Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Monday, September 3, 2007


The Board Of Supervisors Of Prince William County, Virginia Has Become The Laughing Stock Of The Nation As They Have Set The Stage For A Nationwide Show Down In A Currently Small-Minded County, Ill-Equipped To Deal With The Forces Of Protest They Have Unleashed.

Prince William County Should Be Prepared To Right A Wrong And Rid Itself Of Leadership That Has No Clue As To What They Are Really Doing!

The entire “Immigration Issue” all dressed up in the righteous framing words of “aliens and illegals”, law breakers and the like, is nothing more than yet another component of the Bush Legacy of issue fabrication and political distraction and diversion from the larger issues of Iraq and the nature of the current administration’s corruption and defiance of American law and our Constitution.

This whole matter was originally intended for political campaign consumption, after which, and after proper posturing and political collapse in the Congress; it was supposed to go away. Unfortunately the administration let the Genie of Bigotry and Racism out of the bottle, and like Iraq had no plan on how to bring a lost issue to conclusion. In the process, like fundamentalist Muslim Extremists, the administration provided the forces of racism and bigotry, the irrational Xenophobes a platform of validation from which to spew their emotional venom in local communities.

Those advocates of harsh measures of “Immigration Justice” are mere demagogues looking for their fifteen minutes of frame without regard for any measure of human compassion or true Christian values, and certainly they have no concern with the economic impact on their own communities, the reputation of those communities or the long lasting wounds they are inflicted in their own self-styled self righteous modern vigilante law.

They have been duped into becoming yet another sock puppet/pawn component of the Bush tragedy, and sadly they are not intelligent enough to understand that they are being used!


The Virginia Petition Of Impeachment Of Bush And Cheney



"The cruelty of this is astounding," stated Kathleen Walker, national president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Walker was commenting the anti-immigrant resolution passed recently by the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County in Virginia.

With the failure of immigration reform at the federal level, local communities are going back to make their own laws to deal with immigration. Although a 1976 Supreme Court decision made clear that immigration is the "exclusive" power of the federal government, some local communities feel they have no choice but creating their own laws.

Prince County's resolution is one of the harshest.

It will prevent people without legal papers to use most government-funded services, including public swimming pools or check out books from a library. Local police will also be directed to determine the immigration status of individuals who are detained.

The first draft of the resolution would have been even much harsher. But supervisors were advised by the county attorney that federal law guarantees some basic rights such as emergency medical services to everyone. The resolution that was eventually approved also asks county agencies to monitor the situation and eventually make a list of specific services that can be denied and those that can't.

The reasons for the resolution are typical of other communities that passed similar laws. Undocumented workers cause "economic hardships and lawlessness," according to Prince William County Supervisor John T. Stirrup Jr.

Do these local laws work? Although they don't solve the problems they aim to address, these laws are not without consequences. The first one is to engender fear in the minds of undocumented workers. Some Latino parents in Prince William County are now afraid to send their kids to school although federal laws say everyone has the right to education regardless of immigration status.

The other effect is that supporters of these laws feel that they have done something to solve the "immigration problem." In a lot of ways they haven't since undocumented workers don't come to the U.S. for government services. They come because of jobs. As long as jobs are available, people will continue to come.

Yet when they get jobs, they will also need support from housing to healthcare. And in cases where kids are involved education is vital. Often some of these kids are born in the U.S. and by law they are American citizens.

There are more than three million such kids whose parents are undocumented workers. This situation complicates matters for everyone. If denying benefits to adults may be acceptable in the minds of some people because these individuals committed a "crime," innocent kids should not be penalized.

As California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated last year, "kids are kids" and deserve healthcare regardless of their parents' immigration status.

But if these local laws certainly do not help undocumented immigrants, sometimes they do hurt local communities. The city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania last year passed a similar anti-immigrant ordinance, which a federal judge recently struck down. People began leaving the city and the local economy suffered significantly.

The State of Colorado also passed similar anti-immigrant laws and many undocumented workers left the state. Unable to find enough agricultural workers, the state government was forced to set up a program using convicts to pick crops. The same thing is happening in the state of Idaho.

The trend for local communities to pass their own immigration laws is not always a bad thing for undocumented workers. Although most local and state immigration laws aim to make life uncomfortable for undocumented workers, some do the exact opposite.

