Some prominent Hispanic intellectuals have signed a letter in which they refuse “to remain silent about the alarming statements” made by United States presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Galvanized by Mexican historian Enrique Krauze and U.S.-based Cuban intellectual Carmelo Mesa-Lago, 67 people signed the “Declaration of Hispanic Intellectuals, Scientists, and Academics against Trump’s Xenophobia”.
The letter was written in rejection against the anti-immigrant position taken by Trump, denouncing the Republican candidate’s discourse, charging that it appeals to xenophobia, chauvinism, political intolerance and religious dogmatism.
Interviewed by El Universal, Krauze explained that raising a voice could well serve as a way to warn about the risk presented by Trump, while trying at the same time to show Americans that everyone who lives in the U.S. shares a culture and a language and works hard for their own betterment.
“The letter was Carmelo’s idea. He discussed it with me and we began working on a draft. After the editing was over, we shared it among about a hundred people and had a good response. Some didn’t want to sign it for different reasons; some of the reasons were good, others worthy, others not so much, but the feedback was generally positive,” said Krauze.
When Trump was first introduced as a presidential candidate, he said, it seemed like a joke, another celebrity deciding to run for president. “As time went on, he has proved that is not the case. His message isn’t a joke, nor is the reception given to him by a significant part of the U.S. electorate.”
Krauze believes xenophobia and racism aren’t as widespread as the Trump campaign has shown. However, “the combination of a society with these traits and a candidate like this is worrisome,” said the historian.
Krauze said he is conscious that intellectuals wield very little power, but trusts that what little authority —intellectual, artistic, scientific, moral, academic— they might have will be enough to be meaningful, and count as “a small gesture.”
“This isn’t but a grain of sand. We can’t buy a page in he New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, although we have been covered by American, Mexican and Spanish media outlets. We hope this is enough to reach the hearts and minds of those undecided Republicans, to convince them that Trump is a suicidal option, unworthy of the liberal and democratic tradition of the United States.”
Krauze hopes the letter has a lasting influence, effecting change and inspiring new voices to express their opposition to Trump and the Republican party.
“Trump has dragged the discourse to the racist and xenophobic right, and it will remain there. If whichever candidate is chosen to represent the Republicans wishes to gain the support of their own electorate they will have to move their stance to the same position, to the far right spectrum of the argument.”
The letter follows:
The undersigned – Hispanics who occupy academic positions in the United States, as well as intellectuals, artists and scientists from Mexico, other Latin American countries and Spain – cannot remain silent in the fact of alarming statements from the candidate to the Presidency of the United States, Donald Trump.
Since the announcement of his candidacy, Mr. Trump has accused Mexican immigrants of being criminals, rapists and drug traffickers; and has promised to deport 11 million of them and build a big wall along the border with Mexico. Trump’s hate speech appeals to xenophobia, sexism and political intolerance; it recalls historical campaigns against other ethnic groups that led to millions of deaths. Physical attacks on Hispanics and public assertions that Spanish should not be spoken in public have already occurred.
Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults are not based on tested facts, but only on his personal, baseless opinions. Not only does he disdain Hispanic immigrants, but he also exhibits a dangerous attitude toward his opponents, stigmatizing them as stupid or weak.
He has insulted and expelled a prominent Hispanic reporter from a press conference after an uncomfortable question and made sexist comments about female interviewers, while his supporters and personal bodyguards have attacked peaceful demonstrators.
The expulsion of Mexican immigrants would be catastrophic for states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where Mexicans carry out most manual work. In California our immigrants harvest 200 agricultural products, serve in hotels and restaurants, and collect garbage. California is the leading producer of wine in the country and the principal destination for tourism. These sectors generate $70 billion per year. Without Mexican workers, the economy of the state, followed swiftly by the rest of the country, would go to ruin.
Several of the undersigned are Hispanic immigrants who have been well-received by this great nation and contributed through their various endeavors toward greater knowledge, scientific progress, entertainment, and prosperity for all Americans.
Mr. Trump’s conduct is not worthy of a candidate to the Presidency of the United States, the most powerful country in the world. All of us condemn his behavior and hope that the American people will no longer tolerate his absurdities.
Source: El Universal (sp)