TEXAS P APERS ON LA TIN AMERICA Pre-publication working papers of the

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TEXAS P APERS ON LA TIN AMERICA Pre-publication working papers of the
Pre-publication working papers of the
Institute of Latin American Studies
University ofTexas at Austin
ISSN 0892-3507
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America in the 21st Century
Michael E. Conroy
Institute of Latin American Studies
and Department of Economics
University of Texas at Austin
Paper No. 89-06
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
in the 21st Centuryl
by Michael E. Conroy2
The culture,
society, economy
and government
century were forged in a distinctly
of a predominantly
that one of the brightest
that contributes
in the blacksmith
in both Texas and Latin America
that Texans built in the 19th
Latin American
history of the state has been wrought
and factories
28, 1989)
The 20th century
shops, oil fields, farms,
As one scans the trends
at the end of this century, it is increasingly
glows on the 21st century
of Texas' ties to Latin America.
And the Hispanic
wealth of the state may be the principal
to that encouraging
from a
There are also clouds on that horizon for both Texas and Latin America
i1l for both regions.
1980s continue
If the most negative
and are not assuaged
or in Latin
are significantly
by policy in Texas, in the United
the future
in the late
States as
for both Texas and Latin
Tbis paper bas been prepared for publication in a volurne, conceived and edited by ProL
Gordon Bennett of tbe Departrnent of Government at the University of Texas at Austin,
Texas and Four Global Re~ions in the 21st Century. The project was
funded by the Texas Cornmittee for lbe Humanities, "Texas in tbe 21st Century" Projecl.
The autbor is Associatc Professor of Econornics and Associate Director of tbe Institule of
Latin American Studies al the University
was prm'ided by Ms. Robin AnD King.
of Texas al Auslin.
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
2/28/89; page 2
This essay presents an exploration of alternative futures for Texas and Latin
America, and their intermingling.
It draws from the common historical pasts of
the two regions, builds on the "Latin American" side of Texas in this century, and
focuses upon both the best combined future world that might occur and the
dimmest alternative future for each. The "best" and the "worst" in each case are
tempered to fit the trends apparent in the 1980s. Their actual development will
depend upon decisions, changes, or other occurrences in each area that cannot be
predicted with certainty.
But the future development
of each "scenario" will be
greatly affected by attitudes, decisions, and policies that could be implemented
by individual citizens, citizens' groups, local government officials, and by national
and international
in the intervening years.
Our analysis here can only suggest the broadest outlines of those futures.
will be built around present and future decisions to illustrate the potential impact
that they might have. One can only hope that itwill contribute today to reflection
upon the evolution of both societies as they move into tomorrow.
An Optimistic
We are fortunate to have retrieved a scrap of historical evidence from the 21st
century that sheds great light on both Latin America and its ties to Texas. The
following artide,
or one vaguely similar to it, will appear in Texas newspapers
some 25 years hence.
A Special New Year's Report:
Special to The H ouston
[Supplemented by NYT, AP
and AFP cables.]
The 25th anniversary of the beginning of
the "Decade of Hemispheric Cooperation"
wilI be ceIebrated throughout Latin Amehttp://lanic.utexas.edu/project/etext/llilas/tpla/8906.pdf
Tics Notcd
rica this week with speeches, parades, and
conferences in many capitals. The largest
celebration will be in San Antonio, "beca use
that's where it aIl began," noted the Brazilian ambassador, Joao de Souza, at the New
Year's Eve gala held at the Hemispheric
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
Trade Center, east of downtown
San An-
The year 2015 brought Latin America its
20th consecutive annual period of steady
economic growth, rivalíng the period from
1950 to 1970 when the greatest previous
expansion of the economies of the region
had occurred.
Trade with the United
States, extended technical cooperation, and
the continualIy-rising number of joint ventures between U.S. investors and Latin
American firms, both private and government owned, were cited by Texas Governor
Anita Buenaventura as the strongest bases
for this unprecedented
"Texas has be en enriched over this decade
in its historicalIy new role as a bridge to
Latin America, in the expansion of its laboratories and research centers, in the role
it has played as advocate for, and interpreter of, the problems of Latin America,"
she proclaimed. "And we are proud of our
closeness to the Latin American friends
gathered here, and the 400 million persons
they represent."
The governor's speech, delivered almost
equalIy in Spanish and English, was greeted
with repeated cheers by the 1500 members
of the U.S.-Latin American Chamber of
Commerce who paid 1000 New DolIars
apiece for the dinner and dance. Proceeds
wilI benefit the New Venture Fund of the
Texas Hemispheric
Research Center in
The governor's
were f olIowed by a lengthy description of
"how far we have come" offered by ProL
Bryan Rickert, director of the University of
Texas' Hemispheric
ProL Rickert's comment, replete with recolIections of the start of the process of
served to
summarize the quarter century of achievement in Latin America, in Texas, and in
cooperation between the two regions.
page 3
The Bush Doctrine. Texas beca me the
focal point for U.S.-Latin American commercial and polítical relations on January
1, 1990 when U.S. president George Bush
delívered his now famous "Hemispheric
Cooperation" speech in the shadow of San
Antonio's "Hemisfair Tower." President
Bush announced "a new era in U .S. relations
with LatinAmerica"thatwas
to be based on
"a new real m of social, polítical, and economic investment" encompassing
what he
dubbed the "Three C's: Courage, Compassion, and Cooperation."
He had then asked U .S. citizens to have
the courage to comprehend with patience
Latin America's search for new modes of
development; he calIed on Latin Americans
to have the courage to believe that the United States could be trusted as an alIy and an
economic partner.
In an explicit attempt to counteract the
waves of doubt and concern about future
ties to the United States that had swept
Latin American in the 1980s, he pledged
that there would be no future repetition of
the heavy-handed economic policies that
had be en used in the 1980s to attempt to
force complíance with U.S. policy on the
part of Mexico, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua,
and other major debtor countries.
calIed for a "Trusting Partnership" as the
theme ofhisapproach
to U.S.-LatinAmerican relations; this had gene rally been translated by the Latin American media as "Socios de Confianza."
