News Column

USHCC Controversy

December 2002, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

"Stop the Vote!" chanted protesters at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Convention in Los Angeles. A coalition representing more than 75 local chambers of commerce banded together on October 19, the day of USHCC board elections, to protest irregularities in the process.

Each chamber told its own story. Los Angeles–based Latin Business Association complained about being disqualified as a USHCC member in good standing, thus making LBA member David Lizarraga ineligible for re-election to the USHCC board. A press release from the protestors describes the USHCC's decision as "retaliation for [Mr.] Lizarraga's extraordinary leadership to reform the USHCC's financial accountability."

TAMACC (Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce) protested the disqualification of Ricardo Calderon as a candidate for the USHCC board. The USHCC had ruled that Mr. Calderon is not a member of TAMACC, even though he has served for two years as its chairman. The protesters' press release alleges that Mr. Calderon's disqualification came in answer to TAMACC's opposition to a USHCC for-profit publishing deal.

The protest failed to stop the vote. USHCC delegates installed a new board, and J.R. Gonzales of Texas took over the chairmanship. Mr. Gonzales promised to appoint a task force for election reform.

Meanwhile, the protesters have hired an attorney. To learn about their agenda, look to future issues of Hispanic Business.


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