As first lady heads to Spain, State Department lifts ‘racist prejudices' warning

Michelle Obama in Marbella, Spain, where she and daughter Sasha began their vacation.
Michelle Obama in Marbella, Spain, where she and daughter Sasha began their vacation. (Sergio Torres/associated Press)
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

First lady Michelle Obama, along with her younger daughter, Sasha, arrived in Spain on Wednesday for a private visit. For the State Department, it seemed like the perfect time to remove a consular notice warning U.S. travelers to Spain that "racist prejudices" could lead to the arrest of African Americans who visit the country.

The notice was added last year after two African American government employees were detained by police. But it generated sufficient press attention in Spain before the first lady's visit to merit a review, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

"It was the press attention around her trip that caused us to look at it once again," he said. "And that made us think about that issue. And as we viewed it, we thought it was no longer current information."

He said the incident that prompted the warning took place about 18 months ago. Though such postings are reviewed two or three times a year, it was only during the most recent review that State deemed the notice no longer relevant.

The notice was deleted on Monday, two days before Michelle Obama's arrival.

-- Glenn Kessler


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