Bolivia to Name Escalante Posthumous ‘Ambassador’

Bolivia announced plans Friday to honor its native son Jaime Escalante, whose success teaching advanced math at a tough Los Angeles high school inspired the movie “Stand and Deliver.”

Escalante, who died Tuesday at his son’s home near Sacramento, Calif., will be recognized posthumously as a “cultural ambassador” for his work on behalf of people who have been discriminated against, Culture Minister Zulma Yugar said.

“We know that at times when he was teaching, he would wear a Bolivian poncho to assert his national identity,” Yugar told The Associated Press. “He spoke of Andean people as a strong people.”

A teacher in La Paz before emigrating to the United States in the 1960s, Escalante studied English at night for years to get his California teaching credentials and be able to return to the classroom.

His achievements at Garfield High in East Los Angeles inspired the 1988 movie starring Edward James Olmos as Escalante.

Escalante retired to Bolivia in 2001, and his siblings have said his wish was to be buried in La Paz.

President Evo Morales’ spokesman Ivan Canelas told state news agency ABI that the government is willing to help repatriate his remains from the United States.

Escalante’s children have not yet said where the burial will be, according to his older sister Olimpia.

Source: AP

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