'Latino, Si--Hispanic, No'

November 24, 1985

Frank del Olmo's column (Editorial Pages, Oct. 25), "Latino, Si--Hispanic, No," should be deeply appreciated by those familiar with longstanding U.S. policy in distinguishing between Latin-American and Hispano-American interpretations of our Western Hemispheric community-of-interests.

The characterization of persons of Latin-American extraction as "Hispanics" is out of phase with what the peoples of this hemisphere have proven they respond to.

Throughout World War II it was an Axis objective to cause confrontation with Pan-Americanism by promoting the lie that Hispano-Americanism more correctly reflected Latin-American sentiments.

In fact, the Franco-Spain export of Falange (fascist) propaganda was keyed to the Axis Fifth Column, fortunately rejected by the peoples it was trying to turn away from the Allies.

Pan-Americanism was easy to mock: What were Canada and the United States doing among so many nations whose antecedent roots were more Spanish, Portuguese, and French, than Anglo-Saxon in origin?

But it was easier to mock than to upset: Pan-Americanism was a declaration of Inter-Americanism, of a mutuality of purpose as to social, political, economic and security goals. Latin American--not Hispanic-American--democratic influences are trebly enriched from our American and French Revolutions, and from the triumphs of Simon Bolivar. Thus, Latin-America attained its dominant identity and, as opposed to Hispanic-American negativism, helped with that war beyond the extent that most Norteamericanos then or now could appreciate.

The Del Olmo piece will develop new harmonic effects in awakening all peoples to the realization that U.S. policy is inter-American in its objectives, and not reflective of the colonialism that resides so artlessly in the Hispanic label.


North Hollywood

Los Angeles Times Articles