Twice as nice
Pelosi returns to Gateway City
By Angela Carranza
Bridge Staff Writer
and Reuben Rodriguez
Bridge Circulation Manager
Published March 30, 2020
Returning for a second year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attended WBCA’s International Bridge Ceremony on the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Feb. 22, Pelosi; Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., stood at the border.
Cuellar began the event by welcoming attendees during a ceremonial breakfast at La Posada ballroom where he spoke on the importance of U.S.-Mexico trade through Laredo.
“Our trains carry 55 percent of all the trade between the U.S. and Mexico,” Cuellar said. “If you look at all the trucks that pass from El Paso to Brownsville, compared to Laredo, Laredo still does 51 percent of all the trades that pass. We’re No. 1 in trucks, No. 1 in trains here in Laredo and No. 1 in buses.”
With a symbolic ceremony on Feb. 21, Kansas City Southern announced a second train bridge will be built on the border. This addition is expected to relieve traffic throughout the city and in-crease trade flow.
Hoyer spoke briefly then Cuellar introduced Pelosi.
“Here is someone [who] understands that in our area we [would] rather have bridges than walls because we know that the Rio Grande does not divide us but actually unites us together,” Cueller introduced Pelosi to the crowd.
The attendees gave Pelosi a South Texas welcome as she took the podium.
“I want to take a moment to thank Henry Cuellar, who has been such a champion for making sure we all know that this has been one community with the border going through it,” she began. “The relationship between Mexico and the United States is an important one to better our country.”
The speaker then acknowledged Laredo’s patriotism with its celebration of George Washington.
“This community is the most patriotic place,” she said. “No place in America [are] George Washington and Martha Washing-ton honored so well, beautifully and faithfully other than in this area.”
Before proceeding to the International Bridge Ceremony, Pelosi gave a closing remark, “Thank you all for being who you are.”
She left the ballroom and met with the two Abrazo children representing the U.S.: Natalia Aileen Santos and Oscar Omar Martinez III. They marched onto the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge where the annual Abrazo Ceremony takes place.
“On behalf of the United States Congress, it is an honor to join with leaders from the United States and Mexico for the 123rd Washington Birthday Celebration,” Pelosi told the crowd.
“You are a champion for [the] U.S.-Mexico partnership, helping cultivate our strong economic cultural ties that deliver progress for all American people.”
Pelosi then praised Cuellar for the societal impact ushered during his tenure representing the 28th District of Texas.
“You were right there on the forefront—relentless and persistent to make sure that we would pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement,” she said. “Making sure that, when we did so, we would do so with respect for our neighbor of Mexico, our neighbor Canada and our workers in all three of our countries, [plus] stay true to our values as Americans, wanting to make sure that those values were felt by our neighbors.
“This wonderful event celebrates our countries’ close bonds, and close tradition and it embodies the diversity that strengthens our communities. The Abrazo Ceremony symbolizes the goodwill and affection that is the U.S.-Mexico friendship.”
It is her second year attending the annual Abrazo Ceremony. This event of unity came as Cuellar prepared for a race for his seat in the House.
“We in Congress, with our largest-ever Hispanic Caucus, feel that every day we are engaged with an ‘abrazo’ in our hemisphere,” Cuellar said. “Not just with Mexico but with the entire hemisphere and so many representatives of other countries are here today in friendship.”