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Lesson Learned

After a process of introspection, reflection and analysis, this newspaper understands that the column written by Wilda Rodríguez, entitled "What does ‘the Jew’ want with the colony?” published on January 8 in the Opinion pages of El Nuevo Día is contrary to our publishing policies because its content appeals to prejudiced and anti-Semitic feelings and attitudes.

We deeply apologize to the Puerto Rican and international Jewish community for the publication of that column, which has been removed from our website. Neither our company nor the family that runs it share the personal opinion of the columnist.

El Nuevo Día aspires to be a pillar of freedom of expression in our democracy. Above all, we respect the dignity of every human being and the diversity of ideas. But freedom of expression comes with responsibilities. Freedom of expression and press freedom should not be vehicles that promote discrimination. Our mission is to work towards a more broad-minded and unbiased society, where open dialogue prevails. The unfortunate experience of the publication of the column and the numerous voices that have protested against that publication have led us to a serious process of reflection. The lesson has been learned.

The Anti-Defamation League, in reaction to the publication of the column, exposed it in the following way in a statement already published on our platforms: “This is not the first time that confronted with an economic crisis Jews are accused of controlling the power and money.” The statement adds that the column "follows the worst legacies of anti-Semitic regimes that we would like to have left behind in the 20th century.”

The Puerto Rican experience with our Jewish community has always been very positive. In fact, after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the Jewish community on the island, together with the Jewish community of the United States, moved quickly and decisively to help us in the time of our greatest need in more than a century. Israel has quietly sent air aid as well as rescue workers and medical personnel, in addition to assist in the reconstruction of houses on the island.

In Congress, the voices of Senator Charles Schumer, New York, and Bernie Sanders, Vermont, joined Puerto Ricans Nydia Velázquez and Luis Gutiérrez when requesting help for American citizens of Puerto Rico.

They are gestures of solidarity and humanity that we appreciate. They have done more to help Puerto Rico after the hurricane than Senators Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch or Speaker Paul Ryan.

The problem of Puerto Rico has nothing to do with the Jews. We Puerto Ricans are responsible for being where we are: among other things, for accepting corrupt politicians, for allowing nepotism and for being indifferent to the inefficiency of the government. We are where we are for tolerating a government that spends more than it has and that has mortgaged the island for generations and a Congress that cares very little about what happens to Puerto Rico. That is the reality. It has nothing to do with being Jewish.

Learning from our mistakes are lessons that make us better human beings. That is what we will do by opening an open-minded conversation and accepting our responsibility: the column should never have been published.

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