Video: UNIVISION Anchors Brag about Hispanics Deciding the U.S. Elections

Posted in Elections, Immigration, Miami, People, Uncategorized by americatimes on October 8, 2012
How would Mexicans react if Americans living in Mexico would try to dominate the Mexican culture and elections (and brag about it) in the same manner as described by these two liberal anchors from Univision?

On October 4, 2012, Univision’s Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas joined Bill Moyers to discuss the “Rise and Political Power of Hispanic America,” and how Hispanics will decide the 2012 election.

Univision and Telemundo, the two largest Spanish-language television networks in the U.S., have a simple agenda: Convert Hispanics, who are generally conservatives, into liberal voters.

Univision and Telemundo feel powerful and are flexing their muscles — especially after the 2010 Census found that the number of Hispanics grew 43% in the last decade to over 50 million and will grow to 132 million and represent 30% of the population by 2050.

Univision anchors Ramos and Salinas, who think they represent the voice of all Latinos in the U.S., bragged to Bill Moyers about the Hispanic power:

Jorge Ramos:

Hispanics are changing the face of America. It’s not black and white anymore. We’re changing the way we eat…And no one can make it to the White House now without the Hispanic vote.

Maria Elena Salinas:

“Mexicans have a big presence here and they have had a big, big presence here. And it just goes to show you how this country is a country of immigrants. So it’s very difficult when you hear people say American values and American values are being threatened by the influx of immigrants from other countries. What American values? What are, American values are values of immigrants that made this country.

It is an interesting interview, because it reveals the bi-polar mentality of these Univision reporters. One moment they tell you they want to be treated as Americans, moments later they brag about not assimilating. The reason to do a joint-venture with ABC is not to be part of the American society, but to make Americans understand them, the Latinos. Instead of trying to assimilate into the U.S. society, it appears these reporters want Americans to assimilate into “Hispanic America.”

Unfortunately, many Americans could be fooled into believing these two reporters represent all Hispanics. Imagine if two American reporters from MSNBC would go on a TV show in Africa saying they represent the voice and mentality of all English-speakers around the world. Contrary to what Ramos and Salinas say, many Hispanics favor legal immigration; are not insulted by the words “illegal aliens” (which are the proper words as defined in any dictionary for people who cross the border without the proper authorization). Most Hispanics do not want to be treated as victims; don’t have a chip on their shoulder; love this country; are not obsessed with race, class, and gender divide; and don’t want to become dependent on government welfare.



BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Millions of us were waiting this week for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to connect with reality, to connect with the lives we actually live. It didn’t happen. The 90-minute debate went by, for example, without a word about immigration—not a thing said about the countless people trapped in our muddled policy. And this in Colorado, a swing state where both Romney and Obama have been courting the large Hispanic vote.

That wouldn’t have happened if my guests on this week’s broadcast had been moderating the debate. But their participation was rejected by the tiny group of insiders who set the rules.

That’s a shame, because Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas are two of our most knowledgeable, popular and influential journalists. They work for the most important Spanish-language network in the country, “Univision.” I met them for the first time earlier this week when they were in town to receive the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Here’s part of the video presentation that introduced them to the Emmy audience.

NARRATOR: They are two of the most well-recognized journalists in the United States. Pioneers and advocates. For more than two decades María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos have informed millions of Hispanics through the popular evening newscast “Noticiero Univision.” Their brand of journalism is characterized not only by subjective and perspective, but also by a high degree of social advocacy. […]

In the last three decades with “Noticiero Univision,” both have covered a wide range of news and have witnessed history in the making. From presidential elections around the world, to the most destructive natural disasters. María Elena Salinas has interviewed dictators, revolutionaries, world leaders, heads of state in Latin America and in the United States. She was among the first female journalists to report from the war-torn street of Baghdad.

Jorge Ramos has covered five wars, and right after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, he drove all the way from Miami to New York to report on the tragedy first hand. Once he even asked for a vacation to cover the war in Afghanistan.

JORGE RAMOS: Where is Osama?

NARRATOR: An assignment that at the time the network deemed too dangerous.[…] He’s had very public encounters with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, with former Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, and with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, stood up only after six minutes of questioning by Ramos. Both Ramos and Salinas made history by moderating the first ever bilingual presidential debates. And most recently with the “Meet the Candidates” forum. But perhaps they are best known for defending the rights of immigrants by reporting on their plight, and giving a voice to the voiceless.

BILL MOYERS: María Elena Salinas is the most recognized Hispanic female journalist in the United States. In fact, “The New York Times” called her “The Voice of Hispanic America.” Among many other honors, she has received four Emmys plus the Edward R. Murrow Award. You’ll want to read her highly acclaimed memoir: “I am My Father’s Daughter: Living a Life without Secrets.”

Jorge Ramos, says The Washington Monthly, is “the broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections.” Just three years after he arrived in the United States from Mexico, he was anchoring Univision’s nightly news, one of the youngest national news anchors ever. He’s won 8 Emmys and authored 11 books, including this one, “A Country For All: An Immigrant Manifesto.”

Welcome to the two of you.

JORGE RAMOS: Thanks so much.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It’s a pleasure to be here.

BILL MOYERS: And congratulations on that lifetime achievement award.


JORGE RAMOS: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: You were honored the other night as the top of your craft, our craft. And yet you weren’t selected to moderate a presidential debate. Do you think that you were not selected because, A) you do force politicians until they scream and because you’re outspoken on immigration?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I personally don’t think that that’s the reason why. First of all we are not disrespectful to, at least I’ve never been disrespectful, I don’t think Jorge has either—

BILL MOYERS: No, no, I’m not saying that.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: You know, asking a tough question is not disrespecting the office of the presidency or a political candidate or any politician for that matter. So I don’t think that we were not chosen because of our style of interviewing. I think it was unfortunately a lack of understanding of the importance of the Latino community.

I think they don’t realize just how fast we’re growing, how influential we have become and how politicians are now forced to respond to the issues that affect Latinos. I think that they oversaw that, I don’t think that they really–


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: –paid attention to that.

JORGE RAMOS: Sometimes we are invisible and we are fighting so hard not to be invisible. The Commission on Presidential Debates, they’re stuck in the 1950s. They still think that the country could be divided between men and women and that’s it. And they do not realize that one in every three persons in the United States is from a minority. They think it is okay to have an African American president but they don’t think it’s okay to have an African American or—


JORGE RAMOS: –a Hispanic journalist as a moderator for the debates. So what we did is, it was a wonderful response to this oversight, this huge oversight. Instead, they didn’t want to invite us to their party, so we had our own party.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you did.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, our own party. And that party turned out pretty good.

JORGE RAMOS: And yeah. So yeah, maybe—

BILL MOYERS: You mean these presidential forums you had?


JORGE RAMOS: Yeah, the presidential forums.

BILL MOYERS: Which came after you were not selected for the debate?

JORGE RAMOS: And at the end it ended up being better.

BILL MOYERS: The presidential commission on debates is very close to the parties. It’s a tool of the two party system in this country. They look at the polls, the numbers the Hispanic vote is decisive in states like North Carolina, could decide North Carolina, could decide other swing states. They knew you represented a significant vote in this election.