The city council of Hightstown, New Jersey, last year passed an ordinance welcoming immigrants.

It's sort of a bill of rights for undocumented workers, a no-questions-asked on immigration status. City services are provided to all residents. It's not the only city to do so. A number of others across the country are imitating it. These laws give hope to people and remind everyone that Americans haven't forgotten their immigrant roots.

Domenico Maceri (, PhD, UC Santa Barbara, teaches foreign languages at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA. His articles have appeared in many newspapers and some have won awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications.


Latinos Launch Economic Boycott

Resolution Leads Many to Shop Outside County

By Pamela Constable

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 28, 2007; Page B06

Maria Rivera, a hotel maid from Woodbridge, drove her two daughters to Lorton last weekend to buy school supplies. Juan Padilla, who owns a tropical-themed restaurant in Manassas, purchased all his cooking ingredients yesterday in Fairfax County.

On the first day of a one-week boycott called by immigrant groups in Prince William County, both of these county residents said they were shopping elsewhere to send a message that Latino immigrants are an important, unified economic force and can't be intimidated.

"They used us Hispanics to build this county, and now they are trying to kick us out. It's not fair," fumed Padilla, 28, a legal immigrant from El Salvador. On the window of his restaurant, La Laguna, was a large green poster that read, "We Are A Pro-Immigrant Business. Rescind the Prince William County Anti-Immigrant Resolution."

The boycott is a protest against a resolution, passed unanimously by the Board of County Supervisors in July, to deny many public services to illegal immigrants and empower police and other officials to question immigrants about their legal status and in some cases turn them over to federal immigration authorities.

County officials are studying how to implement the resolution, the result of widespread concern among longtime residents who think that the rapid influx of Latino immigrants, including many who are illegal, has increased crime and blight in the area and created a heavy burden on public services.

Several activists who support the resolution said that the boycott is bound to fail and that its only effect would be to pressure Latino business owners into conformity with a radical agenda by some groups to push the rights of illegal immigrants.

"They don't have a prayer of reversing this resolution, which has the support of 80 percent of county residents," said Greg Letiecq, an activist who heads Help Save Manassas. "This is an attempt to bully immigrant businesses."

Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) also said the boycott would have little impact.

"I think it's going to have no effect whatsoever," he said. "It just strengthens our resolve and reaffirms that we're doing the right thing," he said. "And it confirms that illegal immigrants and their support groups have no respect for our community or the rule of law. It's just going to inflame people and make people that much more upset with illegal immigration."

The boycott has both galvanized and divided the county's large Latino population, which has tripled in the past decade and is now estimated at 30,000. One group, Mexicans Without Borders, hopes economic pressure will stop the measure. Another, headed by several Latino businessmen, opposes the boycott and seeks peaceful negotiations with county leaders.

There was no way to determine yesterday how many immigrants had observed the opening day of the boycott, which targeted all non-immigrant-owned businesses,
including such chains as Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Giant supermarket as well as gas stations and convenience stores.

Boycott organizers said they had placed more than 350 of the green posters in businesses throughout the county, signifying that the store managers or owners are sympathetic -- or at least do not want to lose their immigrant customers.

A demonstration at Potomac Mills shopping center drew fewer than 100 people, who stood under a broiling afternoon sun yesterday and held aloft placards calling for immigrant rights. Some passing drivers honked in support; others swore or made insulting gestures.

In interviews in Manassas and Woodbridge, several dozen Latinos said they supported the boycott, and some were indignant about the way they feel immigrants have been treated in the county. Only two or three said they did not know about the boycott.

"I am only buying in Hispanic stores this week. I am a resident now, but I am still an immigrant, and it is not good what they are trying to do," said Abel Santiago, 28, a Mexican restaurant worker who complained that he had been stopped and asked for identification recently. "We feel so much hate and resentment now. But we should have our rights, too."

Rivera, the hotel worker who attended the demonstration at Potomac Mills, said she was also a legal resident but was angry at the proposals aimed at driving out illegal immigrants. She said she decided to participate after hearing about the boycott through her church.

"They don't want our children in the schools. They don't want people renting to immigrants. They want to ask for families' ID cards in parks. This is wrong, and we do not accept it," she said.

Staff writers Nick Miroff and Martin Weil contributed to this report.

