Donald Trump has removed the Spanish version of the White House website.
The new president of the United States has taken a surprising and drastic measure that is close to an insult to more than 55 million Hispanics living in the United States: he closed the Spanish version of the White House website with total disregard to a language spoken in Western and Southern US before the 13 colonies declared independence.
Until this week, and as a result of the strength of the Latin minority (both the descendants of Hispanics assimilated as a result of the expansion beyond the Mississippi in the nineteenth century and the emigrants during the twentieth century), there was a Spanish version of the website of the Government of the United States. However, the very same Friday that Donald Trump took office, that version disappeared, along with other contents, such as those related to climate change.
Spanish is the second most important language in the United States and at world-wide level (500 million native speakers), spoken by almost 18% of the American population (47 of the 55 million Hispanics). It was the language spoken in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, California, Florida and other states until the annexation or conquest of these territories and the replacement by English as the language of the Administration.
But not only has the version in Spanish been closed. Those responsible for the web seem to have taken the motto “America first” as equivalent to “United States only in English” and have tracked any trace of the Spanish language, making it disappear. Such as:
- A blog in Spanish which was accessible from the White House website;
- Press releases and other information produced by President Obama’s communication team in Spanish;
- The White House Facebook account (now showing the following message: “This content is not available at this time. The link may have expired or the page can only be seen by an audience to which you do not belong”),
- The Twitter account “The White House” said: “This is an archive of an account of the Obama Administration and is maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).” There are no publications since January 13.
Curiously, the website has kept a part of the web dedicated to President Obama and his eight years in the government under the name “Obama White House.” This section offers a Spanish version, which glosses all the information about the former president and his cabinet, his logos and his family … in Spanish. The section includes a section for the Latino community.
The United States is a country “where we speak English, not Spanish” he was reported to have said by Spanish media El Mundo and Público shortly after announcing his candidacy, possibly ignoring that Spanish (and of course all Amerindian languages) was the language spoken in all lands beyond the Mississippi and Florida and that millions of Spanish speakers became US citizens with the “opening up” of the Midwest States and the taking over of the West Coast. The Spanish language and the history of its people are an intrinsic part of the history of the United States.
During the republican primaries, the new president made it clear that he was not in favor of Spanish being spoken in the country. He even criticized a fellow Republican Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush, for using that language at a political meeting while addressing a Hispanic minority. “He should set an example using English in the US,” he said in September 2015 during one of the first televised debates, trying to explain his criticism for Jeb Bush using Spanish. Mr. Bush’ wife Columba Bush is of Mexican origin, while Mr. Trumps is a native Slovenian.
Interestingly, the US It has no official language and the new administration does not seem interested in facilitating the information in a language other than English. Trump believes that to “integrate you have to speak English”.
Numerous scientific studies highlight the benefits of bilingual education and how language learning helps to keep the mind healthy and active by activating neurons that work in relationship processes, equating it to mental mathematical exercises that help prevent ageing, Alzheimer’s desease, etc.