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Spanish chef José Andrés no longer alone in his fight against Trump

Former Mexican diplomat starts internet fund-raising drive to help pay Spaniard’s legal fees

Silvia Ayuso
Washington -
An image promoting the online fund-raising drive for Spanish chef José Andrés.
An image promoting the online fund-raising drive for Spanish chef José Andrés.

When Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés backed out of a deal to open a restaurant at Donald Trump’s new hotel in Washington DC in reaction against the Republican presidential candidate’s insulting remarks against Mexicans, the applause was loud and clear.

But when Trump this month announced that he had filed a $10 million lawsuit against the chef for breach of contract, few rushed to Andrés’ side.

One exception was Jorge Guajardo, a former Mexican diplomat who swung into action after he heard about the lawsuit filed in a DC federal court against Andrés, who owns the Jaleo chain of restaurants in the United States.

This is not just about giving financial help to José Andrés but also about sending a message to Trump” Mexican ex-diplomat Jorge Guajardo

Guajardo began a fund-raising drive on the internet to help pay for Andrés’ legal fees. By Tuesday, it had collected nearly $7,000 of its $100,000 goal.

“José Andrés made a brave decision by abandoning such an important project,” said the former diplomat. “As a Mexican, I really appreciate what he has done because we were the main ones attacked by Trump.”

In July, Andrés announced that he was canceling his plans to install one of his restaurants at the Trump International Hotel, which is scheduled to open next year at the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington DC.

The Spanish chef said he could not do business with anyone who makes “disparaging remarks” against the Latino-Hispanic community.

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In June when announcing his intentions to run for president, Trump said that illegal migration had become a national security problem and accused Mexico of being part of the issue for sending over “rapists” and “drug traffickers.”

“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing their problems,” he said.

On Sunday, Trump, who is now the frontrunner in major polls to earn the Republican presidential nomination, presented a hardline policy paper on illegal immigration in which he pledged to send home all of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the US if elected and force the Mexican government to pay for a border security wall. “I am going to see that it gets done,” he said.

Guajardo did not consult with Andrés about the fund drive, which he explains is a personal initiative.

“What I want to show is that the community has come together against Trump’s attacks. This is not just about giving financial help to José Andrés but also about sending a message to Trump that he cannot intimidate people who are against him.”

Meanwhile, two Democratic US congressmen, Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Tony Cárdenas of California, have sent letters to the US National Parks Service to prevent Trump from putting his name on the historic post office building, which is located near the White House.

The US Post Office Pavilion is located on federal land that is administered by the Parks Service, which falls under the Department of the Interior.

Gallego wrote in a tweet that “Trump’s name is linked with hateful rhetoric against women and immigrants and has no place being displayed on federal property in our capital.”

English version by Martin Delfin.

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