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Peruvian speaker focuses on Hispanic advantages

Oct. 13, 2000

Journalist says U.S. offers more



Journalist Guillermo Descalzi spoke about the 'Hispanic experience in America' Thursday night as part of the Hispanic Heritage Banquet, the main event of Baylor's 13th annual Hispanic Heritage Month.

'I see a vast difference between a Hispanic in America and a Hispanic south of the border,' said Descalzi, chief correspondent for national news with the Spanish-language television network, Telemundo.

Hispanic Americans have a dignity that evades the general population of Latin America, he said.

The theme of Hispanic Heritage Month this year is 'Educandonos Unidos Para Obtener Un Futuro Mejor,' or 'Educating Ourselves to Obtain a Better Future.'

Descalzi said Hispanic Americans have an opportunity to become themselves and discover who they are in the United States, an opportunity the lower classes in Latin America will never have.

'How many people can become themselves in the midst of poverty and squalor?' Descalzi asked.

The upper classes in Latin America shun work and maintain a snobbish attitude of disdain toward the lower classes and the lower classes feel subjugated and inferior,' Descalzi said.

'You're a taxi driver in New York, you're a gentleman,' Descalzi said. 'If you're a taxi driver in Mexico City, you're nothing.'

He called it a 'social schizophrenia' -- a disease of the soul made of a mix of social arrogance and feelings of inferiority and 'quiet desperation' immobilizing Latin America.

Hispanic Americans are called to turn and 'rescue' Latin America with a 'cure by example,' Descalzi said. He also said Hispanic Americans have to overcome self-preoccupation.

'Take yourselves out of the altar of your own lives and install truth and love in the middle,' he said. 'Truth and love fulfill because they belong to God. They are like two sides that line the road to God.'

Descalzi, originally from Peru, is the former host of Occurio Asi, a Telemundo investigative news magazine, and has worked for NBC and the Spanish television network Univision. Today, Descalzi hosts America en Vivo.