Latin class

  • Jon Kelly
  • 19 Sep 08, 09:14 AM GMT

The sound of ranchera and the smell of burritos filled the air around the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque. This was good news for my taste buds, but bad news for my waistline. I love Mexican food in the same way that most men love their wives, and a week on the bus had done little to help my exercise regime.

I wasn't the only visitor to the area. Yesterday, Barack Obama was in upstate Espanola, pitching his message to the Hispanics who make up 44% of New Mexico's population.

It's not difficult to see why. George Bush took this swing state by a whisker in 2004. Yet whereas over 40% of America's Hispanics are estimated to have voted for the Republican presidential nominee in 2004, it appears that John McCain may now be trailing his rival within the community nationwide by up to 30 percentage points.

Earlier, Jennifer spoke to New Mexico's Hispanic Governor Bill Richardson, who said such voters would be crucial come November:

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To find out why the Latino vote appeared to be shifting towards the Democrats, I struck up a conversation with 25-year-old Emmanuel Ortega, a Masters student from Albuquerque.

Emmanuel was born in Los Angeles but raised on the other side of the border in Juarez. He was frustrated by conservative anti-immigration rhetoric, he said, when people like his father, a construction worker, had stepped in to do the jobs that American citizens didn't want.

Emmanuel OrtegaBush's decision to build a 2,100-mile fence along the border with Mexico had been the final straw, he added.

"I don't know any of my family and friends who are planning to vote Republican," Emmanuel said.

"With the border, it's like they're sending out the message that people like me aren't welcome.

"And the economy is hurting us just the same as everyone else."

On the other side of the Fair, however, Fernando de Baca, 70, told a different story. The chairman of Bernalillo County Republicans argued that the Latino emphasis on hard work and family values, plus the Catholic church's opposition to abortion, made the community naturally conservative.

Fernando de BacaHe offered another, blunter, reason why he believed John McCain would do well in New Mexico.

"The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors," he said. "African-Americans came here as slaves.

"Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won't vote for a black president."

I wasn't sure about this, though. Virtually all of the Hispanic voters I spoke to told me they were supporting Obama.

So I asked Gabriel Sanchez, assistant professor at the University of New Mexico's department of political science, whether he thought communal tensions were likely to play a role.

"I doubt there are more than 10% of Latinos who think that way - and half of them probably won't even go out to vote," he said.

Gabriel SanchezGabriel stressed that Hispanics were not a homogenous group. Mexicans in the south west, Puerto Ricans in the north east and traditionally Republican Cubans in Florida did not behave identically, he said.

"But in this election, I think Latinos are going to behave just like other Americans and vote with their pocket-books.

"Obama has poured millions of dollars into reaching out to them. If he succeeds, then he wins the election."

The Democrat may hope so. But this is one section of the electorate that refuses to be pigeonholed.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    "The chairman of Bernalillo County Republicans argued that the Latino emphasis on hard work and family values, plus the Catholic church's opposition to abortion, made the community naturally conservative."

    Silly argument: I was raised a catholic, I am ethically opposed to criminalizing abortions, and I personally am not pro abortion, I am pro-choice. It's a simple argument. But why are those pro-lifers so Bush-friendly? He has killed tens -- perhaps hundreds -- of thousands of Iraqis, he has devastated familes in the USA as well with his oil-mania. Hey, that's a really violent form of abortion... Or did I misunderstand the "surgical strikes".

  • Comment number 3.

    #3 No. The arabs planting the bombs in the market places and schools in Iraq have killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's. My best friend is an Iraqi sunni from Mosul- he blames the insurgents for the state of his home town, not Bush.

  • Comment number 4.

    Pardon my ignorance, but I don't understand Emmauel Ortega's objection to a southern border wall, at least not from the vague perspective he is giving.

    Walls and/or fences will have doors through which legal documented workers and those seeking legal citizenship may pass.

    Ortega states, "With the border, it's like they're sending out the message that people like me aren't welcome." Of whom is he speaking? Legal immigration is certainly welcome in the US.

    The US has a duty to its citizens to keep them safe and and provide healthy living conditions (recent tuberculosis found in large group of undocumented workers is troubling, to say the least). Additionally, it is prudent to know who and how many are in the country (think generic census, then move to security issues).

    I'm not suggesting Ortego is in the US illegally. I'm just questioning his opposition and the reason behind it. I'd like to know!

  • Comment number 5.

    #4. At a guess Ortego is legal but his father and many of his relatives may not have been.

    I'd query the health angle though. Does the US provide free healthcare and housing for illegal migrants? It certainly doesn't for its own citizens. Where the TB patients given 6 months antibiotics of a 1 way bus ticket back to mexico?

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't speak with certainty as to housing.
    As to health, my daughter works at a hospital in North Dakota. They are to provide health services for all; it's the law, in spite of insurance status. This year they were trained in how to identify and diagnose diseases that were from generations past (TB, polio, pertussis, things that we take for granted are minimal risks due to vaccinations). The hospital is seeing a rise in these kind of cases with direct links to illegals (not all of them from Mexico; generally in her area about half).

    Problem is this: A case of TB is going to be red-flagged to medical authorities due to its contagious nature. Knowing that, illegal immigrants fear seeking medical help often until it is too late and the number of people they have come into contact in public places is very nearly untraceable. Treatment is provided, as per law, but only if people seek it. (My point is not a US health system debate opener).
    Same instances also occurring where my family members are living (Alabama) and my state (Missouri). I can't speak to other states, as I have no knowledge if it's occurring elsewhere.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why is Mr. Ortego taking this so personally? Do you remember that you are an American, or do you have duel citizenship? Please decide on which side of that fence you want to be on. You live here, but I bet you hang a Mexican flag outside your home like so many of you do.

  • Comment number 8.

    #6 we've had a lot of TB in Britain. Much is linked to HIV patients who have developed some nasty drug resistant strains. Immigrants are often blamed but what normally happens is that immigrants who lack immunity to British TB (the nastiest in the world) come here and catch it rather than bring it in with them.

    On the plus side the regular versions are cheap to treat. We haven't had polio , fortunately thats almost extinct apart from some pockets in central asia and Africa, but diptheria and typhus from Russia are worries.

  • Comment number 9.

