Washington, DC, March 16th, 2017
Thank you, Nina, for that very kind introduction, and good evening ladies and gentlemen.
I am truly pleased and honored to be with you tonight. This event is a wonderful expression of the vitality, dynamism and a recognition of the great contributions of the Hispanic-owned businesses to the American economy.
I want to thank the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, its President and CEO, Javier Palomarez and all the members of the Board, for the generous invitation to participate in this Annual Legislative Summit Gala. I also want to publicly acknowledge all the work that the Chamber does to inspire the next generation of Hispanic leaders in this country.
It is a privilege to share this program with Kathleen Martinez and Adrienne Trimble, high executives of BP and Toyota, respectively.
I am particularly delighted that this is the first opportunity I have to publicly engage this important audience as appointed ambassador.
I want to start my remarks, by highlighting the outstanding growth and development of the Hispanic community in the U.S in the last decades. We all know the characteristics of Hispanics in the U.S. as a community but it is always worth mentioning them so their importance is never ignored.
An estimated 55 million Hispanics live in the U.S., approximately 17% of the country's population, according to the Census Bureau.
To put this into perspective, in 1980, with a population of 14.8 million, Hispanics made up just 6.5% of the total U.S. population.
That is, in less than 40 years Hispanics almost tripled their participation as a percentage of the total U.S. population.
By 2050, the Hispanic population in the U.S. is expected to reach 106 million, approximately double today's figure. It is evident that as this population continues to grow, their importance in company formation and job creation involvement in the economy will be even more vital.
Today, more than ever, Hispanic Americans are relying on entrepreneurship and small businesses to provide for their families. They play a substantial role in local job creation and economic development by starting businesses at a rate 15 times higher than the national average, and by keeping a steady increase in their purchasing power.
The dynamic growth of Hispanic-owned businesses will transform the economic and political landscape in the United States in the years ahead. And this is something to be proud of.
Here, I would like to underscore the role of Latinas entrepreneurs, they represent the fastest growing segment of small business owners in the US with 800,000 Latina-owned businesses.
When talking about Hispanics and their positive impact in the United States, we must remember that they are proud Americans, but they are also proud of their ancestry and cultural heritage. They are not one without being the other.
Also, that their cultural background and bilingual ability results in more educational achievements and allow them to work in different fields and industries.
And more importantly, regardless of the country of origin or the time they have spent living in the United States, Hispanics share some core values that give them that special recognition in the United States.
The same values with which your parents or grandparents or great-grandparents arrived in this country and managed to build a solid cultural heritage: tenacity, unity, solidarity, integrity and above all, the desire to contribute and improve the quality of life of your families and communities in general.
It is worth remembering that the vast majority of Hispanics that have come to the U.S. left their countries seeking better economic conditions for themselves and their families.
This impulse for working hard and improving the opportunities of their loved ones is not exclusive of Hispanics. The same thriving spirit was shown by the pilgrims that came from England, the Irish, Germans, Polish, Italians and all the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that have helped built this the United States.
Like these groups in the past, Hispanics face today the obstacle of being included and recognized as relevant actors of the American society and economy. I am certain that they will overcome them at the same speed with which they have become a significant component of the economy of this country.
You will agree with me that if the millions of Hispanics living in the United States continue to hold these values as the cornerstone of their actions, no success will be unattainable for the Hispanic community. Because each one of the members of this community knows someone or is someone who has surpassed unimaginable challenges like leaving family and friends behind in search of their goals.
I cannot stand here tonight and deny that for many Hispanics in general and Mexicans in particular, the decision to come to this country resulted from the lack of opportunities in their places of origin.
It has always been the responsibility of Mexico and its government to do everything possible so that Mexicans can find more opportunities without leaving their communities. The Administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto keeps working towards this goal, with the strong commitment to continue promoting development and social welfare.
Mexico has created the conditions to sustain economic growth and offer opportunities so Mexicans don’t have to leave. Our bet has always been to use our geographical proximity and the positive interdependence we hold with the United States to grow our relationship under a win-win proposition.
Looking forward, I can tell you that Mexicans, as Hispanics, are resilient and hardworking. These values will keep Mexico on the track of job creation, economic growth, competitiveness and the generation of opportunities.
Let me conclude by saying that I look forward to the continued empowerment of the Hispanic community in the United States, for it to have access to better education and jobs to bring about wealth to their communities.
Hispanics contribute immensely with their honest and hard work to this country and this needs to be acknowledged today, more than ever before.
Thank you very much.