Ambassadors

Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui

Ambassador Bárcena was appointed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and ratified by the Mexican Senate on December 2018, becoming the first female Ambassador to hold this position.

Ambassador Bárcena joined the Mexican Foreign Service in 1979. Prior to arriving in Washington, D.C., she was posted as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Rome-based Agencies. She has also served as Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, non-resident to Georgia and the Republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, non-resident to the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Iceland, and as Consul in Barcelona.

On the multilateral level, Ambassador Bárcena has represented Mexico as delegate at the UN, UNESCO and the OAS as well as head of delegation at the Forum on Migration and Development. She has also participated in multiple international conferences organized by the G-20 and the World Humanitarian Summit.

Ambassador Bárcena holds a degree in Communication Sciences from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, and a degree in Philosophy, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She also earned a Master’s Degree in International Studies (Diplomatic School, Spain) and a Master’s Degree in Political Philosophy (Universidad Iberoamericana).

Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui

Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui

Mr. South Texas Award Honoree

Oscar Omar Martinez, III

Oscar Omar Martinez, III

Oscar Omar Martinez, III, 10, is the son of Mr. Oscar Omar Martinez Jr. and Mrs. Eileen Azucena Andrade-Martinez. He is a fifth grade student at Dr. Malakoff Elementary. Oscar enjoys hunting, fishing, tending to livestock, basketball, and golf. Oscar began golf at age 3 and as a privileged member of the Laredo Country Club Junior Golf and the Southern Texas Professional Junior Golf Association, he aspires to become a professional golfer.

As a proud member of the Lone Star 4-H Club, he has raised and showcased animals earning him prestigious awards and scholarship monies.

Oscar is an active member of Cub-Scouts where he serves his community and has earned merit badges and recognitions, including the Catholic Religious Medal Award from our Bishop. He graciously serves the Lord as an altar boy and usher at St. Patrick’s Church. He is the grandson of Mr. Moises Andrade Jr. (✝) and Mrs. Lily L. Andrade and The Honorable Judge Oscar Omar Martinez and Mrs. Velma G. Martinez

Both parents have been members of WBCA since 2015. Eileen serves on the WBCA Development Team since 2018 and has been a member of IGNC since 2014. Eileen is on IGNC Executive Board where she has served as Historian, and is currently serving her 2nd term as Secretary.

Oscar is delighted to represent Laredo and the United States as the 2020 Abrazo Child, and looks forward to continuing the family tradition of participating in the 123rd Washington Birthday Celebration.

Oscar Omar Martinez, III

Oscar Omar Martinez, III

U.S. Abrazo Child

Natalia Aileen Santos

Natalia Aileen Santos

Natalia Aileen Santos, who is 7 years old, is the daughter of Mr. Rogelio J. Santos, Jr. and Mrs. Minerva Ayala Santos and is sister to Sofia Nicole Santos.

She is a second-grader with all “A” Honor Roll at Colonel Santos Benavides Elementary School where she is a Gifted and Talented student and belongs to the rigorous Dual Language Program.  Natalia has earned the Principal’s award and Top of the Class recognitions and has had perfect attendance for her three years of school.  She obtained second place in her school’s Art Contest, placing also at the District level, won third place in the Science Fair and participated in her school’s track team.

Natalia enjoys taking ballet and jazz dance lessons at Lily Hachar Dance Studio since the age of three and has performed in five annual recitals.  She plays tennis at the Laredo Country Club and belongs to the United States Tennis Association.  Natalia has been practicing volleyball at The Gym Legacy preparing to join her school’s team this year.  She enjoys reading in English and Spanish and taking art classes at The Art Studio.  Natalia attended Mundo Montessori before pre-kindergarten.

Her mother serves as Treasurer of the International Good Neighbor Council and is also a member of WBCA.  Both her parents have been WBCA volunteers.  She looks forward to representing the children of the United States in the upcoming WBCA celebration.

Natalia Aileen Santos

Natalia Aileen Santos

U.S. Abrazo Child

Vera Rocha Gordillo

Vera Rocha Gordillo

Vera Rocha Gordillo will represent Mexico as an Abrazo Child and was born in the patriotic month of September. Vera Rocha Gordillo, 7, attends the second grade at Mary Help of Christians School. She is the daughter of Abraham Rocha Garcia and Cecilia Gordillo de Rocha.

Vera participates in volleyball, the Net Club, and gymnastics. She loves to dance, sing and swim with her family and friends.  Vera’s grandparents have plays a major role in her upbringing. From her love of drawing, inherited by her grandma Nanis, to her goal of becoming a teacher like her grandma Ana. She also developed a love for the outdoors due to her trips to her grandpa Carlos’ ranch and has a fine sense of humor like her grandpa Abraham.

Vera is a happy, outgoing, responsible and respectful little girl who loves her two older brothers, Abraham and Santiago. She follows her ancestors’ example of loyalty and patriotism because she loves to hear all the stories her great grandparents tell her about Mexico.

Vera’s parents have been members of IGNC since 2011. Vera’s aunt is a 10-year CIVB Member and the 1981 Abrazo child, as well as 1992 SMW Debutante. Her uncle Lauro L. Guajardo was the 1993 Abrazo child. Vera and her family look forward to represent Mexico as an Abrazo Child for the 123rd Washington’s Birthday Celebration.