    While the USA is building walls alone the US-Mexico border, Latin America is now building diplomatic walls to keep the USA from meddlings in their internal affairs. It's a tit for tat situation. Just look at the expulsion of USA ambassadors and the hostile effects on others USA diplomats assigned to Latin America.

    The fact is clear, this will be a Hispanic century throughout the Americas. The fact remains that both the USA government and it's citizens are now some of the most hated of individuals throughout Latin America. Years of supporting Neo-fascists right wing governments and undermining civil and human rights in Latin America with obsolete weapons to keep the fascists in power is now coming to haunt the USA and it's entirety. The centuries old ignorance and arrogance the USA has for it's Western Hemisphere neighbors has added fuel to the distrust most Latin Americans have for the USA. China and Russia have now taken the lead in cultural exchanges, interactions, economic and trade in Latin America.

    It can now be said with certainty that the sun has set on the USA, not only throughout Latin America, but the rest of the civilized world.

    Pity. It's going to take a long time, perhaps hundreds of years, for the USA to be viewed or trusted throughout the Western Hemisphere. It's going to take much more than Obama (much less McCain) to change the hatred and mistrust Latin America has with the USA. The next ten-twenty years will tell the story.

  • Comment number 10.

    I object to Emanuel's statement that his father came in to take the kind of jobs that Americans no longer want. I was involved in construction from about 1976 to 1984.

    When I first started, most hispanics in construction were here legally doing tile work which was a lost art in the US. Later, illegals came in and did the same work (carpentry, etc) as Americans, but for a lower price, which Americans would not work for. Since the illegals often lived 20 to a house, they were able to undercut the Americans, and drive them out of construciton. It may be true that Americans are no longer willing to work in construction, but it is because construction jobs wages are now so low, that it is hard to live on.

  • Comment number 11.

    Mr. Lochravin is showing the typical ignorance and arrogance and the lack of truth most non-Hispanic USA citizens possess in their every day living.

    The fact is, Mr. Ortega can most certainly identify with the Americas more than Lochravin would care to admit. After all, most Hispanics in the Southwest portion of the USA have been here since 1598, the time the Spanish settled. Mr. Lochravin can most likely trace his roots to the beginning of the 20th century.

    Mr. Lochravin is a good example of most USA citizen not being able to come to terms with their violent past, much less the truth.

  • Comment number 12.

    In New Mexico, you should be eating "New Mexican food," which is not the same thing as "Mexican food."

  • Comment number 13.

    I drove nearly 2 hours to get to Espanola to see Obama. When we got there we stood in line in the sun for over 1 1/2 hours before we were allowed in. Once in we had to wait a further 2 hours - in the mid-day sun - before he made an appearance. He was two hours late. Apparently he was meeting with Pueblo leaders in Albuquerque. He need to learn that he will be serving the people and that to keep them waiting is not a good thing. Because he was so late we had to leave before he had finished talking and did not get to hear his full message. Does he treat all his campaign stops like this?

  • Comment number 14.

    I understand opposition ot the wall. It is offensive. If we are so concerned about our borders, what about Canada? Isn't that how the terrorists got in to begin with?

    There is waaaay more enforcement of the southern border already than our northern border.

    The wall reminds people of Berlin. Except instead of keeping people in, we're trying to keep them out.

    Also, China tried this way back in the day, and if I recall correctly, it wasn't too effective for them. Although they did manage create one awesome landmark.

  • Comment number 15.

    Wow! Talk about going off the subject. Most of what I read here sounds to be personal opinion and based on some level of ignorance.

    Stating that a wall is meant to tell everybody they are not welcomed, That the U.S. is hated across all of Latin America, and on the article's take that you can get an idea of the latin vote from attending the New Mexico State Fair is plain silly to say the least.

    I am both American and Latin, and yes, I do hold a dual citizenship. I recently got my dual citizenship since I spent a number of years in the U.S. Army and as a soldier are not allowed to have both. I consider myself 100% American and 100% Latin. I speak, read, and write both languages at college level and am thoroughly aware of both my cultures and heritage. I am both a father and a son. I do not have to choose to fully understand each side of the coin. I have a brother and a sister, and they both have also served. My brother has already been in Iraq and is going back in 2009.

    To Mr. Ortega: I understand that having a wall placed between you and what you want is not a pleasant experience. Please understand the following:
    1. The wall is meant to create structure. We must do something about how we as a people immigrate into this country. Would it not be better to have clear and effective rules as to how we can immigrate into the U.S. in a legal way that would grant us the rights this country has to offer. (This is where we have failed as Americans. If we do not provided proper rules and most importantly "guides" for becoming U.S. Citizens or residents, how can expect hungry people to stay away. Anybody who thinks that these accessible rules actually exist has never been on the other side of that fence.
    2. To foxtrottango1: The Idea that all of Latin America hates the U.S.... well that's just not true. I have had the opportunity to to live, work, and travel through the Caribbean, Central, and South America (The three are as different as the U.S., Britain, and Australia) and can say that the different countries have different views regarding the U.S. If you ask a Cuban, a Colombian, or a Honduran what they think about the U.S. , you will get three different and distinct answers. As a matter of fact, Mexicans do not consider themselves as part of Central America in any way, shape, or form and would give you a completely different view than their neighboring countries. An important note to make is that Latin America is currently divided by those countries that have suffered at the hands of communism and those that are just starting to be influenced by its false promises of equality.
    3. To the author of this article: There are dozens of countries that constitute the Latin American population of the U.S. each one has different priorities and different points of view. To a Colombian: The Trade agreement that would surely be turned down by the Democratic Party. To a Cuban: Well.. Need I say anything about Communism... To a Mexican: Who is going to make it easier for me to get in the U.S. Not to mention that there are greater complexities to the situation... Each Latin American country has a different class of population migrating to the U.S. countries like Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil have lost a great deal of their educated citizens due to harsh economic and political situations in their country. These citizens have brought their life savings and invested into small companies that will be gravely affected by the taxing system that is to come in the next 4-8 years.

    Lets stop making this personal.. lets talk about issues... Abortion and gay marriage have become the medias big issues to talk about.... right now most of us want to know if our hard work will pay off in having the American Dream come true.... Let's all contribute... we can't get ahead if only a part of the country is committed. Some think that the greatest generation has something to do with war. The greatest generation has everything to do with Americans of all ages, races, and genders coming together as one, in understanding that each one of us can and must make a difference, and most importantly in believing that the price for freedom is always worth it.