JORGE RAMOS: But how can you choose how can you not choose a representative from a minority in a country like this? I truly—

BILL MOYERS: So that’s what I’m asking you.

JORGE RAMOS: –yeah, I truly admire the work of the three moderators for the presidential debates—

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, they’re all–

JORGE RAMOS: –and for the vice president–

BILL MOYERS: –capable.

JORGE RAMOS: I personally admire their work. But the U.S. is much more diverse than that, much more diverse than that. So–

BILL MOYERS: Were you angry? Were you hurt?

JORGE RAMOS: We don’t want to be invisible. So we are not invisible, so we’re just making sure that even with an accent that people hear what we’re saying, you know. Yes, of course.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, we are mainstream. You usually try to separate us from ethnic media and mainstream media. We are mainstream media. And when you look at the ratings we compete directly with ABC, CBS and NBC. And many times in major cities we have higher ratings.

JORGE RAMOS: We are the fifth largest network.


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: The difference between us and them, and we really, it should really fall under the same category, is the language that we’re, we transmit in a different language. However now we’re changing that and that’s why we have–

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We’re changing that now because now we have this joint venture with ABC and we are going to be doing the same thing that we do in Univision, but we’ll do it in English so that we can make sure that we have all the market. And the special thing about that is that it’s not only for that sector of Latinos who is more English dominant and prefers to speak English.

But I think it actually contributes to the society and to democracy in this country so that everyone who speaks English in this country understands who Latinos are, what are the issues that affect us. Maybe they need to know what’s going on with their neighbors south of the border. You know, here you have this continent that sometimes it seems that people in the north don’t like to look south and they don’t realize that we are one continent and that this what, over 300 million people there that speak Spanish and that affect us, and directly affect us economically.

BILL MOYERS: What does it say that you’re moving into the larger English speaking–


BILL MOYERS: –audience?

JORGE RAMOS: What it’s saying is that her daughters and my son and my daughter, they don’t watch us. Because they feel much more comfortable in English.


JORGE RAMOS: Their friends don’t watch us. Their generation is not watching us. So either we change or we’re going to be out of here. And so there’s always going to be space in Spanish, but what has, there’s been, even within the Hispanic community something has been changing.

We used to get the majority of the growth because of immigration. That has changed. The border is stronger than ever. The number of undocumented immigrants has decreased from 12 million to 11 million. So the majority of the growth is coming from within the Hispanic community and that means—


JORGE RAMOS: –U.S. born. That means most Latinos, new Latinos, Juan, Jose, Pedro, Jorge, they’re all speaking English. They feel more comfortable in English than in Spanish. So if we don’t do something to attract them they’re going to watch you.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I hope you can–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We want them to watch you, we want them to watch you.

BILL MOYERS: –accept the status quo.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: But, you know, I really don’t think Spanish is going to go anywhere, and let me tell you why. You know, the immigrants that came from Europe in the last century, they came here wanting to get away from their country and decided that they wanted to establish roots here.

It’s not that the Latino immigrants don’t want to establish roots here, but their country of origin is right next door. And there’s this very special link that they have and their cultural identity is very strong. I remember when Jorge and I started working in the media a few years ago people used to say, “You should really try to make a crossover to English because there’s no future in Spanish language media. Latinos will assimilate and there won’t be an audience to watch you.”

14 million Hispanics then, 50 million Hispanics now. I think they didn’t understand that. And even though Latinos have been assimilating and acculturating, what people don’t understand, is assimilation doesn’t mean leaving behind your culture and your language, but adopting a new one, embracing a new one.

So I think, you know, Spanish isn’t going anywhere. This is a very important part of the identity of the Latino community. That’s the one thing that does unite all Latinos is you have some that are more conservative and, you know, more liberal. There’s several things that separate, like we said they’re not monolithic. But the one thing that does unite the Latino community is the love of the language.

BILL MOYERS: You used over and again the term Latino communities, Latinos, Latinas where most of us have become accustomed to saying Hispanics and the Hispanic community.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I know that there’s people that give a lot of importance, a lot of credence to a label.

JORGE RAMOS: We don’t, right?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: For me personally you can call me whatever you want. You can all me Chicano or you can call me Mexican-American, Latina, Hispanic as long as my ethnic culture is involved. I’m very proud of being a Latina. My daughters were born here and I was born in the U.S. And my daughters were born in Miami and they feel Hispanic.

JORGE RAMOS But it’s interesting because–the study of the Pew Hispanic Center just recently, they did a wonderful study on how do we like to be identified. And first of all people prefer, Latinos prefer to call themselves Mexicans or Cubans or Puerto Ricans, first of all. Then maybe Hispanic or Latino and third American. I know this is going to sound terrible to many. But that’s the way it is. They feel much more comfortable saying, “I’m, Soy Mexicano, I’m Mexican or I’m Cuban American.” Even though there’s so many differences within the Hispanic communities, it’s not monolithic.

BILL MOYERS: You were born in L.A., you came there as a young man, a student. I was intrigued to watch both of you age in the—



BILL MOYERS: –in the videos.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: He had brown hair. I still remember his brown hair.

BILL MOYERS: –what does this country, what does this culture look like to a kid coming from Mexico?

JORGE RAMOS: It was a wonderful opportunity because this country gave me the opportunities that my country of origin couldn’t give me. I was censored in Mexico when I was 23, 24–

BILL MOYERS: As a reporter?

JORGE RAMOS: –as a reporter. It was the usual thing in Mexico. The government would say what you could say on the air and what you couldn’t say on the air. And I decided I didn’t want to be that kind of a reporter. So I sold everything and came to the United States. So just imagine that now I can talk to anyone without asking permission for anything, and I had to leave my country because of that.

Alexis de Tocqueville, he used to say that the powerful and the rich never leave their country only those who need possibilities and those who are poor and those who are ambitious leave their countries. And that’s exactly what happened with me.

I came here because I had to come here. Something pushed me out of Mexico and something pulled me from the United States. And now I have two passports. But honestly this country, I really have to thank this country because it gave me all the wonderful opportunities. If I would have stayed in Mexico it would have been, I don’t know what would have happened, but I would have been a very poor, sad and probably censored journalist.

BILL MOYERS: Why did your parents come?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: My parents came in the 1940s. And it was because my father wanted my, to raise a family here and to have all these opportunities and to have all these possibilities. He wanted to continue his studies. Now, you mentioned at the beginning that I wrote a book that’s called “I Am My Father’s Daughter: Living a Life Without Secrets.” Now, he’s got an interesting story.

My father had been a priest, he had been a Catholic priest. He left the priesthood and moved to the U.S., got married and moved to the U.S. But I didn’t find out about this until after he passed away. And so my book is sort of like–

BILL MOYERS: He kept it a secret?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: –yes, it’s an, it was an investigation into my own life and into my own background, into trying to find out why he came here. And he lived as an undocumented immigrant for a long time in the U.S. But my father was an intellectual, he had a doctorates degree in philosophy, he spoke six languages. He’s not your prototype of undocumented immigrant. That’s why, you know, people shouldn’t rush to judge because everyone comes here with such different circumstances.

