Venezuelan-Born Latina Delivers Remarks in Spanish During White House Press Briefing

Sep 16, 2022
4:10 PM

White House Hispanic Media Director Luisana Pérez Fernández, left, joins White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, right, as she speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, September 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — The White House debuted a new voice in a new language on Wednesday, giving the honor of beginning Hispanic Heritage Month to Luisana Pérez Fernández, a senior press aide to President Joe Biden, who delivered the press briefing to the White House press in Spanish.

In her introductory remarks, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre introduced Pérez Fernández by mispronouncing her name (“Luisiana”). “We are very, very lucky to have her here in the White House leading our efforts to reach the Hispanic community on TV, radio, social media, and so much more,” Jean-Pierre said before turning over the podium to the Venezuelan-American White House Hispanic media director born in Caracas.

“Today is the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, a month to celebrate the history and values that the Hispanic community bring to our country,” Pérez Fernández said in Spanish. “During the national month of Hispanic heritage, we reaffirm that diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths. Our people enrich our neighborhoods, the arts, and the workforce.

“Our administration celebrates the voices and desires of the Hispanic community, not just during this month but throughout the year. We also recognize the struggles and injustices we face, especially the many attacks on us during the previous administration.

“When President Biden took the job, he dedicated himself to promoting opportunity and equity for everyone in our country, including the Hispanic community. For our president, these were not just words. His engagement with our communities can be measured in his actions and promises kept.

“Thanks to President Biden, we’ve seen the largest drop in Hispanic unemployment. We gave billions in loans to Hispanic small businesses. We provided child tax credits that helped millions of families, and reduced child poverty among Hispanics by more than 40 percent. We support increased equity for Puerto Rico. We expanded access to quality healthcare to thousands of Latino families. We organized regional summits of the Hispanic Economic Initiative throughout the country. We protected and continue to strengthen the DACA program while we continue to fight to create an immigration system that is just, human, and organized. And recently, thanks to President Biden’s student loan relief program, almost half of Latino students with federal student loans will see their debt forgiven.

“Tonight, President Biden will attend the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) gala to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, where he will honor the achievements of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and all Latinos.”

Latino Rebels attended the CHCI gala Wednesday night, where President Biden’s remarks about student loans received one of the strongest applause breaks in his speech before hundreds of attendees at the black-tie event at the Washington Convention Center.

“Y’all are gonna own the country, man,” Biden said after being introduced by Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA), who chairs the CHCI.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra received CHCI’s annual Medallion Award, placed around his neck by fellow Californian Sen. Alex Padilla (D).

The evening ended with a performance by Latin pop group Gente de Zona.


Pablo Manríquez is the Capitol Hill correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports