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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la cena ofrecida por la Fundación de Cultura Hispánica

EE.UU.(Albuquerque. Nuevo México), 21.10.2000

D

istinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

In 1706, Francisco Cuervo y Valdés, Provisional Governor of New Mexico, begged the Crown's permission to found a new city in which to settle the colonists who since 1540 had been making their homes in this area in the Great Forest of San Francisco Javier. He was told that he would require at least 30 families for the enterprise.

With only 18 families available, Don Francisco was forced to rely on his wits. He wrote to the current Viceroy of New Spain, Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, Duke of Albuquerque, and proposed that in exchange for his authorization to found a new city, that city should bear his name. The account he gave the Viceroy of the number of colonists available owed more to wishful thinking than to mathematical precision.

And so Albuquerque was brought into being. A glance around me now suffices to reassure me that Don Francisco Cuervo's problem has been resolved, and that the great city that has offered us so warm and friendly a welcome today is a model of prosperity and dynamism. I am sure that the organizers of this event feel it is just as well that they did not have to arrange a fundraiser in Don Francisco's time.

Mr. Governor,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is such a great pleasure to be here tonight and to be once again in Albuquerque, a city which still preserves reminders of the strong ties that once bound New Mexico and the Spanish Crown, a city where now, in the dawn of a new century, the common interests uniting Spaniards and New Mexicans are once again palpable.

Over the past few days we have attended a number of events under a true spirit of "reencuentro" which we have all together succeeded in generating. I must say that thanks to the good offices of Ambassador Romero at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid a growing number of New Mexicans have expressed a desire to know more about Spain, about the language and culture we all share. And so we Spaniards are now here to show a more active presence in New Mexico thanks to your most generous offer of hospitality.

During these days of fruitful gathering, we have been able to cover a lot of ground and to plant some significant milestones.

The foundation of a Endowed Chair of Information Science and Technology at New Mexico State University, thanks to the generous contribution of the Spanish company Iberdrola and the endowment of three post-graduate scholarships granted by the University of New Mexico, are a clear indication of the common outlook and future that we share in information science and its new applications, a field of vital importance for the future.

We have also visited the impressive National Hispanic Cultural Center and participated in its grand opening this morning. (What a great event ! My sincere congratulations to all of you). It will surely become the most unique and appreciated meeting place for the different cultures that form the New Mexican mosaic and an ideal forum for all those interested in the rich historic and cultural heritage of New Mexico to share cultural experiences. As I mentioned this morning Spain is represented at that Center here today by our Center for Education Resources, and our presence will be even greater now that a section of the Cervantes Institute has been incorporated at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Through the Cervantes Institute, which is the institutional vehicle whereby Spain makes her language, literature and culture known abroad, we now have the opportunity to foster a better understanding of Spanish creativity in New Mexico.

But as our hosts, I am convinced that your collaboration and interest in these institutions will also be necessary to help build these latest New Mexican ventures into a solid Spanish presence in the city of Albuquerque, where the facilities they offer can prosper and improve to the benefit of us all.

I would also like to mention the fruitful collaboration already existing between the Spanish Ministry of Education and the State of New Mexico. We have agreements with the Department of Education of New Mexico, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, the National Hispanic Cultural Center which is being inaugurated today, and with the Pueblo people. Furthermore, thanks to that collaboration there are now 24 teachers from Spain working in New Mexico, 28 American teachers participating in summer programs in Spain, and a number of other cultural and linguistic activities.

Allow me now to say a word about the working lunch that I had a few hours ago with the Council for the Pueblo people. As Prince of Asturias and heir to the Spanish Crown, I was specially pleased and honored to have the opportunity of expressing my respect and admiration to the governing representatives of the sovereign indigenous nations, the original settlers of this land. They were recognized as such by Crown during the Spanish presence in New Mexico, and now that we are once again face to face, I attach special importance to the message of peace and well-being that I bring from Spain to these authorities and their peoples. This encounter in itself marks the burial of past attitudes and past confrontations that today would be as unnecessary as they are unthinkable.

