The White Shoe Irregular:
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Mr. Amigo 2000

Representative Solomon P. Ortiz

Mr. Speaker, I wish today to commend the 2000 "Mr. Amigo," Jorge Muñiz, chosen recently by the Mr. Amigo Association of Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, in Mexico. Each year the Mr. Amigo Association honors a Mexican citizen with the title of "Mr. Amigo," and that person acts as a goodwill ambassador between our two countries. Their selection honors a man or woman who has made a lasting contribution during the previous year to international solidarity and goodwill. "Mr. Amigo" presides over the annual Charro Days Festival.

The Charro Days Festival is a pre-Lenten event, much like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, held in Brownsville and Matamoros. Charro Days festivities last for several days; this year they will be February 23–27 and will include parades and appearances by Mr. Muñiz. Charro Days is an opportunity to enjoy the unique border culture of the Rio Grande Valley area. As Mr. Amigo 2000, Muñiz will head the international parade of Brownsville Charro Days and Matamoros Fiestas Mexicanas festivities.

During Charro Days, South Texans celebrate the food, music, dances, and traditions of both the United States and Mexico. The United States-Mexican border has a unique, blended history of cowboys, bandits, lawmen, farmers, fishermen, oil riggers, soldiers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and teachers.

The border has its own language and customs. On both sides of the border, there is a deep sense of history, much of which the border has seen from the front row. We have seen war and peace; we have known prosperity and bad times. Charro Days is a time for all of us to reflect on our rich history, to remember our past and to celebrate our future. The Mr. Amigo Award began in 1964 as an annual tribute to an outstanding Mexican citizen.

The 2000 Mr. Amigo, Mr. Muñiz, is a singer and TV host. The selection of Jorge Muñiz, cohost of the weekly music TV show "Al fin de semana," comes almost ten years after his father, another Mexican singer, Marco Antonio Muñiz, also served as Mr. Amigo. The realization that he followed his father with this honor was quite emotional for him.

He has recorded twelve albums over a twenty-year span in the music and entertainment industry. Affectionately known as "Coque," Mr. Muñiz is one of the most liked and recognized personalities not only in Mexico but the rest of the continent. During his career he has shared the stage with well-known personalities such as: Marco Antonio Muñiz (his father), Cecilia Gallardo, and Alberto Vasquez. His theater credits also include projects with legends like Lucha Villa, Maria Victoria, and the late Paco Stanley.

I urge my colleagues to join me in commending Jorge Muñiz, the 2000 Mr. Amigo, as well as the cities of Brownsville and Matamoros, for their dedication to international goodwill between the United States and Mexico.

[Taken from the Congressional Record, 13 February 2001, page E155.]