  • Comment number 16.

    To foxtrottango please don't open that can of worms about America's violent past, If you are Spanish decent, you shouldn't throw stones. The near genocide that the conquistadors perpetrated on the indigenous people in the Americas shows the worst aspects of humankind.
    p.s. Are you a dancer? foxtrot tango?

  • Comment number 17.

    Ho yeah, honey! NOW you're talkin!

    This is just the kind of smack down I'm lookin' for:

    Them GOP "Conservatives" have been talkin' Conservative Bull-Crap for too many years, using Soopid XenaPhobic Rhetoric for so freakin long that they're shootin' themselves in their boots with their own purl-handuled gunz. Yeeee HAW!

    Did you READ this crap????
    "The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors," he said. "African-Americans came here as slaves. Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won't vote for a black president."

    Now THAT's the kind of HOG WASH that many of us Americans are sick of, embarrassed by, and ready to VOTE OUT OF OFFICE.

    Scratch a Republican's shiny surface, take away the nice speech some PR person handed to them, and you have a
    - xenophobic
    - greedy
    - gun-happy
    - Good Ol' Boy (or Gal)
    - who wants to keep the money and the power with the white upper-class land-owners.
    (IMHO) Woof.

    But, WAIT - there's MORE!

    There are quite a few "swing vote" demographics at stake in this election, and it still remains to be seen whether Obama will be able to effectively meet, greet, and build the trust that will earn him their well-deserved support.

    Hispanics are one of the Bigger Groups:

    Beautiful Americans from Spanish speaking countries who have been put down for YEARS.... when many such folks have been in the states longer than my own German/Irish/English ancestors!
    -- I've been in places where calling someone a Mexican is an insult. Seriously.

    It's pisses me off so bad, I'd love to shove a tamale up someone's... but then, I'm a pacifist... by choice... so, nevermind.

    Anyway, one of the biggest points of contention with Catholic Voters in the USA has been the abortion issue. The joke in the NE USA is that European Catholics in New England and New York vote Democratic and then feel guilty about it. Hispanic voters would either vote GOP or not vote at all (which was largely the case in Florida a while back).

    BUT - the Hispanic Community has been pushed at by a recent Texan GOP Leader-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named...

    And I'm starting to think that the GOP is going to get pushed back for their own xenophobic stoopidity.

    Frodo failed.
    Bush has the Ring.
    -- Vote FrodObama in 08.


    BTW: Dangit, I wish I were with ya'll at the Fair! My frozen lunch has lost it's appeal.

  • Comment number 18.

    Of course. you're right. And I want to apologies for my own outburst.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi LochRavin (#16):
    Foxtrot Tango are military-eze for "FT".
    I think you're talking to a Man of Arms.

    In General:
    Wow, this whole POST is a can of worms, aint' it? My, what long posts we have!

    I think half the scrapping that has transpired above went up while I was eating my lunch. Zoiks.

    SO - since ya'll are so fired up -- I'd just like to apologize in advance for any insult anyone might perceive from my being sassy at the GOP. I promise I'll talk to a therapist about it.

    - Philly Mom

  • Comment number 20.

    My comment at 1 was "Zzzzz". To indicate that I think your blog is dull.
    It can't believe British tax payers are funding you to write such tripe.

  • Comment number 21.


    Great post! Your thoughts were organized and very well stated. I am so happy that you contributed. Thank You!

  • Comment number 22.

    A general comment to Jon Kelly and other posters.

    This is only my opinion but we have some of the very best Mexican food in the world, here in the Southwest (outside of Mexico, that is.)

    I am biased toward Arizona but will say that I have eaten some truly memorable meals in New Mexico, as well.

    Happy eating, Jon. When you get to Texas, you will also find some more really great eating. Enjoy!

  • Comment number 23.


    I think I know why that poor dog died!

    Many people are interested in this journey and in the words of Jon Kelly. I also like to read what others from around the world have to contribute to this blog.

    I hope that readers can see the many facets of our country and can understand that so many of us want peace and a chance to work in harmony with the rest of the world.

    Our lives are not so much different from any other person's. We work, we love our families, we worry about the future, we try to live with responsibility and make good decisions.

    I am grateful Jon Kelly is making this journey but if he wishes to return to Arizona, I could recommend some truly amazing food, some of the most beautiful country, and a chance to meet some very interesting people!

  • Comment number 24.

    Oi aquarizonagal -

    There was this little Mexican place in California mah hubbie and I used to go to. We loved it. We couldn't afford many 'date nights', but that was usually the place we'd go. It was called, 'El Portal'.... we used to call it 'our little hole in the wall'...

    get it? Hole in the wall? El Portal? get it? heh...

    Actually, I just got an IM from mah hubbie and we're taking the kids to Johnny Manyana's tonight! Sweet! All this talk is making me hungry.

  • Comment number 25.

    #4 - tiptoplisamich

    "Ortega states, "With the border, it's like they're sending out the message that people like me aren't welcome." Of whom is he speaking? Legal immigration is certainly welcome in the US."

    Do you really think that's the case? I was told a story by a co-worker of mine just yesterday about a conversation she had with an American border guard recently. When she went to renew her TN visa (she is a Canadian citizen working in the States on a temporary basis), the border guard said grudgingly, "I don't understand why we're hiring you when the economy is so bad. ...Oh well, at least you're not Mexican!".

    Needless to say, she was pretty appalled, but since this man was guaranteeing her ability to work she could only laugh and pretend to agree. This is the person who is supposed to be the welcoming face of my government and country? Wow!

    And from my own numerous experiences crossing border (States/Canada) I have to say that it's not an isolated incident.

  • Comment number 26.

    To#25 26carel

    Sorry, her experience is not unique. I have been through this with my family members, trying just to get visitor's visas and even worse when some wanted citizenship.

    I am a citizen by birth because my parents immigrated legally and I was born here. But I think that there is a very mean spirit now in our government and among some people against anyone who is not a 'real' American and anyone who would like to become one.