President Bush then made the announcement f or which he is most remembered in
Latin America, twenty-five years la ter,
when he declared that the U.S. Treasury
would begin immediately to negotiate with
private and public lenders to reduce "dramaticalIy and permanentIy" the burden of
Latin America's accumulated international
debt. He proposed that "debt forgiveness
had long be en a compassionate principIe of
American financial management,"
that the Texas economy had been greatly
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
assisted by the f orgiveness of billions of
dollars of indebtedness
to its banks and
savings and loan associations, and predicted
that "Latin America will become America's
greatest trading partner once this debt
burden has be en lifted."
The subsequent negotiations created the
policies still known as the "Bush Doctrine":
that debts contracted during the 1970s oil
crisis would be eased from the books of all
U.S. banks, that no country would be required to pay more than 15% of its annual
export earnings in foreign debt servicing,
and that future lenders whose loans pushed
a nation beyond that limit would receive
lowest priority in the end-of-year
settlement conf erences that quickly became
Bush had invoked his Texas roots as he
reminded the media representatives
gathered for the announcement that there were
far more similarities than differences between the grain, cattle, and oil economies of
Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma and the
developing economies of Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela.
And he had chided
both the "Eastern bankers" and "European
financiers" for resisting his earlier attempts
to solve both the financial problems of the
Southwest and the accumulated problems of
a debt-burdened Latin America.
How Texas Fared. Some suggest that it
was that moment in history that gave Texas
a headstart in the new economic relations
between the U .S. and Latin America.
Others suggest that it was more fundamental: the combination of Texas-size entrepreneurial vision and the presence of an exceptionally ca pa ble Mexican American population with the needed cross-cultural
language skills. Or it may have be en Latin
American recollection
of the fact that
Texas, through itscongressional delegation,
had taken the lead, in 1989, in the national
campaign for Latin American debt relief.
2/28/89; page 4
For whatever reason, Texas became in
fewer than ten years thefocal pointfor U.S.
economic ties to Latin America. And "cooperation" beca me the principal guideline.
Rapid growth of the maquila
along Texas borders during the '90s expanded after the turn of the century into numerous examples of "multinational integrated
production" linking manuf acturing in Texas
with assembly plants throughout Mexico,
Central America, and the Caribbean.
New process and product ideas originating in the cooperative high-tech research
of Austin, Houston, and the
Dallas-Ft.W orth area were developed into
innova tive products tha t proved highly competitive internationally.
And as full control
of production was turned over to the Latin
American partners, under the phase-out
agreements developed at the University of
Texas Graduate School of Business, new
product lines were developed and jointly
and Portuguesespeaking scientists, managers, and professionals at every level were essential to this
process. The Hispanic population of the
state provided the first advantage.
commitment then made by the Texas Education Agency in 1994, that every Texas
student would gain full professional competency in at least one other language,
catapulted Texasfurther ahead in the competition f or Latin American business and
The proliferation of differing production and collaboration
led, in fact, to the re-writing of many of the
old business administration
texts, as both
public and prívate research laboratories
sought production contracts with mixed
firms in Latin America. As of 2010, Prof. Rickert noted, less
than one-fifth of production in Latin America was generated in strictly-private firms,
down from nearly 60% in 1990. But no
more than 18% in 2010 came from strictly
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
Investment by U.S.-based firms and individual investors had accounted f or nearly
30% of the new prívate sector investment in
Latin America over the first 15 years of the
new cen tury. La tin American shares of new
investment in join tly -owned research f acilities, both in Texas and in Latin America,
rose drama tically, especially after the Mexican government announced in 1998 its intention to fund 50% of the Bi-national
Petroleum Technology Research Institute
that now spans the Rio Bravo at Eagle Pass.
and joint public-private
ventures were the most common form for
organizing new firms throughout
America; and Texas-based investors had
taken the lead.
The Global Assistance Programo
U .S., Latin America, and Texas, in particular, were in especially good positions to take
advantage of the Global Assistance Program (GAP) created by the United Nations
in 1999 and implemented in the first year of
this century. Reminding his lis tener s of the
simple beginnings of the program that now
channels more than 100 billion New Dollars
each year into the less developed areas,
ProL Pinkert listed the principal components:
the tax on all nations equal to 1% of
Adjusted Gross National Product and
administered by the New WOrld Bank,
ref ormed successor to the International
Bank f or Reconstruction Development
that had been created at the end of the
Second W orld War;
with 25% of the proceeds banked f or
disaster relief f or any
nation of the globe, developed or underdeveloped, and administered
by the
United Nations;
page 5
with 25% set aside f or NWB "global
and privatesector "challenge" grants for new industry;
and 50% distríbuted as "development
grants" to nations in proportion to their
newly negotiated steady-state population size and inversely proportional to
their level of income per capita at each
5-year benchmark.
The Texas congressional
had taken the lead in moving approval of
the GAP commitment through the U.S.
Congress. The program had not been universally accepted, especially by representatives of the self -declared "Americanist
States," the group offarm-based Mid-western sta te s that sought to isolate the U.S.
f rom the increase of f oreign cultural and
commercial presence in the in the nation.
Latin America's share of the "development grants" had only been about 25% of
the total; but it's share of challenge grants
had risen to nearly 50% in 2015 beca use of
the extensive programs of public-private
cooperation that had grown during the '90s.
Latin Americans who remember the
1980s recall the net outflow of financial
capital in excess of 150 billion Old Dollars
that had, by 1990, f orced living standards in
Latín America back down to levels first
seen in the late 1960s. The continuing drain
on all hard-earned export income had left
the region with exceedingly poor prospects
for the next decade. Implementation of the
Bush Doctrine in the 1990s and then the
creation of the GAP program had reversed
that outflow and had created the basis for
sustained social and economic developmento
"And that," ProL Rickert reminded his
audience, "was before the World GreenPeace Movement convinced the United
Nations to emphasize the use of GAPfund-
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
ing on projects that avoided destroction of
the hemisphere's rainf orests, protected endangered species, and implemented
known as the New SustainableAgriculture."
"Latin America may
never before have had as much democratic
rule as it has had in this last quarter century," ProL Rickert asserted, "and it may
never have had so many different forms of
experiment with democratic
called attention to the continued one-party
rule, with expanded democratic practices
inside the party, that has characterized
Mexico's political system for nearly a century. And he contrasted it with the parliamentary system, guaranteeing minority
party representation,
that emerged in the
1984 elections in Nicaragua and that were
strengthened in the internationally closelywatched elections of 1990. He noted the
emergence of "popular participation" in the
"Senates" of Colombia, Haiti,andBarbados,
where "mass organizations" such as farmworkers, chambers of commerce, and university students were each given a single
"Democracy now has many
faces in Latin America," he asserted, "and
we are learning from them as well."
