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Mexico emissary reaches out to migrants in Valley

Mexico emissary makes appeal

By Hernán Rozemberg
The Arizona Republic
May 09, 2001 12:00:00

GUADALUPE - Juan Hernandez is full of promises.

But, he pleads, give him a chance to fulfill them.

Hernandez, head of Mexico's new Office of Mexicans Abroad, stopped in the Valley on Tuesday night to tell Mexicans here that their new president, Vicente Fox, cares for and worries about them.

From more humane treatment to more job and educational opportunities, Hernandez told a packed school gymnasium crowd of more than 500 in Guadalupe that their country is changing for the better.

"You all are our VIPs: very important paisanos," he told the crowd of workers, parents and students. "We are no longer closing our eyes to Mexicans abroad. It's time to put an end to our embarrassing past."

Improving migrants' human rights, getting rid of corrupt border officials and reaching out to the Mexican-American community are his priorities, Hernandez said.

Still, he was bombarded with criticism during a three-hour question-and-answer session.

About a dozen people told of abuse at the hands of Mexican officials. Several professionals told Hernandez that they'll gladly take his request to go home and help out, but only when there are jobs to go home to.

"Fox hasn't given me any reason to pack up and leave yet," one woman told him.

Hernandez said Fox is working toward making Mexico more autonomous.

"We don't want to be a country of pure maquiladoras," he said in reference to American-owned businesses just over the border. "At some point, we're going to send them on their way and become owners of our own companies."

Hernandez, 45, is just as familiar with Mexico as he is with the other side of the border.

The son of a Mexican father and U.S. mother, he began his university studies in Guanajuato state and completed them at the University of Lawrence in Wisconsin. He received master's and doctorate degrees from Texas Christian University, where he later taught. He wrote seven books and acted as a consultant to several U.S. corporations in Mexico before turning to politics - right next to Fox.

Hernandez's post was created by Fox as part of his promise to reach out to the Mexican community outside the country.

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