"In a stirring address, delivered in impeccable English to a crowd of more than 2,000, Zedillo evoked feelings of patriotism and pride in Mexican roots."
"I want to tell you that your untiring struggle (to conquer the United States) has all the respect and admiration of your brother and sister Mexcians south of the border."
Zedillo visits Chicago with message of reform
Tells U.S. Hispanics Mexicans hail their 'untiring struggle'
By S. Lynne Walker
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE July 24, 1997
CHICAGO -- Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo arrived in Chicago yesterday bearing a message for the American people. Political reform. Economic recovery. An overhaul of the judicial system. That, the president told his neighbors north of the border, is the transformation reshaping Mexico into a democratic, economically thriving nation.
Zedillo also arrived with a message for Mexicans living in the United States. "I want to tell you that your untiring struggle has all the respect and admiration of your brothers and sister Mexicans south of the border," Zedillo said last night in a speech to the National Council of La Raza.
In a stirring address, delivered in impeccable English to a crowd of more than 2,000, Zedillo evoked feelings of patriotism and pride in Mexican roots. Touching on themes ranging from the mistreatment of Mexican migrants in the United States to the "democratic fiesta" celebrated in Mexico in the wake of fair elections earlier this month, Zedillo urged the cheering audience to continue fighting for "dignity, equality and progress." He expressed outrage over revelations of abuses of deaf and mute Mexicans in New York, calling for "the most severe punishment" for those convicted of trafficking in disabled workers. Then Zedillo, relaxed and nattily attired in a tuxedo and black bow tie, reached out to his audience, speaking of the "brotherhood, cooperation and exchange" between Mexican communities on both sides of the border.
Zedillo's speech to National Council of La Raza, an organization of Hispanic advocacy groups holding its annual convention in Chicago, marked the first time a Mexican president has spoken before a U.S. Hispanic convention. His two-day trip to Chicago, which includes meetings with financial barons in this Midwest city and a session with Mexicans living in Illinois, is part of the Zedillo administration's effort to change Mexico's image as a corrupt, economically deprived nation at the southern border of the United States. Almost three years after being elected president, Zedillo wants to remind people in the United States and Mexico that he's delivering on his promises to bring economic stability and a "new democracy" to his country.
"We Mexicans are constructing a political culture of tolerance, moderation and understanding," he said during last night's speech. "We know that the stronger we are in our fundamental values the stronger we will be and the more respected we will be throughout the world." He also said Mexico is entering a new economic phase. "We have overcome the crisis that stalled the economy at the end of 1994 much sooner than anyone previously expected," he said. But Zedillo said the country's economic recovery must have a "human face." "A face for the thousands of people who demand good employment and better salaries," he said. "A human face for families that demand reliable health care and quality education for their children. A human face for the most needy, for all those Mexicans who demand real opportunities and who deserve to hope."