Co-Founders

In Memoriam

Manuel A. Toro
Zeke Montes
Eddie Escobedo

Manuel A. Toro Biography

PROFILE, SEEDS AND FRUIT FROM MANUEL A. TORO

By Justina Gonzalez-Marti
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Trying to capture all the personality and work of Dr. Manuel A. Toro is an interesting, challenging, quite difficult … if not impossible task, but at the same time very challenging.  His career of 69 years on earth was performed in the Caribbean, Latin American, European and American scene.
In the vibrant theater of his life, the elements of an outstanding personality multifaceted and multi-dimensional;  tireless struggle, call to sacrifice, inevitable conflict and particularly the imperative to be real, genuine, upright and true, regardless of the personal consequences.
Thankfully, Manuel never lived under the concept of a “popularity contest” only on the principle of duty and service.

About his life

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Manuel was Puerto Rican by birth. At the tender age of 14, his mother, a professional lawyer, sent him to a military academy in Georgia at a time when the crude and cruel racism was prevalent in all social and educational institutions. I think the experiences of that period penetrated deep into his heart and psyche and his particular character clinged most of all to his national pride and culture.

Perhaps it opened his eyes to the reality of discrimination, social injustices, and need to acquire strategies to not be vulnerable to personal or public attacks.

I think this experience was a major awakening in the life of Manuel and prepared him for a future that could achieve dreams and goals, despite oppositions and limitations.

The Student

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During his years of medical studies in France, Spain and the Dominican Republic, his training included a love to study culture, history and music. He was a member of the Faculty of Medicine and the Tuna de Cádiz, touring various countries and cities, bringing the musical message.

The Visionary

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Manuel’s love and passion for his homeland, Puerto Rico, were without
commitment and fluctuation, he maintained the physical, cultural and political ties with the Isla del Encanto throughout his career here on earth.
The official records of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture shows that
Manuel was the one who initiated the petition to establish a charter of a
Cultural Center in Central Florida. As well as the initiative to create the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce which later merged as Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
As visionary, saw traces of a future in which the economy of Puerto Rico and Latin America would be a determining factor in the commercial life of Central Florida.

Family Oriented

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In the intimate and precious life of Manuel, it emphasizes his dedication, integrity and loyalty to his family, his wife Dora and children, Manuel Antonio, Frances Elizabeth, Manuel Fernando, José Luis and Javier Antonio. Also remained bonded to the rest of his maternal and paternal family, especially his Aunt Jenny, whom he considered  a second mother.
Crucial to the achievements of Manuel were the strong support of his wife Dora and her parents, especially the dream of a Spanish newspaper, free of cost that could be made and become the primary means of communication for Hispanics in Central Florida.

He also served as the Hispanic cause being one of the organizers of the Association National Hispanic Publications. For his work was recognized nationally and International and served several functions on the Board of this organization.

Professional

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We can have a clearer idea of who Manuel was considering he was a
psychiatrist by profession. He liked to talk to those who came to him free from false claims and hidden agendas left at home. That was a categorical imperative for those who wanted to get the best of Manuel.
Although he was a shrewd businessman, the reality was that he gave the
shirt of his back to those who came to him with a genuine, real need or were victims of injustice or circumstances. With these people he would treat them without defense mechanisms and a level of cordiality and openness.
As a good steward of the time, Manuel wasted no time in
unnecessary preambles; he liked to go to the heart of the matter.
As a good psychiatrist he was a good judge of human character.
Aware of the sincerety of the person, he did not spared in helping through different circumstances and needs. For years I have heard stories from a lot of people, particularly Hispanics of all countries who were helped in a multitude of ways by Manuel in economic needs, health, immigration or jobs.
A clear example was the fact that since its inception, La Prensa offered
employment to Argentinians, Bolivians, Costa Ricans, Cubans, Ecuadorians,
Dominicans, Peruvians, Venezuelans and others in the same way as
Puerto Ricans.

Heart of a Don Quijote

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He was a lifelong fan of Don Quijote.  He collected paintings and statues of this Hispanic world and global symbolic figure.
It is my feeling that Manuel was a real prototype and committed spirit of Don Quijote the knight, of the indomitable spirit that transcended space and time and nurtured from the ways of the world according to Plato, expected to be delivered by the human spirit to give life and form in the material world.
Like Don Quijote, Manuel was a visionary, a dreamer that fought
valiantly against windmills in righting wrongs
Like Don Quijote, with his eyes not fixed on obstacles or limitations but yet in the purpose and need of the goals pursued.
Like Don Quijote, Manuel felt great passion for his fellowman and his determinaton to straighten wrongs did not wane, neither in sickness nor with the passing of the years, rather he continued his dreams until his creator and savior called him to his side.
Manuel’s life has left its indelible mark in different fields of our community life.
The seeds of his life begin with his family, friends, associates and all those who in one way or another have been touched by this great leader.
As they say, history is the best witness of the greatness and deeds of the person.

Zeke Montes Biography

Zeke Montes NAHP Co-Founder
By Kirk Whisler

We lost a GREAT PERSON and AMAZING LEADER with the passing of Zeke Montes on January 29, 2013. Often great leaders are not very nice people. They sacrifice being nice or being liked to get things done. My compadre Zeke had the ability to be both a GREAT LEADER and an AMAZING PERSON.

Zeke Montes was the most giving person I’ve ever met. He was always the first to volunteer to help for anything – and the first to pick up a check. Everyone remembers him as such a positive, energetic, happy person. So full of joy. So committed to seeing the entire Latino community get treated with the respect that it deserves.

Zeke is legendary for his commitment to the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) – and no one will or could serve more terms as President than the six terms he served. He was elected as the second NAHP President in 1986 and served three terms early in the NAHP history when board members were elected to one year terms (1986-1989). His many accomplishments from this period include the NAHP joining HACR and other key national organizations, the NAHP Group Buy program grew, the start of what is today the José Martí Awards, the NAHP gave it’s first scholarships, and our first convention in Mexico.

From 1999 to 2003 he served another 2 terms during a major growth period for the NAHP. During this time the NAHP had one of it’s most memorable events when future President of Mexico Fox and Edward James Olmos were at the same lunch and both gave amazing speeches. We were all spellbound as to having witnessed history.  During this time period the NAHP grow to it’s largest number of members and largest conventions.

He was in the final year of his final two year term (2011-2013) when we tragically lost him. While others have devoted meaningful time to the NAHP and the development of Hispanic Print – Zeke devoted his life. Right up to going to the hospital for the final time Zeke was concerned about keeping Hispanic Print and the NAHP growing and moving in the right direction.

Zeke was also active on other national boards like HACR, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibilty. HACR is key to negotiating with Fortune 500 companies and the HACR board is composed of the leaders of the most important Latino organizations. His leadership there was critical to a number of important national issues effecting the Latino community.

Zeke had the rare quality of making everyone he meet feel important – from waitresses and the readers of Tele Guía to corporate CEOs and Presidents, and he met at least 15 presidents of the United States, Mexico, or another Latin American country.

As soon as Zeke and I meet over the phone in 1982 I was impressed with the man – and instantly felt like I’d know him for years. When I went to Chicago shortly thereafter he had his entire family at the airport to meet me. Over the years Zeke and I traveled together to over 50 cities around the USA, Mexico and the Caribbean to talk about the many benefits and qualities of Hispanic Print. Zeke always provided the emotions and honesty that came from his years as a publisher. These trips were all work from the 8 in the morning till 10 or later at night. During these years we saw the circulation of Hispanic newspapers and local magazines grow from 3 million to 19 million – and Zeke was a very key part of the growth.

Zeke was a very successful publisher with publications like Tele Guía, GuíaTelfonica, and their various websites and newsletters; but I have to believe that he would have been even more successful if he hadn’t spent so much time trying to help those publications smaller than his also succeed. He wanted the tide to raise ALL the boats, was never happy if only a few were going to succeed. Zeke was truly a WE person, not a ME person.