BILL MOYERS: There’s a recent documentary called Harvest of Empire. It’s directed by Peter Getzels and Eduardo Lopez and based on a book by a colleague of mine, Juan Gonzalez. Look at this excerpt.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Of course you really can’t tell the story of Latino’s in America without dealing with the Mexican population because Mexicans are by far the largest group of the Latino population in the United States. Most people are not aware that since 1820 when the United States first started gathering immigration statistics, there has been no nation in the world that has sent more people to the United States than Mexico. And we are talking about legal immigration. More legal Mexican immigrants have come to this country since 1820 than the Irish, than the Germans, than the French, than any other population.

The reality is that great swaths of the United States and the west were originally part of Mexico. California, Nevada, parts of Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado. That was all the northern territory of Mexico.

And there were Mexican citizens living on that land before it became part of the United States. As they say in South Texas or in Northern New Mexico, Southern Colorado, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS Mexicans have a big presence here and they have had a big, big presence here. And it just goes to show you how this country is a country of immigrants. So it’s very difficult when you hear people say American values and American values are being threatened by the influx of immigrants from other countries. What American values? What are, American values are values of immigrants that made this country.

JORGE RAMOS: After that it’s easy to argue for the, an open border, right? Like the European Community. It is never going to happen here. I don’t think so.


JORGE RAMOS: Because the economic differences are so big. When an immigrant here in the United States can make in half an hour what they make in a day in Mexico, about $5 a day. And still immigration has to do with economic forces, it’s an economic problem. I don’t think I’ll see, I’ll live to see an open border between Mexico and the United States even though internet and communications and traveling has made it possible. I don’t think there’s the political will to even discuss that possibility. At one point–


JORGE RAMOS: –when the Europeans were discussing that many people thought that it would be a good idea. But not anymore, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I don’t either. And I don’t think, why it’s necessary. A lot of people think that if you favor immigration reform that means that you favor open border. And I don’t think anyone is actually saying, “Yes, we should have an open border and let people come in and out whenever they want.” I think there needs to be order and I do believe that this country and every country has the right to control their borders, just like Mexico has the right to control its border with Guatemala.

It’s the way that you treat human beings when they do cross over. And as part of a comprehensive immigrant reform you could also have legal immigrant that’s more orderly. I don’t think that is the issue of immigration reform. The issue of immigration reform is what do you do with people that already came here? What do you do with people that have roots in this country, that have children that were born in this country? What do you do with them and how do you treat them? You know, it’s—

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, the movement of people has been a constant in our human history.


BILL MOYERS: They just, we just keep moving.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And whenever you have a country, a poor country next to a rich country you will always have people trying, anywhere in the world, trying to make a better life. Trying to come into the richer country looking for a better life.

But I think one thing needs to happen, and this is something that I would love to see in this, these countries that export immigrants, they need to be strengthened. I mean, when are we going see some of these Latin American countries strengthen their democracy? Their justice system? We can’t continue to have so much crime in Mexico–

JORGE RAMOS: But what you’re saying also is very interesting because we can explain violence in Mexico in part because of the United States. We have 22 million people in this country who are using drugs, 22 million people. And the last survey that I saw was reported on the people who had either used some kind of illicit drug in the last month.

Because of that drugs, because of that, the drug consumption here interest United States we have drug traffickers in Mexico making sure that they bring all the drugs from South America, crossing Central America and Mexico to come to this country. So in the last six years in Mexico 65,000 people died, were killed because of the drug war.

And the United States has to take responsibility with the fact that there are people being killed in Mexico in part because there are so many people here using drugs. And what’s amazes me is that this is not an issue for Romney or for President Barack Obama even though President Barack Obama has spent, I think, $31 billion in drug programs and prevention, which is a huge amount of money. We have to take responsibility in this country for all the people being killed in Mexico and in Central America.

BILL MOYERS: So, from each of you, quickly, what are the priority issues, as you see them, in the Hispanic community for this election?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Jobs and economy is the number one issue, and Latinos, all polls show that. But immigration, like we said, is the issue that moves the Latino vote–

BILL MOYERS: What’s the unemployment–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: that inspires them to vote.

BILL MOYERS: What’s the unemployment rate?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: The unemployment rate among Latinos right now is, 10.2 percent.

BILL MOYERS: Higher than–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It’s much higher–

BILL MOYERS: –except for blacks.

JORGE RAMOS: It’s been above, 11 percent during the, Obama’s presidency. But for Latinos, the symbolic issue is immigration. For us, it’s personal. It’s not like an abstract issue. It’s personal. Either we are immigrants, or we know someone who’s an immigrant, or we work with someone who, or our neighbor is an immigrant. It’s not abstract. It’s very personal.

BILL MOYERS: Why do so many Anglos seem to resent Hispanic immigrants more than they do others?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I think that there’s a couple of things there. I think that there’s a certain feel of, because there’s the growing, a community that’s growing so fast, there’s sort of like a threat that our way of life is going to change. And I don’t think that they see immigrants as part of America.

And you know, the funny thing is the majority of Hispanic, well, all of Hispanic voters are U.S. citizens of course, and why do they care about this immigration issue so much when there’s a minority really that are undocumented? It’s because it affects us as a community, it affects the image of Latinos as a community. It has spilled over where you’re perceived, where you can’t tell the difference between who’s legal and who isn’t legal–

JORGE RAMOS: But it’s the numbers–


JORGE RAMOS: –there’s a demographic revolution–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: There’s so many, right.

JORGE RAMOS: –it’s a demographic revolutions. We’re, when I got here, I don’t know, 25, 30 years ago there were only 15 million Latinos–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, in the early ’80s there were 14 million Latinos.

JORGE RAMOS: Exactly. Right now we’re talking about 50, truly I think we’re talking about 60 million. And we are changing the face of America. It’s not black and white anymore. We’re changing the way we eat. I say this a lot, but people eat more tortillas than bagels and more salsa than ketchup. We’re changing the way people dance in this country, the way people speak. Even an accent like mine now has sort of been accepted. And we’re changing the way people vote. And no one can make it the White House now without the Hispanic vote, that’s completely new.

BILL MOYERS: Here’s what some conservatives tell me. Conservatives embrace law and order, conceptually, and they say we’re talking about enforcing the law and if the law isn’t enforced the society cannot hold itself cohesively together.

The second thing they say is that we can’t have a cohesive, coherent country without a common language. And if you have two peoples living side by side speaking separate languages you’re not going to have a country.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We heard the arguments. I know that, as far as the language is concerned, everyone knows that language is the official language in this country. Why is it necessary to make it official in, by law? I think there’s more drawbacks to that.

