White House slammed over removing Spanish version of website

Madrid, Jan 24 (IANS) Spanish government ministers criticised the removal of the Spanish language version of the official White House website (www.whitehouse.gov) days after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th US President.

The Spanish version was replaced by a message “Sorry the page you’re looking for can’t be found” on Monday to the surprise of the 50 million Spanish speakers in the US and the 700 million Spanish speakers worldwide, Xinua news agency reported on Tuesday.

Spanish Minister for Education, Culture and Sports Inigo Mendez de Vigo said the White House move was “not good news,” while insisting it would “neither detain nor threaten the unstoppable diffusion” of the Spanish language.

“The knowledge and use of different languages in society is something that strengthens a country and shows its cultural riches,” he added.

Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis Quecedo said although the decision was an “internal” question for the US, it was one which “didn’t seem to be a good idea” and which he lamented.

Justice Minister Rafael Catala said the decision “made no sense,” adding that the Spanish government was watching events in the United States with “a certain disquiet.”

Susana Diaz, leader of the main Opposition Socialist Party in Andalusia, described the White House move as “an insult to the Hispanic community and an intolerable attack on the second language in the US.”

In the academic world, Victor Garcia de la Concha, director of the Cervantes Institute in Madrid, said the White House decision was “serious” and that US President Donald Trump was “rowing against the tide” concerning an increasing use of the Spanish language.