In 1997 Edward James Olmos and I cofounded the Latino Book & Family Festivals with our first festival in Los Angeles. Zeke was, of course, there wanting to do a similar event in his beloved Chicago. Within 2 years Zeke had created the Chicago Latino Book & Family Festival. At the first Chicago festival in November 1999 at Sportman’s Park, Eddie Olmos’ daughter had never seen snow before. It was begin snowing, much like to today and his daughter got so excited that she rushed out and was licking the snow of the bumper of Zeke’s car. Luckily we stopped her before her tongue stuck to Zeke’s bumper. With the 14 Chicago Festivals held since then over 300,000 people have attended these wonderful events.

I know how happy Zeke was to fulfill his promise to take my comadre Rose to Paris last year. He loved traveling with his beloved wife as well as with his children and grandchildren. Zeke was never happier, as all of you know, than when he was surrounded by family and friends. Zeke was also extremely happy that his children Patricia, Christina, and Steve are all now working& managing the publications. It truly was his dream to have them carry on with the efforts he and Rose started nearly 30 years ago.

Eddie Escobedo Biography

Eddie Escobedo, Sr. (1932-2010)

Longtime Las Vegan Eddie Escobedo guided Hispanics
By Eddie Escobedo, Jr.

Eddie Escobedo was, if nothing else, driven in everything he attempted, and that trait showed when a neighbor challenged him to a bowling match. The neighbor didn’t know that Escobedo had managed a bowling alley in El Paso, Texas.

“My dad beat him clean,” Eddie Escobedo Jr. said.

Next, the neighbor challenged Escobedo to a game of billiards. Escobedo beat him at that, too. “My dad was also a pool hustler,” the younger Escobedo said.

When the neighbor suggested a game of golf, Escobedo must have swallowed hard. He didn’t know the game and, sure enough, his neighbor got the better of him.

“So my dad practiced every day for two weeks to learn the game and then asked the neighbor for a rematch,” the younger Escobedo said. “Dad went out and cleaned his clock.”

That kind of drive was evident, too, in decidedly more important facets of Escobedo’s life — and he proved equally successful.

As a businessman, promoter, philanthropist, community activist and publisher of the Spanish-language El Mundo newspaper, Escobedo was instrumental in organizing and advocating on behalf of the Hispanic community.

“My dad said that only in America can you accomplish whatever you set your mind to do,” the younger Escobedo said. “And he did.”

Escobedo began organizing the Hispanic community when there were only about 60,000 residents in the Las Vegas Valley, creating a social and political infrastructure.

“The Hispanic population was scarce, and he was one of the pioneers who cleared many obstacles for the Hispanics who later arrived in Southern Nevada,” said Mariano Lemus Gas, the Mexican consul in Nevada. “He also was a political activist who strived to promote and encourage the Hispanic vote at the polls.”

Escobedo was born in Juarez, Mexico in 1932, crossed the border as a teenager and enlisted in the Air Force with the goal of earning U.S. citizenship.

His first — and last — assignments were at Nellis Air Force Base, where among other duties he packed parachutes for the Thunderbirds performance flying team. By night, he worked as a bar back at the Dunes.

Escobedo turned serious businessman: operating a Spanish-language movie theater, co-owning a Spanish-language radio station and investing in real estate, including developing Escobedo Professional Plaza.

He is best known, however, as publisher of El Mundo, which he founded in 1980 with the help of Sun founder and Publisher Hank Greenspun. Through his engaging and incisive columns, he became a strong voice for Hispanics and promoted cultural engagement between the Spanish- and non-Spanish speaking communities through such events as Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Two years ago, a middle school was named for him, honoring his contributions to Southern Nevada.
“Eddie Escobedo lived the American dream. He never let go of his belief that through hard work and creativity, a person could succeed and help his family and friends,” said Brian Greenspun, publisher and editor of the Sun. “He has been a great friend to Las Vegas. His family, I am sure, will carry on his legacy, which is to make Las Vegas a place where families can thrive and prosper.”