Because for example in California when they tried to make English the official language it was virtually impossible, it didn’t work. It was approved, but it didn’t work. Why? Because you have so many different languages that are spoken there. Besides Spanish you have several Asian languages. So what would happen is in the schools the schools would be forced to send all materials to parents in English

When you have, you know, elderly people who do not speak the language and who would feel more comfortable it’s very hard to do business. So it’s not necessary to make the official language. We already know that English is the official language in this country. In fact, most immigrants and most immigrant families want their children to succeed in life, they want them to speak English so that they can be successful.

Remember that we are a very young society as far as Hispanics are concerned. We’re very young. Median age is 26. Hispanic children are 25 percent of all children in the U.S. So the future of this country is in the hands of Latino children. It is to their benefit to learn the language in order to progress.

JORGE RAMOS: This is the only country in the world what I know, who people, there are people who think that it is better to speak one language instead of two. I really can’t understand it.

Nothing’s going to change. We’re not seceding. We’re not creating a nation within a nation. And what unites this country? It is not language. I think what unites this country is this wonderful idea of freedom and possibilities.

What strikes me is that even though the Declaration of Independence says that we are all equal, here we have 11 million who are not equal. Forget about being second class citizens, they’re not even third class citizens—

BILL MOYERS: These are what critics would call illegal immigrants, undocumented…

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Undocumented immigrants. That’s…

BILL MOYERS: There are 11 million of them, you think, roughly.


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, and they’re not all from—

BILL MOYERS: And they live in the shadows.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: They’re not all Mexicans and they’re not all, you know, there’s over, that’s another thing, one of the reasons why it’s so important to Latinos is that immigrants, the enforcement is usually on the southern border. And you have over a million Europeans; you have over a million Africans. You have Canadians, so you have Asians there are here illegally.

Yet it seems that as if all the undocumented immigrants were Hispanic and all of the enforcement, yeah, but all the enforcement’s on the southern border. So you do not see someone say, “Let’s go and round up all blue-eyed blonde Germans that are here illegally because they’re a threat to our country.” So only Hispanic immigrants are considered a threat to that country. So there is a very negative tone to the rhetoric concerning the immigration issue. If we remember one of the things that changed was 9/11. President Bush was very much in favor, not of amnesty, but of an immigration solution, comprehensive immigration reform.

BILL MOYERS: And he won 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.


BILL MOYERS: In 2004, the record for Republicans.

JORGE RAMOS: Actually, probably up to 44 percent, probably.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I remember interviewing President Bush exactly a week to the day, Tuesday before 9/11, about immigration. And that Thursday President Vicente Fox of Mexico spoke in Congress.

PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX: Our links are countless and ever-growing. No two nations are more important to the immediate prosperity and well-being of one another than Mexico and the United States.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And it seems that there was just an ambience where everyone, even very hardcore conservatives, seemed to favor the idea of immigration reform. Then 9/11 happened and then immigrants were a threat even though Hispanic immigrants, you know, none of the terrorists crossed the border from the south. They all flew in and they flew in legally.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think that was a natural reaction?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It was a natural reaction, but it really hurt, it really hurt.

BILL MOYERS: Reaction of fear. Did you take it personally?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I think yes because after a while it became very negative against immigrants in the southern border as if Hispanic immigrants, Mexican immigrants, Central America, South American immigrants were a threat to this, the security of the country.

JORGE RAMOS: The conversation changed.


JORGE RAMOS: The conversation changed—

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Definitely it changed.

JORGE RAMOS: Because, every Republican candidate with the exception of– of Mitt Romney since Ronald Reagan support immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Of course for many Republicans that’s called Amnesty. Romney doesn’t support that. Not yet. We’ll see in all the debates, but we’ll see if he changes or not his position. But the conversation changed because with George W. Bush he was for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

And immediately after that then we got the rejection of the DREAM Act that would have given about 2 million undocumented students the possibility of staying in this country. Then we had SB 1070 in Arizona and then it was replicated in Alabama and in Georgia. So instead of discussing the possibility of what to do with 11 million undocumented immigrants, here we have this incredibly tough loss on immigrants. So the conversation and the approach towards immigration changed completely. And even nowadays we’re discussing only DREAM Act probably or deferred action by President Barack Obama when the conversation should have been much, much wider.

BILL MOYERS: I remember Ronald Reagan was quite positive about immigration. He was quite pro Hispanic. He, I think he gave amnesty to three million immigrants then and—

JORGE RAMOS: Republicans were doing great. As you know Reagan used to say that Latinos are Republicans, they just don’t know it. And he would—

BILL MOYERS: Well, he did say that. He did say you have common values in regard to the family, to religion–

JORGE RAMOS: Abortion.

BILL MOYERS: –abortion, issues on that.

JORGE RAMOS: Very conservative.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Gay marriage, yeah, they’re very conservative in that sense. But I think the, that’s basically what changed everything. I remember reading some, an article where President Bush was asked what was one of his biggest regrets and he said not passing immigration reform. Because as a Republican and having a Republican Congress he could not convince his own party to support immigration reform.

Here we are talking about immigrants and about the Latino community and we focus, you know, only on the undocumented immigrants. And I think that that’s what’s happened that when people perceive Latinos the first thing that pops into their mind immigrants and undocumented immigrants, or like they say illegal aliens, which is a term we don’t like to use. But they don’t realize that 74 percent are Americans, are citizens either by birth or naturalized. So the majority of Latinos are Americans.

And we have a buying power of over $1 trillion. If Latinos in the U.S. were a country we would be the 14th largest economy in the world. There are 2.5 million businesses that are Latino-owned or Hispanic-owned, whichever word you’d like to use. So we are a very important part of this country and we contribute very much to the economy, to, you know, culturally in so many different ways.

BILL MOYERS: But something significant happened in 2010. I understand 9/11 changing the tone and the conversation. But what happened that moved the Republicans and the conservatives further to the margins?

JORGE RAMOS: I think it was Arizona. It was Arizona. It was the realization that we were not going to get immigration reform and therefore the states thought that they needed to take action by themselves.

JAN BREWER: Senate Bill 1070 absolutely mirrors federal law, and we are being invaded by illegal immigration in the state of Arizona.

JORGE RAMOS: And then we had Joe Arpaio—

BILL MOYERS: The sheriff in Mariposa County?

JORGE RAMOS: Uh-huh, and then we have—

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And we have some–

JORGE RAMOS: –Governor Jan Brewer.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: –some very conservative– radio talk show hosts that have so much influence that they also changed the conversation and change the tone.

JORGE RAMOS: Yes, there’s a possibility for the Republican Party to reach Latinos as you mentioned because of the values. They feel very close to the Republican Party because of certain values. But somehow the Republicans had a wonderful opportunity in these years, 2012 and they blew it because they had a president who didn’t keep his promise on immigration. A president who has deported more immigrants than any other president in the history of the United States, 1.5 million in the–

BILL MOYERS: Obama has deported that many?

JORGE RAMOS: Exactly. So and then Republicans instead of taking this and taking advantage of the situation and saying, “You know, we’re going to be the pro-immigrant party, we’re going to try to legalize 11 million or do something about it,” instead of doing that they’re talking about…

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Self-deportation.

