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Looking Back: A review of February news from the last 50 years

In this monthly series, we republish a few of the headlines from our May editions 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.


Ransom paid for U.S. diplomat

U.S. Consul General Terrance Leonhardy was released unharmed and in good health on May 7, after 76 hours of being held by a group of Mexican kidnappers, known as Fuerezas Revolucionarias del Pueblo  (FRAP). The group had demanded the release and safe passage to Cuba of 30 Mexican prisoners in exchange for the diplomat’s life.

pg14A one-million peso ransom (US$80,000) was paid to Consul General Terrance Leonhardy’s kidnappers by his wife, Lee Nells Leonhardy, Jalisco Governor Alberto Orozco Romero said at a press conference May 8. Mrs. Leonhardy personally borrowed the funds from a local bank with the Mexican government assisting her.

Governor Orozco commented that, “The necessity of delivering this sum of money could possibly cause the economic ruin of the Leonhardy family, but I believe that his friends and his government will not leave him completely abandoned.”

Leonhardy returned to his home at Paseo de las Aguilas. The career diplomat appeared weak and tired, but in good health. His release came following 33 hours of tense waiting from the time the Mexican prisoners had arrived in Cuba as demanded by the kidnappers.

In a statement later released by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, he said, “I would like to express how happy I feel to be free again and reunited with my family, friends and colleagues, Mexicans as well as Americans.”

Leonhardy was kidnapped Friday, May 4, when four armed men stopped his car at the corner of Colomos and Ottawa, near the American School. The diplomat’s wife, who had been in San Antonio, Texas, flew immediately to Guadalajara, where she expressed complete confidence in the Mexican authorities handling of the case.

As part of the ransom, a message from the kidnappers was read on national television and radio. Addressed to the Mexican proletariat, it called for a social revolution in the country and a call to arms of the people. It was highly critical of the Mexican government.


Women’s club helps orphanage

The American Consulate Women’s Club (ACWC) is helping Madre Lidia, a Franciscan nun who has created a home for orphan boys in Ciudad Granja, make aa life for 15 youngsters age 6-1 something more than just hustling the next meal, foundering in ignorance because of no schooling, lacking the feeling of what it’s like to be loved and cared for.

Last week, members of the ACWC held a classical guitar, wine and cheese party to benefit La Casa Aldea Betania that Sister Lidia administers, with say observers, lots of love and lots of guts.

An audience of more than 100 heard classical guitarist Ismael Martinez perform in the gardens of the residence of U.S. Consul General Julio Arias. The children will benefit from the proceeds.

In April, a new stove was purchased for the home by a joint project of the American Society of Jalisco and ACWC. Each Tuesday, consulate women prepare a meal which is taken to the home. Donations of clothing can be left at the U.S. Consulate in the American Services area.


Prince helps explosion victim learn English

April 22 explosions victim Jose Humberto Romano Jimenez got his dream to learn English when his three-year course arranged by Britain’s Prince Charles began April 26.

Romano, a former resident of Calle Gante, lost his mother in the April 22, 1992 sewer-line blasts and moved with his grandmother into an apartment donated by the British government. When Prince Charles inspected the apartments in February, Romano told him he wanted to learn English and the heir to the throne fulfilled his promise to help.

Romano will study English for three years at the Instituto Anglo-Mexicano, all fees paid for by the Anglo and the British Council. His textbooks will be supplied free by Libreria Britanica.

He was welcomed on his first day to class by honorary British consul in Guadalajara Simon Cohen, who expressed his hope that his studies will help him with his chosen career. Romano said he wants to be a doctor.


Reforestation wisdom

Amigos del Lago A.C. (ADL) has issued some practical advice to Chapala area residents who are anxious to contribute to improving the environment.

First off the organization recommends following the principles of Xeriscaping, chiefly through planting gardens with species that thrive locally without heavy watering. ADL suggests selecting endemic trees such as Guamuchil, Tepehuaje, Huaje and Mesquite; shrubs like Palo Dulce, Rosa Panal, Palo Zorillo and Campanilla; and common herbs such as Cola de Caballo, Camote de Cerro, Espinosilla and Cedron.

ADL gives seven reasons for planting trees at the start of the summer rainy season, coming up in the next four to six weeks:

• Trees help clean the air.

• Trees bring songbirds close by.

• Tress planted around your house can increase your property value.

• Trees help clean lakes, rivers, streams and replenish aquifers.

• Trees fight global warming

• Tree planting can be a fun-filled family or community activity.

• Trees help color and beautify your home, neighborhood and community.


Protestors condemn ‘brutal’ bullfights

As hundreds of fans watched famed rejoneador Pablo Hermosa de Mendoza fight bulls astride his horse at a ring in Tlaquepaque on Saturday, a small but no less significant number of activists protested at what they called “a brutal spectacle.”

Members of Igualdad Animal y Sociedad en Rechazo de las Corridas had criticized Tlaquepaque Mayor Alfredo Barba for promoting the bullfight, suggesting that his position of authority warranted neutrality on the divisive issue.

“Tlaquepaque is a retrograde municipality, attracting tourism based on the killing of seven bulls and injuries to horse,” said Dulce Ramirez of Igualdad Animal.

Ramirez demanded an investigation into the amount of municipal resources that are earmarked for bullfights in Jalisco.

Legislators from the Citizens Movement recently submitted a proposal to prohibit minors from attending bullfights due to the excessive amount of violence seen at these events.

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