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Editorial: Edward Mangano flunks a foreign affairs test

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (March 19, 2012)

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (March 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Note to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano: Before appearing in public with a foreign politician, Google him. Particularly when the visit is arranged by two political operatives, Rafael and Herberth Flores, convicted of attempting to steal hospital patients' identities. (Herberth is Mangano's deputy director of minority affairs.)

Find out what those foreign leaders stand for -- pre-outrage, rather than post.

El Salvador's vice president, Salvador Sanchez Cerén, appeared with Nassau County officials, including Mangano, at ceremonies last week to mark Salvadoran American Day. It turns out that Cerén attended anti-U.S. demonstrations after the 9/11 attacks.

It's not the meeting that's concerning -- Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) met with Cerén, too, and later commented, "I oftentimes meet with leaders I strongly disagree with" -- but Mangano's confusion about what he's doing.

This is what his office wrote in a statement: "Had the administration known that the El Salvadorian Association for Long Island selected an individual with these principles, County Executive Mangano would certainly not have extended a form of recognition or attended the event." In other words, this isn't their fault, they were just looking to court Hispanic voters.

Neither county legislator and congressional candidate Francis X. Becker Jr. (R-Lynbrook) nor Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick, who also stood with Cerén, has apologized. Only Mangano, rather than defending dialogue, tried to make excuses.