    Sorry, maybe that comment is too negative.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have to agree with the last 2 posters (#25 and #26). America is NOT welcoming of any immigration, legal or otherwise.

    We have extremely low caps and long waits for immigration from countries like Mexico and the Phillipines -- 2 of the countries that supply quite a few people to our armed forces!! I have friends that are Mexican that have been on the list waiting for legal immigration for over 17 years and, based on their registration year and the quotas, they expect their names to come up sometime in the next 3-4 years. For immigrants from the Philipines, the wait is nearly 30 years!!

    Here in San Diego, I have seen much a big rise in racism and anti-immigration (especially anti-Mexican) attitudes in the last 5 years. Many people (especially newcomers to the area) assume that anyone with a hispanic surname must be an illegal alien, even though the majority are not only legal, many are from families that have been here for a lot more generations than my mixed-European ancestors.

    It seems that a lot of it is being stirred up by the politicians on both sides -- democrats that want to appear pro-union and republicans that have moved far too heavily into the camp of the whitebread fundamentalist bible thumper.

    Our economy needs realistic immigration policies. The jobs need to be done and the employers will hire illegals if they can't find anyone else. As long as the politicians are too cowardly to acknowledge that and put up a realistic policy that includes guest workers and reasonable quotas that help our economy grow, we will have a choice of illegal immigration or economic disaster in fields like agriculture and the service industries.

  • Comment number 28.

    'Emmanuel was born in Los Angeles but raised on the other side of the border in Juarez. He was frustrated by conservative anti-immigration rhetoric'.....

    But this young man does not understand a simple fact: He's a citizen of the United States, and is therefore legitimately attending graduate school and living his life here.

    People who are NOT citizens of the US do NOT have an intrinsic right to live here. I do not have an intrinsic right to immigrate to Canada, Mexico, Japan or France, without their express permission.

    That's not unfair or cruel--it's just the law of civilized nations.

    Someone, please tell me why Mexicans feel they have the divine right to live in the United States, that they are exempt from the laws that govern the rest of us.

    And, mark my words, we will find that thousands upon thousands of illegal votes from Mexicans will be cast in New Mexico for Barack Obama, who plays upon their sense of entitlement.

  • Comment number 29.

    I saw the Bill Richardson interview last night on BBC America.
    The newest immigrant here has always had it tough. I would not have wanted to be an Irish immigrant to Boston in 1850.
    On the East Coast, you had people who thought all Italians were Mafiosi.

    The Border Fence? Very silly and a lot of money. Still, we have the right to protect our borders. I do want to know what Emmanuel Ortega has to hide.

    Europe is full of "Border Regions." (Alsace-Lorraine, Schleswig-Holstein, Transylvania, etc).

    This is the closest the United States comes to that sort of thing.

    I enjoyed the BBC report last night about immigration and the border. If you live here, you know the realities.

  • Comment number 30.

    RE: foxtrottango1

    You are way off base. I live in the northeat of the USausa and do you really believe that Hispanics have been here since 1598 or such? No way. Illegal Mexicans are everywhere here and do not belong. They broke the law and should be deported. If Hispanics in New Mexico believe otherwise then break away from the USA and become part of Mexico. As an American living in Philadelphia I feel ever more foreign in my own country because of latin immigration. Why do we have to change for them. I am sick and tired of pressing 1 for English. The immigrants from Latin America should learn English or leave, end of story. Everywhere you look in my city, Philadelphia, there are illegals from Mexico. Why are they here? Is it their right to be here? NO! Follow the rules like everyone else. I'm sick and tired of the special priveleges given to Hispanics. If you're from Mexico this is not your country. Immigrate legallly and learn English.

  • Comment number 31.

    Re: Oldsouth.

    I agree competley and am a liberal citizen of northeast USA. Why is it that Mexicans feel it is their right to live and work in USA and Europeans, whose ancestors build this nation, can't get an immigration visa to save their life. If it were up to me immigration from Latin America would be blocked entirely. The USA needs a break from an unrelenting mass migration of this sort. Can any rational person tell me that Mexicans are returning to their ancestral homeland of Pennslyvania. Bull! Yet everywhere you go in my hometown you see Mexicans. I'm sick of it. If this were the reverse Mexico would declare war.

  • Comment number 32.

    #17 yes I read this very disturbing statement by the Chairman of Bernalillo County Republicans....

    "The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors," he said. "African-Americans came here as slaves. Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won't vote for a black president."

    And he is not ashamed to put his picture next to that comment. Wow...What a sad time we are living in.

  • Comment number 33.

    #'s 25,26,27

    I won't disagree with your opinions, especially since they come with 1st hand experience to back them up.

    I guess my post should have stated "I believe (me personally) that legal immigration is welcome..."

    Experience (especially in numbers) is the best evidence. Thank you for the info.

  • Comment number 34.

    I found the comments by Fernando Baca interesting. As a midwesterner who moved to Albuquerque eight years ago I was amazed to find an attitude here that native New Mexicans are "Spanish" who have been here for five hundred years (certainly true for some people) and that Mexicans are recent immigrants who are looked down on. This seems to be especially true in the more isolated areas of northern New Mexico, but seems to be the same attitude Baca was expressing in his comments about blacks and Hispanics. However, I'm not so sure that this attitude is as prevalent in younger people as it is in Baca's generation. Hopefully the majority of our state's Hispanic population (as well as the Anglo portion and other groups) will make their decision in this election based on which candidate will best represent their interests and provide leadership that expresses their values.

  • Comment number 35.

    If only America had Mexico's Immigration policy, I can only dream.....

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    to: Albuquerquesue # 34.

    Mexicans are in fact native to the Americas and the Spanish are not. The Spanish are Europeans, foreigners, gringos (a Mexican derogatory term) strangers, and very much unwelcomed throughout the centuries in the entire Latin American countries, just like anglos in the USA are.

    While the Mexican is a proud individual where ever he is and will fight anyone who says otherwise, most Hispanics in the southwest and especially the "Spanish" are always looking for excuses to cover up their guilt, their culture, their weakness and their lack of belonging to either the Mexican or the Anglo societies. Especially the Spanish in the USA where they will sway with the wind where ever is possible or who offer the highest bidder for their loyalty. The truth is, being "Spanish" in the USA southwest and especially in the entire Latin American countries, is not a very proud thing to be and they better not brag about it in the presence of Mexicans or Latin Americans.

