Longform

Raquel Regalado Took On the Establishment; Now She Wants to Run It

The Spanish-language radio station La Poderosa (670 AM) broadcasts from a large, square concrete-and-glass building on SW 27th Avenue in Little Havana. The building's cafeteria, Bocadito Express, is a poorly lit, one-room blue-collar spot on the ground floor where area workers drop in for cafecitos and medianoche sandwiches.

Raquel Regalado walks in wearing an elegant beige dress suit, tall brown leather boots, and a Louis Vuitton scarf around her neck. With her long auburn hair and porcelain features, she could be a European actress. But the man behind the counter doesn't glance twice -- Regalado is a regular.

In heavily Cuban-accented Spanish, she orders two croquetas, which the café worker loads from behind the warm glass onto a small plate. Regalado then promptly heads for a seat at the back of the room.