Grijalva invites Mexico's President Fox for visit to Calexico

March 27, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Mexican President Vicente Fox was personally invited to Calexico by City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva when the two met at a Beverly Hills reception Friday.

"He recognized Calexico's name and knew that it was the sister city of Mexicali," Grijalva said.

The councilman was one of a few at the reception who talked to the recently elected president.

"I happened to be in the right place and right time," Grijalva said.

Grijalva told Fox it was an honor to meet him and invited him for a visit to Calexico.

It could happen because Fox stopped in Mexicali a few times during last year's campaign and another time after he was elected, Grijalva said.

The reception was the final stop of a week-long trek through California for Fox and the end of a long day in Los Angeles.


After Fox gave a speech and shook hands with a few dignitaries in attendance, he left for the airport to return to Mexico, Grijalva said.

The reception was in a secluded private residence in Beverly Hills.

In addition to Grijalva, other Latino politicians, business leaders of greater Los Angeles and Hollywood celebrities listened to the speech by Fox.

Grijalva said Fox's speech showed, "our world is now connected. It is no longer a huge expanse."

He added: "We have ways of communicating with different people and different places. Fox facilitated that message by how he presented it."

Grijalva said the president addressed his audience in English and said, "We're friends. I have an open door. As I visit you now, I hope that you visit me in the future."

Grijalva said one of the reasons for Fox's trip was to forge a strong partnership between California and Mexico with an eye toward the future.

"He talked in global terms about how California and Mexico should work together," Grijalva said.

Fox said California has forged relationships with Mexico and shared the wealth of that situation, but in the future it cannot come without respect for those living in the lower economic strata of the community, according to Grijalva.

The speech in Beverly Hills was similar to Fox's speeches to field workers in Central California and plant workers in Northern California.

On meeting the Mexican president face-to-face, Grijalva said Fox is all his supporters claim him to be.

"His height can be imposing, especially when he is speaking at a podium or dais and he is a couple of feet taller," Grijalva said.

He added: "His mannerism and his speech appear to be very sincere."

Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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