The political stability of the region that
resulted after the turn of the century is
linked by most Latin American observers to
two events, he suggested. First, the reduction of the debt burden under the Bush
Doctrine, for democratic governments in
the 1980s and early 1990s had simply been
unable to impose the level of economic
austerity that would have been needed to
repay all of the debt of the 1970s. And
second, the Interamerican
Human Rights
Accord of 1992, signed in Santo Domingo
on the 500th anniversary of Christopher
Columbus' landing in what he thought was
a New World.
The IHRA followed the
pattern first set in Helsinki in 1975, and
that was repeated in Vienna in 1989. In the
1992 IHRA all the nations of the region,
backed by representatives
of 30 nations
2/28/89; page 6
from other parts of the world, signed a
reaffirmation of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, agreed to abide by them
within their own boundaries, and agreed to
monitoring and verification of compliance
by international groups.
This "legitimation
of human rights
monitoring" had proven especially eff ective
in 1995 when the Brazilian military had
attempted to overthrow the constitutional
government and in 1998 when the combined
militaries of Honduras, El Salvador, and
Guatemala had attempted to crea te a military-Ied "New Central American Federation." The virtually instantaneous condemnation of both attempts, the threats of
major economic sanctions, and the support
f or elected civilian governments had f orced
the military to relinquish control in both
Protection of media rights under the
IHRA had also guaranteed
groups access to the public, and had lessened the propensity f or opposition groups
to revert to guerrilla warf are as they had
done frequently during the second half of
the 20th century. The restoration of the
Unidad Popular government in Chile by
plebiscite in 1997 and the removal of the
hapless "socialist" government
of Preso
Gregorio Arce in Bolivia in 2006 have often
been cited to show that the IHRA favors
neither right nor left. They also illustrated,
however, that fundamental
problems of
social class and class conflict may not be
resolved any more easily under broadened
democratic processes.
Trading Blocs Cited. When Latin
America first divided into the three great
trading blocs that we now know, there was
great fear that protectionism, isolationism,
and nationalism would severely restrict
Latin American development and ties between the U.S. and the Latin American
But the results have belied the
fears. "In 2015," ProL Rickert pointed out,
"all f our major trading blocks of the Wes-
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
tern Hemisphere completed a solid decade
of social and economic progress, whether
judged by the UN Composite
Development Indicators or by the older and
simpler measures, f avored by business,
based on aggregate economic growth. And
much of the economic growth in Texas
during the same period, he noted, could be
traced to its links to Latin America."
The New Sustainable Agriculture
programs had drawn heavily from technology developed in the high plains of Texas at
the Texas Tech Sustainablc Agriculture
Integrated graio, cotton, and
cattle production, as pioneered there, now
constitute 50% of all production on the
great South American plains, in the center
of the continent.
"High plail1s agriculture
still sets the pace for the world," Rickert
noted; "no one has come close to the levels
of efficiency and by-product recycling obtained there."
The CARIMEXgroup
(Mexico, Central
America, and most of the island nations of
the Caribbean)
also enjoyed sustained
progress, though economic growth was
slowed by their common decision to emphasize improved social indicators in the
first decade of the century. Inf ant mortality
in the CARIMEX countriesfeIl for the first
time, during that decade, to New W orld
Bank (NWB) global guidelines; and universal educational attainment leapt by 25%.
Economic growth also reached 3.5% per
year; but this meant slightly less than 1.9%
per year per capita, f or the birth rate did
not f aIl significantly until the later years of
improvement in social conditions.
was the
term used by Rickert to describe the principal bases for CARIMEX social and economic progress. He noted that this not only
permitted the best use of agricultural resources (such as the continuous fIow of
fIowers and vegetables that now come to the
U.S. and Western Europefrom the tropical
highlands of Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa
page 7
Rica) but al so the best use of new technology.
He noted the role that had been played
by the Inter-American
Center for Agricultural Research (lACAR), created at Texas
A&M in 1993 as a coIlaborative effort with
the Mexican National Agricultural University at Chapingo and the Honduran and
Costa Rican agricultural training programs
at Zamorano and Turrialba.
It is now
viewed around the world as a landmark
cooperative ven tu re among U.S. and Third
W orld agricultural scientists. "The global
pinnacle of high-intensity agricultural research," as it had been dubbed by the
United Nations General Assembly in a
special proclamation in 2013 that honored
its 20th anniversary, lACAR has expanded
to encompass nearly 5000 scientists, 60% of
them from Latin America, working in laboratories strung along the Bryan-Houston
Of even greater importance to Texas,
according to Rickert, was the role that
Texas had played in maintaining contact
with Mexico after the U.S. had closed the
border in 1998 in retaliation for Mexico's
increased tariff sandinvestment restrictions
was formed.
Americans fram Texas, and other legislators, were at the forefront of the public
Although it took two full years, during
which there was littlc but contraband trade
across the border, the Texas Initiative for
Renewed Mexican Trade was passed in
N ovember 2000. And trade was restored on
January 1st, 2001. "Those were the two
darkest years for Texas since the 1980s,"
Rickert reminisced. "We didn't know how
much we had depended on Mexico."
Those "Trade Prohibition Years" from
1998 to 2000 are al so remembered
Texans as the time when they first carne to
realize the fundamental
similarities between its economic base and that of Mexico.
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
Low prices for petroleum, natural gas, and
had hurt each equally;
restrictions on exports of f arm products had
hurt producers on both sides of the border.
And the loss of maqu ila industry jobs had
affected hundreds of thousands on both
sides of the border.
Mexican Americans now draw their
cultural ideotity from more than just
Mexico, he insisted; and non-Hispanic
Texans have developed greater access to the
cultural richness of Latin America.
Texaos have come to eojoy expanded
tourism, increased bi-lingualism, the proliferation of sister-city connections
Latin America, and multi-cultural festivities that draw from iodigenous Mexico and
Guatemala, highland Bolivia, and the pampas of Argentina as much as from Czech,
German, Irish, and Appalachian folk traditions. Texans are now as likely to celebrate
annual "Fiestas," "Cinco de Mayo," and "15
de Setiembre" as they are to travel to New
for "OktoberFest"
and to
Caldwell for "KolacheFest."
