June 4, 2004

Fernando Oaxaca – Legacy of an American Statesman

A founding director of HispanicVista.com, Fernando Oaxaca, after a prolonged illness passed on Friday, May 28. He was accompanied at his bedside by his loving wife, Bertie, his best friend and brother, Jaime, and other family members and close friends.

When we say, “he passed on” we also mean he passed on the baton to a new generation of Americans. First and foremost, Fernando will be remembered as an American statesman. A man of passion for his country and conviction for his principles, with unmatched dedication, loyalty and patriotic fervor Fernando devoted his life to his country. His love for America, adherence to his family values, appreciation for his Hispanic heritage and traditions, his belief in democratic ideals, rule of law, equality and justice - these are the hallmark of his legacy.

Born in el Paso, Texas of Mexican parentage, Fernando always held his parents with the utmost love and respect. He often quoted his father’s witty directives that guided him through his life. His strong family values, supplemented by his Hispanic heritage and American work ethic empowered Fernando to become the unique statesman that was his destiny.

After graduating from the University of Texas in 1950 he moved to Los Angeles where he became a successful businessman. He was a co-founder of Coronado Communications, engaged in broadcasting and radio, and pioneered marketing and advertising to the Spanish language consumer. His business success catapulted him to community service and political involvement. He served in the Nixon/Ford White House and became with his close friends, the recognized leaders of the Hispanic coalition of the Republican Party. A position he occupied until his recent illness.

To his credit and honor, Fernando broke ranks with the Peter Wilson California Republican Party when they turned on the defenseless immigrant community. The measure, Proposition 187, was passed by the electorate in an election riddled with biased and inflammatory anti immigrant rhetoric, was declared unconstitutional. And subsequently Fernando was instrumental in bridging the divisiveness with a more compassionate and understanding policy toward the undocumented immigrant working class.

He joined forces with Dionicio Morales, a living role model in the Hispanic community, and became the Chairman of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation. MAOF today is the biggest Hispanic community services institution in the United States. He was also Chairman of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the Mexican government and private donations, to promote the Mexican culture and foment cultural exchange between the two countries. Both of these organizations awarded Fernando with their ‘Life Achievement Award’ - an accolade not previously accorded.

Fernando will be best remembered for his statesmanship. He preached what he practiced. He believed in a welfare system that was a safety net and not an entitlement. He believed in self-help, self-esteem and a work ethic. He believed in government accountability and fiscal responsibility. He was committed to a democratic society that was governed by institutions grounded on principles of justice and equality - the rule of law. Above all, he believed that America’s strength was grounded on family values, love of country and cultural diversity. Had it been possible, he would have endowed America with the gifts he treasured, his fluency in the Spanish and English languages, and his bi-cultural heritage.

His ‘Oaxaca Journal’ essays published in HispanicVista articulate, incisive, well documented commentaries espousing his conservative philosophy and ideals. He championed fair treatment and respect for all Americans. His enemy, whom he defined as America’s real enemy, is the bigoted supremacist who cowardly drapes himself in the American flag and Christian credo.

Fernando, hermano, we will continue to champion your cause. You will be remembered by grateful future generations of Americans, of all political affiliations, backgrounds and creeds.

Reprinted from HispanicVista.Com

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