YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Slaying Shocks O.C. Latinos; Mexican Stability Is Concern


SANTA ANA — More than 30 Orange County Latino community leaders expressed shock and uncertainty Wednesday night after the fatal shooting of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio.

Gathered for a previously scheduled meeting at the Hispanic Bookcase, a bookstore and hair salon, the activists said they were shaken by the events. Word of Colosio's death came to the group by telephone.

"It's going to throw the whole political arena into chaos," said Arturo Montez, 44, president of the Santa Ana chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC.

"The hope of democracy for Mexico should not be destroyed by one assassin's bullet," he said. The social change that he said needs to come in Chiapas and elsewhere "should come at the ballot box."

Juan Garcia, 34, president of the Orange County chapter of Hermandad Mexicana, said, "I was shocked. I think it's unfortunate, but in a way it's kind of a sign of the instability in Mexico in addition to the Chiapas revolt."

John Palacio, 41, leadership program director of the Orange County chapter of MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said that while "assassination is not the way to address internal tension in the country," it might jolt the country into change.

"Historically, in any country, when there's been a tragedy, the country has united," he said.

As a result of Colosio's death, he said, "you may see the U.S. Congress give a greater effort to addressing the economic needs of Mexico to assure stability there."

Gloria Osuna, 47, a health clerk for the Santa Ana school district, said she was in a restaurant when she first heard the news of the shooting, "and I felt sick about it. Our own people are killing our own people. . . . It seems like we've got this (violence) everywhere . . . over here, over there, and it seems unreal."

The group was meeting at the Latino Bookcase to launch an Orange County chapter of the Mexican American Political Assn., established to spur voter registration and citizenship applications.

Los Angeles Times Articles