"This has
enriched us al1," Professor Rickert concluded, "whetherwe are counting the take in
our businesses or taking into account the
multi-lingual and multi-cultural heritagewe
pass to our children."
The Latin American nations that struggled the most to compete with the evolving
world economywere the members of the socalled "BloqueAndino":Venezuela,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Late in
joining together, they hadattempted several
other combinations of political and economic unions bef ore f orming the present
group in 2006. Although the regional average level of consumption had improved by
more than 30% between that year and the
end of 2015, a remarkable rate of nearly
3.5% per year, their la te start, difficulties io
oegotiatiog with other trading blocs around
the globe, aod recurring iodigenous and
ethoic rivalries have slowed overall progress to little more thao 0.5% percent per
year in this ceotury. Social indicators published io 2015 illustrated that the Bloque
Andioo now has the lowest levels in the
The applausefor Prof. Rickert's recollections and reminders may have al so be en
applause for the renewed Latin American
future of Texas. This future was evident in
the ballroom, later in the evening, as the
dancers alternated among waltzes, polkas,
Texas two-step, salsas, merengues, and the
ever-enjoyed Cotton-Eyed Joe.
Broader Cultural Impacts.
The reopening of Latin America to ties with the
United States, cultural contacts that had
been jeopardized
by the policies of the
1980s, have had impacts that extended
beyond commercial and political arenas.
"This can be seeo especially clearly in
Texas," ProL Rickert mentioned as he finished his address.
In his view Latin
American culture in Texas has be en reinforced by expanded contact with Latin
of the Optimistic
The principal
of this scenario
in Texas and in Latin America
2/28/89; page 8
are drawn directly
from tendencies
during the 1980s. And the links between
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
2/28/89; page 9
Texas and the rest of the hemisphere to the South have expanded in recent years.3
On an economic plane Texas may not enjoy the greatest financial flows from
Latin America; these appear to go toward Miami more than to other destinations
in the U.S. But the vast majority of U.S. trade with Latin America originates in,
or passes through, Texas. This is partly attributable
to the importance of grain
exports through the Houston port facilities and partly to exports to Mexico as the
principal LatinAmerican
in development
trading partnerfor
the U.S. The experiences of Texans
of, and support for, the maquila
or maquiladora
along the Texas-Mexico border now provide one of the most rapidly growing
source of employment and income on both sides of the border.4
The evolution of Texas toward an increasingly high-tech economy, whether in
computers, aircraft, semiconductors,
or superconductor
technology is one of the
most striking trends of the 1980s. This scenario merely translates that national
importance into international
terms, recognizing that Latin America (and other
parts of the world) will soon be able to produce much of what Texas now
produces, and at substantially lower costs. The development of Texas, and other
areas of the United States, into research centers, technology incubators,
centers of training, management,
and financial innovation merely represents
There is ample technical support for the international
ties that are important to the Texas
economy, and the Texas Department of Commerce has be en particularly important in gathering
that information
and making it available to analysts across the sta te. See, for example,
"International Trade Facts" (June 1,1988) and "Texas Export Data," (ApriI15, 1988), unpublished
compilations that they can provide.
There are several key sources available here. See, for example, the Texas Department
Commerce "Maquiladora Fact Sheet" (May 24, 1988) and an unpublished path-breaking analysis
by ProL Donald A. Michie of the V.T.-EI Paso Department
of Marketing, entitled "The
Maquiladoras: A 'Positive' Response toAmerican Business' Lack of Industrial Competitiveness."
no date.
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and LatinAmerica
into the future
as our competitors
The proposal
of one answer to the question:
be come increasingly
that Latin America
and in negotiation
will respond
is a straightforward
to opportunities
of development
and being trained
with the sharing
in the future on the same, often exploitative,
and future development
The division of Latin America
likely out come of current
1988 to implement
over the U.S.-Canada
Mexico presently
Central American
And the feared
and Argentine
such as petrochemical
are also available
for the reactivation
omits the need for substantial
"closing off" of Europe
steps were taken in 1987 and
noting that many of the products
and railroad
No current
blocks is a highly
of the Brazilian
to the United
officials have expressed
Free Trade Agreement,
from Canada.
terms that characterized
of the region are those most willing
new integration
will never take foreign
who will play the largest rol e in
into large regional
Mexican government
to these changing realities.
the U.S. and
among Planning
that Latin American
Schools, Economics
and most able to respond
is looking
of Latin
in Business
the region, guarantees
the reconstruction
of recent trends in public
of information
of types of firms and
the past. The non-Latin
to work with
and access to markets without losing
The large
and Public Administration
oHorms of participation.
for newways to obtain improved
what will we produce
from the rest of the world with a wide diversity
2/28/89; page 10
after 1992 has been a frequent
Michael E. Conroy
of the
focus for
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
2/28/89; page 11
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
discussion among Latin American leaders in their own economic and political
in various forms and to various degrees,
trends characterizing
The Guatemala
defiant attempt
changes in Latin America from the 1970s to the
in August
to democratization,
media freedom,
the 1989 Vienna Agreement,
of Indigenous
actors, both the
groups in all countries
of the commitments
national reconciliation,
is neither farfetched
and somewhat
Two years after that
for fulfillment
date than 1992, the 500th anniversary
onto the beaches
to outside
positions with respect
space for opposition
than had existed at any time prior.
a courageous
their individual
States and the large Latin American
of the region, greater
by the five elected
as well as with respect
accord there remains greater political
1987 represented
on their part to strengthen
to their own military forces,
is one of the most
and non-intervention
of this trend, encouraged
nor inappropriate.
of the moment
And what
when Columbus
and "fathered"
the start of
Latin America?
The cultural
may be the most speculative
the loss of cultural
for Texas of an expanded
but the alternatives
wealth from the decline
roots may be far less speculative.
opening to Latin America
It forms
for Texas in terms of
and disappearance
an important
of its Hispanic
of the
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
2/28/89; page 12
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latín Ameríca
A Pessimistic
is another
depicts another
that has drifted
in time to us and that
future for Texas and Latín America,
a grimmer,
And one that may al so be based in so me of the trends that we
have seen recently.
A Special New Year's Report:
YEAR: Texas Ties Noted
Special to The HoustOll
(Supplemented by NYT, AP
and AFP cables.]
holding companies that collapsed in 1998
and 1999 after the imposition of the Uniform Emergency Trade Embargo.
Two reports issued during the last week
provide, when compared, a discouraging
insight into the future of both the sta te of
Tcxas and the Latin American and Caribbean region, once Texas' principal trading
partner. The first, the "Preliminary Overview of 2015," prepared by the UN Economic Commission f or Latin America and the
Caribbean, identified this past year as "singularly disastrous" for the region. The
other, entitled "Prospects for Texas in
2016," was published by the Comptroller's
Office in Austin. It projected continued
decline f or the state economy "in the f ace of
rapidly shrinking export markets and a
dearth of new production efforts."
y ou have been Chairman at
TCB since its creation in 1998. Y ou predicted, when youfirst moved to Texasfrom
New York, that "Texas would be rolling by
the turn of the century." We are nowfifteen
years into the new century and there's no
sign of the "roll." What do you predict now?
The Chronicle
has interviewed six specialists from universities and the priva te
sector across the state to obtain evaluations
01' these combined prospects.
Their anaIysc s concur only on the most generallevels:
all agree that the "Fortress America" program of the past decade has be en very exceedingly difficult f or Texas.
Texas can "turn it around" in the coming
years and how that might be undertaken
brings widcly differing responses.
We turned first to John Rochemont,
Chairman of the Board of Texas Consolidatcd Bank, successor to the f our bank
Montef ort: Texas i:¡ on a "roll." Every day
there are new jobs being created to replace
those lost under the Embargo. The rate of
outmigration has fallen to less than 4% per
year. State revenues have risen for each of
the past four years; they will return to tbe
levels of the year 2000 within Olle or two
more ycars. And the smaller sta te population requires lower levds of government
expcnditures, in any evcnt.
Chroniclc: This new report from the Comptroller's Office, however, says that exports
from and through Texas continue to fall.
Are we just creating jobs for one another,
scratching each other's back, as it were?
Montefort: Not at all. Texas products are
being exported through Calif ornia and New
York to markets in Europe and Asia; it is
only shipments to Latin American that
continue to fall, unless we try to include
estimates of the contraband going to and
f rom Mexico. Texas can adjust; our nation-
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
al policy has been reinforced by three administrations now. There is no point at this
time crying over spilled milk, especia11y 15year-old spilled milk.
Chronicle: Many Texans still say that the
Embargo was a mistake, that we could have
taken a more cooperative attitude. What do
you believe?
What alternative did the U.S.
have? Latin America decided to shut us out
with these damned trading blocs. How
could we maintain our balance of payments
if we only imported from them and couldn't
export to them. And when they began to
discriminate against American businesses,
giving preference to investorsfrom Europe
and Japan and~
the Socialist countries,
what leverage did we have left other than
blocking their access to our markets?
Chronicle: But isn't it true that it had only
been in tended as a temporary measure?
MonllfM.t.: Well, that's what the so-ca11ed
"insiders" say. A11 those books by f ormer
officials, claiming to have the "real" story
don't add up to a hill a' beans, I sayo We
took a stance. We ca11ed their bluff. And
they didn't have the good sense to back
clown. Now they have no access to American technology
or American
Sure, it hurt Texas more than most places.
But look how the industrial belt has rebounded now that all that competitionfrom
unfairly cheap imports has be en eliminated.
We'l1 do our part. We'l1 adjust. And each
year will be better.
2/28/89; page 13
and your books and speeches suggest criticism of the Embargo and the policies that
have followed.
Let's start with current
conditions in Latin America.
Does that
have any direct link to Texas?
Richter: No, not directly. It wasn't Texas
that imposed the Embargo. But Texas was
the site, perhaps coincidenta11y, of the
moment that isgenerally considered to have
determined much of the past 25 years of
Latin American social and economic history.
Chronicle: y ou mean the 1990 Bush declaration on debt and democracy?
Richter: Right. When President George
Bush came to San Antonio to address the
1990 Emergency Hemispheric Conference
on Debt Relief, there were great expectations that his recently-elected
administration would initiate a dramatic new program
f or debt relief.
His speech, which was
warrnly received across the U .S., is reme mbered by Latin Americans as one of the
biggest disappointmentsofthe
SotQ: It's not that people didn't expect him
to take a hard line; his Vice-president had
said, in one of the televised campaign debates, that debt forgiveness "just wouldn't
be right." But no one expected him to be so
"ideological" in his approach. In the light of
the last 25 years, it looks downright silly.
Two experts on Latin America at the
University of Texas, Dr. Bryan Richter and
Dr. Angeles Soto, provided very different
of recent trends that relate
to both Texas and Latin America.
Richter: He demanded that debt and democracy be linked, insisted thatfuture U .S. aid
and bank lending would go only to those
countries that met both a "democracy" test
and a "debt-repayment"
test. And he announced that the U .S. Treasurywould begin
to mediate in the debt negotiations onlyfor
those countries that publicly committed
themselves to repayment of a11outstanding
debt and that met the "democratization"
criterion of the State Department.
y ou are specialists on Latin
American and Mexican American issues,
And that's when Mexico reneged on its debt?
-- * -- * -- * --
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
Soto: Not quite. Mexico applauded the
speech, along with a half -dozen other countries, in a room that was otherwise icily
silcnt. The Mexican government was confident that it would meet the "democracy"
test. It wasn't until six months later that it
was told that no debt assistance would be
f orthcoming until the PRI ref ormed itself to
the satisf action of the political leaders of
PAN, the conservative opposition party.
What f ol1owed then was tumultuous.
Richter: First a moratorium on about $15
billion due in 1991. When the U .S. annOllnced a temporary embargo on a11trade
with Mexico, Mexico then renounced the
whole $93 bi11ion and blocked U.S. exports.
And the embargo became per-
E.ichter: That was the series of events that
set Latin America into motion in theformation of regional trading blocs. They justified them, genera11y, as responses to the
U .S.-Canadian Free Trade Agreement of
19R9 and the complete integration of the
European Economic Community in 1992.
But there was at least as much fear of the
use of U .S. economic leverage against other
countries in the region behind the accelerated pursuit of trading blocs.
Thc [irst to come together, in 1996, was the
Greater South American Pact (GSAP),
Brazil, Argentina,
Paraguay, and, after 1998, Chile. They had
both geographicalIy contiguous boundaries
and roughly similar levels of development
at the time they were combined. And they
have done the best of a11the Latin American trading blocs.
ed to occur was an increasing pref erence f or
European and Japanese investors, or contracts with those firms. Colombia was, in
f act, the first country where a definitive
anti-U.S. bias was noted. The Colombian
Planning Ministry was taking bids on a coal
mining joint-venture.
They awarded the
concession to a French firm over a much
lower bid f rom Anaconda
Mining of
The Colombian legislature refused to ratify a contract with a U.S.-based
firm because, in the words of the majority
leader, "it will just give the U .S. government
one more lever to force our compliance
with their policies." The debate hinged on
U .S. policies toward Panama in '87 and '88,
despite the fact that most of the legislators
considered General N oriega, the Panamanian dictator, to be despicable.
had been one of the 23 (out of 24) Latin
American members of the Organization of
American States that voted to condemn the
U.S. actions against Panama back then.
Richter: And that attitude tended to grow,
and it was reinforced by the hard-line attitude that the U .S. took against Mexico,
closing the border and all.
Chronicle: And that then escalated to the
total embargo on Latin American trade.
We11, it has never be en total.
Consistent with the "modified Bush doctrine," we trade with those countries that
are wi11ing to declare their intent to repay
a11their debt, that "are moving toward" the
we seek, and that will
publicly guarantee equal access for U.S.based firms to their investment opportunitieso But there isn't much trade, as you
Only Jamaica, El Salvador, and
Puerto Rico technica11y qualify.
Why did they begin to block
U.S. firms from investing?
Soto: There was no definite blocking tactic
until at least 1998. Prior to that what tend-
2/28/89; page 14
And the impact on Texas?
Soto: Pretty harsh. We've had militarization of the Mexican border f or nearly ten
yearsnow. Twin-plantemploymentisabout
10% of what it was in 1990; it's just too
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
difficult to get cargoes back and forth
across the border. Al! the publicity that
maqu ila shipments are just "surreptitious
exports" -- contraband, in otherwords -- has
wiped out the programo
The biggest loss has come to the whole
border economy that had been developing
so rapidly in the late 1980s. And the human
costs of disrupted f amilies, loss of contact
with Mexico for Mexican American families, and the gradual submersion, almost
persecution, of Mexican culture, has taken
a terrible cultural tollo That's something
that we don't measure in social science
statistics, but it is tangible nonetheless.
* -- * -- * --
Thc Texas agricultural industry has stagnated f or more than two decades.
of the state population
listed "farming or ranching" as its principal
occupation on the census uf 2010 reached ao
all-time low, less than 8%. The Cbronicle
turned to lohn Bob Pickering, president 01'
the Texas Agricultural Producers Association, for his evaluation of the future 01'the
Tcxas economy and its f10tential links lo
Latin America.
The Comptrollcr has predicteJ
that farm production will fal! again tbis
year, Mr. Pickering. Is that consistent with
thc predictions 01'your organization'!
Pic1s!~riDg: No, we helievc that Texas farm
production may reach new highs, this year.
but tbat will dcpend 00 Washington. lf they
give us thc Labor Import Permits that we
need, and if we can get enough workers in
he re from the Caribbcan, we should bring
production up to levcls higher than we've
scen in maybc ten years. But without the
pcrmits, my friend, we'll be whistling in the
Chronicle: How sevcre was the labor shortage this past year?
page 15
Pickering: About the samc as ¡t's bccll for
the past five or six. The competition for
ranch hands has been fairly good; 'cause we
can provide them year-round em ployment.
There's always a few thousand ranch hands
signed up in the AII-Texas Labor Pool in
San Antonio. Where we have been hurting
isfor pickersfor seasonal crops. Even with
the use of 2000 National Guardsman last
year, we only got about 60% of the citrus
crop harvested.
But we can't paya wage
high enough to draw workers from thc
North and still make a profit on the citrus
we ship.
Chronicle: Meat prices soaredfiftcen years
ago, after the Embargo. Are Texas shecp
and cattle producers still benefitting from
Pickering: The elimination of importsfrom
Mexico and from much of Latin America
gave us bonanza years f rorn '02 through '05.
Beef on the hoof went over $2.00 a pound,
triple where it was in the '90s. But Washington encouraged ~
farrncr to raise
more cattle, and the falling pricL of g:rains
made it easier than ever. So now we havc
the worst of both worlds: low grailJ priccs,
because we aren't exporting half 01'what we
used to, and low beef prices becausc cvery
Cub Scout has a heifer in the back yard.
Then, do Texas' farrners and
ranchers support elimination of the En; hargo?
Pickering: Hell, no! Texas' farmers and
ranchers are just as patriotic as the DCxt
guy! We would welcome expansion oí thc
Labor Import Permit program to replace
the labor we lost after the Mexico border
was militarized. Y ou know, we still get only
about a quarter as many as then. And wc
would love to be able to ship more grains to
those Latin American countries.
But we
can't let 'em push us around. That's not
righ 1.
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
What Texas' f armers and ranchers want is a
chance to competefairly.
Ifwe can get the
international markets back to the kind we
had back in the '90s, we'd be plenty happy to
jump right in with all the rest.
With all the troubles around Latin America
and the racist antagonism toward Mexico,
our kids don't want to be seen as Mexican.
They don't want to be Latino. They want to
fit in. And there's no safe place these days
for Latinos.
-- * -- * -Chronicle:
Some say that this can't be
blamed on the U .S., that it was an inevitable
response to actions taken in Latin America.
The Chronic/e
turned, finally, to one of
the state's leading experts on the Mexican
seeking further
assessment of the links between the crises
of this still-new century in both Texas and
Latin America. He isAmador Luz, Chicano
poet, and columnist f or the San Antonio
Luz: 1 doubt that there is any value in casting about for someone to blame, amigo.
Maybe what we need to recognize is that
there is an attitude that is at fault, an attitude of aggressiveness,
an attitude of
defensiveness, an attitude of intolerance.
Chronicle: What has the past fifteen years
of stagnation in the Texas economy, deterioration in Latin America, and emigration
from the state meantfor the Hispanic community?
Luz: We are cut off, hermano. And our
culture is dying. But the problems aren't
just economic. They began earlier. They
began with that bendito "English Only
Movement" back in the '80s. When they
then amended the Texas constitution in '91
to ban all teaching in Spanish, the culture
began to die. Look at me. 1 can't publish
any of my poetry in my own arts column,
2/28/89; page 16
it includes
a mixture
of Spanish
English. My kids, if they want to learn educated Spanish in school, have to take it as a
foreign language. A foreign language!