Two years go, when Governor Johnson suggested the possibility of a trip to New Mexico, I knew that I would make that journey before long. This is a part of the country that I will always visit with the greatest of interest and pleasure, since my connections with the State and institutions of New Mexico go back quite some time. I recall specially my acceptance to serve as Honorary President of this Foundation, whose grand Gala brings us here tonight. That invitation by Arturo Ortega, and all what I have experienced here these days has served to for ever identify myself with your endeavors.

Permítame que ahora sitúe mi presencia hoy aquí, en Nuevo México, en Albuquerque, en el marco más amplio de las relaciones entre España y los Estados Unidos de América. Como todos Vds. saben, las relaciones entre los dos países han alcanzado grados significativos de amistad y de colaboración. Pero es ciertamente el deseo de todos los españoles que en el futuro inmediato esas relaciones se configuren, si cabe todavía más, en el marco de una atención preferente marcada no sólo por la historia común sino sobre todo por el profundo espacio común de principios, de ideas y de comportamientos, que rigen nuestras dos sociedades. Y es precisamente en esa renovada relación bilateral en donde encuentra sitio de privilegio la acrecentada influencia cualitativa y cuantitativa de la comunidad hispana en los Estados Unidos de América.

As a primary element of that bilateral relationship we observe with pride and support the rise of the Spanish language within your community. But we consider the language only a vehicle for a specific culture and set of values that we hope could make an even greater contribution to the achievements of the different communities and ethnic groups as loyal members of society here in the U.S. When, a few years back, I was asked to put a foreword in the memoirs of Don Pedro Baptista Pino, published by the University of New Mexico Press, I stressed: "The preservation of the Spanish Language is an integral part of the Spanish legacy important not only for the Hispanic Community in New Mexico, whose roots with Spain date back in some cases several generations, but also for the new American with a Hispanic origin. This Hispanic population now living in the Southwest and in many other States has its roots, as was the case with Pedro Baptista Pino himself in countries south of the Rio Grande which kept strong cultural and historical links with Spain".

Although figures speak by themselves and it is not superfluous to acknowledge that approximately 30 million Americans speak Spanish, it will be unfair to limit its cultural impact to demographic factors and I do believe that we are about to see a growing presence of Hispanic cultural elements in the American society. Without even noticing, in many areas of the United States they have already adopted some elements of our material culture, including farming, irrigation and breeding skills, architectural features which are more visible here but more and more present in other areas; and maybe one of the major tasks of the Hispanic Culturel Foundation is to make these facts more widely known. If one comes to think about it, a good part of what is seen abroad as typical of the American culture has its roots in the Hispanic culture.

The growing presence of Spanish in American society is undoubtedly enriching and positive and could eventually make a large part of the United States a bilingual society. The Spanish language should not distort, but rather secure and reinforce the strong ties that make the US a great and pluralistic nation.

This Hispanic revival recalls events and declarations which are closely bound up with the very history of the United States of America. It is perhaps appropriate to recall here an often-quoted example in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to his nephew Peter Carr in August 10th 1787. This founder of America wrote: "Bestow great attention on the Spanish language, and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America will render that language a valuable acquisition."

Just a few months ago the King of Spain, in his State Visit to the US, quoted David Weber's words regarding the depth of our historic ties. Weber said: "Through the length and the breadth of this great country, names of States, counties, cities, rivers, valleys, mountains and other natural landmarks testify, from California to Cape Canaveral, to the Spanish origin of America." And the King added: "Today Spanish is expanding in many cities of this country, it is read and heard on the streets and in shopping centers, in the media and in advertising. This way American society, which is becoming progressively bilingual, greatly enriches its cultural origins and once more reaffirms its open and generous pluralistic nature. It is the language of Cervantes, but also that of so many other men and women in the large family of nations that extends on both sides of the Atlantic and reaches 400 million people."

I would like to place the activities that bring us together today within the broader context of the responsibility shared by our two countries, Spain and the United States, now more than ever united in brotherhood by the renewed vigor of a shared history and an ever stronger shared future.

The Hispanic Culture Foundation knows that it can count on my support in the noble task of promoting the culture shared by Spain and New Mexico. The horizon before us promises great things. And I am convinced that we will not be found wanting in the historic challenge of really making them happen.

Congratulations an thank yor for your generosity!

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