    Indeed, one could say the feeling between Mexicans and the "Spanish" in the USA southwest is mutual. There is no love lost.
    The same is true between Mexicans and white USA Anglos.

    By the way, one other thing that must be addressed and that is the BBC and the British government are to be thanked for these posts because in the USA, Mexican-Americans, Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other minorities have no say so as what can be said.

    Thanks again, BBC, and to the "taxpaying" British citizens for allowing and including us to state our opinions on the matter.

  • Comment number 38.

    Tucsonmike # 20

    Perhaps if the USA would keep from invading other countries (the smaller and less armed,the better), or keep from destablizing their economies and their duly elected democracies for the purpose of looting their resources, than perhaps there wouldn't be so much immigration into the USA.

    As it is, now the USA must make room in the USA for those Iragis that sided with them in this unholy war, just like it did with the Vietnamese, those from Laos, Cambodia, Korea, and let us not forget those ultra right wing fascists that were secretly brought over and are hidden in the USA after they were kicked out of Latin America.

  • Comment number 39.

    # 16, to Lochravin.

    Southwestern USA history tell us the Spanish stopped their "perpetration on the indigenous people (which include Mexicans) in the Americas" after Latin America joined up together with the other countries in Central and South America and kicked out the Spanish over almost two centuries ago while the newly formed USA government took up the slack and continue the genocide against the Native Americans.

    And it has never stopped. Witness Iraq at present. The truth is, the USA is a finger pointing society which is one way of shifting the blame elsewhere. You in the USA not only refuse to believe the truth, you just simply ignore it in the geography, history and international scene.

    But the danger is now with both China and Russia discarding their "good" guys images and challenging the USA for world economic policies. The fact is, these are nuke powers and are not intimidated with the likes of GW Bush, much less the old fossilized wanna be president, McCain and his Annie "get you gun" Palin.

    And the world thinks the GW Bush Administration is crazy.

    If the situation today wasn't so serious in the economic, weapons and technology arenas, it could be said that it would be fun to watch what is going to happen next once the wrong guys get into power.

    To tell the truth, I am not very optimistic with the outcome.

  • Comment number 40.

    Foxtrot, where you from?;-)
    We would have immigrants whether we invaded places or not. Funny, with all the Anti-Americanism, folks still want to come here. Cubans and Haitians risk drowning in the Caribbean to make it to Florida. (Jon, the Florida Strait is one of the roughest waterways in the world).
    Mexican immigration here is going to continue as long as Mexico:
    1. Has a huge, poor population they have trouble feeding.
    2. Americans will not do certain jobs. Market supply and demand. The BBC had the story about the chili farmer. As he stated, yes, he could pay an American $50/hour which would drive the prices up and he'll quit in an hour.

    How would you stop illegal immigration (beside places like Fort Huachuca in Arizona manning the border and shooting on sight)?
    1. Force unemployed Americans to work picking the chilis. Say someone is on welfare on Chicago's South Side. Congratulations! You are being moved to Arizona to pick chilis. This is your new career. Don't like it? Too bad so sad.
    2. Invest in countries like Mexico to build businesses. Force them to have birth control to get the aid.

    OK, who likes those solutions?

  • Comment number 41.


    This is such a difficult issue. I think that people who do not live here have difficulty understanding how very complex, and yes, emotional the topic of immigration is for us here in the Southwest.

    I am the child of immigrant parents and I am so grateful to have been born here. Now, it is so hard to get legal status, especially if you are from certain countries or do not have a lot of money or can not claim political asylum.

    In my family we have struggled to even get visitor visas so relatives can see a first grandchild or spend time with loved ones. It is so difficult and I do not know what solution there is.

  • Comment number 42.

    It's not a surprise that both Aquarizonagal and Tucson Mike are in self denial.

    After all, Arizona leads the nation in anti-Mexican sentiments. It's the worse of the worse state not only for Mexicans, but just about everyone with a Hispanic surname whether they came here in 1598 or not. Arizona is a racist state when it comes to Mexicans, especially. But like everything else that goes around comes around, it has had a reverse effect for Anglos and white people along the USA-Mexico border and throughout Latin America. One can even feel the hatred on both sides. We are talking about serious issues here that will effect the political geographic along the USA-Mexico border and the entire Western Hemisphere after the next elections. Yet no politician wants to touch that bucket of worms because they too, fear the reprecussions that will surface.

    The truth is, most Mexicans (illegal or otherwise) come to work because there is a demand for cheap labor. After all, the USA and all of the Americas (for the matter) was built on the backs of slaves by the white Europeans. Anyone cares to deny that? Most illegals come here to work, period. Most couldn't care less about interactions, liking, admiring, or speak the English language. One doesn't need to speak a language to do the stinking dirty jobs they do in the USA. It's a necessity that require understanding. The plus is that Mexicans (legal or illegal) provide in the economic field in the USA more than what they take away. Yes, we are talking paying taxes and social security that the USA pockets once they are thrown out of the country. Yes, indeed, stealing and looting by the USA government and it's people is a standard practice in a country that preaches, justice, democracy, fairness and freedom.

    But it's not the USA's fault for the people of Mexico to illegally immigrate to other countries in search of jobs. It's the Mexican government and it's corrupted right wing neo-conservative policies. After all, they accept the military hardware the USA offers to keep their people in bondage.

    The issue of narcotics is even worse. There is a huge demand by USA citizens perhaps to release them from the everyday pressure and stress they endure on the economic world. And while Mexico is used to traffic illegal work force and illegal narcotics into the USA, the USA's traffic illegal arms and weapons to Mexico. The similarity on this issue is, they both kill innocent people.

    Mexico isn't starving. there is a difference between poverty and starvation which most citizens of the USA cannot determine which is what. Just count the thousands of truck hauling goods and produce into the USA. Without these Mexico produce, the Supermarkets would be depleted within weeks.

    Finally, there is a saying in Latin America that goes like this: "If it wasn't for the Chinese, USA would barefoot and naked. And if it isn't for the Mexican picking the crops most gringos would starve!"

    Most capitalists in America say not to worry. With millions of young men and women in prison now, these capitalist are thinking of prison labor.

