They denounce a racist incident against Puerto Ricans in Wisconsin

Washington – “Here we speak in English” and “we don’t have to listen to music in Spanish”, insisted a woman from Wisconsin who a few days ago harassed a group of Puerto Ricans from that state.

Amid the racial tensions that have flared up in the United States during Donald Trump’s presidency, Ramón Luis Cancel and three of his friends lived firsthand as victims of ethnic and racial prejudice.

The incident went viral on social media. “We were having a nice day,” said Cancel to El Nuevo Día, a resident of the Wisconsin Dells town, in a telephone interview.

A native of Caguas, Cancel is one of the tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who emigrated from Puerto Rico after the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Maria.

The hotel company he worked for on the island offered him temporary accommodation and work in the Wisconsin Dells, known for their tourist attractions and less than two hours from Milwaukee.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he was out of work from March 17 until last Sunday. But, before rejoining the hotel, Cancel took advantage of the best temperature since the summer of 2019 on May 20 to go to the ‘beach’ with his friends Carlos Yamil González, Héctor Matos and Vanesa León.

Delton Lake, six minutes from its town and which for its neighbors is the closest ‘beach’, was full of people, many of them Latin Americans.

The afternoon was happily going until a white, non-Hispanic, American woman, who said she had been fishing, came to harass them simply because she could not tolerate listening to the music in Spanish, which echoed throughout the area. “He came to us because we were (among the different groups of Latinos) who were closest,” said Cancel.

The woman made hateful expressions. “Republicans who love Mr. Donald Trump don’t want to hear this ‘fucking shit’ … It’s not American music. This is America … and it’s spoken in English,” he said, among other things.

Cancel started recording about a minute after the woman started harassing them. In the video, you can hear, he said, the voice of a Mexican who came to tell the lady that he was harassing Puerto Ricans, US citizens.

Two years ago, in June 2018, the young Puerto Rican MiaIrizarry, then 24 years old, faced similar expressions of hatred in a Cook County (Illinois) park when a man, who was later identified as Tymothy Trybus, He harassed for wearing a T-shirt with the flag of Puerto Rico.

Irizarry recorded the incident and Trybus was convicted of a hate crime and sentenced to two years on probation. A park policeman who did nothing to prevent Trybus’s verbal attacks had to resign.

The Puerto Ricans of Wisconsin who were victims of the recent incident do not know who the woman was and have not thought of bringing charges. Cancel maintained that despite the unpleasant experience they only received solidarity from other people who were in the park and their coworkers

Cancel affirmed that the harassment for ethnic reasons “one sees it on the internet, in the news and thinks that one is not going to touch it, because one cannot believe that there are such people, so racist.”


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