Today, The Providence Journal followed up on its previous report about the joke Rhode Island House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson made about Guatemalans at a private Providence Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week. The Guatemalan government as well as national Guatemalan organizations in the U.S. have demanded that Watson, a Republican from East Greenwich, apologize for the joke he when discussing legislative priorities. At that luncheon, Watson said the following:
I guess that if you are a Guatemalan gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana, you probably think we’re onto some good ideas here.
According to the ProJo, the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign affairs called the joke “the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the remarks “a direct insult to the entire Guatemalan community which is a great asset to the State of Rhode Island” in a letter translated from Spanish.
In addition, the article included comments from several Guatemalan organizations in the U.S., including Chicago’s National Guatemalan Immigrants Movement (MIGUA) and the Guatemalan-American Alliance of Rhode Island. According to the article, Robert Gómez, president of MIGUA, said the following:
[Watson’s] sarcastic words using our community as a joke were totally unsuitable when speaking at a formal public event. [The remarks are]a reflection of the current hatred and racism that is embedded in our political system and, unfortunately, minorities and foreigners are always the targets.
It was also reported that Gómez and David A. Quiroa, president of the Guatemalan-American Alliance of Rhode Island, will hold a press conference tomorrow, February 16.
JRV.com contacted Watson for a comment about this story, but he has not responded as of this afternoon.