Prince William County Government Site

Contact The Prince William Government


Board Of County Supervisors Contact Information (BOCS)

1 County Complex Court, Prince William, VA 22192 Voice: (703) 792-4660

Chairman At-Large
Corey A. Stewart
McCoart Administration Building
1 County Complex Court
Prince William, VA 22192
Phone: (703) 792-4640
Fax: (703) 792-4637
Aide: (703) 792-5626

Brentsville District
Wally Covington
8506 Wellington Road
Suite 101
Manassas, VA 20109
Phone: (703) 792-6190
Fax: (703) 257-9792
Aide: (703) 792-6191

Coles District
Martin E. Nohe, Vice Chairman
4360 Ridgewood Center Drive
Prince William, VA 22192
Phone: (703) 792-4620
Fax: (703) 792-4610
Aide: (703) 792-4621

Dumfries District
Maureen S. Caddigan
Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building
15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Suite 145
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Phone: (703) 792-4645
Fax: (703) 792-4622
Aide: (703) 792-4648
Supervisor Caddigan's Home Page

Gainesville District
John T. Stirrup, Jr.
Sudley North Government Center
7873 Ashton Avenue
Manassas, VA 20109
Phone: (703) 792-6195
Fax: (703) 792-7664
Aide: (703) 792-6196
Supervisor Stirrup's Home Page

Neabsco District
John D. Jenkins
4361 Ridgewood Center Drive
Prince William, VA 22192
Phone: (703) 792-4668
Fax: (703) 792-4669
Aide: (703) 792-4667
Supervisor Jenkins' Home Page

Occoquan District
Michael C. May
Chinn Park Library
13083 Chinn Park Drive
Prince William, VA 22192
Phone: (703) 792-4643
Fax: (703) 792-4833
Aide: (703) 792-4644

Woodbridge District
Hilda M. Barg
Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building
15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Suite 140
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Phone: (703) 792-4646
Fax: (703) 792-4993
Aide: (703) 792-4647


To view the current agenda click here.

2007 BOCS Meeting Calendar

Prince William official fires back at boycott

Associated Press - August 29, 2007 10:05 AM ET


MANASSAS, Va. (AP) - Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart is urging supporters of stricter immigration laws to answer a boycott of non-immigrant business in the county.

Opponents of a measure seeking to ban services to illegal immigrants are keeping away from non-immigrant-owned businesses through Monday. They're also planning a rally on Sunday and a work stoppage in October.

But Stewart is urging community members who support the new policies to avoid stores and restaurants that support the immigrants.

The anti-illegal-immigration group Help Save Manassas has been taking note of businesses that are posting signs in support of the boycott.

Information from: The Washington Examiner,

Latinos Join in Protest In N.Va.

Thousands Denounce Immigration Measure At Prince William Rally

By Bill Turque

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 3, 2007; Page B01

Carrying American flags and chanting "S?, se puede" ("Yes, we can"), several thousand Latinos rallied at the seat of Prince William County government yesterday to denounce the Board of Supervisors' plan to curb services to illegal immigrants.

Protesters from as far as Minnesota converged on the Sean T. Connaughton Community Plaza for speeches and a two-mile march, organized by Mexicans Without Borders and other immigrant advocacy groups.

"We come in peace," said Karla Makris, 26, a paralegal born in Nicaragua. "We're not stealing. We're not criminals."

On July 10, the Prince William board thrust the county into the middle of the Northern Virginia immigration debate, adopting a resolution directing officials to determine which government services can be lawfully withheld from anyone in the country illegally.

The measure also authorizes Prince William police to ask about residency status if they have probable cause to believe that an individual is in the country illegally. Exactly what constitutes probable cause, and how legal residency would be verified, is still under review by the police.

The county's Latino community responded with a week-long economic boycott, concluding this weekend, targeting businesses deemed hostile to immigrants.

Organizers also announced plans for an Oct. 9 work stoppage in Prince William.

The message at yesterday's late-afternoon protest was that immigrants want what they said everyone else wants, to be left alone to work and raise their families.

"We have come to respond to the ill-conceived and harmful actions to the county, and to say that is wrong," said the Rev. Bob Menard of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle.

"Everybody is equal here," said Pedro Marquez, 21, a construction worker. "Everybody is here to do work. Our kids are in school. Our parents are working. It's messed up. People are trying to bring Hispanic culture down."