JORGE RAMOS: –Arizona being the model, self-deportation, rejecting the DREAM Act and—

BILL MOYERS: What does it mean, self-deportation?

JORGE RAMOS: Make life impossible–


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It’s like they’re doing in Arizona. They make life so difficult for you. You can’t find a job, you can’t. If possible you can’t get housing. Your children as they go to school will have their background checked and you will just go back because you can’t live here, you can’t get a job, you can’t live, you feel all this pressure. I think that’s what he means by self deport.

JORGE RAMOS: Arizona being the model, self-deportation, rejecting the Dream Act and now you see the latest Latino decisions poll, 73 percent support President Barack Obama and only 21 percent support Mitt Romney. And if there’s a magic number it’s 33 percent.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: 33-38 percent is what a Republican needs to win. So I guess basically we could say that it–

BILL MOYERS: Of the Hispanic vote?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Of the Hispanic vote. So if it’s–

JORGE RAMOS: Or they lose, they lose the White House.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: So if it’s true that the Latino vote will decide the election then I guess right now–

JORGE RAMOS: It’s been decided

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We can say that President Obama is going to win reelection.

BILL MOYERS: Does that surprise you given the fact that he has deported over a million Hispanics, given the fact that he came late to the DREAM Act, given the fact that you pressed him journalistically very hard on breaking his promise?

JORGE RAMOS: But on other hand–


JORGE RAMOS: He has supported, he has definitely supported immigration reform. He definitely supports the Dream Act. And that’s a stark difference with Mitt Romney.

BILL MOYERS: You were tough on President Obama when you asked him about why he broke his promise.

JORGE RAMOS: We had to press President Barack Obama on a promise he had made in 2008. He made a very important promise. He said that he was going to have an immigration proposal during his first year in office.

JORGE RAMOS in interview: Can you do it in a hundred days?

BARACK OBAMA in interview: I cannot guarantee that it will be in the first hundred days.

JORGE RAMOS in interview: How about in the first six months?

BARACK OBAMA in interview: What I can guarantee is that we will have, in the first year, and immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting. And that I want to move that forward as quickly as possible.

JORGE RAMOS in interview: In the first year?

BARACK OBAMA in interview: In my first year in office.

JORGE RAMOS: Obviously we’re forgetting that the country was in deep recession, there was– it was very difficult to move anything in Congress. But again if you promise something you better keep that promise or otherwise we’re going to ask you about it.

JORGE RAMOS at the Univision Presidential Forum: You promised that. And a promise is a promise. And with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.

BARACK OBAMA at the Univision Presidential Forum: I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get it done, but I did not make a promise that I would get everything done a hundred percent when I was elected as president. What I promised was that I would work every single day as hard as I can to make sure that everybody in the country, regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the American dream. And I have — that promise I kept.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think now about his response?

JORGE RAMOS: I think he was very honest with the response. But if he wants, 12 million people are going to go to the polls this November the 6th. And if they want something from us we’ve got to get something from them. And if he promised that he was going to have during his first year in office an immigration proposal he had to do that. When he had control of both chambers of Congress, when he had the supermajority he decided to go– another way. Health care is fine, and it’s a political priority, I understand that.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We agree on most things, but we have different views on this.

BILL MOYERS: You and Jorge?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yes. This is the only issue—

BILL MOYERS: Well how do you disagree with him on this?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I know that he promised just like every other politician promises. But I don’t think that there wasn’t a major effort. And I do understand that for health reform you need 50 votes in the Senate and that for immigration reform you needed 60 votes in the Senate. I think maybe they could have been a little bit more forceful in the issues, but I understand.

BILL MOYERS: Do Hispanics sometimes feel pandered to? I mean, as we speak the White House has announced that President Obama is going to California to dedicate the César Chávez Memorial, a wonderful symbolic right in time for the election.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Well, I think we always have that sense because they are always–

JORGE RAMOS: I call it–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: — they’re always pandering to Latinos and it’s not just now. I think it’s always. You know, you have politicians go to east L.A. and on a parade wearing a sombrero or they go to Miami and have a little cafecito on Calle Ocho in Versailles. They do the things that they feel, they utter a few words here and there in Spanish and they feel, “This is what we need to do to get the Hispanic vote.” And sometimes they forget that there are actual issues and their positions on the issues that is going to decide whether they’re going to get the support or not.

JORGE RAMOS: I call it the Christopher Columbus syndrome. Because every four years they rediscover us, Hispanics. And then they forget about us for three years and then they rediscover us again. So—

BILL MOYERS: And yet as the news reported this week, we discussed it earlier but this is still striking, President Obama holds a 73 percent to 21 percent lead over Mitt Romney over Latino voters. That’s up from the 65 to 26 advantage he held six weeks ago.

JORGE RAMOS: Latinos will decide the election in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida.


JORGE RAMOS: Because in a very close election, Latino voters tend to decide which way to go. It happened in 2000, with President George W. Bush in Florida. And it’s going to happen again this year.

BILL MOYERS: There was a report from the Pew Hispanic Center a few days ago saying that a record 24 million– 24 million Latinos are eligible to vote but their turnout rate has consistently lagged behind whites and blacks.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, but not that much. One of the late– you know, the Latino decision polls and media polls are usually very accurate because they’re polling specifically Latino voters, registered voters. And the enthusiasm level was very low. In the last poll it had increased to 83 percent which is–

JORGE RAMOS: But it’s understandable–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: –because we’re getting–


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: No, we’re getting a little bit closer to the election, people are paying more attention. They realize that there is more at stake. But when you see these polls and to try to understand why the numbers are so different between Romney and Obama, you have to understand that the parties also and the great majority feel that Democrats represent their interests and care about their issues more than Republicans.

And what has hurt Republicans is that very negative rhetoric on the immigration issue. That has hurt Republicans tremendously. And the fact that now they have a candidate for the first time like Jorge said, even in the last election, McCain, all of the candidates have always embraced immigration reform. This is the first time we have a candidate that says, “I want immigration reform for legal immigration, legal immigration.”

He keeps emphasizing legal immigration thinking that Latinos are so ignorant that they’re going to buy it when he’s talking about legal immigration and not finding a solution. I even asked Romney during the forum, “You know, with all due respect the fact that you are not answering this question makes people feel like you’re evading the answer.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS at the Univision Presidential Forum: If you become president are you going to deport them or not?

MITT ROMNEY at the Univision Presidential Forum: Well, we’re not –

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS at the Univision Presidential Forum: Yes or no?

MITT ROMNEY at the Univision Presidential Forum: We’re not going to we’re not going to round up people around the country and deport them. [..] This is something that’s going to have to be worked out by Republicans and Democrats together. I will lead a program that gets us to a permanent solution as opposed to what was done by the president which, with a few months before the election he puts in place something which is temporary which does not solve this issue. I will solve it on a permanent basis consistent with those principles.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS And we still don’t get an answer from him. And that is one of the things that is hurting Republicans.

BILL MOYERS: How did you come up with the question asking Romney if he felt like he was an immigrant?

JORGE RAMOS at the Univision Presidential Forum: Are you sure you’re not a Hispanic?

