Actress Maria Conchita Alonso Dropped From Play In San Francisco Over Appearance In Tea Party Candidate Ad

Maria Conchita Alonso
Venezuelan-Cuban actress Maria Conchita Alonso smiles at a screening of the movie "Even the Rain" (Tambien la lluvia) at the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood, California October 14, 2010. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

The Los Angeles Times reports that  Maria Conchita Alonso, the Venezuelan-Cuban actress known for her starring roles in action films like “The Running Man” (1987) and “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984), has resigned from her role in a San Francisco theater’s rendition of “The Vagina Monologues” after appearing in a gubernatorial campaign ad with California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.  Donnelly, of San Bernardino County, is a former founder of a chapter of the border-patrol militia group known as the Minutemen and a Tea Party favorite who has staked out a hardline conservative stance on key issues like immigration, abortion and gay marriage.

The show’s director, Eliana Lopez, told a local CBS affiliate that Alonso had resigned from the show on Friday after a wave of critics called into an interview  on San Francisco radio to blast her for her support of Donnelly’s position on illegal immigration as well as what some described as her stereotypical portrayal of Latinos in the ad.  “We really cannot have her in the show, unfortunately,” Lopez told KPIX 5, adding, “Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe.”

In the bilingual ad, Conchita Alonso loosely, and sometimes comically, translates Donnelly’s impassioned – even, at one point, apparently vulgar – statements into Spanish as she holds her dog, Tequila.  Fox News notes that Donnelly has fought a host of pro-undocumented immigrant legislation in the state, including one which gave those without papers the right to get a driver’s license, and says he doesn’t believe that children should be awarded birthright citizenship upon being born in the US.  The LA Times notes that Conchita Alonso, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, has a record of conservative political activism, especially in opposing late Venezuelan resident Hugo Chavez.   “I don’t want the government to be involved in my life, I don’t want government to control my life,” she told the paper, adding, “I’ve known what communism is and when the people depend on government, that’s wrong; then the government has control over you.”  Watch the ad that kicked off the backlash below.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.