mexican people, and within the people there are priorities: first those who cannot defend themselves. The babies in their mother’s womb are also a people who deserve to be represented, just as a child, an adolescent, an adult and an elderly person deserves to be represented.
We called it “Viva Mexico” because we want them all to live, to live Mexico. Who is Mexico? The Mexicans. What is the origin of the Mexicans? The conception. Mexico is gestated in the wombs of its mothers. May Mexico live and not die.
This is the movement, a movement of life, of humanism, of society, which intends to articulate itself so as not to lose the battles we are losing today, and to be more proactive so as not to always be on the defensive. We must propose what is good, beautiful, and true.
How is the “Viva Mexico” movement working? How can people who find this message attractive join in, especially in an environment like Mexico’s, where it seems that the parties represent more a group of NGOs in Mexico City than the rest of the country?
Eduardo Verástegui: We are orphans and that is precisely why the movement was born. Because we realized that the vast majority of the Mexican people do not have representatives. This was in 2019, the idea was that in March or April 2020 we were going to start the second tour, already aware that there is a movement.
The first tour was simply to raise awareness about the importance of defending life from conception to natural death. The second tour will be with the film “Sound of Freedom,” because being pro-life means not only defending the unborn baby, but also the children who are kidnapped for sexual exploitation and organ trafficking.
Sadly, Mexico is the number one country of children disappeared for sexual exploitation and organ trafficking. So we said: we are now, with this film, going to create awareness on the subject, to create a movement to end this perversion, inviting governors, legislators, now on a subject that is not controversial; no one is in favor of a child being kidnapped to be raped, no one.
In fact, I believe that even the people involved in this crime are publicly against it. It is so perverse, so horrible, so disgusting, that no one could embrace this issue and take it to Congress to be legislated as a right. Right to what? It is a tremendous perversion.
So we said: we are going to make a tour in 2020 and then we are going to invite people to join us, to register on our website MovimientoVivaMéxico.org to have a national network, to be connected and then we will start to publish news and join efforts when it comes to cases like the one in Quintana Roo, where [the local Congress] is voting for or against life.
Well [the objective] is to be more connected, for all of Mexico to know, for the entire pro-life movement to be aware, to put pressure, to put light on it, for them to see that the obligation of these legislators, who were voted by the vast majority of the pro-life people, is not to betray the people.
However, the coronavirus came, we could not make the tour. Then everything was on pause, and now the pause is being removed because the film is ready. We are going to start the tour at the end of April, visiting the 31 states and Mexico City; 32 premieres, 32 press conferences.
That is where we are going to launch the movement in a big way so that you can register in our page MovimientoVivaMéxico.org and that is where we are going to give you information about what’s next. It is a calendar that we are going to transmit little by little. This was just born, it is here to stay, it has been building in a very natural way.
It is a movement of all, not only of a group, but of all those who believe in God, who believe in Mexico, who believe in the defense of human life from the beginning to its natural end, who believe in academic and moral education. We believe in the Mexican dream; we have a very rich country, where there are many poor people and that has to be corrected.
I wish I had a magic wand and could touch Mexico and turn it into the first world country we all dream of, but there is the will and when the majority of the Mexican people believe it and realize where they stand, it is a matter of time to turn Mexico into a first world country in all senses: spiritually, economically, labor-wise, culturally. In every way.