“Since you are not experienced in things of the world, all things that are a bit difficult seem impossible to you. Trust time; it usually provides a sweet way out of many bitter challenges.”
-Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Antonio Banderas was the winner of the Honorary Award at the prestigious PLATINO Awards of Iberoamerican Cinema this year. The Spanish actor repudiated Donald Trump’s comments in which he characterized Mexicans as delinquents. Banderas defended Latin and Iberoamerican culture in his inspiring acceptance speech, which we have translated for your reading pleasure:

Thank you. Receiving this PLATINO award is obviously an honor, especially since I’m receiving it from the hands of a legend, Rita Moreno; indeed it is a great privilege.

From my Phoenician, Muslim, Roman, and Picassian Málaga, on my father’s side, and Zambrinian, on my mother’s side, I send my regards to all the Latin communities with which I unite not just in the same tongue, but also in our shared desire to dream, and of doing it through the big screen in movement, that is what we call cinema.

Whether I want to or not, I must acknowledge that receiving an award comes with a mountain of vain temptations against which one must fight as Don Quixote fought against the windmills, or giants, of his Manchegan land. And although I was born in Andalusian lands, in Málaga, which, for me, is a dream come true, I have always believed myself to share with that gentleman of sad figure, the foolish insanity, the irrepressible yearnings, and the eager vocation for adventure.

Today I am so happy and excited to receive this recognition, for which I am grateful from the bottom of my heart, as I am of receiving so many friends, so much talent, to whom I hope my Malagan land will open the door and treat with the same affection with which I have been treated in each of the Latin countries in which I have had the good fortune of working.

Seven movies in Mexico, three in Argentina, one in Venezuela, one in Chile, one in Colombia and one in Puerto Rico, in which I was able to share with large teams of professionals a way to make cinema, and a way of understanding life.

But the great change has not been produced yet. The great leap has not been taken. It was really the United States, it must be acknowledged, which little by little has given possibilities to Hispanic talent, and some of us who are present here have benefited from this fact—give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to Hispanics what is ours. It is there, I repeat, where I begin to comprehend the real dimension, the universal character, the indubitable potential, and the uncontainable strength of what is Latin.

That place where, despite Mr. Donald Trump’s noxious and absolutely reproachable interest in kicking our behinds, a crucible of communities that speak the Cervantean tongue reunite, not only enriching the cultural life of the country, but also contributing values supported in their own dignity, hard work, sacrifice, and the powerful aftertaste of feeling united against no one.

Indeed, without confrontations, with an open heart, with curiosity as our flag, and with the clear idea that, although we all love our respective countries of origin, we can, without a doubt, embrace the idea of the Latin and the pride of feeling Hispanic.

I think that these PLATINO Awards are a platform to begin a journey that helps us consolidate the respect that Latin cinematography has acquired, that allows us to reclaim our tongue in productions, and that makes us strong so that we are able to compete in equality of circumstances. No more and no less.

No one will value us if we don’t do it ourselves.

I will end with Cervantes and his Don Quixote who, from his dreaming and at times lucid mind, would say:

“Since you are not experienced in things of the world, all things that are a bit difficult seem impossible to you. Trust time; it usually provides a sweet way out of many bitter challenges.”

Noelia Rodríguez-Quiñones

Author Noelia Rodríguez-Quiñones

Ms. Rodríguez’s interest in serving immigrant communities began with her experience as a member of the Puerto Rican diaspora. As a law student, her culture and language allowed her to easily connect with Spanish-speaking immigrants. During her years in law school and upon graduation, Ms. Rodríguez had the honor and privilege of working on behalf of farmworkers, detainees, families, and individuals who were in need of her legal assistance.

More posts by Noelia Rodríguez-Quiñones

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