Mayor of London Boris Johnson praises contribution of Latin American communities

By 13 September, 2010

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has highlighted the immense contribution that Latin American communities have made to the economic, cultural and social fabric of the capital. Speaking at the City Hall, on September 2nd, at a reception to celebrate 200 years of Latin American independence, the Mayor also paid tribute to the key role played by London in providing a home to many of the architects of the freedom movement.

The reception was organised and hosted by the Mayor’s Office and is part of the GLA’s work with the Latin American community in London to celebrate this year’s independence anniversaries.

The Mayor met with key community leaders, business people, faith groups and those with links to the Latin American community in London at the reception. Mr Anibal De Castro, Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, attended and spoke at the event. Statutory Deputy Mayor, Richard Barnes officiated over the proceedings and met with guests. There was light music from Latin American quartet, Matices Latino, who played a selection of Latin American rhythms.

The bicentenary anniversary is being used as an opportunity by Latin Americans to showcase their culture and promote the contribution of Latin Americans to London. This anniversary also highlights the historical links between London and Latin America. The Latin American community in London is large and diverse and numbers around 100,000. As an emerging economy, there is huge potential for strengthening trade links between the Americas and London.

Boris Johnson said:

The contribution and influences of Latin American communities is vast and wonderful, from businesses, restaurants, sport, film festivals, theatre, media organisations to salsa and samba! Just as the eyes of the world will be on London in 2012, all eyes will be focussed on Brazil for the 2016 Games. London will be proud to handover the baton when the time comes for the first South American country to host the Olympics.

I am very proud that so many people from this diverse continent have chosen to make their home in London, thus enriching the life of the capital. Historically too, many of the key figures in the freedom movement chose London as their home. It was from this city that revolutionaries such as Simon Bolivar, Francisco de Miranda and Jose de San Martin honed their plans and ideas for revolution and independence!

Richard Barnes said:

As the Deputy Mayor responsible for communities, I am very proud of the links City Hall enjoys with the Latin American community in London. In little over a year and a half, we have come from a position where there was no real contact with the community, to one where we are now familiar with the hopes, aspirations and concerns of this important community in London.

This relationship continues to grow and I am particularly thankful for the contributions that Latin American communities have made in helping to shape the GLA’s strategies and policies such as The London Plan and our recent equalities consultations.

The GLA has been working with the Latin American Bicentenary Group as well as a number of cultural event organisers to pull together events and resources to mark the bicentenary. This has resulted in the production of a commemorative eight-page brochure containing information about the anniversary as well as a list of events, as well as A3 posters and souvenir postcards. These were also launched at the reception.

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