Chronicle: But isn't the Hispanic community growing? The census of '10 showed that
Hispanic surname peopleconstituted
40% of the state?
Luz: Right. But how many of them speak
Better yet, how many of them
speak something other than "street Spanish." How many can read it? Some say
fewer than 10%, and that's mostly the older
f olks.
This is a country that hasfeared those who
were different. We have never been more
content than when we thought there were
few differences among us, when everyone
seemed to agree on the course that the
nation was taking. We have built elaborate
justifications for reassuring ourselves that
the way we do things is "the best way." So
when our compadres in Latin America try
to do things a little differently, we have this
almost irresistible urge to stop them, to
convince them that they're wrong. Then, if
they persist, we use our clout, whatever
clout we have, to stop them.
That's be en a very troublesome basis for
"getting along" with our neighbors, no?
Chronicle: What can Texas and Texans do,
Amador Luz, to counter the fear, the intolerance, the aggressiveness thatyou claim
has become the hallmark of our relations
with Latin America?
!t's not just Texas and Texans,
hombre. !t's what this country should have
Life in Latin America is no different from
life in this country. People are born, they
live lives in search of small comf orts, a little
bit of hope for themselves -- and a lot of
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
hope f or their kids -- and they die. Thcyare
sceking, like we are seeking, a more modern, productive, safe and sane world.
of the Pessimistic
Are we capable
Languagc, mano Culturc. Travcl. Education. Wc should havc sent thousands 01'our
higb school and collegc kids to study in
Latin America, rather than cutting them off
from it. Wc should have fortified our cultural roots, rather than paving them over
with English-only, anti-Latino education.
We could have learned from our amigos
Latinos, rather than putting them down as
inferior. ignorant, and hostilc.
And we
could have cooperated with them, on the
basis 01' respect, rather than isolating ourselves behind a barrier of anger and distrust.
of launching
ship Wilh our Latin American
page 17
Chroniclc: But how could we have learned
all that better than we have?
lf wc had learned, half a century ago, that
our hrothers and sisters to the South don't
want to threaten us; thcy want to work wilh
uso If we had learncd thirty years ago, that
wc don't havc all the answers fOl our own
problems, let alone the bcst answcrs for
Latin America. If we had learned that they
MS<capable of making their own decisions,
thcir own choices, falling into their own
mistakes, and stumbling across solutions at
least as good as ours. If we had Icarncd
into a long-term
and our Latin American
the latent fear of "brown hordes" from Mexico and the rest of Latin America,
to the surface
to misunderstood
in our national
and the
that this
is plausible?
with Mexico?
that we would attempt
Are we capable
our allies and trading
The experience
of the English-only
clase enough
Is it possible
for knee-jerk
Latin America
to clase totally and militarize
of imposing
Are we capable,
our border
as a nation,
of repeatedly
in the foot?
of the past 40years, cau tiously interpreted,
we recall the CIA activities
in Central
Michael E. Conroy
is not encouraging.
in the 1980s, the U .S.
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
role in bringing the dictatorial
our use of economic
2/28/89; page 18
Texas and Latin America
to power in Chile in the 1970s,
to punish Peru for nationalizing
Company in the 1960s, or our open support for the dictators
and action thatwas regretted
the quasi-militarization
of the border
of additional
new tent cities
for political
Mexico and Southern
with Vietnam-era
armed INS agents, helicopters,
in the decade following.
of their eligibility
ditches or moats between Northern
and So moza in the 1950s, each decade has been marked
The images of the late 1980s lend little additional
the International
and razor wire; and calls
for the use of the military to patrol.
We, as a nation, have tended to alienate
to reinforce
to Latin America
nation that acts precipitously,
difficult forfriends
and to the rest of the world that we are a
clumsily, and regretfully.
to defend us, easyfor our opponents
for those who might look to us for respect,
Anglo- Texans
are often
of neither
We make it
to laugh at us, impossible
and collaboration.
the richness
of our Mexican
in the face of another
over the "Mezkins" at the battle of San Jacinto,
to assimilate,
of Texas,
of anti-Hispanicversions
Texans are encouraged
the Chicano
over our insecurity
or glorification
allies in Latin America,
those whose values are most at odds with the values of this nation,
and to communicate
our natural
of the history of the Alamo.
from speaking
from high school
with full
English nor Spanish!
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
The closer
Texas and Latin America
that Texans
to recognize
are to the U.S.-Mexican
the importance
The South Texas business community
labor force,
of trading relations
page 19
the greater
with Latin America.
has always had close ties to Mexico, through
and holidays.
But our economic
sights look
North, and East, and West before looking South. It has been too easy to be swept
into the national
most Texans
an ignorance
nor most U .S. citizens
or insensitive.
of Latin America
Our responses
to develop into awareness,
among sociologists
really belongs to the South or the West.
to the Southwest.
It has been my implicit
or economic
is provided
What does it mean, they as k, to be long
here that Texas belonged,
than to any other major cultural,
to Latin America
North, East, or West. The predominance
oil, on the other hand, has greater
to Mexico, Argentina,
Brazil, than to the Old South in the U.S. Favorable
America also benefit Texas; unfavorable
Michael E. Conroy
of cattle and
and frontier
global price trends for oil and
gas, cotton, meat, and even winter garden fruits and vegetables
an opportunity
Past and Future
The economy of Texas does, in fact, bear greater
than to the industrialized
of the most pes-
and historian s about whether
belongs, and will be long more to Latin America
just, and
plan s, and policies.
for Texas from Our Latin American
is a debate
that lessen the likelihood
if, that is, our fundamental
even those among uso Our
culture, and our local state culture, is fundamentally
simistic scenario,
are fundamentally
can be traced, more often, to
and Latin Americans,
open. It is those basic characteristics
rather than the border as an
But neither
focus on the border as a "problem"
that benefit Latin
those products
that delight the
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
and Midwestern
2/28/89; page 20
U.S., as well as Europe,
of Texas and the rest of Latin
that brought
a land-based
often bring harm to the
The accumulation
and energy-based
Texas in the 1970s and 1980s has also left Latin America
as the principal
These similarities,
to the financial
to future economic
the taxation
and the labor and capital markets
to receive,
ment programs
to protect
with accumulated
Texas is tied inexorably
the foreign
policy, educational
of the U.S. It has received,
of dollars each year in debt relief through
access to U.S. markets
over Latin America,
at Texas'
for its products,
no matter
boom to
however, can mask the differences.
