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Radio Derb Is On The Air: The Powerball Winner Who Can`t Speak English
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March 30, 2013, 03:42 PM
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Available as a podcast on iTunes, can be listened to or downloaded from Taki`s Magazine here, with a transcript you can read here.

In this week`s broadcast (which by the way is unusually long—nearly 50 minutes—mainly because there will be no broadcast next week) I congratulate Pedro Quezada of Passaic, NJ on winning the PowerBall lottery. My congratulations are, however, qualified:

We learn that Mr. Quezada moved to the U.S.A. from the Dominican Republic when he was 19 years old. He has now been in the States for 26 years. His wife is Mexican. Married nine years, they have five children. He owns a modest bodega in Passaic.

Quote from Fox News Latino: "Quezada was initially asked questions in Spanish and answered in Spanish before they were translated."

This puzzled me. If this was just a presser for Fox News Latino, why did it need translating?

I checked around, and ran the TV clip of the event. No, it wasn`t just for the Latino news, it was a general presser, with all the media represented. Some of the reporters` questions were in English; they had to be translated into Spanish for Mr. Quezada. Some others were in Spanish, which he answered right away, while people were calling out for translations.

I watched all 22m08s of that presser and I only heard Mr. Quezada say one word in English: "Yes," at 2m59s, in answer to the question, in English, "Is the bodega already closed?" So plainly he can understand a little English. Just as plainly, from the other 22m07s, not much.

Now Mr. Quezada, to judge from his demeanor at this press conference, is a very pleasant and modest man. He`s been working hard a lot of years for very little remuneration. He seems to be pious: He thanked God several times for his good fortune. The thing that happened to Mr. Quezada couldn`t have happened to a nicer fellow. His wife, who showed up for part of the presser, made an equally good impression. Good luck to them both.

Still I have to ask Mr. Quezada: The U.S.A. has been sensationally good to you. Could you not have spoken to us in our own language? After living in this country for 26 years, can it really be the case that you do not know enough of our national language even to say "Thank you"?

I also have to ask my own fellow citizens: What kind of country have we become, when you can live for 26 years in an American town, having arrived at age 19 when your mind is still nimble, and yet need to have simple English questions translated for you?