MITT ROMNEY at the Univision Presidential Forum: I think for political purposes that might have helped me here at the University of Miami today. But truth is, as you know, my dad was born of American parents living in Mexico. But he came back to this country at age 5 or 6 and was helped to get on his feet and recognized this was the land of opportunity and he’s been the role model and inspiration throughout my life.

JORGE RAMOS: It is unthinkable for any Latino to have a dad who was born in Mexico and not to call himself a Latino. And obviously it’s a much more complicated story. It’s they decided to because of religious–

BILL MOYERS: Mormon– his grandfather went down there because he was a polygamist; he wanted more than one wife.


BILL MOYERS: Yeah, I watched it. I thought he was honest when he said–

JORGE RAMOS: He was honest.

BILL MOYERS: –at the end of that exchange he —

JORGE RAMOS: Nobody would buy it.

BILL MOYERS: I could tell you that I’m an immigrant but that would be disingenuous–

JORGE RAMOS: And nobody would buy it. And I think he’s right on that–

BILL MOYERS: I think he was right about that.

JORGE RAMOS: I think he’s about– if he would call himself a Latino that 21 percent would go to 15 percent. It doesn’t work that way. We have to find out who is the real Mitt Romney? The one who talked about that he didn’t care about the he didn’t have to worry about the 47 percent of the people? Or the one who told us in the meeting that he wants to be the president for 100 percent of Americans? That’s the challenge for him.

BILL MOYERS: Have you seen the ad done, the one of his sons, to reach the Hispanic–


BILL MOYERS: Have you seen that ad?

JORGE RAMOS: Yes, yes.

CRAIG ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I’m Craig Romney. I would like to tell you how my father, Mitt Romney, thinks. He values very much that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For our family the greatness of the United States is how we respect and help each other, regardless of where we come from. As President, my father will work on a permanent solution to the immigration system, working with leaders of both parties.”

CRAIG ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I invite you to listen to him.”

MITT ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I am Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It’s very good, it’s very, very good. Now, if all Latino voters were to base their decision solely on this one ad, I think Romney’s numbers would be much higher. Because he touched upon the fact that his father was born in Mexico, he touched upon the fact that his father wants a permanent solution to the immigration issue. But once they see interviews like ours, once somebody asks to be more specific about Latino issues, that’s where he doesn’t come through.

JORGE RAMOS: At the end we are getting smarter. The Hispanic community is getting smarter, and more powerful. And stronger. Because just a few years ago, a few elections ago, we would’ve bought anything. And by that I mean–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: A few words in Spanish here and there.

JORGE RAMOS: –few words in Spanish. We just wanted it to say, “Hola, buenos noches,” just to hear something in Spanish.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Wow, he spoke to us in Spanish–

JORGE RAMOS: George W. Bush, he was incredibly effective. But I used to say, that he was the first U.S. President who thought that he spoke Spanish. But he made so many mistakes in Spanish. But he really didn’t care, because he made true, honest effort to communicate in Spanish, and it worked for him. Not only that, he had the right idea on immigration.


JORGE RAMOS: But now we appreciate ads in Spanish, but it’s not enough. You have to give us much more than that true idea, a promise, a plan, a program.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It’s a much more sophisticated electorate than you had seen before.

BILL MOYERS: When you press these candidates journalistically do you do so knowing that you’re constantly referred to as the voice of Hispanic America which you have been referred to? Do you frame your questions that way? And you I mean, “Washington Monthly,” very respected influential magazine in Washington this summer, the headline, “Forget Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity. The broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections is Jorge Ramos.”

JORGE RAMOS: It’s a stretch. No, but you know, I still remember–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Well, you know–

JORGE RAMOS: You know, did you get to know Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist–

BILL MOYERS: I did, enviously because she could ask questions in a ferocious way.

JORGE RAMOS: And I think I learn from her a lot. I once saw her at the Iraq war and I just didn’t have the courage to say– to tell her that because of her I became a journalist. But if you remember Oriana Fallaci and her wonderful Interview with History. She used to say that the interview should be like an arm, like a weapon and that in an interview an interview is a war between the interviewee and the interviewer.

Obviously some interviews are just for information. But sometimes when you’re confronting the powerful you really have to do that. And I’m completely convinced that the most important social role of us journalists is to confront those who are in power. And the place for us to be is as far as possible from power and you know that, no? I mean, you were in power–

BILL MOYERS: Oh, I discovered after I came into journalism after the White House that the closer you are to the truth is more important than the closer you are to power. So let me declare war on you for just a moment.

JORGE RAMOS: Sure, okay, let’s do it.

BILL MOYERS: Declare on you, Univision is constantly referred to by the Republicans as a Democratic leaning if not pro left news organization.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: But we’re accused by Democrats as being for being Republican.

BILL MOYERS: The chairman of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas, says quote, “Univision is headed and owned by some sophisticated equity fund guys and they have turned it into a corporate institution of great power with a left-leaning message.” Do you see yourself as the MSNBC?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Let me tell you something, I have been working for Univision for 31 years and I have gone through five different owners. He’s talking about the owners in the last three years. So I don’t think that the owners in the last three or four years, besides when you look at our management they are so varied and they never get involved in our coverage. Not once has someone come and told us, “This is what you have to say. This is what you have to do. This is what our editorial position in.” No, we’re–

BILL MOYERS: I believe you.

JORGE RAMOS: I never received–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: –and I’ll tell you, you know who our bosses–

JORGE RAMOS: –a phone call from–


JORGE RAMOS: –anyone, from a CEO telling me what to say or what not to do. And I can under– you know, what I really love is that we’re being criticized from both sides. Republicans might not like us because of what we are saying about their immigration position or because of some of the coverage that we have. And on the other hand just ask the White House if they’re happy with our interview with President Barack Obama, they’re not.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And– we’re going to get answers, you know. Yeah, I’m there to ask questions, but I’m there to get answers. And if I don’t a typical politician usually doesn’t answer questions, and if you don’t get the answer the first time then you happen have to ask it again and again and again in as many different ways as you can–


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: –in order to get the answer that you want to serve your community. And that’s what our role is really.

BILL MOYERS: Had you two been selected to moderate one of these presidential debates, couple of questions. What would you ask him?

JORGE RAMOS: Obviously we would stress at some point immigration, what would they do with 11 million immigrants. But I want to know what his red line on Iran, I want to find out about how are you going to create 23 million new jobs in this country. I want them to tell me about his relationship with Mexico, how many more people are being killed in Mexico and if we’re going to change our programs here in the United States–

BILL MOYERS: Drug war?

JORGE RAMOS: the programs, the drug war? What’s the relationship with Hugo Chávez? Is he a threat to national security? If we have–

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, those are the questions that we asked them in the debate and–

JORGE RAMOS: –and China and Cuba, I mean, if we have this very special trade relationship with China, why don’t we have the same with Cuba? I mean, there’s so many different questions. And obviously you’re more a person on taxes and promises.

