The Spanish Consul in Washington DC has been fired for mocking the Andalucía regional president’s local accent on social media.
Enrique Sardá had criticised Susana Díaz (PSOE) for wearing a red dress similar to the one sported by Queen Letizia when the two women attended a public engagement in Málaga on July 24.
He wrote his message phonetically in the andaluz accent, which has often been, controversially, parodied on TV sitcoms for its rural lilt, elision of the letter ‘s’ and ‘l’ – or the latter’s pronunciation as an ‘r’ – and slight lisp which makes its origin easy to identify.
The message Sardá posted on his Facebook site defies accurate translation, but the sense of it is along the lines of: “Swel’ering ‘ot summerrr. And look at t’bare-faced bad taste of ‘our Susi’. Look how she’s got ‘erself all dressed up just loike our ‘Letirzia’. Just shows she don’t know nowt ’bout protocol, being a leftie and a country bumpkin and what-not. We Andalucía people, we ain’t ‘appy and we wan’ ‘er to quit.”
A furious Sra Díaz (pictured) contacted foreign affairs minister Alfonso Dastis who, himself, is from Andalucía, having been born and grown up in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz province), and demanded explanations.
Upon hearing Sardá had been removed from his post, Díaz thanked the minister – who is on the opposing PP party – for his swift action in resolving the situation.
She tweeted a photo of the regional flag with the caption: “Proud to be from Andalucía and proud of my regional accent.”
Vice-president of Andalucía Manuel Jiménez Barrios said: “Unfortunately, we people of Andalucía have got used to being the target of mickey-taking and inappropriate comments by various political leaders who resort to clichés and prejudice to show their contempt for our region, so now that the government has decided not to turn a blind eye to these insults, we can only thank the minister for his decision.
“An individual in a role of public responsibility is expected to behave with due courtesy and in line with their condition of representative as granted to them by the people of Spain, and clearly, [the Consul] is not up to the job.
“He is not just an ordinary citizen availing himself of his right to freedom of speech whilst making an unfortunate statement; he is a diplomatic representative of the government of Spain in one of the most prominent capital cities in the world, that of the USA.”
But Jiménez Barrios says it is ‘a shame’ that the story has gone viral in the media, since this ‘merely serves to tarnish the reputation of Andalucía’s good name and its president’ by perpetuating the joke at the latter’s expense.