  • Comment number 43.

    To #42Foxtrottango1

    Did you actually read my post?

    I have no denial. My family and myself live with what you have talked about every day.

  • Comment number 44.

    Thank you aquarizonagal.

    Yes, Foxtrot, we live with this daily. I know there is anti-Mexican feeling here. I am swarthy and if I wear a cowboy hat, I sometimes get angry looks. Their problem, not mine.

    There are also Mexicans who are bigots who want the Anglos to leave what they see as their land. (I am envisioning all these border areas in Europe, again). I've met Anglos here, who have an attitude of "if I have to kill every Mexican to stay here, I will this is my land!"
    So yes, I am not as naive as you may think, Foxtrot.

    We have had Hispanic Mayors, Police Chiefs etc. Still, I have been reading and posting on my blog about people who talk about a North American Union, like the European Union. In that case, no way! I would see that as a bunch of elites shoving something in my face I might not be able to undo. It could be beneficial, but I tend to doubt it.

    At times, I just want to hunker down in my beloved Sonoran Desert. Again, it is not race but attitude. (Jon, too bad you are not going to the Alamo. Look at the names of the men who died there).

  • Comment number 45.

    To #44Tucsonmike

    I am happy I had insomnia this night. We share a love for our beautiful desert and we both know the problems we face here. I have hope that somehow we will find a better solution.

  • Comment number 46.

    I predicted Barack Obama would name Gov. Richardson as his running mate. I just knew it! Dang! Was I ever disappointed when I heard he picked Joe Biden - though I respect Joe Biden much. But Richardson is the ideal candidate and young. Joe Biden, though brilliant, is an aging Star, like me - I'm 74. May Richardson continue to stroke his striking beard and come up with ideas to get the Latin bloc safely in Obama's column. It's a winner all around, particularly in the Southwest. Tony Hearn, San Antonio, Texas, USA

  • Comment number 47.

    I totally agree with #34's comment that younger Hispanics may have a noble reason for voting from Barack Obama.

    Baca says Hispanics came as conquerers, not as slaves. Hmmmm!

    Throw out a proud chest about that, sir?

    I think most conquerers are vain, chilling. evil doers.

    Hang your head, sir! Becoming a slave doesn't make the victim a lesser man. It makes the slave owner a tyrant - a slaver! Ugh!

  • Comment number 48.

    Wow... the ignorance continues... I can't sit down and answer a lot of you right now... but let just put a couple of points forward:

    Some of you think that Latin Americans should go to Mexico if they do not learn English.. or are Legal....

    1. Latin Americans are not Mexicans. Latin Americans come from a huge number of different countries, backgrounds, and even languages. The reason that they/we are called Latin Americans is because our language is derived from the romance languages.. which were all derived from Latin.

    2. Also, Where do you plan to get your vegetables from if every non-English speaking person was deported? China? If you think that we are going to find U.S. born white or black folk that are going to work the fields for minimum wage... think again... Most won;t even work at McDonalds which is under A.C. and includes benefits.

    To those complaining about the immigration laws of the U.S.

    1. Try going to live somewhere else and not being a citizen (Including Mexico). Fo those that want to learn of the atrocities that immigrants have suffered in Mexico.. just read the book.. El Hueco.. sorry.. you'll need to know Spanish... My parents are from Colombia and during the time that I did not have dual citizenship.. I would be escorted out of the country as soon as the 90 day visitors permit expired.. and Working somewhere else without visa? If you believe that will happen.. I have a bridge to sell!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    P.S. One more thing... We have all conquered, been conquered, and migrated at one point in History... Don't complain unless you are offering a solution...

  • Comment number 50.

    to: #40, Integratex.

    Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), the genius who wrote the novel, Don Quixote de Mancha, said that the in time, the master would become the slave. The master would lose everything. He was, of course, referring to the Spanish Crown and Spain's dominance throughout almost all of the Americas.

    Indeed, history does tell that Spain lost everything they possessed throughout the world and therefore forfeited it's place honor in the Americas.

    But it took Spain a little over three hundred years to find out the outcome. The USA had no place of honor throughout the Americas and has had to resort to colonialism type policies to control Latin America which then had an anxious group of fundamentalists (the Church of Rome) and right wing corrupted fascist dictators that would sell their souls and their people to the highest bidders, European and American.

    The sad fact is, the USA has also lost it's place of honor throughout Latin America and beyond. After all, ignorance and arrogance in it's own backyard (a splendid example is like the one in Arizona) and throughout the rest of the nation does have it's negative results.

    The question is now, how long will it be before Mexico will stop sending it's oil, it's produce, it's commence and cheap labor to the USA. What is it going to take? That is the question and it will be forthcoming, I can assure you. Border fences do also have it's negative consequences. With Latin American nations scrambling to do business with Russia, China, India and the Middle East, the outcome for the USA doesn't look to good. It's going to take the USA to muster every Hispanic in the USA to speak up in it's defense. Yes, Hispanics are the gate to Latin America, whether those non-spanish speaking bigots in the government, in Arizona or throughout the USA likes it or not! They will have to listen to the likes of Bill Richardson, whether they like it or not!

    As for Tucsonmike's (#44) comments on a "North American Union", one doesn't need to worry. The one planned (NAFTA) by that mischievous "luv'ble" Irish Leprechaun, Ronnie Reagan, approved by Bill Clinton and blessed by the two George Bushes, is a complete economic disaster which has enslaved half of the populations in Canada, the USA and Mexico while only 5% of the total population in those countries have become filthy rich beyond comprehension. Yes indeed, capitalism is a true democracy depending on which side of the fence one is looking in.

    The fact remain if the whole enchilada will explode once the energy crisis get more serious. We are looking at war here for the rest of the century. The entire social structure throughout the Americas and the world at large will change, I am afraid to say, for the worse!

    As Miguel de Cervante said: "the masters will become the slaves."

  • Comment number 51.