Protesters marched along Prince William Parkway past Prince William County Republican headquarters and a large campaign sign for board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), a leading advocate of the July resolution. One group carried a large plaster effigy of Stewart.

The protesters had support from non-Latino Northern Virginians who marched along with them and some of whom identified with the Latino struggle. "I'm Irish, and I'm from a family of immigrants," said Sissi Curtin of Fairfax County, who said her forebears faced similar bigotry.

"It's the same old people. You know that, and I know that."

Prince William police declined to offer an estimate of the turnout, which informal estimates placed at 5,000 to 7,000.

There were no arrests, and the only major incident along the march route was an engine fire in a pickup, which sent a brief flutter of concern through the crowd as smoke wafted through the air.

It has been difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the boycott, although it seems to have had only a marginal impact on the national chain stores that are its chief targets. Latino customers continue to patronize such businesses as Wal-Mart and Giant and fast-food restaurants.

What is easier to see is that the action has both energized and split Prince William's Latino community. Mexicans Without Borders favors such economic measures as the boycott to push back, and other business leaders seek negotiations with county leaders.

The immigration issue has also driven a wedge between the region's local governments. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors recently passed a similar, if less exact, version of the Prince William measure. It directs county officials to study which services might be legitimately denied to illegal immigrants and to explore ways to cut off business with companies that hire undocumented workers.

Fairfax County has resisted entreaties from Prince William leaders to follow their example. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) has said that it is impractical and constitutionally questionable for local governments to undertake immigration enforcement. He said he wants the county to focus on "outcomes and behavior," rather than immigration status, by cracking down on boarding houses and other code violations that can degrade the quality of life in neighborhoods.

The board voted in July to crack down on illegal immigrants who commit crimes and receive county benefits. But the report says that in most programs and services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, federal law already requires the county to confirm a person's legal immigration status before offering services. In other cases, such as child protective services, the county is obligated to offer services regardless of the recipients' residency status.

Moreover, the report says, implementing harsh regulations on the few services that the county can limit -- homeless and youth sports programs, for example -- could have negative consequences on public health and safety.

The report by the county administration, prepared at the request of the supervisors, will be the basis for a discussion Tuesday, when the board begins to consider policy changes designed to push illegal immigrants out of the county.

Yesterday, some supervisors said they were not deterred by the limitations expressed in the report and vowed to take action in the fall, even if it means facing legal challenges or spending public money.

"I'm not surprised the list was short. I was sort of expecting it," said Supervisor Mick Staton Jr. (R-Sugarland Run), one of the authors of the resolution. "But I'm determined to do something about this problem that the federal government has saddled us with."

Board Chairman Scott K. York (I) warned against taking a costly route for political gain. All nine members of the board are up for reelection Nov. 6, and many have made illegal immigration a central campaign issue.

"We've got a problem that's got to be solved, but we have to be smart in how we solve it," York said. "We need to ensure what we are doing will be legally upheld, and we need to ensure that it was sound reasoning that brought this about, not some political thing."

The report does not offer an estimate of what illegal immigrants cost the county. However, it includes an analysis by a similar-size county that puts the figure at about $2 million -- not including the cost of education, which makes up the bulk of most county budgets.

The report details a few actions the county can take to tighten restrictions. The staff recommends requiring contractors who do business with the county to pledge that they are following federal and state immigration laws. It also recommends that the supervisors hire an immigration expert to guide them through the policy changes.

The largest program that the county has the authority to restrict is parks and recreation, which includes summer camps and youth sports. County officials also have the authority to limit some homeless programs and commuter bus services, the report says.

But the report also says that children could be left at home unattended if excluded from after-school programs, and homeless illegal immigrants could be left on the streets. And the more documentation that is required to get services, the longer the lines will be at county offices.

Hispanic immigrants rally against Prince William laws

Immigration resolution not on board’s official agenda

» Hispanic immigrants rally against Prince William laws «

P.W. chair: Avoid businesses backing pro-immigrant boycott

Activist groups’ boycott targets Potomac Mills and Manassas Mall

Immigration supporters in Prince William to begin weeklong boycott of area

22 Prince William inmates referred for deportation

Pr. William chair urges Fairfax to get tough on illegal immigration

Illegals in Pr. William face deportation

Anti-illegal immigration group blasts human rights panel

Immigrants prepare boycotts, rally to protest county resolution

Prince William County (Map, News) - A couple thousand Hispanic immigrants and their supporters rallied at the Prince William County headquarters Sunday afternoon to protest the county’s controversial illegal immigration resolution.

