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US Anthem in Spanish Sparks Controversy


A new Spanish version of the United States national anthem has added to the controversy over the role of immigrants in U.S. culture.

The Spanish version of the National Anthem is called "Nuestro Himno" or "Our Song." It features Latino stars Carlos Ponce, Gloria Trevi and others singing a loose translation of the "Star-Spangled Banner."

The recording has sparked controversy because it rewrites some of the original English lyrics, using phrases such as "we are equal; we are brothers." The song's release also coincides with a nationwide boycott to support immigration reforms.

President Bush told a recent news conference that he objected to the Spanish version of the U.S. anthem.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English and I think people who want to be a citizen ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," stated Mr. Bush.

Not everyone agrees. Leo Chavez, an anthropologist at the University of California in Irvine, says the song celebrates immigrants to the United States.

"No matter what language you sing it in, it's a beautiful statement about people who are saying look, we are here, we really want to make a positive contribution, we're not criminals."

Still, many Americans, such as Albert Barrios of Los Angeles, think the anthem is disrespectful in any language other than English. "I am Latino, Chicano, American -- and I think it should probably be sung in English just so that we know that we are genuinely American."

One Los Angeles Spanish-language radio station reported that 60 percent of its Hispanic listeners did not think the anthem should be sung in any language except English.

British music producer Adam Kidron distributed "Nuestro Himno" to Spanish-language radio stations across the United States. Mr. Kidron said in a statement that he released the song to help those who do not speak English understand the ideals of freedom expressed in the U.S. national anthem.

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