    To: integratex (#48 comment)

    Yes, indeed, I agree with your first statement. "Latin Americans are not Mexicans." If one want to enrage a Mexican on either side of the border, just call him a Latin, a Spaniard or even a Hispanic. Being born and raised on the US Southwest along the USA-Mexico border, I personally resent the term "Latin" being applied to me. And even though I can trace my genealogy to four of Juan de Onate Conquistadors in 1598 New Mexico, I can live with the term Native-American, Mexican-American or Hispanic and only simply because the term Hispanic will identify me with the rest of Spanish speaking Hispanic America, which by the way, covers just about most of the Western Hemisphere, much to the displeasure of bigoted USA. It's amusing to say the most USA citizens cannot identify other nations in the western hemisphere as "American." That is a way of saying the USA doesn't know it's place in the Western Hemisphere. The fact is, to most Latin Americans and (Canada to boot) the term "America" comes in two huge continents in the Western Hemisphere. It's a geographical name that includes dozens of nation and large island surrounding it.
    The amusing part is, Latin Americans do not refer to the USA as "Americans". Rather they refer to them as "Estados Unidenses" which mean "United States (of America) citizens" and recently, unfortunately, other derogatory names.

    On border check points throughout the Southwest, border patrol guards do not ask one if he is an "American", they ask if one is a United States Citizen! Could it be they feel everyone that pass through their check points are all Americans and not everyone is a United States citizens?

    The question is, are USA citizens ashamed to call themselves "Estados Unidenses?" Or have they taken the term "American" because they cannot identify them like say, a Mexican, a Canadian or the rest of the Western Hemisphere does? Or, like everything else, they are trying to monopolize on the term for themselves
    (by the way, I am not trying to stir up the ant hill on this one)?

    Indeed, when it come to geography of the Western Hemisphere, cultures or language, the "Estados Unidenses" are not very keen on the subjects.

    The term "Latin American" can only tie Mexicans to Europeans just like the Spanish and the Anglo. Many of us, proud, to be native to the Americas, not the other way around.

  • Comment number 52.

    See.. now we are talking...

    The reason they call themselves Americans is out of a combination of pride, tradition, and yes.. even a bit of ignorance.... I am sure it is not intended to be a monopolization of the name... God knows I've had this argument with many from the U.S.. This goes to point one of my mayor arguments... Most of our points of view are not necessarily our own but those that we have inherited from our family, friends, neighbors... school.. media.. etc... What we hear no doubt affects what we believe... it takes a concerted effort on our part to understand all sides of the argument... There is always reason behind the arguments of both the left and the right... or else people would not fight so hard for those beliefs.. the problem is that once most people have invested themselves in an argument they are not willing to budge.. it is that emotional investment that stops many us from opening our minds and reaching across the table in order to reach some sort of solution to the problem... Most agreements pushed forward by Washington (and other governments) are tailored to pacify those emotional investments and leave the root of the problem untouched... The only way for this to change is for all of us to educate ourselves on the issues and vote on issues.. not on sides or on liking people... Polarization (which is what is happening in this campaign) does nothing except force people to further invest themselves into extreme views of our society/political system... this will not allow for a properly balanced government (With checks and balances) to work effectively...

    The bottom line is that Americans.. Europeans.. Asians.. etc.. are all alike.. we just want to be happy.... Remember.. the good always outnumber the bad... it is fear that gives those bad more power than they deserve...


  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm just sittin' here wonderin' why some of the posts have been removed. How bad could what they contain be in comparison to the rubbish spewed by Fernando de Baca. "He the house slave who thinks the massa loves him" - I pity you and your kind!

  • Comment number 55.

    The least that can be said for Fernie Baca ("cow" is de Baca in English - and we know how much manure these bovines put out in day, don't we?) is that at least, unlike almost all Republicans, he spoke the truth by revealing his disgustingly ignorance and arrogance. Arrogance and Ignorance are human strains that inhibits other cultures, not just white Anglo people in the USA, especially in the GOP. You should be familiar with that, spycraft.

    Sad, but true, these type of "Spanish" mentality characteristic individuals still exist in the northern districts of Northern New Mexico and perhaps, to some extend, equals those of South-Eastern New Mexico, say, like Roswell, Clovis, Carlsbad, etc.,. That is why Mexican-Americans and Mexicans in particular in the Southern Portion of New Mexico dislikes them just as much as they dislike the Anglos in the eastern part of New Mexico.

    The odd part is, no one hear these "Spanish" brag about being Spanish in the entirety of New Mexico except in concealed groups or like the or other "whites only" club members throughout the state or in the nation, for that matter.

    Personally, I feel sorry for such people. They will never fit in a globalized civilized society of human beings. They will always hide something of themselves which amount to fear and uncertainty.

    Pity? Indeed!

    I myself, was raised by a father who raised six boys in the cattle country of southern New Mexico (Socorro and Sierra Counties) and he taught us three things that possessed human kind was love, being liked, and being respected. He added that anyone can love or like, but being respected is what counted the most. In fact, he added, being love or being like is cattle dung if the "respect" was not included.

    Being raised among tough desert cattle of New Mexico, it took many knuckle fights both in the high school grounds and in the Army barracks (I was drafted and served back during the Korea War) to earn that respect. As my dad said, sometimes it takes that to earn the respect, since they don't like you, much less love you.

    One can say with all "respect" that black America took it among themselves to gain that respect back in the early 60's. Unfortunately, it took some burning of some cities and some knuckle power, not to mention police beating, prison terms, etc.,. but they change the image of Black America forever! We are now facing the truth of how that respect came about by electing for president an individual who is proud to say he is black and white (for that matter). Barack Obama is a true product of USA America regardless of what Fernie de Baca says!

    Sorry, but I cannot say that much for Fernie de Baca and his Republican Party to boot!

  • Comment number 56.

    Three cheers to Jon! (Yes, SydneySD-6, this is cause for shame.)

    Fernando C de Baca, the embattled chairman of the Bernalillo County Republican Party, has resigned.

    Sources within the Republican Party say C de Baca elected to step from his post down Thursday morning.

    C de Baca has been under siege for three days, ever since racially charged comments he made to a BBC reporter became public.

    C de Baca was recorded telling the reporter that while blacks came to the New World as slaves, Hispanics came as conquerors.

    “Hispanics consider themselves above blacks,” he said, adding that Hispanics won’t vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    On Tuesday, C de Baca received the backing of the Bernalillo County Republican Party executive committee, but later that day state GOP Chairman Alllen Weh condemned the remarks as divisive, inappropriate and offensive.

  • Comment number 57.