Holding signs proclaiming “Immigrants help make America strong” and “Rescind the resolution,” families from throughout the suburban county and neighboring jurisdictions exclaimed their opposition to new laws aiming to crack down on illegal immigration.

“This is only the beginning,” organizer John Steinbach said as he estimated the turnout at 5,000.

The event, capping a weeklong economic boycott against nonimmigrant-owned businesses, was designed to show the strength and size of the population furious over new laws aiming to crack down on illegal immigrants.

More than 400 volunteers from Mexicanos Sin Fronteras and other groups flanked the event, along with a contingent of 100 officers and support personnel from the Prince William County Police Department, who supervised the march route and looked out on the protest from a nearby rooftop.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an illegal immigration resolution July 10, citing overcrowded homes, a deteriorating quality of life and the high cost of providing services to illegal immigrants. The measure sought to deny some county services to illegal immigrants and speed the deportation of illegal immigrants who break the law.

Supervisors had predicted that a huge crowd Sunday would boost residents’ resolve to push for the resolution to be enforced.

“I think it sends a message that these are bullies who are trying to intimidate the county,” Board Chairman Corey Stewart said, suggesting that many protesters would come from outside the county.

Kids rapidly waved American flags and women placed them in their hair as they prepared for the two-mile march along Prince William County Parkway.

“I think the law could be terrible for the kids,” said a Manassas resident who gave his name as Gilberto, “If these laws don’t stop, our lives can really be damaged.”

Helping his young nephew sell American flags for $1 apiece, Bonifacio Lopez Jr., 15, of Dumfries, said he fears he may soon be asked to prove his legal status to go to a park and play with friends.


Monday, September 3, 2007

"Si se puede! Si se puede!"

That's what motorists up and down Prince William Parkway heard Sunday at the pro-immigration rally and march.

The rough English translation to the Spanish statement is "Yes, we can," and it was echoed over and over by the several thousand people gathered at the Sean T. Connaughton Community Plaza to protest the anti-illegal immigration resolution passed by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

The resolution could, among other things, deny county services to illegal immigrants if fully approved this month. After passing the resolution in July, the supervisors directed county staff to determine which county services could be denied to illegal immigrants.

While the day was one of protest, it was also one without animosity. Signs, smiles and cheers were everywhere. Vendors with push carts were selling frozen treats to families, volunteers were handing out bottled water and social activists and musicians were inspiring the crowd with speeches and song.

As the crowd swelled, both American flags and protest signs could be seen dotting the landscape. The signs said everything from "Don't Divide Our Families" to "Rescind the Resolution" to "We Are All One Community." Volunteers sported bright orange and green shirts with the statement: "Stop Racism, Rescind Anti-Immigration Resolution."

Woodbridge resident Victoria Hernandez was one of many in attendance with their families. She moved from El Salvador to the United States 16 years ago before starting a family.

Both she and her 15-year-old daughter Karen were outraged at what the county is contemplating in regards to the illegal immigration problem.

"In school everybody asks, 'why do we learn history?' and the answer is so history won't repeat itself," said Karen, who attends Osbourn Park High School. "[But] it's repeating itself right now. It happened with the African-Americans a couple years back. It's not right how they are doing this. They should stop racism and discrimination. God made us all equal."

Samuel Pineda, 37, of Manassas Park, was one of the many volunteers assisting those taking buses to the event. Pineda, who works for a party goods rental company, said the immigrant population has been erroneously criticized as one which doesn't pay taxes.

Depending on the severity of the new policy, Pineda said it's possible that many families he knows could be separated when they go to a public place because of their parents' legal status. And that's not something he wants to see happen.

The rally started at 3 p.m. and roughly an hour later, those gathered began an organized march down Prince William Parkway to the intersection at Old Bridge Road. The people walked four and five wide on the sidewalk and stretched, at one point, the entire length of the mile-long route.

Many motorists honked and waved as they zipped past the construction cones on the parkway, eliciting waves of cheers up and down the sidewalks.

