Friday, May 7, 2010

Anatomy of a Boycott, Part Two

In an earlier post titled Anatomy of a Boycott I included former El Paso mayor Raymond Caballero’s correspondence to US Airways detailing his position in boycotting Arizona-based businesses. Below is his more recent correspondence with the Mayo Clinic, an internationally known medical non-profit with a significant presence in Scottsdale, Arizona. Raymond’s reply at the end of the chain makes compelling, heartfelt points about the leadership role that Arizona businesses should have played in stemming hate during the past few years while the legislature was wrestling with similar laws, and also about the different climate in two U.S. bordertowns, San Diego and El Paso, that prompted both cities to condemn the Arizona approach that finally emerged from its legislative cauldron.

(1) Raymond Caballero’s initial email to the Mayo Clinic:

I have gone to Mayo Scottsdale for a number of years and have been very pleased with your services. Unfortunately, I will not return to Arizona nor will I patronize any Arizona firm until the very hateful anti-Latino legislation is repealed. It was a premeditated and well considered act of hatred against the Latino community. No other way to interpret it. This was not the conduct of the lunatic fringe; it was an official and deliberate act of your legislature and governor.

Sincerely, Raymond C. Caballero

(2) The Mayo Clinic reply:

Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 4:28 PM Subject: Arizona Legislation/Latino Community Feedback

Dear Mr. Caballero,

Thank you for your inquiry to Mayo Clinic and for sharing your concerns about the immigration legislation that was recently enacted by the Arizona Legislature. The response among the media and the general public has been well-documented.

As an employer and medical provider that has served Arizona for 23 years, Mayo Clinic has made a long-term commitment to this community and to the patients we serve, many of who travel here from other states and other countries. Our patients come to us for our medical expertise, but also for the unique model of kind, compassionate care that has been a hallmark of Mayo Clinic for over a century.

Mayo Clinic values and promotes diversity as a medical provider, as an employer and as a member of the communities we serve. Mayo's goal is to create a caring environment where individual differences are valued, allowing all staff to achieve and contribute to their fullest potential. We strive to serve patients, families and one another with respect, concern, courtesy and responsiveness. A climate that nurtures and supports the fullest contributions of everyone is essential to Mayo Clinic's success in patient care, education and research. Creating and sustaining this climate are the responsibilities of all who provide service and learn at Mayo Clinic.

Equal opportunity in employment and education at Mayo Clinic is a moral and legal obligation. Mayo Clinic is also committed to upholding federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran's status, disability, or status with regard to public assistance.

We greatly appreciate the confidence and trust you have placed in Mayo Clinic. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us.

Sincerely, Division of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic, 13400 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

(3) Raymond Caballero’s response:

Dear Mayo Clinic Friends

Thank you for your response. This is my problem with it. I'm in Oregon, where I and other individuals are putting ourselves on the record against the very dangerous Arizona anti-immigrant law. It's not enough to say you are a good employer and public citizen. I agree that you are. The obligation of citizenship goes beyond that. What is very clear to me is that the sober grownups, like Mayo, were asleep at the switch for several years as this hateful legislation worked its way along to be signed by the Governor. The legislation became law because people and employers of good will said little or nothing to stop it. Today, maybe afraid of a loss of business, they might speak up.

But what I want to know is where were you these past two years? How did you stand up for the 30% of Arizona or the 40% of Phoenix residents who are Latinos or your own Latino employees who were being vilified and demonized by the proponents of the law? I want to know what you did to educate the public and to do your part to stop the fear that led to hate.

Do not think for one second that you are innocent victims. Not for one second. I'll give you an example of what can and should be done in the face of hatred and calls to throw constitutional rights out the window. Cd. Juarez--I'm sure you have patients from there--is just across the river, one block away from El Paso. Battles between the various cartels over who will supply the vast U.S. drug market have made Juarez the most dangerous city in the world. Tijuana, just across the fence from San Diego, is almost as bad. Yet both San Diego and El Paso are among the 10 safest cities in the U.S., routinely so. El Paso is the second safest city in the U.S. This is ample evidence that waves of undocumented individuals are not responsible for waves of crime. This year alone, El Paso had received somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 new, mostly undocumented, immigrants fleeing the violence in Juarez. If any two cities had the right and the facts to scare people into believing that they should fear undocumented Mexicans, these would be the places. Yet, instead of throwing the constitution out the window to satisfy a few hate and fear driven groups, El Paso and San Diego instead stood tall for the constitution and roundly yesterday condemned the Arizona law. That is what we expect from responsible public citizens.

This is the kind of action I would like you to point out to me. Can you?

Sincerely, rcc Raymond C. Caballero


  1. Thank you Steve for this powerful post. I was moved by Mr. Caballrero's statements-they were strong, yet respectful; polite, yet informed. Kudos to him for his thoughtfulness and his courage. His name fits fits well--Caballero, ie., Gentleman, or looking back a bit further--knight!

    Ediberto Roman

  2. Mr. Caballero is a powerhouse, despite being retired he is working around the clock on this issue and for dignity and decency for immigrants.


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