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QUE PASA? : 3 Groups Back Stand on Free Trade Pact

April 29, 1993|NANCY ZUBIRI

Three major Latino organizations, the Southwest Voter Research Institute, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and National Council of La Raza, have endorsed a consensus position on the North American Free Trade Agreement that makes several recommendations to protect Latino interests. The groups' proposal calls for a development bank to mobilize resources to invest in U.S.-Mexico border infrastructure, environmental improvements and development in areas where the trade agreement causes job losses, retraining and employment programs for displaced workers, and U.S., Mexican and Canadian commissions on environmental and labor standards and on migration.

"The degree of Latino community support for NAFTA will be directly proportional to the extent to which these policy recommendations are addressed," said NCLR President Raul Yzaguirre, adding that it was significant that Latino supporters and opponents of the agreement were able to arrive at a consensus.

Latinas speak up: Focusing more legislators' attention on issues that are important to Latinas was the goal of the second annual symposium of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) at the Biltmore Hotel. The group invited elected officials to join about 300 participants in drawing up plans to influence public policy on environmental problems in the Latino community, helping disadvantaged children, breaking the glass ceiling and bringing more Latinos into the political process.

Among those offering suggestions were Assembly members Louis Caldera (D-Los Angeles), Martha Escutia (D-Huntington Park) and Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles); Los Angeles City Council members Mike Hernandez and Ruth Galanter, and Rebuild L.A. Co-Chairman Tony Salazar. Speakers included California Treasurer Kathleen Brown, state Sen. Diane Watson and then Los Angeles mayoral candidate Linda Griego.

The group, led by HOPE President Maria Contreras-Sweet, honored Nobel Peace Prize-winner Rigoberta Menchu for her efforts on behalf of indigenous causes in her native Guatemala.

People on the move:

* Composer Carlos Rodriguez, 31, has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to write several musical works under a special National Endowment for the Arts grant. The young composer's orchestral works reflect his Spanish-Cuban heritage.

* Daniel Hernandez, who grew up in East Los Angeles and has dedicated his life to youths in the area, was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson to the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Hernandez, who helped develop the Inner-City Games, is executive director of the Hollenbeck Youth Center, which he also helped found.

* Octavio Nuiry, an account executive with AD Rendon and Asociados and former columnist at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has been elected president of the Los Angeles-based Hispanic Public Relations Assn.

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