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Front Page » Top Stories » Latin Local Business Leaders To Convene In Gables

Latin Local Business Leaders To Convene In Gables

Written by on February 12, 2004

By Samantha Joseph
The Organization of American States this month will bring the first of more than a dozen meetings to Coral Gables.

The Feb. 23 event will allow 150 executives with business interests in Latin America to analyze the Declaration of Nuevo Leon, signed by the heads of 34 nations at last month’s Monterrey Summit of the Americas in Mexico.

The event at the Biltmore Hotel will match Florida business experts with OAS and Latin American and local leaders for a debriefing on the January summit.

Present will be Miguel Hakim, undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean in Mexico’s ministry of foreign affairs; John Francis Maisto, Summit of the Americas US coordinator and permanent US ambassador to the OAS; Irene Klinger, executive secretary of the Summit of the Americas secretariat; Don Slesnick, Coral Gables mayor; and Luis Lauredo, president of the Hispanic Council on International Relations and former OAS ambassador.

The OAS is a Washington, DC, group whose 35 member countries include the US, Canada and several Caribbean and Latin American nations.

"It’s an opportunity to get political and economic answers on issues that to this point have not been discussed," said Coral Gables Business Development Administrator Stephen Albee.

Organizers said they expect dialogue on Latin American legal reform and infrastructure.

"There’s a general concern about the business climate. … When you have political instability, it raises the cost of doing business," said Jane Thery of the Summit of the Americas secretariat.

Mr. Albee said the meetings are a result of efforts to persuade the OAS to open local offices.

"Anything that we get – like a meeting of the OAS," Mayor Slesnick said, "fits right into the image of Miami as the crossroads of the Americas."