CHICAGO – Today Governor Pat Quinn welcomed to Illinois the Governor of the State of Mexico Eruviel Ávila for an official state visit that celebrates the 150-year friendship between Illinois and Mexico. Governor Ávila’s trip is a result of Governor Quinn’s trade mission to Mexico City which took place in April 2013. This week’s visit is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to strengthening relations between Illinois and Mexico.
Today, the two Governors will inaugurate the Casa de Estado de Mexico, a new office in Chicago’s Near West Side to assist Mexican-Americans and “Mexiquenses” (people from the state of Mexico).The Casa de Estado de Mexico is the second such “Casa” to open in the United States. The Casas provide a range of social and civil services, including legal orientation, processing birth and marriage certificates and serving as liaison with state authorities.
Governors Quinn and Avila were joined by dignitaries from both Mexico and Illinois, including Judge Baruch Delgado Carbajal (President of the High Court of Justice), Congressman Aarón Urbina Bedolla, Dr. Jorge Olvera García (Rector of the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México) and Carlos Martin Jimenez García (Cónsul General of Mexico in Chicago).
“I am honored to join my friend Governor Eruviel Ávila to inaugurate this new facility,” Governor Quinn said. “We are committed to ensuring the people of Mexico feel welcome and at home in Illinois. The services offered here will help many people and will also strengthen a friendship that has endured for 150 years.”
“In Spanish, ‘casa’ means ‘home’. This beautiful new Casa Estado de Mexico will serve as a home away from home for Mexiquenses,” Governor Avila said. “And we appreciate Governor Quinn for welcoming us into his home.”
Tonight, the two Governors will present the prestigious 70-person Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México under legendary conductor Enrique Bátiz as a free concert at Benito Juárez Community Academy, 1510 W. Cermak, Chicago, at 6:45 p.m. The concert is a gift from Governor Ávila to Governor Quinn and the people of Illinois.
The world-famous symphony will be making its first visit to the United States since 2008, when its nine-week, 49-city tour was hailed as a triumph. Conductor Bátiz – a fixture on the international music scene since 1965 – founded the Orquesta Sinfónica in 1971. They have recorded a wide range of traditional Mexican and Spanish songs as well as classics by Verdi and Beethoven.
“We are truly honored by the visit by the Orquesta Sinfónica and are eager to hear them perform,” Governor Quinn said. “Enrique Bátiz is a living treasure who we welcome along with each gifted member of this orchestra.”
“The Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México is a source of pride and joy to every Mexiquense, so I am happy to share this cultural gem with our Illinois friends,” Governor Ávila said. “And to experience this unique theatrical reenactment of Matías Romero’s visit to Lincoln’s home on the Eve of Lincoln’s birthday reminds us that our friendship is strong and growing.”
Tomorrow the two Governors will also lay a wreath at the statue of Benito Juárez on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, and witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to promote collaboration between the states’ major universities on agriculture and veterinary medicine.
Following the wreath-laying ceremony, the two Governors will travel to Springfield for the world premiere performance of “Of Mutual Interest: Lincoln and Mexico” at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The performance reenacts the 1861 meeting at President-elect Lincoln’s home between Lincoln and an emissary sent by Benito Juárez to officially salute the new President, the first such greeting from a foreign nation.
Governor Ávila is visiting Illinois at Governor Quinn’s invitation. The two met last April during a trade mission to Mexico City led by Governor Quinn. Governor Ávila was elected in 2011 and succeeded Enrique Peña Nieto, now Mexico’s President.
Governor Quinn has vowed to make Illinois the “most welcoming state” in the United States, and has often noted the friendship between Juárez and Lincoln. Last year, Governor Quinn declared March 21 as “Benito Juárez Day” across Illinois. The country of Mexico is Illinois’ second-largest trading partner. With sales of $8.2 billion, Illinois is the third largest agricultural exporter in the United States, and the country of Mexico is one of Illinois’ most loyal agricultural trading partners. Since 2010, the country of Mexico has purchased $1.9 billion in agricultural products from Illinois, including $780 million in 2012 alone, making it the state’s third largest agricultural export market.
Governor Quinn was the first Illinois governor to visit Mexico in 13 years and only the fourth U.S. governor to visit Mexico since 2005. There are now 1.6 million people in Illinois of Mexican origin, about one in eight Illinois residents. Mexico and Illinois have had a sister state relationship since 1990.
For details about Governor Ávila’s state visit or the history of the 150 year friendship between Mexico and Illinois, visit 150years.Illinois.gov.