While the crowd was overwhelmingly Hispanic, there were others showing solidarity for the Hispanic population. One such person was 18-year-old Baltimore resident Nick Powell, who volunteers for the United Workers Association.

"No human being should be labeled as illegal," said Powell, who came down from Maryland with a few supporters on a bus.

Father Bob Menard of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle was one of the many speakers during the four-hour-long rally. His message to the supervisors was simple.

"We are constituents of the county, we are constituents of the United States, we are constituents of the one America and we are constituents of the human family," Menard said. "And we are here to respond."

The rally came near the end of a weeklong boycott of Prince William County stores that weren't outwardly supporting all immigrants. A few of the green signs that pledged their support for the immigrant community could be seen sprinkled in the crowd on Sunday.

While Woodbridge Workers Committee spokesperson Nancy Lyall recently called the boycott a success, it remains to be seen just how effective either the boycott or rally will be when it comes time for the county to put teeth in its resolution.

"We'll cross our fingers and hope for the best," Pineda said.

Latino Immigrants Rally, March for Rights

Woodbridge, Va. - UPDATED - Sunday September 02, 2007 7:00 pm

Thousands of Latino immigrants and advocates from across the Washington area rallied in northern Virginia Sunday to protest a county resolution that seeks to deny many public services to undocumented immigrants.

The event was the culmination of a weeklong boycott of Prince William County businesses that were not pro-immigrant or immigrant-owned.

Members of the group Mexicans Without Borders said they hoped the event would call attention to what they say are violations of residents' human and civil rights that would result from the Board of County Supervisors' resolution. The county's new law, passed July 10, is regarded as among the strictest in the region.

The event outside the Prince William County government center drew about 4,000 supporters from the region who at times became emotional, and even included a contingent from as far away as Wisconsin. Protesters chanted "yes we can" and held signs denouncing the legislation, some of which read "I am not a criminal," or "the resolution is unconstitutional." Marchers expressed concern about racial profiling, abuses by police or families being broken up. They also feared day-to-day impacts like being denied access to county schools, public libraries or pools.

"We want justice," said Jose Ismael Cruz in Spanish. The Culpeper, Va., resident from El Salvador brought his 2-year-old son, Ismael Cruz Jr., to the march and said he was concerned about his child's future.

"This is a bad law," he said. "It will increase racism toward us."

The late afternoon rally featured speakers and music, and was preceded by a march along a nearby parkway. At times, the crowd of marchers stretched from the beginning to the end of the mile-long route.

Some drivers passing the rally honked in support and no significant counter-protest appeared to be present. Protesters had organized a cleanup crew who picked up bottles and trash behind the march.

The legislation and the ensuing boycott have polarized opinions in the county. Windows of immigrant-supportive businesses displayed green signs given to them by boycott organizers. In response, Prince William County Chairman Corey Steward urged residents who want stricter immigration laws to avoid businesses supporting the boycott.

Greg Letiecq, president of the anti-illegal immigration group Help Save Manassas, said that the rally estimate of 75,000 given by protest organizers was a "scare tactic."

"The community is pretty solidly behind an agenda of trying to enforce the immigration laws that we have," Letiecq said. "Local governments should take whatever steps they're legally allowed to take to try to combat this at the local level."

The groups behind the boycott and rally said they did not have exact numbers on the impact of the boycott, but that they felt it had been a strong week.


North America a deep current of Hispanophobia pervades Anglo-Saxon

It predates the Independence of the United States by almost two centuries, a legacy of the English and the Dutch, who did so much to promote the Black Legend of Spanish cruelty as part of their own efforts to seize for themselves Spain's extensive colonial empire.

Anti-Spanish attitudes in the American colonies were nourished as well by the militant Protestant theology that so sharply defined the Puritan communities of New England.

As early as the late seventeenth century, we find Puritan divines like Cotton Mather and Samuel Sewell studying Spanish--with a view to winning converts to their version of Protestantism.

Sewell spoke of "bombing [sic] Santo Domingo, Havana, Puerto Rico, and Mexico itself" with the Spanish Bible, and Cotton Mather even wrote a book on Protestant doctrine in Spanish, published in Boston in 1699, intended for--as he might say--the darker regions of Spanish America.

