Spanish-Language Papers Call For Attorney General Gonzales to Resign

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Two big ImpreMedia-owned newspapers, the daily La Opini?n in Los Angeles and the Chicago weekly La Raza, argue in a common editorial that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign.

“The firing of the U.S. attorneys is sufficient cause for doubting his capacity for distinguishing his loyalty to President George W. Bush from his duty to citizens,” the editorial, which La Raza published in both Spanish and English, says. “But the straw that broke the camels back is the contradiction between his testimony that he was unaware of what his subordinates had done and his active participation in the meetings, as evidenced by the department’s internal communications.”

Gonzales in past years had been a source of pride for some Spanish-language papers and Hispanic commentators writing in English because of his personal achievements in becoming the first Hispanic counsel to the president, and then the first to become attorney general.

In a Spanish-language column headlined “Pride and Deception,” published in the Chicago edition of Tribune Co.-owned Hoy, Sergio Mu?oz said two years ago Gonzales was “the pride and hope of the Latino community.”

Gonzales’ ascent was “a double triumph,” Mu?oz wrote: “Not only was he was the first Latino attorney general, but he was the first Latino to occupy one of the four most important seats in the presidential cabinet.”

But with many in Congress calling for his resignation as a result of the U.S. attorney firings, the columnist added, “Latino leadership needs to join” in that demand. “Gonzales not only has let down the community — he’s let down the nation,” Mu?oz, an editorial writer with the Los Angeles Times, wrote.

On the other hand, Gonzales is strongly defended by nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr., who wrote in a column distributed Wednesday that the case against the attorney general “is slowly falling apart.” Gonzales, he adds, is “being unfairly castigated by — among others — white liberals who have long opposed him because they couldn’t claim credit for his achievements.”

“Gonzales certainly should not allow himself to be run out of Washington by newspaper editorial boards, columnists or network pundits who have assured us, early and often, that his goose is cooked,” Navarrette wrote in an earlier column. ” In fact, these opinion-shapers have been so emphatic in making this point that they haven’t gotten around to explaining just why this is the case. They seem more interested in advancing their view than in learning what really happened.”

But La Opini?n and La Raza argue that Gonzales has hurt his own credibility on the U.S. attorneys issue. “The attorney General must maintain a minimum of credibility to serve not just the president of the United States, but also the citizens who expect the law to be enforced,” the editorial says.

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