‘Home of Hispanic Cultures’ to Open in Los Angeles

Toward the end of next year, the Cervantes Institute will
open its first center in Los Angeles, which will be “the home of Hispanic
cultures,” according to Cervantes director Luis Garcia Montero. Announcing
the project at the Los Angeles Central Library last week, Garcia Montero said
that Los Angeles was a bilingual city “where Spanish has its role”
and stressed the importance of the institute to reinforce the importance and prestige
of Spanish and Hispanic culture.
The deputy mayor of the city and head of international
relations, Nina Hachigian, recalled that Spanish was spoken in California
before English and publicly conveyed the full support of the mayor of Los
Angeles for the creation of the institute. The mission of the new center will
be to teach Spanish to everyone who wants it to be part of their culture, to
serve the future of the city.
Spain’s secretary of state for international cooperation and
for Latin America and the Caribbean, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, insisted that
this was a “pan-Hispanic initiative,” that will help establish a
common diplomacy among all Latin American countries. He stressed the importance
of working closely with other Spanish-speaking nations: “You can’t speak
Spanish in Los Angeles without being close to Mexico,” he said, adding
that the new center will promote education, certification, and culture in
Spanish in an area “where Spanish was never a foreign language.” The
Mexican consul, Marcela Celorio, strongly criticized “policies that
denigrate Spanish,” a language that in Los Angeles “not only serves as
a means of communication, but is also a refuge, a way of belonging among those
who speak it.” Spanish, in short, she said, is “a language that will
always be ours.”
California is the state with the largest number of
Hispanics, more than 15 million, in a country where almost 60 million Hispanics
live and work.
Latin Consuls Support Dual-Language Education
Juan Pablo de Laiglesia and Luis Garcia Montero later met at
the Mexican Consulate with representatives from eight Latin American countries
to strengthen their collaboration.
The consuls of Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Bolivia,
Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, and Brazil stated in the meeting that Spanish is a
shared heritage and a language of inclusion. They declared that, in the face of
positions that undermine Spanish and the Hispanic community, they must promote
a “dynamic of appreciation” for the contribution of the
Spanish-speaking community to American society, of which historically it has always
been a part.
All of them agreed to support dual-language education, as
well as the status of the Spanish language in the U.S., and its teaching at all
educational levels. The U.S. has the largest number of Spanish students in the
world: about 8 million.


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