Prince Felipe touts Spanish contribution to U.S. identity at Miami book fair
Spain's crown prince on Sunday evening in Miami called the contribution of Hispanic culture to the common U.S. identity "decisive" and noted that Spanish, which is spoken by 500 million people around the world and 50 million in the United States alone, is the language of an "open, diverse and dynamic" community.
Prince Felipe's words were delivered at the culmination of his inauguration of the Miami Book Fair International, the main U.S. literary event, where the heir to the Spanish crown and his wife, Princess Letizia, presided after arriving from Los Angeles, the first leg of their official U.S. tour.
"Things Hispanic, with its culture and values and things Spanish ... make a decisive contribution to the ... U.S. identity," the prince said.
Felipe acknowledged the extraordinarily warm welcome given to the royal couple by the 1,500 people packing Miami's Olympia Theater during a speech that he delivered using both English and Spanish.
He used Spanish when recalling that the Iberian tongue is now a worldwide language the secondmostused in international communication and is spoken by almost 500 million people of "multiple nationalities and geographies."
In that sense, the state of Florida, is Felipe said "a faithful reflection of that variety ... and of the enriching coexistence of an Hispanic identity with others of much different origins."
He also referred to Miami as "a city with a multitude of accents in ... Spanish: Cubans, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans," not to mention many Spaniards and citizens of other nations of IberoAmerica "attracted by the dynamism of this great city."
The Miami Book Fair International this year is dedicated to Spain on the 500th anniversary of the discovery by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon of the peninsula he dubbed "La Florida."
The annual cultural event was founded 30 years ago by Miami Dade College and community partners and, since then, has been recognized as the nation's finest literary festival.
A large number literary and cultural events are scheduled at the Fair's Spanish Pavilion this week, all of them sponsored by the Spanish government, and the royal couple visited the pavilion after the inaugural ceremony on Sunday.
This was the first event attended by the royal couple in Florida. On Monday, they will be presented with the keys to the city by Mayor Tomas Regalado, will visit the main studios of the Univision media network and after meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott will preside at a dinner at the SpainFlorida Foundation.
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