The emergence of an independent American Republic reinforced these anti-Spanish notions, notwithstanding the fact that Spain had been an ally in our struggle against Great Britain.

Anti-Spanish attitudes in the United States reached something of a paroxysm during the war in Cuba in 1898. But, paradoxically, once the conflict ended and our quondam Cuban allies turned out to be something less than impressive when viewed at close range, we suddenly discovered the nobility and dignity of our defeated adversary.

The Spanish admiral who went to Newport, Rhode Island, to escort home naval prisoners of war was received with so much cordiality by his hosts that he went home disoriented and confused.

In the run-up to World War II the Roosevelt administration fashioned something called the Good Neighbor Policy, which was intended to conscript America's Latin neighbors into a quasi alliance in exchange for concessions on trade and promises of nonintervention.

But once the war was won, Washington's interest shifted elsewhere, and its concern
for its southern neighbors was limited to the quality of their anticommunism.

Americans, of course, had no trouble recognizing in the concept of Hispanidad the forces that their ancestors had rejected from the seventeenth century. At the same time, the more enlightened, liberal version of Spanish patriotism--Hispanismo--and its most concrete expression, the Second Republic, found ready acceptance and sympathy in the United States.

Indeed, if the civil war did nothing else, it forced Americans to consider the possibility that Spain contained within itself the possibility of divergent political and cultural
syntheses. For a brief moment Spain even became a focus of Utopian sensibilities, particularly after the Republic adopted some of the styles, language, and customs of the militant international left.

The victory of the insurgent side extinguished this Utopian vision or consigned it to the area of nostalgia and fantasy. In the future, such urges found outlet in Cuba and (briefly) in Allende's Chile and in Sandinista Nicaragua.

In the immediate aftermath of the civil war, the vision was replaced by the romance of defeat, best expressed in Hemingway's novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. As time went on, however, and the Franco regime consolidated its iron grip, Hemingway's writings on Spain--like those of lesser American writers such as Barnaby Conrad--became increasingly apolitical.

This trend is foretold in Death in the Afternoon, where the tension between Hispanidad and Hispanismo (between "bad" Spain and "good" Spain) is replaced by a kind of cheap costumbrismo: castanets, bullfights, Carmen, and the cult of danger, against an inviting backdrop of good weather, good wine, and bargain prices for tourists lucky enough to draw their salaries in dollars.

Taking Spanish Culture Seriously: four points stand out in this vast canvas.

First, whatever else can be said about the seventeenth-century American Puritans, at least they took Spanish culture seriously. They recognized it as a complete civilization in its own right, an alternate pole of attraction for roughly half our hemisphere. They
bothered to learn its language to better confront it.

While we can smile at their religious prejudices and exaggerated sense of cultural self-assurance, our present-day doubts about ourselves have not made us more curious about others, except insofar as they send back negative refractions of our own image.

Second, the diffusion and widespread use of Spanish in the United States today in no way constitutes a threat to the use and--dare I say it?--the hegemony of English. While there are centrifugal forces at work in American society today, language is not one of them. The status of Spanish in the United States is different from that of, say,
Catalan in Spain, since it lacks territoriality, a coherent literary-intellectual class, and an imaginable political project.

While a combination of leftish social engineering and political opportunism have created a new protected category of citizen, his identity is determined not by language but by surnames, physiognomy, or self-definition.

Third, there is no dominant definition of Hispanidad or Hispanismo in the United States, nor is there likely to be in the future. Here the contrast with French is instructive. It is Paris and the French Academy that define Frenchness in the world, including received pronunciation, and all other manifestations of the language and
culture are seen as subordinate variations.

The irrelevance of Madrid and the Spanish Academy to our Spanish-speaking populations reflects the historic rupture between the peninsula and Spanish America in the nineteenth century, but it also bespeaks the increasing diversity of America's immigrant communities.

"Hispanic" has become a political, not a linguistic or cultural category, to which language is purely incidental. Like so much else in American political life, the issue of cultural diversity has been trivialized and made a toy of the bureaucratic process.

In some countries the existence of two vigorous languages side by side provides an interesting tension, and in the Canadian case, even a crucial element of national self-definition.

The United States is apparently large enough and rich enough to ignore its own linguistic geography. And so Spanish remains a foreign language in more ways than one, bringing a centuries-old cultural rivalry to a sharp and unexpected conclusion.

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