    The Chilling Effect of the CdeBaca Resignation

    The forced resignation of Bernalillo County Republican Party Chairman Fernando CdeBaca over racially-related remarks he made is bound to have a chilling effect on the future participation of Hispanics in the New Mexico Republican Party. Never mind the fact that he was misquoted.
    The comments that Fernando made concerning racial inequities in our government policies of the past would have been totally ignored had they been made by a black Democrat, but because he is a Hispanic Republican, they were highlighted by the liberal press, and they were condemned by the local Republican elite. Black Democrat statesmen complain about racial inequities all the time and are not chastised; however it seems that that for Hispanics to complain about inequities in the sharing of power in our society is politically incorrect.
    But let’s look for a moment at the facts. New Mexico’s ratio of Hispanics is this highest of any state in the nation: nearly 50% of the total population are Hispanic—yet the number of Hispanic government officials elected is nowhere near that ratio—especially on the Republican side. Of the 112 state legislators in office as of June this year, ONLY THREE are Hispanic Republicans.
    Yet, when the lowly County Chairman CdeBaca complains about this racial inequity he is castigated, ostracized, and condemned. What are the Hispanics of New Mexico to take from this? Hispanics are not welcome in New Mexico Republican party politics. This is hardly the way to treat Hispanics only forty days from the next national election.
    Where is freedom of speech?

    David Quintana
    National Committeeman
    Republican National Hispanic Assembly of New Mexico

  • Comment number 58.

    Dude, can't you see that it's just plain WRONG to say that you consider your race to be "above" another? And why -- because of events that happened centuries ago?

    The Republican executive committee had trouble seeing anything wrong with this, at least initially. You apparently still have trouble seeing anything wrong with this.

    I think Jon Kelly has successfully called out "Republican compassion", at least as it's practiced in New Mexico.

    (And how exactly does this presidential contest affect the proportion of Hispanics in state office?)

    As a fellow New Mexican, I am shocked by this blatant racism. That's not what these Fiestas are about!

    I've seen Norteno racism against "wetbacks" (as others here have mentioned), but I've honestly never seen any New Mexicans conduct such shameful behavior toward Blacks.

    You know as well as I do our 'tri-culture" pride. And you know as well as I do that we really have four cultures -- I'm sure you've heard of the the Buffalo Soldiers, so named by the Chiricahua Apache in respect for their toughness. Maybe you remember the role these Black soldiers played in Anglo settlement of New Mexico (something that might make you feel a bit less like a "conquerior"). You may not fully appreciate this contribution to American Black history, but you should.

    My Norteno neighbors are also aghast at these things -- but in truth they are Democrats anyway. I look at these Republican attitudes, and I look at my Black neighbors -- all I can think of is a Navajo saying: He acts like he has no family.

    This isn't the New Mexico I know and love.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Mr. Quintana,

    I want you to know as a black American, your comments were quite offensive. de Baca saying that hispanics are above blacks is racist, whether you want to believe it or not, and regardless of context. Black people do not get a free pass to say whatever they want, regardless of your warped, racist beliefs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharption, mainstream medias proclaimed "black leaders", have both been chastised for their racist comments. Not to mention I never once identified Jackson or Sharpton as my leaders, but that is who mainstream media tends to look at when the subject of black americans come up. Like hispanics, black americans have been in this country a long time, we have fought and died in every single war this country has ever had, and like you, most of us of "lowly" slave ancestry have European blood in us. So instead of trying to proclaim superiority over other races, question why your Republican Presidential candidate would better strive to fight for the equal rights of ALL races in this country and address the issues important to every one in this country, instead of Barack Obama.

    In terms of black people getting to take advantage of government benefits for minorities, I ask you what federal law give civil rights benefits to blacks exclusively? I also ask why is it bad that blacks who fought and died to get equal treatment in this country, use and take advantage of the opportunities they fought for? You should then question why haven't hispanics and others who fall under these laws taken advantage? If it is a superiority issue, because you feel blacks are below you, then it is your fault alone. The problem is I think that many minorities in this country, not just black americans, but hispanics, asians, and white women (who are also in the minority class in the majority of equal right laws), have indeed taken advantage and utilized these benefits, you just don't want to or refuse to notice.

  • Comment number 61.

    This shame for Latinos they dont realised what is real genes cos they are already confused it sad to see divide and conquer Latinos were really came from from black people at the beginning I know I am no DNA Pioneer, In the new world (The Americas) some Hispanics learned to play both sides of the fence. Like other oppressed peoples, they did this in order to survive. When advantageous, some Hispanics will claim a racial ID that protects them. This is no different than dark skinned people and whooly haired peeople who, when pressured, ID as Arab. And, no different than when light skinned persons of African American descent attempt to pass as white. Don't be ashamed...this was done as a method of defend. No one can blame them.

    Latino peoples who think they are better than their brother because they CLAIM to be of Spanish are ignorant.

    Our African Ancestors ruled over Al-Andulusia (modern day Espana) for over 800 years. These Africans, and later mixed African and Arabs (Arab=African+European+Asian ancestory) mixed with the local population of Southern Europe. Thus, your beloved ancestors are also of African and Arab descent. So, get off your high horse.

    Proof can be found in the culture of modern day Al-Andulusia/Espana. The Moorish strongholds in Espana were designed by the African Moors. The Spanish language is full of African and Arabic words. The folklore and songs are similar, in some cases, identical to those in North Africa.

    If you don't believe what I have shared with you, go research the historical facts.

    We are supposed to be worshiping god, not whiteness.

  • Comment number 62.

    black skin can melanin cos of there loads of carbon this fact non blacks came from black people.

  • Comment number 63.

    "If Hispanics in New Mexico believe otherwise then break away from the USA and become part of Mexico."
    As far as I'm aware they were quite happy to be part of Mexico until the USA convinced them otherwise - rather violently, too.

  • Comment number 64.

    "I know I am no DNA Pioneer"

    Which is immediately obvious. The fact of the matter is that the dna of your average Mexican, or your average Chinese for that matter, differs less from that of your average caucasian joe-six-pack than the dna of a chimpanzee on one side of the Congo river from that of one on the other side. Genetically speaking, compared to most other species, we are truly all brothers and sisters. Or close cousins at least.


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