WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department on Thursday held its first press conference in Spanish, an initiative that promises to be repeated with a certain regularity to respond to the “Hispanic interest” in Washington’s foreign policy.
The acting assistant secretary for Public Affairs, Mike Hammer, whose mother is Spanish and who lived for a time in Bolivia, was tasked with dealing with the media in Spanish.
The decision to respond to questions in Spanish emerged from the interviews that Hammer has given over the past two years, both at the State Department in his earlier post as spokesman for the White House National Security Council and in those in which reporters expressed their interest in having a press conference in that language.
“We’re considering that proposal and Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton thought that it would be a good idea because what we’re trying to do is communicate U.S. foreign policy to the world and obviously there is an interest in the Hispanic world in that,” said Hammer before a large group of reporters.
The aim of the department is to hold this type of press conference “many times” and it is even considering making it a monthly event with the press, which could allow greater discussion of issues pertaining to Latin America that do not always find space at the daily press briefing.
In the meeting on Thursday, Hammer responded to questions about Cuba and its exclusion from next month’s Americas Summit in Colombia, the lack of sanctions against Syria by Brazil and the inclusion of Argentina among the countries where the United States is concerned about money laundering. EFE