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Letter To CL Readers 

Was writer a victim of "censorship"?

Editor's Note: Last week, CL elected to shorten Rafael Prieto Zartha's "My People" column rather than run what we felt was incomplete and/or inaccurate information. Here is Mr. Zartha's take on the matter. His entire original column can be found -- both in English and Spanish -- in the latest issue of Mi Gente and on the Web site

The unedited column can also be found here. For Tara Servatius' detailed response, click here.

I want to express my sadness due to the censorship of my last column in CL's previous issue. When I started writing "My People," I was asked to present an average of 600 words. However, the final version of my opinion piece published this last week just had 313. The article was cut dead. It was sliced in half, losing completely its point and purpose. Discussing the issue with Carolyn Butler, CL Charlotte's publisher (as well as news reporter Tara Servatius and interim editor Matt Brunson), she invited me to write my thoughts about what happened and what I wanted to express in the severed part. Here is what I have to say:

1) I respect Tara Servatius as a journalist and opinion writer. Even though I do not agree with her points of view, her columns related with Hispanic topics have been accurately translated and published -- word for word -- in Spanish in its full length in the pages of Mi Gente.

2) Before I wrote the column, I spoke with several immigration lawyers and I did read Michael J. Maxwell's testimony to Congress as well the Ombudsman of USCIS June report.

3) As I said in the column: "Unfortunately, we do not live in Alice's Wonderland but in a real world where immigration authorities do not give away documents like lollipops in a kindergarten party."

4) Maxwell, the USCIS's whistle blower, may be a patriot and a reliable source about terrorism, but his opinions in reference to any program to regularize undocumented immigrants are questionable by his liaisons with anti-immigrant organizations.

5) His lawyer, Rosemary Jenks, is known for giving frequent legislative assistance to the Immigration Reform Caucus chaired by Congressman Tom Tancredo. Plus, she is a former senior fellow of the Center for Immigration Studies and present director of Government Relations for Numbers USA, two main national restrictionist organizations.

6) I am waiting for Maxwell to reveal the name of the first naturalized Hispanic citizen who is a member of a terrorist organization conspiring against the US. Among the two million Hispanics legalized through the 1986 Amnesty, no one has been charged with terrorism. Neither has this happened with the 100,000 agricultural guest workers who have picked tomatoes, cucumbers, tobacco leafs and watermelons in North Carolina fields since the mid-1990s.


Rafael Prieto

Rafael Prieto Zartha is the editor of the Charlotte-based Spanish-language newspaper Mi Gente.

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