and will
It has
access that provides
what the prices
of their
The State of Texas, its citizens,
a difference
in the future
in that which
and especially
that Texas
its elected
and Latin
they will have in common.
will share,
The following
by Texas and Texans is designed to increase
list of
the likelihood
that the optimistic
scenario becomes real. They do not cover every possibility,
they are indicative
of the kinds of steps that Texas could take to build a stronger
future on the basis of its national
and international
1. Leadership in Washington on Latin American Issues. The Texas contingent
in Washington will be stronger, during the Bush administration,
than it has been
since Lyndon Baines Johnson. Texans can take important leadership roles on the
crucial issues of the day by:
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin America
page 21
rapid, generous, business-like relief of Latin American debt so
that the Texas economy can grow more rapidly through trade with Latin
America and so that Latin America can expand its ties to Texas.
b )Continuing
the pressure for peace in Central America to which House
Speaker Jim Wright (from Fort Worth) made important contributions
1987 and 1988 and which Senator Lloyd Bentsen urged during his Vicepresidential
c) Supporting
expansion of federal financing of international
throughout the United States, at alllevels from primary through graduate
schools, with special emphasis on the training of large numbers of additional
specialists who are both technically well-prepared
and internationally
federal support for the continuing development of both sides
of the U.S.-Mexico border, from Brownsville to Tijuana; this is both a
crucial area of persistent poverty in this country and a region of great growth
potential as recent maquiladora experience indicates.
e) Seeking newforms ofbroad-based
development assistancefor
all of Latin America, in collaboration
with Western Europe, Canada, and
Japan, and channeled wherever possible through the appropriate
international organizations,
rather than through politically more sensitive direct
bilateral programs.
f) Supporting more directly international
programs for the preservation
rain forest and other ecologically sensitive areas in Latin
America, recognizing that rapid development
that does ll.Q1 depend on
of those global resources provides the best alternative
governments that are desperately trying to fill their people's needs.
g) Expandingfederally-financed
research, in Texas as well as elsewhere across
the country, that directs our national research capability toward the specific
agricultural and technical problems of contemporary
development outside
the U.S., recognizing that both licensing and voluntary transfer of that new
technology may be the best contribution
that we can make, over the next
quarter century, to both our earnings and our good will in Latin America
and elsewhere.
humane solutions to the problems of immigration from Latin
America, recognizing
our heritage as a nation of immigrants,
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin America
2/28/89; page 22
bridge s toward those who are legitimate
equitable procedures for access to legal immigration.
of agricultural
stimulus for state exports toward Latin America
Texas state government.
of border
have long been traditions
of the
There are myriad ways in which Texas could take further
in terms of expanding
beyond contemporary
focus on just
But the more important
state government
role, in the long run, will be the influence
can exercise over the development
across the state.
of internationally
If we are to avoid becoming
an isolationist,
that the
state that must draw most of its international
from outside the state, several policies
are crucial:
a) Developing international
awareness, international
educational travel experiences, and cross-cultural
every level of the educational system.
focuses at
b )Promoting, funding, and, if necessary, requiring as a condition for state
financial support that~
Texas student learn at least one language other
than English, and that they learn it to a level of working competency (not
just hours in a c1assroom) tested prior to graduation.
If, as is likely, this will
tends to enhance the Spanish-Ianguage
compara tive advan tage tha t the sta te
already enjoys, this will only strengthen state ties to Latin America; but
language education in Portuguese, European languages, aswell asJapanese
will carrywith it an inherent expansion of cross-cultural awareness, interest,
learning, and experience.
c) Encouraging the development of multinational
and intergovernmental
designed to enhance the role that Texas plays in our national
neighbors to the South.
Michael E. Conroy
endeavors in
contacts with
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
Texas and Latin Ameriea
3. Local Citizen-Action
our national
on Latin America.
that eontinuously
is the level of organization
On virtually
every level, from church-based
to both the spiritual
school distriets,
our international
but they may be the most important
tionally sensitive, internationally
and our deeentralized
both Texas and LatinAmeriea,
in terms of the development
It may be at this level that the most subtle
for aetivities
with greatest
to the South
groups that travel abroad to
local aetion offers the greatest
will be made to improvedfuturesfor
The possibilities
and physical needs of others, to Rotary and Kiwanis
groups that raise funds for social service projects,
page 23
One of the dimensions
amazes our friends
that we have in private,
of independent
of an interna-
and internationally
involved citizenry.
are also multiple,
but a few of the
impaet would include:
pressure for expanded
training, and international
travel for students at alllevels, but especially in
the Junior High Sehool and High Sehool ages.
b )Expansion of sister-eity programs in eities of all sizes; these programs offer
wide ranges of possibilities
for travel, business eontaets, humanitarian
assistanee projeets, and, in general, for experienees that are understandingbuilding and eulture-bridging.
e) Further development
of programs of loeally-based
assistanee for Latin
Ameriea on a people-to-people
basis, by persons with professional
from doetors and nurse s to eomputer teehnieians,
specialized farmers,
university faeulty, and, under appropriate
cireumstanees, of high sehool and eollege students who will simply donate
manual labor, enthusiasm, and other bases for good will.
d )Organization
of local political pressure for policies at the state and national
level that will enhanee Latin Ameriea's ehances for development and that
will, through them, improve Texas' eeonomie future as a partner in Latin
Ameriea's expansion.
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
Past Meets Future:
2/28/89; page 24
Texas and Latin America
e) Community-wide
of our state's Latin American
of the strength that it gives us for expanded ties to Latin
America, and the expansion of pride in that heritage from the justifiablyproud Mexican Americans and other Hispanics in the community to all of
us who can also share that heritage.
by Texas
and by Texans
will not resolve,
recovery and development
will guarantee
will almost
for Latin America
because our basic economies
as a trading partner,
so important
by themselves,
any more than Latin American
a bright future for Texas.
But a bleak
dim the brightness
are so similar, and partially
as a source of immigrants,
of ours,
because Latin
and as a political
ally is
to Texas.
out of altruism
and future involvement
or self-interest,
with Latin America
to bring us closer to our historical
our recognition
of our past, present,
can serve to enlighten
that future and
Michael E. Conroy
Past Meets Future: Texas and Latin
America in the 21st Century
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