Forest Service warns Coloradans: Beware of camping Latinos
By John Tomasic 8/28/09 6:41 PM
In a presentation on recent discoveries of major marijuana-cultivation operations in Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service said it suspected an international cartel was behind the state’s hidden weed farms. Officials issued a warning that asked forest visitors to look for signs of drug trafficking. The telltale signs according to the officials? Tortilla, Spam and tuna packaging, Tecate beer cans, Latino music and people speaking Spanish.
Officials failed to acknowledge (1) that they were describing roughly a quarter of all campsites in the state and (2) that Spam, tortillas, tuna, Tecate, Latino music and people speaking Spanish are some of the best ingredients you can find when you’re looking to mix up a damn good camping experience.
Yet U.S. Forest Service officer Michael Skinner urged anyone encountering campers who fit the profile to “hike out quickly” and call police.
Polly Baca, co-chairwoman of the Colorado Latino Forum, told the Denver Channel that the Forest Service warning is racist and ill-conceived and threatening.
“It’s discriminatory and it puts Hispanic campers in danger.”
Marvink Correa, spokesman for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said that the next time he goes camping, he would “be sure to play nothing but Bruce Springsteen.”
So was the warning also issued in Spanish?