December 14, 2007


Why Don’t You Shut Up?

By Juan Esparza Loera
Vida en el Valle

Editor’s Note: Venezuelans voted against Hugo Chávez, apparently agreeing with the King of Spain that it was time for the Venezuelan leader to “shut up.” There are a few more public figures that should do the same, writes the editor of the bilingual Latino newspaper, “Vida en el Valle”.

With five carefully delivered words — “¿Por qué no te callas?” (Why don’t you shut up?) — directed at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, King Juan Carlos of Spain set in motion a frenzy that ranged from the words popping up on ringtones to T-shirts emblazoned with words more commonly found on a schoolyard than at a summit of Latin American leaders.

The king probably had too much of Chávez’s comments and barbs that have left few opponents untouched. The Venezuelan leader has called former Mexican President Vicente Fox “Bush’s lap dog” – and he has called Bush far worse things.

Chávez has finally gotten his comeuppance. On Dec. 2, voters in Venezuela rejected Chavez’s request to change the country’s constitution to give him greater powers and allow him to serve as president for life, apparently agreeing with the king of Spain that it was time for the Venezuelan leader to “shut up.”

Too bad King Juan Carlos is busy attending to royal-related business in Madrid. Otherwise we could use him in many other situations. After all, if used properly, his words would save all of us plenty of grief.

Here is our ranking of how we would use the king’s English... er, Spanish... to keep others at bay.

1. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Congressman who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination largely on an anti-immigration platform.

Where to start? How about his latest advertisement that ties open borders to terrorism. His action last month to get three college students at a press conference in the nation’s capital arrested takes the cake.

“I call on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to detain any illegal aliens at this press conference. Just because these illegal aliens are being used for political gain doesn’t mean they get immunity from the law. If we can’t enforce our laws inside the building where American laws are made, where can we enforce them?” he said.

King Juan Carlos: “¿Por qué no te callas?”

2. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, losing candidate in last year’s Mexican presidential elections.

Okay, so you lose the closest presidential election in Mexican history. What recourse do you have? Why, throw out the word “fraud.” Too bad that wasn’t supported by a recount, and an investigation by the Mexican Federal Electoral Institute (IFE, as it is known). Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took to the streets and declared himself head of a parallel government.

The Partido Revolucionario Demócrata (PRD) has seen questionable elections rob their candidates of the presidency in the past, but AMLO has been acting like a sore loser for so long that he does not have the support of the majority of Mexicans who would wish he would just disappear.

“Our movement is obligated to play a very important role before the imminent decision of the usurping government and its allies to hand the oil industry over to foreigners,” he said at a rally earlier this month.

King Juan Carlos: “¿Por qué no te callas?”

3. Hillary Clinton, New York Senator seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

She could wind up becoming this country’s first female president, but when it comes to the undocumented immigration issue and a failed attempt by New York’s governor to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, Clinton mangled her response at a recent debate. She appeared to support the proposal, but then appeared not to support it.

Asked at a later debate if she would support driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, Clinton said, “No.” That was her complete answer. Appears that King Juan Carlos got to her.

However, the issue of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants should not get a yes or no response from the candidates. The public needs to know why specially marked driver’s licenses are okay in some states and appear to be working.

King Juan Carlos: “¿Por qué no hablas más?” (Why don’t you speak some more?)

4. Lou Dobbs, CNN commentator

Tune in to any of his programs on the cable network and you’re sure to hear Mr. Dobbs tying undocumented immigration to any problem facing the country today. Low wages? Blame it on undocumented labor willing to work for less. Drug use? It has to be those folks who smuggle them across the border. Nevermind that U.S. market drives the demand. Public education? Blame low achievement on children of undocumented immigrants. Civil demonstrations of pro-immigrant groups? Why, it must be those “reconquista” groups and their allies. Fewer dollars in your pocket? Why, it’s because people living in Mexico receives about $20 billion from relatives working in the United States.

“We are providing through remittances from illegal immigrants primarily... $20 billion to Mexico every year, and still the government of Mexico cannot improve the lives of its people. That is shameful. It is Vicente Fox, not George Bush, who is now in charge of U.S. immigration policy, because we’ve permitted it...That is astonishing,” he said during a 2006 appearance on Univision.

King Juan Carlos: “¿Por qué no te callas?”

5. Mr. Spanish-language radio or television commercial announcer.

You know who we’re talking about. These are the folks who spill out a message in machine gun-like fashion. Why are they yakking so fast? Is it because they want to get their message in before we switch the station or click it off? It’s not like the viewers are at an auction. Wonder if those folks talk the same at home.

And, while we’re at it, why don’t we throw in those radio DJs whose lame jokes do little to brighten our days. If you’re using a laugh soundtrack, you know who you are.

King Juan Carlos: “¿Por qué no te callas?”

Letters to the Editor Return to the Frontpage