FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HOSTS FIRST RECEPTION IN HONOR OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF CENTRAL AMERICA
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted a reception at Gracie Mansion in honor of the independence of Central America and celebrated the contributions of thousands of New Yorkers who trace their roots to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. These Central American countries gained their independence between 1823 and 1838, through struggles inspired by the liberation of South America. New York City is home to approximately 250,000 Central Americans. Joining Mayor Bloomberg were Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares and foreign dignitaries.
"Central Americans are making their mark on New York City and are maintaining their rich heritage," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Many Central Americans have come here in pursuit of a better life and are working hard for the benefit of all New Yorkers. The neighborhoods they help sustain are vibrant enclaves in a vast nexus of immigrant communities that make New York 'The World's Second Home.'"
"Central American New Yorkers are the lifeblood of so many neighborhoods throughout the boroughs," said Commissioner Linares. "The sons and daughters of Central America aspire for progress and success and share the fruits of their labor with New York. We are a better City for their vision."
Central Americans began declaring themselves independent from Spain in the 1820s. During that period, Panama joined with Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador to form Gran Colombia while other Central American territories proclaimed the United Provinces of Central America, an independent federation of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. After years of colonial rule under the United Kingdom and variations of self-government, Belize transitioned to independence in 1981. While the historical paths to nationhood have taken different shape, the commonality of a struggle for self-determination and dignity binds Central Americans.
Among the restaurants that contributed Central American dishes for this evening's event were Bahia, El Ranchito, Rincon Centro Americano and Pollo Campero. W. Bedoya Imports donated beverages from Latin America.
Edward Skyler / Silvia Alvarez (212) 788-2958