 

Vera Rocha Gordillo

Vera Rocha Gordillo

MX Abrazo Child

Sebastian Palos Peñuñuri

Sebastian Palos Peñuñuri

Sebastian Palos Peñuñuri is 9 year-old and a 4th grade student at United Day School. He is the son of AA Mario Palos Moreno and Alexandra Peñuñuri de Palos. He is a member of the student council, basketball team, and flag football team at his school. His extracurricular activities consist of playing basketball, and soccer. He enjoys reading, swimming, and traveling with his family. During his free time he plays with his brothers and friends.

The parents of Sebastian are active members of the CIBV since 2014. His parents are also involved in the Mujeres de Sol y Agave of Nuevo Laredo, a non-profit organization that seeks to support Mexican women with limited resources who have a vocation and desire to pursue a higher education. Sebastian looks forward to respresent Mexico as the 2020 Abrazo Child during the 123rd Washington’s Birthday Celebration festivities.

Sebastian Palos Peñuñuri

Sebastian Palos Peñuñuri

MX Abrazo Child

Jose M. Rubio, Jr.

Joe Rubio was born in Laredo, Texas. He attended local public schools and graduated from Nixon High School in 1972. Mr. Rubio graduated from Southwest Texas State University in 1976 with a double major in history and political science. He then attended the University of Houston Law School, and after passing the State Bar Exam, returned to Laredo. In 1980, he opened his private practice, concentrating on the areas of family law and criminal defense. In addition, he served as trustee for the Laredo Independent School District and as well as the school district’s attorney.

      In 1988, Joe Rubio launched the first of five successful campaigns for the post of District Attorney for the 49thJudicial District, comprised of Webb and Zapata counties. Upon winning the election at the age of 34, he became the youngest elected district attorney in the history of the district. He was re-elected for four more terms and served a total of twenty years. This makes him the longest serving District Attorney for Webb and Zapata counties.

      While serving as District Attorney, Joe Rubio fought child abuse by helping create the Child Abuse Coalition. The result of the coalition’s efforts was the founding of the Children’s Advocacy Center, a facility recognized throughout the state as a model for handling of child abuse victims and prosecution of child abusers.  In addition, Mr. Rubio established two new units within the District Attorney’s Office: the Child Abuse Unit as well as the Domestic Violence Unit. Mr. Rubio is proud to say that his daughter, Julia, is now a prosecutor in the Special Victims Unit. In keeping with of his mission to make our community safer, Joe established the Safe Haven project which has been of great benefit for parents as it provides a controlled environment for the exchange of children and helps prevent parental conflict during periods of visitation.

        Mr. Rubio is now practicing privately. His practice consists of criminal defense, both at the state and federal level, as well as family and civil law. He has been married for 35 years to his wonderful wife, Elizabeth Jones Rubio.

Jose M. Rubio, Jr.

Jose M. Rubio, Jr.

Portraying George Washington

Julia Elizabeth Jones Rubio

Julia Elizabeth Jones Rubio was born in Laredo and educated in public schools. She graduated from J.W. Nixon High School in 1976, after which she attended Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. She returned to Texas to complete her undergraduate studies, receiving a B.A. degree in Spanish and Business Administration, magna cum laude, from Trinity University in San Antonio in 1980.  Mrs. Rubio was inducted into the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Following her family’s long-standing Longhorn tradition, Mrs. Rubio furthered her education at the McCombs School of Business, receiving her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982.

Elizabeth began her career as a banker, working in commercial lending. She later commenced a career as an educator, teaching fifteen years at Amparo Gutierrez Elementary School. Currently, she is Director of Events and Operations in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Texas A&M International University.  This position is particularly fitting, as Elizabeth’s Richter and Watson family have long been involved in the arts, and her aunt, Helen Richter Watson’s fine ceramic collection is on permanent display at the University.

Elizabeth has enjoyed volunteering with the PTC organizations of both Amparo Gutierrez Elementary School as well as United Day School.  In addition, she enjoyed contributing as a J.B. Alexander High School band parent. She is a lifelong active member of Christ Church Episcopal, having served as a vestry member, lector, and Sunday school teacher.  She is currently proud to serve on the board of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Webb and Zapata Counties as secretary.

Elizabeth was presented by the Society in 1976 and has served in numerous board positions.  She is particularly pleased to be portraying Martha, as her connection to the Society of Martha Washington goes back to its inception.  Her grandmother, Helen Richter (Dolly) Watson, was a founding member of the Society.  She served as the Society’s fourth president, in 1943, and was an original Colonial Lady. Elizabeth’s mother, Julia Richter Watson Jones, is likewise a Colonial Lady.  She was presented by the Society in 1949, escorted by Elizabeth’s father, James Kenton Jones. In 1979, Elizabeth’s mother portrayed Martha Washington, and Elizabeth is proud to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Elizabeth’s brother, James K. Jones, Jr., was an escort in 1971. Her sister, Margaret Jones Hagelman, was presented in 1978 and was the Society’s president in 2013.

Julia Elizabeth Jones Rubio

Julia Elizabeth Jones Rubio

Portraying Martha Washington