The Environmental Protection Agency commemorated the start of Hispanic Heritage Month with a picture of Che Guevara and a bit of plagiarism.
An internal email obtained by BuzzFeed and distributed to agency employees marking the start of the celebration of Hispanic culture this Saturday, featured the above image of a horse and buggy passing a billboard of the Marxist revolutionary, in addition to a listing of facts about Hispanic culture.
“Hispanic people are vibrant, socializing and fun loving people,” one entry reads. “Among various facts associated to this culture is that they have a deep sense of involvement in their family traditions and cultures.”
But that text and the photo appear to be lifted word-for-word and without attribution from the website Buzzle.com.
To: OSWER Everyone, OPP ALL, Eugene Green/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, ORD-NCER
From: Susie Goldring/DC/USEPA/US
Date: 09/13/2012 02:51PM
Subject: Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic news you can use!
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.
Over the past decades, the Hispanic population in the USA has shown tremendous rise. For the uninitiated, Hispanics are people who have origins related to the country Spain. In the recent years, the term Hispanics is also used to categorize a larger group of population in the US who originally belonged to the nations ruled by Spain.
Besides that, various parts of Central and Southern American countries, Mexico and even Philippines have cultures related to the Spanish origin. ‘Latinos’ or Latin Americans and people with Portuguese origin are also an integral part of Hispanic culture and traditions. California, Texas, New York, and Florida are the four states that constitute more than 70% of the total Hispanic population in the US. One of the most simple Hispanics culture facts is that majority of the Hispanic population speaks Spanish language.
Hispanic Culture in the United States
Hispanic people are vibrant, socializing and fun loving people. Among various facts associated to this culture is that they have a deep sense of involvement in their family traditions and cultures.
In Hispanic families, there is a culture of living in closely knit groups that not only contains grandfathers and grandchildren but all generations whose descendants are alive. In most of the families, father acts as a chief of the family while mother works as a housewife. All adults and working individuals in Hispanic family realize the importance of work and they make efforts to help other family members in times of need that may be related to education, health and other requirements. The family ties are strengthened by traveling to relatives places and homes during vacations and holidays. Relatives and acquaintances are given lot of care and respect.
Hispanics are generally formal in their treatments and a firm handshake is a common practice between people. A light kiss on cheek and hug are also common forms of greeting close acquaintances, family members and friends. When Hispanics are addressing someone with informal words, generally they are very fast, loud and use a lot of body language gestures to convey their points.
Religion plays a significant role in the daily life of Hispanics with more than 90% of the population being Roman Catholic. Churches and spiritual activities influence family activities and families unite together to involve in prayers and sermons. More than birthday’s of children, the saint’s day of every community is celebrated with great vigor and enthusiasm.
The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” According to the 2010 Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from the 2000 Census, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
Is the USA Becoming a Hispanic Country? http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/03/18/navarrette.hispanic.census/index.html?hpt=Sbin
Notable Hispanic-American Leaders and Activists http://www.infoplease.com/spot/hhmbio3.html
UPDATE: Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, blasted the agency in a statement:
Heritage Month, Ros-Lehtinen Says That Che Image Is An Insult To Countless People
Who Lost Family Members Because Of His Evil & Twisted Acts
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) issued the following statement condemning an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) internal department email with a Che Guevara image in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
I am aghast and upset that a federal agency would send an email depicting el Che Guevara in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This Administration just doesn’t seem to get it. The image of Che is an insult to countless people who lost family members because of his evil and twisted acts.
El Che was a blood thirsty, vengeful, cowardly, sadistic, two bit delinquent who used his position as enforcer in chief of the Castro brothers to send countless innocent persons before the firing squads. His role in the early part of the disastrous calamity that befell the Cuban nation known as the Castro Revolution is well documented and those who ignore it do so willingly so as not to tarnish their love affair with the dictatorship of the Castro brothers.
Surely, the EPA could have chosen the image of a Hispanic person who really possessed the attributes that showcase our proud Hispanic heritage. This sad and unnecessary episode encompasses all that is wrong with this Administration: Their priorities are backwards and their allegiances border on the fringe of society with a leftist fanatical slant that is worrisome and not descriptive of our great nation.
UPDATE: An EPA spokesperson sends this statement on the email:
“The email was drafted and sent by an individual employee, and without official clearance. Shortly after sending the email in question the individual apologized to her colleagues for the inadvertent error.”
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The reductive taxonomy of the “Hispanic” is more offensive than the image. In fact, I do not find the Che image offensive or “insulting” at all. But I understand why he is so polemical a figure. Therein lies the problem of claiming a shared heritage amongst such a diverse group; no matter the historical figure being touted, there will be many people honored and many people offended.
Next time, I recommend using the image of some inoffensive pop-cultural figure like Salma Hayek or something, haha.
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