BILL MOYERS: You have been a team now for 25 years. The most successful team, I would say, since Huntley-Brinkley, whom you don’t remember. But I do, a long-running team, and very successful. What’s next for you as journalists?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I think that making that transition into English language, and being able to reach all audiences. And what I mean is, not only Hispanics that speak English but all audiences. To understand who we are, I think, to elevate the position of Latinos in this country, and the role of Latinos in this society is something that we sort of take on as a mission.

JORGE RAMOS: It’s to stay relevant, you know, it’s very challenging right now to stay relevant when you have the internet, when you have social media. And it’s very difficult that your voice stays relevant and doesn’t get lost among the noise. I think that’s one of the most important things. And finally, it has to do with trust. After 25 or 30 years, if we say something and people trust what we say, that’s the best award.

BILL MOYERS: María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos, this has been a pleasure.

JORGE RAMOS: Thank you, Bill.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: My pleasure, too.


Obama’s UN Speech – 9/25/2012

Posted in Uncategorized by americatimes on September 25, 2012
Barack Obama’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning in New York where he spoke about Iran’s nuclear program and the recent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Transcript (Prepared remarks):

“Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician. As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco. He came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East, and he would carry that commitment throughout his life. As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria; from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked – tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic and listening with a broad smile.

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship. As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for a future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. After the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served, and saw dignity in the people he met. Two weeks ago, he travelled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. That’s when America’s compound came under attack. Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America. Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents. He acted with humility, but stood up for a set of principles – a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.

The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and the Libyan people. And there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region – including Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen – have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm. So have religious authorities around the globe.

But the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an Embassy; or to put out statements of regret, and wait for the outrage to pass. If we are serious about those ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of this crisis. Because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes we hold in common.

Today, we must affirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers. Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. Since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that has taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.

We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspirations of men and women who took to the streets.

We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy put us on the side of the people.

We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were not being served by a corrupt status quo.

We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the U.N. Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents; and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.

And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop, and a new dawn can begin.

We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values – they are universal values. And even as there will be huge challenges that come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.

So let us remember that this is a season of progress. For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians, and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair. This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab World. Over the past year, we have seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia. In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society; a courageous dissident has been elected to Parliament; and people look forward to further reform. Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.

And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot. Nelson Mandela once said: “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.

In other words, true democracy – real freedom – is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissent. In hard economic times, countries may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.

Moreover, there will always be those that reject human progress – dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend upon the status quo; and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division. From Northern Ireland to South Asia; from Africa to the Americas; from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we’ve witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order. At times, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of faith, race or tribe; and often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world. In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we disagree with.

We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our Founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views, and practice their own faith, may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech – the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. Yet in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

More broadly, the events of the last two weeks speak to the need for all of us to address honestly the tensions between the West and an Arab World moving to democracy. Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not, and will not, seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad, and we do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue. Nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks, or the hateful speech by some individuals, represents the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims– any more than the views of the people who produced this video represent those of Americans.

However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism. It is time to marginalize those who – even when not resorting to violence – use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel as a central principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes excuses, for those who resort to violence.

That brand of politics – one that pits East against West; South against North; Muslim against Christian, Hindu, and Jew – cannot deliver the promise of freedom. To the youth, it offers only false hope. Burning an American flag will do nothing to educate a child. Smashing apart a restaurant will not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an Embassy won’t create a single job. That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together: educating our children and creating the opportunities they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.

Understand that America will never retreat from the world. We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends. We will stand with our allies and are willing to partner with countries to deepen ties of trade and investment; science and technology; energy and development – efforts that can spark economic growth for all of our people, and stabilize democratic change. But such efforts depend upon a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. No government or company; no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered. For partnership to be effective, our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.

A politics based only on anger –one based on dividing the world between us and them – not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces. Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than ten Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; and several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained. The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunnis and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos. In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. Extremists understand this. And because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They do not build, they only destroy.

It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. We cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt – it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women – it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources – it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs; workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the men and women that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims. It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, and that is the vision we will support.

Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, and those who reject the right of Israel to exist. The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish state of Israel; and an independent, prosperous Palestine. Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.

In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings. And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.

Together, we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision – a Syria that is united and inclusive; where children don’t need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed – Sunnis and Alawites; Kurds and Christians. That is what America stands for; that is the outcome that we will work for – with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute; and assistance and support for those who work for this common good. Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and legitimacy to lead.

In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government props up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad. Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.

Let me be clear: America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That is why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that is why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights. That is why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict; that is why liberty triumphed over tyranny in the Cold War; and that is the lesson of the last two decades as well. History shows that peace and progress come to those who make the right choices.

Nations in every part of the world have travelled this hard path. Europe – the bloodiest battlefield of the 20th century – is united, free and at peace. From Brazil to South Africa; from Turkey to South Korea; from India to Indonesia; people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty, while respecting the rights of their citizens and meeting their responsibilities as nations.

And it is because of the progress I’ve witnessed that after nearly four years as President, I am hopeful about the world we live in. The war in Iraq is over, and our troops have come home. We have begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014. Al Qaeda has been weakened and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. I’ve seen hard choices made – from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan – to put more power in the hands of citizens.

At a time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity. Through the G-20, we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery. America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations. New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent. New commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity. And later today, I will discuss our efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

But what gives me the most hope is not the actions of leaders – it is the people I’ve seen. The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away. The students in Jakarta and Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit humankind. The faces in a square in Prague or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations. The young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise. These men, women and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the globe who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity.

So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. That’s what we see on the news, and that consumes our political debates. But when you strip that all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes from faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people – and not the other way around.

The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people, and all across the world. That was our founding purpose. That is what our history shows. And that is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life.

And today I promise you this – long after these killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’ legacy will live on in the lives he touched. In the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the sign that read, simply, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”

They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it justice will be done; that history is on our side; and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed. Thank you.”

Amb. Susan Rice on Fox News’ Sunday Show – 9/16/2012

Posted in Uncategorized by americatimes on September 16, 2012
9/16/2012 Sunday Morning
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on ‘Fox News Sunday’ on September 16, 2012, interviewed by Chris Wallace about the Libya consulate attack and violence against Americans in the Middle East.
Rush Transcript:

WALLACE: Joining us now our ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Ambassador, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”


WALLACE: This week, there have been anti-American protests in two dozen countries across the Islamic world. The White House says it has nothing to do with the president’s policies.

Let’s watch.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive.


WALLACE: You don’t really believe that?

RICE: Chris, absolutely I believe that. In fact, it is the case. We had the evolution of the Arab spring over the last many months. But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world.

Now, our strong view is that there is no excuse for violence. It is absolutely reprehensible and never justified. But, in fact, there have been those in various parts of the world who have reacted with violence. Their governments have increasingly and effectively responded and protected our facilities and condemned the violence and this outrageous response to what is an offensive video. But there is no question that what we have seen in the past, with things like satanic verses, with the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, there have been — such things that have sparked outrage and anger and this has been the proximate cause of what we’ve seen.

