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HISPANIC (B)

Unfulfilled pledge by Trump White House on Spanish website

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Nada de nada — nothing at all.

A year into the Trump administration, the White House website
still has no Spanish-language content, unlike during the two
previous administrations and even though nearly 1 in 5 people in
the United States speaks Spanish.

Even Iran and reclusive North Korea have made efforts to reach
out to the Spanish-speaking world. In the U.S., meanwhile,
President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and his plan to
build a wall on the border with Mexico are alienating some
Hispanics.

A year ago, then-presidential press secretary Sean Spicer said
the new administration had deleted Spanish content on the White
House webpage but its information technology folks were “working
overtime” to develop a new site. In July, the White House
director of media affairs, Helen Aguirre Ferre, said she expected
a Spanish website to launch at the end of 2017.

Now, Aguirre Ferre declines to say whether there are still plans
to have a Spanish-language website.

“We continue to work on improving the White House website
providing important content in English pertaining to the
initiatives and policies the Trump administration is
undertaking,” she said in an email.

Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber
of Commerce, said the absence of a White House webpage in Spanish
“sends a very troubling message.”

“There are over 4 million Hispanic-American entrepreneurs and
businesspeople in this country, many of whom are receptive to the
administration’s pro-business agenda,” Palomarez wrote in an
email. “If they made even a little effort to communicate and
engage with the Latino community, perhaps they would win a few of
them over.”

As Latinos became the largest minority in the U.S., President
George W. Bush’s administration added Spanish-language content to
the White House website for the first time.

Luis Miranda, director of Hispanic media at the White House under
President Barack Obama, said the Spanish-language site during
Obama’s tenure included information geared to Latinos on topics
such as immigration, health issues, banking and veterans affairs.

During his presidential campaign, Trump criticized GOP rival Jeb
Bush for answering a reporter’s question in Spanish, saying the
former Florida governor “should really set the example by
speaking English while in the United States.” Trump also turned
off many Hispanic voters with his harsh anti-immigration
rhetoric, referring to many Mexican immigrants “criminals” and
“rapists.”

The Trump White House does keep a Spanish Twitter account,
@LaCasaBlanca, but it is not very active. Created the same month,
January 2017, as its English equivalent, @White House, it has
about 200 tweets compared with almost 3,200 on the English
version.

The U.S. does provide news in Spanish and 40 other languages
through the government-funded news outlet Voice of America. Also,
the official guide to government information and services runs
gobierno.usa.gov, and other agencies — including the Internal
Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security — offer
information in Spanish in their websites.

The current White House website offers a clear contrast with
efforts of other countries to communicate with Spanish speakers,
who number at least 572 million worldwide, according to The
Instituto Cervantes, created by the government of Spain.

In North Korea, the government’s Korea Central News Agency, the
only news agency in the communist country, offers content not
only in Korean but also in English, Russian and Spanish.

Alejandro Cao de Benos, a Spanish citizen who says he’s been a
special delegate for North Korea’s Committee of Cultural
Relations since 2002, told The Associated Press that Spanish “is
a very important language to share Korean reality from Korea.”

Cao de Benos said North Korea shares its message in Spanish
because it wants to foster relations with Latin American nations.
The North has embassies in several capitals in the region,
including Brasilia, Brazil; Caracas, Venezuela; Havana; and
Mexico City.

In 2012, Iran launched Hispan-TV, a 24-hour Spanish-language TV
station based in Tehran.

The foreign ministries of China and Russia offer abundant content
in several languages, including Spanish.

___

AP Bureau Chief Eric Talmadge in Pyongyang, North Korea,
contributed to this report.

___

Follow Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/luisalonsolugo



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