Mexico's El Universal Says Latinos in U.S. Have No Civil Rights

By Jerry Kammer, December 26, 2012

An article last week in Mexico´s largest newspaper passed a remarkable judgment on the civil rights of Latino immigrants in the United States. It said they don´t exist.

"For more than half a century, the civil rights of the immigrants of Latino origin have been non-existent, which has made them the slaves of the modern era," reported El Universal, in an analysis that was also published elsewhere in Latin America.

The article cited no abuses, made no distinction between 1962 and 2012, and ignored long-standing and energetic federal programs to protect the civil rights of Latinos and other minorities.

It reminded me of the observation by Jeffrey Davidow, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, that a reflexive anti-Americanism was a common feature of Mexican political life. It also brought to mind the comment by Mexican political commentator and university professor Denise Dresser that, "nothing unites Mexicans more than a good dose of anti-Americanism."

The ostensible purpose of the article by El Universal´s Washington correspondent, Jose Jaime Hernandez, was to describe the growing political power of the Latino vote. Hernandez said the, "sleeping giant. . .is waking up and beginning to ramble through the geography of a nation that has ignored it for decades while denying its rights."

Hernandez said the resulting demographic changes, "have marked the beginning of the end of the hegemony of the conservative white man in the United States."

The article cited two major sources of the Latino vote´s growing potential: the 50,000 native-born young who reach voting age every month and, "the vote of the immigrant who will naturalize because of the immigration reforms that are inevitably to come."

I found the article in the Sunday edition of the influential and conservative Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. Its Sunday edition is considered to be Chile´s paper of record. The article was presented as straight reporting, not analysis or commentary.