- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 6, 2010

‘WORRYING SURGE’

The Mexican ambassador warned of “anti-immigrant” threats against Hispanics in the United States, as he honored two Mexican-Americans this week at a reception to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan complained that “comprehensive immigration reform waits and discrimination grows,” a reference to President Obama’s failure to produce an immigration bill as he promised during the presidential campaign.

The ambassador denounced a new Arizona law that requires state and local police to enforce the existing federal immigration code. It is supported by 70 percent of Arizona residents.

“The Latino community in the U.S. is confronting a continuous and worrying surge of anti-immigrant sentiments in this country, painfully exemplified by the passage of SB [Senate bill] 1070 in Arizona,” he said.

“Today, fueled by electoral opportunism, anti-immigrant discourse has unfortunately materialized into a law that not only runs counter to the principles that have made this nation so great but threaten to poison the well from which our two nations have found and should continue to find inspiration for a joint future of prosperity, security, tolerance and justice.”

Supporters of the Arizona law cite growing drug smuggling, human trafficking and violent attacks on Arizona citizens as reasons for the law.

Mr. Sarukhan presented Mexico’s Ohtli Award to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Mrs. Solis “has worked tirelessly … to defend worker rights and to protect immigrant and Hispanic communities,” and Mr. Vargas has “dedicated his soul to the empowerment of fellow Latinos,” the ambassador said.

Cinco de Mayo (May 5) commemorates the 1862 Mexican victory over French forces at the battle of Puebla, where the French army outnumbered the Mexicans 2-to-1. France later conquered Mexico and installed Emperor Maximilian I on the throne in Mexico City, where he ruled for five years until he was overthrown and executed by Mexican national forces.

FROM THE HEART

Of all the praise for Laura Bush and her new book, the famed American musical composer Marvin Hamlisch said it best in a song written for the former first lady.

“Truth is always spoken when it’s spoken from the heart,” he sang, as he accompanied himself on piano at the home of the Kuwaiti ambassador, Sheikh Salem Abdullah al Jaber al-Sabah, and his wife, Sheikha Rima.

Mrs. Bush’s memoirs, “Spoken from the Heart,” were released Tuesday, and the reception at the ambassador’s home was her first book party. Mrs. Bush and former President George W. Bush were close to the ambassador and his wife during their White House years. Mr. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein in 1991.

Mrs. Bush praised the ambassador and his wife for their frequent fundraising dinners that “raised lots of money for many of our favorite causes” and added that “Rima is the perfect hostess.”

In a receiving line where she shook hundreds of hands, Mrs. Bush told Embassy Row that she missed her friends in Washington. Asked if she missed Washington — where her husband was vilified by liberal reporters and denounced by Democrats — she said, “Not really.”

Guests included ambassadors Ichiro Fujisaki of Japan, Said Tayeb Jawad of Afghanistan, Nigel Sheinwald of Britain and Pierre Vimont of France; Nancy Brinker, the former U.S. chief of protocol; and David Abshire, U.S. ambassador to NATO in the Reagan administration.

Mrs. Bush thanked Esther Coopersmith, a former U.S. representative to the United Nations, Washington hostess Buffy Cafritz and local TV news anchor Barbara Harrison for their help in organizing the book party.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail [email protected]


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