Pedro A. Palomino, editor of Maryland Mundo Latino and founder of SomosBaltimoreLatino.com, talks about two of his favorite items as Pedro Palomino Jr. interprets. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

Take 10 is a series of occasional features on prominent local residents and the possessions dear to them.

As the owner and editor of two Baltimore-centered Spanish-language publications, Pedro Palomino, 56, is a man many in Maryland's fastest-growing population rely on. Ten-thousand copies of his free monthly newspaper, Mundo Latino, are distributed around Maryland and northern Virginia. SomosBaltimoreLatino.com and its Facebook page are read daily by hundreds in Baltimore's Hispanic community.


"With the newspaper and the website, I try to help the community to learn — and keep learning — about how to live in the American system. There are lots of immigrants who don't know," says Palomino from his Patterson Park offices; his son, Pedro, served as his translator.

Palomino speaks from experience.

"We didn't know anything when we came here," he says. "I want to share. I want to make [the transition] much easier for the community."

It all started in his native Peru, where, as a teenager, Palomino raced bicycles. Soon he teamed up with his sports-reporter father to launch a radio show about that sport. He went on to cover bicycle racing for numerous publications, launch and run his own magazine, "Full Speed," and then manage media relations for Peru's sailing and golf associations.

But when Palomino's eldest — Pedro — turned 16, Palomino wanted him to get a college education in the U.S. In 2001, the two came to the region and initially considered having the teen stay with relatives in northern Virginia before they ultimately settled on Baltimore, whose school district required less documentation.

With no family in the city, Palomino quit his press director job to live here, and young Pedro completed his education at Patterson High School. The rest of his family joined them a year after the move.

Palomino took any job he could find.

"Construction. Dishwashing. Office cleaning. In my entire life, I had never worked as a laborer. Never. I was a journalist. But, I was stuck here. It was a hard decision for me. I did it for my son," he says.

Yet, this former publisher/editor kept his eye on how he could serve his own community here in his vocation.

In 2009, while working at a plastics factory, Palomino founded SomosBaltimoreLatino.com, working on that on the weekends.

In 2013, he found backing to buy Mundo Latino, but knew — this time — he'd need more than his weekends for two publications.

He quit the factory job and changed what had been mostly a flier on Latino nightlife and entertainment into a resource of news and information.

Palomino now works closely with some of the same nonprofits that helped him when he first arrived, such as Catholic Charities of Baltimore's Esperanza Center and CASA de Maryland.

As his publications have grown, this former bike racer has curved into territories he had never imagined.


"I've learned many things about this country — about this city, about this state. Here, I've started a new direction in journalism. I feel comfortable. I started as a sports journalist. Now, I'm a journalist in general," he says with a smile.

Machu Picchu wall hanging and a replica of Tumi, a pre-Incan surgical tool

Both normally hang on his living room wall. "The hanging was a gift from my mother. [They both] represent my identity as a Peruvian — my pride in being a Peruvian."

Bicycle sculpture

"I bought it here at a thrift store when we first arrived in the U.S. It reminded me of my career in Peru."

January 2014 edition of Mundo Latino

The first edition that he published after he bought the newspaper.

Peruvian leather coin purse

It fastens to his belt. "I used to use one a lot in Peru, when I took the bus. But I don't wear it anymore."

Coin collection

"I've been collecting coins with my father since I was a child. A couple of my favorites include an antique Spanish colonial coin [minted in 1801] that was one of the first coins ever used as Peruvian currency that my father gave me, and a Peruvian Sol [the national currency Peru introduced in 1863] that is made completely of Peruvian silver. It's one of the best coins in Peru."

2002 Award from Baltimore City Public Schools

In recognition of his leadership of the Latino parents group at his son's high school, Patterson High. When he saw that it was written in Spanish, he says it was a special moment for him because of the effort they made to honor him in his native language.

Old press passes and Circulo de Periodistas Deportivos del Peru lapel pin

This was the pin celebrating 50 years of Peru's sports journalists association. "It's special for me because it's my alma mater."

Photo of his family

It includes his wife, Maria, and two children: Pedro, now 32, daughter Poulette, now 29, and daughter, Julia, now 16. "This was the first photograph taken of my entire family when we were reunited here in the U.S. There's a bigger version in my home."

Every 'Full Speed' magazine he published

"This is my treasure."

Recipe from his sister

"I was born in Pucallpa, which is in the Peruvian jungle. This is a traditional dish from that region called juane. It's made of rice and hen. I brought it with me from Peru, even though I don't cook it," he says, with a laugh.