WALLACE: Now, it may have sparked it but you critics say that the outpouring of outrage against the U.S. has everything to do with the U.S. policies, that we are disengaging from that part of the world, that we pulled out of Iraq, we are pulling out of Afghanistan, that Iran is continuing on with its nuclear program. And they say, our critics, that our allies no longer trust us, and our enemies no longer fear us.

RICE: Well, Chris, that’s just false. And let’s be plain — our partners and allies have responded effectively and promptly when we have asked them to protect our facilities and our people.

WALLACE: Well, let’s — it took three days in Cairo.

RICE: Well — and what happened initially in Cairo was not sufficiently robust when President Obama picked up the phone and spoke to the President Morsi, right away things changed. And that’s an evidence of our influence and our impact.

And what happened was that the authorities in Egypt have been very robust in protecting our facilities, not just in Cairo, but elsewhere in the country. President Morsi has issued repeated condemnations of the violent response and called for calm. And we have seen the same thing in Yemen, in Libya, in Tunisia and many other parts of the world.

WALLACE: Why are we asking all nongovernmental personnel to leave Sudan and Tunisia?

RICE: Well, first of all, we’re not asking all non-governmental personnel.

WALLACE: All non-essential governmental personnel.

RICE: What we have done on a selective basis, where we assess that the security conditions necessitate is to temporarily have family members and non-essential personnel depart the country. That’s something we do all over the world when security circumstances warrant. It’s short-term, it’s temporary and it’s prudent.

And we do it, Chris, because we obviously prioritize. The president has been very clear his number one priority is the protection of American personnel and facilities.

WALLACE: So do you think we’re turning the corner here?

RICE: Well, Chris, I think, first of all, we have seen in the past outrage and unfortunately violent outrage which is condemnable and never justified. It may, indeed, occur in other circumstances. There is no predicting exactly what the trajectory of this is. Obviously, the last couple of days have been some what better. But we are vigilant and we are of the view that is not an expression of hospitality in the broadest sense towards the United States or U.S. policy. It’s approximately a reaction to this video and it’s a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States and which we find disgusting and reprehensible.

WALLACE: You talk about our influence and impact in the region. Our closest ally in the region, Israel, clearly doesn’t feel that we are supporting them when it comes to confronting Iran. In fact, this past week, Prime Minister Netanyahu blasted the U.S. for its failure to set the same red lines as he has in terms of stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Let’s watch what the prime minister said.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The world tells Israel, wait, there is still time. And I say, wait for what? Wait until when?

Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red line in Jerusalem.


WALLACE: And when Netanyahu requested a meeting the president, said he was too busy to meet with him.

RICE: Let me address —

WALLACE: Let me ask a question, if I may.

RICE: I thought you had. I’m sorry.

WALLACE: Well, no, I haven’t. They’ll be a question mark at the end.

Is that how we treat our best friend in the region?

RICE: Well, let me answer that question in three parts. First of all, the overall relationship with Israel. As Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak have repeatedly said, the intelligence and security relationship between the United States and Israel at present is unprecedented. It has never been stronger. That’s — those are their words.

So, that’s the overall nature of our relationship, very strong — stronger than ever.

Secondly, with respect to Iran. The United States, President Obama has been absolutely crystal clear that the United States will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and we will do what it takes to prevent that from happening. All options remain on the table. The president has been very clear about that and that includes the military option. This is not a policy of containment, Chris. As the president has repeatedly said, it’s a policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That is the bottom line or as the prime minister prefers to call it, a red line. That’s the bottom line.

Now, we have also said and I think we are in constant communication with Israeli security and intelligence and policy officials that we still think that there is team through economic pressure which is unprecedented as well. Iran’s economy is now shrinking by 1 percent a year. Its oil production is down 40 percent. Its currency has plummeted 40 percent just in the last several months as sanctions have gone into fullest effect.

We think there is still time and space for that pressure to yield a result. The bottom line, Chris, is the only way to permanently end Iran’s nuclear program is if it decides to give that program up.

RICE: Now, the most solemn decision that a president can ever take is a decision to go to war. And President Obama’s view is we will do what it takes it. But before we resort to the use of force, let us be sure we have exhausted other means including sanctions, pressure and diplomacy to ensure that Iran fully and finally gives up its nuclear weapons.

WALLACE: Let’s talk in the time we have left about the —

RICE: You asked about the visit —

WALLACE: We have limited time. I’m happy — if you want to go along, I’m happy to as well.

RICE: I don’t want to leave that hanging. That was the third point I wanted to address.

As you know, the president is coming up to the General Assembly in New York at the United Nations. He’ll be there in the beginning of the week, Monday and Tuesday. Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming toward the end of the week. Their schedules don’t match. There is no opportunity for them to meet in the U.S.

WALLACE: The prime minister would be willing I’m sure to go. And in fact there are suggestions from the Israelis to go to Washington.

RICE: Well, the prime minister hasn’t asked for a meeting in Washington, Chris.


WALLACE: If you watched what he just said, he said that countries that don’t set red lines don’t have the moral authority to put red lines on Israel. That doesn’t sound like a happy ally, Ambassador.

RICE: Well, first of all, we are close partners and friends and always will be. That is an enduring aspect of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

WALLACE: Why did the president call Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of the night and talk for an hour?

RICE: Precisely because they are friends, and when friends need to say something to each other, they pick up the phone and talk and they talked for an hour. It was a good conversation and it’s in the nature of our relationship that these two partners speak to one another regularly.

We have no daylight between us on the issue of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That is our clear bottom line and the president could not be any plainer about it.

WALLACE: Let’s talk about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi this week that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The top Libyan official says that the attack on Tuesday was, quote, his words “preplanned”. Al Qaeda says the operation was revenge for our killing a top Al Qaeda leader.

What do we know?

RICE: Well, first of all, Chris, we are obviously investigating this very closely. The FBI has a lead in this investigation. The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya and that then spun out of control.

But we don’t see at this point signs this was a coordinated plan, premeditated attack. Obviously, we will wait for the results of the investigation and we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do think it’s important for the American people to know our best current assessment.

WALLACE: All right. And the last question, terror cells in Benghazi had carried out five attacks since April, including one at the same consulate, a bombing at the same consulate in June. Should U.S. security have been tighter at that consulate given the history of terror activity in Benghazi?

RICE: Well, we obviously did have a strong security presence. And, unfortunately, two of the four Americans who died in Benghazi were there to provide security. But it wasn’t sufficient in the circumstances to prevent the overrun of the consulate. This is among the things that will be looked at as the investigation unfolds and it’s also why —

WALLACE: Is there any feeling that it should have been stronger beforehand?

RICE: It’s also why we increased our presence, our security presence in Tripoli in the aftermath of this, as well as in other parts of the world. I can’t judge that, Chris. I’m — we have to see what the assessment reveals.

But, obviously, there was a significant security presence defending our consulate and our other facility in Benghazi and that did not prove sufficient to the moment.

WALLACE: Ambassador Rice, we thank you so much for coming in today and discussing the fast-moving developments in that part of the world. Thanks so much.

RICE: Thank you for having me.

Video and transcript: