By Emilio J. Lopez.


The vitality of Spanish, the most thriving language of international communication after English, has beaten back the "political foolishness" of "English only" campaigns in the United States seeking to reduce its usage as a foreign and alien language, two experts said in Miami on Thursday.

More than 50 million Hispanics and their enormous purchasing power have made this community into the largest U.S. minority - comprising 16 percent of the population - and converted the "English only" topic into something not worth the paper it's printed on, Humberto Lopez Morales, the general secretary of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, or ASALE, told Efe.

Lopez Morales is one of the experts participating in the colloquium entitled "El futuro del idioma español" (The future of the Spanish language), being held on Thursday at Miami's Freedom Tower and where issues like the expansive effect of the Spanish language and its future are being discussed.

In the opinion of Lopez Morales, who holds honorary doctorates at several American and European universities, Spanish is nowadays the most valuable capital possessed by Hispano-American nations and, "the attempt to halt its presence in the U.S. has no future."

Along those lines, he expressed his conviction that "of all the places in the world, it's precisely the United States where Spanish has the most triumphant future," with a Latino community that "is not ashamed to be (Hispanic) as in other periods, but rather quite the contrary."

Lopez Morales said that, apart from the demographic factor, the "economic power of Hispanics" is significant as well as their presence in the academic sphere.

"Hispanics are no longer that little group that came to the U.S. to pick tomatoes for a dollar (an hour). On the contrary, the statistics for university doctorates are growing continually and in the world of culture there are a large number of important names," said the professor at a symposium that was one of the events held at the 10th anniversary of Miami Dade College's Center for Literature and Theater.

Miami Dade College president Eduardo J. Padron, for his part, told Efe that, since its inception, the institution has been the "best ally of those who confronted the political foolishness of 'English Only'" in Miami-Dade County.

The relationship of Spanish to English is "harmonious, nothing aggressive, completely reconcilable," Padron said.

"For the first time in U.S. history, bilingualism is an alternative pushed by the economy and by the bounties of such a diverse culture" like the Hispanic one, the MDC president said. EFE